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Good morning, Portland! Happy day after Thanksgiving, a holiday which may now be tied to two moments of mass death and devastation in this county's history: The genocide of indigenous Americans and a deadly pandemic stoked by holiday hangouts. Oh, and it's Black Friday. If you're planning on spending dollars today, consider supporting local small businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic's financial fallout. Here's a handy directory of Portland small biz, and here's a roundup of some Portland holiday markets that have gone online. Now for the news:
- Iran's top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has been assassinated near Tehran. Fakhrizadeh, who'd been described as the "father of the Iranian bomb," has been compared to J. Robert Oppenheimer, the US physicist who produced the first atomic weapons. Fakhrizadeh's death comes amid concerns about Iran's production of enriched uranium.
- A Venezuelan judge has sentenced six American oil executives to prison for embezzlement. The six men—all executives with Houston-based, Venezuela-owned Citgo—have each been sentenced to more than eight years behind bars.
- Mexican feminists have occupied the federal Human Rights Commission building in Mexico City for two months straight in protest of the country's alarming rates of femicide. Activists have turned the building into a shelter for women and children escaping abuse, and a memorial for those who've been killed or sexually abused. None of the activists' demands—including "police training, a public review of government actions to stop the violence, and a guarantee of the protesters’ safety"—have been met.
- On Wednesday, the US Supreme Court barred the New York state government from restricting religious services in New York City to stop the spread of the coronavirus. This decision butts heads with previous SCOTUS rulings that upheld COVID-19 restrictions to religious spaces. What's different this time? Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
- Donald Trump took questions from the press for the first time since the election, during which he said he'd cede the White House to Joe Biden (if the Electoral College declares him the victor) for the first time. Trump spoke to reporters from an unusually tiny desk, which has already been heavily meme-ed. Here's the tweet that made me lol:
- After urging families to stay home and avoid travel on Thanksgiving, Denver's mayor hopped on a plane and flew to Mississippi with his family. He's since apologized, saying the decision was "borne of my heart and not my head." He's not the only national leader who's acted directly against their own COVID-19 restrictions.
- A white man fatally shot a Black teenager Monday in a parking lot outside an Ashland hotel. Aiden Ellison, 19, was allegedly killed for playing music too loudly. Initial framing of the story by local media outlets appeared sympathetic to the suspect, Robert Keegan, mentioning his family and personal traumas. Ashland's first murder of 2020 has Black leaders pointing to Southern Oregon's very much alive legacy of white supremacy.
- A new study finds that lifting state eviction moratoriums (due to COVID-19) caused as many as 433,700 excess cases of COVID-19 and 10,700 additional deaths in the U.S. between March and September. As a reminder: Oregon's moratorium is scheduled to lift in January.
- Gov. Kate Brown announced a new framework for COVID-19 restrictions Wednesday—and suggested that Multnomah County (and 20 other counties) will remain under the current "freeze" restrictions until the end of 2020. Read more here.
- Oregon activists are fundraising to support the Oregon inmates who fought wildfires this fall (and made about $10/day). The goal is to raise around $55,000—enough to put $200 into each person’s commissary account.
- Now that Portland voters approved a new police oversight system, it's time for Portland City Council and a new community board to build it. But the city staffers most qualified to help design the program won't be at the table. Why's that?