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  • JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I'm Judy Woodruff.

  • On the "NewsHour" tonight: forced landing. Belarus diverts an international flight to

  • arrest a dissident journalist, prompting accusations of state piracy and terrorism.

  • Then: one year later. The father of Michael Brown, killed in Ferguson, Missouri, reflects

  • on how the country has and has not changed in the year since George Floyd's death.

  • Plus: desperate journey. We follow one migrant's struggles to reach the U.S., escaping the

  • violence and poverty of his home country.

  • JOHAN GUERRA, Honduran Migrant (through translator): I have heard from friends what you make in

  • Honduras in one year, you make in two months in the United States. There, you can go grocery

  • shopping calmly. Here, they will assault you or can even kill you. Life there is so much

  • better there for economic and security reasons.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight's "PBS NewsHour."

  • (BREAK)

  • JUDY WOODRUFF: The nation's largest school system will return to fully in person learning

  • this fall. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced it today. He said remote options

  • will not be offered for the system's one million students.

  • Meanwhile, Los Angeles schools also announced a return to full in person learning come fall.

  • Remote options there will be available in special cases.

  • The World Health Organization warned today that unequal distribution of COVID-19 vaccines

  • is prolonging the pandemic. In Geneva, the agency's head criticized what he called a

  • scandalous inequity.

  • TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, WHO Director General: A small group of countries that make and buy

  • the majority of the world's vaccines control the fate of the rest of the world. The number

  • of those administered globally so far would have been enough to cover all health workers

  • and older people if they had been distributed equitably.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF: That warning came as India surpassed 300,000 deaths, third most in the

  • world. The total included more than 4,400 deaths in just the last 24 hours. The country

  • has been racing to accelerate vaccinations and testing.

  • India is also bracing for its second tropical cyclone in just 10 days, this time battering

  • the country's east coast. The storm is churning in the Bay of Bengal before an expected landfall

  • on Wednesday, with winds of 100 miles an hour. Last week's storm killed at least 140 people

  • on India's West Coast.

  • More than 170 children are still missing in Eastern Congo two days after a volcano erupted

  • near Goma. At least 22 people have died, and more than 500 homes were destroyed, as lava

  • blanketed villages. Some 5,000 people were forced to flee. The city's volcano observatory

  • says that government funding cuts prevented any advanced warning to the public.

  • The deposed leader of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, appeared in court in person today for

  • the first time since a military coup in February. State TV showed a still image. Suu Kyi's lawyers

  • said she wanted followers to know that her political party stands by them.

  • KHIN MAUNG ZAW, Attorney for Aung San Suu Kyi: One thing she said is that the party,

  • her party grows out of the people, and wherever the people is, there must be, and there is

  • -- necessarily be the party. The party may exist wherever the people is, she said.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF: Suu Kyi is charged with breaking a colonial era secrets law, among other crimes.

  • Her supporters say the proceedings are a sham and meant to discredit her.

  • On Wall Street today, stocks started the week on the positive side, led by tech stocks.

  • The Dow Jones industrial average gained 186 points to close at 34394. The Nasdaq rose

  • 190 points. The S&P 500 added 41.

  • And Phil Mickelson has etched a new entry in the annals of pro golf's history, the oldest

  • player to win a major tournament, at age 50. He tapped in on the 18th hole Sunday to claim

  • the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, South Carolina, by two strokes. It was Mickelson's

  • sixth major championship overall.

  • Still to come on the "NewsHour": a string of anti-Semitic attacks raises tensions in

  • the wake of the Israel-Gaza war; we follow the journey of one migrant's struggles to

  • escape violence and reach the U.S.; the father of Michael Brown reflects on what has changed

  • since George Floyd's killing; how a Houston museum is widening its lens to showcase Latin

  • American art; plus much more.

  • Today, the European Union slapped sanctions on Belarus, one day after Belarusian authorities

  • ordered what European leaders call a state-sponsored hijacking.

  • Yesterday, a civilian airliner was forced to land in Minsk, so authorities could arrest

  • a journalist who had been critical of the regime. It's being called the biggest political

  • crisis for global aviation in years.

  • Here's Nick Schifrin.

  • NICK SCHIFRIN: When Ryanair 4978 was forced to land in Minsk, authorities didn't only

  • remove the luggage. They also arrested 26-year-old Belarusian activist Roman Protasevich. He

  • ran an online news service that helped organize mass protests against President Alexander

  • Lukashenko, known as Europe's last dictator, who's been in power one year longer than Protasevich

  • been alive.

  • Tonight, Belarusian authorities released a video of Protasevich giving what appeared

  • to be a scripted confession to organizing the protests. But, today, Ryanair chief executive

  • Michael O'Leary blamed the Belarusian government and said four Belarusian security agents were

  • on board to ensure the hijacking succeeded.

  • MICHAEL O'LEARY, CEO, Ryanair: I think it's the first time it's happened to a European

  • airline, but, I mean, this was a case of state-sponsored -- it was a state-sponsored hijack.

  • NICK SCHIFRIN: The flight path shows the plane flying in a straight line to intended destination

  • Lithuania, when it did a U-turn, landing instead in Minsk.

