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Why Executions by Firing Squad May Be Coming Back in the US

Renewed interest comes as states scramble for alternatives to lethal injection after pharmaceutical companies barred use of their drugs

Roxham Road Destination for Asylum-Seekers Busy After Biden-Trudeau Pact

Asylum-seekers warned by police that they could be sent back continued to walk into Canada through the unofficial United States border crossing into Quebec at Roxham Road a day after the two countries amended a 20-year-old asylum pact trying to stem the influx.

On Saturday afternoon, as snow began to fall at Roxham Road, a Canada Border Services Agency spokesperson said officials had just begun to process asylum-seekers apprehended under the new protocol and had sent one back to the U.S.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced changes to the Safe Third Country Agreement on Friday after a record number of asylum-seekers arrived in Canada via unofficial border crossings, putting pressure on Trudeau to address it.

The Safe Third Country Agreement, which was signed in 2002 and went into effect in 2004, originally meant asylum-seekers crossing into Canada or the U.S. at formal border crossings were turned back and told to apply for asylum in the first safe country they arrived in.

Now it applies to the entire 6,416-km land border. Under the revised pact, anyone who crosses into either country anywhere along the land border and who applies for asylum within 14 days will be turned back.

Roxham Road, which had become a well-known unofficial crossing for asylum-seekers into Canada, closed at midnight Friday. But dozens crossed anyway, including one group with a baby and a toddler just after midnight. Police took them into custody, warning them they could be turned around.

Police unveiled a new sign near the dirt path linking New York State with the province of Quebec, informing people they could be arrested and returned to the United States if they crossed.

The Canada Border Services Agency, which polices ports of entry, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which polices the rest of the border, referred questions about enforcement to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, a federal government department.

The department referred questions about enforcement back to the CBSA and RCMP, saying in a statement the two bodies will “work together to uphold Canada’s border integrity.”

Quebec RCMP did not immediately respond on Saturday morning to questions about what will happen to people intercepted at Roxham Road.

A 30-year-old man from Pakistan, who did not want to be identified, said he had taken a taxi from New York City.

“I don’t have anywhere to go,” he said.

He crossed into Canada.

Confusion reigned at a bus station early on Saturday, where about 25 people from Venezuela, Haiti, Ecuador and Peru milled about, wondering what to do next. One told Reuters he had heard about the new rules on the bus; another had heard on arrival.

The new deal’s stated aim is to promote orderly migration and ease pressure on communities overwhelmed by a spike in asylum-seekers who crossed at places like Roxham Road to avoid being turned back at official entry points.

But enforcing the amended agreement by apprehending people who cross anywhere along the land border could be a logistical nightmare and put people at risk, critics say.

If the purpose of this change is to deter irregular crossings, said University of Toronto law professor Audrey Macklin, “it will simply fail.”

When asylum-seekers crossed at Roxham Road, they sought out the authorities because they knew that was the way to file refugee claims. If the incentive becomes evasion, critics fear, people will be driven underground and toward riskier modes of travel. They will want to sneak into the country and hide for two weeks before claiming refugee status.

“This will divert people into more dangerous, more risky, more clandestine modes of entry across 6,000 kilometers of border,” Macklin said.

Intel Co-Founder, Philanthropist Gordon Moore Dies at 94

Gordon Moore, the Intel Corp. co-founder who set the breakneck pace of progress in the digital age with a simple 1965 prediction of how quickly engineers would boost the capacity of computer chips, has died. He was 94.

Moore died Friday at his home in Hawaii, according to Intel and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Moore, who held a Ph.D. in chemistry and physics, made his famous observation — now known as “Moore’s Law” — three years before he helped start Intel in 1968. It appeared among several articles about the future written for the now-defunct Electronics magazine by experts in various fields.

The prediction, which Moore said he plotted out on graph paper based on what had been happening with chips at the time, said the capacity and complexity of integrated circuits would double every year.

Strictly speaking, Moore’s observation referred to the doubling of transistors on a semiconductor. But over the years, it has been applied to hard drives, computer monitors and other electronic devices, holding that roughly every 18 months a new generation of products makes their predecessors obsolete.

It became a standard for the tech industry’s progress and innovation.

“It’s the human spirit. It’s what made Silicon Valley,” Carver Mead, a retired California Institute of Technology computer scientist who coined the term “Moore’s Law” in the early 1970s, said in 2005. “It’s the real thing.”

‘Wisdom, humility and generosity’

Moore later became known for his philanthropy when he and his wife established the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which focuses on environmental conservation, science, patient care and projects in the San Francisco Bay area. It has donated more than $5.1 billion to charitable causes since its founding in 2000.

“Those of us who have met and worked with Gordon will forever be inspired by his wisdom, humility and generosity,” foundation president Harvey Fineberg said in a statement.

Intel Chairman Frank Yeary called Moore a brilliant scientist and a leading American entrepreneur.

“It is impossible to imagine the world we live in today, with computing so essential to our lives, without the contributions of Gordon Moore,” he said.

In his book “Moore’s Law: The Life of Gordon Moore, Silicon Valley’s Quiet Revolutionary,” author David Brock called him “the most important thinker and doer in the story of silicon electronics.”

Helped plant seed for renegade culture

Moore was born in San Francisco on Jan. 3, 1929, and grew up in the tiny nearby coastal town of Pescadero. As a boy, he took a liking to chemistry sets. He attended San Jose State University, then transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, where he graduated with a degree in chemistry.

After getting his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 1954, he worked briefly as a researcher at Johns Hopkins University.

His entry into microchips began when he went to work for William Shockley, who in 1956 shared the Nobel Prize for physics for his work inventing the transistor. Less than two years later, Moore and seven colleagues left Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory after growing tired of its namesake’s management practices.

The defection by the “traitorous eight,” as the group came to be called, planted the seeds for Silicon Valley’s renegade culture, in which engineers who disagreed with their colleagues didn’t hesitate to become competitors.

The Shockley defectors in 1957 created Fairchild Semiconductor, which became one of the first companies to manufacture the integrated circuit, a refinement of the transistor.

