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Good evening. Here’s the latest at the end of Friday.
1. Russia is widening its attacks on Ukraine as the invasion enters its third week.
Missile strikes hit three Ukrainian cities today that until now had not sustained major attacks, including Dnipro, in central Ukraine, and Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk, in the southwest. A Ukrainian official said Russian forces also bombarded civilian areas in the strategic port city of Mykolaiv.
The primary target for Russia remains the capital, Kyiv. Satellite imagery of a miles-long convoy north of the city indicates that Russia is repositioning its forces for a renewed assault there. Russian forces could encircle Kyiv in one to two weeks, a U.S. official said, though the battle for the Ukrainian capital could take a month or more.
The human toll continues to mount. The U.N. said that at least 564 civilians had been killed and that another 982 people had been injured by Russian forces so far. That number is likely to be far greater. Ukrainian officials say that the death toll in the besieged southern city of Mariupol alone is 1,552, but that bombing makes it impossible to fully count the dead.
2. President Biden said the U.S. would join the E.U. and other allies in ending normal trade relations with Russia.
3. Two years ago today, the World Health Organization declared that the coronavirus outbreak had become a pandemic.
That day, the N.B.A. suspended its season and the actors Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, his wife, announced they had contracted the virus. In the days that followed, Broadway closed its curtains, stock markets plunged and schools and businesses shut their doors. The known toll in the U.S. on March 11, 2020, stood at 1,263 cases and 37 deaths; today it is more than 79,000,000 known cases and more than 960,000 deaths.
4. The pandemic spawned $5 trillion in federal spending — the largest flood of government money into the U.S. economy in recorded history.
The money was earmarked for households, mom-and-pop shops, restaurants, airlines, hospitals, local governments, schools and other entities around the country grappling with Covid-19. Economists largely credit these financial jolts with helping the U.S. economy recover quickly: The pandemic recession was the shortest on record, lasting only three months.
But much of the money is just beginning to flow to communities, which have until 2026 to spend it. Fierce debates have erupted over priorities and who has the power to set them.
5. The Texas agency that investigates child abuse was told to prioritize cases involving the parents of transgender children and to investigate them without exception, a supervisor testified.
Randa Mulanax of the Department of Family and Protective Services told a Texas court that reports of parents providing puberty-blockers, hormones or other medically accepted treatments to their transgender children were being handled differently from other reports of child abuse. The agency’s staff was also told to not put anything about the cases in writing, she added.
Her testimony came at the start of a hearing over whether investigations into families with transgender children should be halted statewide. This is how a Texas couple’s custody battle over their transgender child helped pave the way for a state order.
6. Democrats are figuring out how to retool their message ahead of a challenging midterm election season.
Worried that the accomplishments they helped deliver to Biden are being drowned out by concern over rising gas prices and a focus on their legislative failures, Democratic lawmakers are looking to the president to help them reframe the conversation. But in remarks delivered at a party retreat on Friday, Biden did not make clear how he planned to help them.
Democrats are now beseeching Biden to act through executive action to address the outstanding issues they care about before they face voters in November.
Separately, Nikki Haley, the former U.N. ambassador under President Donald Trump, used a well-timed endorsement to get on the opposite side of her former boss. Or did she?
7. Alec Baldwin gave his most detailed account yet of fatally shooting a cinematographer on the set of “Rust.”
A new legal filing from the actor said that Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer who was killed on the set, “directed Baldwin to hold the gun higher, to a point where it was directed toward her” during a rehearsal.
“In giving and following these instructions, Hutchins and Baldwin shared a core, vital belief: that the gun was ‘cold’ and contained no live rounds,” the filing said. It went on to describe the confusion and horror after Hutchins was inadvertently shot.
The details were revealed in an arbitration demand that Baldwin’s lawyers filed today against his fellow producers, claiming that his contract protected him from financial responsibility in her death and seeking coverage of the legal fees for several lawsuits that Baldwin is named in.
8. Pompeii is moving with the times.
It used to be that visitors thronged to the ancient ruins of Pompeii in Italy mostly to see dazzling frescoes in grandiose abodes, preserved in the tons of ash from a volcanic eruption that destroyed all life in the city. Now the 2,000-year-old archaeological site is also examining gender, race and class — and using technology in efforts to protect the site from climate change.
9. Non-smelly stovetop salmon is within reach.
Genevieve Ko was inspired by her daughter’s new home in Ireland and designed this salmon and potatoes dish to avoid making her ventless kitchen smell like a harbor on a muggy day. She came up with a stovetop method that’s faster than baking salmon but yields a similar silkiness.
If you’re cooking on an induction stovetop, you may be in the minority — for now. But as the environmental perils of cooking with gas become more apparent, there’s even more reason for cooks to turn to the flameless, easy-to-clean ranges, Melissa Clark writes.
10. And finally, if he could turn back time …
Daylight saving time begins Sunday in the U.S., as clocks spring forward an hour and we gain an extra hour of daylight. In Britain, France and Germany, the clocks change on March 27. Most Americans don’t like this disruptive ritual — and possibly none more so than Marvin Schneider, the New York City clockmaster.
In addition to his work on many other city-owned timepieces, he is in charge of shifting the century-old gears at City Hall and the clock in Brooklyn Borough Hall that he once considered his worst enemy. Schneider, 82, used to set his clocks “to the nearest 10 seconds” using an Omega wristwatch. These days he also uses a cellphone to “get it very, very close.”
“Not a Luddite,” he said.
Enjoy the extra sunshine this weekend.
Eve Edelheit and Jill Foley compiled photos for this briefing.
A programming note: Today will be my last Evening Briefing for a few months as I head to the Sports desk for a reporting stint. You’ll be in great hands with my colleagues. Thanks as always for ending your day with me.
Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.
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