Published: 10:04 pm, Fri. Aug. 16th, 2019Updated: 9:04 pm
At least 13 people arrested at Portland, Oregon, protest
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Police arrested at least 13 people and seized metal poles, bear spray and other weapons Saturday as hundreds of far-right protesters and anti-fascist counter-demonstrators swarmed downtown Portland, Oregon.
Authorities closed bridges and streets to try to keep the rival groups apart. They were largely successful.
“This was a dynamic event with demonstrators frequently moving from one part of the city to another,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said at an evening news conference.
As of early afternoon, most of the right-wing groups had left the area via a downtown bridge. Police used officers on bikes and in riot gear to keep black-clad, helmet- and mask-wearing anti-fascist protesters — known as antifa — from following them.
But hundreds of people remained downtown and on nearby streets, and there were skirmishes throughout the day. Police declared a gathering of mostly left-wing protesters near Pioneer Courthouse Square a “civil disturbance” and told people to leave.
Dozens dead or hurt in wedding party blast in Afghan capital
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide-bomb blast ripped through a wedding party on a busy Saturday night in Afghanistan’s capital and dozens of people were killed or wounded, a government official said. More than 1,000 people had been invited, one witness said, as fears grew that it could be the deadliest attack in Kabul this year.
Interior Ministry spokesman Nusrat Rahimi told The Associated Press the attacker set off explosives among the wedding participants. Both the Taliban and a local affiliate of the Islamic State group carry out bloody attacks in the capital.
The blast occurred near the stage where musicians were and “all the youths, children and all the people who were there were killed,” witness Gul Mohammad said. One of the wounded, Mohammad Toofan, said that “a lot of guests were martyred.”
Officials were not expected to release a toll until daytime Sunday.
“There are so many dead and wounded,” said Ahmad Omid, a survivor who said about 1,200 guests had been invited to the wedding for his father’s cousin. “I was with the groom in the other room when we heard the blast and then I couldn’t find anyone. Everyone was lying all around the hall.”
House speaker as US emissary: Pelosi emerges as force abroad
WASHINGTON (AP) — There’s an American leader whose words resonate on the global stage. Who draws attention in foreign capitals. Who carries a message from the United States by simply arriving.
It’s not just President Donald Trump. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is emerging as an alternative ambassador abroad, an emissary for bedrock democratic values and the promise of stability that some see as diminishing in the Trump era.
As the president heads to the Group of Seven summit in France next week with his “America First” agenda , Pelosi has been quietly engaging the world from another point of view. She is reviving a more traditional American approach to foreign policy, in style and substance, reinforcing long-standing U.S. alliances and commitments to democracy and human rights, at a time when the old order appears to be slipping away.
“What’s really important for people to know is, we’re all in this together,” Pelosi told The Associated Press in an interview. “This isn’t about me. It’s about our country and our shared values, to show our strength of who we are and what we believe.”
Since retaking the speaker’s gavel this year, Pelosi has led large congressional delegations abroad: to assure European allies at a Munich security conference; warn Britons of the pitfalls of Brexit; assess the migrant crisis in Central America; and mark the 400th anniversary of the slave trade in Africa with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including the immigrant congresswoman who became the subject of a Trump rally chant, “Send her back!”
Warren, Sanders get personal with young, black Christians
COLLEGE PARK, Ga. (AP) — Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren framed their Democratic presidential bids in personal, faith-based terms Saturday before black millennial Christians who could help determine which candidate becomes the leading progressive alternative to former Vice President Joe Biden.
Sanders, the Vermont senator whose struggles with black voters helped cost him the 2016 nomination, told the Young Leaders Conference that his family history shapes his approach to President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and the rise of white nationalism in the United States.
“I’m Jewish. My family came from Poland. My father’s whole family was wiped out by Hitler and his white nationalism,” Sanders said at the forum led by the Black Church PAC, a political action committee formed by prominent black pastors.
“We will go to war against white nationalism and racism in every aspect of our lives,” Sanders said, promising to use the “bully pulpit” to unite instead of divide.
Warren, a Massachusetts senator and United Methodist, quoted her favorite biblical passage, which features Jesus instructing his followers to provide for others, including the “least of these my brethren.”
Blooms, beasts affected as Alaska records hottest month
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska has been America’s canary in the coal mine for climate warming, and the yellow bird is swooning.
July was Alaska’s warmest month ever, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Sea ice melted. Bering Sea fish swam in above-normal temperatures. So did children in the coastal town of Nome. Wildfire season started early and stayed late. Thousands of walruses thronged to shore.
Unusual weather events like this could become more common with climate warming, said Brian Brettschneider, an associate climate researcher at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ International Arctic Research Center. Alaska has seen “multiple decades-long increases” in temperature, he said.
“It becomes easier to have these unusual sets of conditions that now lead to records,” Brettschneider said.
