Your Daily Brief

April 21st, 2023

Good morning, and happy Friday! Nothing quite captures a moment like a great photograph, and NASA yesterday announced the finalists of the fifth edition of its annual Photographer of the Year competition. Take a look at the stellar photos here and let us know which one is your favorite!

In Today’s Brief

  • Sudan: Possible embassy evacuation
  • House: Sports ban bill passes
  • Alec Baldwin: Charges dropped
  • IKEA: Planning U.S. expansion

...and more

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Top Tips

Starship rocket launch

Minutes after lifting off, SpaceX’s Super Heavy rocket and uncrewed Starship spacecraft exploded above the Gulf of Mexico yesterday.

Yesterday’s launch follows an attempt that was scrubbed about 10 minutes before liftoff on Monday. According to the company’s founder Elon Musk, the purpose of the test flight was not to reach orbit, but for the Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket combination to reach speeds fast enough to enter orbit before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean. Before the launch, Musk said it might take several attempts to achieve the goal.

At 400 feet tall, SpaceX’s Super Heavy rocket is the largest ever built. The launch marks the first time that it took off and the first time it flew along with the Starship spacecraft. Along with transporting the company’s Starlink satellites, Musk has billed the Starship and Super Heavy program as a potential way to transport humans to the Moon and Mars.

BuzzFeed News shutters

Digital news website BuzzFeed News will shut down amid broader layoffs across its parent company BuzzFeed, according to CEO Jonah Peretti.

In addition to shutting down BuzzFeed News, Peretti said that BuzzFeed aims to lay off around 180 employees, or 15% of its workforce. In a memo that Peretti sent to employees, he cited “a pandemic, a fading SPAC market that yielded less capital, a tech recession, a tough economy, a declining stock market, a decelerating digital advertising market and ongoing audience and platform shifts” as reasons for why the company can no longer fund BuzzFeed News. Once BuzzFeed News closes, HuffPost–which it agreed to buy in 2020–will remain the only news brand under the BuzzFeed umbrella.

Since publicly listing on the Nasdaq in December 2021, BuzzFeed’s share price has lost almost 93% of its value. As of last night, the company’s market cap–which represents the amount it’s worth–is less than $108M.

Stampede in Yemen

At least 78 people lost their lives and over 300 were injured in a stampede in Yemen’s capital of Sanaa during a charity event for Ramadan, according to local officials.

According to the country’s Houthi-run Interior Ministry, the incident took place at a school where people had gathered to receive handouts from merchants days before the Eid al-Fitr festival. Yemen’s Interior Ministry spokespeople blamed the crush on the “random distribution” of funds without coordination with local authorities.

Yemen has been plagued by a civil war since 2014 when Houthi rebels took control of the country’s capital from the internationally-recognized government. In 2015, a Saudi-led military coalition intervened to restore its rule. More than 150K people have reportedly died in the conflict, which has triggered an economic decline and left around two-thirds of Yemen’s population unable to afford food and other essentials, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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Quick Tips

Around the Globe

  • The U.S. is preparing to send additional troops to its base in Djibouti in case of an evacuation of U.S. Embassy personnel from Sudan, according to Pentagon officials (More)
  • Denmark & the Netherlands will provide at least 14 refurbished Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine beginning in early 2024, the two countries announced (More)
  • A lion was spotted in Chad’s Sena Oura National Park, where the big cats have not been seen since 2004 and where they were believed to be extinct (More)

On the Homefront

  • House passes a transgender sports ban bill that would prohibit biological-born males from participating in girl’s and women’s teams at schools that receive federal funding (More)
  • Nevada’s Senate approved an assisted end-of-life measure that would allow terminally ill patients to take a pill intended to end their life (More)
  • A North Carolina man allegedly shot a six-year-old girl and her parents after their basketball rolled into his yard and the family went to retrieve it, according to local reports (More)

Glitz & Games

In partnership with Annmarie

  • Charges against Alec Baldwin stemming from the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of his Western movie Rust have been dropped, according to a statement from his lawyers (More)
  • The Oakland Athletics franchise is leaving the Bay Area and relocating to Las Vegas, where the team reached an agreement to acquire land near the Las Vegas Strip (More)
  • Five ‘Spider-Man’ films will be available on Disney+ to stream, Disney announced; Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3, and The Amazing Spider-Man all hit the streaming service today, while Spider-Man: Homecoming arrives April 21st (More)

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Business & Markets

  • Major indexes in the stock market closed lower, with the Nasdaq leading the losses (Dow -0.33%, Nasdaq -0.80%, S&P 500 -0.60%)
  • Social media app Bluesky backed by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey becomes available to Android users (More)
  • IKEA stores owner Ingka Group will expand in the U.S. with eight new big stores, nine smaller stores, and upgrades to existing stores over the next three years, the company announced (More)

Tips & Tricks

  • Feel Good: Read about a white oak tree in downtown Athens, Georgia, that was declared its own owner after Colonel William H. Jackson wrote a will that gave the tree and the immediate land around it self-ownership in the 19th century (the tree was located on Jackson’s family property)
  • Sneak Peek: Watch Jason Momoa attempt to blow up the Vatican as the main antagonist in the official trailer for the upcoming film FAST X, the (supposedly) final installment in the Fast & Furious franchise
  • Bump This: Rock out like it’s 2005 with the new uptempo single “Too Many Things” by LA-based all-girl punk band The Linda Lindas - listen on Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube
  • Chow Down: If you’re ready to fire up the grill and enjoy the oncoming warmer weather, try out this recipe for steak with grilled miso cabbage that feels both elevated and satisfying
  • Go Deep: Read more about the current conflict in Sudan between forces loyal to two of the country’s top generals…and how the outcome might affect the rest of the world
  • Hot Goss: Twitter began removing blue checkmarks yesterday from accounts whose holders did not pay for them, including the Pope, J.K. Rowling, Cristiano Ronaldo, Bill Gates, Jay-Z, and others
  • Life Hack: We often discard food scraps we don’t want while cooking, but there may be more nutrients in these throwaways than you realize - here are 10 fruit and vegetable scraps that can boost your nutrition and reduce the amount of food you waste at the same time


A map of the states where people eat the most burgers.

See newly-declassified Pentagon footage of a UAP.

…and a biker doing tricks suspended by a hot air balloon.

Near a Paris train station, researchers unearth a necropolis.

The right number of times to re-wear unwashed clothes.

Ranking 20 of Jack Nicholson’s film performances.

Learn the story of how Helen Keller learned to communicate.

…and one way AI is helping ALS patients save their voices.

Looking Back…

On April 21st: General Sam Houston secures a defeat over Mexican armed forces under General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna in the Battle of San Jacinto (1836); the musical Annie first opens on Broadway (1977); Prince dies at age 57 from what is ruled as an accidental fentanyl overdose (2016); Queen Elizabeth II is born (1926).

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Question of the Day

Do you think SpaceX will eventually send people to Mars?

Yes - it’s only a matter of time

No - the goal is too farfetched

Yesterday's Results

Do you prefer watching movies or TV shows?

TV shows - I like following a longer story (53%)

Movies - I like a beginning, middle, and end (47%)

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