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Today’s top stories
At least 35 Palestinians and five Israelis have been killed as fighting between Israel's military and Hamas entered a third day, per Reuters.
The big picture: The worst aerial exchanges of fire between Israel and Hamas since 2014 come after escalating violence in Jerusalem that injured hundreds of Palestinians and several Israeli police officers during protests over the planned evictions of Palestinian families from their homes.
Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy is planning to announce a campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida against Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in early June, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.
Why it matters: Murphy is a proven fundraiser. Jumping in now would give her an early start to build her case for the Democratic nomination and potentially force Rubio and allied GOP groups to spend heavily to retain a seat in a state that’s trending Republican.
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Top Republican senators are hoping the White House will make some sort of counteroffer to their infrastructure proposal when they meet with President Biden on Thursday, lawmakers and their aides tell Axios.
Why it matters: This is a sign of how serious the negotiations are, they say. In advance of the meeting, some of the senators are already publicly signaling the areas in which they have flexibility.
While Republicans are giddy about their chances for regaining the House next year, GOP prospects for taking the Senate remain more uncertain, data reviewed by Axios suggests.
By the numbers: At least five Republican senators are retiring after the midterms, and four of their seats are in battleground states. That makes a simple Republican-for-Republican election exchange all the more difficult.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) spoke on the House floor Tuesday evening, emphasizing the 2020 election was not stolen and saying that former President Trump's baseless claims of election fraud pose a threat that “America has never seen before.”
Why it matters: Much of the GOP establishment has turned on Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, due to her criticism of Trump and her vote to impeachTrump for a charge of inciting an insurrection at the Capitol.
Prosecutors unveiled murder charges against the white man accused of shooting and killing eight people, six of whom were Asian women, at Atlanta-area spas, AP reports.
Driving the news: A prosecutor filed notice that she plans to seek hate crime charges and the death penalty in the case. Two separate grand juries have now indicted the suspect on murder charges.
- Health: Study: Over 99% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were not vaccinated — Fall and winter COVID surge "unlikely" if people get vaccinated — Some health providers are charging insurers over $1,000 for COVID tests.
- Politics: School boards are the next political battleground — Pelosi says members can remove masks when addressing the House.
- Vaccines: "No evidence" that adapting vaccine to variants is necessary, BioNTech says.
- Economy: Biden reaches agreements with Uber and Lyft to give free rides to vaccine sites — Inside the pandemic sneaker boom — U.S. nursing home employment is down.
- World: Montana to give COVID-19 vaccines to Canadian truck drivers — Asia faces massive new COVID surge — India records its deadliest day of the pandemic.
- Local: Twin Cities come back to life as restrictions ease.
- Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Tel Aviv — The Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant groups fired dozens of rockets from the Gaza Strip toward Tel Aviv and other cities in central Israel on Tuesday night, a new step in the current conflict that is likely to be followed by increased Israeli air strikes in Gaza.
Why it matters: The current crisis began in Jerusalem but has evolved into a military conflict across Israel and Gaza that remains on a path of escalation.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) plans to introduce legislation this week to grant signing bonuses to new hires, he announced Tuesday.
Why it matters: The bonuses would replace expanded unemployment benefits and are aimed at boosting employment. Sasse called the numbers in the latest jobs report "crummy."
The Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday released a study showing that 99.75% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 between Jan. 1 and April 13 were not fully vaccinated, according to data provided to Axios.
Why it matters: Real-world evidence continues to show coronavirus vaccines are effective at keeping people from dying and out of hospitals. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have been found to be 95% and 94% effective, respectively, at preventing symptomatic infections.
The Biden administration has reached agreements with ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft to offer free rides to coronavirus vaccination sites through July 4, the White House announced Tuesday.
Why it matters: The free rides, starting in the next two weeks, are part of the Biden administration's push to administer at least one vaccine dose to 70% of U.S. adults by Independence Day.
The Biden administration today gave final approval to Vineyard Wind, a project off the Massachusetts coast slated to be the country's first large-scale offshore wind farm.
Why it matters: While the green light for the long-proposed project was expected, it marks a key step in White House plans to help spur development of a suite of coastal projects off New York, New Jersey and other states.
With a moderate La Niña event in the tropical Pacific Ocean, global temperatures in 2021 are running decidedly cooler when compared to recent years.
Why it matters: The lack of a new warmest year record in 2021 could sap some of the sense of urgency among policymakers in the U.S. and abroad during a critical year for enacting stricter emissions cuts to meet the Paris Agreement's targets.
