Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: April 30, 2022

Russia is making 'slow and uneven' gains in Ukraine, Sean Hannity warned Mark Meadows about 'fing lunatics' advising Trump, and more


Russia is making 'slow and uneven' gains in Ukraine at 'significant cost,' U.S. and U.K. assess

Russia fired missiles at locations across Ukraine on Thursday, but "the Battle of Donbas remains Russia's main strategic focus," Britain's Ministry of Defense said early Friday. "Fighting has been particularly heavy" around Izium, but "due to strong Ukrainian resistance, Russian territorial gains have been limited and achieved at significant cost to Russian forces." On Thursday, a senior Pentagon official said, "We would assess that Russian forces are making slow and uneven and, frankly, we would describe it as incremental progress in the Donbas." The official also described a lot of "back-and-forth in the Donbas in terms of territory gained and/or lost by, frankly, both sides."


Sean Hannity warned Mark Meadows about 'fing lunatics' advising Trump, texts show

Fox News host Sean Hannity exchanged more than 80 texts messages with Mark Meadows, then-President Donald Trump's White House chief of staff, between Election Day 2020 and President Biden's inauguration. According to messages released Friday by CNN, Hannity strongly supported Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, telling Meadows it was "mathematically impossible" for Biden to have received as many votes as he had. Hannity also warned Meadows about some of the "fing lunatics" pushing Trump's stolen election claims. "They are NOT helping [Trump]. I'm fed up with these people," Hannity wrote.


Biden requests $33 billion for Ukraine fight as Congress passes 'lend-lease' arms authorization

The House on Thursday cleared a bill that will allow President Biden to more easily supply weapons to Ukraine to help it fend off Russia's invasion, using a 1941 lend-lease law created to arm allies against Nazi Germany. "President Zelensky has said that Ukraine needs weapons to sustain themselves, and President Biden has answered that call," Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said. The Senate passed the bipartisan Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act by unanimous consent earlier this month, and the House sent it to Biden's desk on a vote of 417 to 10. Hours earlier, Biden had asked Congress for another $33 billion for the Ukraine fight.


Trump appears poised to avoid criminal charges in Manhattan grand jury probe

The grand jury assigned to the Manhattan district attorney's investigation into Donald Trump is wrapping up this week without any criminal charges against the former president. Trump was facing criminal charges as the probe looked into his financial dealings and those of the Trump Organization, but Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg has reportedly stopped presenting the grand jury any evidence on Trump in recent weeks. The former "war room" prosecutors dedicated to preparing for grand jury presentations in the Trump probe has shuttered, and the grand jury expires at the end of the month. Prosecutors could still form another jury to continue determining whether Trump falsely inflated the value of his assets, but it seems unlikely.


Former U.S. Marine killed while fighting in Ukraine

Former U.S. Marine Willy Joseph Cancel was killed while fighting against Russian forces in Ukraine. Cancel, age 22, reportedly volunteered to travel to Ukraine and fight after Russia invaded. He had reportedly been working in Ukraine since mid-March with a private military contracting company and was killed Monday. His family confirmed his death, while a U.S. Department of State official said they "are aware of these reports and are closely monitoring the situation," but declined to comment further "due to privacy considerations." His body has not yet been found.


The S&P 500 is down 13.8 percent in 2022, the worst year-to-date performance since World War II

The stock market plunged on Friday, with the Dow Jones industrial average down 939.18 points, or 2.8 percent. Tech stocks were particularly hard hit, with the Nasdaq down 4.2 percent. The S&P 500 lost 9.1 percent of its value in April, closing out its worst month since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020 and marking its worst year-to-date performance since World War II. "The economy is fundamentally soft: The Fed is going to hike next week, the situation in Ukraine is not getting better, and high inflation is cutting into costs," said Joe La Vorgna, who served as a White House economic adviser under former President Donald Trump.


U.K. should suspend local government in the British Virgin Islands, report recommends

A report released Friday by the United Kingdom's government recommended suspending the constitution of the British Virgin Islands, dissolving its elected government, and ruling the Caribbean archipelago through its crown-appointed governor. The governor, John Rankin, ordered the report in 2021 to shed light on "corruption, abuse of office, and other serious dishonesty." On Thursday, the islands' elected premier, Alturo Fahie, was arrested in Miami, Florida, on drug trafficking and money laundering charges. The British Virgin Islands, which have a population of around 30,000, have been autonomous since 1967 but remain a British overseas territory rather than a sovereign country.


Elon Musk reportedly eyes new ways to monetize tweets as he lines up next Twitter CEO

Elon Musk doesn't officially own Twitter yet, but he's already eying some changes. Days after Twitter reached a deal with Musk, the Tesla CEO has told banks he's looking to "develop new ways to monetize tweets." According to the report, Musk says he's, in particular, looking to introduce "new ways to make money out of tweets that contain important information or go viral," with one idea being to charge websites a fee if they want to quote or embed tweets from verified accounts. Musk has also reportedly said he has lined up a person to be the next CEO of the company but has declined to reveal who it is.


Airbnb to allow employees to permanently work from home

Most Airbnb employees never have to return to the office again, as the company has announced it will allow workers to permanently work remotely. "You can work from home or the office — whatever works best for you," CEO Brian Chesky said. Airbnb previously planned to have employees return to the office in September 2022. But Chesky said the new policy was informed by the fact that Airbnb had its "most productive two-year period" ever while employees worked from home during the pandemic. "This is where the world is going," Chesky said.


MLB suspends Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer for 2 seasons over sexual assault allegation

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer has been suspended by Major League Baseball for two seasons after he was accused of sexual assault. The league announced Friday that following an investigation, Bauer has been suspended for 324 games, two full seasons, for violating its policy against domestic violence. In 2021, a woman filed for a restraining order against Bauer, alleging he sexually assaulted her. On Friday, Bauer denied violating the MLB's domestic violence policy in the "strongest possible terms" and said he will appeal the decision. His two-season suspension is reportedly the most severe punishment the MLB has ever imposed over a violation of its domestic violence policy.


Florida's Venezuelan migrant recruiter 'Perla' identified
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Brazil presidential election: Bolsonaro and Lula head to run-off
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American vets captured in Ukraine detail what it was like being in Russian custody
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