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Professor falsely accused of spying for China describes the toll it took on his family

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Professor Falsely Accused Of Spying For China Describes The Toll It Took On His Family
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Xiaoxing Xi, a physics professor at Temple University, recalls trying to figure out what was happening to him and his family that morning in May 2015, when armed FBI agents invaded his Philadelphia home. before daybreak, shining flashlights in their eyes and walking around them. under the threat of a weapon. Xi was arrested for economic espionage.

The case against Xi seven years ago revolved around a personal invention and his alleged disclosure of manufacturing information with his research community in China. Although Xi’s case was abruptly dropped four months after his arrest, he said it had an impact on his family and he is now taking legal action.

“My wife was telling me that her biggest concern was trying to help our youngest daughter, who was 12 at the time, not suffer mental damage from this traumatic thing,” Xi said. “She kept telling him it was like a movie, trying to downplay the fact that it was happening.”

While lower courts dismissed his case, Xi, who is among several other Chinese scientists to have been falsely accused of economic espionage, appeared in an appeals court last week hoping to clear the way. forward with a trial.

The Justice Department had accused Xi of sharing diagrams of a pocket heater with peers in his research community in China. Xi, who previously signed a nondisclosure agreement on the plan, was described by prosecutors as engaging in “an effort to help Chinese entities become world leaders in the field of superconductivity.”

“They did wrong and they should be held accountable,” said Xi, who is backed in part by the American Civil Liberties Union. “It’s also important for the community in general, because of all the Chinese scientists and scientists of Chinese descent – many of them are falsely accused. And if we are not able to hold the government accountable, it will do more.”

Xi’s team called on the court to reinstate its claims for damages against the U.S. government, which they say violated its Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights, protections against unreasonable search and seizure, and against the obligation by the government to provide incriminating information, respectively.

Xiaoxing Xi and his wife, Qi Li.Hannah Beier/ACLU

He was threatened with 80 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million. Xi, who has since been reinstated as a professor, was also removed from his post as acting chairman of Temple University’s physics department and placed on administrative leave for a period.

Temple University declined NBC News’ request for comment.

But testimonies from physicists showed that the plans were not for the technology in question at all, but for his own invention. Interactions with Chinese contemporaries appeared to be “legitimate and normal academic collaborations.” And in September 2015, the DOJ case collapsed.

The motion to dismiss the case said “additional information has been brought to the government’s attention.”

The Justice Department did not respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

“Watching my dad get arrested, he was pinned against the wall. … They dragged him out. They didn’t even let him put on shoes.

Joyce Xi

Xi, who originally sued the government in 2017, alleges the lawsuit was not just a misunderstanding in technology, but that FBI agents “knowingly or recklessly made false statements” to support their prosecution. His arrest, Xi claimed, was discriminatory. And he was targeted because of his ethnicity, just like many other scholars of Chinese descent.

Although Xi’s case was dismissed last year, his appeal will trigger a case that will likely take several months to decide. The challenge will be difficult. In an amicus brief filed in support of Xi earlier this year, dozens of organizations noted that the Supreme Court had significantly lowered its already restrictive standard of holding federal agents accountable for violating constitutional rights. But Xi and his family say they are ready to keep fighting, so that at least some positive change can come out of their trauma, his daughter Joyce said.

The arrest, Joyce added, changed the family’s lives immeasurably. She says she had been home from college at the time of the arrest and heard “strange voices” in the dark, telling her to come out with her hands up.

“Watching my dad get arrested – he was stuck against the wall,” she recalled, her voice shaking with the memory. “They dragged him out. They didn’t even let him put on shoes.

Xi said that when he was driven out, he tried to go through years of memories, reminiscing about anything that might have prompted such actions. But he remained puzzled. And for the next few months, the confusion will only continue alongside the psychological stress her family will endure, her daughter said. They regularly found news crews pointing cameras at the blinds of their house, and they began to feel paranoia about mundane things like opening emails.

Professor draws parallels with plight of academics living in China’s Cultural Revolution

As confusing as the arrest was for his family, Xi said he felt feelings of familiarity. The ordeal recalled the emotions he felt while living under the Cultural Revolution in China. The socio-political movement, led by Mao Zedong in 1966, resulted in the persecution of scholars, who were branded as the “stinking ninth caste” for their independent thought.

