Mariupol, Texas Wildfires, and the World's Most Boring Person Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

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Breaking: A Boeing 737 crashed operated by China Eastern Airlines crashed in southern China overnight with 133 people aboard. This is a developing story, read more here.

Russia Moves Into Mariupol

Russian bombardment of civilian and residential buildings in Ukraine continued over the weekend, with reports of a strike on a school in the city of Mariupol sheltering an estimated 400 people. The extent of casualties has not been determined, with the city largely cut off from outside communication. Reports suggest Russian forces have advanced inside city limits after weeks of heavy fighting.


Mariupol, a southeastern seaport sitting between the separatist-controlled Donbas region and the Russian-controlled Crimean Peninsula, has suffered the brunt of the shelling. A Wednesday airstrike demolished a centrally located theater where more than 1,400 people were said to be sheltered (the estimate has not been verified). About 130 people have been recovered; the number of casualties is unknown.   


UN officials have confirmed 847 civilian deaths since fighting began more than three weeks ago, but say the true death toll is likely much higher. More than 3.3 million Ukrainian refugees have fled the country. 


Separately, Russia confirmed the first use of its hypersonic Kinzhal missile in the war, saying it struck an underground arms depot in western Ukraine. 


See map updates here, along with photos from the ground.

Bears Bounced

The Sweet Sixteen of the men's NCAA tournament solidified over the weekend, with three of the four top seeds advancing to the next round. 


No. 8 North Carolina delivered the biggest knockout of the second round, downing the defending champion No. 1 Baylor 93-86 in overtime. The Bears stormed back from a 25-point deficit before falling short. Other upsets included No. 11 Michigan topping No. 3 Tennessee, No. 10 Miami over No. 2 Auburn, No. 11 Iowa St beating No. 3 Wisconsin, and No. 15 St. Peter's—looking to be this year's Cinderella—dropping No. 7 Murray State. See updated brackets here.


On the women's side, which wraps its second round today, Notre Dame's Olivia Miles became the first freshman—on either the men's or women's side—to notch a triple-double during tournament play. See updated brackets here.


Separately, read about the economics of March Madness.

Texas Wildfires

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued a disaster declaration for a number of counties as wildfires spread in the central region of the state over the weekend. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed, with the small town of Carbon almost entirely consumed by the flames. One fatality has been reported—a sheriff's deputy who died while helping residents evacuate. 


Dubbed the Eastland Complex, the fires are made up of four smaller batches (see map). The largest, the Kidd Fire, has burned through more than 42,000 acres and was at 25% containment as of this writing. The fires come as the region battles with moderate and severe drought conditions, though intense storms are expected to pass through the area today.


See footage of the aftermath here.

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with CanvasPeople

> Kanye West pulled from Grammy Awards performance lineup over "concerning online behavior"; West is nominated for five 2022 Grammys (More) 


> Legendary Los Angeles jazz and blues singer Barbara Morrison dies at 72 (More) | John Clayton, longtime ESPN journalist and radio host, dies at 67 (More)


> LeBron James passes Karl Malone to move into second on NBA's career scoring list with 36,947 points; all-time leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's record stands at 38,387 (More)

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Science & Technology

> Earth's poles simultaneously show significant jumps in temperature, despite being in opposing seasons; Antarctica (entering the autumn season) hits 70 degrees above average, while the Arctic hits 50 degrees above average (More)


> Archaeologists unveil five well-preserved, fully decorated tombs of ancient senior Egyptian officials; find is the latest in a string at the Saqqara Necropolis (More) | Inside the tombs of Saqqara (More)


> NASA's Space Launch System successfully rolled to Cape Canaveral launchpad for final test before uncrewed moon mission; craft will ultimately be used to return Americans to the moon (More)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets rise Friday (S&P 500 +1.2%, Dow +0.8%, Nasdaq +2.0%) closing out best week since November 2020 (More)


> US existing home sales declined 7.2% in February; median sale price of $357K is up 15% over February 2021 (More) | Credit reporting agencies to remove medical debt from consumer credit reports (More)


> General Motors to acquire additional equity position in Cruise, its majority-owned self-driving vehicle business, from SoftBank’s Vision Fund for $2.1B; GM will also invest $1.35B in new capital (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> UK COVID-19 infections rise again, driven by more infectious version of the omicron variant (More) | Everything to know about the BA.2 strain (More)


> Committee hearings begin for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson (More) | Justice Clarence Thomas hospitalized with flu-like symptoms, expected to be released in the coming days (More) | Rep. Don Young (R, AK-at large), the longest active member of Congress, dies at age 88 (More)


> At least six people dead, 40 others injured during celebration in town south of the Belgian capital of Brussels; investigators rule out terrorism (More)



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The sights and sounds from streets around the world


Home values are rising faster than salaries.


NASA's space-copter captures shots of the Martian desert


Documenting Africa's ancient baobab trees.


The National Zoo celebrates 50 years of pandas.


Bodycam footage captures the rescue of an injured bald eagle


A stunning (but foggy) shot of the Washington Monument.


What happens to your Bitcoin when you die?


Clickbait: Researchers pinpoint the world's most boring person.


Historybook: RIP Pocahontas (1617); Martin Luther King Jr. leads third and ultimately successful march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama (1965); The US announces boycott of Summer Olympics in Moscow (1980); HBD Twitter (2006).


"A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true."

- Martin Luther King Jr.

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