  • State media said Lukashenko ordered a fighter jet to escort the plane to Belarus' capital.

  • A bomb squad official in a balaclava explained how there might have been an explosive on

  • board.

  • But European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen dismissed that claim, and accused

  • the government of outrageous and illegal behavior and a hijacking. And, today, at a E.U. summit,

  • leaders Belarusian airlines from flying over E.U. countries or using E.U. airports.

  • Lukashenko's been fighting for his political life since he arrested leading opposition

  • figures last year ahead of what the international community called a stolen election. His regime

  • arrested many protest leaders and reporters who covered the uprising, but the Ryanair

  • incident is unprecedented.

  • GULNOZA SAID, Committee to Protect Journalists: We just realized, I think, not just as the

  • Committee to Protect Journalists, but a lot of Belarusian watchers realized how far Lukashenko

  • can go.

  • NICK SCHIFRIN: Gulnoza Said is the Europe and Central Asia program coordinator at the

  • Committee to Protect Journalists. Protasevich founded the Nexta forum on the Telegram app.

  • It shares user-generated content from protests, with millions of subscribers, and helped demonstrators

  • avoid state censorship.

  • GULNOZA SAID: The free and live information and videos also that were being distributed

  • on Nexta became very, very important for Belarusians, as the authorities were trying to close down

  • or to control other media outlets who were providing the same sort of information.

  • NICK SCHIFRIN: Today, Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said she feared

  • for Protasevich's safety.

  • GULNOZA SAID: He could be interrogated by KGB. He may be tortured now as an enemy of

  • Lukashenko. We are dealing with the harshest regime in Europe in decades.

  • NICK SCHIFRIN: For more on all of this, we turn to Matthew Rojansky, the director of

  • the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center, a Washington, D.C., think tank.

  • Matthew Rojansky, welcome back to the "NewsHour."

  • Why would the Lukashenko regime consider a Roman Protasevich such a threat?

  • MATTHEW ROJANSKY, Director, Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars:

  • A few reasons.

  • First of all, Protasevich has been in exile. He has had a suspended sentence or sentence

  • in absentia of 12 years for alleged terrorism against him for some time. So, this is not

  • new.

  • But in the last several months, in the aftermath of the stolen August presidential election,

  • which resulted in hundreds of thousands of people coming out of the streets of Minsk,

  • the Telegram channel, the news service Nexta, which Protasevich co-founded and has been

  • instrumental in reporting on what's actually happening in Belarus, this has been viewed

  • as a national security threat, a threat to the regime by the Lukashenko government in

  • Minsk.

  • And so the opportunity to snag this political opponent clearly was too tempting for them.

  • NICK SCHIFRIN: Yes, the verb snag is pretty much what the Europeans have called it today.

  • And, tonight, we have seen the European Union announced new sanctions, including a ban on

  • Belarusian airlines flying over E.U. countries and the use of Belarusian airlines in E.U.

  • airports.

  • What's the implication of that? And how effective is it likely to be?

  • MATTHEW ROJANSKY: Well, it's interesting in a couple of respects.

  • One, it is proportionate, in the sense that it's responding in terms of commercial air

  • travel, which is where the violation was done. It's a violation of basic principles of commercial

  • air travel, freedom of navigation, et cetera, that this plane was downed under false pretenses

  • for political reasons. And the E.U. is responding in that dimension.

  • Second, it's effectively isolating Belarus, because this is a landlocked country, surrounded

  • by E.U. members and Ukraine, which of course, is likely, I think, to go with the E.U. on

  • this and then only has an Eastern border with Russia. And so this in effect doubles down

  • on the political position that Lukashenko was in after his crackdown, which was to become

  • wholly dependent on Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin.

  • Now, in terms of literal physical access to the outside world, via the Belarusian national

  • air carrier, Belarus is in that position of total dependency on Russia.

  • NICK SCHIFRIN: You describe how this further isolates Belarus, but what leverage do the

  • Europeans, do the Americans have to actually get Lukashenko to change his behavior?

  • MATTHEW ROJANSKY: The dilemma of Lukashenko's current position for the West is that he has

  • chosen sides.

  • When Lukashenko was bouncing back and forth between currying favor in the West, currying

  • favor in Moscow, playing one against the other, one could have argued that limited pressure

  • could achieve limited ends. For example, a certain amount of economic sanctions pressure,

  • a certain amount of diplomatic pressure, naming and shaming was able to get prisoners, political

  • prisoners, released.

  • At this point, having signed up essentially fully for Vladimir Putin's protection and

  • abandoned any pretense of good relations with the West, it's hard to see how that kind of

  • leverage is likely to be successful.

  • Now, that said, give it a little bit of time, because I don't think Putin and Lukashenko

  • view one another as reliable partners. They have had 20 years to work through that relationship,

  • and they have never reached that point. So, it is likely that, in a few years, when there's

  • a falling out, and there's a reason for Lukashenko to change course again, he will seek to curry

  • favor in the West by releasing these political prisoners, and including perhaps Protasevich,

  • who's got this 12-year sentence hanging over his head.