At the time, Xi was sent to work in the countryside like millions of other young Chinese. At the end of the revolution, when he finally had the opportunity to pursue an education, he said he was grateful. He learned physics without thinking too much. Leaving his village for new opportunities “was a great feeling”, he said. But amid the crackdown on intellectuals, he witnessed many lives turned upside down, he said.

“We don’t expect that in this country. But it happened like what happened during the Cultural Revolution,” he said. “It was absolutely not unusual for people to be taken away not knowing when they would see their families again.”

In some ways, Xi said, his childhood informed him how to handle this ordeal.

“Many people who couldn’t take it anymore committed suicide or died of their suffering,” he said of the persecuted scholars. “When the Cultural Revolution ended and many people were rehabilitated, their names were restored. So in the minds of myself and my wife, we were very clear. We had to live. We had to go through this to be able to clear our name.

Xi is part of a long history of Chinese-American scholars and scientists wrongly accused of spying for China. A few years after Xi’s arrest, the Trump administration formalized a program called the China Initiative, aimed at combating Chinese economic espionage. However, as many like Xi have been falsely accused of spying and their lives turned upside down, a growing number of scholars have argued that this instead encourages racial profiling. The Biden administration ended the program earlier this year.

These days, Xi said he no longer seeks federal funding for his research. His schedule is much smaller, he adds, and the fear of a repeat incident is still in the back of his mind. Joyce, who was a chemistry student at the time of the arrest, said the ordeal had completely changed her life. After graduating, she embarked on advocacy work to protect others from racial profiling.

“All these other people who are also facing this horrible situation – they are also the children. It’s their families. It’s not just an individual that’s being targeted,” Joyce said.

Several other researchers who have been falsely accused of espionage struggle to recount the emotional toll the incidents took on their families. Gang Chen, an MIT professor who was also arrested for espionage in 2021 and exonerated earlier this year, told NBC News he was also arrested in front of his family. He struggled to form words about the impact the arrest had on his loved ones, saying only that he was “lucky” to have their support.

“I can only say that it’s not a pain that can go away,” Chen said.

A survey of nearly 2,000 scientists across the country, released last year by the Committee of 100, showed that more than 50% of Chinese-born scientists “feel considerable fear and/or anxiety about ‘being watched by the US government’. And among those who have seen their research with China prematurely suspended in the past three years, nearly 80% of Chinese-born scientists said they wanted to distance themselves from collaborators in China.

“I know it’s difficult, but we are suffering,” Xi said. “If we don’t do something, that’s the end of the story.”


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The NRA’s highest-rated Republicans are also mostly election deniers

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The Nra'S Highest-Rated Republicans Are Also Mostly Election Deniers
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In the abstract, it makes sense that candidates who are strong supporters of gun rights are also more likely to reject the 2020 election results. The guideline is partisanship. Vigorous adherence to positions like those advocated by the National Rifle Association is expected of Republican candidates in most places, and most Republicans still think the 2020 election was stolen — which, of course, doesn’t. was not.

In practical terms, however, the overlap between gun ownership and voter denial is bewildering. Many of the strongest proponents of freely available firearms center their views on the idea that guns are necessary to fight an oppressive federal government. If this government is seen as also illegitimate, the risk of violence would necessarily seem to increase.

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Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization that lobbies for new legislation aimed at combating gun violence, decided to assess the extent of the overlap between the aforementioned viewpoints for one particular group of Republicans: those who seek to get elected. They looked at the letter grades the NRA uses to measure candidates’ support for gun rights and overlapped the findings with FiveThirtyEight’s examination of the prevalence of denial about the loss of Donald Trump in 2020.

A total of 397 candidates for House or state-level office (Senate, governor, executive offices) had both NRA rank and a publicly expressed position on the election. Of those, 138 were both given an A or A+ rating by the NRA and were classified as having “totally denied” the election by FiveThirtyEight. In other words: 52% of all A/A+ grade recipients were complete election deniers and 73% of complete election deniers had an A or A+.

Add to those who were rated A- or Aq (an A qualified by the lack of a voting record) and 186 of the 397 candidates had an A and were complete election deniers.

