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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Biden is reviewing a list of finalists as he prepares to nominate a series of ambassadors to key embassy postings, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: The new president has promised to restore alliances and put diplomacy at the center of his foreign policy, with his ambassadors playing a crucial role in listening to host governments and explaining the administration’s policies.

  • It's unclear which posts are on the first list of nominees, but London, Paris and Rome are the most coveted in Western Europe, with postings in China and Japan having the most foreign policy implications.
  • Some final decisions, and announcements, could come as soon as April.
  • The list Biden is considering isn’t exhaustive and doesn’t include all the available openings.
  • Steve Ricchetti, counselor to the president, and Cathy Russell, director of the Office of Presidential Personnel, are shepherding the process.

The big picture: Biden officials have been tempering expectations among his big-dollar donors, suggesting the president will nominate fewer of them to coveted positions.

  • Wealthy donors are getting nervous they may have already been passed over.
  • Biden will likely draw on so-called political ambassadors — including allies and financial backers — for roughly 30% of the openings.
  • The remaining 70% would go to career Foreign Service Officers.
  • President Trump selected political ambassadors for 44% of his total appointments — higher than the recent 30% norm.

What we are watching: Will Biden choose a bold-face name who made a career in business or politics for his China post?

  • Or will he draw on someone with more diplomatic experience — like Nick Burns, a former undersecretary of state for political affairs — to rely on their technical skills?
  • Biden officials also have weighed prominent Republicans — including Cindy McCain and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) — to highlight the importance of bipartisanship in U.S. foreign policy, Axios reported last month.
  • Richard Blum, the husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), has expressed interest in a foreign posting, the New York Times reported.

Go deeper

Teachers across the U.S. protest laws restricting racism lessons

Thousands of teachers and other educators held protests across the U.S. Saturday against the actions of "at least 15 Republican-led states" that aim to restrict teaching about racism in class, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: There were demonstrations in at least 22 cities for the "Day of Action" to raise awareness about moves to limit students' exposure to critical race theory, which links racial discrimination to the nation's foundations and legal system, per Axios' Russell Contreras.

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

Lawsuit challenging Houston Methodist's COVID vaccine mandate dismissed

Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

A federal judge on Saturday dismissed a lawsuit brought by 117 Houston Methodist staff over the hospital's policy requiring all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Why it matters: This is the first federal court ruling on a coronavirus vaccine mandate. Attorney Jared Woodfill, representing the plaintiffs, told KHOU 11 it's "the first battle in a long fight," as he vowed to file another lawsuit soon.

G7 leaders to announce plan to phase out gasoline cars

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson talks next to President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron at the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, England, on Saturday. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

G7 leaders are set to outline Sunday a range of measures to tackle climate change, including "ending almost all direct government support" for fossil fuels and phasing out gasoline and diesel cars.

Driving the news: The plan was outlined in a British government announcement Saturday, which states that the leaders will also agree to halting "all unabated coal as soon as possible."