5 things to know for March 16: Bank meltdown, Ukraine, Abortion, Plane safety, TikTok


A massive blob of seaweed spanning more than 5,000 miles is headed for the shores of Florida, threatening to dampen tourist season with an incredibly sticky situation (forgive the pun). The seaweed will be prevalent on beaches in Florida around July, researchers say, after it completes its trajectory through the Caribbean and up into the Gulf of Mexico.

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Two banks collapsed over the past week, sparking fears that banking turmoil is spreading around the world. However, analysts say this is not a repeat of the 2008 global financial crisis and not necessarily a time to panic. “Americans’ money is safe,” former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers told CNN. This comes after another banking scare occurred Wednesday when Switzerland’s second-biggest lender, Credit Suisse, announced its biggest shareholder had no plans to give any more funds. This sent US stocks tumbling Wednesday, but futures are up after the company agreed to a $53 billion loan from the Swiss central bank. Separately, analysts say it may be tough to purchase a home right now, particularly if government regulators crack down on banks in the wake of their major fluctuations.

The US military released newly declassified video today showing the Russian downing of a US drone over the Black Sea on Tuesday. While Russia’s defense ministry denied its aircraft came into contact with the drone, the video shows a Russian fighter jet dumping fuel as it intercepts the US drone. Russia said it will try to retrieve the wreckage of the downed drone and has reportedly sent its forces to the site of the crash. The US said earlier it was taking measures to ensure the drone won’t fall into the wrong hands but admitted it may never be recovered. Following the incident, Russia said relations between Moscow and Washington are now at their “lowest point.”

A lawsuit in a federal court in Texas may block access to mifepristone, an abortion drug approved by the FDA. The lawsuit claims the drug is not safe and that the FDA didn’t study it enough to approve it, despite several studies that have shown it to be safe and effective for more than two decades. The lawsuit from anti-abortion doctors and medical associations intends to require the FDA to withdraw or suspend its approval of the drug, as well as block the agency’s more recent regulatory changes making the pills more accessible. The judge hearing the case, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, did not share an explicit timeline for when he’ll rule, telling the parties Wednesday he would issue an order and opinion “as soon as possible.” If he were to rule against the FDA, an appeal is almost certainly guaranteed to follow – and could ultimately make its way to the Supreme Court.

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Wednesday called on participants at an aviation summit to help find the “root causes” of the growing number of safety incidents at airports nationwide. “We are particularly concerned because we have seen an uptick in serious close calls,” Buttigieg said, referring to a series of near collisions on runways across the US. The summit comes after the FAA said it was investigating another near-accident between commercial airliners. The most recent close call was earlier this month at Reagan National Airport near Washington, DC – the seventh since the start of this year. “We’re not going to wait for something still worse to happen to act now,” Buttigieg told CNN, adding that the efforts should result in “making sure we can save lives at airports around the country.”

The Biden administration has threatened to ban TikTok from the US unless the app’s Chinese owners agree to spin off their share of the social media platform. TikTok has declined to discuss specifics on the matter, but did not dispute recent reports of the divestiture request. “If protecting national security is the objective, divestment doesn’t solve the problem,” TikTok spokesperson Maureen Shanahan said in a statement. The talks with TikTok have stretched on without resolution, prompting criticism of the Biden administration by some US lawmakers who have pushed to ban the app through legislation. US officials have raised fears that the Chinese government could pressure TikTok or its Chinese parent ByteDance into handing over the personal information of TikTok’s US users, which might then benefit Chinese intelligence activities or influence campaigns.

The US has a new favorite dog breed, and it’s not the Labrador Retriever

Hint: This type of adorable breed has bat-like ears and a wrinkly nose. 

Pilot makes first-ever plane landing on Dubai’s Burj Al Arab helipad

A stunt pilot successfully brought his aircraft to a stop in just 68 feet on top of a Dubai skyscraper. See the images here.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers intends to play for the New York Jets

Famed quarterback Aaron Rodgers shared he would like to continue his NFL career in New York, specifically with the Jets.

Man indicted on burglary charges for allegedly stealing animals from the Dallas Zoo

The 24-year-old suspect was connected to a case of missing monkeys and the disappearance of a leopard from its enclosure.

NASA reveals new spacesuit design

These spacesuits, developed for NASA by Axiom Space, look quite different than the puffy white outfits you may be envisioning.

Bobby Caldwell, the soulful singer and songwriter behind R&B hits like “What You Won’t Do For Love” and “Open Your Eyes,” has died after battling health issues for some time, his wife shared in a statement on Wednesday. He was 71.

$6.5 million

That’s how much the US will pay in lost wages owed to Mexican migrant workers, according to a statement this week from the US Department of Labor. The money owed to thousands of foreign farm workers was recovered by the department after it failed to locate the individuals in order to deliver their checks, Mexican officials said.

“Life is strange and I’m incredibly proud and grateful.”

– Ryan Reynolds, sharing remarks after T-Mobile announced Wednesday that it’s buying the actor’s budget wireless company Mint Mobile in an enormous $1.35 billion deal. Reynolds’ big payday comes after he purchased a minority ownership stake in the company in 2019. He will stay on in his “creative role on behalf of Mint,” where he serves as a spokesperson, according to a news release. 

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Artist transforms bubble wrap into painting

Before we wrap today’s newsletter, watch this video to be impressed by a meticulous form of art. (Click here to view)

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