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Подоляк щодо розміщення ядерної зброї у Білорусі: «Путін зізнається, що програє»

У Зеленського звернули увагу, що президент Росії «порушує договір про нерозповсюдження ядерної зброї»

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

Данілов відреагував на заяву Путіна щодо розміщення ядерної зброї в Білорусі

На думку секретаря РНБО Олексій Данілова, Кремль взяв Білорусь у «ядерні заручники»

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.

Путін повторив тезу про загрозу збідненого урану для екології

20 березня заступниця міністра оборони Великої Британії Аннабель Голді заявила, що Лондон разом із танками Challenger 2 передасть Києву «боєприпаси, включно з бронебійними снарядами, що містять збіднений уран»

Україна цієї ночі перейде на літній час

Обговорення планів відмовитися від переведення стрілок триває як в Україні, так і в Євросоюзі

Зеленський розповів про міжнародну підтримку, яку Україна отримала за тиждень

Глава держави стверджує, що Україна стала міцнішою, а «ворог став іще більш ізольованим, іще більш безнадійним»

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)

«Інформація – це теж зброя»: Маляр розповіла, чому не варто обговорювати контрнаступ ЗСУ

«Не треба в ефірах ставити експертам питання щодо контрнаступу, також не варто писати блоги та пости на цю тему»

‘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.


ОК «Південь»: російські окупанти можуть готуватися до «жестів доброї волі» на Херсонщині

«Ми говорили про те, що ми зачищаємо смугу хоча б у 30 кілометрів для того, щоб полегшити життя Правобережжю», – Гуменюк

Масовані ракетні удари армії РФ відходять у минуле – Гуменюк

Гуменюк відзначила, що, вочевидь, «армія РФ почне використовувати проти України ракетні або ж «шахедні» точкові атаки»

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.

Херсонська міська рада закликає жителів громади евакуюватися до безпечніших регіонів

Російські війська продовжують обстріли територіальної громади, найбільше страждають населені пункти біля Дніпра

США: сенатори закликають Байдена підтримати розслідування МКС щодо воєнних злочинів Росії в Україні

«Сполучені Штати, як повідомляється, ще не поділилися ключовими доказами, які могли б допомогти в цих розслідуваннях»

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.

Ситуація на Бахмутському напрямку найбільш складна, але її «вдається стабілізувати» – Залужний

Про це він розповів начальнику Штабу оборони Великої Британії адміралу Тоні Радакіну

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.

Зеленський оновив склад РНБО після кадрових змін в уряді

Указ президента затвердив у складі РНБО Михайла Федорова та вивів із нього Павла Рябікіна