3.9.2023

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Good morning. It's Thursday, March 9, and we're covering more snowstorms pounding the West and Midwest, acquittals in a high-profile diamond heist, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Snow Season Continues

California's Sierra Nevada received another batch of heavy snow yesterday, just over a week after parts of the state were buried under 6 feet of precipitation. This latest round—which is expected to transition to heavy rain today and into the weekend—may hamper efforts to dig out from historic snowfalls in recent weeks. Across the northern central US, a separate system stretching from Wyoming to Michigan could drop up to a foot of snow.

 

California's mountain ranges have seen a total of 48 feet of snow so far this winter, partly the result of nine atmospheric rivers battering the region since December. Also known as "rivers of the sky," the phenomena are narrow, 1,000-mile-long conduits of warm, tropical air tending to track jet streams toward the poles (see explainer). The area could also see flash floods as heavy rains melt the several-foot thick snowpack. 

 

Snow in the Plains and Midwest will likely disrupt major cities like Chicago and Detroit, while Minneapolis approaches one of the snowiest seasons on record. The same system could also cause flash flooding in many areas of the South. See national weather charts here

 

Israel's 'Day of Resistance' 

Protestors in Israel are set to carry out a planned “day of resistance” today, the latest in ongoing demonstrations over proposed changes to the country’s judicial system. Reports suggest the protests are Israel's biggest in a decade, with hundreds of thousands of people taking part. 

 

Spearheaded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the overhaul would give the government control over selection and dismissal of judges, allow lawmakers to override Supreme Court decisions with a simple majority, and more (see overview). Israel has a history of judicial reforms—and lacks a formal constitution like the US—and proponents of the bill argue changes made in 1992 yielded too much power to the Supreme Court. Others have argued the proposal may allow Netanyahu to avoid a conviction in his ongoing corruption trial. 

 

The protests forced US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to cut a trip to Tel Aviv short, where he was meeting with Israeli officials to address escalating hostilities in the West Bank. 

 

'The (Near) Perfect Crime'

A Belgian appeals court yesterday acquitted the last four suspects who had been charged for their involvement in looting millions of dollars worth of diamonds at the Brussels international airport in 2013. The court ruled the investigation wasn't sufficiently reliable, allowing the four suspects to walk free. 

 

Only one person has been convicted and sentenced to five years in prison, while another 18 were acquitted in 2018. A small portion of the loot, estimated to be about $67M in 2013, was recovered. 

 

The February 2013 robbery, which took less than five minutes, was likened to the Hollywood film "Oceans Eleven" for its clean execution, with no lives harmed. Eight thieves dressed as heavily armed police officers cut through security fences at Brussels airport and headed for a Swiss-bound plane, where they stole 120 parcels of gems from the nearby Antwerp global diamond hub. The 29 passengers on the plane were reportedly unaware of what was happening.  

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> "Star Wars" films from directors Patty Jenkins and Kevin Feige canceled, while film from director Taika Waititi still moving forward (More)

> Hall of Fame basketball coach Jim Boeheim to retire after 47 seasons at Syracuse; Adrian Autry will take over as head coach next season (More) | Brittney Griner's first game back will kick off WNBA's regular season May 19; Griner missed all last season while being detained in Russia (More)

> WWE in discussions with regulators from Colorado and Michigan to legalize gambling on its scripted wrestling matches (More) | Demi Moore reportedly moved in with ex-husband Bruce Willis to assist Willis' family in caring for him amid dementia diagnosis (More)

 

Science & Technology

In partnership with Brilliant

> New study claims to achieve room-temperature superconductivity in an exotic material, lutetium hydride; behavior still requires pressures roughly 10,000 greater than atmosphere (More) | Explaining superconductivity, where electricity can transmit without energy loss (More)

> Meta's (Facebook) Large Language Model leaks in its entirety online, one week after being made available by invitation only to the AI research community (More

> Unearthed gold coin reveals the oldest-known inscription referring to the Norse god Odin; discovery said to provide first evidence of Odin being worshiped as early as the fifth century (More)

From our partners: AI isn’t magic, it’s mathMaster the core concepts behind AI, neural networks, data science, and more in minutes a day with Brilliant. Their bite-size, visual lessons make it easy (but not too easy) to sharpen your skills fast. Join 10M+ people and start learning with a free 30-day trial.

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close mixed: S&P 500 +0.1%, Dow -0.2%, Nasdaq +0.4% (More)

> US job openings fall to 10.8 million in January from 11.2 million in December, per the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report (More)

> The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating Tesla’s Model Y electric vehicle after two drivers allege the steering wheel was detached while driving (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Russia's Wagner mercenary group claims its forces have taken full control of the eastern part of the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut (More) | US intelligence concludes Russia conducted malign influence operations in the 2022 US midterm elections (More) | See more updates on the war (More)

> Two-year federal probe finds Louisville, Kentucky, police engaged in systemic discriminatory behavior that violated the Constitution and federal laws in the years leading up to the 2020 death of Breonna Taylor (More) | Justice Department launches probe into Memphis police department following death of Tyre Nichols (More

> National Transportation Safety Board opens investigation into Norfolk Southern Railway's safety culture, following five major accidents since December 2021; Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw to testify in Congress today (More

 

In-Depth

> The Panopticon

Aeon | Myles Zhang. For almost 20 years, British philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham was preoccupied with designing a cheaper, more efficient, and more humane prison. (Watch)

 

> Gen Z's Dating Revolution

Insider | Daniel Cox. Today's young adults are revolutionizing the dating scene by finding romantic relationships within their social circles rather than with strangers. (Read)

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Etcetera
 

See photos from India's Holi celebrations

 

Jack Daniel’s halts building project amid whiskey fungus plague.

 

Wilson creates 3D-printed lattice basketball that does not have to be inflated.

 

First Yellowstone grizzly bear emerges from hibernation.

 

The secrets behind lifelong friendships.

 

Cheerios takes the crown for the most dominant cereal.

 

How tip creeping has changed the way we tip.

 

Ten delightful Irish animal names.

 

Clickbait: How to shop like Michelangelo.  

 

Historybook: Cartographer and explorer Amerigo Vespucci born (1454); First person in space Yuri Gagarin born (1934); Barbie doll debuts at American Toy Fair (1959); Rapper Notorious B.I.G. is shot and killed (1997).

"We didn't know how to run a business, but we had dreams and talent."

- Barbie inventor and businesswoman Ruth Handler

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