culture

Need2Know: Wall St. Comeback, Ford's Too-Popular Pickup & Neil Young vs. Joe Rogan

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In this Saturday, May 25, 2019, file photo, N eil Young performs at the BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival at Napa Valley Expo in Napa, Calif. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File)
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Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Tuesday, January 25, 2022:

U.S. TROOPS ON HIGH ALERT

Tensions between Russia and the U.S. over the fate of Ukraine escalated Monday with an order from U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to place 8,500 troops on high alert to potentially back up NATO forces in case of a Russian invasion. The order marks a shift from the Biden Administration's previous comments calling for a more restrained approach, even as the White House continues to insist it will not go to war with Russia over the situation. Short of sending in troops, however, the administration has helped escalate the crisis by sending 200,000 pounds of military aid to Ukraine. Ukraine leaders are telling citizens the threat is real, though not imminent. NY TIMES

WALL STREET COMEBACK

To say Wall Street had a case of the Mondays might be understating it. The S&P 500 whipsawed in and out of correction territory. The Dow Jones slid 1,200 points before bouncing back, and the Nasdaq recovered after dropping as much as 4.9% earlier in the session. All the major indices ended the day in the green in one of the strongest comebacks in recent memory. What caused the market jitters is hard to pin down, with looming rate hikes, a possible war in Ukraine, and an ongoing pandemic all perfectly reasonable excuses. AP

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION ON THE DOCKET

The Supreme Court has decided to take on two cases that could spell the end of affirmative action in college admissions. Race-conscious admissions narrowly survived a legal challenge back in 2016 in Fisher v. University of Texas, when the balance of the court was very different. This time, conservative judges have a 6-3 majority, and the focus is on admission policies at Harvard and the University of North Carolina that challengers say discriminate to Asian-American applicants. VOX

COVID LATEST

WHO: The World Health Organization offered a ray of hope at the start of the week with a statement saying that the "emergency phase" of the COVID-19 pandemic may be giving way to "stabilization and normalization."  Despite some difficult weeks ahead tamping down the omicron variant, and keeping an eye out for new variants, health officials are banking on the virus becoming more manageable in the months ahead. They say the extremely infectious nature of the omicron variant is leaving behind high levels of immunity. AP

We’re immune to rays of hope

PPE: As free at-home COVID tests start arriving in mailboxes, N95 masks are now available for free at select U.S. pharmacies. In the Midwest, Meijer and Hy-Vee say they have the masks available and Walgreens expects to begin distributing them Friday. Those who request them will get three masks. WASH POST

YOUNG VS. ROGAN: Singer Neil Young says it's him or Joe Rogan - but Spotify can't have both. Young is furious Rogan has been spreading COVID vaccine misinformation on his insanely popular podcast, which streams exclusively on the music service. No word yet on what Spotify plans to do. ROLLING STONE

FORD MAVERICK SHORTAGE

Ford is cutting off customer orders for its 2022 Maverick pickup truck as it struggles to fill a backlog amid a tight car market. The company says the truck's affordability, with the average sale price under $30,000, is drawing customers out of the used car market, which has seen skyrocketing prices. Final call for retail sales will be Thursday and orders for the 2023 Maverick will resume over the summer. WSJ 

GOOGLE SUED

In another case of states taking aim at big tech, the attorneys general of Texas, Washington, Indiana and DC are suing Google over what they argue are deceptive business practices. The lawsuits allege that the search engine giant made misleading promises about users' ability to protect their privacy in order to gain access to their location data. They say the company basically poked and prodded users until they provided more data.  WASH POST

“Great news!” -Bing

META'S SUPERCOMPUTER

Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, said on Monday that its research team built a supercomputer capable of artificial intelligence, which could soon be the fastest in the world. The so-called "SuperCluster" came out of two years of work, much of it done remotely during the pandemic, from several hundred researchers. The company said the machine will help power the metaverse, but for the moment is just for research purposes. META

AT&T BOOSTS SPEEDS

AT&T is now offering two tiers of high-speed internet, both 2 gigs and 5 gigs, to customers with fiber-optic cables in more than 70 metro regions. The implications for this kind of multi-gig connection get a little technical, but the big takeaway for customers is faster internet speeds, and potentially even faster speeds down the line. The company said it has reached 10 gigs in a lab environment, though even 5 gigs is likely overkill for your average household. CHEDDAR

Even our internet speeds are getting boosters

HELP WANTED: NEW KING

You won't find the listing on Indeed, but a tiny island off the coast of England just posted an unusual job opportunity. The Barrow Borough Council in Cumbria is seeking a "landlord-king" to take over management of the local pub as well as 50 acres of land. The previous landlord-king, recently retired, leaving the ancient beer-soaked throne vacant. The council is well aware the king's duties are not like other royals, but they said whoever takes over should be dedicated, and are looking for a 10-year commitment. NY TIMES

We’re applying for jester

LEFTOVERS: BIDEN HOT ON INFLATION

Inflation is a sensitive issue for everyone, but President Joe Biden got particularly steamed about it at a press conference on Monday. As journalists were leaving the White House East Room, Biden got caught in a hot-mic moment using an expletive to describe Fox News reporter Peter Doocy who asked about inflation amid a flurry of questions about the situation in Ukraine. Biden, usually pretty genial, called Doocy afterward to try to clear the air. BLOOMBERG
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!
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