Native American confirmed as head of National Park Service
The U.S. Senate has unanimously approved the nomination of Charles “Chuck” Sams III as National Park Service director, which will make him the first Native American to lead the agency that oversees more than 131,000 square miles of parks and other landmarks.
New Oregon law suspends graduation testing requirement
A new Oregon law that suspends a requirement for a basic-skills test in math, reading and writing to graduate high school is being praised by advocates as a way to rethink education standards and sharply criticized by others as a misguided effort that will hurt children’s learning in the long run.
Oregon among blue states slow at lifting COVID restrictions
Even as the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moved earlier this month to ease indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, some blue states like Oregon and Washington are still holding on to certain longtime coronavirus restrictions.
GOP governors ignore Biden's latest plea on mask mandates
But Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchison announced Tuesday he is dropping the state’s mask mandate immediately, a day earlier than previously announced. Gretchen Whitmer to ask whether the White House has considered surging additional vaccines to states with rapidly increasing infection rates. Kay Ivey intends for her state’s mask mandate to end on April 9 as planned, though she urged people to wear masks as a matter of personal responsibility. Eric Holcomb, to reconsider dropping the state’s mask mandate.
The Latest: Navajo Nation extends "safer at home" order
That increased the state’s totals to 839,334 confirmed cases and 16,912 confirmed deaths. Ad___RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil accounts for a quarter of the daily coronavirus global deaths, more than any other nation. AdThere have been 12.4 million confirmed cases and more than 307,000 confirmed deaths in Brazil, second only to the United States. AdPakistan has reported 649,824 total confirmed cases and 14,158 confirmed deaths. The nation of 10.7 million had 1.5 million confirmed cases with 25,639 deaths.
The Latest: UNLV now plans in-person spring graduation
(AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)LAS VEGAS — The University of Nevada, Las Vegas is changing course and now plans in-person spring graduation ceremonies in May as the coronavirus outbreak slows. UNLV President Keith Whitfield on Friday announced the change from plans announced in February to hold graduation virtually. ___LONDON — The U.K. says half of the country’s adults have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. AdThe government on Saturday reported cases topping the previous record in June. AdJust one third of Italy’s 7.3 million vaccine doses administered so far have gone to people in that age group.
The Latest: Michigan makes homeless people vaccine-eligible
Vials of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine sit in the pharmacy of National Jewish Hospital for distribution early Saturday, March 6, 2021, in east Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)DETROIT — People who are homeless will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in Michigan starting Monday. The single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the two-shot Moderna vaccine are approved for individuals 18 and older. But Limassol city authorities aren’t letting the festive spirit completely wither away, organizing some events that comply with virus restrictions. Ad___COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka has received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines under the COVAX program.
New California law aims to put kids in class. Will it work?
Gavin Newsom signed into law Friday to try to pressure districts to reopen classrooms by the end of March. I don’t know,” said Dan Lee, a father in San Francisco, a city that sued its own school district to reopen classrooms. Chicago and New York City, the nation’s largest school district, have now reopened classrooms to elementary school students, but neither city has a plan for high school students. Newsom signed it via Zoom, unintentionally mimicking how most of the state’s 6.1 million public school students have been learning for the past year. That's prompted fears that some districts could return students just one day per week and still be eligible for the money.
The Latest: Navajo Nation new virus cases on downward trend
(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. -- The Navajo Nation has continued on a downward trend in the number of daily coronavirus cases. Canada regulators have approved AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine. Gavin Newsom expects California to start administering the new Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine next week. Addition of the J&J vaccine would come as California is seeing dramatic drops in virus cases and hospitalizations after record highs in early January. While they only comprise about 48% of coronavirus cases, they account for 74% of vaccinations.
Hundreds of thousands without power in Northwest ice storm
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. – A winter storm blanketed the Pacific Northwest with ice and snow Saturday, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power and disrupting travel across the region. Freezing rain left roads, power lines and trees coated in ice in the Portland, Oregon, region, and by Saturday morning more than 270,000 people were without power. The “unsettled winter conditions” would likely continue throughout the week, the National Weather Service said Saturday morning. Rain falling on accumulated snow raised the possibility of urban flooding happening Sunday night or Monday in some areas, according to the National Weather Service. Idaho's neighbors to the east were blasted by brutally frigid weather, with the National Weather Service warning of dangerous wind chills in Montana and Wyoming.
