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US May Lift Protections for Yellowstone, Glacier Grizzlies

The Biden administration took a first step Friday toward ending federal protections for grizzly bears in the northern Rocky Mountains, which would open the door to future hunting in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said state officials provided “substantial” information that grizzlies have recovered from the threat of extinction in the regions surrounding Yellowstone and Glacier national parks.

But federal officials rejected claims by Idaho that protections should be lifted beyond those areas, and they raised concerns about new laws from the Republican-led states that could potentially harm grizzly populations.

“We will fully evaluate these and other potential threats,” said Martha Williams, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Friday’s move kicks off at least a year of further study before final decisions about the Yellowstone and Glacier regions.

State officials have insisted any future hunts would be limited and not endanger the overall population.

However, Republican lawmakers in the region in recent years also adopted more aggressive policies against gray wolves, including loosened trapping rules that could lead to grizzlies being inadvertently killed.

As many as 50,000 grizzlies once roamed the western half of the U.S. They were exterminated in most of the country early last century by overhunting and trapping, and the last hunts in the northern Rockies occurred decades ago. There are now more than 2,000 bears in the Lower 48 states and much larger populations in Alaska, where hunting is allowed.

The species’ expansion in the Glacier and Yellowstone areas has led to conflicts between humans and bears, including periodic attacks on livestock and sometimes fatal maulings of humans.

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte welcomed the administration’s announcement and said it could lead to the state reclaiming management of a species that’s been under federal protections since 1975. He said the grizzly’s recovery “represents a conservation success.”

The federal government removed protections for the Yellowstone ecosystem’s grizzlies in 2017. Wyoming and Idaho were set to allow grizzlies to be hunted when a judge restored those protections in 2018, siding with environmental groups that said delisting wasn’t based on sound science. Those groups want protections kept in place so bears can continue moving into new areas.

“We should not be ready to trust those states,” said attorney Andrea Zaccardi, of the Center for Biological Diversity.

U.S. government scientists have said the region’s grizzlies are biologically recovered but in 2021 decided that protections were still needed because of human-caused bear deaths and other pressures. Bears considered problematic are regularly killed by wildlife officials.

A decision on the states’ petitions was long overdue. Idaho Gov. Brad Little on Thursday had filed notice he intended to sue over the delay. Idaho’s petition was broader than the ones filed by Montana and sought to lift protections nationwide.

That would have included small populations of bears in portions of Idaho, Montana and Washington state, where biologists say the animals have not yet recovered to sustainable levels. It also could have prevented the return of bears to other areas such as the North Cascades region.

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Cherokee People Demand US Fulfill 200-Year-Old Promise

Nearly 200 years ago, the U.S. government promised the Cherokee people a seat in Congress in exchange for their homelands. So far, it has not delivered. Today, the Cherokee people are calling for Congress to fulfill that promise, but there is disagreement over which of three Cherokee tribes should get the delegate seat. Maxim Moskalkov has the story. Camera: Dana Preobrazhenskaya

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US Adds 517,000 Jobs Despite Interest Rate Hikes

America’s employers added a robust 517,000 jobs in January, a surprisingly strong gain in the face of the Federal Reserve’s aggressive drive to slow growth and tame inflation with higher interest rates.

The unemployment rate dipped to 3.4%, a new half-century low.

Friday’s government report added to the picture of a resilient labor market, with low unemployment, relatively few layoffs and many job openings even as most economists foresee a recession nearing. Though good for workers, employers’ steady demand for labor has also helped accelerate wage growth and contributed to high inflation.

January’s job growth, which far exceeded December’s 269,000 gain, could raise doubts about whether inflation pressures will ease further in the months ahead. The Fed has raised its key rate eight times since March to try to contain inflation, which hit a four-decade high last year but has slowed since then.

Companies are still seeking more workers and are hanging tightly onto the ones they have. Putting aside some high-profile layoffs at big tech companies like Microsoft, Google, Amazon and others, most workers are enjoying an unusual level of job security even at a time when many economists foresee a recession approaching.

