Biden in Tokyo, Pence rallies for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Russian soldier sentenced: 5 things to know Monday

Biden, in Tokyo, says US would send military if China were to invade Taiwan

President Joe Biden on Monday said the United States would come to Taiwan’s defense militarily if China invades and tries to take over the self-ruled island by force. "That's the commitment we made," Biden said during a news conference in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Both leaders said they still support the "One China" policy that recognizes there is only one Chinese government. China views Taiwan as part of its territory while Taiwan sees itself as an independent, sovereign nation. The U.S. has long tried to navigate a fraught middle ground that aims to support Taiwan without infuriating China. Biden, who is on a five-day trip to Asia, announced Monday the dozen founding partners for his Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, an attempt to deepen economic engagement and cooperation in the region and help counter China’s growing economic and military influence. “We’re writing the new rules for the 21st century economy," Biden said.

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Former VP Pence to headline rally for Georgia governor, putting him at odds with Trump

Former Vice President Mike Pence will headline a rally for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Monday, the eve of the state's contested Republican primary. Pence's appearance puts him at odds with former President Donald Trump, who is fighting to defeat the GOP incumbent governor. Kemp infuriated the former president when he refused to overturn Georgia's 2020 presidential election result in favor of Trump.Trump endorsed Kemp's opponent, Republican Sen. David Perdue, in February. In April, Trump's Save America PAC gave $500,000 to a super PAC devoted to preventing Kemp's reelection, Politico reported.

First Russian soldier convicted of war crimes in Ukraine sentenced to life in prison

The first trial of a Russian soldier for war crimes in Ukraine since the invasion concluded Monday with Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin, a 21-year-old from Siberia, sentenced to life in prison for premeditated murder and violating international laws for war. The three-judge panel determined that Shishimarin, a captured Russian tank-unit sergeant, fatally shot Oleksandr Shelipov, a 62-year-old civilian man in the head in late February. Shishimarin's defense had argued he was carrying out what he perceived to be a direct order that he initially disobeyed. He had pleaded guilty and asked Shelipov's widow for forgiveness. Having captured the strategic southern city of Mariupol, its first major victory of the war in Ukraine, the Russian military is focusing its efforts on the Donbas region to its north with the aim of expanding the territory Moscow-backed separatists have held since 2014. Russia has made incremental gains in the area and is trying to conquer Sievierodonetsk, the main city under Ukrainian control in Luhansk province, part of the Donbas along with Donetsk province.

First NFL Coach and Front Office Accelerator Program to begin

The inaugural NFL Coach and Front Office Accelerator Program will take place Monday and Tuesday during the spring league meetings in Atlanta. Each team nominated rising prospects from their coaching staffs and front offices and will send them to the program. Leadership and development sessions will be offered, as well as windows of opportunity for the aspiring head coaches and general managers to have face-to-face meetings with the team officials with hiring power. The program arrives as the league continues to struggle with its diversity hiring practices. The last two hiring cycles have seen improvement when it comes to general managers as the number of lead talent evaluators increased to seven following the hiring of Kwesi Adofo-Mensah in Minnesota and Ryan Poles in Chicago. However, the number of minority head coaches remains at five in a league whose player body is roughly 75% Black.

Jury selection begins for the trial of Judy Huth's civil lawsuit against Bill Cosby

Nearly 50 years after an alleged encounter at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, Judy Huth's civil lawsuit against Bill Cosby – accusing him of groping her when she was a teen – is going forward to trial this week. Jury selection will begin Monday at the Santa Monica courthouse for Huth v. Cosby, with the trial starting as soon as a jury is picked. Huth, 64, is suing Cosby for sexual battery. She filed the suit in 2014 alleging she was groped by the comedian/TV star in 1974 when she was 15 and visiting the Playboy Mansion, where Cosby was a frequent visitor. Cosby has denied her allegations. Huth filed the lawsuit soon after Cosby became the target of five dozen allegations from women who accused him of drugging and raping them in encounters dating back to the mid-1960s.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Bill Cosby, Brian Kemp rally and Donbas region : 5 things to know Monday