The Latest: N.C. senators OK bill to force schools to reopen
Authorities in Greece have extended a curfew in the country's two largest cities after a new rise in COVID-19 cases . ___THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:Spain surpasses 3 million coronavirus cases, seventh highest total in the world. The governor got his Pfizer shot along with Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin and several other state officials who are newly able under Louisiana’s latest eligibility criteria. Health officials reported 1,526 new confirmed infections Tuesday — half in the greater Athens region — and another 20 deaths. AdAcross the state, officials have started to vaccinate people 65 and older and some workers who can’t do their jobs remotely.
Role of race in US vaccine rollout gets put to the test
Its recommendations are not binding but offer key guidance on vaccine distribution. AdThe committee was formed with the goal of keeping fairness at the heart of Oregon's vaccine rollout. Some, such as Tennessee, proposed reserving 5% of its allocation for “high-disadvantage areas,” while states like Ohio plan to use social vulnerability factors to decide where to distribute vaccine, he said. Ad“The point is not, ‘We want to make sure that the Obama family gets the vaccine before the Clinton family.’ We don’t care. It’s not about race, it’s about race and disadvantage.”In Oregon, health leaders are working on a social vulnerability index, including looking at U.S. census data and then layering on things like occupational status and income levels, said Rachael Banks, public health division director at the Oregon Health Authority.
VIRUS TODAY: US vaccine appointments canceled amid shortages
An increasing number of COVID-19 vaccination sites around the U.S. are canceling appointments because of vaccine shortages in a rollout so rife with confusion and unexplained bottlenecks. However, state officials did not explain how regional per capita virus cases and transmission rates that also were released might influence how much ICU space will be available in four weeks. Last week, state health officials told The Associated Press they were keeping all the data secret because it is complicated and might mislead the public. State health officials said Monday that the Brazil P.1 variant was found in a specimen from a Minnesota resident who had recently been to Brazil. Health officials are also worried about variants that were first reported in the U.K. and South Africa.
Who goes first? Vaccine rollout forces stark moral choices
Crowley submitted public comments to Oregon's vaccine advisory committee to criticize the state's controversial decision to vaccinate its teachers and early childhood care givers ahead of its oldest residents. Oregon's decision underscores the difficult moral dilemma facing local and state public health officials as they weigh which populations need the vaccine most urgently amid a nationwide dose shortage. Now, the state's vaccine advisory committee is wrestling with how to prioritize the next groups. Dr. Kalani Raphael, a kidney specialist at Oregon Health & Science University and a Native Hawaiian on the advisory committee, said minority communities' health care experiences are often invisible, particularly with COVID-19. While Oregon health officials grapple with who will be eligible next, vaccines started Monday for teachers and early childhood educators.
The Latest: Arizona COVID-19 cases down despite high rate
(AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)PHOENIX -- Health officials say the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Arizona are declining despite the state having the worst infection rate in the country. Lucky few get COVID-19 vaccine because of rare extra doses in U.S. New Chinese film praises Wuhan ahead of lockdown anniversary. Members of Idaho’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee met Friday to help clarify exactly who should have first dibs on the state’s doses. ___SEATTLE -- A suburban Seattle man who advertised a supposed COVID-19 “vaccine” he said he created in his personal lab, has been arrested. At that time, there was no authorized COVID-19 vaccine on the market.
Biden vows rapid steps to battle virus after inauguration
Biden has set a goal of injecting 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine in his first 100 days in office, a goal Klain said they were on pace to meet. At his inauguration Wednesday, Biden will also deliver an appeal to national unity, expected to be a central theme of his speech, Klain told CNN’s “State of the Union" on Sunday. — In West Virginia, small businesses are being hailed for helping the state to emerge as an early success story in the nation’s otherwise chaotic vaccine rollout. Now more shots have gone into people’s arms per capita across West Virginia than in any other state. ___Find AP’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic
Guard troops pour into Washington as states answer the call
Military leaders spent chunks of Thursday evening and Friday calling states in an unprecedented appeal for more National Guard troops to help lock down much of the city in the days before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. Kate Brown said she turned down the federal request to send at least 100 more National Guard troops to D.C. “I didn’t think that we could safely fill that commitment,” Brown said. Oregon has already agreed to send 30 to Washington, but state leaders are worried about violence at the state capitol in Salem. At that point, the new round of calls to the state governors and military leaders began. Roy Cooper initially agreed to send 200 Guard, and on Friday spokesman Ford Porter said the state will send 100 more.