For all of 2022, the economy had added a sizzling average of 375,000 jobs a month. That was a pace vigorous enough to have contributed to the painful inflation Americans have endured, the worst such bout in 40 years. A tight job market tends to put upward pressure on wages, which, in turn, feed into inflation.

The Fed, hoping to cool the job market and the economy — and, as a consequence, inflation — has steadily raised borrowing rates, most recently on Wednesday. Year-over-year measures of consumer inflation have steadily eased since peaking at 9.1% in June. But at 6.5% in December, inflation remains far above the Fed’s 2% target, which is why the central bank’s policymakers have reiterated their intent to keep raising borrowing rates for at least a few more months.

The Fed is aiming to achieve a “soft landing” — a pullback in the economy that is just enough to tame high inflation without triggering a recession. The policymakers hope that employers can slow wage increases and inflationary pressures by reducing job openings but not necessarily by laying off many employees.

But the job market’s resilience isn’t making that hoped-for outcome any easier. On Wednesday, the Labor Department reported that employers posted 11 million job openings in December, an unexpected jump from 10.4 million in November and the largest number since July. There are now about two job vacancies, on average, for every unemployed American.

The Labor Department’s monthly count of layoffs has amounted to fewer than 1.5 million for 21 straight months. Until 2021, that figure had never dropped so low in records dating back two decades.

Yet another sign that workers are benefiting from unusual job security is the weekly number of people who apply for unemployment benefits. That figure is a proxy for layoffs, one that economists monitor for clues about where the job market might be headed. The government said Thursday that the number of jobless claims fell last week to its lowest level since April.

The pace of applications for unemployment aid has remained rock-bottom despite a steady stream of headline-making layoff announcements. Facebook parent Meta is cutting 11,000 jobs, Amazon 18,000, Microsoft 10,000, Google 12,000. Some economists suspect that many laid-off workers might not be showing up at the unemployment line because they can still find new jobs easily.

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US Experiencing Artic Blast

The northeastern region of the U.S. is experiencing an Artic blast and the frigid temperatures are expected to last into Saturday.  

The National Weather Service said numerous low temperature records could be set in the New England area.  

Weather forecasters predict the temperature Saturday in the city of Worcester, Massachusetts, could get as low as 23 degrees below zero Celsius, which would set a new low record for the date.  

Meteorologists are predicting 21 degrees below zero Celsius for Boston, which would also set a low record for the date.

The NWS said wind chill warnings and advisories are already in effect for all of the New England region.  

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Don’t Underestimate Xi’s Ambitions Toward Taiwan, CIA Says

CIA Director William Burns said Thursday that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitions toward Taiwan should not be underestimated, despite him likely being sobered by the performance of Russia’s military in Ukraine.

Burns said that the United States knew “as a matter of intelligence” that Xi had ordered his military to be ready to conduct an invasion of self-governed Taiwan by 2027.

“Now, that does not mean that he’s decided to conduct an invasion in 2027, or any other year, but it’s a reminder of the seriousness of his focus and his ambition,” Burns told an event at Georgetown University in Washington.

“Our assessment at CIA is that I wouldn’t underestimate President Xi’s ambitions with regard to Taiwan,” he said, adding that the Chinese leader was likely “surprised and unsettled” and trying to draw lessons by the “very poor performance” of the Russian military and its weapons systems in Ukraine.

Russia and China signed a “no limits” partnership last February shortly before Russian forces invaded Ukraine, and their economic links have boomed as Russia’s connections with the West have shriveled.

The Russian invasion had fueled concerns in the West of China possibly making a similar move on Taiwan, a democratic island Beijing claims as its territory.

China has refrained from condemning Russia’s operation against Ukraine, but it has been careful not to provide the sort of direct material support that could provoke Western sanctions like those imposed on Moscow.

“I think it’s a mistake to underestimate the mutual commitment to that partnership, but it’s not a friendship totally without limits,” Burns said.

As Burns spoke, news came from U.S. officials that a suspected Chinese spy balloon had been flying over the United States for a few days, and that senior U.S. officials had advised President Joe Biden against shooting it down for fear the debris could pose a safety threat.

