Jobs, Voting Rights, ‘Saturday Night Live’: Your Friday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. In a surprise, America’s job engine slowed.

The U.S. added 266,000 jobs in April, far below the one million new positions that economists had expected and a sharp drop from the vigorous gains in March. In fact, April’s tepid job creation was so out of line with what other indicators had suggested that it will take some time to unravel the mystery, our economics correspondent writes.

Two immediate issues stood out: American manufacturers blamed supply chain problems for the loss of 18,000 jobs, and many offices are not yet ready to reopen fully.

The report poses a test to President Biden’s strategy for economic recovery. Business groups and Republicans pushed the president to end an expanded unemployment benefit — an additional $300 a week — that they say is causing a labor shortage and risking inflation.

Mr. Biden said it would take time for the $1.9 trillion aid bill that he signed in March to fully reinvigorate the economy and noted the 1.5 million jobs created on his watch so far.

“Our efforts are starting to work,” he said. “But the climb is steep, and we’ve got a long way to go.”

Despite the disappointing jobs report, stocks hit a record high.

2. The World Health Organization approved China’s Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, easing the way for poorer nations to obtain shots.

The approval allows the Sinopharm vaccine to be included in Covax, the global initiative designed to promote vaccine access around the world. But the fanfare may be short-lived. While China has claimed it can make up to five billion doses by the end of the year, Chinese officials caution that it is struggling to make enough doses for its own population.

In the U.S., Pfizer and BioNTech applied for full F.D.A. approval for their Covid vaccine — the first companies to do so. The approval process is likely to take months. Emergency authorization for the use of the Pfizer vaccine in adolescents 12 to 15 years old is expected next week.


3. A federal grand jury indicted Derek Chauvin and three other former police officers on charges of violating George Floyd’s civil rights.

The indictment was returned less than three weeks after Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder in Floyd’s death. The charges are another extraordinary censuring of law enforcement officials, who rarely face criminal charges for using deadly force.

The indictment alleges that by holding one knee on Floyd’s neck and the other on his back, Chauvin used unconstitutional, unreasonable force that resulted in Floyd’s death. The other three officers were charged with willfully failing to stop Chauvin. A second indictment charged Chauvin with depriving a teenager of his civil rights in a 2017 encounter.


4. Hours after Florida enacted a raft of new voting restrictions, Texas pressed ahead with its own far-reaching bill.

The bill would make Texas one of the most difficult states in the nation to vote in. Among other restrictions, the bill would empower partisan poll watchers, prohibit election officials from mailing out absentee ballot applications and impose strict punishments for those who break the rules. It will soon head to the Republican-controlled Senate. Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign it.

Here’s a guide to how the law changes voting in Florida.

In other political news, Keisha Lance Bottoms, the Atlanta mayor who rose to national prominence amid racial justice protests, said she wouldn’t seek re-election. “It is time to pass the baton,” she said.


5. Boris Johnson built his success on Brexit. But it may come at the expense of Scotland and the breakup of the United Kingdom.

In England, the prime minister’s Conservative Party scored decisive victories in regional elections on Thursday. But the same populist forces that propelled the Conservatives there cut against them in Scotland, where supporters of Scottish independence won key seats.

A full vote tally isn’t expected until Saturday. But even if the Scottish National Party falls a few seats short of an outright majority, it can assemble a pro-independence majority with the support of Scottish Greens, and build momentum for another referendum on independence.


6. Part of China’s largest rocket, the Long March 5B, is tumbling in orbit and will probably fall to Earth this weekend. Don’t panic.

The chances that it will hit a populated area are small, but not zero. Why China allowed this to occur remains unclear, and more such uncontrolled rocket re-entries are possible in the years to come. The country’s space program continues to create danger, however small, for people all over the planet by failing to control the paths of rockets it launches.

As of Friday, the re-entry is predicted to occur on Saturday at 11:53 p.m. Eastern time. If that is accurate, debris could shower down over the Indian Ocean.


7. They cook. They feign interest in Minecraft. They wrestle. They teach. They give their children confidence. Moms do it all.

Especially this year, it seems as if mothers spent a lot of time cataloging their failures. So for Mother’s Day this year, we asked 12 moms to revel in their talents and share their secret strengths. Wrestling, Mira Ptacin writes, shows her family that she is “not just a woman in an apron or hunched over a computer all day. I’m also physically strong and playful, and at times I cannot be beat.”

If you’re celebrating Mom this weekend, here are six recipes to wow her.

For some, Mother’s Day can be a reminder of loss. These Black mothers have become the real experts on gun violence’s toll.


8. Live from New York, it’s … Elon Musk.

The billionaire chief executive of Tesla and founder of SpaceX will host “Saturday Night Live” tomorrow, a decision that has drawn some criticism, partly because of Musk’s tweeting of misinformation about the pandemic. Some cast members have expressed their displeasure, or at least, as our culture reporter writes, “their befuddlement.”

Michael Che, one of the show’s head writers, said the disagreement was a good thing. “I think it means people still care about the show in some way, at least.”

“Shrill,” created and starring “S.N.L.”’s Aidy Bryant, is also back for its third and final season. We spoke to Bryant’s co-star Lolly Adefope about her rigorous dedication to her craft and an unwillingness to be pigeonholed.

9. The quest for a deer-proof garden.

We’ll get straight to the bad news: It doesn’t exist. As one of the dominant species in Canada and the U.S., white-tailed deer are the largest herbivore in most places where we farm and garden. But our garden expert says there are still plenty of things you can do to deter them, like building a barrier or using repellents that smell or taste bad. First, though, make sure your adversary is a deer.

If you’d rather not battle stags and does, you can just buy your flowers. T Magazine rounded up the most sought-after florists in cities around the world who are pushing the art of floristry in new directions.


10. And finally, old buildings, new views.

While New York City’s skyline is ever changing, some recent construction and additions to historic buildings across the city have revealed formerly hidden — and spectacular — views to the world. Much of the ornamentation is now available for view because of new residential spaces at the Woolworth Building, above, Steinway Hall and the Waldorf Astoria.



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