The Washington Post has named Associated Press executive editor Sally Buzbee as its new executive editor, effective June 1.
Why it matters: Buzbee replaces legendary editor Marty Baron, who retired at the end of February. She will be the first woman to lead the newsroom in The Post's 144-year history.
The ransomware attack against the Colonial Pipeline — the massive East Coast gasoline artery — is a stunning real-world example of the increasing risks that the energy sector faces from a cyberattack.
Why it matters: Different parts of the vast American energy system are vulnerable — from pipelines to power grids to individual power plants and plenty in between.
TikTok is testing a tool for brands to recruit employees, sources tell Axios.
Details: The pilot program is designed to help people find jobs on TikTok and connect with companies looking to find candidates. It's also meant to help brands use TikTok as a recruitment channel.
A slew of new crypto media companies have gained enormous traction over the past year, thanks to the digital currency craze taking over Wall Street.
Why it matters: “For the first time ever, crypto has become relevant to the global macro-economic conversation, and therefore, the investment conversation," says Jason Yanowitz, co-founder of Blockworks, a financial media brand catered to investors.
Jeffrey Housenbold, who recently stepped down as a managing partner of SoftBank Vision Fund, has formed a new SPAC with Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, who was president of ticket resale firm StubHub until it was acquired last year by Viagogo.
Why it matters: The death of SPACs has been greatly exaggerated.
Queen Elizabeth II laid out the U.K. government's agenda at the State Opening of Parliament on Tuesday, marking the first Queen's Speech since the pandemic began and her first major public appearance since the death of her husband, Prince Philip.
Why it matters: In a pared-back ceremony, the queen set out Prime Minister Boris Johnson's vision for recovering from a pandemic that inflicted the worst death toll in Europe and worst recession in 300 years.
"We are on the cusp of a global pandemic," said Christopher Krebs, the first director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, told Congress last week. The virus causing the pandemic isn't biological, however. It's software.
Why it matters: Crippling a major U.S. oil pipeline this weekend initially looked like an act of war — but it's now looking like an increasingly normal crime, bought off-the-shelf from a "ransomware as a service" provider known as DarkSide.
Decades of failures around diversity and inclusion finally caught up with Hollywood Monday, when NBC made the unprecedented decision not to air the Golden Globes next year following backlash against the group that hosts the show.
Why it matters: NBC has been airing the event exclusively for decades. Its decision to pull back speaks to how big the backlash against the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has become.
Kids across the country have fallen behind after more than a year of interrupted, unstable and inequitable virtual school. And they'll need to go to summer school to catch up.
Yes, but: It's not that easy. Kids are demoralized, teachers are exhausted, and it'll take more than one summer to fix the pandemic's damage.
For the first time since the pandemic began, less than half of Americans (43%) say returning to their "normal" pre-coronavirus lives would pose a large or moderate risk, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.
The big picture: This tipping point comes as nearly two thirds of respondents in our weekly national poll say they've gotten at least one shot.
China's population increased 72 million over the past 10 years to 1.41 billion in 2020, with an annual average growth rate of 0.53%, data published by the country's National Bureau of Statistics Tuesday shows.
Why it matters: It's the slowest population growth for over half a century. The birth rate also dropped for the fourth consecutive year in 2020, with 12 million babies born, raising the prospect of a "demographic crisis that could stunt growth in the world’s second-largest economy," per the New York Times.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) extended a drought emergency declaration to cover 41 of the state's 58 counties on Monday.
Why it matters: Most of California and the American West are experiencing an "extreme" or "exceptional" drought, per the U.S. Drought Monitor. Newsom and other officials are concerned California could experience a repeat of the catastrophic 2020 wildfire season.
As Republicans fight among themselves, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is showing the myriad ways she deals with the GOP herself.
Between the lines: We've seen Pelosi cut opponents off at the knees, like she did with President Trump, or pretend to forget their names, as she did to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). Now she's feeding oppo research against her House counterpart, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), so others can use the same harsh rhetoric to frame the Republicans as the party of dysfunction.
New foreign-agent filings are finally detailing a massive Beijing propaganda operation that's fueled a sixfold increase in disclosed Chinese foreign influence efforts in the United States in recent years.
Why it matters: Propaganda is central to China fulfilling its geopolitical aspirations, and its efforts to sow discord and disinformation in the U.S. have very real consequences for the American business, political and social climates.