Burns made no mention of the episode but called China the “biggest geopolitical challenge” currently faced by the United States.

“Competition with China is unique in its scale, and that it really, you know, unfolds over just about every domain, not just military, and ideological, but economic, technological, everything from cyberspace, to space itself as well. It’s a global competition in ways that could be even more intense than competition with the Soviets was,” he said.

There was no immediate comment from China’s Washington embassy about the remarks from Burns or the balloon flight.

On other topics, Burns said the next six months will be critical for Ukraine, where Moscow has been making incremental gains in recent weeks.

He also said Iran’s government was increasingly unsettled by affairs within the country, citing the courage of what he described as “fed up” Iranian women. 

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US Reunites Nearly 700 Kids Taken from Parents Under Trump

A Biden administration task force designed to reunite children separated from their families during the Trump administration has reconnected nearly 700 children with their families, officials said Thursday.

President Joe Biden issued an executive order on his first day in office to reunite families that were split up under Trump’s widely condemned practice of forcibly separating parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border to discourage illegal immigration. Thursday marked the two-year anniversary of the task force.

According to figures released by the Department of Homeland Security, 3,881 children were separated from their families from 2017 to 2021. About 74% of those have been reunited with their families: 2,176 before the task force was created and 689 afterward.

But that still leaves nearly 1,000 children. Of those, 148 are in the reunification process. The department pledged to continue the work until all separated families that can be found have the opportunity to reunite with their children.

The Trump administration separated thousands of migrant parents from their children as it moved to criminally prosecute people for illegally crossing the southwestern border. Minors, who could not be held in criminal custody with their parents, were transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services. They were then typically sent to live with a sponsor, often a relative or someone else with a connection to the family.

Hundreds of families have sued the federal government.

Families can register for reunification services through a website and can get help with steps such as applying for humanitarian parole that would allow them to come to the U.S., as well as for behavioral health services to help them.

During a meeting Thursday with reporters, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas discussed efforts to address “the wounds” the separations had caused.

He described meeting the mother of a teenager who had been separated from her mom when she was 13 and then reunited with her when she was 16. But Mayorkas said, the woman relayed how her teenage daughter “still could not understand how her mother would let her be separated. She didn’t understand the force behind the separation.”

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Chinese Spy Balloon Spotted Over Western US, Pentagon Says

The U.S. is tracking a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that has been spotted over U.S. airspace for a couple days, but the Pentagon decided not to shoot it down because of the risk it could harm people on the ground, officials said Thursday.

A senior defense official told Pentagon reporters that the U.S. has “very high confidence” it is a Chinese high-altitude balloon flying over sensitive sites to collect information. One of the places the balloon was spotted was Montana, which is home to one of the nation’s three nuclear missile silo fields at Malmstrom Air Force Base. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information.

Brigadier General Patrick Ryder, Pentagon press secretary, provided a brief statement on the issue, saying the government continues to track the balloon. He said it is “currently traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground.”

He said similar balloon activity has been seen in the past several years. He added that the U.S. took steps to ensure it did not collect sensitive information.

The defense official said the U.S. has “engaged” Chinese officials through multiple channels and communicated the seriousness of the matter.

The Pentagon announcement comes days before Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to travel to China. It’s not clear if this will affect his travel plans, which the State Department has not formally announced.

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Domestic Violence Order No Bar to Owning Guns, US Court Rules

A U.S. appeals court on Thursday declared unconstitutional a federal law making it a crime for people under domestic violence restraining orders to own firearms.

The decision by a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is the latest victory for gun rights advocates since a Supreme Court decision last June granting a broad right for people to carry firearms outside the home.

That decision, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, announced a new test for assessing firearms laws, saying restrictions must be “consistent with this nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation,” and not simply advance an important government interest.

In Thursday’s decision, U.S. Circuit Judge Cory Wilson said banning people under domestic violence restraining orders from owning firearms “embodies salutary policy goals meant to protect vulnerable people in our society.”

