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Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Friday, March 25, 2022:


President Joe Biden heads to Poland today where he will meet with U.S. troops and refugees crossing in from Ukraine. Two million people have escaped to Poland since the war began a month ago. NATO allies there are finding new sources of natural gas as Russia demands payment in rubles – a breach of their contracts. Yesterday Biden urged allies to boot Russia from the G20 and said the U.S. will respond if Putin uses chemical weapons. On top of that, the White House announced that the U.S. will welcome 100,000 Ukrainian refugees and provide an additional $1 billion in supplies. NY TIMES


Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, was texting directly with Trump's Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in the weeks after the 2020 election, urging him to help overthrow the results of the election. The 29 messages were among more than 2,000 that Meadows provided to the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection before he stopped cooperating, citing the former president's executive privilege. There were nothing in the texts seen by reporters that directly links Justice Thomas to his wife's efforts. As you may remember Justice Thomas was admitted to the hospital a week ago with an infection and so far there have been no updates on his condition. WASH POST


Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson endured her fourth and final day of confirmation hearings on Thursday, and shocker: Republicans and Democrats are seemingly split down the middle on her nomination. However, the GOP does not appear to be a planning a boycott or a serious effort to block her nomination, although Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says he will not vote for her. Despite the partisan nitpicks, the ABA deemed Jackson “well-qualified” to serve on the Supreme Court, and the committee will vote on Jackson's nomination on April 4. NY TIMES


North Korea launched what is potentially its biggest test missile yet, marking the end of Kim Jong Un’s self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests. South Korea responded with its own missile drills aimed at preparing the country for strikes against its northern neighbor's missile launch points and facilities. In January, North Korean warned it may end its moratorium due to U.S. hostility. AP


Hard times make for strange bedfellows: Uber, once an industry-wrecker, has struck a deal to allow New York City's 14,000 yellow cabs to receive ride requests from its customers. The transition from disruptor to partner comes as a worker shortage raises prices on the popular ride-hailing app. For riders, a yellow cab will now cost the same as your standard UberX. For drivers, because yellow-cab metered fare is calculated under a different formula, cab drivers may earn more or less than before — depending on the algorithm that day. THE VERGE

It’s like the Yankees and Red Sox sharing the same dugout.


ABORTION BAN: It was a busy day for conservative legislators in Arizona as the state House voted to outlaw abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, joining states like Florida, Mississippi and West Virginia by extremely curtailing, or effectively banning, the practice. The bill now goes to Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who has a record of signing off on anti-abortion legislation. AP  

TRANSGENDER RIGHTS: Also waiting for a signature from Ducey is a bill that prohibits gender reassignment surgery for minors and restricts transgender athletes from playing on women's sports teams. The controversy over transgender athletes has been magnified in recent weeks, after collegiate swimmer, Lia Thomas, won an NCAA Women’s Division I title. Republicans fear athletes like Thomas have an unfair advantage, though trans activists argue these concerns are overblown and call for more inclusion in sports. AP


As workers return to the office, venture capitalists are betting big on a resurgence in gym memberships. Investors have recently poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Planet Fitness Inc., with the idea that, if it can survive the last two years unscathed (unlike 24 Hour Fitness and Gold’s Gym, which filed for bankruptcy during the pandemic), it can survive anything. Planet Fitness's members rejoined at a rate of 30% last year, which is even higher than pre-pandemic, and its stock is up 12% since last June as more and more people want to do things outside of their homes. This is in contrast to WFH fitness king Peloton, which has seen its stock price drop about 77% in the same time. WSJ

Of course the gym that offers pizza and donuts would survive.


The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits last week fell to its lowest level in 52 years, as the U.S. job market stays red hot in the midst of rising costs and an ongoing pandemic. Jobless claims fell 28,000 to 187,000 for the week ending March 19, the lowest since September of 1969, the Labor Department reported Thursday. YAHOO FINANCE

That works.


Four months after retiring its Car View, which promoted safer driving by only showing playback controls and information about the current track, Spotify is testing a new interface for behind-the-wheel listeners. The biggest addition to the revamp is that drivers can now easily browse and search for different music to play while remaining in what is now called Car Mode. The player view is simplistic, only showing play/pause, skip, shuffle, a like button, and a voice control option. 9TO5GOOGLE


Steve Wilhite, creator of the beloved GIF, died earlier this month due to complications from Covid-19. The tragic news has sparked an outpouring of love and condolences from the many internet denizens who use the popular file format almost like a second language. We here at Need2Know owe a debt of gratitude as well. GIFs are a big part of how we make the news fun and palatable. So thanks again, Steve, and here's a GIF parade from us to you. NPR


Spring is springing, but it might be chilly enough where you are to keep streaming indoors. If you're looking for something good to watch, the Cheddar Digital Team has you covered! CHEDDAR
[Adrienn Szobo/Paramount+ via AP]


One thing we love: Rick Astley re-issuing his album with the cult classic "Never Gonna Give You Up." (Or do we hate Rickrolling?)
One thing we hate: Cold oatmeal. Gross.
One thing we ate: St. Joseph's Day zeppole (Zeppole di San Giuseppe) – at a St. Patrick's Day party.
Need2Know Podcast Note: The Need2Know podcast is taking a break for now. We're looking forward to bringing you more context and analysis on the big stories of the day in a few weeks. In the meantime, check out our archive on Apple or Spotify, or watch on YouTube, and send us your feedback!