Your Daily Brief

April 8th, 2023

Good morning, and happy Saturday! From the start of January until the end of March, 11 separate atmospheric rivers hit California and brought with them more rain than the state saw in all of 2022. To start your weekend off with some photojournalism, check out these photos of California’s reservoirs that show how all those recent storms have impacted the state’s water levels.

In Today’s Brief

  • Rouble: Hits lowest value in a year
  • U.S. Labor: 236K new jobs in March
  • Star Wars: Three new movies coming
  • Tesla: Fifth price cut since January

...and more

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Top Tips

Russia charges Gershkovich

American journalist Evan Gershkovich has been formally charged with spying in Russia, according to reports from Russian state-owned news agencies.

The news of the charges came after U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a joint statement saying they “demand the immediate release of this internationally known and respected independent journalist,” and called the allegations against Gershkovich “baseless” and “fabricated.”

At the time of his arrest, Gershkovich, 31, was working as the Moscow bureau reporter for the Wall Street Journal, which has dismissed any notion that he was doing anything other than working as a journalist. Russian authorities arrested Gershkovich in Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-largest city, on March 29th. He was accused of “trying to obtain secret information” and is the first American correspondent since the Cold War to be detained in Russia for alleged spying.

Clarence Thomas disclosures

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas responded to this week’s report from ProPublica alleging that he failed to disclose trips that he accepted from real estate developer and political donor Harlan Crow.

In a statement, Justice Thomas said: “Early in my tenure at the Court, I sought guidance from my colleagues and others in the judiciary, and was advised that this sort of personal hospitality from close personal friends, who did not have business before the Court, was not reportable. I have endeavored to follow that counsel throughout my tenure, and have always sought to comply with the disclosure guidelines.”

ProPublica’s report comes one month after the Judicial Conference of the U.S.–which creates and oversees policies for federal courts–revised its guidelines to require justices to disclose things such as traveling by private jet and staying in resorts. Justice Thomas ended his statement by saying he intends to follow the new guidelines going forward.

Leaked Ukraine documents

U.S. government officials confirmed yesterday that classified military documents regarding the ongoing war in Ukraine had been leaked online as early as March.

The online posts reportedly show photos of physical documents containing sensitive information that began circulating on the social media sites Twitter and Telegram. The documents include maps of where troops are concentrated in Ukraine, what kinds of weapons are available to them, and American and NATO plans for Ukraine’s spring counteroffensive.

The documents reportedly claim that between 61K and 71.5K Ukrainians have lost their lives in action since the start of the conflict, though officials say that number appeared edited to be higher than actual Pentagon estimates. News of the leak came the same day as the U.K. Defense Ministry claimed that Russian forces seized the west bank of the Bakhmutka River in their push to regain control of the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.

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Quick Tips

Around the Globe

  • An attack in Tel Aviv where a car struck a group of people left an Italian tourist dead and five others injured yesterday, according to Israeli and Italian officials (More)
  • At least 51 people died when gunmen attacked the village of Umogidi in Nigeria’s Benue State, and an unconfirmed number of people were still reported to be missing as of yesterday (More)
  • The Russian rouble reached its lowest value for a year yesterday, sliding to 82 roubles against the U.S. dollar yesterday on the Moscow Stock Exchange (More)

On the Homefront

  • March jobs report shows that the U.S. economy added 236K jobs last month while the unemployment rate fell to 3.5% (More)
  • Ex-Theranos President Sunny Balwani will start his prison sentence on April 20th after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejects his bid to remain out on bail while he contests his conviction (More)
  • A federal judge in Texas suspended FDA approval of the abortion pill mifepristone but delayed the impact of his decision for a week to give the federal government a chance to appeal (More)

Glitz & Games

In partnership with Bright Cellars

  • Lucasfilm announces three new Star Wars feature films, with the first focusing on Daisy Ridley’s Rey in a story taking place 15 years after the events of The Rise of Skywalker, according to company president Kathleen Kennedy (More)
  • Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm, and Sam Bennett are atop the leaderboard after Round 2 of the Masters yesterday (More)
  • S Club 7 singer Paul Cattermole passed away at his home in England at age 46, according to a statement from the other six band members (More)

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Business & Markets

  • The stock market was closed yesterday in observance of Good Friday; markets reopen on Monday
  • Tesla slashed vehicle prices for the fifth time since January, dropping the price of its Model 3 by $1K and its Long Range and Performance versions of the Model Y by $2K (More)
  • McDonald’s cuts pay packages for some employees as part of a restructuring that includes layoffs and the shutting down of some offices, per multiple sources (More)

Tips & Tricks

  • Feel Good: Meet two-week-old Audrey Clark, whose arrival in the world marks the first daughter to be born on her father’s side of the family since 1885, according to the Clarks’ family records
  • Sneak Peek Pt 1: Watch Rosario Dawson wield twin lightsabers as a Jedi outcast in the teaser trailer for the upcoming Star Wars series Ahsoka, arriving on Disney+ in August
  • Sneak Peek Pt 2: Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones comes out of retirement in the official trailer for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, set to hit theaters on June 30th
  • Bump This: Greta Van Fleet, Gen Z’s version of Led Zeppelin, makes 12-string acoustic guitars cool again in their new single “Meeting The Master” - listen on Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube
  • Nerd Out: Check out how these sonar glasses developed by Cornell University researchers allow for silent communication through the use of tiny microphones and speakers to read the words that are silently mouthed by the wearer
  • Go Deep: Read up on how a new study shows that people in Spain were taking hallucinogenic drugs derived from plants and bushes as far back as 3K years ago
  • Life Hack: Salads are a staple on menus across the country, and increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables can lead to several positive health outcomes - here are four benefits of eating salad every day and some tips for building a balanced salad


Boost your grilling game with restaurant-quality Wagyu beef.

What it’s like to make a living from studying corpses.

…and what’s really going on in the Bermuda Triangle.

A photo of one of Washinton’s gnarled Douglas fir trees.

The different ways smartphones can predict earthquakes.

See how the world looks when you’re colorblind.

How Apple may have accidentally reinvented the iPod.

…while thieves tunneled into an Apple Store for an iPhone heist.

Looking Back…

On April 8th: Hank Aaron hits his 715th career home run (1974); the Seventeenth Amendment is ratified (1913); the first episode of Twin Peaks airs on television (1990); Ghanaian statesman and secretary-general of the United Nations Kofi Annan is born (1938).

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Question of the Day

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