2.14.2022

Rams Win, Ukraine, and the Bloody Origins of Valentine's Day Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Monday, Feb. 14, and we're covering Super Bowl LVI, tensions in Ukraine, and much more (including Valentine's Day). Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

NEED TO KNOW

 

Hollywood Ending in LA

The Los Angeles Rams raised the Lombardi Trophy last night, beating the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in Super Bowl LVI. It marks the second title in franchise history, and the first since 1999 when the team was still located in St. Louis. 

 

Veteran QB Matthew Stafford, in his first season with the Rams after being traded from the Detroit Lions, threw for 283 yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp was named Super Bowl MVP, with 92 yards and two touchdowns, including a game-clinching score with less than two minutes to go. The award caps a record-breaking season for the former third-round pick—Kupp led the league in receiving receptions, yards, and touchdowns.  

 

Despite the loss, the season was largely a success for Cincinnati. Led by second-year QB Joe Burrow, the team had not won a playoff game in more than three decades before to their run this postseason. 

 

The halftime show, the first to primarily feature hip-hop acts, was widely lauded, and you can catch up on the best commercials here.

Ukrainian Departure

The White House ordered all American staff at the US embassy in Ukraine to depart the country amid mounting fears of a Russian invasion in the near future. The announcement followed a call between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, which failed to produce a diplomatic breakthrough. 

 

A small contingent of US forces—160 Florida National Guard soldiers conducting a training mission with Ukrainian forces—were repositioned elsewhere in Eastern Europe. They represent the only known US troops in the country.

 

Ukrainian officials have both signaled Russia has begun a hybrid offensive involving cyberattacks and bomb threats, while downplaying the imminent threat of a physical invasion. Some analysts concluded Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy may be seeking to calm a nervous population. 

 

See a visual deep dive on the crisis here.

'Freedom Convoy' Cleared

An anti-COVID-19 mandate protest blocking one of North America's busiest bridges was cleared by police yesterday, according to reports. Around 200 semi-trucks and hundreds of personal vehicles had blocked the Ambassador Bridge for more than a week. The bridge connects Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, and carries roughly 25% of all trade between the two countries. The bridge reopened early this morning.

 

The clearing came after Ontario declared a state of emergency and a judge upheld the city's decision to intervene. The protest has reportedly inspired smaller-scale efforts in the UK, France, and other countries.

 

In related news, average COVID-19 cases reported in the US have fallen below 180,000 per day, down more than 75% over the past month (see data). Average new deaths appear to have peaked, now near 2,300 per day, down roughly 10% over the past week. 

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IN THE KNOW

 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with Vuori

> Erin Jackson becomes first Black woman to win speedskating gold at Olympics; first American to win 500-meter event since 1994 (More) | Americans Kaillie Humphries and Elana Meyers Taylor go 1-2 in monobob (More) | See updated medal count (More)

 

> Ivan Reitman, director best known for "Ghostbusters," dies at 75 (More) | Rapper Kodak Black among four shot at Super Bowl party (More)

 

> Coach Dick Vermeil, safety LeRoy Butler headline 2022 class of eight selected to  the Pro Football Hall of Fame (More)

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Science & Technology

> Pfizer postpones request for the Food and Drug Administration review of its COVID-19 vaccine for use in children under age 5; company and agency decide to wait for data from three-dose trials (More)

 

> James Webb Space Telescope becomes functional, snaps its first photos (More) | Everything you need to know about the JWST (More)

 

> Clinical trials suggest pegcetacoplan, a drug used to treat a rare blood disease, may slow the onset of age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss in older adults (More)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets fall Friday (S&P 500 -1.9%, Dow -1.4%, Nasdaq -2.8%) on growing fears of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine (More)

 

> India’s state-run life insurance company files for initial public offering, could sell 5% of shares for near $8B; would be largest ever IPO in India (More)

 

> US mortgage rates increase to highest level since January 2020, currently averaging 3.7% for 30-year loan (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> Defamation lawsuit by former vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin against The New York Times goes to jury deliberation (More) | See overview of case here (More)

 

> Reports suggest former Trump personal lawyer and New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani in talks to cooperate with House Jan. 6 committee (More)

 

> The US, Japan, South Korea meet in Hawaii to coordinate amid recent North Korea missile launches; officials say North Korea's Hwasong-12 ballistic missile can reach the US territory of Guam (More)

DE-STRESS YOUR DAY

 

In partnership with Apollo

 

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Please support our sponsors!

ETCETERA

 

The bloody origins of St. Valentine's Day.

 

The most romantic Valentine's Day restaurants.

 

Who is Cupid, anyway?

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Romantic cards from back in the day.

 

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America's most impressive subarctic highway.

 

Yosemite's stunning firefall

 

The people's choice for best wildlife photo of the year.

 

Clickbait: The seedy underworld of ice fishing.

 

Historybook: RIP Saint Valentine (269); Abolitionist Frederick Douglass born (1818); Pale Blue Dot photo taken by Voyager 1 (1990); Dolly the sheep dies; was first cloned mammal (2003); Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting; 17 killed and 17 injured (2018).

 

 

"Love isn't love till you give it away."

- From Oscar Hammerstein's "The Sound of Music"

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