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Some Alaska Natives allowed visa-free travel to Russian area

Friday, July 31, 2015 8:00am
- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Some western Alaska Natives can travel back and forth to a Russian region without a visa under a 1989 agreement that was recently revived. Vera Metcalf, a Native leader who works part time with the State Department, said Friday that the program allows indigenous residents from both sides of the Bering Strait to visit for up to 90 days without the documentation. Alaska and Chukotka Natives have historically been linked to the Chukotka region, and many are still related. Metcalf says administrative issues had forced those Alaska Natives to get a visa over the past three years. She says the issues have been resolved, allowing the program to begin again in mid-July. She declined to elaborate. Metcalf says those on the Russian side haven't needed a visa under the program.

Authorities report 2 arrests in Portland's drilling protest

Friday, July 31, 2015 7:45am
- PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office says it made one arrest during an effort by protesters to block a Royal Dutch Shell icebreaker from leaving Portland for an Arctic drilling operation. Lt. Harry Smith says 19-year-old Christian Pence refused to leave the Willamette River after being told the waterway was closed Thursday afternoon, and then assaulted a deputy who tried to remove him from the water. He faces charges of resisting arrest, interfering with a police officer and assaulting a public safety officer. Portland police also reported one arrest, a 24-year-old man accused of criminal trespass. The icebreaker made its way to the Pacific Ocean after authorities forced the demonstrators from the river and the St. Johns Bridge.

New ruling on protective orders for Alaska Native tribes

Friday, July 31, 2015 7:30am
- FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Alaska Native tribes will no longer be forced to go the extra mile to have their domestic violence restraining orders enforced by the state. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Alaska Attorney General Craig Richards issued a legal opinion stating that Alaska law was in violation of the federal Violence Against Women Act. The legal opinion has paved way for a direct link between tribal courts and state troopers. The Alaska law requires tribal court-issued restraining orders to be registered with courts before they can be enforced. The legal opinion found that law was superseded by the Violence Against Woman Act, which says protective orders don't need to be registered prior to enforcement. Tanana Chiefs Conference President Victor Joseph says the decision will help curb domestic violence and empower tribes. 

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