Russia Eyes Odesa, Iowa Tornadoes, and Georgia's Spider Spread Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Monday, March 7, and we're covering cease-fire struggles in Ukraine, devastating tornadoes in Iowa, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].



Russia Eyes Odesa

A limited cease-fire in Ukraine meant to evacuate residents from the port city of Mariupol collapsed twice over the weekend, officials said, as Russian shelling continued to intensify across the country. As of this morning, a 40-mile-long Russian convoy remained stalled outside the capital of Kyiv.


Officials say Russia is preparing to bomb the Black Sea port city of Odesa, Ukraine's third-largest city and home to more than 1 million residents. Separately, Russia took control of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, the largest nuclear plant in Europe.


United Nations officials said more than 360 civilian deaths had been confirmed, though the number is likely higher (Ukraine claims at least 2,000 people have died). US officials yesterday said they were compiling evidence of potential war crimes by Russian troops. Meanwhile, an estimated 1.5 million refugees have fled the country. 


In Russia, more than 4,300 protesters were arrested during antiwar demonstrations yesterday, the highest single-day total during the conflict so far. In the US, officials are considering a three-way deal involving Poland to send old fighter jets for the Ukrainian military to use.


See maps and updates here, along with photos from the 11th day of the war.

6 Million Deaths

The number of reported global deaths attributed to COVID-19 passed 6 million overnight, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The symbolic mark was surpassed just days shy of the two-year anniversary of the declaration of a global pandemic March 11, 2020. See data here.


The US accounts for roughly 16% of total reported deaths, followed by Brazil (10%), India (9%), Russia (6%), and Mexico (5%). 


More than 445 million total cases have been reported. Experts say both cases and deaths are undercounted due to poor reporting in many areas. Excess death estimates suggest a true death toll (paywall, Economist) ranging from 14 million to 23.5 million. 


Meanwhile, the number of new cases reported in the US continues to fall, dropping below 50,000 per day. See updated stats here.


Finally, a trucker convoy protesting COVID-19-related restrictions arrived in Washington, DC, yesterday. Officials said the vehicles circled the Capital Beltway twice before departing without incident.

Iowa Tornadoes

At least seven people were killed, including two children, and a number of others injured after tornadoes ripped through central Iowa Saturday. Six of the victims were killed after a twister touched down near the town of Winterset, roughly 20 miles southwest of Des Moines. Estimated as an EF3 system (see overview) with wind gusts above 136 mph, it marked the deadliest tornado in the state since 2008. 


Between 25 and 30 homes were destroyed, with the storms dropping baseball-sized hail in some areas. At least 10,000 customers lost power, with the Des Moines airport temporarily shutting down and requiring travelers to shelter in place. The outbreak was rare for early March—the state's tornado season typically peaks in June. 


See footage from the ground here.

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with CanvasPeople

> "The Batman" hauls in $128M at the North American box office, only the second pandemic-era film to top $100M in its opening weekend (More) | Netflix shuts down in Russia (More)


> China, Ukraine, and Canada top Beijing Winter Paralympics medal table (More) | Australian cricket legend Shane Warne dies at 52 of suspected heart attack (More)


> WNBA star Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia since February over hashish oil in her luggage, according to report (More) | Mike Krzyzewski coaches final home game at Duke after 42 years, falls to North Carolina 94-81 (More)

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Science & Technology

> Hacker extortion group Lapsus$ releases trove of internal data and source code stolen from Samsung (More) | Same group threatens to release data stolen from hardware-maker Nvidia unless the company removes crypto mining caps on its processing units (More)


> Researchers develop DNA test capable of screening for markers for more than 50 genetic diseases in a single pass; approach significantly cuts down diagnosis and testing time for patients (More)


> New stegosaurus species discovered in China; the 165-million-year-old fossil believed to be the oldest stegosaurus specimen found to date (More)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets fall Friday (S&P 500 -0.8%, Dow -0.5%, Nasdaq -1.7%) as investors continue to weigh Ukraine; Dow sees fourth consecutive weekly decline (More) | Average US gas price tops $4 per gallon for first time since 2008 (More)


> Visa and Mastercard to suspend operations in Russia (More) | Google pauses ad sales in Russia (More)


> Sony and Honda to set up joint venture, aim to start selling electric vehicles by 2025 (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> At least 63 people killed and more than 200 injured following a suicide bombing at a Shiite Muslim mosque in Pakistan; attack claimed by Islamic State affiliate group (More)


> Florida wildfires burn through more than 10,000 acres along the state's panhandle, continue to grow in size (More)


> Vice President Kamala Harris joins other officials in Selma, Alabama, to mark the 57th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday bridge crossing (More) | How footage of the event was a turning point in the civil rights movement (More)



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Photos of Ukrainian life across the decades.


... and explaining Russia's oligarchs.


Alaska's famed Iditarod race begins.


Netflix launches new daily trivia game.


Get outside in 2022 with the year's best hikes.


Los Angeles mega-mansion sells for $141M.


Australian scientists want to bring back the Tasmanian tiger.


Giant invasive spiders to spread across Georgia.


Clickbait: Denver thief makes off with a box of human heads.


Historybook: Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone (1876); HBD actor Bryan Cranston (1956); Bloody Sunday as 600 civil rights protesters attacked by police in Selma, Alabama (1965); HBD actress Rachel Weisz (1970); RIP Stanley Kubrick (1999).


"However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light."

- Stanley Kubrick

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