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5 things to know for May 23: Biden in Asia, Ukraine, Baby formula, Half marathon, Gas prices

By Alexandra Meeks, CNN

The megarich are getting richer. A new billionaire was minted nearly every day during the pandemic, according to a new report. At the same time, data shows growing levels of inequality and rising food prices could push as many as 263 million people into extreme poverty this year.

Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Biden in Asia

On his first trip to Asia since taking office, President Joe Biden said today that the United States would respond militarily if China tries to take Taiwan by force. “That’s the commitment we made,” he told reporters in Tokyo. The President’s statement caught several of his top administration officials off guard, CNN was told by multiple aides. However, this is not the first time Biden has gone further than longstanding US public policy toward the self-governing island. The US provides Taiwan defensive weapons, but has remained intentionally ambiguous on whether it would intervene militarily in the event of a Chinese attack. Following Biden’s remarks, the White House issued a statement that said the US’ official position remained unchanged.

2. Ukraine

Tomorrow marks three months since Russia launched its assault on Ukraine. Since then, a staggering 8 million people in the country have been displaced, the UN Refugee Agency said today. Separately, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced a “historic” joint customs control with Poland yesterday, stressing “unity of Ukrainians and Poles is a constant that no one will break.” Zelensky also signed a decree introducing a new award to thank cities of partner countries that have helped Ukraine the most — and the Polish city of Rzeszow became the first to be added to the list. On the ground, tensions remain high and Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Saturday he has ruled out a ceasefire with Russia, emphasizing Kyiv would not accept any deal with Moscow that involved ceding territory.

3. Baby formula

A shipment of 35 tons of baby formula arrived yesterday in Indiana on a US military aircraft from Germany to address the nationwide shortage — but none of it will land on store shelves in the US, a Biden administration official told CNN. The recent batch of formula is a specialized prescription and will be fed to babies intolerant of protein in cow milk, the official said. The shipment will provide enough formula for 9,000 babies and 18,000 toddlers for one week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. As for more upcoming shipments, the White House announced yesterday that additional flights to import formula from abroad will “take place in the coming days.” Biden announced Operation Fly Formula last week. His administration said the total amount of formula in the first round equals up to 1.5 million doses of eight-ounce bottles.

4. Brooklyn Half Marathon

A 32-year-old runner died Saturday after finishing a half marathon in Brooklyn where 15 others were injured, officials said. The marathoner was found unconscious, lying on the pavement, having collapsed after crossing the finish line just before 9 a.m. in Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach neighborhood, an NYPD detective said. An official cause and manner of death have not been released. The runner immediately received attention from on-site medical staff, but was pronounced dead at the hospital approximately 45 minutes later, officials said. Fifteen other individuals were transported to local hospitals from the race and at least four were in serious condition. During the marathon, temperatures ranged from the low 60s to the high 70s Fahrenheit and the relative humidity was between 96% and 97%, according to the National Weather Service.

5. Gas prices

The White House is exploring the possibility of tapping into an emergency diesel reserve to ease the spike in gas prices, a senior White House official said. The emergency declaration under consideration would enable President Biden to release diesel from a rarely used stockpile, but the reserve is relatively small and will only serve as a temporary solution to buy time. The national average price for diesel stood at $5.56 a gallon as of yesterday, just shy of the record of $5.58 set last week, according to AAA. Diesel is a vital fuel for the US economy, powering not only farm and construction equipment but the trucks, trains and boats that move goods across the country. Skyrocketing diesel prices often get passed down to consumers.


‘SNL’ says goodbye to Kate McKinnon and Pete Davidson

“Saturday Night Live” closed out its 47th season with a funny, yet emotional episode. Grab a tissue… your eyes may get a little sweaty when you watch their goodbye moments.

Justin Thomas wins 2022 PGA Championship

Another tee-rific victory for 29-year-old golf star Justin Thomas. If you ask me, he’s the best by par.

Manchester City produces stunning comeback to secure English Premier League title

That game goes down in history as one of the most exciting championship Sundays EVER. Talk about a dramatic ending!

Netflix released the first 8 chilling minutes of ‘Stranger Things’

Season 4 will air in two parts with the first seven episodes dropping this Friday. Oh, the suspense.

A Wisconsin couple survived after a bear charged through their window and attacked them

Panic mode: activated. What would you do in this heart-racing situation?



That’s around how many confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox have been reported in 12 countries, including the US, the World Health Organization announced Saturday. Monkeypox is a rare virus transmitted to humans from animals with symptoms very similar to those previously seen in smallpox patients. President Biden today said he doesn’t believe an outbreak of monkeypox is as risky as the Covid-19 pandemic, tempering comments he made yesterday that people should be “concerned.”


“Maybe I would’ve died. But psychologically, they never would’ve broken me.”

— Trevor Reed, recounting the horrifying conditions of his detention in Russia, as well as the prisoner swap that ended a nearly three-year ordeal for him and his family. Reed, an American citizen and former Marine, was sentenced to nine years in prison in July 2020 after being accused of endangering the “life and health” of Russian police officers in an altercation the previous year. He and his family have denied the charges against him. In his first television interview since returning to the United States, Reed told CNN he’s feeling a little better each day since coming home less than a month ago.


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Rise and shine, Monday is calling you

It’s time to plug in and get started with your week. Check out this short video of a man who owns thousands of cell phones — and all of them still work! (Click here to view)

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