But the judge, appointed by Donald Trump, said Bruen made such a consideration irrelevant, and that from a historical perspective the ban was “an outlier that our ancestors would never have accepted.”

Prison sentence thrown out

The court threw out the guilty plea and six-year prison sentence for Zackey Rahimi, who admitted to possessing guns found in his Kennedale, Texas, home after prosecutors said he participated in five shootings in December 2020 and January 2021.

Rahimi had been under a restraining order since February 2020, following his alleged assault of a former girlfriend.

The office of U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton in Dallas, which prosecuted Rahimi, had no immediate comment.

A federal public defender representing Rahimi did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ruling affects three states

The 5th Circuit is based in New Orleans, and its decision applies in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

It had upheld the federal law last June 8, just over two weeks before the Bruen decision, but withdrew its opinion and ordered additional briefing.

In a concurrence, U.S. Circuit Judge James Ho, also a Trump appointee, said the nation’s founders “firmly believed” in the government’s role in protecting people from violence and the right of individuals to bear arms, and that these principles “are not inconsistent but entirely compatible with one another.”

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House GOP Votes to Oust Democrat Omar From Major Committee 

The Republican-led House of Representatives voted after raucous debate Thursday to oust Democrat Ilhan Omar from the chamber’s Foreign Affairs Committee, citing her anti-Israel comments, in a dramatic escalation after Democrats last session booted far-right GOP lawmakers over incendiary remarks. 

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was able to solidify Republican support against the Somali-born Muslim woman in the new Congress, although some GOP lawmakers had expressed reservations. Removal of lawmakers from House committees was essentially unprecedented until the Democratic ousters two years ago of hard-right Republican Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona. 

The 218-211 vote, along party lines, came after a heated, voices-raised debate in which Democrats accused the GOP of targeting Omar based on her race. Omar defended herself on the House floor, asking if anyone was surprised she was being targeted, “because when you push power, power pushes back.” Democratic colleagues hugged and embraced their colleague during the vote. 

“My voice will get louder and stronger, and my leadership will be celebrated around the world,” Omar said in a closing speech. 

Republicans focused on six statements Omar has made that, “under the totality of the circumstances, disqualify her from serving on the Committee of Foreign Affairs,” said Representative Michael Guest, a Mississippi Republican. 

“All members, both Republicans and Democrats alike who seek to serve on Foreign Affairs, should be held to the highest standard of conduct due to the international sensitivity and national security concerns under the jurisdiction of this committee,” Guest said. 

The resolution proposed by Republican Representative Max Miller of Ohio, who was a Trump administration official, declared, “Omar’s comments have brought dishonor to the House of Representatives.” 

‘Political revenge’

Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York said Omar has at times “made mistakes” and used antisemitic tropes that were condemned by House Democrats four years ago. But that’s not what Thursday’s vote was about, he said. 

“It’s not about accountability, it’s about political revenge,” Jeffries said. 

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, went one step further, saying that the GOP’s action was one of the “disgusting legacies after 9/11,” a reference to the September 11, 2001, attack — “the targeting and racism against Muslim Americans throughout the United States of America. And this is an extension of that legacy.” 

She added, “This is about targeting women of color.” 

Omar is one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. She is also the first to wear a hijab in the House chamber after floor rules were changed to allow members to wear head coverings for religious reasons. 

She quickly generated controversy after entering Congress in 2019 with a pair of tweets that suggested lawmakers who supported Israel were motivated by money. 

In the first, she criticized the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” she wrote, invoking slang about $100 bills. 

Asked on Twitter who she thought was paying members of Congress to support Israel, Omar responded, “AIPAC!” 

The comments sparked a public rebuke from then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats who made clear that Omar had overstepped. 

She soon apologized. 

“We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me about my identity,” Omar tweeted. “This is why I unequivocally apologize.” 

Democrats rallied in a fiery defense of Omar and the experiences she brings to the Congress. Black, Latino and progressive lawmakers in particular spoke of her unique voice in the House and criticized Republicans for what they called a racist attack. 