If we overlap the 2020 vote in the jurisdiction each candidate hopes to represent, an interesting pattern emerges. Those most likely to deny the election results and get the highest NRA ratings are also very likely to represent/seek to represent the places Trump won in 2020. Most others – especially those whose opinions on the FiveThirtyEight election could not determine – hope to represent the places President Biden won. It is safe to assume that some of those who held back from sharing their opinions did so because they recognized that an embrace of voter denial would not play well with their potential voters.

There is also the flip side of this overlapping voting history to consider. The fact that most of these jurisdictions are places where Trump won means that the Republican candidates included in this analysis are also more likely to win. There are 115 Grade A/A+ NRA recipients who have completely denied the election results and hope to represent places that were red in 2020.

More than 100 of them are candidates for the House.

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At least 15 dead after 2 migrant boats sink in Greek waters

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At Least 15 Dead After 2 Migrant Boats Sink In Greek Waters
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ATHENS, Greece — At least 15 people died when two boats carrying migrants sank in Greek waters on Wednesday night, and rescuers were searching for dozens of people still missing, authorities said Thursday.

The Coast Guard said 15 bodies were found near the eastern island of Lesvos after a dinghy carrying around 40 people sank. Five people were rescued and three had been located on a rocky outcrop near the sinking site. A second rescue effort was launched several hundred kilometers to the west, near the island of Kythera, where a sailboat carrying around 100 migrants struck rocks and sank on Wednesday evening.

Officials said 30 people were rescued after the boat hit rocks off the harbor in the village of Diakofti in the east of the island. Winds in the area were up to 45 mph.

“We could see the boat crashing against the rocks and people climbing over those rocks to try to save themselves. It was an amazing sight,” local resident Martha Stathaki told The Associated Press. “All the locals here have come down to the port to try to help.”

Fire rescuers lowered ropes to help migrants scale cliffs on the seafront. Local officials said a school in the area would be open to provide shelter for those rescued. Navy divers were also due to arrive on Thursday.

Most migrants arriving in Greece travel from neighboring Turkey, but smugglers have changed routes in recent months to avoid the heavily patrolled waters around the Greek islands near the Turkish coast.

Kythira is about 250 miles west of Turkey and on a route often used by smugglers to bypass Greece and head straight for Italy.

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Bidenomics pushes US national debt past $31 billion for first time

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The Biden administration’s relentless reliance on borrowing pushed the gross national debt to over $31 trillion for the first time amid record inflation, rising interest rates and fears of a recession imminent.

U.S. government debt closed at $31.1 trillion on Monday, according to Treasury Department data released Tuesday.

The step comes as the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates to tackle the highest inflation in 40 years, and the government borrows money to fund tax cuts even as it sends billions of overseas taxpayer dollars to Ukraine in aid.

“Many of the concerns we’ve had about the trajectory of our growing debt are starting to play out as we increase both our debt and our interest rates,” said Michael Peterson, chief executive of the Foundation. Peterson, who promotes deficit reduction.

“Too many people were happy with our debt trajectory, in part because rates were so low.”

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a US federal agency that provides Congress with economic and fiscal analysis, has warned of growing US debt under the Biden administration, warning that investors could lose confidence in the government’s ability to repay what it owes, as Breitbart News reported.

Those worries, the budget office said, could lead to “a sharp rise in interest rates and spiraling inflation.”

The $31 trillion threshold poses a political problem for President Biden, who has pledged to seek a more sustainable fiscal trajectory and reduce federal budget deficits by $1 trillion over a decade.

It also directly contradicts Biden’s assertion in September 2021 that his $3.5 trillion spending program actually costs “zero dollars” due to his safe and capable handling of taxpayers’ money.

“My build back better program costs nothing,” read a post from Biden’s Twitter account.

His message argued that the money was currently being “wasted” on “tax breaks, loopholes and tax evasion” and should be redistributed to working Americans as directed by his office.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that Biden’s debt addiction has added nearly $5 trillion to deficits since he took office.

This projection includes Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill, a variety of new spending initiatives approved by Congress, and a student debt cancellation plan that is expected to cost taxpayers nearly $400. billion dollars over 30 years.

Sung Won Sohn, an economics professor at Loyola Marymount University, told AP “it took this nation 200 years to rack up its first trillion dollars in national debt, and since the pandemic we’ve been adding more at the rate of 1 trillion almost every quarter.”

Predicting high inflation for the “foreseeable future,” he said, “when you increase government spending and the money supply, you will pay the price later.”

Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: or by e-mail to: [email protected]rt.com

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Merced family kidnapping update: 4 family members, including baby, found dead, sheriff says

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Merced Family Kidnapping Update: 4 Family Members, Including Baby, Found Dead, Sheriff Says
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MERCED COUNTY, Calif. — The four family members who were abducted from a Merced County business have been found dead, the sheriff announced Wednesday night.

Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said the bodies were found in an orchard near Indiana and Hutchinson roads.

“Our worst fears have been confirmed,” the sheriff said. “We have found the four people from the abduction and they are in fact deceased.”

“There are no words at this time to describe the anger I feel and the senselessness of this incident,” he added. “I said earlier, there’s a special place in Hell for this guy.”

Authorities at a press conference on Wednesday showed surveillance video of a man abducting the baby, Aroohi Dheri; the child’s mother, Jasleen Kaur, 27; father Jasdeep Singh, 36; and uncle Amandeep Singh, 39, from their business.

The suspect, Jesus Salgado, is in custody but remains sedated in a hospital after attempting suicide.

DEVELOPMENT: We will add more details to this report as they become available.

California Family Kidnapping: Chilling New Video Shows Suspect Takes 2 Zippered Family Members, Mother and Baby

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Jerry Vainisi, general manager of Chicago Bears Super Bowl XX championship team, dies at 80 – The Denver Post

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Jerry Vainisi, General Manager Of Chicago Bears Super Bowl Xx Championship Team, Dies At 80 - The Denver Post
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Former Chicago Bears manager Jerry Vainisi, general manager when the team won Super Bowl XX in January 1986, died Tuesday at age 80.

Vainisi served as the Bears’ general manager for four seasons, promoted to that position by franchise founder and owner George Halas in the summer of 1983. The team confirmed Vainisi’s death Wednesday night.

Vainisi remained in that role throughout the 1986 season, and during that time, under coach Mike Ditka, the Bears won 47 games and three NFC Central championships and had an iconic season in 1985. They went 15-1 during the regular season. season, then crushed three playoff opponents by a combined score of 91-10 en route to their only Super Bowl title and their first NFL championship since 1963.

“I will always appreciate the few years I spent with Jerry and will be eternally grateful to him for his decision to hire me as Bears controller in 1983, which started my 40-year career with the Bears.” , Bears president Ted Phillips said Wednesday. . “My thoughts and prayers are with him and his entire family.”

Vainisi’s exit from Halas Hall with two years remaining on his contract came after the Bears suffered a 27-13 home loss to the Washington Redskins in their postseason opener after the 1986 season. a 14-2 regular season, the Bears started Doug Flutie at quarterback in the playoff game. This became a burning issue at Halas Hall and was partly behind then-president Michael McCaskey’s efforts to replace Vainisi.

Flutie, who the team traded for just 12 weeks earlier, had started just one game for the Bears before that playoff game and went 11 for 31 for 134 yards with a touchdown pass and two interceptions in the season-ending loss to the Redskins. .

In an emotional statement after the firing, Ditka choked up when he called Vainisi “my best friend”, and when he found out that McCaskey had called for Vainisi’s resignation, Ditka was so upset he cried. He threatened to quit and tried to talk McCaskey out of letting Vainisi go.

“I was completely surprised and was very, very hurt,” Ditka said.

Vainisi joined the Bears as a controller in 1972 after leaving accounting firm Arthur Andersen. He also served as the club’s treasurer and lawyer before being appointed general manager. He replaced Jim Finks, who had resigned.

Finks is widely considered the primary architect of the Bears’ 1985 Super Bowl team roster.

After leaving the Bears, Vainisi spent three seasons as vice president of player personnel for the Detroit Lions before working in operations for what started as the World League of American Football and was later renamed NFL Europe. . Vainisi was with the Lions in 1989 when they used the No. 3 pick to sign Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders.

Vainisi, a Chicago native, worked as a ball boy in the 1950s at the Green Bay Packers’ summer camp. After earning an accounting degree from Georgetown University and a law degree from Kent College in Chicago, Vainisi was a sportscaster in Monmouth, west-central Illinois.

In 2010, Vainisi was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame. In 1999, he became chairman and sole owner of Forest Park Bank and also served as its chairman and chief executive.

