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Russia-Ukraine crisis, major winter storm, Rams parade in LA: 5 things to know Wednesday

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US, world watches closely as Russia,Ukraine remain on precipice 

A range of scenarios for ending the Ukraine crisis and managing relations with Russia will be on the table Wednesday when Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin joins a two-day meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels. Austin is expected also to meet jointly with his counterparts from the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Russia has made overtures to ease tensions around Ukraine in recent days — reporting a pullback of troops near its neighbor and welcoming talks with the West. But the United States and its allies said they needed evidence of the troop movements and that the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine still loomed. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday his nation is ready for talks with the U.S., does not want war and would rely on negotiations in its efforts to eliminate any chance that Ukraine could one day join NATO — his key demand. President Joe Biden delivered his first comments about the situation in Ukraine to the American people Tuesday saying, “We are ready with diplomacy.”

Big storm to wallop U.S. with snow, floods, possible tornadoes

Buckle up: A large-scale, multi-hazard storm will make life wet and miserable for the central, southern and eastern U.S. Wednesday through Friday morning. Heavy snow, drenching rain with potential flooding and severe thunderstorms with possible tornadoes are all on tap, the National Weather Service said. Snow is likely Wednesday and into Thursday all the way from northern Texas to northern New England, AccuWeather said. The Weather Service said the greatest chance for disruptive snow extends from south-central Kansas through central Missouri, northern Illinois and into central Michigan. Slippery, potentially dangerous travel and school delays or cancellations are possible in Kansas City, St. Louis and Chicago, where up to half a foot of snow is possible. 

Mixed bag for Team USA at the Winter Olympics

There was good news and bad news to start the day for Team USA Wednesday at the 2022 Beijing Winter Games. On the positive side, Team USA freeskiers kept their Olympic medal streak going in men’s slopestyle, winning both gold and silver. Alex Hall shot to the top of the leaderboard with an outstanding first run, and it stood up throughout the competition to earn him the gold. Nick Goepper took home the silver and now has three medals in the freeski discipline. In not-so-great news, the U.S. men’s hockey team lost to Slovakia in a shootout in the quarterfinals after blowing a late 2-1 lead, ensuring the team will not go home with a medal. Later on Wednesday, the U.S. women’s hockey team will again face Canada for the gold medal (NBC, 11:05 p.m. ET). Team USA is the defending Olympic champion after beating Canada at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, but Canada is the favorite this time around as they are 6-0 in this year’s tournament and have already beat the U.S. once in group play.

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Razzies royally torch 'Diana' musical and 'Space Jam 2,' show love to Oscar favorite Will Smith

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As more marijuana dispensaries get targeted by robbers, SAFE Banking Act lingers in Congress

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Weed dispensaries targeted by robbers: Will SAFE Banking Act help?

A bill that could allow electronic transactions at weed dispensaries nationwide is again make its way through Congress but the SAFE Banking Act might not be the cure-all that supporters envision.

In over a decade of operating cannabis shops in Washington, Shea Hynes never once worried about his stores getting robbed at gun point – until recently: In a span of three weeks, his stores were robbed three different times at gun point.

Reports of armed robberies at cannabis dispensaries like Hynes’ have nearly doubled in the first quarter of this year compared with all of last year, according to data maintained by the Craft Cannabis Coalition. The group, which represents more than 50 stores in Washington, has recorded more than 65 armed robberies so far this year, compared with 35 in 2021 and 29 in 2020. 

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Takeaways from Friday's Sweet 16: North Carolina looks like national title contender

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