Mariupol, NBA Playoffs, and the World's Busiest Airports Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Tuesday, April 12, and we're covering the looming invasion in eastern Ukraine, the NBA play-ins, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

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Mariupol Death Toll

At least 10,000 civilians are believed to have been killed in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, officials said yesterday, with the true current death toll possibly surpassing 20,000. The extent of casualties has been difficult to confirm, with the besieged city having been mostly encircled by Russian forces for close to a month. 


The city's location, set on the southeastern coast of Ukraine along the Azov Sea (map here), has made it a key strategic target as Russia has refocused its war efforts. Its capture would link the separatist Donbas region with the Russia-controlled Crimean Peninsula. Read more on Mariupol's strategic importance here


Reports suggest Russia is preparing a full-scale assault on the region, with an 8-mile-long military convoy captured in satellite images. Officials say attacks could begin within days. 

NBA Playoffs Begin

The 2022 NBA Playoffs tip off tonight with the start of the league's dual four-team play-in tournaments. Instituted last season, the format allows the teams seeded seven through 10 in each conference to battle for the final two playoff spots on each side. See matchups and schedules here.


The full playoffs begin Saturday. Last year's runner-up, the Phoenix Suns, ran away with the league's best regular-season record (64-18) and enter as the top seed in the Western Conference. The Miami Heat (53-29) finished atop the tightly packed Eastern Conference, separated by only 10 wins from the 10th-place Charlotte Hornets. Oddsmakers project the Suns and the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks to meet once again in the finals.


Notably absent are the Los Angeles Lakers, led by LeBron James, following a season riddled by injury in which a roster of veteran stars failed to gel.


Get prepared for the playoffs with 75 things to know ahead of tipoff. 

Verdict in Killing of UK Lawmaker

A jury yesterday convicted 26-year-old Ali Harbi Ali for killing a British lawmaker in October. Sir David Amess, a member of the Conservative Party, was attending a constituent meeting in the town of Leigh-on-Sea, about 50 miles east of London, when Ali stabbed him to death. Amess, 69, had served the area in parliament for nearly four decades. 


Ali, who will be sentenced tomorrow, was also convicted of preparing for acts of terrorism. Since at least 2019, reports suggest Ali researched and planned for an attack on the Amess, who voted for airstrikes on Syria. Ali was previously referred to the UK's Prevent program (see overview), an effort meant to turn vulnerable people away from the risk of radicalization. But no formal investigation was carried out.


Amess's killing came five years after Labour Party member Jo Cox was killed in the run-up to a public meeting with constituents.

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with Public Rec

> "Cabaret" brings home seven wins at 2022 Olivier Awards, the British equivalent of the Tonys; "Back to the Future: The Musical" wins Best New Musical (More)


> Lerner family reportedly looking to sell Washington Nationals at a value of roughly $2B; Lerners bought the baseball franchise in 2006 for $450M (More)


> Atlanta Dream take Kentucky's Rhyne Howard with first overall pick in 2022 WNBA Draft (More) | See full draft results (More)

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Science & Technology

> Immunotherapy treatment shows promise against testicular and ovarian cancer, with more than 40% of patients in a small test pool showing significant tumor shrinkage (More) | How CAR-T works (More)


> New MRI technology allows researchers to create time-lapse images of how the living brain responds to different experiences (More)


> Engineered bacteria shown to help protect beneficial gut microbes from antibiotics; results may help limit post-treatment disorders and slow the spread of antibiotic resistance (More)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets fall (S&P 500 -1.7%, Dow -1.2%, Nasdaq -2.2%) as 10-year Treasury yield moves to highest figure since January 2019 (More) | Twitter shares up 2% after Elon Musk tells company he won’t join its board (More)


> Cisco Systems, Hilton, and Wegman’s Food Markets top Fortune’s annual list of the 100 best companies to work for (More) | Fortnite maker Epic Games raises $2B from Sony and owner of the Lego brand, valuing the company at $31.5B, to develop a kid-friendly metaverse (More


> Pacific Gas & Electric to pay over $55M to avoid criminal prosecution for California wildfires stemming from its power lines (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> Biden administration issues new regulations on ghost guns, firearms assembled at home from parts; kits will require background checks, serial numbers, among other rules (More)


> Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, becomes first major US city to reinstate mask mandates this spring, citing a rise in COVID-19 cases (More) | US COVID-19 cases rise to near 36,000 per day; hospitalizations, a lagging indicator, fall to lowest level since early in the pandemic (More)


> Pakistani parliament names Shehbaz Sharif to replace ousted Imran Khan, who lost a no-confidence vote over the weekend (More)



The Great Dismal Swamp

The Ringer | Lex Pryor. A marshy wetland in the coastal plain of southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina holds a dark history: the costs of slavery and the prices paid to resist it. (Read)

Creating the Commodore 64

IEEE Spectrum | Tekla S. Perry, Paul Wallich. (Read) The story of the engineers, the design, and the bold ideas behind the bestselling computer of all time.



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Returns as of 4/4/22

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Clickbait: A skunk pig in search of Cheetos goes on a joy ride


Historybook: RIP American Red Cross founder Clara Barton (1912); RIP Franklin D. Roosevelt (1945); HBD David Letterman (1947); Yuri Gagarin becomes first person in space (1961); RIP boxing great Joe Louis (1981).


"There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still."

- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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