Friends in high places? Jelly Roll was apparently so overcome with emotion when he met his idol Garth Brooks at the Academy of Country Music Awards earlier this month that he didn't even realize he had picked up the legend off the ground.
"When you get too excited seeing your hero so you pick him up," the "Save Me" and "Son of a Sinner" singer wrote, highlighting the viral moment on TikTok last week. The viral clip showed Jelly Roll overwhelmed with emotion during their first meeting backstage, embracing Brooks in a bear hug that momentarily swept him off his feet as he praised the "Friends in Low Places" singer.
Ryan Blaney qualified on the front row Saturday alongside pole sitter Kyle Busch for the NASCAR Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway. The two will lead the field to green on Sunday. Blaney is coming off a victory on Monday night in the rain-rescheduled race at Charlotte. It snapped his 59-race winless streak. Busch was in contention for the win a year ago but finished behind eventual winner Joey Logano. A sellout crowd of about 60,000 is expected Sunday for the second trip by NASCAR’s top series to the St. Louis area. But with temperatures expected to hit the mid-90s by the afternoon start, it could be a grueling day for drivers and fans alike.
Jordan Smith and Alexander Björk are among golfers in a six-way tie for the lead heading toward the final round of the European Open in Hamburg. Smith was the champion in 2017 and recorded a 1-under 72 to move to 6 under for the tournament beside Björk, Tom McKibbin, David Law, John Axelsen, and Julien Guerrier. Marcel Siem is one shot off the leading pack. He is hoping to be the first German to win on home soil in 15 years. Fellow German Maximilian Kieffer was leading after the second round but dropped back to 4 under after a 2-over 75.
Corey LaJoie is finally getting a chance to drive for Hendrick Motorsports this week. He wanted so badly to drive the No. 48 car a few years ago when Jimmie Johnson was stepping away that he penned a letter to team owner Rick Hendrick. The ride went to Alex Bowman and LaJoie ended up with Spire Motorsports. But with Chase Elliott suspended for Sunday's race at World Wide Technology Raceway for his intentional wreck of Denny Hamlin, LaJoie will be driving the No. 9 car. Carson Hocevar will take his place in the No. 7 car for Spire.
By MICHELLE L. PRICE, THOMAS BEAUMONT and HANNAH FINGERHUT - Associated Press
Eight Republican presidential hopefuls are in Iowa on Saturday to attend a political event hosted by Sen. Joni Ernst. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence are among those scheduled to appear at a rally at the state fairgrounds near Des Moines. Former President Donald Trump will be notably absent from the lineup. Pence was the only White House hopeful participating in a motorcycle ride for charity on Saturday morning. The event is a staple of Ernst’s annual “Roast and Ride” event.
A top Twitter executive responsible for safety and content moderation is leaving the company. The executive quit Friday, shortly after Twitter owner Elon Musk publicly complained about the platform’s handling of posts about transgender topics. Ella Irwin confirms her departure, but isn't saying why she left. Twitter has faced turmoil including mass layoffs, staff quitting, and the firing of top executives since Musk took over last year. Next to Musk, Irwin was the most prominent voice of the company’s ever-changing content policies in recent months. Twitter has struggled to bring back advertisers turned off by Musk’s drastic changes and loosening of rules against hate speech.
Manchester City’s mission to win a treble of major trophies has stayed on track after beating Manchester United 2-1 in the FA Cup final with the first of Ilkay Gundogan’s two goals coming after a record 13 seconds. City has already retained the Premier League and now only a first-ever Champions League title stands between Pep Guardiola's team and immortality in English soccer. Gundogan scored the quickest goal in an FA Cup final that was timed by British broadcaster BBC at 12.91 seconds, United midfielder Bruno Fernandes equalized with a 33rd-minute penalty. Gundogan scored the winner in the 51st. It was the 142nd FA Cup final and the first between the two Manchester clubs.
A slate of gun control measures is headed to Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s desk. The state Senate debated through the night and voted early Saturday to approve the state’s most wide-ranging gun legislation since the laws that followed the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting. The Democratic governor plans to sign the measure. Among other things, the changes would ban openly carrying firearms and prohibit selling more than three handguns within 30 days to any one person, with some exceptions for instructors and others. Other provisions include imposing new safe-storage rules and stiffening penalties for possession of large-capacity magazines.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said Saturday that journalists from countries that Russia regards as unfriendly have been banned from covering this year’s economic forum in St. Petersburg, one of the country’s showpiece events. The move underlines the intensifying animosity between Russia and countries that have imposed sanctions connected to the fighting in Ukraine or that have criticized Moscow. The June 14-17 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum has for decades been Russia’s vehicle for touting its development and seeking investors. Putin’s appearances at the forum have been highly visible and he often used the occasion to hold roundtable discussion sessions with international news executives.