Fairchild supplied the chips that went into the first computers that astronauts used aboard spacecraft.

Called Moore’s Law as ‘a lucky guess’

In 1968, Moore and Robert Noyce, one of the eight engineers who left Shockley, again struck out on their own. With $500,000 of their own money and the backing of venture capitalist Arthur Rock, they founded Intel, a name based on joining the words “integrated” and “electronics.”

Moore became Intel’s chief executive in 1975. His tenure as CEO ended in 1987, thought he remained chairman for another 10 years. He was chairman emeritus from 1997 to 2006.

He received the National Medal of Technology from President George H.W. Bush in 1990 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in 2002.

Despite his wealth and acclaim, Moore remained known for his modesty. In 2005, he referred to Moore’s Law as “a lucky guess that got a lot more publicity than it deserved.”

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Betty, sons Kenneth and Steven, and four grandchildren.

US State Department Monitoring Reports of Kidnapped Couple in Haiti 

A U.S. State Department spokesperson said Saturday the government is aware of reports of two U.S. citizens missing in Haiti, after media outlets said a Florida couple had been kidnapped.

Abigail Toussaint and Jean-Dickens Toussaint, both 33, were taken near capital Port-au-Prince and have been held for days, according to an online petition started by a woman who said she is a relative of the couple.

The couple was on a trip to visit family and attend a festival when they were kidnapped during a bus ride, the relative said, according to CNN.

“We are aware of reports of two U.S. citizens missing in Haiti,” the State Department spokesperson said. “When a U.S. citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they carry out their search efforts, and we share information with families however we can.”

A spokesperson for Haiti’s national police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Haiti’s gangs have grown in strength since the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise, with large portions of the capital and much of the countryside considered lawless territory.

The security situation has devolved further in recent months with routine gun fights between police officers and the gangs.

Bloody turf battles have left hundreds dead and thousands displaced.

Seventeen missionaries from the United States and Canada were taken hostage and held for ransom in 2021 while on a trip to Haiti organized by the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries.

The group said ransom money was paid for the release of the captives, but a dozen had escaped on their own.

(Reporting by Harold Isaac in Port-au-Prince, Cassandra Garrison in Mexico City and Rami Ayyub in Washington; editing by Diane Craft)

‘Hotel Rwanda’ Hero’s Release Result of Resolving Diplomatic Discord 

The release of Paul Rusesabagina from a Rwandan prison late Friday was the result of months of negotiations between Washington and Kigali, with both eager to draw a line under what they described as an “irritant” to their relationship.

Two U.S. officials — one from President Joe Biden’s administration and a Congressional aide — said no concrete concessions were made to secure the release of Rusesabagina, a U.S. permanent resident made famous by the 2004 film ‘Hotel Rwanda,’ about his role saving Tutsis during the 1994 genocide.

He was detained in 2019 and subsequently convicted on eight terrorism charges stemming from his leadership role in the Rwanda Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD), whose armed wing, the National Liberation Front (FLN), has attacked Rwanda.

His detention strained relations between the two countries. The U.S. has said Rusesabagina was unlawfully detained, while Rwanda has bristled at the criticism, saying it would not be intimidated.

The U.S. allocated more than $147 million in foreign assistance to Rwanda in 2021, making it Rwanda’s largest bilateral donor.

“The U.S. government made clear to the… Rwandans that this would remain a bilateral irritant until we could reach a mutually satisfactory resolution,” the Biden administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Yolande Makolo, a spokesperson for the Rwandan government, said the case was “an irritant in both directions.”

“After a few false starts, progress started to be made precisely when the U.S. abandoned the ‘pressure’ and threats approach — and decided to engage with Rwanda on the substance of the matter and its context — political violence by armed groups and the security of Rwandans,” she told Reuters.

When asked how the U.S. had engaged on these issues, Makolo pointed to a statement issued by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken after Rusesabagina’s release, emphasizing that political change in Rwanda should only come through peaceful means.

The U.S. Congressional aide, who also asked not to be named, said the negotiations were advanced by moves from Washington and Rusesabagina himself to acknowledge Rwanda’s point of view.

Particularly helpful, the aide said, was a letter Rusesabagina wrote to Rwandan President Paul Kagame in October, in which he expressed regret at not ensuring that MRCD members refrained from violence. The Rwandan government released it Friday.

Mobilizing the executive

Before the talks gained momentum, a major challenge for the Rusesabagina family and members of Congress advocating for his release was mobilizing the full capacity of the executive branch, the aide said.

As a Belgian citizen of Rwandan origin with U.S. residency, Rusesabagina’s case did not “fit neatly in a box,” the aide said.

Momentum picked up over the past year as the Biden administration decided in May 2022 that Rusesabagina had been wrongfully detained.

Blinken met Kagame during a visit to Rwanda in August, where U.S. officials said the case was discussed extensively. Another opportunity for discussions came during the U.S.-Africa Summit in Washington in December.

Yet Kigali continued to take a hard line, with Kagame suggesting on the sidelines of the December summit that only an invasion of Rwanda could force Rusesabagina’s release.

The first major public sign of softening came in an interview with the online news outlet, Semafor, less than two weeks ago, when Kagame said there were discussions about “resolving” the case.

Then came the announcement Friday that Rusesabagina’s sentence had been commuted. He was moved hours later from Nyarugenge Prison to the embassy of Qatar.

He will remain in Rwanda for a couple of days before traveling to Doha and then to the United States, U.S. officials said.

Texas Officials Find Migrants in Shipping Container on a Train  

The bodies of two people were found Friday on a freight train in Texas after someone telephoned officials to let them know that there were people on board who were in distress.

It was not immediately clear who made the phone call.

Officials discovered the bodies and 13 people inside a shipping container when they stopped the train in Uvalde County, Texas, near the town of Knippa. At least five of the people were in critical condition.

All the people, many of them dehydrated, were thought to be migrants.

An investigation is underway.


Indigenous Artists Help Skateboarding Earn Stamp of Approval

Years ago, skateboarding was branded as a hobby for rebels or stoners in city streets, schoolyards and back alleys. Those days are long gone.

