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U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Energy Secretary Rick Perry is heading to Eastern Europe next week to make a series of announcements, including a new liquified natural-gas deal with Poland, according to an Energy Department official.

Why it matters: Perry’s trip, which includes Poland, Ukraine, Hungary and Czech Republic, comes as the Trump administration is seeking to balance its conflicting goals of protectionist trade policies and American energy exports.

The details: Liquified natural gas will be a big focus of the trip, but Perry is also expected to push American cooperation on nuclear energy, cybersecurity and coal. His trip includes a tour of a Ukrainian power plant that received a shipment of U.S. coal last summer.

Administration officials, including Perry and President Trump himself, have emphasized that European countries should lessen their dependence on Russian natural gas. The U.S., along with Poland, have criticized construction of an underwater natural-gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. Germany has supported the project.

Reality check: Countries and companies will almost always choose the cheapest natural gas, which is often Russia for much of Europe, given the cost of liquefying and shipping American gas overseas. Asia has been America’s bigger customer.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Thanksgiving box office shows theaters have long road to recovery

Photo of Disney's "Encanto;" Credit: Disney

Box office ticket sales over the Thanksgiving holiday show that consumer confidence in moviegoing is slowly improving, but not enough to bring the struggling theater industry back to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon, if ever.

Why it matters: "We may have to temper expectations a bit" for next year, said Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
16 mins ago - Health

Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world

Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP via Getty Images

The emergence of the Omicron variant is bringing new urgency to global vaccination efforts.

Why it matters: New variants can emerge anywhere, and can spread everywhere. Getting doses to the developing world — and getting those doses into people's arms — is essential, and that effort has so far been lagging.

GOP courts anti-vaxxers with jobless aid

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Republican officials around the country are testing a creative mechanism to build loyalty with unvaccinated Americans while undermining Biden administration mandates: unemployment benefits.

Driving the news: Florida, Iowa, Kansas and Tennessee have changed their unemployment insurance rules to allow workers who are fired or quit over vaccine mandates to receive benefits.