The crisis in Yemen as of April 17, 2015. Green represents territory controlled by Houthis and Saleh loyalists. Red represents territory Controlled by Hadi loyalists and the Southern Movement. Grey represents territory controlled by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Penninsula forces. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)
The crisis in Yemen as of April 17, 2015. Green represents territory controlled by Houthis and Saleh loyalists. Red represents territory Controlled by Hadi loyalists and the Southern Movement. Grey represents territory controlled by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Penninsula forces. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)

As the body count rises and Yemen descends deeper into chaos, a complex web of alliances has blurred the lines between good and evil in the Middle East’s poorest country.

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King County Sheriff's Office released these photos of a man that police say showed a gun to Muslim women and made hateful remarks. (Photos courtesy the King County Sheriff's Office.)
King County Sheriff’s Office released these photos of a man that police say showed a gun to a Muslim woman and made hateful remarks. (Photos courtesy the King County Sheriff’s Office.)

Update April 3: The King County Sheriff’s Office says tipsters helped investigators identify the man in the photos. No arrests have been made in the incident.

Original story:

A Muslim woman said she felt threatened after a man showed her his handgun last month and told her he hated Muslims, King County Sheriff’s Office reported. The incident occurred after the woman declined his flirting, the report said.

It’s the latest incident that has raised concerns about hate crimes against Muslims in Washington.

SeaTac police are looking for the man, who could face charges of felony Malicious Harassment, which is the legal name for a hate crime in Washington, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office released surveillance photos of the man Thursday.

According to the account, the man was putting water in the radiator of his GMC Jimmy in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven at 3120 S 176th St. in SeaTac around 7 p.m. on March 1.

Two Muslim women drove up, and he tried to flirt with one of them who stayed in the car while the other was in the store, according to police. When she politely declined, police said the man’s “demeanor changed and he accused Muslims of being violent, said he didn’t trust them and he hated them.”

Police say that the man showed the woman his gun, and the woman rolled up her window. The man drove away after the woman refused to open her door, police said.

A number of recent incidents have raised concerns that Muslims are being targeted for their religion in Washington state.

Last year, a Seattle Somali-American cabbie was beaten by his passenger, who asked questions about his religion. Earlier this year, a Hindu temple in Bothell and a nearby public school were vandalized on the same day, but the words “Muslims Get Out” were scrawled on the school walls.

According to the sheriff’s office, felony Malicious Harassment includes threatening or placing someone in fear of harm because of one’s perception of the victim’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory handicap.

The King County Sheriff’s Office asks anyone who recognizes the man to contact Det. Minshull at 206-477-4329.

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People hold up a signs supporting a city of Seattle resolution against the fast track consideration of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership. (Photo courtesy the Washington Fair Trade Coalition.)
People hold up a signs supporting a city of Seattle resolution against the fast track consideration of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership. (Photo courtesy the Washington Fair Trade Coalition.)

The city of Seattle unanimously approved a resolution Monday opposing the fast-track consideration of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and expressing concerns about aspects of the multi-national deal.

Seattle councilmembers Mike O’Brien and Kshama Sawant co-sponsored the resolution criticizing the federal pact. The resolution also expressed support for local and national policies protecting workers and the environment. You can read the resolution in full on the city of Seattle website.

The federal TPP trade deal would bind the United States in a NAFTA-like treaty with several Pacific Rim nations, including Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Critics of TPP say it would put too much power in the hands of business interests, possibly compromising local and federal laws.

President Barack Obama seeks fast-track trade promotion authority, which would give his administration more power to negotiate TPP and could limit Congressional oversight over the agreement.

O’Brien said in a prepared statement released by the city, “I am pro-trade. And I believe the U.S. can negotiate truly progressive trade deals. But I oppose Fast Track for the TPP because Seattle has some of the highest environmental and labor standards in the country, and it is critical that multinational corporations do not have the power to undermine our laws or values.”

Sawant said, “Few things counterpose the interests of multinational corporations to the interests of workers, the environment, and democracy as sharply as trade deals like NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It has been just over a year since my office first drafted a resolution opposing the TPP. Today, I am excited to support environmental activists, labor unions and social justice organizations that have brought to light what big business always intended to be a secret trade treaty.”

You can read more about the Trans-Pacific Partnership on The Seattle Globalist.

People hold up a sign protesting the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership. (Photo courtesy the Washington Fair Trade Coalition.)
Supporters of a proposed Seattle City Council resolution against fast-track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement hold up a protest sign at Seattle City Hall. (Photo courtesy the Washington Fair Trade Coalition.)

Update, March 31, 2015: The Seattle City Council approved the resolution opposing the fast-track of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Seattle City Council is set to vote on a resolution Monday that takes a stance against fast-track trade promotion authority for the free trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.

Critics of the multinational deal say it puts too much power in the hands of business interests, and could potentially threaten labor and environmental protections such as future minimum wage laws or other local decisions.

The TPP trade deal would bind the US in a NAFTA-like treaty with several Pacific Rim nations, including Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Activists around the globe have raised concerns the TPP will make corporate supremacy the law of the land, threatening the planet, international labor rights, public health, Internet freedom, and more.