Governors' anger grows as federal vaccine stockpile vanishes
(AP Photo/John Raby)CHICAGO – Here’s what’s happening Saturday with the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.:THREE THINGS TO KNOW TODAY— Several governors expressed exasperation at the Trump administration after being assured that the federal government had enough vaccine stockpiled to speed up or expand state rollouts only to be later told those reserves don't exist. Kate Brown, were left scrambling to alter plans to expand the rollouts in their states, including to senior citizens. Other World Major marathons are also connecting their runners virtually. That shot up to $146 million in August, $152 million in September and $157 million in November. ___Find AP’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic
The Latest: China reports a few new cases of COVID-19
The 311 deaths reported in the week since Jan. 10 were a pandemic one -week high for Nevada, surpassing the 299 deaths reported the previous week, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. The state health department on Saturday reported 3,621 coronavirus cases and 27 deaths for confirmed totals of 351,665 cases and 2,952 deaths. It ranks third globally with 8.9 million confirmed cases in a nation of 211 million people. India has registered 10.5 million cases, second highest in the world behind the U.S. at 23.5 million. The Department of Health Services reported 8,715 cases and 208 deaths, increasing the pandemic totals to 666,901 confirmed cases and 11,248 confirmed deaths.
Governors complain over pace of COVID-19 vaccine shipments
FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2020, file photo, a droplet falls from a syringe after a health care worker was injected with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, R.I. Uncertainty over the pace of federal COVID-19 vaccine allotments triggered anger and confusion Friday, Jan. 15, 2021, in some states where officials worried that expected shipments would not be forthcoming. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)Governors bitterly accused the Trump administration Friday of deceiving the states about the amount of COVID-19 vaccine they can expect to receive as they ramp up vaccinations for senior citizens and others. Late Friday, Oregon health officials said a case of the variant had been diagnose in the Portland area in a patient who had no travel history. “What we’re seeing is fully in line with the dysfunction that has characterized the Trump administration’s entire response to COVID-19.
Ex-foreign correspondent reflects on risks for US reporters
There is increasing concern for the safety of journalists covering protests at state capitals across the U.S., and in Washington. This week, now as a reporter in Oregon, I attended virtual training by the state police on what to do if there's a shooting rampage in the Oregon Capitol. The Legislature’s leadership, for the first time, included journalists in the training after several were assaulted by rioters outside the state Capitol in December. What has happened at the Oregon Capitol is a clear example of how those divisions have become sharper and more bitter. Until last year, protests at the marble-sheathed state Capitol had been relatively mild.
The Latest: Mexico hits another record for COVID-19 cases
(AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)Mexico posted a record spike in coronavirus cases on Friday, with 21,366 newly confirmed infections, about double the daily rate of increase just a week ago. The National Health Commission said 90 of those confirmed cases were in Hebei province, adjacent to Beijing, where the country’s biggest recent outbreak occurred. State health officials announced this week that vaccine eligibility would be expanded to educators and seniors beginning Jan. 23. But federal officials have since said the stockpile was exhausted when those promises were made and governors can’t expect any windfall shipments. President Donald Trump had invoked the Defense Production Act to address various aspects of the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Defiance of virus dining bans grows as restaurants flounder
Kate Brown's COVID-19 indoor dining ban in their county despite the risk of heavy fines and surging coronavirus cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists indoor dining as a “particularly high-risk” activity. We are better than this,” said Brown, who banned indoor dining last spring and then reinstated it with limits over the summer before the latest shutdown. It's impossible to know how many Oregon restaurants have heeded the call to reopen because many are keeping quiet about it. In Pennsylvania, the state closed 109 restaurants over violations during a ban on indoor dining that expired Jan. 4 and sued 50 establishments.
