Donbas Attack, Mask Mandate Blocked, and the Fenway Pizza Chucker Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Tuesday, April 19, and we're covering Russia's assault on the Donbas region, a mask mandate struck down, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].



Donbas Offensive Begins

Russia's expected full-scale offensive into Ukraine's Donbas region began yesterday, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Russia pivoted to the contested eastern region after failing to capture the capital of Kyiv, along with other major cities across the country. The front is said to stretch nearly 300 miles long. 


The mostly Russian-speaking region comprises a large chunk of southeastern Ukraine, lying along the Russian border (see overview). Since 2014, Ukrainian forces have fought pro-Russian militias, with separatists having gained control of the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk and forming self-proclaimed breakaway states. More than 14,000 people had been killed in the eight years of fighting before Russia's broader invasion in February.


In Mariupol, southwest of the Donbas region, Russian forces bombed the Azovstal steel mill after Ukrainian forces defied a Sunday ultimatum to lay down arms. The massive plant is believed to be the last pocket of resistance in the city. 


See updates on the war here.

Mask Mandate Blocked

A federal judge in Florida struck down the government's mask requirement for passengers on planes, trains, and other public transportation. US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exceeded its authority when it failed to sufficiently justify its decision for the mandate and didn't allow for a public comment period as is required for issuing new rules.


The ruling comes after the CDC last week extended its mask requirement through May 3, as COVID-19 case numbers have risen due to the BA.2 omicron variant. As of late yesterday, travel officials said they would stop enforcing the mandate.


In the US, the seven-day average for new cases is over 32,000 (see data). Meanwhile, Shanghai reported its first deaths from the latest outbreak in China after a nearly three-week lockdown. The three who died were elderly, had preexisting conditions, and were unvaccinated, the city said. 

Infowars Goes Bankrupt

Infowars and two other companies owned by radio host Alex Jones, Infowars Health and Prison Planet TV, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in southern Texas Sunday after he was found liable in several defamation lawsuits. Jones was sued in 2018 by some of the victims' families from the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting after he falsely claimed the massacre was a hoax. The filing will allow the businesses to continue operating while also pausing the pending civil litigation as the companies prepare turnaround plans (see 101).


The move comes after a settlement offer by Jones of $120K per family was rejected. A trial is set to begin in Connecticut in August to determine damages, while a related trial in Texas is set to begin later this month. Infowars reportedly cited assets less than $50K in the filing and estimated liabilities from $1M to $10M.


Separately, Jones is accused of hiding millions of dollars in assets in a new lawsuit filed by Sandy Hook families.

In partnership with StartEngine



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StartEngine has already raised $59M in its past five funding rounds, but it’s looking to raise more. Join the movement by investing as little as $500 today.

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with Our Place

> Kenyans Peres Jepchirchir and Evans Chebet win women's and men's titles at 126th Boston Marathon (More)


> DJ Kay Slay, pioneering hip-hop artist and longtime radio host, dies at 55 after monthslong battle with COVID-19 (More)


> Paramount settles lawsuit with CBS shareholders for $14.75M over the handling of sexual harassment allegations brought against former CBS chairman Les Moonves (More)

From our partners: We like cooking, and we like deals. So we know a good cookware deal when we see one. Today kicks off Our Place's annual Spring Super Sale, offering their best sales of the season on products like the Always Pan (it's always in use in our COO's kitchen), Perfect Pot, and everything else you need to cook, eat, and gather. They're sporting once-in-a-blue-moon prices, so head to their site fast before your favorite color is gone.

Science & Technology

> Federal court rules web scraping, or aggregating publicly available data from social media platforms and other sites, is legal; the decision impacts archivists, academic researchers, and others (More)


> Directed ultrasonic waves shown to largely destroy liver tumors in rats; the noninvasive technique allowed the animals' immune system to clear the remaining cancer cells (More)


> Smart home company Insteon abruptly shuts down, leaving thousands of customers with unusable connected devices; executives scrub LinkedIn profiles, offer no explanation for closure (More)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets fall (S&P 500 -0.02%, Dow -0.1%, Nasdaq -0.1%) as investors continue to weigh earnings season results (More) | Sources say Apollo Global has held Twitter buyout financing discussions (More)


> Johnson & Johnson to pay $99M to West Virginia to settle claims it helped fuel the opioid crisis (More)


> Compensation of top 100 CEOs up 31% over 2020 to median of $20M (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> More than 40 people arrested as dayslong protests in Sweden over public Quran burnings by a far-right political group turn violent (More)


> Jury deadlocked in murder trial of Dr. William Husel, accused of murdering 14 end-of-life patients via fentanyl overdoses; judge instructs jurors to continue deliberations (More) | See case overview (More)


> Late spring nor'easter set to drop up to a foot of snow in some areas of the US Northeast, with precipitation lasting through tonight (More)



The Lights Are Alive

BBC Future | Peter Yeung. Dozens of organisms, from deep-sea fish to fireflies, emit light through bioluminescence. But can towns and cities harness their power to light up their streets? (Read)

The Fenway Pizza Chucker

ESPN | Ryan Hockensmith. How Dan Kelly launched a slice of pizza at a fellow Red Sox fan in 2007 and became infamous for the greatest throw in MLB history. (Read)



In partnership with StartEngine


StartEngine’s not only an equity crowdfunding platform. It’s also an investment opportunity for you to participate in the growth of equity crowdfunding. StartEngine is advised by experts, like "Shark Tank’s" Mr. Wonderful, and Howard Marks, who heads up StartEngine, and cofounded Activision, which was purchased last year by Microsoft for $70B. Talk about a track record of success.


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*This regulation A+ offering is made available through startengine crowdfunding, inc. Startengine is not currently accepting investments from Washington or Texas. This investment is speculative, illiquid, and involves a high degree of risk, including the possible loss of your entire investment.  For more information please see the offering circular and risk related to this offering. KEVIN O’LEARY IS A PAID SPOKESPERSON FOR STARTENGINE. READ THE 17-B DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

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Mapping immigration by country.


The quietest parks in America.


Artist arranges fallen flora into animals and insects.


Fatou, the world's oldest gorilla, turns 65.


A 10-foot-long alligator takes a stroll through a Florida community.


... and two bears wrestle it out on a trampoline


UCF football players will don custom QR codes.


Waste expert answers your burning questions about garbage.


Clickbait: Sniff testing vehicles for the "new car smell."


Historybook: Battles of Lexington and Concord begin the American Revolutionary War (1775); RIP Charles Darwin (1882); Boston Marathon held for first time (1897); HBD actress Ashley Judd (1968); Oklahoma City bombing kills 168 (1995).


"The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man."

- Charles Darwin

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