“Racist gaslighting,” said Representative Cori Bush, a Missouri Democrat. A “revenge resolution,” said Democratic Representative Primila Jayapal of Washington state, the chair of the progressive caucus. 

“It’s so painful to watch,” said Michigan Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib, who joined Congress with Omar in 2019 as the first two female Muslims elected to the House. 

“To Congresswoman Omar, I am so sorry that our country is failing you today through this chamber,” Tlaib said through tears. “You belong on that committee.” 

Her ‘worldview of Israel’ challenged

Omar’s previous comments were among several remarks highlighted in the resolutions seeking her removal from the Foreign Affairs Committee. 

The chairman of the committee, Representative Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican, argued for excluding Omar from the panel during a recent closed-door meeting with fellow Republicans. 

“It’s just that her worldview of Israel is so diametrically opposed to the committee’s,” McCaul told reporters in describing his stance. “I don’t mind having differences of opinion, but this goes beyond that.” 

McCarthy has already blocked Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, both California Democrats, from rejoining the House Intelligence Committee once the GOP took control of the chamber in January. While appointments to the intelligence panel are the prerogative of the speaker, the action on Omar required a House vote. 

Several Republicans skeptical of removing Omar wanted “due process” for lawmakers who face removal. McCarthy said he told them he would work with Democrats on creating a due process system, but acknowledged it’s still a work in progress.

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Punxsutawney Phil Sees Shadow, Forecasts Six More Weeks of Winter

A legendary U.S. groundhog, from the (east central U.S.) town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, was pulled from his burrow early Thursday, with local officials declaring he saw his shadow, indicating, according to legend, there will be at least six more weeks of winter.

The annual observance of Groundhog Day on February 2 brings thousands of revelers to the town—located about 105 kilometers northeast of Pittsburgh—each year. Local officials, dressed in top hats and long coats, make a show of pulling the famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil from his underground burrow to get his forecast.

The event is held shortly after dawn, around 7:15am, but the festivities begin as early as early as 3:30am with live entertainment and fireworks.

According to the organizer’s website, the tradition of seeking a weather forecast from a groundhog—a large rodent and member of the squirrel family—began in the town in 1886. Its origins go back to both Christian and pagan observances in Europe.

The pagan ritual marked the halfway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox. In Christian tradition, the feast day of Candlemas was when the church would distribute candles needed for the rest of winter, and it evolved into a prediction for how much longer winter would last.

Historians say the Germans began the tradition of involving an animal to the prediction process, using a hedgehog, a small, spiny animal common in parts of Europe. Germans immigrating to the eastern United States, where there are no hedgehogs, kept up the tradition by turning to groundhogs.

While the tradition and the celebration that accompanies it has stood the test of time, the groundhog has not had a good track record of accurately predicting winter weather. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), reports Punxsutawney Phil has been right roughly 40% of the time over the last 10 years.

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

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Boeing Makes Last 747

Aviation history was made this week when U.S. aerospace company Boeing delivered the last of its iconic 747 airliners. Natasha Mozgovaya has our story from Washington state. Video editing by Bakhtiyar Zamanov and Jason Godman.

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Philippines Grants US Military Access to More Bases

The United States and the Philippines announced an agreement Thursday that will give the U.S. military access to four new Philippine military sites. 

In a joint statement, the two countries did not give specific locations, saying they were in “strategic areas of the country.” 

The expansion is part of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, which includes five existing sites. 

“The addition of these new EDCA locations will allow more rapid support for humanitarian and climate-related disasters in the Philippines, and respond to other shared challenges,” the statement said. 

The new agreement comes as the two longtime allies seek to counter China’s increasing assertiveness toward Taiwan and its actions in the South China Sea. 

Ahead of the announcement, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that the U.S. goal is to strengthen the relationship with the Philippines “in every way possible,” and to boost the Philippines’ military capabilities. 

Marcos said the future of the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific region “will always have to involve the United States simply because those partnership are so strong.” 

VOA’s National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin contributed to this report. 

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse. 

