Catch up on all the news you might have missed with our handy summary of the week’s top stories.
Russia strikes maternity hospital and continues to target other civilian areas
It has been two whole weeks since Russia initially invaded Ukraine, and Russia has only continued to escalate its attacks and body count despite facing greater odds than President Vladimir Putin initially anticipated. The Pentagon estimated that Russia has only 90 percent of the combat power they initially deployed into Ukraine. This percentage includes troops, weapons, and vehicles and is considered a significant loss for only two weeks of combat.
On Wednesday, a Russian airstrike devastated a maternity hospital in the southern Ukrainian seaside city of Mariupol. The attack killed at least three people and injured 17. Authorities said that the airstrike left patients buried under rubble. One of the deceased was a child, and several of the wounded were women in labor.
“This attack, if confirmed, underscores the horrific toll this war is exacting on Ukraine’s children and families,” Catherine Russell, the executive director of UNICEF, the U.N. agency for children, said in a statement.
The airstrike led President Volodymyr Zelensky to call on the West to impose further sanctions on Russia so that it “no longer has any possibility to continue this genocide.”
Over the past week, countries worldwide have continued to impose sanctions, including a ban by the United States on Russian oil and other energy imports. Sweeping bans across multiple nations have also targeted Russian oligarchs' wealth and assets, hoping that their frustration and positions of power could influence the end of this war.
Further, commercial companies have continued to cease operations in Russia, including McDonald’s, which closed 850 stores in Russia, leaving 62,000 Russians temporarily jobless. This withdrawal signals the end of an era, as McDonald’s opened its first store in Moscow in 1990, introducing western cuisine and culture, then a novelty behind the Soviet Union’s Iron Curtain.
Russia has responded to these sanctions with export bans, including telecoms, medical, vehicle, agricultural, electrical equipment, and timber exports. This ban of over 200 products will impact around 48 countries, including the United States and the EU.
Russian troops continue to advance toward the capital city of Kyiv, and talks between Russia and Ukraine have failed to yield significant ceasefires. Russian strikes have made ongoing evacuations efforts difficult. There is a possibility of a meeting between Putin and Zelensky.
On Wednesday, the United Nations said it had recorded 516 deaths of civilians, including 37 children. However, they believe that the actual count is much higher. —Gabriella Patti
Gigi and Bella Hadid pledge fashion week earnings to help Ukraine, Palestine
In an Instagram post on Monday, model Gigi Hadid announced that she would be donating her earnings from Paris Fashion Week to those suffering from the war in Ukraine as well as those who continue to suffer in Palestine. Hadid, who is part Palestinian, acknowledged in her statement that because of the set schedule of fashion week, she and her fellow models often end up showcasing new fashions during times of war and conflict.
“Our eyes and hearts must be open to all human injustice,” Hadid wrote. “May we all see each other as brothers and sisters, beyond politics, beyond race, beyond religion. At the the (sic) end of the day, innocent lives pay for war - not leaders. HANDS OFF UKRAINE. HANDS OFF PALESTINE. PEACE. PEACE. PEACE.”
In the post, Hadid acknowledges that she is following in the footsteps of fellow model Mica Argañaraz, who pledged to donate part of her Fashion Week earnings to Ukraine aid organizations. She also urged her fellow models to do the same.
Following Gigi’s announcement, younger sister Bella Hadid announced on Thursday that she would follow in her older sister’s footsteps. Along with an image of herself wearing a top in the colors of the Ukrainian flag, Bella wrote: “Taking after Mica and My amazing Sis, I will be donating all of my earnings from this Fashion Week directly to organizations that are providing help, refuge and medical aide to those in need on the ground in Ukraine, as well as continuing to support our Palestinian people and land.” —GP
Death sentence is reinstated for Boston Marathon bomber
Last Friday, the Supreme Court reinstated the death sentence for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was convicted for the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. The bombing killed three people and injured hundreds.
“Dzhokhar Tsarnaev committed heinous crimes,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the court. “The Sixth Amendment nonetheless guaranteed him a fair trial before an impartial jury. He received one.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, an appeals court set aside Tsarnaev’s sentence in 2020 after finding that the trial judge erred in “excluding mitigating evidence that suggested the defendant’s elder brother, Tamerlan, was more culpable for the attack and limiting the questions defense attorneys could ask prospective jurors about their exposure to news accounts of the crime.”
By a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court found neither issue undermined the jury’s decision to recommend death. The majority included Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.
It is unclear when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev or other federal prisoners sentenced to death would be executed. President Biden campaigned on abolishing capital punishment, and Attorney General Merrick Garland “imposed a moratorium on federal executions” while the death-penalty procedure review is in place. —Hannah Cote
Gas prices hit record high since 2008
The price for gasoline in the United States hit a national average of $4.173 a gallon this week, a record high according to the Wall Street Journal. This price surpassed the previous record of $4.114 reached in July 2008.
