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2/25/2022: Putin Invades Ukraine
PLUS: A primer on the conflict; James family drawers; and theft on The Crown set
Today is Friday, February 25, 2022
It is the 56th day of the year.
309 days remain.
Ukraine, Chernobyl and NATO were all trending in Twitter’s Top 10 Trends yesterday. Head to Hit List for more information.
Twitter users reacted to a video posted by “90210” actress AnnaLynn McCord. Head to Showbiz to check it out.
#AddALetterRuinAFairyTale circulated amidst the dramatic headlines on Twitter Thursday. Tweets included, “Sweeping Beauty,” “Snow White Band: The Seven Dwarfs,” “The Snot Queen,” “Goldilocks and the Three Behars,” and “The Fugly Duckling.”
Sean Penn was trending for a new project he is working on. Check out what he is up to in Casting Call.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has authorized what appears to be a full invasion of Ukraine. Explosions have been recorded across the country, not just the Eastern front. Last night, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was convinced the Russians will eventually overthrow the Ukrainian government. There is lots of talk throughout the globe about how to stop this, beyond letting Ukraine fend for itself. One of the biggest talking points is getting Russia off of SWIFT.
WHAT IS SWIFT?: It stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications – and it’s a network that primarily helps to facilitate money transfers between financial institutions.
TOTAL HYPOTHETICAL: Let’s pretend the wife of the former mayor of Moscow wanted to send $3.5 million to an investment firm co-managed by the son of an American Vice President and the son of an American Secretary of State.
The bank in Moscow would have to talk to the bank in Washington D.C. to be sure the money could successfully be moved. SWIFT enables communications between these banks before the wire processes the transfer.
According to Plaid, SWIFT is used by 11,000 institutions in 200 countries across the globe. In January 2021, the network processed more than 43 million such transfer messages per day.
Cutting off Russian banks from SWIFT could cause major problems for Vladimir Putin by isolating the money kept in Russian banks by billionaires.
WORTH NOTING: There are reportedly more billionaires in Moscow than in any other city in the world. But that might change.
These billionaires have been a hallmark of post-Soviet Russia, where wealthy oligarchs are protected by Putin in exchange for helping to carry out and facilitate his agenda.
WHERE IT STANDS: A handful of countries are opposed to booting Russian banks from this network. As of Thursday afternoon, they included Italy, Hungary, Cyprus and – to the surprise of many – Germany.
WORTH NOTING: Germany would benefit greatly from natural gas delivered into the European Union from Russia through the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. This pipeline is not yet operational and awaits regulatory certification from internal German regulators. Germany is more dependent on natural gas than ever, having worked over the last decade to take all of its nuclear power plants offline.
ALSO WORTH NOTING: As acknowledged by President Joe Biden on Thursday, it would likely take weeks for Russia to feel the effects of economic sanctions. (More in Swamp)
MEANWHILE: Ukraine has legalized the private possession and use of weapons as it arms its citizenry to take on Russia’s troops. (Another reason the U.S. Second Amendment is about more than taking an AR-15 to shoot animals).
“We will give weapons to anyone who wants to defend the country. Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities,” President Zelenskyy said Thursday.
Ukraine’s Interior Minister reported that 10,000 automatic rifles had been passed out throughout the day Thursday. It was announced later Thursday that men aged 18-60 would not be allowed out of Ukraine.
VICTORY AT HOSTOMEL: Hostomel Airport is a hub for cargo flights in and out of Ukraine, near its capital of Kiev. Reports of up to 200 Russian troops attempted to take control of the facility, but Ukrainian troops were able to maintain control.
CHERNOBYL: One of the first assets secured by Russian forces was the exclusion zone in Chernobyl, site of the 1986 nuclear meltdown disaster. It could mean nothing other than being a strategic position between Russia-allied Belarus and Ukrainian capital Kiev. Or something sinister could be afoot.
ABOUT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been patriotically rallying his countrymen to fight off a Russian invasion. But the 44-year-old is not an experienced statesman, or military genius, or a politician born from this moment.
In fact, from 2015 to 2019, he starred in a satirical TV show called “Servant of the People,” in which he played the President of Ukraine.
As a gag, producers of the show created a real political party named after Zelenskyy’s character’s party in the show. Zelenskyy then announced he was running for President. And he won with overwhelming support in 2019.
The CDC is expected to announce today it’s changing its guidelines for who should be wearing a mask everywhere all the time. It’s likely they’re going to shift from the blanket metric of transmission rates to a more nuanced guidance that takes in multiple factors.
WORTH NOTING: A nuanced approach that considers multiple factors is how most of the country has been living for months.
