Florida economy improving, still work to be done
- LA Times
With Patrick Beverley out indefinitely because of a broken hand and Paul George taking a night off, the Clippers survived a game of wild swings to beat the Rockets on Friday night.
The world's biggest inoculation drive aims to cover 250 million people by July.
- Miami Herald
There’s no greater need for the Dolphins on defense in this draft than finding another edge rusher, a position where Miami is lacking after the offseason jettisoning of Kyle Van Noy (released) and Shaq Lawson (traded to Houston for linebacker Benardrick McKinney).
India is the closest refuge for Myanmar nationals fleeing violence following February's military coup.
- The Daily Beast
Joe Raedle/GettyAfter 10 days of relentless developments in the Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) saga of scandals, the Florida Republican reemerged Friday evening to mostly ignore the most recent and damning reports and offer boilerplate MAGA defenses and applause lines.“I’m built for the battle, and I’m not going anywhere,” Gaetz told attendees at the Save America Summit at Trump Doral in Miami, Florida.As Gaetz tries to brush aside reports that he’s under investigation for paying women for sex—including, potentially, an underage minor—Gaetz seemed to see no irony in addressing an event hosted by “Women for America First.” Instead, he claimed the reports were “smears” and “wild conspiracy theories” promoted by a “lying media.”As the sun set on one of Trump’s golf clubs, Gaetz was celebrated as a hero and a “fearless leader.”Gaetz Paid Accused Sex Trafficker, Who Then Venmo’d TeenThe congressman kicked things off by regurgitating the lie that the 2020 “election was stolen” from former President Donald Trump, due to “changes to the rules.” He then moved into familiar “America First” boosterism before saying the past week had been “full of encouragement.”But outside the warm confines of another Trump property, the list of Gaetz scandals is growing and intensifying. Just a few hours before Gaetz spoke Friday, the House Ethics Committee announced it was also opening an investigation into the “public allegations” against him—and the usually laconic press release offered a laundry list of complaints.“The Committee is aware of public allegations that Representative Matt Gaetz may have engaged in sexual misconduct and/or illicit drug use, shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, misused state identification records, converted campaign funds for personal use, and/or accepted a bribe/improper gratuity, or impermissible gift in violation of House rules,” the Committee wrote in a letter.And yet, no one in attendance for the “Dinner and Drinks with Rep. Matt Gaetz” event would have known that he is potentially fighting for his political future and, more importantly, his freedom. He delivered a speech that largely could have been recited at any Trump rally during the last four years.Still, as much as Gaetz continues to associate himself with the Trump brand, Trump himself appears to be keeping his distance.Republicans Have Been Waiting for a Matt Gaetz Scandal to BreakAs The Daily Beast reported late last week, advisers to the ex-president implored Trump to not publicly defend Gaetz, at least until more was known about the veracity of the allegations regarding a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and the federal probe. For the most part, Trump has privately agreed with that advice, and various Trumpworld luminaries, members of the Trump family, and top Republicans and conservative media stars have shut the hell up about the Gaetz scandal.Some are already preparing to wash their hands of the loyal MAGA soldier, despite years of Gaetz vigorously going to bat for Trump on nearly every scandal or major controversy.None of the 16 former senior Trump admin officials, ex-campaign brass, longtime GOP operatives, and sources close to the ex-president contacted by The Daily Beast were willing to defend Gaetz on the record. Not a single one would even do so anonymously.When former President Trump finally did issue a statement on Gaetz on Wednesday, it was a brief, mostly self-serving statement that offered a half-hearted defense at best."Congressman Matt Gaetz has never asked me for a pardon," Trump said in a statement, after reports that Gaetz sought a blanket pardon for himself and other Trump cheerleaders. "It must also be remembered that he has totally denied the accusations against him."But for Gaetz, it’s all the vindication he needs.“The best is indeed yet to come,” Gaetz said at Friday night’s event.Matt Gaetz Said His ‘Travel Records’ Would Exonerate Him. Not So Fast.It’s a sentiment lifted from the 2020 Republican National Convention speech of Kimberly Guilfoyle, a prominent Trump ally and Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend.In the intervening time between when Guilfoyle first bellowed those words and when Gaetz said them Friday, Joe Biden beat Trump in the presidential election, the U.S. Capitol was overtaken by insurrectionists, Trump became the first U.S. president to get impeached twice, and it was exposed that Gaetz is the subject of a Justice Department probe into alleged sex trafficking and prostitution.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- WBAL - Baltimore Videos
One of Maryland's first COVID-19 mass vaccination sites got even more busier Friday at the same time as some bad news evolved about vaccine supply. According to the University of Maryland Medical System, which runs the M&T Bank Stadium mass vaccination site, almost 6,000 patients were scheduled Friday, and for the first time, the site also accepted walk-ups.
