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Good Morning, Portland! Welcome to the first Mercury morning news roundup of 2024. Hopefully you got some time off. If you didn't, just take an extra long "bathroom" break today. You deserve it!

@globaltv From now until New Year's Day, I'll be channeling my inner Co-Worker Who's Extremely Busy Doing Seemingly Nothing persona 💻 #SNL #SaturdayNightLive #HolidaySeason #WeekendUpdateSNL ♬ original sound - Global TV

In Local News:

  • Last week, Portland police shot and killed a man in the Mall 205 Target parking lot who was suspected of shoplifting from the store. On Friday, we learned the man killed was 33-year-old Tyrone Lee Johnson II. Johnson was the fourth person killed by police in Portland in 2023 and the second person killed by officers during the month of December. Details of what led to the shooting are still foggy, but police say Johnson ran from them when they moved in to arrest him on an active warrant in the parking lot, and they opened fire. They later found a gun on him. While at least one outlet noted an eyewitness claiming Johnson pointed a gun at police before they shot him, police haven’t said whether they saw a weapon on him before they fired.
  • A former Multnomah County jail deputy is under review by the state for allegedly punching a jail inmate in the face in 2021, while working in a mental health unit. Willamette Week reports Nicholas Alberts resigned from the sheriff’s office right after the 2022 election, in which he ran for sheriff and lost. Alberts was under investigation at the time for his actions. He’s now applying to be a security guard.
  • It’s 2024, the year Portlanders will elect a brand new Portland City Council. What fun! But if you’re already dreading the spectacle that is a 40+ person list of candidates, and our first time trying out ranked choice voting, don’t worry. Voters will only be choosing a mayor and candidates from their district, meaning you don’t have to know everything about every single candidate on the ballot. While it’s still early and it’s likely we’ll see more people file for council in the coming months, you can stay up to speed on the folks vying to lead the city with the Mercury’s handy district-by-district 2024 City Council race guide.
  • At the start of each year, hospitals regale us with the first babies born in 2024. Who doesn’t love a baby photo? Especially when you have no responsibility for it and will never have to change its diaper?! This year, Portland’s first child born in 2024 was delivered at Oregon Health & Science University hospital at 12:12 a.m. to Pooja Kotadia and Rounak "Ron" Gandhi, who both happen to work in the medical field. 
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In National/World News: 

  • New year, new laws. Lawmakers in Texas thought efforts toward diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), which are primarily aimed at making sure marginalized folks can participate in society without barriers, were going too far. So now, public colleges in Texas are prohibited from having DEI offices on their campuses. Conversely, large retailers in California must now offer gender neutral toy aisles.
  • A move by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to limit the powers of Israel’s Supreme Court was rejected by the country’s high court. Yesterday, the court voted to reverse a law passed in July that keeps judges from overturning government legislation the court deems “unreasonable.” Some Israelis feared it was a power move by Netanyahu to put his political allies in positions of power and carry out corruption.
  • Speaking of Israel, the Israeli Defense Forces announced a scale back of troops in Gaza, but says it’s only in preparation for a war expected to last throughout the year. CNN reports Israel intercepted at least a dozen rockets fired from Gaza, after at least 156 people were reported dead inside Gaza over the course of a day at the start of 2024.