State capitols reassess safety after violence at US Capitol
But if the U.S. Capitol — a shining symbol of democracy with a dedicated police force— can be overrun by a violent mob, could state capitols be next? Protesters in Idaho temporarily derailed a special legislative session last August. In Oregon, where Trump supporters burned a life-size puppet of Democratic Gov. “Pretty sure more #txlege members are going to start carrying inside the Capitol,” Republican state Rep. Briscoe Cain tweeted Thursday, a day after the Capitol grounds were abruptly shuttered as hundreds of Trump supporters demonstrated outside without any reported incidents. Mike Parson is planning for more than a thousand guests to gather Monday on the lawn of the state Capitol for his inaugural ceremony.
The Latest: Australia moves up vaccination start to February
(AP Photo/Mark Baker)CANBERRA, Australia — Australia is advancing the start of its coronavirus vaccination program to mid-February, with plans to inoculate 15% of the population by late March. Mexico’s vaccination effort continues at a glacial rate, with about 7,500 shots administered Wednesday, a rate similar to previous days. John Bel Edwards and public health officials said Wednesday that efforts are being made to speed up vaccinations for the coronavirus. So far, state officials have administered 126,602 of the 522,550 doses the state has received. More than 329,000 people have been vaccinated in Florida — or about 1.5% of the population — almost all of them either health care workers, residents in care homes, or people over the age of 65.
The Latest: Brazil is latest to ban flights from Britain
A demonstrator wears a face shield with a red handprint, mimicking blood, to protest Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the deadly coronavirus pandemic in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. ___NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Dozens of Tennessee hospitals have stopped taking transfer patients because they are overwhelmed during one of the nation’s worst recent outbreaks of COVID-19 cases. ___DENVER — Colorado has started vaccinating correctional workers as the state sees a surge of coronavirus cases in its prisons. ___BOSTON — Help is on the way for Massachusetts small businesses struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, with Gov. COVID-19 cases have been declining in New Mexico, but the economic fallout from the pandemic continues.
The Latest: Oregon doc's anti-mask comment draws suspension
And we must act as though anyone we are around may be infected.”The cases reported Saturday trailed only the record 10,322 cases reported Tuesday. ___ROME — Italy had more than 21,000 daily coronavirus cases and added 662 deaths in the last 24 hours. There were 14 more deaths reported Saturday, bringing the total to 1,874 confirmed deaths. Russia’s 2.4 million confirmed cases is the fourth-largest caseload in the world behind the United States, India and Brazil. ___NEW DELHI — India has registered 36,652 confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours.
The Latest: Emperor's New Year greeting cancelled in Japan
Experts have urged the government to reduce social and business activity before the holiday season because of a rise in serious coronavirus cases. The 583 new cases reported Thursday was the first time that South Korea’s daily tally had exceeded 500 since March. KCCI reports that the Iowa Department of Public Health reported 3,331 new positive COVID-19 cases as of 10 a.m. to bring the total to 222,278. The 14-day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 of population, a recognized measure of the pandemic’s spread, also fell Thursday, to 325. The Reno-Sparks area has recorded 59 COVID-19 deaths the last 30 days — half of those this past week.
Oregon, New Mexico order lockdowns as other states resist
Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico said in imposing a two-week stay-at-home order. Nevada Democratic Gov. In Montana, where cases are up more than 16% in the past week, Democratic Gov. Democratic Gov. Some economists say the crisis has been falsely portrayed as a choice between the economy and public health.
West Coast governors urge COVID quarantine after travel
Travelers wear face masks at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles Friday, Nov. 13, 2020. “California just surpassed a sobering threshold – one million COVID-19 cases – with no signs of the virus slowing down,” California Gov. She said if cases remain at the current level, the travel advisory will likely become a requirement. “Nobody wants to become North Dakota.”The travel advisory is not as strict as rules implemented in June by New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. ___Associated Press writers Kathleen Ronayne in Sacramento, John Antczak in Los Angeles and Sara Cline in Salem, Oregon, contributed to this report.
Election officials worried by threats and protesters
People urging that all votes be counted demonstrate outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center where votes are being counted, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Philadelphia, following Tuesday's election. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)Election officials in several closely contested states said they are worried about the safety of their workers amid threats and gatherings of angry protesters outside vote tabulation centers, drawn by President Donald Trump's baseless claim of widespread fraud in the race for the White House. Dozens of Trump supporters rallied outside Detroit’s convention center Friday morning, where election workers have counted ballots. In Atlanta, roughly 100 chanting Trump supporters gathered outside State Farm Arena Thursday as votes were being counted. Meanwhile, Facebook banned a large group called “Stop the Steal” that Trump supporters were using to organize protests against the vote count.