  • So there's there's good reason for the West to impose those sanctions as leverage, but

  • I would not expect quick success.

  • NICK SCHIFRIN: You and I have talked about authoritarianism increasing across the world,

  • not only in Minsk.

  • I wonder, has this kind of thing, this hijacking, as the Europeans have put it, ever happened

  • before? And what message does it send to the rest of the world if the Belarusian government

  • believes that it succeeded?

  • MATTHEW ROJANSKY: This is being described across the board as unprecedented, or, frankly,

  • if there's a precedent for it, it's a hijacking by a state. It is a state-sponsored act of

  • terrorism.

  • The Russians, of course, are backing Lukashenko. They're claiming that this sort of thing has

  • been done by the West. There was a case in 2013. Evo Morales was leaving Russia. And

  • no European country would refuel his aircraft, so he was forced down.

  • I don't see a direct comparison there. I mean, this is an attempt to actually grab, to snatch

  • out of midair someone who's viewed as an enemy of the regime. It really is an act of terrorism.

  • NICK SCHIFRIN: And, therefore, could we see it repeated by other countries, perhaps even

  • by Moscow, which, to no surprise, has backed this effort?

  • MATTHEW ROJANSKY: I think the Russians view their territory in terms of absolute sovereignty.

  • At this point, although they certainly take part in international civilian air travel

  • agreements, if they have reason enough to try to grab someone or target someone who's

  • on an aircraft -- think Alexei Navalny -- they poisoned him intentionally just before he

  • got on a civilian airliner.

  • I think the Russians view their airspace as totally up for grabs, fair game for their

  • political warfare against the opposition.

  • NICK SCHIFRIN: Matt Rojansky of the Wilson Center, thank you very much.

  • MATTHEW ROJANSKY: Thank you.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF: The cease-fire in Gaza is holding for now. But while the confrontation between

  • Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas was taking place, there were growing reports of

  • anti-Semitic attacks and slurs in several American cities.

  • William Brangham focuses on the disturbing questions this raises once again about intolerance

  • and hate in America.

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Judy, the Anti-Defamation League tracked reports of online comments,

  • verbal confrontations, and physical assaults in the U.S. during that 11 days of bombing

  • in Gaza and in Israel, finding -- quote -- "a drastic surge" in anti-Semitic language and

  • attacks.

  • That included an attack on a 29-year-old man in New York, who was punched, kicked and pepper-sprayed

  • in Times Square. In Los Angeles, five people suffered minor injuries after they were attacked

  • by people waving Palestinian flags. In Tucson, Arizona, a synagogue was vandalized.

  • The ADL also reported thousands of tweets or retweets that seemed to echoed the phrase

  • "Hitler was right." Last week, five Jewish organizations, including the ADL, wrote a

  • letter to President Biden about their concerns over this rise in these hateful attacks, asking

  • him to speak out more forcefully against them.

  • For more on all of this, we turn to Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation

  • League.

  • Jonathan, great to see you back on the "NewsHour."

  • In the past, your organization has documented that, when there is violence between Israelis

  • and Palestinians, that anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. go up. Compare now to then. Are

  • we seeing more now?

  • JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO and National Director, Anti-Defamation League: Yes.

  • It is certainly true that in the past, conflagrations in the Middle East between Israeli and the

  • Palestinians or its neighbors have created an -- or catalyzed an uptick in anti-Semitism

  • in America.

  • But what we are seeing now is more drastic and, frankly, more dangerous. The ADL track

  • between the two weeks of the conflict and the two weeks before a 63 percent increase.

  • And that surge is far greater than what we have seen in prior incidents, like 2014, for

  • example.

  • But what I would also note is not just the quantitative, but the qualitative. The span

  • of these attacks, they spread like wildfire across the country. You mentioned a few, California,

  • Arizona, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, Florida,

  • acts of harassment and vandalism and violence.

  • So, number one, the span is much greater than what we have seen, but secondly the tone,

  • the brazenness, the audacity of these assaults in broad daylight. We have seen people basically

  • say, if you are wearing a Jewish star, you must be a Zionist and you should be killed.

  • We have seen people hurling bottles and objects at homes with mezuzot on the door that were

  • identifiably Jewish. We have seen people driving cars or marauding through Jewish neighborhoods

  • and yelling, "We're going to rape your women," right, or yelling things like "Allahu akbar,"

  • and literally then wreaking physical violence on people.

  • And one of the incidents that was captured was in broad daylight in Times Square, a group

  • of people beating and bloodying a Jewish man whose only crime was he was wearing a kippah,

  • to the point where he was left unconscious in the street while people kicked him, bloodied

  • him with like crutches. It was really quite disgusting.

  • And to think that this is happening in America is really unconscionable.

  • WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, what do you attribute this to?

  • I remember, back during the Trump administration, you were quick to point out instances where

  • you thought -- political language that fomented anti-Semitism. Do you do you see political

  • leaders now who are exacerbating this?

  • JONATHAN GREENBLATT: Well, let's be clear. None of the people committing these crimes

  • wearing MAGA hats, right?

  • The reality is, is, I do believe that political language can have real world consequences.

  • But this is very different kind of political language. So, yes, we called out the prior