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Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Wednesday, February 23, 2022:


One day after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops into Ukraine in order to "maintain peace" in two breakaway regions, President Joe Biden came out forcefully against the action and called it the "beginning" of an invasion. He also joined Europe in slapping sanctions on Russian oligarchs and banks but held off on tougher measures as the administration continues to pursue a diplomatic solution. Putin, for his part, hasn't actually sent in troops yet and laid out three conditions for ending the crisis: Ukraine must recognize Russia's sovereignty over Crimea, end its bid to join NATO, and partially demilitarize.  CHEDDAR


The news out of Europe was also a drag on the stock market Tuesday as the S&P 500 closed in correction territory and the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped nearly 500 points. More anxiety about future rate hikes from the Federal Reserve were partly to blame for the meltdown but mostly it looks like market jitters as investors weigh the impact of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine. Adding to the misery, Bitcoin plunged below $37,000 in yet another sign that the leading cryptocurrency is closely tied to the fortunes of the wider market.  CNBC


New data show what most homebuyers already know. The cost of buying a house jumped 18.8 percent in 2021, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index. That's the biggest increase since the index started tracking average home prices in major metropolitan areas back in 1987. The price hikes came amid surging home sales and shrinking inventory during the pandemic. Super-low mortgage rates and a dip in housing construction in recent years have made for one of the tightest housing markets in recent history, and buyers are paying the price. WSJ


European Union members on Tuesday agreed to take another step toward opening the bloc to tourist travel. The European Council is recommending that all members remove testing and quarantine requirements for people who are vaccinated starting next month. The United Kingdom, meanwhile, is lifting all COVID restrictions and ending most free testing just one day after Buckingham Palace revealed that Queen Elizabeth II had tested positive for the virus. AP


In a symbolic victory for the victim's family and supporters, the three men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery exactly one year ago on February 23, 2020 were found guilty on Tuesday of federal hate crimes. The men had already been convicted of murder in a Georgia state court. During the federal case, prosecutors had offered a controversial plea deal, but the judge rejected it, saying it would limit her during sentencing, while Arbery's family argued that it didn't reflect the clear racial motivations for the murder. CHEDDAR


The U.S. Soccer Federation and members of the women's national team have reached a $24 million settlement agreement over equal pay, ending one of the most high-profile legal cases in sports history. As part of the agreement, U.S. Soccer has committed to providing equal pay to women and men going forward. Notably, the deal will only be completely finalized once the team and federation ratify a collective bargaining agreement. But once that happens, most of the money will be distributed to 61 players, while a smaller chunk will go into a fund designed to support players' post-career goals and other charitable efforts. NY TIMES


As if online dating wasn't hard enough, the Federal Trade Commission has reported that so-called "romance scams" are on the rise. In 2021, reported losses from scams that began with the criminal expressing a romantic interest in their victim hit an all-time high of $547 million, or six times the total losses in 2017. Making matters worse, scammers are increasingly using fake cryptocurrency investments to steal even more money from their targets. CHEDDAR


Despite some launch-day hiccups, Donald Trump's new social media platform topped Apple's most-downloaded list earlier this week. Truth Social will provide an online home for the former president, who was kicked off most major platforms in the final weeks of his term. In addition, the app is pitching itself as an alternative to social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook, which conservatives have criticized for censoring certain types of content. It joins a growing number of social media projects with a conservative bent such as Gettr and Parler. CNET


Millions of workers returned from the long weekend on Tuesday to find that their trusty workplace communication platform, Slack, was on the fritz. While the issue seemed to be resolved by the early afternoon, many users were unable to log in, download files, or send messages throughout the morning — making for a tough start to the working week. Back in 2019, Slack saw its stock price plummet after reporting that service-level disruptions had cost the Salesforce-owned company $8.2 million. Since then, its track record has improved. There's been just one major outage in the last three years, and that was in early 2021. CNN


As the Ukraine crisis intensified on Monday night, one AP correspondent became a viral hit for his impressive multilingual reporting. Reporter Philip Crowther provided real-time updates on the crisis in no less than six languages, switching seamlessly between them throughout the evening (or at least it sounded seamless to our untrained ears). A tweet featuring a clip of Crowther's polyglot coverage had more than 129,000 likes as of Tuesday night. TWITTER

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