4.29.2022

GDP Drop, Ukraine Aid, and the Most-Clicked Stories of April Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Friday, April 29, and we're covering a sharp reversal in GDP growth, a big request for Ukraine aid, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

NEED TO KNOW

 

US GDP Shrinks

The US economy shrank at a 1.4% annualized rate in the first three months of the year, according to figures released yesterday. The downturn marked the weakest period since the onset of the pandemic two years ago, and signaled a sharp reversal from the 6.9% annualized growth seen in the fourth quarter of last year.

 

Analysts pointed to a number of factors contributing to the drop—January's omicron COVID-19 wave, high inflation, the war in Ukraine, a decrease in fixed business investment, a widening trade deficit, and more. A drop in defense spending, along with the ramp-down of pandemic-era stimulus seen in 2021, also contributed to the slowdown. Despite the decline, many experts pointed to a 2.7% increase in consumer spending as a reason for optimism.

 

The effects of expected interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve in the coming months, an attempt to combat inflation, remain to be seen. 

Biden's Ukraine Ask

President Joe Biden requested roughly $33B yesterday from Congress to aid Ukraine in its fight against Russia. The ask would provide an estimated five months of military and economic support and comes on top of $13.6B provided by the US last month. The timeline for congressional consideration was not immediately clear.

 

In related news, Germany has reportedly dropped its opposition to a ban on Russian oil imports coming into the European Union, paving the way for a full ban. Russia would still account for about 40% of the EU's natural gas imports. 

 

Meanwhile, Ukraine laid out its first specific accusations of war crimes committed by Russian troops, accusing 10 soldiers of the torture and murder of civilians in the town of Bucha. The claims came as Russia intensified shelling of the eastern Donbas region, with sources suggesting President Vladimir Putin wants to overtake the strategic region in time for the country's May 9 Victory Day celebrations, which marks the defeat of Nazi Germany in Europe in 1945. 

 

Separately, read how Ukrainians flooded their own towns to thwart early Russian advances.

Children's COVID-19 Vaccines

Moderna formally requested emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 6 months to 6 years, which would make it the first shot available for children under the age of 5. Trial data showed the young patients showed a similar immune system response as young adults who received two doses. 

 

The trials involved roughly 6,700 participants who received two doses, each a quarter of a regular dose. Data showed the vaccine reduced symptomatic cases by 43.7% in children aged 6 months to 2 years and 37.5% in children aged 2 to 6 years. It is unclear how many will be vaccinated in the age group; only 28% of children 5 to 11 years old are fully vaccinated. Roughly 13 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in those aged 18 and under.

 

In the US, the seven-day rolling average of newly reported cases is just above 52,000 per day (see data). Meanwhile, residents in Beijing began taking mandatory COVID-19 tests as a rising number of cases have invoked fears of a Shanghai-like lockdown.

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IN THE KNOW

 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Jacksonville Jaguars take University of Georgia defensive end Travon Walker as top pick in NFL Draft (More) | See full round one results (More)

 

> "Schitt's Creek," which broke Emmy Award records in 2020, to move from Netflix to Hulu this fall (More) | Snapchat unveils Pixy, a handheld drone for taking selfies (More)

 

> NHL's regular season largely concludes tonight, with a final rescheduled game Sunday; Stanley Cup playoffs begin Monday night (More

Science & Technology

> Research balloon reveals sign of an atmospheric sound channel in the sky, transmitting acoustics detectable hundreds of miles from an event (More) | Read about SOFAR, a similar phenomenon under the ocean surface (More)

 

> Device sets record for largest vertical jump at close to 100 feet upward, higher than known machine or organism; advance expected to help next-generation robots navigate environments (More)

 

> Large-scale study of pet dogs reveals an individual animal's breed has little to do with its personality; researchers say modern breeds have become disconnected from evolutionary behaviors (More)

Business & Markets

In partnership with 800º GO

> US stock markets bounce back (S&P 500 +2.5%, Dow +1.9%, Nasdaq +3.1%) led by Big Tech gains (More)

 

> Amazon shares drop near 10% in after-hours trading after posting first quarterly loss since 2015 and slowing revenue growth (More)

 

> Apple beats earnings expectations, but warns revenue could be impacted by ongoing chip shortages, shares down in after-hours trading (More) | Twitter misses revenue targets but surpasses earnings expectations, posts stronger than expected user growth (More

From our partners: Invest in the future of pizza. The US pizza market is expected to reach $54B by 2023, and pizzerias need to adapt to keep up with growing demand. Enter 800º GO–the fully automated robotic pizzeria pod that cooks up fresh artisanal pizza in just 3 minutes. Thanks to low operating costs and a compact 40 sqft model, 800º GO pods can double the profit margins of traditional pizzerias. Now you can get a slice of this company's growth potential. Invest before their round closes on May 4!

Politics & World Affairs

> FDA advances ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, arguing the move would lower smoking-related deaths; menthols represent a third of cigarettes sold each year, with total sales near $20B annually (More)

 

> Oklahoma legislature approves fetal heartbeat abortion bill, barring the procedure after roughly six weeks; Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) expected to sign the bill, which is likely to face legal challenges (More)

 

> China reports first known case of the H3N8 strain of avian flu in humans; officials say the risk of human-to-human transmission is low (More)

IN-DEPTH

 

How Musk Won Twitter

Wired UK | Chris Stokel-Walker. How Elon Musk's bid unfolded, and a guess at what may come next. (Read)

Clear Skies

Kite & Key | Staff. After a decade in which the industry was on the brink of a crisis, America drove a revolution in airline safety. (Watch)

The Death Chamber's Doctor

The State | Chiara Eisner. Prison physicians assisting in executions must navigate professional duties and personal and ethical quandaries. (Read)

30,000 HAPPY SMILES

 

In partnership with Remi

 

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Remi's "Warby Parker approach" has made it easy to get a custom-fit professional night guard without leaving home, and for only $129—which is 75% less than the average dentist. See why over 30,000 happy customers have chosen Remi. Take advantage of a 30-day satisfaction guarantee and 20% off with code NOSTRESS to enjoy a better night's sleep, risk-free.

Please support our sponsors!

ETCETERA—Best of April 2022

 

Editor's note: More than 5 million monthly clicks can't be wrong. Here are the most popular stories we ran in April. Enjoy!

 

(4/23/22) Ranking the best fast food in America.

 

(4/6/22) Get used to the triple peak day.

 

(4/18/22) How much radiation is your smartphone emitting?

 

(4/8/22) A haunting shot tops this year's World Press Photos.

 

(4/13/22) Bizarre Alaskan clouds spark conspiracy theories.

 

(4/9/22) Endearing letter found in a church pew 125 years later

 

(4/21/22) What to listen to if you want to focus.

 

(4/6/22) Construction is completed on the world's skinniest skyscraper.

 

(4/2/22) Census data from 1950 are released

 

(4/25/22) Visualizing who we spend time with as we age.

 

(4/20/22) A stunning shot of five galaxies merging.

 

(4/26/22) Live giant squid washes ashore in Japan. (w/video)

 

(4/14/22) Fascinating 3D animation shows how Romans built roads.

 

(4/25/22) Clickbait: Meet the new mayor of Hell.

 

Historybook: Jazz legend Duke Ellington born (1899); HBD singer-songwriter Willie Nelson (1933); RIP film director Alfred Hitchcock (1980); Los Angeles riots begin following acquittal of police officers in the beating of Rodney King (1992); Prince William and Kate Middleton get married (2011).

 

"A problem is a chance for you to do your best."

- Duke Ellington

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