Your Daily Brief

March 18th, 2023

Good morning, and happy Saturday! It’s been a long week, and Saturday mornings are perfect for sleeping in…but did you know there are ways you can optimize catching up on sleep over the weekend? Before we get into the news, check out these five tips to get the most out of your weekend sleeping schedule to feel as refreshed as possible by the time Monday rolls around!

In Today’s Brief

  • France: Protests over pension reform
  • Minnesota: Radioactive water leak
  • Tyra Banks: Leaving DTWS
  • SVB: Parent company files Chapter 11

...and more

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Top Tips

Arrest warrant for Putin

The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants yesterday for Russian President Vladimir Putin and another Russian official over alleged war crimes committed throughout Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The warrant represents some of the first charges issued since the start of the conflict and is in regard to Putin’s suspected involvement in the unlawful deportation and transfer of children and teenagers from occupied areas of Ukraine to Russia. Russia has denied that it has committed war crimes since it invaded Ukraine in February 2022 and does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction, with Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova saying that the country “is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and bears no obligations under it.”

The warrant issuance comes one day after Poland and Slovakia became the first NATO members to offer Ukraine fighter jets, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has requested from allies for several months.

Meta launches paid verification

Meta began rolling out its paid verification service, dubbed “Meta Verified,” on Instagram and Facebook in the U.S. yesterday.

Users who sign up for Meta Verified will get a blue checkmark badge on the two social media platforms, direct access to customer support, and “proactive impersonation protection,” according to an announcement from Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Per Zuckerberg, the company began testing the service yesterday and plans to roll out the paid option to more U.S. users “over the next few weeks.”

Meta first introduced the service last month in Australia and New Zealand, three months after Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk introduced paid verification on Twitter’s platform through its revamped Blue subscription service. Zuckerberg’s announcement comes the same week as Meta said it would lay off 10K employees in its second round of job cuts since November 2022.

YouTube lifts Trump suspension

YouTube yesterday restored former President Trump’s channel, more than two years after he was indefinitely suspended from the platform following events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021.

In a statement, YouTube–which is owned by Google parent company Alphabet–said that it “evaluated the continued risk of real-world violence, while balancing the chance for voters to hear equally from major national candidates in the run-up to an election.” On top of his YouTube channel, former President Trump’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts were suspended after January 6th, 2021. Meta reinstated the former president’s Facebook and Instagram accounts last month, and Twitter also reinstated Trump’s account after Elon Musk assumed ownership of the company.

The reinstatement of former President Trump’s YouTube account comes months after he declared he is running for president in 2024. As of this writing, his YouTube channel had over 2.6M subscribers.

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Quick Tips

Around the Globe

  • Two Canadian police officers were shot and killed in the line of duty while responding to a family dispute in Alberta; per local reports, the suspect was a 16-year-old male (More)
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to travel to Moscow next week to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to Kremlin officials; the upcoming visit will mark Xi’s first visit to Russia since the country’s troops invaded Ukraine in February 2022 (More)
  • At least 310 protestors were arrested in France after President Emmanuel Macron pushed through legislation to raise the country’s retirement age to 64 without a vote in the National Assembly, according to remarks from French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin (More)

On the Homefront

  • Hunter Biden’s business associate Rob Walker has been asked to appear before the House Oversight Committee following information from subpoenaed documents revealing that Walker transferred over $1M to members of the Biden family after receiving funds from a Chinese energy company in 2017 (More)
  • An Xcel Energy nuclear plant in Minnesota leaked 400K gallons of radioactive water last year, according to the company; Xcel said in a statement that the leak poses no health and safety risk to the local community or the environment (More)
  • Cleanup of the Norfolk Southern derailment site in East Palestine where hazardous materials were spilled is expected to take approximately three months, according to a statement from the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (More)

Glitz & Games

  • Session drummer Jim Gordon passed away at age 77 in prison earlier this week; Gordon was known for working with musicians such as Eric Clapton, was credited with contributing the piano coda for the song “Layla,” and was sentenced for murdering his mother in 1983 (More)
  • Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan is reportedly exploring selling his majority stake in the franchise, according to multiple sources; if a sale is completed, Jordan is expected to remain with a minority stake (More)
  • Actor Lance Reddick was found dead in his Studio City, CA, home at age 60 yesterday morning; Reddick was known for roles in The Wire, the John Wick franchise, Horizon Zero Dawn, and more (More)

Business & Markets

  • Major indexes in the stock market closed lower yesterday, with the Dow leading losses (Dow -1.19%, Nasdaq -0.74%, S&P 500 -1.10%)
  • Adult content website owner MindGeek is acquired by a Canadian private equity firm, Ethical Capital Partners; the terms of the deal were not disclosed (More)
  • Silicon Valley Bank parent company files for court-supervised reorganization under Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. to seek buyers for its assets (More)

Tips & Tricks

  • Feel Good: Meet Elyse Monroe, a high school senior who was gifted a prom dress from a North Carolina dress shop owner after Monroe drove six hours with her family to find the perfect fit at that particular boutique 
  • Sneak Peek: Get a first-look photo of the upcoming sixth season of The Crown, which is set to feature Ed McVey and Meg Bellamy as college-age Prince William and Kate Middleton, respectively
  • Bump This: Check out Bono and The Edge of U2 tackling stripped-down versions of “Beautiful Day,” “In a Little While,” “Walk On,” and more in their first NPR Tiny Desk Concert
  • Chow Down: The weekend is a perfect time to indulge in sweets - if you find yourself craving something decadent, check out this recipe for apple cinnamon muffins that are packed with fiber, protein, healthy fats, and antioxidant vitamin E
  • Nerd Out: Read about new “cosmic concrete” that scientists have developed using simulated extraterrestrial dust, potato starch, and a pinch of salt; the new substance is reportedly twice as strong as regular concrete and could be used to eventually construct homes on Mars, per the researchers
  • Hot Goss: Tyra Banks will depart Dancing with the Stars after three years of hosting the ballroom-dancing competition series, according to an announcement she made yesterday
  • Life Hack: Getting exercise doesn’t mean putting in maximum effort until you can hardly stand; in fact, the best workout regimens for long-term health mix moderate and vigorous exercise - take some time this weekend to find the combination of moderate and vigorous exercise that works best for you


The story of the first immigrant to arrive at Ellis Island.

33 things some couples do to make their relationship work.

What it looks like to solve a Rubik’s cube in four seconds.

Meet the new species of orchid discovered in Japan.

Actor Willem Dafoe opens up about his fear of failure.

A photo of sunlight cutting through dark clouds in Norway.

…and the Los Angeles foothills looking lush after rain.

All the countries where it’s safe to drink tap water.

Looking Back…

On March 18th: Two men in police uniforms steal 13 works in an art heist from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston (1990); Italian operatic tenor Enrico Caruso makes his first phonograph recording (1902);  the first monoplane makes a flight of 40 feet (1906); U.S. President Grover Cleveland is born (1837).

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Question of the Day

Do you enjoy sleeping in on the weekends?

Yes - I love taking that extra time to catch up on rest

No - I like waking up early to maximize my time off

Yesterday's Results

Do you think the U.S. should have a mandatory retirement age?

No (80%)

Yes (20%)

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