News Updates

Ukraine’s body collectors

February 24, 2023
Hello, Insiders. This is Emily Cohn, Insider’s deputy editor in chief. Today marks one year since Russia invaded Ukraine. I want to quickly highlight some of our important and impactful work about this conflict.

We shared Katie Livingstone’s story of two volunteers who traveled to Ukraine to become war heroes, only for chaos to ensue. Photojournalist Alan Chin got access to the mobile command that’s keeping Ukraine’s trains running and filed a dispatch on board a packed train. Our documentary team has profiled a group of amateur fighters who started their own battalion and used satellite images to show the damage to historic landmarks in Ukraine.

Nicholas Carlson will be dedicating his notes next week to the true cost of this war — and what comes next. Stay tuned. But now, let’s get started.

Emily Cohn


In today’s edition: Ukraine’s battlefield body collectors, the industry #MeToo forgot, and the expert sounding the alarm on Canadian “super pigs.” If this was forwarded to you, sign up here.



Weinstein, China, & more

  • Idaho lawmakers are seriously considering absorbing Oregon’s conservative rural counties if they can secede from the blue state. Find out more.
  • Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 16 additional years in an LA prison. It brings his full sentence up to 39 years. More here.
  • China has called for a cease-fire in Ukraine, just days after saying its ties with Russia were as “solid as a mountain.” Get the full story.

Ukraine’s body collectors

Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters
In the year since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine last February, it’s often fallen on civilians to find and retrieve the bodies that pile up in mined forests and cratered fields.

Black Tulip is a humanitarian mission of Ukrainian civilians: They carry the dead from the battlefields, or exhume and retrieve bodies from shallow graves in newly liberated territories.

Oleksiy Yukov, 37, leads one of those groups. He estimates his team has retrieved at least 800 bodies since last February — just a fraction of the deaths recorded since the beginning of 2022.

“I see death exactly the way it is — not like the statistics that you see in the news,” Yukov said. “I see people and their encounter with death, in the very moment that it happened. I see the position in which the person died. I see under which circumstances the person died.”



Resort fees, insurance lawsuit, & more

Matt Rota for Insider


  • The industry #MeToo forgot. A lawsuit accuses one of Globe Life’s top insurance agencies of being a toxic cesspool of sexual abuse, hard drugs, and violence. The complaint also claims managers knew of a “misogynistic” and “cult-like” workplace culture. Read our investigation. 
  • An expert is sounding the alarm on Canadian “super pigs.” Ryan Brook says these pigs are “easily the worst invasive large mammal on the planet,” as they cause crop damage, destroy natural environments, destroy water quality, and spread disease. More on these highly intelligent pigs.
  • Travelers say hotel resort fees have gotten out of control. Consumers are fed up — and they have the support of President Joe Biden, who has called on lawmakers to bar resort fees that can cost anywhere from $25 to $50 a night. Why fees have become a problem.
  • Four Florida restaurants with the same owner had to give over $250,000 of back pay to staff. The US Department of Labor found they didn’t pay wages to their servers and denied other staff overtime premiums. Read more.
  • How media appearances made a world of difference for one OnlyFans creator. Amber Sweetheart, who calls herself the “Queen of Sexting,” said engaging in podcast interviews gave her a significant boost to her subscriber and fan base. More on her strategy.
  • “I worked on a cruise ship for eight months — it wasn’t worth it.” Chris Libreros worked on a cruise that traveled to Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. He said he was shocked by the crew’s rigorous work schedule, lack of free time, and low pay. Read more.
  • How to earn $215 an hour as a freelancer. Tony Dong, a 27-year-old financial writer, earned $16,950 in January. He shared four tips to maximize your earnings as a freelancer. Find them here.



A high-speed train ride

Taylor Rains/Insider
“I rode on one of Europe’s fastest high-speed trains in first class — for $160.” Insider’s aviation reporter Taylor Rains traveled from Amsterdam to Paris on Thalys, a train that can reach speeds of 186 mph. And she says it easily beats flying. A look at her journey.

Big batches

How 5,000 gallons of mole and 60,000 tamales are made. Every year, 500 volunteers from communities across Milpa Alta, Mexico, come together to cook a massive feast known as the junta. Watch here.

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