Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: April 17, 2022

Russia says defenders of Mariupol 'will be eliminated;' Easter, Passover, and Ramadan intersect; and more

1

Defenders of Mariupol 'will be eliminated' after refusing to surrender, Russian defense ministry says

Russia's Ministry of Defense said Sunday that Ukrainian forces still defending Mariupol "will be eliminated" after they refused an ultimatum to "voluntarily lay down arms and surrender." The ministry also claimed that the city's remaining defenders had been forbidden to surrender by "the Kiev nationalist regime." Ukrainian forces are making what is likely to be a final stand inside Mariupol's large steel plant. If the city falls, Russia will control an unbroken "land bridge" connecting separatist-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine with Crimea.

2

Weekend marks rare intersection of Easter, Passover, and Ramadan

Christians, Jews, and Muslims celebrated an unusually holy week, as major holidays for the three religions fell on the same weekend, an intersection that only occurs every 30 years or so. For Western Christians, Easter was celebrated on Sunday. Eastern Christians who still use the Julian calendar are a week behind. For Jews, Saturday marked the feast of Pesach, or "Passover," which celebrates Israel's exodus from slavery in Egypt. Easter and Passover fall on the same weekend more often than not, but the two rarely coincide with the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which is based on an uncorrected lunar calendar.

3

Ukraine might be running out of artillery rounds, U.S. official warns

Ukrainian forces defending their country against Russian invasion could face shortages of ammunition — especially artillery rounds — once Russia begins its expected offensive in eastern Ukraine, a U.S. official said Saturday. President Biden announced last week that the U.S. is sending Ukraine 40,000 artillery rounds as part of an arms shipment, but that might only last them a few days. Even as much of the Russian invasion force has stopped fighting to regroup, Ukrainian forces are still reportedly firing thousands of artillery rounds per day, a number that will likely increase when Russia's new offensive begins.

4

Kim Jong Un observes test of new tactical nuke

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un observed a test of a new type of short-range guided tactical nuclear weapon on Saturday, North Korean state media said Sunday. South Korea said its northern neighbor launched two projectiles, which flew about 70 miles and landed in the sea. "The new-type tactical guided weapon system ... is of great significance in drastically improving the firepower of the frontline long-range artillery units and enhancing the efficiency in the operation of tactical nukes," the Korean Central News Agency reported. Last month, Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, said North Korea would use nuclear weapons in response to an attack from South Korea.

5

Arm Ukraine to stop global food crisis, German agriculture minister says

Cem Özdemir, Germany's agriculture minister and a member of the country's Green party, said during the weekend that he has received "alarming news from Ukraine, where Russian troops are apparently also deliberately destroying agricultural infrastructure and supply chains." These disruptions, Özdemir argued, could lead to global food shortages, as Ukraine is one of the world's largest exporters of wheat. In order to prevent this crisis, the West must support "Ukraine with additional, more effective weapons," Özdemir said.

6

Israeli police arrest 9 Palestinians amid clashes on Temple Mount

Nine Palestinians were arrested and seven wounded on Sunday when Israeli police entered Jerusalem's Temple Mount complex to clear the way for Jewish visitors to the site, which is considered holy by both Muslims and Jews. A crowd of hundreds of Palestinian protesters allegedly attempted to block the Jewish visitors from accessing the site. In a related incident, 17 people were injured when Palestinians threw rocks at buses carrying visitors to the Western Wall. On Friday, over 150 people were injured and more than 400 arrested when Israeli police entered the Temple Mount's Al-Aqsa mosque to clear the mosque of stockpiled stones.

7

Pope calls for peace on Easter Sunday marred by 'too much violence'

Pope Francis called for "peace for war-torn Ukraine" and warned of the dangers of nuclear war in an Easter address delivered Sunday to thousands of worshippers in St. Peter's Square. "We have seen all too much blood, all too much violence," he said. Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of the Ukrainian city of Melitopol who was reportedly abducted by Russian forces before being released in a prisoner swap, attended the pope's Easter vigil service on Saturday night. "[W]e are all praying, praying with you and for you this night," Francis told Fedorov and the three Ukrainian lawmakers also in attendance.

8

Ukraine asks G7 for $50 billion to cover budget shortfall

Ukraine has asked the G7 countries for $50 billion to help cover the war-torn country's budget deficit, said Oleh Ustenko, the economic adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, on Sunday. The World Bank projected last week that Ukraine's economy is expected to shrink by 45.1 percent in 2022 as a result of Russia's invasion. The Group of Seven is made up of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, and Japan, with the participation of the European Union. Russia joined the G7 in 1998 but had its membership suspended in 2014 in response to the annexation of Crimea.

9

Five people to split $50,000 reward for helping police catch NYC subway shooter

The $50,000 reward police offered for information leading to the arrest of the New York City subway shooter will be split five ways, the NYPD announced Saturday. Frank James, 62, was arrested Wednesday in Manhattan's East Village after allegedly shooting 10 people on a subway platform the previous day. On his social media accounts, James frequently espoused Black extremist ideology and called for violence against white people. According to James' lawyers, the suspect called a police hotline to turn himself in.

10

'Marjorie Taylor Greene' wields chocolate AR-15 in new SNL cold open

Guests who shared Easter wishes during the latest Saturday Night Live cold open included Dr. Anthony Fauci (Kate McKinnon), New York City Mayor Eric Adams (Chris Redd), Elon Musk (Mikey Day) — who offered to buy Easter for 23 billion Peeps — Britney Spears (Chloe Fineman), Jared Leto (Kyle Mooney) — who initially introduced himself as Jesus Christ — former President Donald Trump (James Austin Johnson), and GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Cecily Strong). 'Greene' took the stage armed with an AR-15. "I've been saying aggressively to all my Jewish and Muslim colleagues, 'Happy Easter!' she said. "Don't worry. This rifle's chocolate, but the bullets are real."

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