4.12.2023

 

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Good morning. It's Wednesday, April 12, and we're covering a deadly airstrike in Myanmar, a volcano eruption in far east Russia, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Myanmar Military Attack

At least 50 people, including civilians, were killed in central Myanmar early Tuesday after the nation's military junta launched an airstrike on an antigovernment ceremony outside the city of Mandalay, the nation's second-largest. Members of the People's Defense Force—the armed wing of the opposition, prodemocracy National Unity Government—were opening a local office in Pa Zi Gyi village when fighter jets attacked.

 

Myanmar—also known as Burma—has been fighting one of the world's longest-running civil wars, a conflict driven by the country's nearly 100 ethnic minorities (see background). Despite a brief period of multiparty democracy last decade, a coup in 2021 returned the southeastern Asian country to military rule, prompting lawmakers from jailed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party to form an alternative government, which today reportedly controls almost half of the country's territory. 

 

The junta has promised to hold elections in August of this year after extending a February 2021 state of emergency for the third time. 

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Volcano Erupts in Russia

One of Russia's most active volcanoes erupted early Tuesday, sending clouds of ash and smoke more than 65,000 feet in the sky and covering about 41,700 square miles of nearby towns in dust—an area larger than the state of Kentucky.

 

The Shiveluch volcano in the country's far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula erupted just after midnight local time. Scientists described the eruption as the biggest in 60 years. Officials said the lava flows were unlikely to reach villages and mass evacuations weren't necessary. No casualties were reported. See footage of the eruption here.

 

The peninsula, home to around 300,000 people, extends into the Pacific Ocean and lies northeast of Japan. It sits on the Ring of Fire—an area defined by multiple tectonic plate boundaries responsible for 75% of the world's volcanoes and 90% of its earthquakes. The Kamchatka Peninsula is one of the world’s most concentrated areas of geothermal activity, with over 150 volcanoes, including 29 active ones (see 101).

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New Wave of Iranian Poisonings

New cases of suspected poisonous-gas attacks on mainly girls’ schools in Iran emerged this week, following a wave of incidents in recent months. At least a dozen attacks were reported yesterday throughout the country. 

 

Thousands of students have reportedly been affected by similar incidents since the first cases were reported in November, with at least 26 schools being affected on a single day in March. Students have reported symptoms such as respiratory problems, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. See our previous write-up here and see a visual breakdown of the suspected poisonings here.  

 

The news comes weeks after Iran announced the arrest of more than 100 people in connection with the poisoning incidents. Iranian officials suggest the incidents may be a deliberate effort to prevent girls from receiving an education. However, the exact chemicals causing the symptoms remain unclear.

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Editor's note: In yesterday's write-up on the shooting at a Louisville bank, we said the attack was the country's "15th mass shooting [of the year]—where four or more are shot or killed, excluding the shooter ..." This should be corrected to say "where four or more are shot and killed." See a database of such attacks by year here.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> Brittney Griner to pen memoir about her 10-month arrest and incarceration in Russia; book is slated for a spring 2024 release (More)

> HBO Max and Discovery Plus to merge into new Max streaming service (More) | Al Jaffee, influential cartoonist known for work with Mad magazine, dies at 102 (More)

> Manchester City and Inter Milan win first leg matches at UEFA Champions League quarterfinals (More) | See full tournament schedule (More) | English Premier League to stage six-team Summer Series in the US in July (More)

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Science & Technology

> Federal officials release draft proposal with two options to replenish falling water levels at Colorado River reservoirs; one envisions cuts based on historic usage rights of various users, the second makes cuts in proportion to current usage (More) | See current status of reservoirs (More)

> Astronomers release the most detailed map of the universe's dark matter composition to date, reveals how the structures evolved over billions of years (More)

> Oceanographers spot vents in the seafloor releasing warm water off the Oregon coast, say the source is likely from the Cascadia "megathrust" fault zone (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 -0.0%, Dow +0.3%, Nasdaq -0.4%) as investors await today’s monthly reading of the consumer price index (More) | International Monetary Fund cuts global growth outlook to 2.8% for 2023 (More

> Hedgefund billionaire Ken Griffin donates $300M to alma mater Harvard, has donated over $500M in total to the school (More)

> Elizabeth Holmes, convicted founder of failed blood-testing startup Theranos, denied request to stay out of prison during appeal process (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg sues Rep. Jim Jordan (R, OH-4), alleging interference in case against former President Donald Trump (More) | House Judiciary Committee announced it would probe indictment of Trump, hold a hearing in New York City next week (More)

> President Joe Biden begins official portion of Northern Ireland trip today; visit coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday peace agreement (More) | The Troubles explained (More)

> Chicago selected to host 2024 Democratic National Convention, beating out Atlanta and New York City; Republicans decided last year to hold convention in Milwaukee next summer (More) | Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D, VA-10) announces Parkinson's diagnosis (More)

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Etcetera
 

See California's beautiful rare poppy superbloom.

 

Visualizing the world's declining fertility rate.

 

Why Americans are increasingly painting their lawns.

 

Is your ancestor among these 19th-century silhouettes

 

What it's like to eat the world's most expensive sandwich.

 

Explaining TikTok's mewing trend.

 

The case for robotic worms.

 

A dog that looks like a croissant. (via Reddit) 

 

Clickbait: Taiwanese bear knocks out Winnie-the-Pooh.

 

Historybook: American Red Cross founder Clara Barton dies (1912); Franklin D. Roosevelt dies (1945); David Letterman born (1947); Yuri Gagarin becomes first person in space (1961); Boxing great Joe Louis dies (1981); Harold Washington elected first Black mayor of Chicago (1983). 

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