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Bill Gates is guest editor of TIME’s “The Optimists” issue, featuring a cover portrait of 5-year-old Ethiopian Mohamad Nasir, whom Gates had met in 2012, less than a month after birth.

What happened: "Thirty years ago, 1 in 5 children in Ethiopia didn’t live to their fifth birthdays. Ethiopia wrestled down its mortality rates for children under five by two-thirds from 1990 to 2012. Mohamad is a reminder of how his fate, and the world’s, have changed.

Courtesy: TIME

Why it matters: "Around the globe, child mortality rates are falling, and children have hopes of brighter futures."

Gates writes: "Reading the news today does not exactly leave you feeling optimistic. Hurricanes in the Americas. Horrific mass shootings. Global tensions over nuclear arms, crisis in Myanmar, bloody civil wars in Syria and Yemen ... But these events ... have happened in the context of a bigger, positive trend. On the whole, the world is getting better. "

Gates to Nancy Gibbs on what makes him optimistic about the role technology in the future of work: “There are many problems that we haven’t solved. Obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s: These are gigantic problems that there are solutions for. And I do expect that advanced software — AI software — will help us understand the biology, understand how to intervene and improve lives very dramatically."

Warren Buffett on the economy: “I have good news. First, most American children are going to live far better than their parents did. Second, large gains in the living standards of Americans will continue for many generations to come."

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
43 mins ago - World

Remote work shakes up geopolitics

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The global adoption of remote work may leave the rising powers in the East behind.

The big picture: Despite India's and China's economic might, these countries have far fewer remote jobs than the U.S. or Europe. That's affecting the emerging economies' resilience amid the pandemic.

Trump gives Biden access to presidential intelligence briefings

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The Trump White House on Tuesday gave President-elect Biden access to daily presidential intelligence briefings, a source familiar with the matter tells Axios.

Why it matters: Trump has refused to share the briefs until now, as he continues to challenge the result of the election and declines to concede. The president's acquiescence comes as another sign that the transition to a Biden administration is taking place.

AOC and Ilhan Omar want to block Biden’s former chief of staff

Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar are boosting a petition against Joe Biden nominating his former chief of staff to a new role in his administration, calling Bruce Reed a "deficit hawk” and criticizing his past support for Social Security and Medicare cuts.

Why it matters: Progressives are mounting their pressure campaign after the president-elect did not include any of their favored candidates in his first slate of Cabinet nominees, and they are serious about installing some of their allies, blocking anyone who doesn't pass their smell test — and making noise if they are not heard.