Election demonstrators arrested in Seattle and Portland
In Portland, protesters smashed windows at businesses, hurled objects including fireworks at officers and police made at least 10 arrests, according to a statement from the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office. Officers seized multiple firearms, ammunition, a knife, fireworks, body armor and gas masks from people who were arrested, a sheriff's office statement said. Kate Brown had activated the use of the state National Guard to help local law enforcement manage unrest related to the election, the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office said. Law enforcement made no arrests that day and the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office thanked demonstrators for remaining peaceful. ___This version corrects that fireworks, not a Molotov cocktail, were thrown at officers in Portland and that one person was arrested with fireworks, not an improvised explosive device.
More than a dozen arrested as protesters demand vote count
One person arrested for allegedly damaging property was taken to a hospital after “experiencing a medical episode,” police said in a statement early Thursday. Officers seized multiple firearms, ammunition, a knife, fireworks, body armor and gas masks from people who were arrested, a sheriff’s office statement said. The protests came as smaller groups of Trump supporters gathered at vote tabulation sites in Phoenix, Detroit and Philadelphia, decrying counts that showed Democrat Joe Biden leading or gaining ground. In Phoenix, at least two dozen Trump supporters gathered outside city hall Thursday morning, chanting “Protect Our Vote.” The group said they planned to return to the tabulation center, where a Wednesday night rally decried a declaration by Fox News that Biden was the winner in Arizona. This is evidence of democracy, not fraud.”In Detroit, a few dozen Trump supporters gathered outside the city's convention center Thursday morning, as election workers counted absentee ballots inside.
The Latest: Melbourne eases restrictions after cases drop
(AP Photo/Lewis Joly)MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, has loosened lockdown restrictions as new and active COVID-19 continue to decline. Victoria state reported only two new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and no deaths. The total number of cases on the reservation is now 10,913. Nine new deaths were reported, bringing the total number of deaths associated with the virus to 8,466. There are 106,503 total cases reported since the pandemic began in March and 1,168 deaths due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.
12 Democratic governors vow that all votes will be counted
LANSING, Mich. – Twelve Democratic governors issued a joint statement on Wednesday defending American democracy, vowing that every valid ballot will be counted in the election after President Donald Trump sowed distrust during the first presidential debate. He also called on his backers to scrutinize voting procedures at the polls, which critics said could cross into voter intimidation. Without mentioning Trump by name, the governors noted his refusal last week to commit to a peaceful transition of power. “Any efforts to throw out ballots or refuse a peaceful transfer of power are nothing less than an assault on democracy,” they wrote. Republicans, she said, “are aiming for an election with results all Americans can trust.”___Follow David Eggert at https://twitter.com/DavidEggert00
Portland, Oregon, largely peaceful after right-wing rally
Dozens began to show up two hours before the right-wing rally, some packed into the beds of pickup trucks. The Proud Boys mentioned Danielson in their permit application, as well as Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old charged in the shooting deaths of two Black Lives Matter protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Proud Boys raised the specter of a vigilante response to the actions of a “mob” in a permit application filed with the city this week. “Portland leadership is unwilling to stop the violence," the Proud Boys wrote in the application. But on Friday, he reminded those attending the rally and counter-demonstrations that under Portland law, it's illegal to carry a loaded firearm in public without an Oregon concealed handgun permit.
Fires raise fight over climate change before Trump's visit
Jay Inslee on Sunday called climate change “a blowtorch over our states in the West." “The debate is over around climate change. “This is truly the bellwether for climate change on the West Coast," she said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation." “And this is a wake-up call for all of us that we have got to do everything in our power to tackle climate change." “Talk to a firefighter, if you think that climate change isn’t real," the Democratic mayor said on CNN's “State of the Union."
Dozens still missing in Oregon as weather helps fire fight
Kate Brown said Friday that dozens of people were still missing and tens of thousands had been forced to flee their homes. Oregon officials haven’t released an exact death count but at least eight fatalities have been reported. Hundreds of firefighters were battling two large blazes that threatened to merge near the most populated part of Oregon, including the suburbs of Portland. Authorities also announced that a man had been arrested on two counts of arson in connection with a fire in southern Oregon. Jackson County Sheriff Nathan Sickler said a 41-year-old man was jailed on two charges of arson for a fire that started Tuesday in the Phoenix area in southern Oregon.