Skateboarding, which has Native Hawaiian roots connected to surfing, no longer is on the fringes. It became an Olympic sport in 2020. There are numerous amateur and professional skateboarding competitions in the U.S. And on Friday, the U.S. Postal Service issued stamps that laud the sport — and what Indigenous groups have brought to the skating culture.

Di’Orr Greenwood, 27, an artist born and raised on the Navajo Nation in Arizona whose work is featured on the new stamps, says it’s a long way from when she was a kid and people always kicked her out of certain spots just for skating.

“Now it’s like being accepted on a global scale,” Greenwood said. “There’s so many skateboarders I know that are extremely proud of it.”

The postal agency debuted the “Art of the Skateboard” stamps at a Phoenix skate park. The stamps feature skateboard artists from around the country, including Greenwood and Crystal Worl, who is Tlingit Athabascan. William James Taylor Jr., an artist from Virginia, and Federico “MasPaz” Frum, a Colombian-born muralist in Washington, D.C., round out the quartet of featured artists.

The stamps underscore the prevalence of skateboarding, especially in Indian Country where the demand for skate parks is growing.

The artists see the stamp as a small canvas, a functional art piece that will be seen across the U.S. and beyond.

“Maybe I’ll get a letter in the mail that someone sent me with my stamp on it,” said Worl, 35, who lives in Juneau, Alaska. “I think that’s when it will really hit home with the excitement of that.”

Antonio Alcalá, USPS art director, led the search for artists to paint skate decks for the project. After settling on a final design, each artist received a skateboard from Alcalá to work on. He then photographed the maple skate decks and incorporated them into an illustration of a young person holding up a skateboard for display. The person is seen in muted colors to draw attention to the skate deck.

Alcalá used social media to seek out artists who, besides being talented, were knowledgeable about skateboarding culture. Worl was already on his radar because her brother, Rico, designed the Raven Story stamp in 2021, which honored a central figure in Indigenous stories along the coast in the Pacific Northwest.

The Worl siblings run an online shop called Trickster Company with fashions, home goods and other merchandise with Indigenous and modern twists. For her skate deck, Crystal Worl paid homage to her clan and her love of the water with a Sockeye salmon against a blue and indigo background.

She was careful about choosing what to highlight.

“There are certain designs, patterns and stories that belong to certain clans and you have to have permission even as an Indigenous person to share certain stories or designs,” Worl said.

The only times Navajo culture has been featured in stamps is with rugs or necklaces. Greenwood, who tried out for the U.S. Women’s Olympic skateboarding team, knew immediately she wanted to incorporate her heritage in a modern way. Her nods to the Navajo culture include a turquoise inlay and a depiction of eagle feathers, which are used to give blessings.

“I was born and raised with my great-grandmother, who looked at a stamp kind of like how a young kid would look at an iPhone 13,” Greenwood said. “She entrusted every important news and every important document and everything to a stamp to send it and trust that it got there.”

Skateboarding has become a staple across Indian Country. A skate park opened in August on the Hopi reservation. Skateboarders on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in eastern Arizona recently got funding for one from pro skateboarder Tony Hawk’s nonprofit, The Skatepark Project. Youth-organized competitions take place on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Dustinn Craig, a White Mountain Apache filmmaker and “lifer” skateboarder in Arizona, has made documentaries and short films on the sport. The 47-year-old remembers how skateboarding was seen as dorky and anti-establishment when he was a kid hiding “a useless wooden toy” in his locker. At the same time, Craig credits skateboarding culture as “my arts and humanities education.”

So he is wary of the mainstream’s embrace, as well as the sometimes clique-ish nature, of today’s skateboarding world.

“For those of us who have been in it for a very long time, it’s kind of insulting because I think a lot of the popularity has been due to the proliferation of access to the visuals of the youth culture skateboarding through the internet and social media,” Craig said. “So, I feel like it really sort of trivializes and sort of robs Native youth of authenticity of the older skateboard culture that I was raised on.”

He acknowledges that he may come off as the “grumpy old man” to younger Indigenous skateboarders who are open to collaborating with outsiders.

The four skateboards designed by the artists will eventually be transferred to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, said Jonathan Castillo, USPS spokesperson.

The stamps, which will have a printing of 18 million, are available at post offices and on the USPS website. For the artists, being part of a project that feels low-tech in this age of social media is exciting.

“It’s like the physical thing is special because you go out of your way to go to the post office, buy the stamps and write something,” Worl said.

 VOA Immigration Weekly Recap, March 19–25

Editor’s note: Here is a look at immigration-related news around the U.S. this week. Questions? Tips? Comments? Email the VOA immigration team: ImmigrationUnit@voanews.com.

Biden, Trudeau Work to Stop Unofficial Border Crossings, Officials Say 

The United States and Canada reached a deal aimed at stopping asylum-seekers from crossing the shared land border via unofficial crossings, though details still need to be ironed out when the two sides meet, a Canadian government source and a U.S. official told Reuters Thursday. 

Media Groups Warn Immigration Case Could Affect US Press Freedoms

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear a case Monday that some First Amendment experts warn could affect how journalists cover immigration. VOA’s immigration reporter Aline Barros reports.

US Flies Migrants Caught at Canada Border to Texas in Deterrence Effort

U.S. authorities have been flying migrants caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Canada border to Texas as part of a deterrence effort to tackle a rise in crossings, according to authorities, flight records, and a Reuters witness.

VOA Day in Photo 

Migrants, transferred from Plattsburgh, New York, to El Paso, Texas, disembark from a plane at the airport, in El Paso, Texas, March 21, 2023.

Immigration around the world

Rohingya Skeptical of Myanmar Refugee Return Offer 

Rohingya refugees said Wednesday they doubted Myanmar was offering a genuine return to their homeland, as a spokesperson for the country’s military junta said it would begin welcoming back members of the persecuted minority as soon as next month. Story by Agence France-Presse.

Ukrainian Refugees in Israel Stuck in Legal Limbo

While Europe and the U.S. have welcomed large numbers of Ukrainian refugees, many in Israel are living in legal limbo without official refugee status. Linda Gradstein reports from the Israeli port city of Haifa, where a group is offering the refugees help. VOA footage by Ricki Rosen.