India produces most of the world's jabs but its own vaccination drive appears to be struggling.
- The State
His time in Augusta wrapped up much earlier than expected.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The reliever pitched in seven games in spring training and in three of the Rangers’ first six games of the regular season.
- LA Times
The Clippers snap the Phoenix Suns' seven-game winning streak with a 113-103 win on Thursday at Staples Center.
- Associated Press
Connor Hellebuyck made 36 saves and the Winnipeg Jets beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 on Thursday night to open a five-game trip. Josh Morrissey, Trevor Lewis, Nikolaj Ehlers and Andrew Copp scored for the Jets. Jets captain Blake Wheeler is sidelined indefinitely by head injury.
- Business Insider
Humanoid robot Sophia has moved into the art world with a music project and an NFT sale, which reached almost $700,000
The CEO of Hanson Robotics, which made Sophia, said the company is excited about her career as an artist. She will reportedly help create both music and lyrics.
The simmering conflict in Eastern Ukraine has threatened to boil over the past few days, with Russia massing troops near the border and pro-Kremlin media raising the specter of war.Why it matters: U.S. European Command went into high alert in light of the Russian movements, which some experts speculated could presage an active Russian military intervention in the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine, where Ukraine has been fighting pro-Russian separatists for seven years. Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.The backstory: Kremlin hopes that Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky would cut a peace deal on Russia's terms have faded, leaving a diplomatic deadlock.Direct intervention in the Donbas could give Putin leverage, bolster his standing ahead of parliamentary elections this year, and potentially help secure a much-needed water source for occupied Crimea. But the costs of such a war likely exceed any benefits for Moscow, removing all plausible deniability from Russia's war in Ukraine and risking a strong Western response.The other side: Zelensky tweeted Thursday that he was heading to the Donbas because a Ukrainian soldier had been killed overnight and he wanted "to be with our soldiers in the tough times."The crisis has sparked a burst of patriot fervor and a strong show of support from Washington, both of which have strengthened the embattled Ukrainian president, notes Dmitri Trenin of Carnegie Moscow.President Biden and virtually his entire top team called their Ukrainian counterparts over the past week, and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called Zelensky on Tuesday.While Kiev was dismayed when the French and German leaders met with Putin (and not Zelensky) during the crisis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel Thursday "demanded" in a call with Putin that "this build-up be unwound in order to de-escalate the situation," her office said.What to watch: Russian officials and pundits have been warning that Russia's hand might be forced if separatists in Donbas are slaughtered by Ukrainian troops. There's no clear factual basis for such fears, but they could provide a pretext for intervention.The bottom line: The flare-up is a reminder that the war in Ukraine is far from over and could deepen dramatically, now or some day down the line.More from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free
- Associated Press
Reilly Smith scored twice to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a 7-4 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Friday night. Jonathan Marchessault, William Carrier, Keegan Kolesar, Chandler Stephenson, and Max Pacioretty also scored for the Golden Knights, while Robin Lehner made 22 saves.
- Associated Press
Aaron Judge's health is again a concern for the New York Yankees. The star slugger has missed two games with soreness in his left side, and manager Aaron Boone wasn't sure if Judge would be able to play Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays. The 2017 AL Rookie of the Year was off to a hot start, and New York is hoping that won't be interrupted by a trip to the injured list.
- Business Insider
Video shows sailors fighting off a pod of killer whales with poles and flares after they break boat's rudder
Crew members of the Serena IV in the Strait of Gibraltar were shocked after a pod of killer whales broke their vessel's rudder.
Lil Mama is still speaking on the time she joined Jay-Z and Alicia Keys on stage. The “Lip Gloss” rapper took to Instagram to respond to a fan who made a comment about the time she ran on stage and interrupted Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind” performance at the VMA awards in 2009. “I thought they canceled you back when you jumped up on stage with Alicia and Jay Z?” a fan asked Lil Mama in regards to the viral moment.
- Los Angeles Times Opinion
Two op-eds — one on Good Friday, the other on Easter — didn't sit well with readers who questioned the timing of the pieces.
- Business Insider
DOJ veterans say the latest twist in the Matt Gaetz sex-trafficking investigation could be the most 'scary' one yet for the lawmaker
Joel Greenberg's potential cooperation means someone Gaetz may have conspired with "is now working with the government," an ex-FBI agent said.
- Business Insider
Former Rep. Katie Hill says it's 'gross' to think that Matt Gaetz defended her to possibly cover up for 'his own indiscretions'
"Clearly I have a history of trusting men that I shouldn't," Hill, who is a victim of revenge porn, said during an interview with CNN.