US, South Korea may expand military exercises as deterrence to North Korea
The United States and South Korea are considering expanding military exercises in and around the Korean Peninsula in response to North Korea’s progressing missile and nuclear program, the two countries announced Saturday. President Joe Biden also said he could meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un under certain conditions. “That would depend on whether he was sincere and whether it was serious,” Biden said at a joint news conference with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol. Yoon, who took office less than two weeks ago, said combined military exercises are “key to our combined defense capability” and “we are going to step up our exercises.” Their summit, the earliest a U.S. president has visited South Korea after an election, was an opportunity for the two leaders to develop a personal relationship. Yoon said he and Biden “see eye-to-eye on so many fronts.” Biden also reiterated his offer to provide COVID-19 vaccines to North Korea. But he said, “We’ve gotten no response.”
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Michigan community begins to rebuild after unexpected tornado
A rare northern Michigan tornado tore through the small community of Gaylord Friday afternoon, killing at least one person and injuring more than 40 others as it flipped vehicles, tore roofs from buildings and downed trees and power lines. The twister hit Gaylord, a city of about 4,200 people roughly 230 miles northwest of Detroit. The Michigan State Patrol confirmed that one person was killed, saying in a tweet that more than 40 others were hurt and being treated at area hospitals. The patrol planned to hold a briefing Saturday morning. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life,” Mayor Todd Sharrard said. “I’m numb.” Jim Keysor, a Gaylord-based meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said extreme winds are uncommon in that part of Michigan because the Great Lakes suck energy out of storms, especially early in spring when the lakes are very cold. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Otsego County, where Gaylord is located, making further state resources available.
Russia is set to cut off Finland’s natural gas supply; Zelenskyy urges repayment
Russia will cut off natural gas to Finland Saturday, the Finnish state energy company said, just days after Finland applied to join NATO. Finland had refused Moscow’s demand that it pay for gas in rubles. The cutoff is not expected to have any major immediate effect as natural gas accounted for just 6% of Finland’s total energy consumption in 2020, Finnish broadcaster YLE said. On Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address that Russia should be financially responsible for the destruction it has inflicted during its invasion. Speaking on the third anniversary of his inauguration, Zelenskyy contended that Russia should be made to pay for every home, school, hospital and business it destroys. Zelenskyy went on to urge allies to seize Russian properties under their jurisdictions and use them to create a fund for the Ukrainian victims of the war.
Cast mainstays expected to say goodbye to ‘Saturday Night Live’ at finale
Saturday will apparently be the last time to see longtime “Saturday Night Live” cast mainstays Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant and Kyle Mooney will be leaving the iconic NBC comedy-sketch show after Saturday’s Season 47 finale, a source familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly tells USA TODAY. NBC declined to comment. Each comedian has been a fixture on the long-running show for several years. Davidson, 28, started on “SNL” in 2014 as one of its youngest cast members; McKinnon in 2012; Mooney in 2013 and Bryant in 2012. Between movies and other TV series, all four stars have been working on other projects in recent years and that is expected to continue. “SNL” airs its season finale Saturday night with host Natasha Lyonne and musical guest Japanese Breakfast.
Preakness Stakes will be missing miracle Derby winner
There won’t be a Triple Crown on the line Saturday in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, since Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike is skipping the race. Owner Rick Dawson announced last week that Rich Strike, who shocked the world by winning the Kentucky Derby at 80-1 odds, would rest up for the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont on June 11. But the Preakness still offers plenty of intrigue, with three other Derby contestants running — runner-up Epicenter (the early favorite), fourth-place Simplification, and 14th-place Happy Jack. Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath also is in the field and will try to become the seventh filly all-time to win the race.
Contributing: The Associated Press