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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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A Vancouver Freedom and Democracy for China rep. with photos of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig. Photo: Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images

Chinese authorities formally arrested 2 Canadians, detained for months in China, on espionage charges, The Globe & Mail first reported Thursday.

Why it matters: U.S. experts view the arrests of writer Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig as "direct retaliation" by China for Canada's detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who's accused of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. On Wednesday, President Trump issued an executive order prohibiting U.S. firms from using telecom services solely owned, controlled, or directed by a foreign adversary, paving the way for a ban on Huawei.

Go deeper: China has detained 13 Canadians since arrest of Huawei CFO

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
11 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

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