Many local environmental and labor rights groups support the city-level resolution. Groups including the Sierra Club, 350 Seattle, and the King County Labor Council gave public comment supporting the resolution against fast-track authority at a city council committee meeting last week, and voiced their support at a press conference on the steps of City Hall on Thursday.

Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien’s anti-fast track resolution passed in committee and will be put to the full council on Monday.

Both Sawant and Councilmember Mike O’Brien are concerned over the dispute settlement procedures in TPP. The provisions would allow businesses to sue any governmental entity they see as infringing on their future profits.

Selden Prentice of 350 Seattle also worries about dispute settlement.

“So, for example, when Seattle passed its new minimum wage law, if the TPP had already passed, a multinational corporation from a TPP member country that employs workers in Seattle could have sued to challenge that law and could have demanded damages for lost profits,” Prentice said at Thursday’s press conference.

Councilmember Nick Licata noted at the committee meeting that the Seattle City Council opposed another multilateral trade agreement in 1999 on the basis of similar dispute resolution provisions.

“If this resolution passes, it will send a message to our delegation and to other cities considering similar resolutions,” Licata said in the meeting. “It’s important for municipalities to express their concerns about how federal legislation is superceding the ability of citizens to control their own lives in our local regions.”

Council President Tim Burgess was not decided on whether he will support the resolution, but he did feel that it was “a topic worthy of [the council’s] engagement.”

Burgess points out 40 percent of jobs in Washington are directly or indirectly related to international trade, including our city’s largest employers.

President Obama has been negotiating the TPP trade deal. As part of his trade agenda, the president is asking Congress for fast-track trade promotion authority, an authority that began in the Nixon era. If fast-track authority is approved, it would give greater power to the executive branch  to negotiate the TPP, and  limit the chances for Congress to question aspects of the deal.

Congress is currently debating fast-track, and expected to vote on the TPP within the next couple of months.

To proponents, it makes good business sense. To opponents, it undermines the democratic process, which critics have already called into question.

“The issue is that it hasn’t been transparent and we haven’t been involved,” said Robin Everett, Regional Representative of the Sierra Club, at Tuesday’s committee meeting. “There are over 600 corporations involved in drafting these trade rules – Dow Chemical, Peabody Coal, Exxon Mobil, Monsanto – not the Sierra Club and not our friends. How are we supposed to trust something that we aren’t able to see and be a part of?

A city’s place to weigh in?

Seattle would be the second city in Washington to pass such a resolution. Bellingham’s city council unanimously passed a very similar resolution against fast-track authority last Monday.

The Seattle Times published an editorial criticizing the city’s move, calling the resolution an “ideological pursuit” and saying the council should “focus on matters closer to home.”

Councilmember O’Brien told The Seattle Globalist that the resolution could inspire more awareness of the issue locally, which may have federal consequences.

“As the citizens of Seattle and Washington learn more about this and their voices are being heard by the Congressional delegation, I think that will have an important impact,” O’Brien said.

Gillian Locascio, the director of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition, finds the idea that city government shouldn’t worry about the TPP “really patronizing.”

This is going to impact all of our lives here in Seattle and even the kinds of policies Seattle City Council can make,” she said. “They have every right to scrutinize it and have an opinion.”

When asked for a response to the editorial, Sawant said, “When conservative elected officials and publications say that such and such issue is not relevant to Seattle, I think its our job to read between the lines… That argument really means that we don’t like this proposal because the business interests we represent are not happy with it. The idea that it’s not relevant to the city is simply a red herring – what it’s really about is that the multinational corporations are absolutely going to fight you tooth and nail if you try to stop TPP and fast-track.”

For more details on TPP, see 5 Reasons to Protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Editor’s note: The resolution being considered on Monday March 30 was proposed by Councilmember Mike O’Brien. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated which councilmember introduced the proposal.

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Seattle woman Amanda Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend were acquitted Friday by Italy’s highest court, eight years after the murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher in Perugia.

The ruling by Italy’s supreme Court of Cassation puts an end to the dramatic case, according to reports. The 2009 guilty verdicts against Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, of Rome, Italy, were overturned in 2011, then reinstated last year. Friday’s acquittal is the final decision, according to reports.

Knox and Sollecito have been out of jail since 2011, after four years in prison in connection with the case. Knox, now 27, has lived in Seattle ever since and where she now writes for the West Seattle Herald.

According to The Guardian, Knox released a statement through her lawyer thanking supporters. “I am tremendously relieved and grateful for the decision of the Supreme Court of Italy. The knowledge of my innocence has given me strength in the darkest times of this ordeal,” the statement said.

Kercher’s family told the paper that they will not release a statement Friday.

Kercher, a British woman, was 21 when she was sexually assaulted and murdered in 2007, in the flat that she shared with Knox, a study abroad student from the University of Washington, and two other women.

After the murder, Knox and Sollecito were questioned by Italian police and arrested. Soon after, a third man, Rudy Guede, was also accused in the case. Guede was tried separately and was found guilty.

Perugia prosecutors maintained that Knox, Sollecito and Guede killed Kercher in a sex game. Knox and Sollecito’s attorneys said the couple were at Sollecito’s apartment the night of the murder and argued that physical evidence could not show that the couple were in the room where Kercher was killed.

The Court of Cassation will release a statement of explaining the ruling within 90 days, according to the Associated Press.