New to Amazon Prime:
The Protege (Rotten Tomatoes Score: 61%)
New to HBO Max:
The French Dispatch (Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%)
New to Hulu:
No Exit (Rotten Tomatoes Score: Not Rated)
New to Netflix:
Restless (Rotten Tomatoes Score: Not Rated)
Tyler Perry’s A Madea Homecoming (Rotten Tomatoes Score: Not Rated)
JENNIFER LAWRENCE is a mom.
The actress welcomed her first child with her art dealer husband COOKE MARONEY.
No details about when the birth happened or whether she had a boy or a girl are known.
Exes BEN STILLER, 56, and CHRISTINE TAYLOR, 50, are giving their marriage another shot.
“We were separated and got back together and we’re happy about that,” Stiller recently told Esquire.
The pair were able to rekindle their romance during the pandemic when Stiller moved in with Taylor and their two kids.
The couple tied the knot in 2000.
AMY SCHNEIDER, 42, known for her history-making 40-game winning streak on “Jeopardy!” Is engaged.
She dropped the news on Twitter writing, “Genevieve is no longer my girlfriend…she is my fiancee!!!”
Not much is known about Schneider’s fiancé, Genevieve Davis, othan than she is 25-years-old.
The White House announced Thursday it will take action to sever connections between major Russian banks and the United States. During a press briefing, the administration said it will not immediately stop buying Russian oil – which it could do if the KeystoneXL pipeline were active (more below).
President JOE BIDEN said Thursday that Russian President VLADIMIR PUTIN has “much larger ambitions” than just taking Ukraine – he has his sights set on re-establishing the power, influence, and territory of the Soviet Union. Putin is a former KGB agent and before becoming President was the head of Russia’s security apparatus, called the FSB – which is basically a post-glasnost version of the KGB.
Biden said that the effects of sanctions implemented today and in coming days will take a while to be felt in Russia, by Putin, his people, and his political cronies and allies.
WORTH ASKING: If the White House expects the effects of economic sanctions to take weeks to feel an impact, why did it not proactively impose them? Or build international consensus on which sanctions would be enacted the moment Russia crossed a line? Was the State Department too busy making TikToks about diversity and equity?
ALSO WORTH ASKING: Will the U.S. stop buying oil from Russia? In 2021, we purchased up to 25 million barrels a month from Russia. Where will those be made up?
WORTH NOTING: The Keystone XL Pipeline, which Biden killed on the first day of his presidency, would have delivered up to 1.3 million barrels a day into the United States – eliminating the need to trade for oil with Russia.
THROWBACK: Watch Biden in 2019 tell everyone that when he’s president, Putin’s days of tyranny are over:
When asked about Russia’s aggression Thursday, Climate Czar JOHN KERRY told the BBC, “I hope that President Putin will help us stay on track with respect to what we need to do for the climate.”
WORTH NOTING: This man is an unserious ass-clown.
No winner for Tuesday night’s Mega Millions drawing. Tonight’s drawing will be for an $87 million jackpot or a $58.2 million cash payout.
No winner for Wednesday night’s Powerball drawing. Saturday night’s drawing will be for a $58 million jackpot or a $38.8 million cash payout.
These albums are being released today:
Avril Lavigne, “Love Sux”
Carmen Villain, “Only Love From Now On”
Caroline Loveglow, “Strawberry”
Dan Patlansky, “Shelter of Bones”
Filligar, “Future Self”
Gang Of Youths, “Angel In Realtime”
Jamie McDell, “Jamie McDell”
Judy Collins, “Spellbound”
Kyle Morgan, “Younger At Most Everything”
Pierce Turner, “Terrible Good”
Scorpions, “Rock Believer”
Soft Cell, “Happiness Not Included”
Superchunk, “Wild Loneliness”
Tangerine Dream, “Raum”
Tears For Fears, “The Tipping Point”
Under the Rug, “Dear Adaline”
Various Artists, “Euphoria Season 2” (An HBO Original Series Soundtrack)
VHS Collection, “Night Drive”
Actress ANNALYNN MCCORD shared a video on social media of her reciting a spoken word poem directed at Russian president VLADIMIR PUTIN.
She said if she had been Putin’s mother, he’d have felt loved and, implied in turn, not have such a thirst for reclaiming the territories once held by the Soviet Union.
Many were confused on whether she was serious or delusional. Check out the clip and decide for yourself.
HALYNA HUTCHINS husband, MATT HUTCHINS, told “Today” show’s HODA KOTB that he could not believe ALEC BALDWIN played the victim in the fatal shooting on the set of “Rust.”
Matt said that he does not only lay blame on Baldwin as there were “multiple safety lapses” on set.
As previously reported, Matt filed a lawsuit against Baldwin and others, on behalf of him and his son. The suit seeks punitive damages for alleged reckless conduct that led to his wife’s death.
LEBRON JAMES’ son is the new face of PSD underwear.
