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President Trump called on the Syrian government to release American journalist Austin Tice during a White House press conference on Thursday.

What Trump's saying: "Recovering Americans held captive and imprisoned abroad continues to be a top priority for my administration. We have one young gentleman Austin Tice, and we are working very hard with Syria to get him out. We hope the Syrian government will do that. ... Syria, please work with us, and we would appreciate you letting him out."

  • "If you think about what we've done, we've gotten rid of the ISIS caliphate in Syria. We've done a lot for Syria. ... It would be very much appreciated if they would let Austin Tice out immediately."

Context: Tice, a Marine Corps veteran from Texas, left for Syria in 2012 to work as a freelance photojournalist in the midst of the Syrian civil war. He was believed to be detained three days before his 31st birthday and has been missing since. The FBI speculates that Tice was kidnapped while reporting in a suburb outside of Damascus.

Go deeper: Journalist Austin Tice thought to be alive six years after kidnapping

Go deeper

Exclusive: GOP Leader McCarthy asks to meet with Biden about the border

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at CPAC. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has requested a meeting with President Biden to discuss the rising numbers of unaccompanied migrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border, in a letter sent on Friday.

Why it matters: Biden is facing criticism from the right and the left as agency actions and media reports reveal spiking numbers of migrant children overwhelming parts of the U.S. immigration system. Recent data shows an average of 321 kids being referred to migrant shelters each day, as Axios reported.

Vaccine hesitancy drops, but with partisan divide

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

69% of the public intends to get a COVID vaccine or already has, up significantly from 60% in November, according to a report out Friday from the Pew Research Center.

Yes, but: The issue has become even more partisan, with 56% of Republicans who say they want or have already received a coronavirus vaccine compared to 83% of Democrats.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

China's 5-year plan is hazy on climate

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China's highly anticipated 5-year plan revealed on Friday provides little new information about its climate initiatives, leaving plenty to discuss in multinational meetings this year and lots of blanks for China to fill in later.

Driving the news: The top-line targets for 2025, per state media, aim to lower energy intensity by 13.5% and carbon emissions intensity by 18% — that is, measures of energy use and emissions relative to economic output.