Russian Pullback, HIV Breakthrough, and the Best (and Worst) Paying College Majors Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Wednesday, Feb. 16, and we're covering a de-escalation in Ukraine, an advance in treating HIV, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].



Russia Pulls Back

Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday he will withdraw some troops from Ukraine's border while seeking to renew security talks with the US and NATO. It’s unclear how many troops will retreat, but the partial pullback marks the first potential sign of de-escalation since Russia began its military buildup.


Over 100,000 troops have surrounded Ukraine since late last year, and recent satellite images show increased activity. Western allies fear a potential war, but Putin has dismissed such claims, while pushing for a number of security demands, including a guarantee Ukraine will not join NATO (see 101). 


In other news, Russian lawmakers voted yesterday to ask Putin to recognize two Russian-backed regions in eastern Ukraine as independent. If adopted, the resolution could jeopardize the Minsk accords—an agreement to stop fighting in eastern Ukraine—and open the door for Russia to annex the regions as it did with Crimea in 2014 after an invasion.

Another HIV Breakthrough

A New York City woman appears to have been cured of HIV, according to doctors yesterday, becoming the first female patient to have beaten the infection via medical treatment.


The woman, who suffered from leukemia, would represent just the fourth known case of HIV being successfully cured by doctors. While previous patients received bone marrow transplants from donors with an HIV-blocking genetic mutation, the new procedure relied on umbilical cord stem cells with a similar mutation.


Researchers say the use of cord-derived cells is less invasive, has less severe side effects, and requires only a partial donor match versus bone marrow transplants. The patient was reportedly able to leave the hospital two-and-a-half weeks after treatment. 


Two other cases of patients naturally clearing the virus have been identified. See why HIV is so difficult to cure here (w/video). 

Prince Andrew Settles

Prince Andrew reached a settlement yesterday with a woman accusing him of sexual abuse when she was a minor, according to reports. Virginia Giuffre claims she was sexually abused by the British prince three times when she was 17 at the homes of deceased sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein and his associate Ghislaine Maxwell. The settlement did not disclose the sum but noted Andrew has agreed to donate a significant amount to Giuffre’s charity, supporting victims’ rights. His worth was estimated at $6.8M in 2017.


The deal comes after a US judge denied Andrew’s request to dismiss the lawsuit last month. The prince will now avoid a full civil trial in the US scheduled later this year. Andrew did not admit guilt in the settlement and stated he never meant to smear Giuffre’s name while also praising her for speaking out. Giuffre previously settled a lawsuit with Epstein for $500K in 2013.


Buckingham Palace declined to comment but had announced last month the prince would lose his royal titles and patronages.

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Americans Alex Hall and Nick Goepper take gold and silver in freeski slopestyle (More) | Slovakia upsets Team USA in shootout, advances to the men's ice hockey semifinal (More) | See latest medal count (More)


> Family of Halyna Hutchins, cinematographer who died in "Rust" shooting, files wrongful death lawsuit against Alec Baldwin and several of the film's producers and crew (More)


> The Super Bowl pulled in more than 112 million viewers across NBC's and NFL's combined television and digital platforms; viewership up 16% from 2021 Super Bowl (More)

Science & Technology

> Senate confirms Robert Califf by 50-46 vote to lead the Food and Drug Administration; four Democrats opposed his confirmation, citing the cardiologist's ties to the pharmaceutical industry (More)


> Scientists demonstrate CRISPR gene editing in ticks; breakthrough may provide route to lessening the prevalence of tick-borne diseases (More) | Learn more about how CRISPR works (More)


> "Math neurons" identified as researchers pinpoint brain regions active during quantitative calculations; separate neurons were shown to fire during adding versus subtracting (More)

Business & Markets

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> US stock markets rise (S&P 500 +1.6%, Dow +1.2%, Nasdaq +2.5%) to snap three-day losing streak (More)


> Elon Musk donated $5.7B of Tesla shares in 2021, one of the largest philanthropic gifts ever, to unnamed charity (More)


> Intel to acquire Israeli chipmaker Tower Semiconductor for $5.4B (More)

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Politics & World Affairs

> Families of Sandy Hook victims settle with gun manufacturer Remington for $73M; case marks the first time a firearms company has been held liable for a mass shooting (More)


> Lawyers for Michael Sussmann, accused of lying to the FBI by Special Counsel John Durham, push back against spying claims (More) | Durham alleges Sussmann relied on data culled from a separate government contract in an attempt to incriminate the Trump campaign, among other claims (More) | Read full filing here (More)


> Rep. Kathleen Rice (D, NY-4) will not seek reelection; Rice becomes the 30th House Democrat to depart after the 2022 midterm elections, the highest for either party since 1992 (More)



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The best (and worst) paying college majors.


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The New York Times is not making Wordle harder (so they say).


Arizona priest incorrectly performs baptisms for decades.


Nevada man donates kidney, gets billed $13K


Flight attendant stops unruly passenger with coffee pot.


Clickbait: Google Maps almost leads to an inadvertent marriage.


Historybook: Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun's burial chamber is unsealed (1923); Fidel Castro becomes prime minister of Cuba (1959); HBD tennis great John McEnroe (1959); HBD actress Elizabeth Olsen (1989); HBD musician The Weeknd (1990).


"The important thing is to learn a lesson every time you lose."

- John McEnroe

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