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Today’s top stories
The Biden White House is deploying top officials to get a wide ideological spectrum of lawmakers, governors and mayors on board with the president’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal, according to people familiar with the matter.
Why it matters: The broad, choreographed effort shows just how crucially Biden views the stimulus to the nation's recovery and his own political success.
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President Biden will sign new executive actions today that provide the clearest signs yet of his climate plans — elevating the issue to a national security priority and kicking off an intense battle with the oil industry.
Driving the news: One move will freeze issuance of new oil-and-gas leases on public lands and waters "to the extent possible," per a White House summary.
American outrage over foreign cyber espionage, like Russia's SolarWinds hack, obscures the uncomfortable reality that the U.S. secretly does just the same thing to other countries.
Why it matters: Secrecy is often necessary in cyber spying to protect sources and methods, preserve strategic edges that may stem from purloined information, and prevent diplomatic incidents.
Three months after Sudan agreed to normalize relations with Israel, it still hasn't signed an agreement to formally do so. Israeli officials tell me one reason has now emerged: Sudan wants to sign the deal at the White House.
Driving the news: Israel sent Sudan a draft agreement for establishing diplomatic relations several weeks ago, but the Sudanese didn’t reply, the officials say. On Tuesday, Israeli Minister of Intelligence Eli Cohen raised that issue in Khartoum during the first-ever visit of an Israeli minister to Sudan.
- Health: One year of the coronavirus — Bill and Melinda Gates warn of "immunity inequality" — Communities of color are falling behind in America's vaccine effort.
- Vaccine: Vaccine hesitancy is decreasing in the U.S.
- Politics: Biden admin to boost COVID vaccine delivery to states for at least 3 weeks — Hundreds of Biden staffers receive COVID vaccine — Axios-Ipsos poll: Trust in federal COVID-19 response surges.
- Business: Bankruptcy filings hit decade-high last year.
- World: U.K. surpasses 100,000 COVID-19 deaths — 44% of Israelis have already received at least one vaccine dose.
- Sports: Europe's 20 richest soccer clubs report 12% revenue hit due to coronavirus — Pandemic has cost the NCAA $600 million — CDC looks at lessons learned from NFL's testing and contact tracing.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, hoping to avoid an immediate clash with President Biden over Iran, will give dialogue a chance, Israeli officials say.
Why it matters: Biden intends to try to resume the 2015 nuclear deal, which Netanyahu vehemently opposes. The two are on a collision course, and memories are fresh of the crisis in U.S.-Israel relations when Netanyahu was publicly campaigning against Barack Obama's attempts to reach a deal — including in a speech to Congress.
In its annual update on Wednesday morning, scientists announced the Doomsday Clock would be kept at 100 seconds to midnight.
Why it matters: The decision to keep the clock hands steady — tied for the closest it has ever been to midnight in the clock's 74-year history — reflects a picture of progress on climate change and politics undercut by growing threats from infectious disease and disruptive technologies.
Silicon Valley may be a "state of mind," but it's also very much a real enclave in Northern California. Now, a growing faction of the tech industry is boycotting it.
Why it matters: The Bay Area is facing for the first time the prospect of losing its crown as the top destination for tech workers and startups — which could have an economic impact on the region and force it to reckon with its local issues.
Why it matters: The new hires will reflect a new generation — one that's addicted to technology, demands accountability and expects diversity to be a priority.
The next generation of college-educated Americans thinks social media companies have too much power and influence on politics and need more government regulation, according to a new survey by Generation Lab for Axios.
Why it matters: The findings follow an election dominated by rampant disinformation about voting fraud on social media; companies' fraught efforts to stifle purveyors of disinformation including former President Trump; and a deadly Jan. 6 insurrection over the election organized largely online.
A popular rebellion, organized by the powerless against the powerful. It might have failed in Washington, but it certainly seems to be working on Wall Street.
Driving the news: The market value of GameStop closed at more than $10 billion on Tuesday, on record volume of more than $26 billion.
One year ago today, a novel coronavirus was barely beginning to catch the public's eye. There were just over 2,000 confirmed cases worldwide, mostly in China, and five cases in the U.S.
The big picture: The sea of red says it all. Today, there have been over 100 million cases worldwide, led by the U.S. with 25 million.
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is joining the Conservative Partnership Institute, a group run by former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint that operates as a "networking hub" for conservatives, sources familiar with his plans tell Axios.
Between the lines: Meadows, who is still in frequent contact with former President Trump and has been advising him ahead of his impeachment trial, will now operate behind the scenes to help create more members like Jim Jordan, Ted Cruz, and Josh Hawley — conservative firebrands with strong networks and staffs.
Bill and Melinda Gates warned in their annual letter Wednesday that the lasting legacy of the coronavirus pandemic could be "immunity inequality" — a wide and deadly gap between wealthy people, with easy access to coronavirus vaccines, and everyone else.
Why it matters: As long as there are large swaths of the world that can't get vaccinated, they warned, it will be impossible to get the pandemic under control.
An increasing number of Americans say they want to get the coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible, per new KFF polling.
Yes, but: Race, partisanship and geography still serve as major dividing lines for vaccine enthusiasm. And people of color are less likely than white Americans to say they have been vaccinated themselves or know someone who has.
64% of people from around the world say climate change is a global emergency, a UN poll published Wednesday finds.
Why it matters: It's the biggest global survey on climate change ever conducted, with some 1.2 million participants from 50 countries — including the U.S., where 65% of those surveyed view climate change as an emergency.
A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.
Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.
Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.
Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.