Evacuation efforts go on at sprawling Ukrainian steel mill
Rescuers were seeking to evacuate more civilians from tunnels beneath a major steel plant in Mariupol as Ukrainian fighters make their last stand to prevent Moscow’s complete takeover of the important port city. Dozens were evacuated Friday from the Azovstal plant. The Russian military said the group of 50 included 11 children. Russian officials and Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said the evacuation efforts would continue into the weekend. The latest evacuees followed roughly 500 other civilians who got out of the plant and city in recent days. However, Ukrainian officials on Friday also warned about a potential offensive before Russia’s Victory Day Monday. The day marks the anniversary of the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, sparking worries the Russian military may increase attacks over the weekend. Also on Friday, President Joe Biden announced an additional $150 million in aid, to include 25,000 155mm artillery rounds and additional military equipment.
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Unprecedented gusts expected to fan wildfires in New Mexico
Weather conditions described as potentially historic were on tap for New Mexico Saturday and for the next several days as hundreds of firefighters worked feverishly to bolster lines around the largest fire burning in the U.S. Many families already have been left homeless and thousands of residents have evacuated due to flames that have charred large swaths of the state’s Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Incident Commander Dave Bales said firefighters have been focused on protecting homes and other structures that hold generations of sacred memories. The crews have seen extreme wind events before that last a day, maybe two. But Bales said this event could last five or more days with gusts topping 50 to 60 mph. Residents on the fringes of the fire front were holding out hope that the work done over recent days will keep the fire from reaching the small city of Las Vegas and other area villages. President Joe Biden on Thursday approved a disaster declaration that brings new financial resources to the area.
Jill Biden to celebrate Mother’s Day with Ukrainian refugees in Europe
First Lady Jill Biden continues her visit in Europe this weekend, after landing in Romania Friday. She will spend Saturday in Bucharest receiving briefings on humanitarian efforts for Ukrainian refugees, meeting with Romanian first lady Carmen Iohannis and touring a school where Ukrainian children are enrolled. On Sunday, Biden will visit a refugee center in Slovakia to participate in Mother’s Day events with Ukrainian and Slovakian mothers and children. Nearly 6 million Ukrainians, mostly women and children, have fled their country since Russia’s invasion, according to the United Nations refugee agency. Biden also plans to visit the Slovakia-Ukraine border Sunday. The White House declined to comment on whether she will cross the border and enter Ukraine during her visit.
Mother’s Day 2022: Don’t forget to talk to your mom Sunday
Just before Mother’s Day 2021, wellness reporter Alia E. Dastagir wrote, “It’s been a rough year for mothers. If we’re being honest, it’s always a rough year for mothers.”
This year is no exception as a still-present pandemic, rising prices on many products due to a blistering inflation rate and hard-to-avoid major news stories add tension and strain to the lives of many mothers who have already seen their roles change dramatically in recent years. So, as the calendar reaches Mother’s Day yet again Sunday, be sure to express your appreciation for the moms in your life. If you need a hand, we have a guide to last-minute gifts that don’t require shipping. Of course, you can never go wrong with flowers. Need an idea for brunch? We have that covered, too. And consider keeping some of these ideas handy so you can surprise the moms you know and care about all year round, not just Sunday.
Churchill Downs crowd returns for 148th Kentucky Derby
Get ready to place your bets as the Kentucky Derby kicks off Saturday at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky (6:57 p.m. ET, NBC). It is the longest continually held sporting event in America, and it is one of the most prestigious horse races in the world. Head here for some handicappers’ predictions on who will win the 2022 edition. The Kentucky Derby takes place on the first Saturday in May every year, and typically draws a crowd of 155,000 people. Fans were not allowed at Churchill Downs in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, and the 2021 crowd was limited with an announced attendance of 51,838. Medina Spirit won last year’s Kentucky Derby, but a week after the race, its trainer Bob Baffert revealed the horse tested positive for betamethasone, which is illegal when found in the blood on race day because it’s considered a possible performance-enhancer. Medina Spirit died late last year of a heart attack after a workout in California and was later disqualified from the Derby win.
Contributing: The Associated Press