Brittney Griner, Jobless Claims, and an Irish Celebration Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Friday, March 18, and we're covering an update in the story of a WNBA star, falling unemployment claims, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].



Residential Strikes in Ukraine

The search for survivors continued yesterday in the rubble of a movie theater in the center of the southern port city of Mariupol, hit by a Russian airstrike Wednesday. Up to 1,300 people were said to have been sheltering in the building, with 130 so far said to have been rescued


The strike was one of a number to land in residential or civilian areas. Separately, at least 21 people were killed when a missile struck a school near the northeastern city of Kharkiv. Officials in the northern city of Chernihiv said 53 civilians were brought to the morgue in a 24-hour period.


The increased shelling has come as reports suggest the Russian advance has largely stalled, particularly in the north near the capital of Kyiv. Russia has widely denied targeting civilians.  


See map updates of the war and photos from the fighting here.

Brittney Griner 

A Russian court extended US WNBA star Brittney Griner’s detention yesterday until May 19 on alleged drug charges. Russian agents detained the star Feb. 17 after claiming to find vape pens with cannabis oil in her luggage at the Sheremetyevo Airport, outside Moscow. The 31-year-old was traveling to Russia to play for UMMC Ekaterinburg during the WNBA offseason. Griner is accused of smuggling a narcotic substance, an offense that could mean up to 10 years in a Russian prison.


Griner’s arrest comes during a period of geopolitical tension between Russia and the US over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and some experts worry she could be used as a political pawn. The US embassy in Moscow has reportedly been denied access to Griner.


Griner, who plays for the Phoenix Mercury, is a two-time gold medalist and seven-time WNBA all-star. The extension means she will likely miss the start of the WNBA season May 6.

Jobless Claims Fall

An estimated 214,000 initial unemployment claims were filed last week, down 15,000 from the previous week and slightly better than analyst projections of 220,000. The figure, which peaked at 6 million in April 2020 and remained elevated throughout much of the pandemic, has returned to historical norms (see data).


The figures reflect the ongoing tight labor market. Continuing claims fell to just over 1.42 million, the lowest in five decades, while overall unemployment sits near 3.8%. More than 11 million jobs remain vacant—roughly 5 million more than the number of unemployed workers—with employers reporting challenges in filling roles across a number of industries.


While the job market remains hot, the economy still faces inflationary headwinds. Prices rose by 7.9% year-over-year in February, prompting the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates for the first time since December 2018.

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> No. 2 Kentucky falls to No. 15 Saint Peter's in overtime on first day of men's NCAA basketball tournament (More) | See updated brackets (More) | Women's first round kicks off today (More)


> Lia Thomas becomes first openly transgender athlete to win Division I national championship, swimming a 4:33:24 in the women's 500-yard freestyle (More) | See background on controversy (More)


> BBC apologizes and pays "substantial" sum to Princess Diana private aide over deceit used to obtain television interview with the late royal (More) | Amazon completes $8.5B acquisition of MGM; will add studio's catalog of more than 4,000 films and 17,000 TV episodes to Prime Video and Amazon Studios (More)

From our partners: Looking to eliminate credit card interest? It's a good move. These cards give you the chance to erase credit card interest charges until 2023. Apply now in just minutes.

Science & Technology

> James Webb Space Telescope reaches realignment milestone, snaps high-resolution photo of single star with galaxies in the background (More) | Everything you need to know about the JWST (More)


> Fruit flies show adaptive change in their genomes and physical traits on the order of weeks in response to new environments; study marks a breakthrough in observing evolution over short timescales (More)


> AI algorithm maps various types of experiences arising from psychedelic drug use to specific neural receptors in the brain (More)



Dear readers—


1440 has been hard at work over the past few months, addressing a problem near and dear to our hearts—how to curate the best resources on the internet.


We're rolling out a new platform, starting with a focus on space and space-related topics (which may be expanded to hundreds of topics). We'd be honored if you would be willing to spend a few minutes exploring the test site and leave any feedback you have on how to make it better. 


From the origins of the universe to what happens if you fall into a black hole, our goal is to bring together the most-fascinating and highest-quality resources for you to learn. Check it out here.


As always, thanks for contributing your time and input to help make 1440 better for our 1.5 million readers.





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Business & Markets

> US stock markets rise for third consecutive day (S&P 500 +1.2%, Dow +1.2%, Nasdaq +1.3%) (More) | GameStop shares fall 7%; reports unexpected fourth quarter loss (More)


> US mortgage rates rise above 4% for the first time since 2019 (More) | Bank of England raises interest rates for the third time in four months, up 0.25 percentage points to 0.75% (More)


> Impossible Foods founder Pat Brown to step down as CEO; Chobani COO Peter McGuinness to take over April 4 (More) | Delta Air Lines will give most of its employees a 4% pay raise (More

Politics & World Affairs

> China reiterates commitment to "Zero COVID" policy as 37 million people across the country remain under lockdown (More) | Restrictions in tech hub of Shenzhen expected to disrupt global supply chains (More) | See US COVID-19 stats (More)


> Traffic safety investigators say 13-year-old was behind the wheel of a pickup truck involved in Texas crash that killed nine people Tuesday night (More)


> Federal officials eye at least six suspects in series of bomb threats against historically Black colleges in recent weeks (More)



'Why? Why? Why?'

The AP | Staff. On the ground from the battered city of Mariupol, Ukraine, one of the closest to the Russian border. (Read)

The Splinternet

MIT Tech Review | James Ball. How the war in Ukraine could lead to an irreversible fracture of the World Wide Web. (Read, paywall)

What is Web3?

Another Podcast | Ben Evans, Toni Cowan-Brown. (Podcast) A simple introduction to what people mean when they talk about Web3. (Listen)



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Please support our sponsors!



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Clickbait: A diamond ring made from ranch dressing.


Historybook: President Grover Cleveland born (1837); HBD actress and first Black Miss America Vanessa Williams (1963); Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov becomes first person to walk in space (1965); HBD Queen Latifah (1970).


"The wiser you get, the more experience you have, and the more you see people for who they are as human beings, as opposed to figures you have to fight against."

- Vanessa Williams

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