Advocates already see fallout from immigration rule change
CHICAGO (AP) — Diabetics skipping regular checkups. Young asthmatics not getting preventive care. A surge in expensive emergency room visits.
Doctors and public health experts warn of poor health and rising costs they say will come from sweeping Trump administration changes that would deny green cards to many immigrants who use Medicaid, as well as food stamps and other forms of public assistance. Some advocates say they’re already seeing the fallout even before the complex 837-page rule takes effect in October.
President Donald Trump’s administration trumpeted its aggressive approach this past week as a way to keep only self-sufficient immigrants in the country, but health experts argue it could force potentially millions of low-income migrants to choose between needed services and their bid to stay legally in the U.S.
“People are going to be sicker. They’re not going to go get health care, or not until they have to go to an emergency room,” said Lisa David, president and CEO of Public Health Solutions, New York’s largest public health organization. “It’s going to cost the system a lot of money.”
Immigrants who want permanent legal status, commonly called a green card, have long been required to prove they won’t be “a public charge.” The Trump administration announced Monday that would redefine the term to mean those who are “more likely than not” to receive public benefits over a certain period. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will also now consider other factors, including income, education and English proficiency.
New York City subway scare suspect taken into police custody
NEW YORK (AP) — A homeless man from West Virginia faced charges Saturday for allegedly placing two devices that looked like pressure cookers in a New York City subway station, forcing an evacuation and snarling the morning commute, police said.
Larry Kenton Griffin II, of Bruno, West Virginia, was awaiting arraignment late Saturday in Manhattan’s central booking after he was released from a New York hospital where he was being treated and under observation. Police did not specify what, if any, injuries or condition he was being treated for.
Police announced on Saturday evening that Griffin, 26, was charged with the placing of a false bomb. He was taken into police custody just after midnight Saturday in the Bronx, a day after he was seen in surveillance video at Manhattan’s Fulton subway station holding one of the objects police identified as rice cookers and determined they were not explosives.
A West Virginia sheriff’s department said Griffin had a criminal history in the state.
The Logan County Sheriff’s Department said it has arrested him at least three times in the past eight years, including a 2017 arrest on charges alleging he sent obscene material to a minor.
Iranian tanker to leave Gibraltar soon despite US pressure
GIBRALTAR (AP) — The shipping agent for an Iranian supertanker caught in a diplomatic standoff says the vessel is ready to depart Gibraltar on Sunday or Monday, as the U.S. made a last-minute effort to seize it again.
The head of the company sorting paperwork and procuring for the Grace 1 oil tanker in the British overseas territory said the vessel could be sailing away in the next “24 to 48 hours,” once new crews dispatched to the territory take over command of the ship.
“The vessel is ongoing some logistical changes and requirements that have delayed the departure,” Astralship managing director Richard De la Rosa told The Associated Press.
De la Rosa’s comments came a day after the U.S. obtained a warrant to seize the vessel over violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran. It was unclear if that could happen within a 24-hour time frame as Gibraltar officials have said any request to seize the vessel would have to make its way through the territory’s courts.
He said the new crews were Indian and Ukrainian nationals hired by the Indian managers of the ship and that his company had not been informed about the supertanker’s next destination.
Strangers come for miles to mourn El Paso shooting victim
EL PASO, Texas (AP) — Thousands of strangers came to say goodbye to a woman who was killed in a mass shooting in El Paso after hearing her longtime companion had few family members left.
Antonio Basco had told reporters he felt alone in planning the funeral for Margie Reckard, one of 22 people killed when a gunman opened fire at a Walmart on Aug. 3. Basco had almost no family left, so he invited the world to join him in remembering his companion of 22 years.
He thought he might get a few well-wishers from El Paso.
Then, the flowers started coming in.
Then, the funeral home had to change venues.
From tusks to tails, nations eye trade in endangered species
GENEVA (AP) — From guitars to traditional medicines and from tusk to tail, mankind’s exploitation of the planet’s fauna and flora is putting some of them at risk of extinction. Representatives of some 180 nations are meeting in Geneva to agree on protections for vulnerable species, taking up issues including the trade in ivory and the demand for shark fin soup.
The World Wildlife Conference on trade in endangered species, known as CITES, which takes place every three years, aims to make sure that global trade in specimens of wild animals and plants doesn’t jeopardize their survival.
The conference opens Saturday and runs through Aug. 28, with key decisions expected to be finalized in the last two days. It had originally been due to take place in Colombo in May and June, but was moved to Geneva after a series of terror attacks in the Sri Lankan capital.
Three months ago, the first comprehensive U.N. report on biodiversity warned that extinction is looming for over 1 million species of plants and animals. There are growing concerns that policymakers aren’t acting quickly enough to stop it.
“Business as usual is no longer an option … The rate of wildlife extinction is accelerating,” said CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero in her opening remarks to the conference.