BRONNY JAMES, who has dreams to play in the NBA one day, recently signed a huge deal with the brand and will release a signature collection later this year. Financial details were not shared.
At 17-years-old, Bronny is the youngest athlete entrepreneur to partner with the underwear company, according to PSD.
BRITNEY SPEARS went off on her former business managers from TriStar this week, claiming bigwig LOU TAYLOR and her right-hand woman, ROBIN GREENHILL, tried to kill her.
She did not get into specifics on how the two women allegedly tried to kill her.
The post has since been taken down and TriStar has released a statement, calling the claims “false,” “damaging” and “unacceptable.”
The divorce between HANNAH LEE FOWLER and her husband, country singer SAM HUNT is still on, according to multiple reports.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Fowler had filed docs to end their marriage, accusing Hunt of adultery. Then days later it was reported that hours after the filing, Fowler rescinded it and they were not getting divorced after all.
Now, multiple outlets report that what happened is she filed in the wrong county in Tennessee, so she refilled in a nearby county in the Nashville area.
So, no change of heart, just a change of jurisdiction.
Over $200,000 worth of gemstones, silverware and antiques were stolen from the set of Netflix’s “The Crown” last week.
According to The Post, the props were lifted in an overnight raid in Doncaster, England.
Authorities are still searching for the thieves.
“The Crown” is currently filming its fifth season, which is set to debut later this year.
SEAN PENN is in Ukraine to film a documentary about Russia’s invasion.
The Office of the President of Ukraine says the actor is there to show the “courage and honesty” of what is going down.
Penn first arrived in the country in November, according to the government, to prepare for the documentary.
NAOMI COOKE JOHNSON is leaving country group Runaway June.
The lead singer of the all-female trio announced this week that after seven years together, she will be parting ways with bandmates JENNIFER WAYNE and NATALIE STOVALL.
She plans to try her shot as a solo artist.
JERRY BRUCKHEIMER is producing a live-action movie for Paramount based on the toy franchise Beyblade.
Plot details are being kept under wraps.
Those unfamiliar with the toy, they are spinning tops that battle in arenas called Beystadiums. Each Beyblade has a Beylauncher, which is used to launch the top into battle.
J. ALEXANDER KUENG, THOMAS LANE and TOU THAO, the three former Minneapolis police officers accused of violating GEORGE FLOYD’s civil rights, have been found guilty.
A federal jury deliberated for nearly two days before returning the verdict on Thursday.
The former officers face a separate trial in June on state charges alleging that they aided and abetted murder and manslaughter.
SHANNA MOAKLER’s boyfriend, model MATTHEW RONDEAU, 29, was arrested for felony domestic violence.
An LAPD spokesperson confirmed to Page Six that officers were called to a dispute at Moakler’s home Thursday morning.
The arrest comes hours after Rondeau posted a disturbing video hurling slurs at her and accusing her of cheating on him. He also claimed that she was not over her ex, musician TRAVIS BARKER, who is engaged to KOURTNEY KARDASHIAN.
Moakler, 46, addressed the incident on Thursday afternoon, telling fans that she is “okay.”
It is unknown if Rondeau remains behind bars.
THE DAILY KARDASHOPUS
KIM KARDASHIAN told a judge that her estranged husband KANYE WEST’s social media posts caused her “emotional distress” and she would therefore like to be declared legally single.
In new court docs, obtained by TMZ, Kim states that she has asked Ye to keep their divorce private, but as the world can see, “he has not done so.”
Kim also noted how Ye’s lawyers have mentioned more than once that they struggle to “communicate with [their] client.”
A ruling on the matter is set for next week.
KANYE WEST is taking credit for PETE DAVIDSON once again ditching social media.
“Ran Skete off the gram,” Ye bragged Thursday on Instagram. Adding “Tell your mother I changed your name for life.”
Davidson deleted his Instagram account just days after rejoining the platform.
Ye has been going after Davidson for weeks in a bizarre attempt to win back his estranged wife KIM KARDASHIAN.
WE’LL NEVER BE ROYALS
PRINCE HARRY has filed a libel action suit against Mail on Sunday over a story that alleges he lied about offering to pay for his own security when visiting the UK.
The claim was filed in the High Court this week, according to The Telegraph.
This filing comes after a similar petition that Harry filed in January, alleging that his family “has been subjected to well—documented neo-Nazi and extremist threats.”
Of course, this isn’t the first bout between Harry, MEGHAN MARKLE and the media. Last year, Meg won her own legal battle with the press over the publication of a letter she wrote to her father.
PRINCE HARRY and MEGHAN MARKLE will receive the 2022 President’s Award at the 53rd annual NAACP Image Awards this Saturday.
BET is televising the ceremony live.