UK to Send Migrants to Rwanda Soon if Courts Agree

Britain’s government said Sunday that it could start deporting asylum-seekers to Rwanda in the next few months — but only if UK courts rule that the controversial policy is legal. Story by the Associated Press.

News brief

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that certain flexibilities it first announced in March 2020, to address the COVID-19 pandemic will end March 23, 2023. 

Los Angeles Schools, Union Leaders Reach Deal After Strike

The Los Angeles Unified School District and union leaders said Friday that they had reached a deal on pay raises for bus drivers, custodians and other support staff after a three-day strike that shut down the nation’s second-largest school system.

The deal includes a series of retroactive raises going back to 2021 that will collectively hike worker pay by about 30%, said Max Arias, executive director of Local 99 of the Service Employees International Union.

The deal also provides workers with a one-time $1,000 raise, sets the district’s minimum wage at $22.52 and creates a $3 million educational and professional development fund for union members, district Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said. Free health care will be provided for any employee working at least four hours a day, he said.

“I have no doubt that this contract will be seen as a precedent-setting, historic contract that elevates the dignity, the humanity of our workforce, respects the needs of our students, but also guarantees the fiscal viability of our district for years to come,” Carvalho said.

He announced the deal alongside Max Arias, executive director of Local 99, and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass. Both sides credited Bass, who took office in December, with helping reach the agreement.

The deal must still be voted on by the full union, which represents about 30,000 workers who also include cafeteria workers, special education assistants and other support staff. Those workers walked off the job Tuesday through Thursday amid stalled talks, and classes resumed Friday.

Members of United Teachers Los Angeles, the union representing 35,000 educators, counselors and other staff, joined the picket lines in solidarity.

The union said district support staffers earn, on average, about $25,000 per year and many live in poverty because of low pay or limited work hours while struggling with inflation and the area’s high cost of housing.

The deal came just days after the union accused the district of engaging in unfair labor practices. Arias noted that another contract must be negotiated next year.

“Thanks to the parents of Los Angeles and the students of Los Angeles and everyone who stood shoulder to shoulder with our members,” he said.

SEIU members have been working without a contract since June 2020, while the contract for teachers expired in June 2022. The unions decided last week to stop accepting extensions.

Teachers waged a six-day strike in 2019 over pay and contract issues, but schools remained open.

Biden Warns Iran After Deadly Strikes in Syria

U.S. President Joe Biden said the United States would respond “forcefully” to protect Americans after the U.S. military said it carried out airstrikes in eastern Syria in response to a suspected Iranian-backed attack.

Speaking during a state visit to Canada on Friday, Biden said the United States “does not seek conflict with Iran but is prepared to act forcefully to protect our people.”

“That’s exactly what happened last night,” he added.

The U.S. military said it carried out multiple “precision” airstrikes overnight Thursday against targets in eastern Syria in response to a drone attack that killed a U.S. contractor.

Defense Department spokesperson Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder told reporters at the Pentagon on Friday that the operation was intended “to send a very clear message that we will take the protection of our personnel seriously, and that we will respond quickly and decisively if they are threatened.”

He described the strikes as “proportionate and deliberate action intended to limit the risk of escalation to minimize casualties.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based group that monitors the war in Syria, said 14 people were killed by the U.S. strikes in Syria.

On Friday, U.S. officials said multiple drones were launched at the Green Village in northeast Syria, where U.S. troops are also based. Officials said there were no injuries in those attacks.

In a statement, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin described the strikes as mounted against facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

“The airstrikes were conducted in response to today’s attack as well as a series of recent attacks against Coalition forces in Syria by groups affiliated with the IRGC,” Austin said.

“No group will strike our troops with impunity,” he added.

The drone struck a maintenance facility on a base in Hasaka, Syria, at 1:38 p.m. local time, according to the Pentagon.

Six other Americans were wounded in the attack, including five U.S. service members. Two of the wounded service members were treated onsite, while three others and the U.S. contractor were medically evacuated to coalition medical facilities in Iraq, according to the U.S. military statement.

The United States has about 900 troops in eastern Syria to help Syrian Kurdish forces prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State terror group.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, the top U.S. military officer, and the head of U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in the Middle East, warned lawmakers in separate hearings Thursday that Iran continues to destabilize the Middle East through its support to terrorist groups and proxy forces.

Iranian proxies have attacked U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria 78 times using drones and rockets since January 2021, according to CENTCOM commander Gen. Erik Kurilla.

“This was another in a series of attacks on our troops and partner forces,” Kurilla said late Thursday.

“We will always take all necessary measures to defend our people and will always respond at a time and place of our choosing. We are postured for scalable options in the face of any additional Iranian attacks,” he added.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse.

US Envoy Visits 3 US Citizens Jailed in China, Official Says

Chinese American citizen Kai Li, jailed in China on spying charges that he denies, received a rare in-person visit last week from the U.S. ambassador to Beijing and urged the U.S. government to continue to work for his release, Li’s son said Friday. 

Over the past month, U.S. Ambassador Nicholas Burns met for the first time in more than five years with at least three U.S. citizens who Washington says have been wrongfully detained, a senior U.S. official and family members said. 

Burns met Li on March 16 in a Shanghai prison, Li’s son Harrison said. Li, a businessman, has been held in China since 2016 and was handed a 10-year jail sentence in 2018 for espionage. 

“The biggest message that my dad wanted to convey is to remind everyone in the U.S. government and the public that … he’s 100 percent innocent,” Harrison Li said. “Of course, the U.S. government knows this, but he said it just bears repeating.” 

Burns wanted to shake Li’s hand, but Chinese authorities did not allow that, Harrison Li said. The two could see and hear each other in an hourlong meeting through a floor-to-ceiling glass partition, he said. 

Harrison Li said that when the ambassador asked his father what he hoped to do once he was released, he replied that he wanted to work on “improving relations between the United States and China.” 

China did not allow in-person visits during its prolonged COVID-19 lockdown. 

