Russian Ultimatum, Israel Tensions, and Smartphone Radiation Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Monday, April 18, and we're covering a possible final stand in Mariupol, escalating tensions in Israel, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].



Mariupol Ultimatum 

Ukrainian forces in the southern port city of Mariupol defied a Russian ultimatum yesterday to lay down their arms, sources say. The offer reportedly would've allowed safe passage to roughly 2,500 soldiers holding out at the Azovstal steel plant in the eastern part of the city. The massive mill covers roughly 4 square miles and is believed to be the last major pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the city. 


The capture of Mariupol would mark the most significant gain for Russia after a series of successive setbacks. Analysts say it would allow additional Russian forces to turn their attention to what is expected to be a significant assault on the contested Donbas region (see overview), which sits to the northeast.  


Mariupol has been blockaded and under siege for weeks, and city officials estimate at least 10,000 civilians have been killed during the fighting, though the figure has not been confirmed. 


See updates on the broader war here.

Jerusalem Clashes Continue

At least 17 Palestinians were injured yesterday after Israeli police were required to help clear a path for Jewish worshippers at one of the country's most revered religious sites. The clashes unfolded at the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism; the hill is also home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, generally considered the third holiest site in Islam. More than 150 Palestinians were injured Friday after police broke up crowds reportedly throwing objects near the prayer area of the Western Wall. 


The violence is the latest escalation in the country in recent weeks, which includes a series of shootings in Israeli cities and resultant raids that left at least a dozen dead on either side.


The region suffered extended violence last year amid an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. See background on the long-running conflict. 

Vitale Rings the Bell

Legendary basketball analyst Dick Vitale has been declared free of cancer following months of chemotherapy treatments. In August, the 82-year-old Vitale announced he was undergoing operations to remove melanoma and shortly after revealed he had been diagnosed with lymphoma. 


The basketball Hall of Famer, who began broadcasting college basketball games more than four decades ago, missed the majority of the season after undergoing throat surgery. Vitale has previously said he hopes to be back for the 2022-23 season—watch him ring the bell at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. 


Separately, the full NBA postseason tipped off over the weekend, punctuated by a dramatic finish by the Boston Celtics in Game 1 against the Brooklyn Nets. See a full bracket here.

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Art Rupe, record executive and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, dies at 104 (More) | Liz Sheridan, actress known for "Seinfeld" and "ALF," dies at 93 (More)


> Oklahoma edges Florida to win its fifth NCAA women's gymnastics national title (More) | ... and Stanford wins its third straight men's championship (More)


> Cincinnati Reds rookie Hunter Greene throws 39 pitches over 100 mph in a single game, the most since pitch-tracking records began in 2008 (More) | The 126th Boston Marathon to be held today (More)

Science & Technology

> NASA to roll back its Space Launch System after issues during wet rehearsal for further testing; the craft, to be used in future moon missions, is scheduled for an uncrewed summer launch (More) | Explore the SLS (More)


> Scientists identify single molecule linking bacterial exposure to the triggering of a severe form of asthma (More)


> Researchers create a cell atlas for a key region of the brain involved in reinforcing addictive behaviors; may help lead to new treatments for substance abuse disorders (More)

Business & Markets

In partnership with NowRx

> Biden administration to resume selling leases for energy drilling on 144,000 acres of federal land (More)


> Steinway & Sons files for initial public offering; piano maker posted $538M in sales and $59M profit last year (More)


> Average US tax refund to date—$3,175—is up 10% over 2020 as Americans file for today’s deadline (More)

From our partners: Tech-powered pharmacy experts expand to telehealth. NowRx—best known for free same day medication delivery thanks to their proprietary software—continues to expand. While disrupting the $480B pharmacy industry, they've boasted double-digit annual growth, incredible customer reviews, and $26M+ annualized revenue as of 2021. And last year, they launched a telehealth program, which has already grown over 1,200%. Learn how you can invest in NowRx Series C shares for a limited time.

Politics & World Affairs

> The US sees three mass shootings in three days, two in South Carolina and one in Pittsburgh; violence left two dead and a total of 31 injured, each attributed to personal conflicts or altercations (More)


> Death toll rises to more than 440 in historic South African floods, with 41,000 people affected and thousands of homes destroyed (More) | See aerial footage of damage (More)


> Symptomatic COVID-19 cases in Shanghai continue to hit new highs despite strict lockdown (More) | Anonymous reports contradict government's claim of zero COVID-19 deaths in the city (More) | See US COVID-19 stats (More)



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"The important thing is not to stop questioning."

- Albert Einstein

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