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Aerial view of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. Photo: VCG

China wants to link a string of megacities into a "Greater Bay Area" to rival San Francisco, New York and Tokyo, the Financial Times’ Ben Bland reports.

Why it matters: "Along with the Belt and Road Initiative, a signature project for [Xi Jinping], Beijing sees the Greater Bay Area as a way not just to further integrate Hong Kong and Macau, which were handed back by the UK and Portugal respectively in the late 1990s... It is also hoping to turbo-charge growth in one of the country’s most economically vibrant regions and accelerate the nationwide transition from manufacturing and exports to services and domestic demand."

What's new: Beijing wants to pull Hong Kong closer by integrating it with Macau, the world’s most lucrative casino gambling destination — and nine neighboring urban areas. It's pouring cash into infrastructure projects and trying to lure investment and talent from Hong Kong to the mainland.

By the numbers:

  • 70 million people live in this area, the FT notes, with a $1.5 trillion economy that could nearly double by 2025.
  • The region boasts three of the world's 10 busiest container ports: Shenzen, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
  • The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, scheduled to open this year, is 22 miles long and cost nearly $20 billion.
  • The Shenzhen-Zhongshan project is currently under construction. It uses a combination of bridges, tunnels and artificial islands.
  • China spent $11 billion linking Hong Kong to the mainland's high speed rail.

Between the lines: "A senior Hong Kong official... admits that it will be very difficult to improve the 'flows of information and capital' between the city and the mainland without the city losing its 'uniqueness.'"

Go deeper: China is the greatest, growing threat to America

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”

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