Burns also met with Mark Swidan, a Texas-based businessman who was convicted by a Chinese court in 2019, and David Lin, an American pastor detained in China since 2006, the senior U.S. official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. 

He did not provide the dates but said Burns visited the men “within the last few weeks” and that “this is the first time he’s actually had a chance to get face to face.” 

Burns accompanied consular officers on the prison visits, a State Department spokesperson said. 

China’s embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Burns visited the three men at a time when relations between Washington and Beijing are the worst in decades following a series of disputes, including Washington’s accusation that China flew a spy balloon over the continental United States in February. A U.S. fighter jet shot it down. China has said the balloon was a civilian research craft, but the dramatic episode forced U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to postpone a trip to Beijing. 

Since then, there has been little positive diplomacy between the two countries aside from a brief, tense meeting between Blinken and top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi on February 18 in Munich. 

And last week Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Moscow where he and Russian President Vladimir Putin jointly denounced the United States. 

The detainee issue often takes a back seat to more urgent issues in the U.S.-China relationship. Families of detained Americans say the freedom of their relatives should not be bundled up with challenging policy issues and are better addressed in a separate track focused on humanitarian matters.

Powder, Threat Sent to Manhattan Prosecutor Investigating Trump

A powdery substance was found Friday with a threatening letter in a mailroom at the offices of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, the latest security scare as the prosecutor weighs a potential historic indictment of former President Donald Trump, authorities said.

New York City police and environmental protection officials isolated and removed the suspicious letter, and testing “determined there was no dangerous substance,” Bragg spokesperson Danielle Filson said. The substance was sent to a lab for further testing, police said.

“Alvin, I am going to kill you,” the letter said, according to a person familiar with the matter. The person was not authorized to speak publicly about an ongoing investigation and did so on the condition of anonymity.

The discovery, in the same building where a grand jury is expected to resume work Monday, came amid increasingly hostile rhetoric from Trump, who is holding the first rally of his 2024 presidential campaign Saturday in Waco, Texas.

Hours earlier, Trump posted on his Truth Social platform that any criminal charge against him could lead to “potential death & destruction.”

Trump also posted a photo of himself holding a baseball bat next to a picture of Bragg, a Democrat. On Thursday, Trump referred to Bragg, Manhattan’s first Black district attorney, as an “animal.”

The building where the letter was found wasn’t evacuated and business mostly went on as usual, with prosecutors coming and going — and bicycle delivery workers dropping off lunch orders. The building houses various government offices, including the city’s marriage bureau.

Security has been heavy around the court buildings and district attorney’s office in recent days as the grand jury investigates hush money paid on Trump’s behalf during his 2016 campaign.

Additional police officers are on patrol, metal barricades have been installed along the sidewalks, and bomb sniffing dogs have been making regular sweeps of the buildings, which have also faced unfounded bomb threats in recent days.

After Trump called on people to protest his possible arrest, Bragg sent a memo telling his staff: “We do not tolerate attempts to intimidate our office or threaten the rule of law in New York.”

The grand jury, convened by Bragg in January, has been investigating Trump’s involvement in a $130,000 payment made in 2016 to porn actor Stormy Daniels to keep her from going public about a sexual encounter she said she had with Trump years earlier. Trump has denied the claim.

US Artist Travels to Ukraine to Cook for People in Need

In his long career, Scott Cohen of Maryland has worked as a playwright and an artist. But his latest project involves the art of cooking for refugees and migrants. Maxim Moskalkov has the story. Video: Artyom Kokhan

Invasive Animals Wreak Havoc in Florida

Florida’s warm weather attracts millions of visitors, including animals that outstay their welcome. Wildlife brought in from somewhere else has seriously damaged the ecosystem in Florida, home to the most severe invasive animal crisis in the continental United States. VOA’s Dora Mekouar has more from Orlando. Camera: Adam Greenbaum Produced by: Dora Mekouar, Adam Greenbaum

US Vice President to Tour Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia

Vice President Kamala Harris will become the highest-ranking Biden administration official to visit the African continent when she begins a tour of Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia next week. Her office says she will work on strengthening partnerships, security and economic prosperity, and analysts say her mere presence – as the first female vice president who has ancestral ties to the continent – is significant in itself. VOA’s Anita Powell, who will be traveling with the vice president, reports from Washington.

China Closes US Due Diligence Firm in Beijing

Chinese officials have closed down the Beijing offices of U.S. due diligence firm Mintz Group and detained five of its employees.

The employees are all Chinese nationals.

In a statement sent to Reuters, Mintz said it “has not received any official legal notice regarding a case against the company and has requested that the authorities release its employees.”

Mintz Group is a multinational company with 18 offices, including in Washington, that conducts investigations and background checks.

The closing of its Chinese office comes at a tense time in U.S.- Chinese relations. Last month, the United States shot down what it says was a Chinese spy balloon over U.S. territory. China insists the balloon was a weather monitoring device.

House Republicans Demand Documents About US Exit From Afghanistan

Republican House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul is demanding that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken provide documents on the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. McCaul said the ‘catastrophic’ exit from Afghanistan emboldened Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine. Cindy Saine reports.

US Contractor Killed at Syria Base; US Retaliates Against Iran IRGC Facilities

The U.S. military says it has carried out multiple “precision” airstrikes against targets in eastern Syria in response to a drone attack Thursday that killed a U.S. contractor.

The Pentagon said the contractor was killed Thursday at a coalition base in northeast Syria in a strike by a one-way attack drone that the intelligence community assessed was “of Iranian origin.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement the U.S. retaliated with “proportionate and deliberate” precision strikes Thursday in Syria against facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

“The airstrikes were conducted in response to today’s attack as well as a series of recent attacks against Coalition forces in Syria by groups affiliated with the IRGC,” Austin said.

“No group will strike our troops with impunity,” he added.

The drone struck a maintenance facility on a base in Hasaka, Syria, at 1:38 p.m. local time, according to the Pentagon.

Six other Americans were wounded in the attack, including five U.S. service members. Two of the wounded service members were treated onsite, while three others and the U.S. contractor were medically evacuated to coalition medical facilities in Iraq, according to the U.S. military statement.