A son of Libya’s late leader Moammar Gadhafi, who has been held in Lebanon for more than seven years, has started a hunger strike to protest his detention without trial. Hannibal Gadhafi's lawyer said Saturday that his client is serious and will continue with the hunger strike until the end. Hannibal Gadhafi has been held in Lebanon since 2015 after he was kidnapped from neighboring Syria where he had been living as a political refugee. He was abducted by Lebanese militants demanding information about the fate of a Shiite cleric who went missing in Libya 45 years ago.
Austria’s center-left Social Democrats have elected Hans Peter Doskozil as their new party leader Saturday, hoping to turn around the party’s fortunes ahead of expected parliamentary elections in the small Alpine nation next year. Doskozil, the governor of the southeastern Burgenland region of Austria, won 53% of the vote among party delegates in Linz Saturday afternoon. The SPOe, which last served in government in 2017, has struggled to consolidate support in recent years. As the new SPOe leader, Doskozil’s task will be to revitalize the party ahead of the next round of parliamentary elections, which are expected to take place in 2024.
Alabama student manager Cooper Lee was identified in a lawsuit against The New York Times as the basketball team member who was in Brandon Miller’s vehicle minutes before the Jan. 15 shooting that killed 23-year-old Jamea Harris, according to the Times. Freshman walk-on Kai Spears filed the lawsuit against the Times after it published a report, citing a person familiar with the investigation, that indicated Spears was the passenger in Miller’s vehicle. On Friday, the Times acknowledged its error and reported that Lee was named in Spears’ lawsuit. Neither Lee or Miller are accused of wrongdoing.
By BABACAR DIONE and SAM MEDNICK - Associated Press
Senegal's government says the number of people killed in clashes between police and supporters of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko has now risen to 15, including two security officers. Clashes continued in pockets of the city Friday evening with demonstrators throwing rocks, burning cars and damaging supermarkets as police fired tear gas and the government deployed the military in tanks. Sonko was convicted Thursday of corrupting youth but acquitted on charges of rape and issuing threats. Senegalese are blaming the government for the violence and the loss of lives. Sonko is the main rival to President Macky Sall and is popular with the country’s youth. His supporters maintain his legal troubles are part of a government effort to derail his candidacy in the 2024 presidential election.
Libyan activists say authorities in eastern Libya have rounded up thousands of migrants and amassed them in an area on the border with Egypt. They say the migrants, mostly from Egypt, were detained in raids over the past two days on trafficking warehouses in the border town of Musaid and other areas in eastern Libya. They estimated that more than 6,000 migrants have been held at the border. It's all part of a continuing crackdown in Libya on migrants. The country is the dominant transit point for migrants from Africa and the Middle East trying to make it to Europe.
India’s prime minister had been scheduled to inaugurate an electrical semi-high-speed train equipped with a safety feature _ another step in the modernization of an antiquated railway that is the lifeline of the world’s most populous nation. Instead on Saturday, Narendra Modi traveled to eastern Odisha state to deal with one of the country’s worst train disasters that left over 280 dead and hundreds injured. The massive derailment on Friday night involving two passenger trains is a stark reminder of safety issues that continue to challenge the vast railway system that transports nearly 22 million passengers each day. The Modi government, in power for nine years, has invested tens of billions of dollars to upgrade the railways. But hundreds of accidents still happen every year.
Ilkay Gundogan has scored the quickest goal in FA Cup final history to give Manchester City the lead against Manchester United inside 14 seconds. Gundogan sent a dipping volley past United goalkeeper David De Gea at Wembley Stadium. The previous fastest goal in a final was Louis Saha for Everton in the 2009 final against Chelsea.
A federal judge says Tennessee’s first-in-the-nation law designed to place strict limits on drag shows is unconstitutional. In a 70-page ruling handed down late Friday night, U.S. District Judge Thomas Parker wrote that the law was both “unconstitutionally vague and substantially overbroad” and encouraged “discriminatory enforcement.” The Memphis-based Friends of George’s filed the complaint, saying the law would negatively impact them because they produce “drag-centric performances, comedy sketches, and plays” with no age restrictions. The Tennessee drag law marks the second major proposal targeting LGBTQ+ people passed by state lawmakers this year. Earlier, Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed a GOP-backed law that bans most gender-affirming care, which is being challenged in court.
Concerns around civilian safety have spiked in Ukraine, as officials announced that an inspection had found nearly a quarter of the country's air-raid shelters locked or unusable, just days after Russian missiles allegedly killed a woman in Kyiv as she waited outside a shuttered shelter. The Ukrainian interior ministry said through its press service that of the “over 4,800” shelters it inspected, 252 were locked and a further 893 “unfit for use.” That same day, the Kyiv regional prosecutor's office reported that four people were detained in a criminal probe into the 33-year-old woman's death on Thursday.
