As Battle of Mariupol Continues, Putin May Be Desperate for V-Day Victory
The Ukrainian military says Russian efforts to seize the steel mill in the besieged coastal city of Mariupol are continuing. In a statement on Friday, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that “the blockade of units of the Defense Forces in the Azovstal region continues”. He added that assault operations had resumed in some areas to take control of the factory. The two sides also engaged in fighting on Thursday with signs pointing to an increasingly dire situation for the resistance. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his evening speech on Thursday that the attack on the plant was preventing the evacuation of civilians who remained in its underground bunkers. The continued fighting comes amid growing speculation that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to present the Russian people with a triumph on the battlefield – or herald an escalation in war – in time for VE Day on Monday, the most great patriotic holiday in the Russian calendar. It marks the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany.
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Hiring in the United States was likely to be strong again in April despite various problems
Over the past year, the US labor market has operated like a well-designed machine, adding an impressive average of 540,000 workers per month – and gains have exceeded 400,000 every month since May 2021 – despite a rate of decline. punitive inflation, Russia’s war on Ukraine, an even more risky pandemic, jittery financial markets and the prospect of much higher borrowing costs. And most economists believe the winning streak has continued: The Associated Press reports that economists polled by data provider FactSet expect the Labor Department’s April jobs report to be released Friday morning to show employers added 400,000 jobs This figure, while strong, would be a slight drop from the 431,000 jobs that US employers added in March. Economists also forecast the unemployment rate to remain at 3.6%, a notch above a half-century low reached shortly before the pandemic hit in 2020 and a decline from the rate of 3.8% in February.
South faces more severe weather threats after recent tornadoes
Severe weather threats will continue Friday in parts of the South and over the weekend in the Central Plains and Midwest, according to the National Weather Service. No serious injuries were reported from the tornadoes that crossed on Wednesday, but severe thunderstorms brought “large and dangerous” flooding and tornadoes to Texas and Oklahoma on Thursday, the National Weather Service said in Norman, Oklahoma. In Seminole, Oklahoma, the second severe storm in a week tore through the town. Debris was seen strewn across the city and several downtown buildings were “completely destroyed”, according to social media. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt said he visited the area on Thursday and said no one was injured. No deaths have been reported. More than 7,000 customers in Oklahoma and Texas were still without power early Friday morning, according to online tracker PowerOutages.Us. More than 46,000 people were without power Thursday afternoon.
A week later, murder suspect escapes, guard remains at large
A week after Deputy Director of Corrections Vicky White, 56, and inmate Casey White, 38, left the Lauderdale County Detention Center in Florence, Alabama together, the two individuals are still at large and released on Friday. In what appears to be a well-orchestrated escape, the officer said she was escorting the inmate to a courthouse appointment that turned out to be non-existent, according to Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton. An investigation revealed that the relationship between them extended outside Vicky White’s working hours and included special privileges for Casey White. Attorney General Merrick Garland said Thursday that the two unrelated fugitives are “considered extremely dangerous” and anyone who spots them should not approach them. Garland added that the US Marshals Service has taken the lead in the search for the pair, but investigators have yet to find solid leads to locate them.
The WNBA season begins without one of its biggest stars: Brittney Griner
The WNBA season kicks off on Friday, but the league’s biggest story remains the ongoing detention of star player Brittney Griner in Russia. Griner, the Phoenix Mercury center All-Star, has been detained there since February after authorities said a vape canister of cannabis oil was found in his luggage at Moscow airport. The US State Department has since classified her as “wrongfully detained”. The league plans to recognize Griner with on-court floor decals featuring his initials and number 42. Other major storylines entering the WNBA’s 26th season include the return of Becky Hammon, who takes over as coach of the Las Vegas Aces after serving as an NBA. assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs since 2014. This could also be a farewell tour for two other league legends: Minnesota Lynx all-time rebounds leader Sylvia Fowles and all-time assists leader Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm, who indicated they would likely retire after this season.
Contributor: The Associated Press