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Need To Know: From Biden’s presser to Ted Cruz’s Russian Propaganda, we bring you the most important national and international stories for May 21, 2021.

1. Everything you need to know about Biden’s press conference

Thursday, President Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met privately and held a news conference together after their meeting discussing the U.S.’s relationship with South Korea. 

Both Biden and Moon remain “deeply concerned” about the continuing threat of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. 

The two nations plan to engage diplomatically with the DPRK to reduce growing tensions. 

“Our ultimate goal is denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” said Biden. 

Moon stated, “The most urgent common task that our two countries must undertake is achieving complete denuclearization and permanent peace on the Korean peninsula.”

President Biden announced that Ambassador Sung Kim will now serve as the U.S. special envoy for the DPRK. With Covid vaccines in high demand, Biden and Moon both are committed to doing everything they can to increase Covid 19 vaccine supply in South Korea. 

“We agreed to establish a comprehensive vaccine partnership to expand the manufacturing of vaccines,” says Biden. 

Biden and Moon also agreed upon addressing the global climate crisis. 

The Republic of Korea and the U.S. are committed to making ambitious 2030 targets to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, as soon as 2050. 

The two will also be working together to mobilize climate finance for developing countries and making sure international financing aligns with their climate goals.

After the meeting between the two leaders was over, they had “a very frank dialogue like old friends,” said Moon. 

Their meeting was Biden’s second meeting with a foreign leader in his presidency. 

In the wake of the Palestine and Israel ceasefire taking effect Friday morning, Biden stated that he is still committed to Israel. 

“There’s no shift in my commitment to the security of Israel, period,” Biden states that a two solution still needs to be made. 

Biden said he is “praying” the ceasefire will last as he has expressed his trust for Prime Minister Netanyahu. 

At the end of the press conference, Biden addressed questions regarding the state of a January 6 commission. He confirms he hasn’t  “given up hope we’re going to get a bipartisan commission.”

2. Cruz insults U.S. Military using Russian Propaganda 

On Thursday, Senator Ted Cruz called the U.S. military “woke” and “emasculated.” 

Cruz retweeted a video, originally posted by Pardes Saleh, that compares a Russian Army Ad to a U.S. army ad. 

“Holy Crap. Perhaps a woke, emasculated military is not the best idea” wrote Cruz on Twitter. 

The Russian ad showed a muscular man shaving his head, exercising, and loading his gun. The animated American ad told the story of Cpl. Emma Malonerlord telling the story of how she was raised by two moms and knew at a young age she wanted to join the Army.

Veteran, Senator Tammy Duckworth fired back at Cruz, tweeting, “Holy crap. Perhaps a U.S. senator shouldn’t suggest that the Russian military is better than the American military that protected him from an insurrection he helped foment?” 

Cruz is now being criticized for sharing Russian propaganda by veterans. 

3. The White House cuts infrastructure plan to $1.7 trillion  

Biden proposed a counteroffer to the infrastructure plan, which originally cost $2.25 trillion to now $1.7 trillion. 

“This is the art of seeking common ground,” said Press Secretary Jen Psak on Friday.

Friday afternoon Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg presented this counteroffer to Senate Republicans. 

The White House stated that in order to cut the $2.25 trillion plan down to $1.7 trillion, the new plan will shift funding on research and development, small businesses, and supply chains, it will reduce funding for rural broadband, and it will cut funding for roads, bridges, and infrastructure projects.

The Republican original $568 billion infrastructure plan, proposed a focus on infrastructure, rural broadband, and transit, all of which would get cut in Biden’s counteroffer.

The administration’s counteroffer still includes an increase in the corporate tax rate. 
 

4. Covid in the UK 

Health officials in the UK are investigating a new “triple mutant” Covid variant in Yorkshire. 

In the Yorkshire and Humber region, only 49 cases of the VUI-21MAY-01 or AV.1 strain have been recorded. 

Dr. Kev Smith from Public Health England stated “So far the people that we have identified are not particularly infectious, they’re not really getting more sick than other cases of coronavirus and we’re not seeing anything particularly worrying about it.”

Public Health England noted that this variant has a “strange combination of mutations” which had prompted additional testing and tracing being carried out. 

Dr. Smith stated the variant is under investigation and will continue to be monitored. 

Public Health England expressed there’s, “Currently no evidence that this variant causes more severe disease or renders the vaccines currently deployed any less effective.”

5. Prince Harry opens up to Oprah about mental health

In a new interview with Oprah, Prince Harry revealed that he turned to drugs and alcohol after the death of his mother, Princess Diana. 

The interview was a part of Prince Harry and Oprah’s new documentary series called, The Me You Can’t See, released on Apple TV on Friday. 

In his interview, Prince Harry expresses how meeting his wife Megan Markle, helped him realize the past trauma he hadn’t come to terms with. 

Prince Harry in Me You Can't See

“The clicking of cameras and the flash of cameras makes my blood boil. It makes me angry. It takes me back to what happened to my mum, what I experienced as a kid” said Harry. 

When talking about him and Markle’s experience, Harry states, “I thought my family would help — but every single ask, request, warning, whatever it is, just got met with total silence or total neglect.”

The docu-series focuses on mental health and shares the stories of Lady Gaga, Glenn Close, and regular people, in hopes to destigmatize the conversation about mental health. 

Jaala Brown

Jaala Brown is Gen Z Voice at The Pavlovic Today.