Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles 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.