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Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Friday, March 18, 2022:


As survivors are pulled from the rubble of a horrific theater bombing in Mauripol, and Russia's assault on Ukraine continues to intensify, President Joe Biden will speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping today about the crisis. The talk is one of the higher-stakes diplomatic exchanges to take place during the war, as the two countries hold considerable sway over the world economy, and together could assert more pressure on Russia to end the conflict. BLOOMBERG


Covid cases are rising in Europe and officials are concerned that the U.S. could be next. While infection rates are currently at an eight-month low, senior health aides said it's possible that the virus could take another pass through the country this spring. The warning came just days after Congress nixed an additional $15 billion in Covid funds from the latest spending bill. Meanwhile, Moderna is asking the FDA to approve a second booster shot, but unlike Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna wants approval for all adults, not just the 65+ crowd. Thirty-five manufacturers have also signed on to produce generic versions of Pfizer's Covid pills and then sell them in lower-income countries. POLITICO


Biden — famously a proud Irishman — had to change up his St. Patrick's Day plans yesterday, when Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin tested positive for Covid-19 right before his planned visit to the White House. Biden had to settle for a virtual meet, but that doesn't mean he was happy about it. “He is an extrovert, extrovert, extrovert," said White House press secretary Jen Psaki. The two leaders had both been at a gala the night before, but the White House says Biden wasn't considered a close contact (although House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was sitting next to Martin at the event). In the meantime, the pandemic held little sway over revelers across the country, as parades and festivities returned after a two-year hiatus and flooded the streets with green. AP

A Guinness a day keeps the Covid away. Or something like that.


It took a flood of well-meaning crypto donations, but Ukraine has officially legalized crypto. The sector's legal status was uncertain, even as crypto adoption accelerated in the war-torn country. Now it's allowing the crypto industry to create a legal market for digital assets, while also requiring crypto exchanges and companies to register with financial regulators. In addition, the government said it will back crypto holdings in the same way as regular currency. Crypto holders in the U.S. are nowhere near having that kind of financial protection. THE VERGE


Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was doing the rounds at SXSW and Cheddar reporter Michelle Castillo was able to pull him aside for a chat about Biden's bipartisan infrastructure package. The secretary talked about the big transportation issues of the day, from electric vehicle charging stations and the future of public transit. He also touched on the so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill in Florida, saying the legislation stemmed from politicians who were trying to deflect away from pressing economic concerns. CHEDDAR


Tell your mom, your cheap uncle, and maybe your ex: Sharing Netflix passwords could soon come with an extra fee. The streamer is testing out a plan to charge users who share their accounts with other households in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru, with the goal of eventually expanding to other countries. The company has long turned a blind eye to password sharing, allowing friends and families to form mini-Netflix tribes around individual accounts. This move could end the days of wondering why Love is Blind popped up on your "Continue Watching" list. WSJ

Binge 'em while ya got 'em.


Classic movie studio, meet e-commerce giant. Amazon officially acquired MGM Studios Thursday for $8.5 billion in what is the biggest deal for the company since it took over Whole Foods in 2017. The closing happened somewhat by default, as the FTC's deadline for examining the deal expired. The agency could still intervene, but in the meantime, Amazon now owns MGM's catalog of 4,000 films and 17,000 episodes of television. The IP windfall also includes the iconic James Bond series, so maybe we can look forward to some Disney-style spin-offs, sequels, prequels, or maybe even a cartoon series about the British spy.  VARIETY

The new king of the jungle.


BRITTNEY GRINER: WNBA star Brittney Griner will remain stuck in Russian prison for at least another two months, according to her lawyer. The 31-year-old was arrested last month after an electronic vape pen filled with hashish oil was found in her luggage. Now she faces up to 10 years in prison and is struggling to secure her freedom as the U.S. and Russia continue to face off over Ukraine. ESPN

MARCH MADNESS: Nearly all brackets have been busted in the men's competition and we're not even out of the first round yet. Yesterday Number 2 Kentucky fell to number 15 Saint Peters, number 12 Richmond beat number 5 Iowa, and number 12 New Mexico State knocked out number 5 UCONN. Yahoo says only 14 perfect brackets remain in its tourney.  YAHOO


Instagram has suspended Kanye West for violating the platform's policies on hate speech.The company said the feud-prone hip-hop star had directed a racial slur at "The Daily Show" host Trevor Noah. The post was in response to a segment on Noah's show comparing West's treatment of ex-wife Kim Kardashian to the abuse many women face in their relationships. West has since deleted the post, which swapped out the lyrics of "Kumbaya" with a slur. CNN


This is shaping up to be a tough cookie-selling season for Girl Scouts. First, they were harassed by unhappy customers. Now they're getting competition from DoorDash. The partnership with the app-based delivery service was supposed to drive cookie sales, but instead, it gave Scouts a hard lesson in the ethos of Silicon Valley. Due to a labor shortage at one of the main bakeries that produces Girl Scout-branded cookies, supply became limited, and Scouts found themselves competing with gig workers for access to new shipments. SF CHRONICLE

This is the sort of thing that keeps Cookie Monster up at night.

Because We're All Watching Something This Weekend

Looking for something to watch this weekend? Cheddar's Digital Team has you covered! Every week we share what we're streaming to help you find something good.  CHEDDAR


One thing we love: The midday college hoops that March Madness provides.
One thing we hate: Morning commute hiccups that seem to have picked up where they left off prior to the pandemic.
One thing we ate: A classic bacon egg and cheese on a roll as we headed back into the office.

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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