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Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Thursday, January 27, 2022:


Can you hear that? That's Democrats breathing a sigh of relief on the news that Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer, 83, will retire at the end of the current term. As the oldest justice, Breyer's retirement was expected — even hoped for — but by no means certain, causing jitters among liberals still haunted by the loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat to Trump appointee Amy Coney Barrett. The vacancy gives President Biden a chance to appoint another left-leaning justice and prevent the ideological make-up of the court to slide even further right. The Senate won't need Republicans to confirm a successor, but they'll need to be united, which is easier said than done. CHEDDAR


The White House announced Wednesday that the U.S. has donated a total of 400 million vaccines to other countries so far. The milestone comes six months after the Biden administration announced it would spend $500 million to get doses where they're most needed. While 10 billion doses have been distributed globally over the course of the pandemic, disparities between rich and poor nations persist. Meanwhile, today is the deadline for U.S. health care workers to get at least their first jab. The Supreme Court shot down Biden's widespread vax mandate earlier this month, but allowed it to go into effect for those in the medical industry. NBC


The United States has officially rejected Russia's demand that NATO be barred from Ukraine, while offering to negotiate on other sticking points such as nuclear arms control and military exercises. The Biden administration presented President Vladimir Putin with a stark choice: re-enter negotiations or invade and get hit with the full brunt of U.S. economic sanctions. NY TIMES


As the stock market weathered another rollercoaster session on Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell signaled that a rate hike was likely coming in March. As for how many rate hikes, or how steep they'll be, Powell avoided specifics while making clear that the Fed would gradually wind down its easy-money policies through 2022 in an effort to tamp down on inflation. The news took markets down a peg after they rallied earlier in the day. CHEDDAR


Tesla is rolling into 2022 with its highest-ever annual profits. The pioneering electric vehicle company announced $5.5 billion in annual profits with $53.8 billion in sales in its earnings report on Wednesday. This is pretty impressive considering Tesla didn't generate a profit at all until 2020, when it pulled in just $720 million. Now it's beating Wall Street expectations and churning out 1.22 million vehicles per year just as the EV market begins to heat up. WSJ


The Environmental Protection Agency is hitting the road to tackle air pollution, unsafe drinking water, and other problems in the poor communities of Gulf Coast states. The agency will conduct unannounced inspections of chemical plants, refineries and industrial facilities that are suspected of contributing to local environmental issues. The series of enforcement actions was inspired by EPA Administrator Michael Regan's "Journey to Justice" tour.  AP


After years of controversy, Meta's stablecoin project, Diem, is throwing in the towel. The initiative, which began back when the company was called Facebook, aimed to create a digital currency that could be used across the company's vast network. CEO Mark Zuckerberg was very keen on the idea and defended it multiple times before Congress. Unfortunately for him, regulators weren't convinced, and now the company is planning to sell off the project's assets. The news marks a defeat for private companies that may want to issue their own digital currencies. BLOOMBERG


SpaceX is on deck to eventually send astronauts to the moon, but that's still years away. In the meantime, the private rocket company is anticipating a much messier moon landing next month. A four-ton chunk of rocket that launched seven years ago is set to crash into the moon on March 4 at 7:25 a.m. ET. The imminent crash landing is an interesting curiosity for the space community, but it also highlights the growing issue of space detritus. NY TIMES


If you thought NFTs were just for pictures of apes wearing sunglasses, tell that to the descendants of Pablo Picasso, who are planning to auction off 1,000 digital pieces featuring a previously unseen ceramic work. An image of a bowl made in 1958 will be one of the first works from the deceased artist to become a non-fungible token. Florian Picasso, the artist’s great-grandson, said the family is trying to bridge the gap between fine art and crypto. AP


Den of Geek did some back-of-the-napkin math and discovered that George Jetson, the patriarch of The Jetsons, would have been born in 2022. This is based on the fact that the show, which premiered in 1962, was supposed to take place 100 years in the future, and that George was supposed to be 40-years-old that year. Don't tell baby George, but at this rate, flying cars might not be in his future. How about a Tesla instead? DEN OF GEEK
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