NOLA Tornado, Navalny Sentence, and Peak Cherry Blossom Bloom Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Wednesday, March 23, and we're covering severe weather in the South, a longer sentence for a Russian opposition leader, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].



Tornado Hits New Orleans

A tornado touched down in New Orleans late last night, killing one person, destroying dozens of homes, and knocking out power to thousands. The twister spawned from a system that left a trail of destruction through Texas and Oklahoma Monday. More than 50 million people spent the night under a severe weather advisory across the southern US as storms pummeled the region. 


In Texas, one person was killed and 10 people injured Monday, while almost 20,000 homes remained without power this morning. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) declared a severe weather disaster in 16 counties yesterday. The system moved eastward overnight, bringing additional tornadoes, flooding, large hail, and damaging winds across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and elsewhere. The storm is expected to move across the Carolinas and up to parts of Virginia today. 


Watch footage of a truck being tossed around by a Texas tornado Monday before miraculously escaping. 

Navalny Gets More Time

A Russian court yesterday convicted opposition leader Alexei Navalny of fraud and sentenced him to nine years in a maximum-security prison. Navalny, 45, an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is already serving a 2.5-year sentence for a parole violation over earlier fraud charges. The new conviction follows a yearslong government crackdown on Navalny’s supporters and other activist groups, whom Russia has labeled as extremists and terrorists.


Navalny’s new sentence is related to charges of embezzling money that he and his Anti-Corruption Foundation raised over the years. He was also convicted of contempt of court for insulting a judge in a previous trial and has been ordered to pay a fine of 1.2M rubles (about $11K). In 2020, Navalny was poisoned with a nerve agent he claims was an attack from the Kremlin. 


Meanwhile, Ukraine said it retook Kyiv's western suburb of Makariv as fighting in southeastern Mariupol intensified on the 27th day of Russia's invasion of the country. Makariv is a strategic territory for Ukraine as it includes a key highway to block Russian forces from surrounding Kyiv from the northwest. 


Separately, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will deliver an address to Japan's parliament today as part of efforts to gain international support. 


See map updates on the invasion here.

Trudeau Stays in Power

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced yesterday his Liberal Party has reached a deal with the New Democratic Party to secure his minority government until 2025. The NDP agreed to support the Liberal Party on shared objectives, including the federal budget and other confidence votes, giving Trudeau the majority needed for his entire four-year term. Trudeau promised to move on several issues in exchange, including a universal prescription drug program and phasing out public funding for fossil fuels, among others.


The news comes after a series of snap elections in recent years. Trudeau won reelection in September but did not win the 170-seat majority in parliament. The relatively rare “supply and confidence” agreement gives the Liberal Party 184 votes in the 338-seat House of Commons.


Two of the primary opposition groups—the Conservative Party and the Bloc Quebecois—criticized the deal. The NDP said they will continue to oppose the Liberal Party when necessary.

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> Tennis world No. 1 Ash Barty announces retirement at the age of 25; Barty; the surprise decision comes two months after Barty won the Australian Open (More)


> Judge terminates actress Amanda Bynes' conservatorship after nine years (More) | "Sex and the City" reboot "And Just Like That..." tapped for second season at HBO Max (More)


> Metallica, Dua Lipa, J. Cole, and Green Day among headliners announced for 2022 Lollapalooza (July 28-31); see full festival lineup of more than 170 acts (More)

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Science & Technology

> Breakthrough COVID-19 hospitalizations found to be rare (less than one in 1,000 cases) for both fully vaccinated patients and patients who previously tested positive, large-scale Mayo Clinic study suggests (More) | What to know about natural and vaccine-induced immunity (More)


> In medical first, new brain implant allows patient suffering from locked-in syndrome to communicate with family and doctors via thoughts; condition, often arising from neurodegenerative diseases, leaves fully conscious patients unable to move or speak (More)


> Hacker group Lapsus$ claims to have released 37GB of stolen data, including source codes to major Microsoft products, such as Bing and Cortana (More)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets bounce back (S&P 500 +1.1%, Dow +0.7%, Nasdaq +2.0%) after Monday’s losses (More) | Tesla shares up 8% after opening its first European factory outside Berlin (More)


> Sandbox—quantum technology group of Alphabet (Google)—to spin-off into independent company—raises nine figures of funding (More) | Crypto investor and former federal prosecutor Katie Haun raises $1.5B for crypto VC funds (More)


> Chinese real estate conglomerate Evergrande delays earnings release, says banks have seized $2B in cash held by a subsidiary (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> Committee hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson wraps day two, see highlights here (More) | See background on Jackson and the process (More)


> Couy Griffin, "Cowboys for Trump" founder, found guilty of entering restricted grounds, not guilty of disorderly conduct; Griffin was the second defendant to stand trial on charges linked to Jan. 6 storming of the US Capitol (More


> Portuguese island of Sao Jorge records more than 1,800 small-scale earthquakes over 72-hour period; officials say tremors may be a precursor to volcanic activity (More)



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Livestream the peak cherry blossom bloom.


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Historybook: Patrick Henry delivers "Give me liberty, or give me death!" speech (1775); Sir Roger Bannister, first person to run a sub-four-minute mile, born (1929); RIP Elizabeth Taylor (2011); Suez Canal blocked for six days by container ship Ever Given (2021).


"There is no deodorant like success."

- Elizabeth Taylor

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