The United States has about 900 troops in eastern Syria to help Syrian Kurdish forces prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State terror group.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, the top U.S. military officer, and the head of U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in the Middle East, warned lawmakers in separate hearings Thursday that Iran continues to destabilize the Middle East through its support to terrorist groups and proxy forces.

Iranian proxies have attacked U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria 78 times using drones and rockets since January 2021, according to CENTCOM commander Gen. Erik Kurilla.

“This was another in a series of attacks on our troops and partner forces,” Kurilla said late Thursday.

“We will always take all necessary measures to defend our people and will always respond at a time and place of our choosing. We are postured for scalable options in the face of any additional Iranian attacks,” he added.

DeSantis Clarifies Position on Ukraine War, Calls Putin ‘War Criminal’

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis this week called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” and condemned his invasion of Ukraine, a week after coming under criticism for remarks that seemed to advocate a reduction in U.S. support for Ukrainian forces.

DeSantis, widely expected to announce his candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination later this year, had previously described the war in Ukraine as a “territorial dispute” that did not represent a “vital national interest” of the United States.

The remarks earned him immediate condemnation from many, including multiple long-serving Republicans in Congress, even though support for continued U.S. aid to Ukraine is waning among a significant portion of the Republican electorate.

Claims he was mischaracterized

In an interview with British journalist Piers Morgan scheduled to stream Thursday evening on Fox Nation, DeSantis said his comments — particularly those that seemed to dismiss the war as a territorial dispute — were “mischaracterized.”

Morgan, who previewed the interview in a New York Post column on Wednesday, quoted the Florida governor’s explanation for his comment at length.

“When I asked him specifically if he regretted using the phrase ‘territorial dispute,’ DeSantis replied, ‘Well, I think it’s been mischaracterized. Obviously, Russia invaded [last year] — that was wrong. They invaded Crimea and took that in 2014 — that was wrong.

“ ‘What I’m referring to is where the fighting is going on now, which is that eastern border region Donbas, and then Crimea, and you have a situation where Russia has had that. I don’t think legitimately, but they had. There’s a lot of ethnic Russians there.’”

According to Morgan, DeSantis went on to say why he thinks Russia is not the threat that the Biden administration has portrayed: “I think the larger point is, OK, Russia is not showing the ability to take over Ukraine, to topple the government or certainly to threaten NATO. That’s a good thing.”

The Biden administration has characterized support for Ukraine as forestalling deeper U.S. involvement in a broader conflict.

DeSantis told Morgan he sees it differently: “I just don’t think that’s a sufficient interest for us to escalate more involvement. I would not want to see American troops involved there. But the idea that I think somehow Russia was justified [in invading] — that’s nonsense.”

‘A gas station’ with nuclear weapons

Also in the interview, DeSantis ridiculed Russia’s high dependence on fossil fuel exports and said the country does not have the capacity to act on Putin’s seeming plan to reconstitute the former Soviet Union’s sphere of influence.

“I think he’s got grand ambitions,” DeSantis said of Putin. “I think he’s hostile to the United States, but I think the thing that we’ve seen is he doesn’t have the conventional capability to realize his ambitions. And so, he’s basically a gas station with a bunch of nuclear weapons, and one of the things we could be doing better is utilizing our own energy resources in the U.S.”

DeSantis’ comments were reminiscent of those of the late John McCain, who was a Republican senator and presidential candidate. Famously hawkish on Russia, he once derided the nation as “a gas station masquerading as a country.”

Zelenskyy responds

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in an interview with the editors of The Atlantic magazine, replied to DeSantis last week with an argument that America’s investment in his country’s defense is preventing a broader conflict that could pull in the U.S. and its NATO allies.

“If we will not have enough weapons, that means we will be weak. If we will be weak, they will occupy us,” Zelenskyy said. “If they occupy us, they will be on the borders of Moldova and they will occupy Moldova. When they have occupied Moldova, they will [travel through] Belarus and they will occupy Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

“That’s three Baltic countries which are members of NATO,” he added. “They will occupy them. Of course [the Balts] are brave people, and they will fight. But they are small. And they don’t have nuclear weapons. So they will be attacked by Russians because that is the policy of Russia, to take back all the countries which have been previously part of the Soviet Union.”

Zelenskyy’s assertions aside, many foreign policy experts are dubious about the likelihood of Russia choosing to invade any countries that are under the protection of NATO’s mutual defense agreement.

Difficult politics

DeSantis’ move to clarify his position on Ukraine highlights a difficulty that any Republican presidential candidate is likely to face on the issue because of a deepening divide within the party.

For Republicans, said William A. Galston, a senior fellow in the Brookings Institution’s Governance Studies Program, “finding a tenable path on Ukraine is very difficult, because the party is divided between a traditionalist wing and a populist wing on this issue.”

“The traditionalist view is that the United States, for reasons having to do with both its interests and values, is required to stand up to aggression, such as what Russia has unleashed on Ukraine, and to support indirectly, and in some cases directly, the military effort to oppose it,” Galston told VOA.

“The populist wing of the party is taking the position that this fight is none of our business, and more generally, that the interests of the United States are best served by staying out of foreign entanglements, particularly military entanglements, to the greatest extent possible,” he said.

At the moment, the divide is most visible when comparing the positions of the party’s two leading presidential candidates with those of its foreign policy veterans in Congress.

Both former President Donald Trump and DeSantis have expressed doubts about whether it is in U.S. interests to continue supporting Ukraine. In a recent Monmouth University poll, the two men received 80% of support — 44% for Trump and 36% for DeSantis — when prospective GOP voters were asked whom they support for the party’s presidential nomination.

In Congress, though, prominent Republican voices have offered unwavering support for Ukraine.

“I think the majority opinion among Senate Republicans is that the United States has a vital national security interest there in stopping Russian aggression,” John Thune, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, told reporters last week.

