Russia, New York, Pets: Your Friday Night Briefing

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Good evening. Here is the latest at the end of Friday.

1. Russian forces in Ukraine seized Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, tightened their grip around the capital and threatened other towns in the south.

The destruction and chaos intensified as the invasion entered its second week. Follow our live updates.

Several large explosions rocked Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, today. Thousands of residents, mostly women and children, packed the city’s central train station in a frantic attempt to escape, driven by fears that Russian forces were closing in on Kiev.

Ukraine’s nuclear authority said Russian forces are now occupying the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in the south after an early morning battle and fire raised alarm around the world. He said no change in radiation levels had been observed.

In Russia, the government has further cracked down on news and free speech, blocking access to Facebook and passing a law punishing up to 15 years in prison for anyone spreading “false information” about its invasion of Ukraine. ,

2. Washington officials fear the spate of sanctions against Russia will drive President Vladimir Putin on a rampage.

US intelligence officials have told the White House and Congress that Putin has a tendency to double down when cornered. They described possible responses including indiscriminate bombing of Ukrainian cities, cyberattacks directed at the US financial system, and nuclear threats and moves to take the war beyond Ukraine’s borders.

Officials are also urgently re-examining Putin’s mental state, trying to determine whether his ambitions and risky behaviors have been affected by two years of Covid isolation.

Separately, Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, faced a backlash from her party after calling for Putin’s assassination. He said someone in Russia should “step in” and “get this guy out.”

3. The February jobs report showed another month of solid gainsU.S. employers added 678,000 jobs last month, bringing the unemployment rate down to 3.8%.

The increase beat economists’ forecasts for the second straight month after employers dismissed a sharp rise in coronavirus cases and continued to hire. So far, at least, the labor market recovery has overcome the hurdles: job vacancies are high and layoffs are low.

The data was collected before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which rocked global financial markets and sent energy prices soaring. Analysts say the United States is less vulnerable than Europe to the economic effects of the crisis, but they warn that a prolonged conflict could have unpredictable repercussions.

4. New York City raised school mask mandates and indoor vaccination rules.

Mayor Eric Adams announced today that starting next week, students in public schools will no longer be required to wear masks. Similar movements have taken place in Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, Connecticut, California, Oregon, Washington and New Jersey.

Also, starting Monday, he said, New Yorkers would no longer be required to show proof of vaccination to visit restaurants, gyms and other places like movie theaters in the city – a measure that some health experts have said is being phased out too quickly.

5. Florida lawmakers voted to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The bill — modeled on a similar ban in Mississippi that the U.S. Supreme Court may soon uphold and, in doing so, overturn Roe v. Wade – is now heading to the office of Governor Ron DeSantis, who has signaled his support.

The legislation, which provides no exceptions for cases of rape or incest, would severely restrict access to proceedings in a state that has served as a haven for women from across the South. Florida currently allows abortions up to 24 weeks, with fewer restrictions than neighboring states.

6. Russian filmmakers and artists face the boycott of the invasion of Ukraine, like cultural institutions grapple with difficult questions about what is appropriate.

Russian filmmaker Kirill Sokolov, who has family in Ukraine, denounced the war. But the Glasgow Film Festival still dropped his film because it received funding from the Russian state. The Cannes and Venice Festivals refuse to welcome official Russian delegations or those linked to the government.

Earlier, the Metropolitan Opera said its superstar soprano Anna Netrebko would no longer perform with the company after she refused to distance herself from Russian President Vladimir Putin. And Russian maestro Valery Gergiev, a prominent Putin supporter, was dismissed as conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra.

Elsewherethe president of the International Paralympic Committee broke protocol on Friday when he denounced Russia during the opening ceremony of the Beijing Games.

7. An Italian princess from Texas fights an inheritance battle in a dilapidated Roman villa.

Princess Rita Boncompagni Ludovisi, 72, has lived multiple lives as a rancher’s daughter, Congress wife, infotainment TV correspondent, real estate agent and more.

Her most recent act proves far less glamorous: being embroiled in a bitter legal battle over the Roman villa she shared with her third husband, Prince Nicolò Francesco Boncompagni Ludovisi, which features a Caravaggio on the ceiling. An Italian judge, tired of lawsuits over Prince Nicolò’s inheritance, ordered the villa to be auctioned off.

8. Denali in Alaska is one of the toughest mountains in the world. This adaptive athlete climbed it and then skied it.

Vasu Sojitra is on a mission to make the outdoors more accessible and inclusive, starting with some of the world’s most dangerous peaks.

Sojitra’s right leg was amputated when she was 9 months old due to a blood infection. When he was 10, he saw an amputee in Connecticut with a specialized set of skis and begged his parents for a set. Since then, he has practiced climbing and skiing at high altitude.

Sojitra recently completed what is believed to be Denali’s first handicap ski run. The feat took everything he had, he said: “The amount of effort we all put in to be able to be where we are – it was super powerful.”

9. Tired of…everything? Here are 19 recipes for when you want to do the bare minimum.

Sometimes it’s too much. These recipes are for the days when your survival instincts tell you to order takeout but your body (and your bank account) craves something homemade.

It only takes 10 minutes to make Bap of Gyeran, a Korean pantry meal consisting of fried eggs mixed with steamed white rice. And just five simple ingredients give you a Elena Rouz, the Cuban sandwich invented by a socialite. A jar is all you need to sausage and spinach pastaand a baking sheet is enough for bacon and crispy eggs in the oven.

10. And finally, quarantined dogs pick up pandemic pounds.

Henry, a toy poodle who lives in Chicago, has gained nearly two pounds in the past two years. For a once seven-pound dog, that’s a lot. And that’s because Henry, like all of us, is driven by food.

He is one of many pets who have gained a lot of weight during the coronavirus pandemic. Pet obesity has long been a problem in the United States, but many pet owners say they also spoil their pets when they’re stuck at home with them.

Unfortunately for dogs, as with humans, losing weight is more difficult than gaining it – so more walks may not be the answer.

Spend a gourmet evening.

Sean Culligan compiled photos for this briefing.

Your evening briefing is posted at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

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