Ukraine, gas prices, cryptocurrency, pig heart transplant. It’s Wednesday’s news.

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Women and children were buried under debris after a Russian airstrike devastated a hospital complex in Ukraine. And it’s not a cute new health rhyme, but that daily drink could cause your brain to shrink.

? I’m Laura. You’re you. It’s Wednesday. And this is the news you need to know.

But first, freedom! ? A Chicago teen framed for a murder in 1985 becomes the 3,000th person exonerated in the USA.

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Russian airstrike crushes Ukraine maternity hospital

A Russian airstrike devastated a maternity and children’s hospital complex in the besieged southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, burying women and children under debris and injuring more than a dozen, Ukrainian officials said Wednesday. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy once again urged the West to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine. “Atrocity! How much longer will the world be an accomplice ignoring terror?” Zelenskyy said in a Twitter post. “Close the sky right now! Stop the killings! You have power but you seem to be losing humanity.” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated that the United States and its allies won’t establish a no-fly zone because it could drag the alliance further into the war. The West has hit Russia with heavy economic sanctions, and Wednesday, the Kremlin threatened retaliation, also possibly in the form of sanctions, for the “economic war” it accused the United States of waging. 

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As gas prices rise around US, more workers ask where it ends

From gardeners to blacksmiths, the shocking rise in gasoline prices raises concern among workers whose livelihoods depend on fuel to serve their customers. Just as the sudden increase in gas prices has hit unevenly among regions – an average $5.57 a gallon in California vs. $3.80 in Missouri on Wednesday, according to AAA – they have socked some professions harder than others. Those who drive for a living – as well as workers with long commutes – aren’t the only ones who will feel the most pain from gas prices that averaged a record $4.25 a gallon Wednesday, up $1.46 from a year ago. Some are obvious. Drivers for ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft who drive their own vehicles and have to pay for their own gas debate whether their gigs are worth it. The same goes for food deliverers. Others are less obvious: Small or family-owned businesses that depend on reasonable fuel prices to make a profit are caught in the economic crossfire from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including shrimp boat operators, mobile pet groomers, limo drivers and more. 

What everyone’s talking about

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Gene-edited pig heart transplant recipient dies

David Bennett, 57, who received a pig heart in January in place of his own failing one, has died. It’s not clear precisely what caused Bennett’s death, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, where he received the transplant Jan. 7 and had been recovering since. He began deteriorating in recent days, and the hospital announced his death Wednesday. Bennett was the first patient to receive an animal organ genetically modified to prevent rejection in a person. Researchers plan to conduct a thorough review and publish the results in a peer-reviewed journal. The investigative surgery, although it added only two months to Bennett’s life, majorly informed the field of xenotransplantation, which hopes to help solve the human organ shortage.

Biden signs executive order on cryptocurrency

President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday mobilizing the federal government to create a strategy for digital assets such as cryptocurrency that promotes innovation in the industry while minimizing risks to Americans and the global financial system. The order directs the Federal Reserve to research and potentially develop its own digital dollar, which would be similar to cryptocurrencies that have become a financial asset for some Americans. The Treasury Department was ordered to develop guidelines for Americans trading and using cryptocurrency to help them avoid fraud or market volatility. The Treasury will do further research on the potential role of digital assets and blockchain in payment systems.

Real quick

One drink a day could cause your brain to shrink

If your brain feels a little smaller lately, that nightly glass of wine could be to blame. That’s according to a new study suggesting moderate consumption of alcohol – one drink a day for women and up to two for men – is associated with a reduction in brain volume. And the more you drink, the more your brain may shrink. Your brain naturally shrinks as you age, but alcohol intake could lead to an accelerated decline in the size of the brain and a faster decline in memory, decision-making and other brain functions, according to research published this month in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications. Read more about the study here.

A break from the news

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