TikTok CEO Tells US Lawmakers App Is Place for Free Expression

Shou Zi Chew, chief executive officer of TikTok, pushed back Thursday against calls from US lawmakers to ban the social media app, contending that the company is not connected to the Chinese Communist Party. VOA Congressional Correspondent Katherine Gypson has more

Prosecutor Rejects Republicans’ Demand He Hand Over Documents in Trump Investigation

The New York City prosecutor on Thursday rejected a demand by congressional Republican lawmakers that he hand over documents linked to his investigation of former President Donald Trump’s $130,000 hush money payment to a porn star ahead of the 2016 election to buy her silence about an affair she claims to have had with Trump.

The office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg assailed the request earlier this week by three committee chairmen in the House of Representatives as “an unlawful incursion into New York’s sovereignty.” The three lawmakers — Jim Jordan, James Comer and Bryan Steil — had called Bragg’s investigation of Trump an “unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority.”

Bragg’s general counsel, Leslie Dubeck, told the lawmakers that their letter “only came after Donald Trump created a false expectation that he would be arrested [Tuesday] and his lawyers reportedly urged you to intervene. Neither fact is a legitimate basis for congressional inquiry.”

“If a grand jury brings charges against Donald Trump, the DA’s Office will have an obligation, as in every case, to provide a significant amount of discovery from its files to the defendant so that he may prepare a defense,” Dubeck wrote.

The Republican committee chairmen had told Bragg, “You are reportedly about to engage in an unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority: the indictment of a former president of the United States. This indictment comes after years of your office searching for a basis — any basis — on which to bring charges.”

Lawmakers refer to case as ‘zombie’

On Thursday, Jordan, an Ohio congressman, demanded testimony and documents from Mark Pomerantz and Carey Dunne, two former New York prosecutors who had been leading the Trump case before quitting last year when Bragg appeared to have abandoned the Trump investigation.

“Last year, you resigned from the office over Bragg’s initial reluctance to move forward with charges, shaming Bragg in your resignation letter — which was subsequently leaked — into bringing charges,” Jordan wrote in the letter to Pomerantz. “It now appears that your efforts to shame Bragg have worked as he is reportedly resurrecting a so-called ‘zombie’ case against President Trump using a tenuous and untested legal theory.”

Trump has not been charged in the case, although the grand jury investigation is continuing.

Bragg has been bringing witnesses before the 23-member grand jury to testify about the payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, hush money to silence her for what she alleges was a one-night affair with Trump in 2006 at a hotel where Trump was attending a golf tournament. Trump has long denied the affair.

Probe focuses on payment 

The investigation centers in part on details of the payment made to Daniels and whether the transaction amounts to a criminal offense. If charged, Trump would be the first-ever U.S. president indicted in a criminal case.

Trump’s one-time lawyer and political fixer Michael Cohen wrote her a check out of his personal funds and then was reimbursed by Trump, who recorded it as a business expense for legal fees to Cohen on the ledgers of the Trump Organization, his real estate business, rather than recorded as a campaign expense related to his successful 2016 run for the presidency.

Cohen served more than a year in prison for his role in the payment and other offenses. He since has turned into a sharp Trump critic and grand jury witness against him.

Trump announced his intention to seek the 2024 Republican presidential nomination months ago and says he would keep campaigning even if he is charged with a criminal offense. Numerous national polls show him as the front-runner for the Republican nomination, although several other Republicans have either announced their own candidacies or said they are seriously considering a race against Trump.

Trump had regularly lambasted the New York investigation as a political witch-hunt and called Bragg, who is Black, a “racist.”

Trump was impeached twice during his presidency, once in 2019 over his conduct demanding Ukraine investigate then candidate Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 presidential election, and again in 2021 over the attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters. He was acquitted by the Senate both times.

Some material in this report came from The Associated Press.

Rare Tornado Touches Down in Suburban Los Angeles

The U.S. National Weather Service reports a rare tornado touched down Wednesday in a suburb of the city of Los Angeles, California, injuring one person and damaging commercial buildings. 

In a report late Wednesday, the NWS said it was the strongest tornado to hit the area since 1983 and just the 46th tornado reported in Los Angeles County since 1950. 

The weather service says the tornado touched down late in the morning, Los Angeles time, Wednesday in an industrial park and warehouse district in the suburban city of Montebello. The report says the tornado damaged 17 structures, mostly their roofs. 

The NWS said the roof of one building almost totally collapsed and the air conditioning unit was torn off. Other buildings saw their skylights broken.

A Montebello city spokesman told The Associated Press one person was taken to a local hospital with unspecified injuries.

Long before the weather service confirmed the tornado, residents posted videos on social media of a funnel cloud forming and stretching toward the ground and debris swirling beneath it.

The NWS said the storm was rated an EF1 tornado on the 0-to-5 Enhanced Fujita Scale for tornado intensity, its second-weakest rating. It said it had winds of about 177 kilometers per hour.

As rare as Wednesday’s tornado was, the weather service says it was the second tornado to hit the area this week. The agency says a weak tornado with winds of about 120 kph was confirmed north of Los Angeles in the city of Carpinteria in Santa Barbara County.

The NWS said that tornado likely originated as a waterspout over the ocean and moved on shore.

The U.S. state of California has seen a succession of strong storms in recent months, driven by what are known as atmospheric rivers: long, concentrated regions in the atmosphere that transport moist air from the tropics to higher latitudes. California has seen 12 atmospheric rivers since late December.

Some information for this report was provided by the Associated Press and Reuters. 

US, Albania on ‘Hunt’ for Iranian Cyber Actors

The decision to launch a series of cyberattacks that crippled Albanian government websites and temporarily shut down government services may be backfiring on the alleged perpetrator.

Albania blamed the attacks in July and September of last year on Iran, claiming the evidence pointing to Tehran was “irrefutable,” and ordered all Iranian officials out of the country.

Now, a U.S. cyber team sent to Albania to help the country recover and “hunt” for more dangers says the efforts have turned up “new data and information about the tools, techniques, and procedures of malicious cyber actors, attempting to disrupt government networks and systems.”