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Family, Community, Leaders Mourn Tyre Nichols

Vice President Kamala Harris paid her respects Wednesday at the funeral of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man who died last month after a brutal beating by Memphis police officers. Activists say more needs to be done to strengthen laws to prevent police brutality, which disproportionately affects people of color. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from the White House.

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Family, Community Mourn Tyre Nichols; White House Vows Action

Vice President Kamala Harris paid her respects Wednesday at the funeral of Tyre Nichols, a young Black man who died last month after a brutal beating by Memphis police officers, and demanded that Congress pass stalled legislation aimed at holding police accountable after a high-profile police killing in 2020 sparked protests in the U.S. and around the world.

“As vice president of the United States, we demand that Congress pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act — Joe Biden will sign it,” Harris said, referring to President Biden while speaking at Nichols’ funeral in Memphis, Tennessee. “And we should not delay, and we will not be denied. It is non-negotiable.”

On Wednesday, the family of Nichols, 29, remembered him as a loving father, keen photographer and an eager skateboarder – the kind of guy, his brother said, who “never lifted a finger to nobody.”

But after his brutal beating on January 7 by five Black police officers, captured on video, America remembers him differently: as another young Black man felled by what some see as an epidemic of violent racism in American policing. All five officers involved in the beating of Nichols, who died on January 10, have been charged with murder.

Black Americans are 12% of the population but accounted for 26% of victims killed by police in 2022, according to monitoring group Mapping Police Violence. And statistics show that Black people are three times more likely to die during police encounters than their white counterparts.

Harris said Nichols’ death was counterproductive.

“This violent act was not in pursuit of public safety,” she said. “It was not in the interest of keeping the public safe because one must ask, was not it in the interest of keeping the public safe that Tyre Nichols would be with us here today?”

But activists want more than words. They want legal change, and for police officers to be held legally accountable through a federal law, like the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which did not pass when it was proposed in 2021.

“It has to be federal law,” longtime civil rights activist the Reverend Al Sharpton said ahead of Nichols’ funeral. “Let me tell you, until police know they have skin in the game, which is why you heard them say about the George Floyd bill, you heard the sister say about the legislation here, you must get rid of qualified immunity. Where police know that they can lose their house, their car and everything else.”

But some activists, like Leslie Mac, communications director for the Frontline, an advocacy group, want the government to send resources elsewhere. She spoke to VOA via Zoom.

“President Biden just last week was talking about needing to fund the police, and I would push back and just let him know that taking funds away from violent enterprises and putting them into the hands of services that actually meet the needs of communities is not just smart, from a federal level, but it’s a smart play for us as human beings in this society,” Mac said.

VOA asked White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre what the administration is doing to combat perceptions that systemic racism is a problem in America.

“The president has made it a priority in his administration to make sure that it looks like America, to make sure that we see the diversity in this administration and throughout different committees,” she said. “And you see that over and over again, when you look at the different agencies, when you look to the White House. And this is … historically the most diverse administration in history. And that matters.”

The Congressional Black Caucus has invited Nichols’ parents to attend Biden’s State of the Union address next week, where he is expected to address a range of topics, including police reform.

Last year, during that address before a joint session of Congress, Biden said, “The answer is not to defund the police. The answer is to fund the police with the resources and training they need to protect our communities.”

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In Manhattan’s Chinatown, Newfound Appreciation for the Family Business

For years, David Leung’s grandfather and father worked each night at Wo Hop restaurant. Considered a New York City institution by some, the Chinese restaurant opened in 1938 and is said to be the second oldest in Manhattan’s Chinatown. But Leung’s appreciation for Wo Hop didn’t develop until much later, when he realized the extent of his family’s involvement. Tina Trinh reports.

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In Manhattan’s Chinatown, Newfound Appreciation for the Family Business

For years, David Leung’s grandfather and father worked each night at Wo Hop restaurant. Considered a New York City institution by some, the Chinese restaurant opened in 1938 and is said to be the second oldest in Manhattan’s Chinatown. But Leung’s appreciation for Wo Hop didn’t develop until much later, when he realized the extent of his family’s involvement. Tina Trinh reports.

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