Good morning, and happy Friday. Here are some of the stories we're following today:
1. U.S. experts land in Nigeria to aid in search for missing girls
American military officials are in Nigeria today to work with President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration and help rescue the 276 schoolgirls abducted by the Islamist militants Boko Haram. The kidnappings and threats to sell the girls have sparked protests worldwide over the Nigerian government's perceived inaction and failure to find the girls. Read more in NEWS.
2. Veterans Affairs chief under fire over hospital wait times
Congress on Thursday subpoenaed Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki for any documents that could show veterans were forced to wait at Phoenix's VA hospital — with deadly results. Whistleblowers claim up to 40 patients died, allegedly due to delays in care. One doctor told NBC News there was an “elaborate scheme” to cover up wait times. Read more in NEWS.
3. TV station takeover the latest loss of control in Ukraine
Pro-Russian militiamen captured a prominent TV station in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine on Thursday. The area is part of a region where separatists plan to vote Sunday for autonomy from the pro-West government in Kiev. Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked separatists to postpone the vote as the U.S. and Europe seek to squash tensions. Read more in NEWS.
Pro-Russians in Ukraine marked today's Victory Day, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, in Moscow, Russia.
4. Donald Sterling in new recording: I am not a racist!
A new recording purportedly of the embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner reveals outrage over previous racist comments. “You think I have anything in the world but love for everybody?” Sterling asks a friend in the recording that was obtained and posted by RadarOnline on Thursday. “You don’t think that! You know I’m not a racist!” Sterling is on the outs with the NBA after a recording was leaked in which he told his gal pal he wanted her to stop bringing black people to his games. Read more at NBC SPORTS.
5. Democrats could boycott House’s Benghazi hearings
A 12-member select committee will be made up of seven Republicans and five Democrats to investigate the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that left four Americans dead in Benghazi, Libya. Democrats, however, could decide they don’t want to participate in the hearings at all, considering them an election-year distraction. Read more in POLITICS.
6. ‘Johnny Football’ adds to NFL draft pick drama
After much speculation, star Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel finally landed a team — the Cleveland Browns. He was the 22nd overall pick on the first day of the NFL Draft, leaving anxious fans wondering where Manziel — nicknamed “Johnny Football” — was going. The draft continues tonight from Radio City Music Hall. Read more at NBC SPORTS.
The agonizing wait led social media to explode over Manziel. The hashtag BeforeManzielGetsDrafted was trending on Twitter.
… What’s trending today?
With Mother’s Day around the corner, mom-related hashtags have been trending on Twitter.
“Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon has been pushing #MomQuotes — an ode to moms who say the darndest things.