EU Gas Deal, Saudi Arabia Attack, and a Pink Grasshopper 1440 Weekend Edition

Good morning. It's Saturday, March 26, and in this weekend edition, we're covering an agreement between the EU and the US on gas imports, a Yemeni rebel attack in Saudi Arabia, and much more. Have feedback? We'd love to hear it. Let us know at [email protected]

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US to Boost Gas to Europe

The US and the European Union reached a deal yesterday to help reduce Europe's reliance on Russian fossil fuels. The US and other countries will increase liquefied natural gas exports to the EU market by at least 15 billion cubic meters this year. That's about 10% of the 155 billion cubic meters Russia supplied to the EU in 2021. 


The West is trying to sever its dependence on Russian fossil fuels as part of sanctions on the Kremlin for invading Ukraine. The US banned Russian energy imports, but Europe has found it harder to do so as Russia supplies about 40% of its gas needs. The EU has aims to end Russian fossil fuel imports by 2027. 

The deal's announcement came before President Joe Biden left Brussels to travel to Poland, where he was briefed on humanitarian efforts on the ground. Today, Biden will meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda to discuss the refugee crisis. Poland has taken in more than 2 million Ukrainian refugees (see breakdown).


Meanwhile, Russia's invasion of Ukraine entered a second month, with Ukraine taking back towns in Kyiv's eastern outskirts. Russia has also lost full control of Kherson, the first major Ukrainian city its forces had captured, according to the Pentagon. Separately, Ukrainian authorities said about 300 people were killed in last week's theater attack in Mariupol. See latest developments here



Yemeni rebels strike oil facility in Saudi Arabia. 

Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels attacked the oil depot in the city of Jiddah Friday, igniting a fire. The strike came ahead of Saudi Arabia's second-ever Formula One race, which takes place Sunday.


Israel to host three Arab diplomats in historic meeting.

The foreign ministers of Bahrain, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates will meet for the first time in Israel for a two-day summit Sunday. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will also attend. Israel signed peace deals with the Arab nations in 2020.


EU regulators agree to new rules to crack down on big tech.  

The proposal, known as the Digital Markets Act, aims to strengthen competition in the digital economy. Its provisions include restrictions for using personal data and prohibitions on bundling services. The proposal has yet to pass. 


Microplastics discovered in human blood for the first time.

Scientists in the Netherlands analyzed blood samples from 22 anonymous donors and found 17 of them had plastic particles. About half contained PET plastic, often found in water bottles. The amount of plastic particles in each donor varied.


New male birth control pill found to be 99% effective in mice.

University of Minnesota researchers concluded the finding after administering the contraceptive pill orally to mice for four weeks. The male mice were able to reproduce after four to six weeks off the pill. No observable side effects were noted.

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> $25B: The cost of building London's newest railway line, which stretches 60 miles across the city and took 13 years to construct. The line, called the Elizabeth, will open to the public in June.


~52 million: The estimated number of Americans who earn less than $15 per hour. That's about a third of the US workforce, according to a new report. See an interactive state-by-state breakdown here


$4.8M: The amount of money a former HP executive admitted she stole from the computer company to buy luxury cars, jewelry, watches, and more. Shelbee Szeto, 30, pleaded guilty to wire fraud, money laundering, and a related tax charge.


> ~$2.4M: The selling price of a copy of the first-ever Marvel comic book published in 1939. The book is a "pay copy," which includes the publisher's handwritten notes to track payments owed to contributing illustrators and writers.  


> $1.1M: The amount of money two 20-year-olds collected from investors for a fraudulent NFT project. The Department of Justice charged the two men with fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. 



> Baltimore Museum of Art debuts an exhibit curated by its security guards. (More)


> A Russian journalist will auction off his 2021 Nobel Peace Prize medal to raise money for the Ukrainian Refugee Fund. (More)

> Three firefighters and their families welcome baby boys within a 24-hour period. (More)


> A young girl is reunited with a stuffed bunny she left behind at an airport. (More


> A 101-year-old man finally receives his high school diploma. (More)


A father-daughter duo takes self-portraits every day for two years. (More)


> How two pen pals fell in love at the top of the Empire State Building. (More)

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Dear readers, last week we asked about your stories of kindness. Today, we're sharing one from Russ H. in Tampa, Florida. 


"A couple of weeks ago, while my wife and I were babysitting our 2-year-old granddaughter, Sydney, I suffered a kidney stone. I tried to tough it out for an hour or so, but ended up lying in bed writhing in pain. Little Sydney found me and asked, 'Papa K?' I tried to reassure her by saying I wasn't OK right then, but I would be OK.


Soon after, my wife and I decided I needed to go to hospital, but we didn't have a child's safety seat for Sydney, so we called 911. As they were wheeling me through the living room, my wife was there holding little Sydney on her arm, and seeing me in so much agony, my wife started to cry. Little Sydney, seeing my wife's distress, reached over to pat my wife's chest and say, 'Gamma, Papa K.'


I think it is a consequence of her upbringing by our son and daughter-in-law in an atmosphere of caring and love as well as Sydney's own innate sense of kindness that made her want to reassure her grandmother that Papa would be OK. I cherish that moment. It gives me hope for this world."


What act(s) of kindness did you experience this week? Tell us your story.




A man stumbles upon a rare pink grasshopper

> A $1.5M house resembles Snow White's home.

When a child thinks a classmate's name is "Internet."



Separating fact from fiction: Is corporate greed driving inflation?


> Inside Mozambique's abandoned luxury hotel.

> How realistic animatronics are made for movies and TV.

An energetic cockatoo bops to the beat.  


Long Read 

> The queen of crime-solving and her fears about the forensic industry

> How a Swedish company built a billion-dollar caller ID data empire in India.


Best of the Week: Most popular plastic surgery trends of 2022


 Reader Survey  Are you transitioning back to working at the office (or have you already)? We want to know how you feel about it—Share your thoughts here.

Historybook: RIP poet Walt Whitman (1892); HBD Sandra Day O'Connor, first female US Supreme Court justice (1930); HBD journalist Bob Woodward, known for reporting on Watergate scandal (1943); HBD singer Diana Ross (1944); Bangladesh declares independence from Pakistan (1971). 


"We don't accomplish anything in this world alone ... and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one's life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something."

- Sandra Day O'Connor

Why 1440? The printing press was invented in the year 1440, spreading knowledge to the masses and changing the course of history. Guess what else? There are 1,440 minutes in a day and every one is precious. That’s why we scour hundreds of sources every day to provide a concise, comprehensive, and objective view of what's happening in the world. Reader feedback is a gift—shoot us a note at [email protected].

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