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Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell makes his new team debut, and it was just ‘a little bit different’

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Cleveland Cavaliers Star Donovan Mitchell Makes His New Team Debut, And It Was Just 'A Little Bit Different'
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PHILADELPHIA — Less than five weeks after being acquired by the Cleveland Cavaliers in a stunning blockbuster of a trade to cap a frenzied NBA offseason, Donovan Mitchell made his debut for the Cavaliers on Wednesday in the preseason opener. of Cleveland.

And, after finishing with 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range, to go with five assists in 19 minutes in a 113-112 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center, Mitchell admitted that the idea of ​​donning a different jersey than the Utah Jazz he wore the first five years of his career will take some getting used to.

“One hundred percent,” Mitchell said with a smile, when asked if it felt weird wearing a different jersey for the first time. “It just didn’t feel real to me…it still hasn’t hit me yet.”

Mitchell said he spent Monday looking out the window of the Four Seasons above downtown Philadelphia, and it was only then that he really realized that he was about to officially play for another team for the first time.

“Today I just sat there and had one of those moments where you sit there and look outside and see everything and it’s like, ‘Wow. It’s really here,’” a- he declared.

“Then once you’re on the court, basketball is still basketball. But all the little things, it’s definitely weird. A little different. But I’m excited. It’s going the way I thought it would, in the good meaning.”

Mitchell’s arrival in Cleveland to augment a burgeoning young core with All-Stars Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen and finalist for last season’s Rookie of the Year award in Evan Mobley has the Cavaliers hoping this season will mark a rise in fortune to places the franchise hasn’t seen in decades when LeBron James was out of town.

When was the last time Cleveland made the playoffs without James? The 1997-98 season. When was the last time the Cavaliers won a playoff series without him? Thirty seasons ago, during the 1992-93 campaign, when Cleveland were swept by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in four games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

But to do those things — especially in what is arguably the deepest version of the Eastern Conference the NBA has seen in a generation or more — Cleveland will first need to get its two dominant guards, Mitchell and Garland, on the same page.

Ahead of Wednesday night’s game, Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff laid out the criteria that will show the process taking hold, saying the focus was on avoiding playing basketball “your turn.” , my turn”.

Afterwards, he, Garland and Mitchell were all happy with how things went in their first dry run against another team.

“I thought it was pretty seamless,” Bickerstaff said. “The way they played together, the way the ball moved, everyone got involved… as long as we play in the same style that we want to play, where it’s not just one guy based, but on the team, I think it will go well for us.”

And, for the most part, it did Wednesday night. Mitchell’s first mark as a Cavalier – a 3-pointer from right wing – came with an assist from Garland, who finished with 12 points and four assists on a 4-for-7 shot in 15 minutes, and was sandwiched between setting Mitchell down to Kevin Love for a pair of triples himself.

“I think we did a lot of things right,” Mitchell said. “You walk up the floor and it’s like, ‘He got it.’ But it’s not like, ‘He isolated him.’ It’s like, he made it, made a play, created… I said in the locker room, we didn’t call a lot of plays in the first half. It speaks to our ball movement.

After Cleveland relied almost solely on Garland to create an offense for himself and his teammates last season, he was thrilled with his first look at life playing alongside Mitchell – even within the meaningless confines of the first. half of Cleveland’s preseason opener, largely because of how it’s going to take the pressure off him to do everything offensively.

“I think it was the spacing, for me,” Garland said, when asked what he noticed the most while playing alongside Mitchell. “Just out of the pick and roll, there are so many threats on the other side, and it’s just a lot easier…you can just pick your poison. You have to live with it.

“It was just fun there, to be honest with you.”

As Cleveland waits to get Evan Mobley back on the court after spraining his ankle over the weekend, the Cavaliers also have another decision to make between now and opening night: who will start at small forward alongside Garland, Mitchell, Mobley and Allen.

There are a few possible options, including Caris LeVert, who started Wednesday’s game, Dean Wade, who hit 3 triples off the bench, and Isaac Okoro, the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Bickerstaff said his ultimate decision on who to plug in there will be determined by how well they can help unlock the best attributes of the four stars around them.

“It’s really going to be about fit, and it’s going to be who makes these four guys better,” he said. “Who helps them on the attacking side of the pitch? Who helps them on the defensive side of the pitch? Who can defensively protect the guys in certain situations? How does that help our matchups? Offensively, how does that help us space the floor? Those are all things we take into consideration.”

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