Fire officials battle rumors along with raging wildfires
While some arson arrests have been made, it’s not yet clear how all the scores of fires in Washington state and Oregon started. Officials say high winds and dry conditions have made them worse in a region whose cool, wet climate has historically protected it from intense fire activity. Officials in Oregon also debunked claims this week of widespread arrests affiliated with the Proud Boys or antifa. “Remember when we said to follow official sources only,” the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon posted Thursday. The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office told the AP that no such reports existed.
Officials squash rumors of far right, far left setting fires
“Remember when we said to follow official sources only,” the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon posted. Kate Brown said the state could see the greatest loss of life and property from wildfires in its history. The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office told the AP that no such reports existed. Reached by phone, Romero blamed the surge in fires statewide on a coordinated “army of arsonists” but offered no evidence to support that claim. And so people ought to consider: ‘Does this even make sense?’ They should question anything they see in a social media setting.”
Fires without precedent rage in usually cool, wet Northwest
Farther north, flames devoured buildings and huge tracts of land in Washington state. Because of its cool, wet climate, the Pacific Northwest rarely experiences such intense fire activity. In Washington state, a fire burned more than 480,000 acres of forest, brush and shrubland, Washington Gov. Holland said Oregon State Police had warned him to leave earlier in the day, but the fire seemed far away and he decided to stay. ___Selsky reported from Salem, Oregon.
Unprecedented Pacific Northwest fires burn hundreds of homes
Huge wildfires also continued to grow in neighboring Washington state. The fires trapped firefighters and civilians behind fire lines in Oregon and leveled an entire small town in eastern Washington. At least two people were reportedly killed in Oregon fires and a small child in blazes in Washington state. Holland said Oregon State Police had warned him to leave earlier in the day, but the fire seemed far away and he decided to stay. In Oregon, at least four major fires were burning in Clackamas County, a suburban county in Oregon that's a bedroom community of Portland.
Governors want more say in habitat rule for at-risk wildlife
BOISE, Idaho Governors from 22 Western states and Pacific territories want a bigger say in how the Trump administration defines habitat for wildlife protected under the Endangered Species Act. The governors insist they are co-sovereigns with the federal government" and need an equal role in the decision. Once an imperiled species is listed under the act, federal officials designate critical habitat that it needs to survive. The U.S. Supreme Court called into question the definition of critical habitat in a 2018 ruling. Fish and Wildlife Service, for example, designated critical habitat earlier this year for slickspot peppergrass, a rare desert flower in southwestern Idaho, that protected about 65 square miles (170 square kilometers).
Portland protesters target city's mayor amid rising tensions
Some also blame the mayor for engaging in a war of words with President Donald Trump instead of focusing on local needs. A caravan of Trump supporters, estimated at about 600 cars, encountered Black Lives Matter protesters as they drove through the downtown and skirmishes broke out. Many said afterward that they wanted to hear about solutions to the violence and how to keep the city's Black residents safe. The Oregon State Police and sheriff's deputies from Multnomah County the county that includes Portland are bolstering the city's force. Kate Brown, a Democrat, has so far declined to send the National Guard to Portland, as Trump has suggested.
Portland police declare unlawful assembly during protest
(AP Photo/Noah Berger)The Portland Police Bureau declared an unlawful assembly Saturday night when people gathered outside a police precinct in Oregon's largest city and threw bottles toward officers, police said. Speakers included activists as well as Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley and Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty. For the first time since the presence of federal agents in Portland diminished law enforcement and protesters noticeably clashed Saturday night. Just before 10 p.m., Portland police declared an unlawful assembly and told people to disperse or they may be subject to use of force or be arrested. In early July, President Donald Trump sent more federal agents to the city to protect the federal courthouse, but local officials said their presence made things worse.
Portland protest peaceful after federal presence reduced
Leshan Terry hold his son Leshan Terry, Jr., 6, during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse on Friday, July 31, 2020, in Portland, Ore. A group identified as Firefighters for Black Lives Matter gathered in a small park a couple miles west of the courthouse. A parade of cars with Black Lives Matter signs taped to their windows slowed traffic in the city. Since then, there have been no visible signs of any federal law enforcement presence outside the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse. And while thousands have marched and rallied peacefully, Portlands federal courthouse became a target for some protesters.