Though the prices are skyrocketing, gas prices haven’t technically hit a real record just yet, as the current prices don’t account for inflation. If you adjust for overall price changes since 2008, gas prices would have to hit $5.25 per gallon to be a new record high.
Still, the ever-growing cost of filling up a tank could drastically affect American households, limiting economic growth by curbing spending on other items.
The price was 15 percent higher than a week earlier and 21 percent higher than a month earlier. One year ago, gas was $2.77, a month ago $3.46, and a week ago $3.62. —HC
‘The Batman’ grosses $128.5 million opening weekend
Over the weekend, The Batman grossed $128.5 million, the second-best gross of the pandemic era second to Spider-Man: No Way Home. The “gritty film noir” movie features Robert Pattinson as Batman, Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman, and Paul Dano as The Riddler. Pattinson, known for his role in the Twilight series, is the seventh cinematic Batman, “following in the footsteps of A-listers including Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Michael Keaton, and Christian Bale.”
The Batman, Warner Bros.’ reboot of the Batman franchise, is being streamed worldwide. Including international receipts, The Batman grossed a total of $248.5 million in its opening weekend. The film paused for release in Russia in response to President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which comes out in Japan next week and in China on March 18.
Though some were skeptical of The Batman’s popularity, taking into account theaters’ struggles with COVID-19, its release date set over a holiday weekend, and the film’s three-hour runtime, The Batman is still the fourth-largest opening weekend gross ever for a Batman movie, the best being $166 million for Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016. —HC
Major League Baseball lockout comes to an end
After three months of delays and disagreements, Major League Baseball (MLB) and the MLB Players Association agreed on a new collective bargaining agreement.
As of March 9, the earliest possible Opening Day for MLB was April 19. The day was initially scheduled for March 31, but now it’s moved back to April 7 with a full 162-game schedule.
Spring training camps will open with a March 11 voluntary report date and March 13 mandatory date, with training games beginning March 17.
The most significant change in the new agreement is that there are two additional playoff teams. Now, 12 of the 30 teams will reach the postseason. The MLBPA didn’t get the 14-team format they desired, but 12 teams is still a 50 percent increase in playoff teams from 2011.
On March 1, MLBPA leaders unanimously did not accept the MLB’s deadline proposal. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that the first two regular-season series were canceled and will not be made up.
“[R]egrettably, after our second late-night bargaining session in a week, we remain without a deal,” Manfred said. “Our top priority remains the finalization of a fair contract for all Players, and we will continue negotiations toward that end. We worked hard to reach an agreement and offered a fair deal with significant improvements for the players and our fans.” — HC
March Madness is upon us
The 2022 men’s National Collegiate Athletic Association March Madness tournament begins this Monday, starting with Selection Sunday.
Selection Sunday is at 6 p.m. ET on March 13 on CBS, where the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament participants are selected, seeded, placed accordingly, and announced.
On March 15 and 16, the First Four games will be held in Dayton, Ohio, and the 2022 Final Four will finish in New Orleans.
According to The Sporting News, the race for No. 1 seeds is on. Gonzaga won the West Coast Conference tournament on Tuesday, and Arizona, Auburn, and Baylor are the other No. 1 seeds for now, though Kentucky, Kansas, Duke and Wisconsin are close behind on the No. 2 line. If you haven’t filled a bracket out yet, you can do so here. —HC
Good News of the Week
Kyiv grandma takes out drone during Russia attack with jar of pickled tomatoes
A grandma in Kyiv, Ukraine, took out a drone by throwing a jar of pickled tomatoes at it, according to Business Insider.
Rumors of the act circulated online for a few days without any real confirmation, but Liga.Life, a Ukrainian news outlet, reported that a woman reached out, confirming the story, describing her grandmother who gave an interview to the outlet.
Elena, the grandma, told Liga.Life that she was sitting on her balcony smoking just before dawn when she “heard a buzzing noise and saw something floating.”
First, she thought it was a bird, but then she realized it wasn’t a bird at all, she said.
The nearest heavy object was a jar of pickled tomatoes under her chair, she said. Elena was most concerned with correcting claims that the pickled vegetables were cucumbers. They were tomatoes and plums, she said.
"I don’t know where the fables about cucumbers came from," she said.
Liga.Life said that Elena destroyed the drone and put the pieces in a separate trash can “for fear that it could still be running tracking or recording software.”
It’s unclear where the drone came from or who was operating it. Her description does not match the types of heavy, military drones with weapons but could be a smaller commercial drone for recording images. —HC