5.6.2023

 

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Good morning. It's Saturday, May 6, and in this weekend edition, we're covering a potential shift in power in Bakhmut, a stronger-than-expected US jobs report, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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One Big Headline
 

Wagner Group Threatens Pullout

The head of a mercenary group leading Russia's fight in eastern Ukraine said yesterday its fighters will withdraw from the embattled town of Bakhmut next week after allegedly struggling to secure ammunition from military chiefs. The announcement from Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin, who leads the Wagner Group, comes ahead of Russia's World War II Victory Day May 9 and amid Ukraine's preparations for a counteroffensive. 

 

The Wagner Group is a private mercenary force (see overview), which has been leading the monthslong battle to take control of Bakhmut. Prigozhin said he would hand over fighting in the region to Russia's army Wednesday. Analysts have described the battle for Bakhmut as more symbolic than strategic and say it's unclear whether Prigozhin's announcement is considered a serious declaration of intent or an empty threat. The US has said nearly half of the estimated 20,000 Russian troops killed in Ukraine since December were Wagner fighters in Bakhmut. 

 

See a current map of occupied territory here

Quick Hits
 

Eight killed in Serbia's second mass shooting in two days.

The gunman was arrested early Friday after an all-night search. The attack took place in two villages Thursday night and left at least 14 other people injured. The incident came a day after a 13-year-old boy killed eight fellow classmates and a school guard in Serbia's capital of Belgrade. Serbia last experienced a mass shooting in 2013. 

 

WHO declares end to COVID-19 global health emergency.                

The World Health Organization's announcement yesterday comes more than three years after the emergency was first declared in January 2020. Officials said the pandemic had been on a downward trend for more than a year, with population immunity increasing, mortality decreasing, and pressures on health systems easing.

 

US economy adds 253,000 jobs in April, unemployment falls.

The nonfarm payroll growth is up from a revised growth of 165,000 in March and beats economist estimates of 180,000. The unemployment rate fell to 3.4%, down from 3.5% in March and below expectations of 3.6%. The unemployment rate is tied for the lowest level since 1969. Average hourly earnings rose 0.5% month-over-month and 4.4% year-over-year—both higher than expected. 

 

Biden names Neera Tanden to lead domestic policy council.

Tanden replaces Susan Rice, who is departing this month. President Joe Biden previously nominated Tanden to lead the Office of Management and Budget; she withdrew from consideration after failing to gain support from the Senate. Separately, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is stepping down from the agency.

 

Kentucky Derby trainer suspended after horse deaths.

Churchill Downs suspended trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. after two of his horses, Parents Pride and Chasing Artie, died in the past week. The cause of their deaths is unknown. Another horse, Lord Miles, has been scratched from the race following Joseph Jr.'s suspension. America's oldest major sporting event returns today; see the horses competing in the derby here.

 

Westminster Kennel Club dog show begins today in New York.

The show, hosted at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center this year, will feature 2,500 dogs from 210 different breeds. The best-in-show trophy will be presented Tuesday night.  

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Humankind
 

Pittsburgh Pirates' Drew Maggi makes Major League debut after playing more than 1,100 minor league games. (More)

 

Train conductor spots and saves young boy lost on the train tracks. (More

 

Younger brother sprints from the sidelines to cheer on track star sister. (More)

 

Great-grandmother fulfills 90th birthday wish to ride a Harley-Davidson, thanks to a biker gang. (More)

 

... and a 92-year-old achieves her dream of auditioning for the Radio City Rockettes decades after missing tryouts. (More

 

California man saves baby in stroller from rolling into oncoming traffic. (More)

From our partners: Free large canvas?! Bring beautiful photos from the camera roll to the living room, with CanvasPeople. They print your favorite images onto high-quality canvases, and today they're giving 1440 readers one free 16x20 canvas print (over $120 in value). Just pay S&H; create yours today!

Humankind(ness)
 

Today, we're sharing a story from reader Teresa G. in Tampa, Florida.

 

"I was working in the gift shop of the Marriott Hotel on Christmas Eve and a couple brought in a Christmas card that said they appreciated our employees giving up their Christmas Eve so that they could have a pleasant stay at the hotel. The card also had a $20 bill inside! How very thoughtful of them."

 

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

Etcetera
 

Bookkeeping

> Roughly 150,000 people are expected to attend the Kentucky Derby today, while an estimated 522,000 cans of beer, 142,000 hot dogs, and 120,000 mint juleps will be consumed. See more numbers here

> US Securities and Exchange Commission issues $279M award through its whistleblower program, the largest-ever in its history

 

Browse 

> Take a look at a snazzy fridge from the 1950s. (via Twitter)

> Hundreds of pounds of pasta mysteriously appear in the woods.

> Uber versus Lyft: Which is cheaper in each US state

Visualizing chairs out of fruits and vegetables

> A beer, a baby, and a baseball

 

Listen 

> The science of making—and keeping—friends.


Watch 

Why our ancestors didn't have crooked teeth

How used luxury watches became a $20B industry—and how to spot a fake.

> The invisible barrier dividing two distinct geographical worlds.

> Oldie but a goodie: Behind the scenes of Chili's Baby Back Ribs spot.

 

Long Read 

> The woman who saved the Statue of Liberty.

> Inside Denmark's secret nuclear bunker

Why inflation price hikes are worse behind bars.

> Ten unforgettable Kentucky Derby upsets.

 

Best of the Week: America's most expensive ZIP codes.

 

Historybook: Famed neurologist Sigmund Freud born (1856); Baseball great Willie Mays born (1931); Hindenburg disaster kills 36 (1937); Roger Bannister becomes first person to run a mile in under four minutes (1954); Actress and singer Marlene Dietrich dies (1992).

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- Sigmund Freud

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