Rafael Nadal is expected to need about five months to recover from arthroscopic surgery on his left hip, a timeline that likely would keep him out for the rest of this season. Nadal’s spokesman, Benito Perez-Barbadillo, said on Saturday — the 22-time Grand Slam champion’s 37th birthday — that two procedures were performed Friday night by a trio of doctors at a clinic in Barcelona. One portion of the operation was for a tendon and the other for an old labrum injury. When Nadal announced last month that he would be missing the French Open because of the hip problem that has sidelined him since January, he said he hoped to be able to return at some point in 2023 but that he expected next year to be the last of his career.
Top Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien won the English Derby for a record-extending ninth time when Auguste Rodin reeled in King Of Steel to win the 244th edition of Britain’s richest flat race. Ryan Moore was in the saddle as Auguste Rodin won by a length and at odds of 9-2 at Epsom Downs. Jockey Frankie Dettori, who is retiring this year, was looking to win the classic for the third time but his horse, Arrest, wasn’t in contention. A protester was detained by police after running onto the course and 19 activists were arrested ahead of the Derby based on intelligence received by officers.
Max Verstappen has made it a sweep of fastest lap times in all three practice sessions at the Spanish Grand Prix despite the Red Bull driver shooting down team orders to pick up the pace during the rain-hit P3. Formula One’s two-time defending champion and current points leader will aim for a fifth pole position in seven races later Saturday. Verstappen reacted firmly to team orders to pick up the pace by saying it wasn’t worth the risk. Verstappen topped both of Friday’s incident-free practice sessions held under dry conditions. Verstappen and teammate Sergio Pérez have swept all six wins this season. The race is on Sunday.
Last year’s beaten finalist Casper Ruud has rallied to beat Zhang Zhizhen in the third round of the French Open to end a strong run by the Chinese player. The fourth-seeded Ruud won 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4. Zhang was the first Chinese man to reach the third round at Roland Garros since Kho Sin-Khie in 1937. The match will be followed by an intriguing third-round encounter involving teenagers Coco Gauff and Mirra Andreeva. Reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina has pulled out of the French Open because she is sick.
The Turkish defense ministry announced Saturday it will be sending a commando battalion to northern Kosovo in response to a NATO request for troops to help quell violent unrest.The request came from NATO’s Joint Force Command Naples, the ministry said in a press statement posted on its official Twitter account, with the battalion joining as a reserve unit the alliance’s peacekeeping mission in the region, known as KFOR or Kosovo Force. KFOR currently consists of almost 3,800 troops. The Turkish commando battalion will be deploying to the Sultan Murat Barracks in Kosovo on June 4-5.
Pope Francis is traveling to Mongolia at the end of the summer. The visit will be a first for a pontiff and one rich in geopolitical significance given Mongolia's position sandwiched between Russia and China. The Vatican on Saturday confirmed the Aug. 31-Sept. 4 trip. The visit comes as Francis is trying to toe a diplomatic line in his relations with Russia and China. With Moscow, Francis is seeking an opening for a peace envoy to nudge Russia and Ukraine to negotiations to end the war. With China, the Vatican has seen its landmark 2018 accord over bishop nominations violated, with Beijing making unilateral decisions.
By W.G. RAMIREZ and STEPHEN WHYNO - Associated Press
The Russian players left playing in the Stanley Cup Final say they're focused on hockey and not their country's war in Ukraine. Florida goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky says he has not thought about not being able to bring the Stanley Cup home to Russia if he wins it. Vegas forward Ivan Barbashev is not worried about that being four wins away from another NHL championship. Barbashev spent his day with the Cup in Moscow in 2019 after winning it with St. Louis. The players say they're far more worried about the final than politics.
Reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina has pulled out of the French Open before her third-round match on Saturday because she is sick. The No. 4-seeded Rybakina was supposed to face 132nd-ranked Sara Sorribes Tormo in the day’s opening contest on Court Philippe Chatrier. Rybakina was considered among the top contenders for the title at Roland Garros. She has won her past 10 matches, including a tuneup title on red clay at the Italian Open last month.
The Israeli military says troops are engaged in a shootout in southern Israel along the Egyptian border. It gave few details in a short statement Saturday, but said two people were wounded. Israel and Egypt signed a peace agreement in 1979 and maintain close security ties. Fighting along their shared border is rare. The incident reportedly took place around the Nitzana border crossing between Israel and Egypt. The crossing is located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of the point where Israel’s border with Egypt and the Gaza Strip converge. It is used to import goods from Egypt destined to Israel or the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.