Russia continues to attack Ukraine with focus still on the Donbas region
The British Defense Ministry said in an update Friday that Russia’s focus in its war on Ukraine remains the eastern Donbas region. Western officials say the Kremlin’s apparent goal is to take the Donbas by encircling and crushing Ukrainian forces from the north, south and east. But so far, Russia’s troops appear to have made only minor gains — a senior U.S. defense official described them as covering several kilometers a day. British officials added Friday that the limited Russian territorial gains have been achieved at significant cost to their forces. This has not stopped Russia from continuing its blistering attacks as it pounded targets across Ukraine Thursday, including an assault on Kyiv that struck a residential high-rise and another building and wounded 10 people. The bombardment came barely an hour after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a news conference with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who toured some of the destruction in and around Kyiv and condemned the attacks on civilians.
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Trump to hold rally in Nebraska with candidate accused of groping 8 women
Donald Trump is in Nebraska Friday for a campaign rally featuring a supportive gubernatorial candidate who has been accused of groping by eight women. The women, who include a state senator, told the Nebraska Examiner that Charles W. Herbster touched then inappropriately while hugging them during public appearances. Herbster, an agribusiness executive running for governor, has denied the allegations, which have roiled his primary race against two prominent Nebraska Republicans. The current Republican governor, Pete Ricketts, has suggested Herbster should drop out of the race, saying “sexual assault is criminal behavior and should disqualify anyone from elected leadership.” A bipartisan group of state senators put out a statement also calling the candidate’s alleged behavior “disqualifying.” The Nebraska primary is scheduled for May 10.
Day 2 of the NFL draft will feature the second and third rounds
The first round of the 2022 NFL draft is now complete, but some Day 1-caliber talent is still available for the second and third rounds, which kick off Friday evening (7 p.m. ET; ABC, ESPN, NFL Network). The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will open Friday’s proceedings by making their first pick of the 2022 draft – the 33rd overall – and will have their choice of several notable names still on the board, including Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean, Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr., Baylor safety Jalen Pitre and Western Michigan wide receiver Skyy Moore. Quarterbacks Malik Willis (Liberty) and Matt Corral (Ole Miss) also remain available. The draft got started Thursday night and turned into a wild affair with lots of wheeling and dealing. First came the selection of five straight defensive players. Then as the night unfolded, six wide receivers went off the board, only one quarterback was taken, and nine trades (the most in the first round since 2004) went down.
New Orleans’ Jazz Fest returns after two-year hiatus
After a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival returns this spring with headliners The Who, Stevie Nicks, Lionel Richie, Erykah Badu, Ludacris, Nelly and Willie Nelson. The Red Hot Chili Peppers also will appear, taking the spot left vacant after the Foo Fighters pulled out due to the death of their drummer Taylor Hawkins last month. Jazz Fest is scheduled over two weekends: Friday, April 29, through Sunday, May 1 and Thursday, May 5 through Sunday, May 8. Louisiana stars taking the stage include PJ Morton, Lauren Daigle, Big Freedia, Tank and the Bangas, Nicholas Payton, Nathan & The Zydeco Cha Chas, and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. Jazz Fest celebrates the indigenous music and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana and encompasses nearly every style imaginable. Those include R&B, gospel, Cajun, Zydeco, Afro-Caribbean, folk, Latin, rock, rap, contemporary and traditional jazz, country, bluegrass and everything in between.
Last episodes of ‘Ozark’ are available on Netflix
The final episodes of the hit Netflix series, “Ozark,” hit the streaming platform Friday. The show – which stars Jason Bateman, Laura Linney and Julia Garner – follows the Byrde family, which moved from Chicago to the Lake of the Ozarks region of Missouri to launder money for a drug cartel. The last seven installments will close out the fourth season, which was split into two parts. The first half began with the Byrde family getting into in a rollover accident in their van, before circling back to all kinds of chaotic action. But the second half of Season 4 begins at a more leisurely pace, at least for “Ozark,” writes Bill Goodykoontz in his review.
Contributing: The Associated Press