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Ming'antu Solar Observatory in China. Photo: Costfoto/Barcroft Images via Getty Images

Last week, China became the first country to land a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon — the clear sign of their scientific ambition, The Economist reports.

Why it matters: Under President Xi Jinping's direction, China is surging ahead with the recruitment of top scientists to work on new frontiers, while the U.S., without a similarly coherent strategy, risks falling behind the nation that has emerged as its most consequential adversary for the next century.

  • China has spent billions of dollars on dark matter detection equipment and scientific institutes, while producing 11% of the most influential scientific papers between 2014 and 2016.

Be smart: "Authoritarian governments have a history of using science to oppress their own people. China already deploys [AI] techniques like facial recognition to monitor its population in real time," The Economist writes.

Go deeper

Capitol review panel recommends more police, mobile fencing

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

A panel appointed by Congress to review security measures at the Capitol is recommending several changes, including mobile fencing and a bigger Capitol police force, to safeguard the area after a riotous mob breached the building on Jan 6.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have warned there could be new plots to attack the area and target lawmakers, including during a speech President Biden is expected to give to a joint session of Congress.

Financial fallout from the Texas deep freeze

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Texas has thawed out after an Arctic freeze last month threw the state into a power crisis. But the financial turmoil from power grid shock is just starting to take shape.

Why it matters: In total, electricity companies are billions of dollars short on the post-storm payments they now owe to the state's grid operator. There's no clear path for how they will pay — something being watched closely across the country as extreme weather events become more common.

U.S. Chamber decides against political ban for Capitol insurrection

A pedestrian passes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquarters as it undergoes renovation. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce revealed Friday it won't withhold political donations from lawmakers who simply voted against certifying the presidential election results and instead decide on a case-by-case basis.

Why it matters: The Chamber is the marquee entity representing businesses and their interests in Washington. Its memo, obtained exclusively by Axios, could set the tone for businesses debating how to handle their candidate and PAC spending following the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

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