The Union of European Football Associations is moving its Champions League Final out of Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.
The Final was originally scheduled for Saturday, May 28 in Saint Petersburg, but according to multiple reports, that is no longer happening.
The organization’s Executive Committee is set to meet today to discuss alternative options.
The upcoming MLB season will be delayed if the organization and MLBPA are unable to reach a collective bargaining agreement by next week.
Players will also lose out on salaries for missed games, according to USA Today.
February 28 is the deadline.
LIST OF THE WEEK
In honor of National Chili Day this week, here are the seven cities that serve up the best chilis in the US. (Courtesy of Travel Awaits)
Austin, Texas -- Texas Red is a chili made with stew meat, chilis and spices. No beans!
Santa Fe, New Mexico -- Chile Verde is made with pork marinated in green chili sauce.
Cincinnati, Ohio -- Cincinnati Chili is regular beef-tomato-onion, but instead of being served in a bowl, it is served on top of spaghetti.
Indianapolis, Indiana -- Hoosier chili contains beef and beans along with V8 juice and brown sugar.
Kansas City, Kansas -- Midwestern Classic Chili is made with ground beef, tomatoes, kidney beans and milder spices.
Colorado Springs, Colorado -- Rocky Mountain Chili contains beans, canned tomatoes and extra chiles for heat. The meat used is likely to be from elk, deer or antelope.
Detroit, Michigan -- Detroit’s chili is more like chili sauce than a thick bowl of chili. It is most often served on top of hotdogs.
DAY OF THE YEAR
National Chocolate Covered Nut Day
National Clam Chowder Day
Skip the Straw Day
Pistol Patent Day
ON THIS DATE
1828 – The son of President John Quincy Adams marries his first cousin in the White House -- he was also named John.
Previously, President John Adams married his third cousin, Abigail. Though John Quincy married outside the family, John-the-youngest took inter-family marriage to a new level.
1862 – The United States begins its swift financial decline with the passage of the Legal Tender Act.
The law allowed the use of paper notes to pay expenses, ending the existing policy of using gold and silver. The notes were called "greenbacks." After the Civil War, with the South in disarray, some saw the use of paper notes necessary for Reconstruction.
Later that year, Congress also imposed the first income tax and a slurry of excise taxes to combat any inflation caused by the greenbacks. Originally only $150 million worth of notes were to be produced -- but by the end of the next year, $500 million worth had been issued.
1870 – The first African American takes his seat in Congress.
Hiram Revels was a Republican from Mississippi. He served as a minister for the Union during the Civil War, eventually returning to the South during Reconstruction.
The seat he filled was once held by Jefferson Davis.
1901 – J.P. Morgan incorporates the United States Steel Corporation.
It was formed by combining the assets of three steel manufacturers, and was valued at $1.4 billion in 1901 Dollars. That's almost $40 billion today. It was the first million-dollar company in the world.
In 1902, the empire manufactured 67 percent of all steel in the U.S.
1991 - As the Iron Curtain collapses, so does the Warsaw Pact. The international agreement between communist states began in 1955 as a mutual defense program.
The treaty was never formally invoked for war, as the Soviet Union and United States sought to contain each other's policies in Europe and Asia.
The Soviet Union would collapse at the end of that year.
2018 - The XXII Winter Olympic Games closes in Pyeongchang, Korea.
The US earned a total of 23 medals — 9 gold, 8 silver and 6 bronze.
Norway won a record 39 medals.
2020 - A memorial service is held for NBA star Kobe Bryant at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
More than 80,000 were in attendance.
The former Laker died in a helicopter crash the month prior, along with his daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others.
Isabelle Fuhrman - actress, “Orphan” - 25
Ana Mena - pop singer - 25
James & Oliver Phelps - actors who played the Weasley brothers in the “Harry Potter” films - 36
Tony Perry - guitarist, Pierce the Veil - 36
Justin Berfield - actor, “Malcolm In the Middle” - 36
Jameela Jamil - actress, “The Good Place” - 36
Maria Kanellis - wrestler - 40
Rashida Jones - actress, “Parks & Recreation” - 46
Chelsea Handler - comedian - 47
Sean Astin - actor, “The Goonies” & “Rudy” - 51
Tea Leoni - actress, “The Family Man” & “Deep Impact” - 56
Carrot Top - comedian - 57
Lee Evans - actor, “The Fifth Element” - 58
Paul O'Neill - baseball player, NY Yankees - 59
John Doe - punk singer - 69
Ric Flair - wrestler - 73
Born On This Date
George Harrison - guitarist, The Beatles - 1943 (d. 2001)
Anthony Burgess - novelist, “A Clockwork Orange” - 1917 (d. 1993)
John Foster Dulles - US Secretary of State, 1953-59 - 1888 (d. 1959)