Havana Hotel Blast, SpaceX Launch, and $50B Worth of Cocaine 1440 Weekend Edition

Good morning. It's Saturday, May 7, and in this weekend edition, we're covering an explosion at a historic hotel in Cuba's capital, a SpaceX launch, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected]

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PS—We wish all moms a happy Mother's Day tomorrow!



Havana Hotel Explosion

At least 22 people are dead and 74 injured after a massive explosion destroyed a historic luxury hotel in Havana, Cuba, yesterday. Preliminary investigations found the blast was most likely caused by a gas leak, according to the office of President Miguel Díaz-Canel. The explosion blew out the outer walls of at least three floors of the neoclassical style hotel, damaging nearby vehicles and causing a school to evacuate.


Hotel Saratoga is a five-star hotel in Old Havana (see 101), steps away from the Cuban Capitol. The building was originally built between 1879 and 1880 for warehouses before turning into the Hotel Saratoga in the 1930s. The 96-room hotel was regarded as the place to stay for visiting government officials and celebrities for some time before more hotels opened in the area. 


The hotel was scheduled to open Tuesday after being closed for two years due to the pandemic.


See photos of the aftermath here. See footage here.



Civilians evacuated as shelling intensifies at Mariupol steel plant.

Ukrainian troops who have been holed up in the Azovstal steel plant in the port city of Mariupol refused to surrender to Russian forces, who continued to shell the plant. Meanwhile, officials said about 500 people have been evacuated from the plant and nearby area.   


Indiana man charged with wife's murder wins township primary race.

Andrew Wilhoite is in prison without bond on charges of killing his wife, Elizabeth "Nikki" Wilhoite, and dumping her body in a creek. He is one of three winners in the Republican primary election for the Clinton Township Board in Indiana. 


SpaceX brings home four astronauts, launches satellites.

Three US astronauts and one German astronaut safely splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico Friday after completing a six-month mission. A few hours later, Elon Musk's SpaceX launched 53 internet satellites from the Kennedy Space Center.


US unemployment stayed steady in April.

The US unemployment rate remained at 3.6%, which is the lowest since the start of the pandemic and just above the half-century low of 3.5% in 2019. Employers added 428,000 jobs, and average hourly earnings grew 0.3%. 


Second City alum and character actor Mike Hagerty dies at 67.

Hagerty appeared on over 70 shows during his decadeslong career, including on television hits "Friends" and "Seinfeld." He most recently starred in the HBO comedy "Somebody, Somewhere." Hagerty would have celebrated his 68th birthday May 10. 


Major sports events line up this weekend.

The 2022 Kentucky Derby is today (6:57 pm ET, NBC), while Formula 1's new Miami Grand Prix race takes place Sunday (3:25 pm ET, ABC).  

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High school student invents a low-cost, mind-controlled prosthetic arm. (More)


Lo van Pham makes history as the NFL's first Asian American official. (More)


California condors return to northern coast redwoods after 130 years. (More)


Toronto Blue Jays fan catches Yankees home run ball, gives it to young New York fan in sweet moment. (More, w/video)


DoorDash food delivery driver saves Massachusetts woman's life. (More


Quebec man finds special note from 10-year-old Kansas boy attached to balloons that traveled 1,800 miles in the sky. (More


A 100-year-old New Jersey man breaks world record for 100-meter dash. (More)

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Today, we're sharing a story from reader Linda N. in Urbana, Ohio.


"My husband and I were doing self-checkout at the grocery. We finished scanning and then realized neither of us had brought our wallets! We were in a bit of panic when the young man at the next checkout came right over and stuck his card in our card scanner. We were praising him plus we felt embarrassed and his son said, 'Oh, dad does this all the time.' How awesome is that?"


What act(s) of kindness did you experience this week? Tell us your story.




> A Swiss coffee plant receives a mysterious shipment of $50B worth of cocaine
> Americans are expected to spend a total of $31.7B for Mother's Day.

> A woman buys a 2,000-year-old missing Roman bust for $34.99 at Goodwill



> How we spend our money.

A miniature menagerie of felted wildlife.

> Hamsters enjoying nature



> The history of cookies and how they shaped cultures. (w/photos)


> A San Francisco street in 1906, remastered in color.

> One day in the coldest village on earth.

> Where did cheese really come from?

The secret to making the perfect mirror.


Long Read 

> A doctor's struggle with giving up sugar.

> How to build the world's most realistic robot.


Best of the Week: Can you spot the copperhead in this photo?

Historybook: Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel patents dynamite in England (1867); Edwin H. Land, cofounder of Polaroid Corp. and inventor of instant photography, born (1909); Ishirō Honda, Japanese film director and cowriter of 1954 film Godzilla, born (1911); Sony Corp. founded by Ibuka Masaru and Morita Akio (1946).


"This is the most exciting part of being human. It is using our brains in the highest way. Otherwise, we are just healthy animals."

- Edwin H. Land

Why 1440? The printing press was invented in the year 1440, spreading knowledge to the masses and changing the course of history. Guess what else? There are 1,440 minutes in a day and every one is precious. That’s why we scour hundreds of sources every day to provide a concise, comprehensive, and objective view of what's happening in the world. Reader feedback is a gift—shoot us a note at [email protected].

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