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Monday briefing: A Russian attack near NATO’s borders; Tom Brady’s return; March Madness brackets; William Hurt; and more

(Jordan Robertson for The Washington Post)


Russia attacked a military training center only 15 miles from Poland.

  • At least 35 people were killed and 134 were injured in western Ukraine yesterday by the missile strikes.
  • Why the location matters: Poland is part of NATO, a Western military alliance that includes the U.S. An attack on NATO territory would bring Russia in direct conflict with the West.
  • What else to know: The pregnant Ukrainian mother, captured in a photo last week that showed the tragedy of the maternity hospital bombing, has died with her baby. Talks between Russia and Ukraine started again today.


Russia asked China for help with its war in Ukraine, the U.S. said.

  • China’s response: It denied the report. The U.S. will meet with China’s top diplomat today, and Ukraine will be a main topic.
  • What else to know: Russia cut off Instagram access at midnight, which further isolates its people from the world. Facebook was banned earlier this month.


Tom Brady changed his mind about retirement.

  • The star quarterback announced last night that he’s returning to the NFL to play with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers again next season.
  • This was unexpected: The 44-year-old, a seven-time Super Bowl winner, had said on Feb. 1 that he was done playing football.


March Madness has officially started.

  • The NCAA revealed the 68-team fields for college basketball’s championship tournaments last night. Games start tomorrow.
  • The men’s bracket: Gonzaga, Arizona, Kansas and Baylor, the defending champ, are the four No. 1 seeds (which are divided up by region). Gonzaga, a top seed for the fourth time since 2017, is still chasing its first national championship.
  • The women’s bracket: South Carolina, North Carolina State, Louisville and Stanford, last year’s champ, are the four top seeds.


Lobbying broke an all-time spending record last year.

  • The numbers: The industry made $3.7 billion. Lobbyists are hired by businesses and organizations to try to persuade lawmakers on an issue.
  • Why the record? The government had trillions more to spend because of pandemic aid and infrastructure. Lobbyists also targeted coronavirus restrictions.


Oscar-winning actor William Hurt died yesterday.

  • The 71-year-old star of the ’80s was known for “Broadcast News,” “Body Heat” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” for which he won the 1986 Academy Award for best actor. More recently, he played a recurring role in Marvel’s superhero movies.
  • Hurt died surrounded by family, his son said.


Boston started experimenting with free buses this month.

  • Why? The city’s new mayor believes free public transportation is an important tool for “climate justice and racial equity and mobility.”
  • The details: Three busy routes through predominantly Black neighborhoods will have no fares for the next two years.
  • It’s part of wider trend: Cities like Albuquerque, Richmond and Los Angeles are trying free-fare programs, too, partly because of pandemic recovery funds and lower ridership.

And now ... “The Bachelor” has been around for 20 years now, and this season’s two-part finale starts tonight: Take a trip down memory lane with these defining moments.

John Taylor contributed to today’s briefing.

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