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President Trump shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on March 20, 2018. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

An emergency authorization in May from the Trump administration allowed the American defense firm Raytheon Company to work with Saudi Arabia to "build high-tech bomb parts" in the country, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Human rights groups have reported the use of these precision-guided bombs in airstrikes on civilians. Raytheon is now prepared to ship at least 120,000 precision-guided bombs to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, as part of a larger arms package — and "some in Congress fear the surplus would let the countries continue fighting in Yemen long into the future," per the NYT.

Where it stands: Raytheon representatives say they are still negotiating specifics with the Saudi government, per the Times. Congressional review of the weapon sales was waived as a result of the Trump administration's emergency authorization; Congress has been "informally blocking" the sale since at least May of last year.

The bottom line: "Lawmakers ... were seeking assurances that the Saudis could prevent the American technology from falling into the wrong hands," per the NYT. A CNN exclusive investigation found that Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners transferred the American-made weapons to al Qaeda-linked fighters, Salafi militias and others involved in the Yemen war, violating agreements with the United States.

Go deeper ... Trump: The Saudis "don't know how to use" U.S. bombs

Go deeper

Movie theaters go out of style

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccination rates are going up, people are going out to restaurants again — although the new COVID variant may get in the way — but they still aren't rushing back to the movies.

By the numbers: Some 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer hitting theaters, according to a study from the film research company The Quorum, as reported by the New York Times.

2 hours ago - Health

Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

European countries are doubling down on pressure campaigns to get people vaccinated just as Republicans continue to wage war — often successfully — against vaccine mandates in the U.S.

Why it matters: The starkly different approaches create a sharp contrast between the regions' approaches to vaccination, even as the Omicron variant rapidly spreads around the world.

3 hours ago - World

Two years of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two years ago Wednesday, the first case of a mysterious new respiratory disease was discovered in Wuhan, China. Now, the Omicron variant has deepened concerns about just how much longer the coronavirus pandemic will last.

The big picture: More than 5 million people have died since that first case. Most people on earth have lived through some form of lockdown. 54% of the global population has had at least one vaccination, though the shots have been distributed unevenly.

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