Biden to visit Samsung semiconductor plant in South Korea
President Joe Biden begins his five-day Asia trip with a visit to a Samsung semiconductor plant Friday, a stop meant to demonstrate the growing cooperation between the US and South Korea on technology and other issues. When South Korea’s previous president, Moon Jae-in, traveled to Washington last year, the nations announced “mutual and complementary investments” in semiconductors and batteries for electric cars. The intent is to expand production of key products and strengthen supply chains to be less reliant on China. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Biden “will engage with technology and manufacturing leaders in Korea who are mobilizing billions of dollars in investment here in the United States to create thousands of good-paying American jobs.” Biden will grapple with a multitude of foreign policy issues during his visit to South Korea and Japan, but he also crafted an itinerary clearly meant to tend to the concerns of his home audience as well.
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Organizations warn of Russian retribution against Ukrainian troops
In what appeared to be the final stage in the nearly three-month siege, more than 1,700 Ukrainian troops have surrendered in recent days after weeks of defending the port city of Mariupol, Russian authorities said, with some taken to areas controlled by Russian-backed separatists. Now, some are voicing fears that Russian forces may inflict retribution on the troops. The International Committee of the Red Cross is trying to register the Ukrainian troops as prisoners of war, gathering personal information from hundreds of soldiers, as part of its role in ensuring the humane treatment of POWs under the Geneva Conventions. In the eastern Donbas region, 12 people were killed when Russia shelled the neighboring cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, regional governor Serhiy Haidai said in a Telegram post Friday. Russian ground troops also attempted to assault Severodonetsk but took losses and retreated, Ukraine’s General Staff said in its Friday morning update.
Deadline to cast votes in Texas GOP AG primary runoff featuring George P. Bush
Friday is the last day for Texans to cast their vote in a runoff for the GOP nomination for attorney general between two-term Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and George P. Bush. Bush, who is leaving his land commissioner post to challenge Paxton, will face the Donald Trump-backed incumbent again after neither garnered a majority of the votes cast in the March 1 Republican primary. Paxton led with 42.7% of the primary vote, while Bush received 22.8%, forcing the runoff. Since March 2, Bush has raised $ 2.3 million, edging Paxton, who raised $ 2 million at that time. In a recent interview with the Austin American Statesman, part of the USA TODAY Network, Bush said of Paxton that “Texas deserves better.” He added that, “Our party deserves to have somebody that can champion important values under the federal Constitution.”
Countries continue to relax COVID-19 restrictions for globetrotters
Starting Friday, all US travelers arriving in Israel by plane will no longer have to take a PCR test upon arrival and will not have to quarantine. This comes as countries across the globe are continuing to relax international travel restrictions related to COVID-19. Many countries such as Laos, Jamaica and the Czech Republic are now allowing more visitors to enter after, in some cases, more than two years of tight restrictions. The European Union is expected to drop its mask mandated for air travelers starting next week and New Zealand will reopen its borders to tourists by July, the government announced May 11. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month removed all the remaining countries on its “Do Not Travel” list, but the CDC recommends all travelers stay up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines and “follow all domestic and international travel requirements and recommendations.”
Harry Styles releases anticipated third album, ‘Harry’s House’
Harry Styles is back with his first album since 2019’s “Fine Line,” with the release of “Harry’s House” Friday. The album – Styles’ third solo effort – follows the release of the album’s first single, “As It Was,” which has topped the Billboard Global 200 chart for multiple weeks. “Harry’s House,” whose title is a nod to Joni Mitchell’s 1975 song “Harry’s House / Centerpiece,” features a dazzling spread of sounds, from spunky horns to glistening synthesizers to sinewy bass lines, USA TODAY’s Melissa Ruggieri writes in her review. Ruggieri adds that Styles’ pursuit of “musical experimentation somehow never sounds indulgent, and his blatant signals to his forebears, whether ’80s new wave or’ 70s funk, are always freshly dressed.”
Contributing: The Associated Press