5 things to know Monday

National security adviser to meet with China’s Yang Jiechi on Russia

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan will meet with senior Chinese foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi in Rome on Monday amid mounting tensions between the two countries over the Russia-Ukraine war. China has called for a peaceful settlement in Ukraine but has rejected sanctions against Russia. In advance of the talks, Sullivan bluntly warned China to avoid helping Russia evade punishment from global sanctions that have hammered the Russian economy. U.S. officials are also accusing China of spreading Russian disinformation that could be a pretext for chemical or biological weapons attacks launched by Vladimir Putin’s forces in Ukraine. Sullivan warned Sunday that Russia could be preparing to use chemical weapons in Ukraine, an act that would draw a “severe price.” 

Britain celebrates Commonwealth Day without the queen

Britain’s annual Commonwealth Day service Monday at Westminster Abbey was supposed to have been Queen Elizabeth II’s first major appearance in public since she was diagnosed with COVID-19 last month. But on Friday, Buckingham Palace announced she would not appear, with Prince Charles representing her instead. The palace did not say if the decision stems from the queen’s bout with COVID-19, but said the queen will give her customary Commonwealth Day message and will continue with other planned engagements this week.

Pi Day: 3.14 adds up to tasty deals

Monday, March 14, marks the annual celebration of the mathematical constant π (pi), which is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. The trillion-digit ratio is rounded to 3.14 (get it?). Albert Einstein was born on Pi Day and noted astrophysicist Stephen Hawking died on the made-up holiday in 2018. But you don’t have to be a math scholar to know that Pi Day equals deals on circular food. The day brings a smorgasbord of deals on pizza and pastries and everything in between. USA TODAY’s Kelly Tyko tells how to get the most out of Pi Day specials.

Men’s, women’s NCAA Tournament brackets revealed

The men’s and women’s NCAA Tournament 68-team fields, seedings and Round 1 matchups were revealed Sunday. In the women’s bracket, South Carolina, Stanford, Louisville and N.C. State all claimed top seeds in their regions. Leading the way in the men’s tournament as No. 1 seeds are: Gonzaga, Baylor, Arizona and Kansas. Following the men’s bracket reveal key questions include: How far can Duke advance in Mike Krzyzewski’s final tournament? Which teams were the biggest snubs? Which seeds were botched by the selection committee? And, which teams are not to be counted on when you fill out that bracket? Don’t forget to play USA TODAY’s bracket challenge.

Awards Season rolls on: Will Smith, ‘Power of the Dog’ win at Critics Choice Awards

Awards season continues in Hollywood off the heels of the 27th annual Critics Choice Awards, where “The Power of the Dog” won the best picture. The Netflix Western was the night’s big winner with four awards, including best adapted screenplay for Campion and best cinematography. In the acting categories, Jessica Chastain won best actress for her title role in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” while Will Smith won best actor for playing Serena and Venus Williams’ dad in “King Richard.” Both actors won the same award at last month’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, giving renewed clarity to what has been considered a wide-open Oscar race. “CODA” star Troy Kotsur and “West Side Story” star Ariana DeBose also solidified their Oscar chances, winning best supporting acting awards. 






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