Good morning, NBC News readers.
President Joe Biden steps up his bid to re-engage with the world. Plus Texans are still suffering in a devastating winter storm but that didn't stop their senator from taking a quick trip to the sunny Mexican coast.
Here is what's happening this Friday morning.
Biden begins to recast U.S. role on world stage
The U.S. officially rejoins the Paris climate agreement today with President Joe Biden expected to emphasize the move when he takes part in a virtual meeting with G-7 leaders this morning.
Officials involved in the administration's climate agenda said America's key message is that the Paris Agreement remains intact, having endured without other countries' following the U.S. out the door.
Biden will also focus on the global pandemic response after his administration pledged up to $4 billion to a global Covid-19 vaccine program aimed at assisting developing countries. The announcement came as his administration said it was ready to hold talks with other world powers and Iran to discuss Tehran's nuclear program.
The series of moves, rolling back several of Trump's foreign policy decisions, highlights Biden's starkly different approach to global affairs.
Texans still freeze as Cruz cuts Cancún vacation short
While power has been restored for millions of Texans who had been without it in the bitter cold, the nightmare of the devastating winter storm isn't over. Millions still lack safe water at home, and residents looking for basic essentials said they arrived to stores with bare shelves and long lines.
When firefighters arrived at a fire at a San Antonio-area apartment building Thursday, their efforts were hampered by frozen hydrants. Crews had to shuttle in water to control the blaze, leaving dozens of residents displaced.
The bone-chilling temperatures have also left the state's homeless seeking refuge. Advocates are searching for vulnerable members of the population to help them find shelter.
The current plight of Texans forced Senator Ted Cruz to cut his family vacation to Cancún short, arriving back to his Houston home Thursday night. Cruz faced wide-spread backlash after pictures on social media late Wednesday showed him and his family at an airport gate with luggage and boarding a plane.
Want to receive the Morning Rundown in your inbox? Sign up here.
- News outlets made key diversity hires in recent months. But newsrooms remain persistently white.
- A child protection nonprofit accused a popular math game used in thousands of elementary schools of employing "deceptive marketing and manipulative tactics."
- Pfizer is beginning its first Covid vaccine clinical trial in pregnant women. The drugmaker aims to enroll 4,000 expectant mothers in the U.S.
- Facebook is being heavily criticized across Australia following its sudden decision to block news content there.
THINK about it
Rush Limbaugh will be remembered for a few enduring insults and a shameful history of bullying, cultural critic Sam Thielman writes in an opinion piece.
Suffering from insomnia? Try these strategies tonight to help you sleep better in spite of the pandemic.
Former first lady Michelle Obama's memoir 'Becoming' gets two new editions, including a version adapted for young readers.
Quote of the day
"It was obviously a mistake, and in hindsight I wouldn't have done it,"
— Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told reporters Thursday after he was widely panned for taking a family vacation to Cancún as millions of Texans suffered without heat, water or power.
One fun thing
NASA scientists let out a huge sigh of relief after the Mars rover successfully touched down on the red planet Thursday. Perseverance is now set to begin a two-year mission to roam the Martian surface in search for signs of ancient microbial life.
Watch the nail-bighting moments leading up to the landing known as, "7-minutes of terror."
Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.
I'm filling in for Petra Cahill while she takes the week off. If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — send me an email at: email@example.com.
If you're a fan you can can sign-up here.
Thanks, Yasmine Salam