5.24.2023

 

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Good morning. It's Wednesday, May 24, and we're covering a super typhoon striking a US territory, the effects of social media on adolescents, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Russia Border Attack

Russia claimed it killed 70 pro-Ukraine, ethnically Russian insurgents at its western border with Ukraine Tuesday, after what observers have described as the largest Ukrainian push into Russian territory in the 15-month conflict. Ukrainian defense officials denied supporting the foray into the Belgorod region, while Russia characterized the assault as directed by Ukraine.

 

Analysts claim two paramilitary groups led the attack: the Free Russia Legion—estimated at 4,000 members—and the Russian Volunteer Corps, a group responsible for a similar border assault in March. Group representatives claimed they had captured roughly a dozen square miles of Russian territory, much of which was reportedly evacuated by Russia before heavy shelling. Analysts argue the move could be intended to divert attention from Ukraine's long-anticipated counteroffensive as well as Russia's claims of success in the city of Bakhmut. 

 

Separately, a Russian judge announced yesterday the pretrial detention period for jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich will be extended by three months to August. See background here.

 

Typhoon Mawar

Typhoon Mawar is poised to hit the US island territory of Guam with the force of a Category 4 hurricane today. The most powerful storm to strike the US Pacific territory in over two decades, the system is expected to bring a storm surge of six to ten feet, winds as high as 140 mph, and heavy rainfall. As of early this morning, most of the island was out of electricity.

 

Guam, located in the western Pacific, is home to three US military bases (see overview) and has a population of more than 150,000 people. Guam's governor yesterday ordered all residents in low-lying areas of the island to evacuate and relocate to concrete structures on higher ground. President Joe Biden also approved an emergency declaration, ordering federal assistance in response to the typhoon. 

 

Mawar is the strongest storm to impact Guam since Super Typhoon Pongsona in 2002, which caused more than $700M in damage at the time. Track Mawar's path here.

 

Social Media Advisory

US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued an advisory yesterday on the potential dangers of social media for children, highlighting its negative impact on mental health and overall well-being.

 

The report focused on children and teenagers aged 10 to 19, whose developing brains are particularly vulnerable. While social media can be beneficial as a creative outlet, studies show excessive social media use is linked to problems such as cyberbullying, exposure to harmful content, disrupted sleep patterns, negative body image, and reduced physical activity. Spending more than three hours per day on social media was found to double the risk of symptoms related to depression and anxiety—teenagers average around 3.5 hours. See the report here.

 

The advisory follows a request from the American Psychological Association last year for Murthy to raise awareness about the potential risks—nearly 95% of young people aged 13 to 17 use a social media platform.

 

The report outlines recommendations for technology companies and policymakers, including strengthening safety standards, enhancing data privacy measures, and considering age restrictions.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Boston Celtics stave off elimination by topping Miami Heat in Game 4 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals (More) | Vegas Golden Knights cruise past Dallas Stars to take 3-0 lead in NHL Western Conference finals (More)

> Crackdown on sharing of Netflix passwords begins in the US; primary account holders can add outside users for $7.99 per month (More) | Max, new streaming service merging HBO Max and Discovery Plus, experiences outages on its launch day (More)

> Tom Brady to purchase ownership stake in NFL's Las Vegas Raiders (More) | Rule changes announced at NFL Spring League Meeting include new fair catch kickoff rule and flex scheduling for Thursday Night Football (More)

 

Science & Technology

> Researchers find the effectiveness of new weight-loss drugs is linked to underlying causes of obesity; studies identify four subtypes—slow metabolism, emotional, hungry brain, and hungry gut—with the latter type being most responsive to the drugs (More) | How semaglutide works for weight loss (More, w/video)

> New study links brain signals in the orbitofrontal cortex and cingulate cortex with intensity of chronic pain in patients; research is the first to establish objective measures of chronic pain (More)

> New AI model identifies objects in images made of the same material; may have applications for robotic systems, which need to identify and manipulate real-world objects on their own (More)

 

Business & Markets

In partnership with The Ascent

> US stock markets close lower (S&P 500 -1.1%, Dow -0.7%, Nasdaq -1.3%) amid ongoing debt ceiling discussions (More)

> Apple and Broadcom announce multibillion-dollar deal to develop 5G wireless connectivity components (More) | Meta (Facebook) sells Giphy, a popular online provider of GIF files, to Shutterstock for $53M following UK antitrust ruling; Meta acquired the business for $400M three years ago (More

> Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and partner Lauren Sanchez are engaged, according to reports (More)

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Politics & World Affairs

> Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) expected to announce 2024 presidential bid today in conversation with Twitter CEO Elon Musk during a streaming conversation on the platform at 6 pm ET (More)

> Illinois probe finds almost 2,000 cases of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy across the state over a seven-decade period; incidents involved more than 450 clergy members, exceeding the 103 individuals identified by the church in 2018 (More)

> Family of Christian Glass, a 22-year-old shot and killed by police in Colorado during a traffic call, to receive $19M from law enforcement; marks the second-largest known police settlement in an individual case in the US (More)

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Etcetera
 

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Ranking the world's favorite accents.

 

Goldendoodle scores perfect 10 in surfing contest.

 

Clickbait: Cowboy wrangles runaway cow on highway (w/video).

 

Historybook: Samuel Morse sends first commercial telegraph message (1844); The Brooklyn Bridge is opened in NYC (1883); Bob Dylan born (1941); Musician Patti LaBelle born (1944); Jazz legend Duke Ellington dies (1974).

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