“The hunt forward operation resulted in incredibly valuable insights for both our allied partner and U.S. cyber defenses,” the Cyber National Mission Force’s Major Katrina Cheesman told VOA, adding information was shared not only with the Albanian government but also some private companies with critical roles in the digital infrastructure of both countries.

Officials declined to share additional details, citing operational security, other than to say the networks they examined were of “significance” to Washington.

“These hunts bring us closer to adversary activity to better understand and then defend ourselves,” the commander of U.S. Cyber National Mission Force, Major General William Hartman, said in a statement Thursday, following a visit to Albania.

“When we are invited to hunt on a partner nation’s networks, we are able to find an adversary’s insidious activity,” Hartman said. “We can then impose costs on our adversaries by exposing their tools, tactics and procedures, and improve the cybersecurity posture of our partners and allies.”

Iran has consistently denied responsibility for the cyberattacks against Albania, calling the allegation “baseless.”

Albania’s claims were backed by the United States, which described the Iranian actions in cyberspace as “counter to international norms.”

This past September, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, CISA, and the FBI attributed the initial cyberattacks against Albania to Iranian state cyber actors calling themselves “HomeLand Justice.”

The joint advisory warned the group first gained access to Albania’s in May 2021 and maintained access to the Albanian networks for more than a year, stealing information, before launching the initial cyberattack in July 2022.

CISA and the FBI also concluded that Iran likely launched the second cyberattack in September 2022, using similar types of malware, in retaliation for Albania’s decision to attribute the first round of attacks to Tehran.

U.S. officials confirmed they had sent a team of experts to Albania shortly after the attacks, but information released Thursday sheds more light on the scope of the operation.

According to the U.S. officials, the so-called “hunt forward” team was deployed to Albania last September and worked alongside Albanian officials before returning home in late December.

Prior to the mission in Albania, other U.S. “hunt forward” teams had been deployed 43 times to 21 countries, including to Ukraine, Estonia, Lithuania, Montenegro and Croatia.


Albanian officials have indicated they hope to continue working with U.S. cyber teams to further strengthen Albania’s cyber defenses.

“The cooperation with U.S. Cyber Command was very effective,” said Mirlinda Karcanaj, the general director of Albania’s National Agency for Information Society, in a statement released by the U.S. 

“We hope that this cooperation will continue,” she added.

Report: Antisemitic Incidents Soared to ‘Historic Levels’ in 2022

Reported incidents of assault, vandalism and harassment targeting Jews in the United States rose to new “historic levels” last year, the Anti-Defamation League said on Thursday.

In its annual “Audit of Antisemitic Incidents,” the Jewish civil rights organization said it documented 3,697 such incidents in 2022, up 36% from 2021, and the highest level since the group started keeping records in 1979.

This was the third time in the past five years during which antisemitic incidents have set a record high, the ADL said.

The dramatic increase, the ADL said, was part of a five-year climb that has seen a doubling of antisemitic incidents since 2018, when a white supremacist killed 11 worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue in the deadliest attack on the American Jewish community in U.S. history.

ADL President Jonathan Greenblatt said while no single element accounted for last year’s surge in antisemitism, a number of contributing factors were at play.

Among them: an increase in white supremacist propaganda activity, attacks on Orthodox Jews, a spike in bomb threats made to Jewish institutions and significant increases of anti-Jewish incidents in schools and on college campuses.

“This data confirms what Jewish communities across the country have felt and seen firsthand — and corresponds with the rise in antisemitic attitudes,” Greenblatt said in a statement. “From white nationalists to religious fanatics to radical anti-Zionists, Jewish people see a range of very real threats. It’s time to stop the surge of hate once and for all.”

The ADL audit documents three types of anti-Jewish incidents — assault, harassment, and vandalism — and the group said cases in all three categories rose last year.

There were 111 physical assaults directed at Jews, an increase of 26%. The violence targeted 139 victims, most of them visibly Orthodox Jews, and left one person dead. In October, a University of Arizona professor was shot and killed by a former student who believed the professor was Jewish.

Cases of harassment involving victims of antisemitic slurs, stereotypes or conspiracy theories jumped 29% to 2,298 incidents.

Acts of vandalism such as the destruction of property soared 51% to 1,288 incidents, with swastikas present in most cases.

In tracking anti-Jewish actions and statements, the ADL uses a definition of antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, a Sweden-based non-profit organization.

According to the IHRA definition, antisemitism is “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.”

While the definition has been used by the U.S. Department of State, it is contested, with progressive Jewish groups saying that by equating criticism of Israel with antisemitism, it stifles free speech. 

The ADL says it doesn’t conflate criticism of the Jewish state or anti-Israeli activism with antisemitism.  

Its audit, however, includes cases where individuals have been harassed for their actual or perceived support of Israel or Zionism. 

The spike in antisemitic incidents came against the backdrop of rising religiously motivated hate crimes, according to Brian Levin, director of the California-based Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.

“There has been an increase in recent years, not only in overall hate crime, but religion hate crime as well, and anti-Jewish hate on top of that,” Levin said in an interview.

“What the (ADL) report shows is that the crime data that we compile is really only the tip of the iceberg in how antisemitism is becoming more mainstream.”

According to the FBI’s most recent figures, hate crimes motivated by religious bias rose from 1,297 in 2016 to 1,590 in 2021, an increase of 22%.

In a forthcoming report, the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism says that “religion hate crime” in major U.S. cities rose 27% last year, with anti-Jewish incidents accounting for 78% of the total, followed by ant-Muslim cases with an 8% of the share.

Not every incident documented by the ADL rises to the level of a hate crime, which the FBI defines as a criminal offense motivated by animus against the victim’s race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity.”

“Certainly vandalism, for the most part, would be criminal along with the assaults,” Levin said. “The big question is how much of the harassments are actually criminal.”

Whatever the case, the incidents show the growing mainstreaming of antisemitism, Levin said.

The recent rise in anti-Jewish hate has not been limited to the United States, researchers say.

A study by Tel Aviv University found that several countries with large Jewish populations – the U.S, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and Australia – saw a “sharp rise” in antisemitic attacks in 2021.

The surge was fueled by “the radical populist right and the anti-Zionist radical left,” the report said.