Portland protest scene relatively calm after US drawdown
The agents most nights fired tear gas in return. The mood remained calm at 1 a.m. Friday as the crowd dwindled to about 500 demonstrators. The Democrat also apologized to peaceful demonstrators exposed to tear gas used by Portland police before federal officials arrived. But federal officials insisted that the agents will not leave the city completely and will be kept on standby. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues.
US agents in Portland to pull back, but tensions remain
Hours after the deal was announced, protesters and federal agents faced off Wednesday night near the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse, the Oregonian paper reported. Thousands of demonstrators crowded downtown Portland, drawing dozens of agents in Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection uniforms into the streets. Many demonstrators are peaceful, but smaller numbers have thrown fireworks, flares, rocks and ball bearings at federal agents, used green lasers to blind them and spread graffiti over the face of the federal courthouse. Many protesters want reduced funding for the Portland Police Bureau and are angry that officers used tear gas on protesters multiple times before federal agents arrived. Brown said the departure of the federal agents was a chance to address that anger and begin to make improvements in community policing.
US agents to pull back in Portland but will stay on standby
Many demonstrators are peaceful, but smaller numbers have thrown fireworks, flares and rocks at federal agents, used lasers to blind them and sprayed graffiti across the downtown Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse. The deployment appeared to have the opposite effect, reinvigorating demonstrations with a new focus: getting rid of the federal presence. Federal agents nearly killed a demonstrator, and their presence has led to increased violence and vandalism in our downtown core, he said. Wednesday's announcement was an abrupt about-face from just two days earlier, when the U.S. government said it might send more federal agents to Portland. Oregon's governor cautioned Wednesday that the lower visibility of the federal agents and their ultimate departure won't immediately resolve the conflict.
The Latest: Australian state reports 357 new cases, 5 deaths
(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)MELBOURNE, Australia Five more Victoria residents died from COVID-19 as the Australian state recorded 357 new cases in the past 24 hours. The deaths take Victoria state toll to 61 and the national figure to 145. The mayors orders came as the Louisiana Department of Health reported more than 2,000 new confirmed coronavirus cases, for a total of 103,734. The Oregon Health Authority said Friday the newly recorded deaths raise the states toll for the pandemic to 282. The authority also said there were 396 new confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, bringing Oregon's case total to more than 16,100.
2 standoffs in Oregon show differing views of US response
State leaders are imploring federal forces to leave the progressive city, saying they're escalating a volatile situation. Parker was charged with pointing a semi-automatic rifle at armed federal agents but ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. Kate Brown has compared the presence of federal agents at the Portland protests to pouring gasoline on a fire. The idea that now federal agents are storm-troopers of death I find quite hypocritical." They surrendered as federal agents moved in Feb. 10.
US official visits Portland, calls protesters 'anarchists'
FILE - In this July 8, 2020, file photo, a worker washes graffiti off the sidewalk in front of the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse in downtown Portland, Ore., as two agents with the U.S. Oregon's largest city is in crisis as violent protests have wracked downtown for weeks. Each night, lawless anarchists destroy and desecrate property, including the federal courthouse, and attack the brave law enforcement officers protecting it, Wolf wrote. Federal officers recently sent to Portland by President Donald Trump have escalated tensions in the past two weeks, particularly after an officer with the U.S. Before Wolf arrived, Portland police arrested nine people early Thursday as they cleared protesters from two parks near the courthouse.
The Latest: Thailand eases restrictions, reopens schools
(AP Photo/Leo Correa)BANGKOK Thailand has further eased COVID-19 restrictions, allowing the reopening of schools and high-risk entertainment venues such as pubs and massage parlors that had been shut since mid-March. All confirmed coronavirus cases for the past five weeks have been repatriated Thais rather than cases of local transmission, giving the government confidence to lift restrictions. ___SALEM, Oregon - Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has extended the COVID-19 state of emergency for 60 days. ___WASHINGTON Dr. Anthony Fauci said coronavirus cases could grow to 100,000 a day in the U.S. if Americans dont start following public health recommendations.