Bloomberg - Evening Briefing - The assault begins

Bloomberg Evening Briefing

Kyiv officials stated that Russia has begun its widely expected assault on eastern Ukraine. After having pulled back from the north of the country following a failed effort to take the capital and other major cities, the Kremlin has been steadily moving forces to the Donbas region. With wide-ranging tank battles expected across the area’s open landscape, this new chapter of Russia’s war comes with an advantage for the Kremlin: separatist groups have been fighting the Ukrainian military there (with Moscow’s help) since 2014. Critical to any move by Russia to establish a land corridor along the Sea of Azov will be Mariupol, the port city it’s been pounding for weeks. Its remaining defenders are encircled but haven’t surrendered, Ukrainian officials said. In recent days, Russian forces also renewed their barrage on cities all across the country, including strikes on what it claims are arms depots in Lviv, near the border with Poland.

Smoke rises near destroyed residential buildings in Mariupol, Ukraine, on April 12.​​​​​​ Photographer: Andrey Borodulin/AFP/Getty Images​

As far as the Russian economy is concerned, Vladimir Putin proclaimed that sanctions had failed, citing the recovery of the ruble to pre-war levels. However, Russia’s central bank conceded it has found no clear alternatives to the world’s major reserve currencies, since the global effort has left the Kremlin with only yuan and gold. In addition to addressing Russia’s financial picture, Putin also honored an army unit allegedly involved in mass executions in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha.  

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U.S. regulators are applying more scrutiny to Tesla’s “autopilot” technology than ever before. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened two formal defect investigations that could ultimately force Elon Musk’s electric carmaker to retrofit cars and restrict use of the feature.

Tesla’s Model Y Photographer: Bing Guan/Bloomberg

With Americans flocking to airports to travel again and a new Covid-19 infection wave looming, a Florida federal judge appointed by Donald Trump overturned the federal mask mandate on airplanes, trains and other public transportation. Fueled by highly-contagious omicron subvariants, confirmed new infections in the U.S. are averaging 35,000 per day, though the real number is likely higher.

A senior official responsible for driving technological innovation at the U.S. Department of Defense has resigned, saying the Pentagon should behave more like SpaceX.

The Pentagon Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg

Potential homebuyers are getting discouraged by rising mortgage rates and home prices, according to a survey by the New York Federal Reserve. U.S. consumers expect mortgage rates to increase substantially over the next several years, with households on average projecting rates of 6.7% a year from now and 8.2% in three years.

Florida’s Department of Education banned almost half of the suggested math textbooks for 2022-2023, claiming the books violate new rules prohibiting the teaching critical race theory. Florida banned the teaching of the subject last year as part of a nationwide campaign by Republican lawmakers. Since January of 2021, 17 states have banned the theory or other topics such as sexism. However, in a survey that year, 96% of educators said their schools don’t teach the discipline.

The S&P 500 closed down after swinging between narrow gains and losses on very thin volumes following a long holiday weekend. Markets in much of Europe were still shut down. Here’s your markets wrap 

Companies tied to far-right radio host Alex Jones filed for bankruptcy. Jones was sued by the survivors of children shot dead in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. Jones called the murders of the 20 young children—all aged six or seven years old—as well those of six adults a hoax

A student looks for a place to leave flowers at a makeshift memorial for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. Photographer: Brendan. Smialowski/AFP

What you’ll need to know tomorrow

Goldman’s Youngest Black Partner to Start Fund

Goldman Sachs’s youngest Black partner, Darren Dixon, is leaving to start his own fund, adding to a string of exits in the past year from the bank’s already small pool of top-ranking Black executives. The 35-year-old, who was named partner in 2020, was most recently head of global capital solutions, a group that structures complex deals and rescue financing for companies navigating trouble. 

A Goldman Sachs logo. Photographer: Daniel Acker

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