Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

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

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

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Police stand near the scene of the murders. Photo: VLADIMIR SIMICEK/AFP/Getty Images

The murders of Slovak investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his partner over the weekend have sent shockwaves around Europe, and Slovak national police have now said their deaths were likely connected to Kuciak’s investigations into corruption in Slovakia. Axel Springer, publisher of the news portal Aktuality.sk where Kuciak worked, has also said the killings appear related to his work.

Why it matters: Slovakia, a member of the E.U. since 2004, has never managed to rid itself of the corruption that is the inevitable result of close ties between the politicians and tycoons who dominate much of the economy. Hostility toward the press by politicians has been rising and many observers say it was only a matter of time before a murder like this happened.

  • Press freedom is falling in Slovakia, where the oligarchs now own much of the media and the politicians have taken steps to weaken the press.
  • Prime Minister Robert Fico in November 2016 described several journalists as “filthy anti-Slovak prostitutes” after being quizzed about a corruption case.
  • Defamation in Slovakia is punishable by up to eight years in prison, making it the harshest penalty for this offense in the EU. Many legal actions against journalists have been brought by businessmen, politicians and judicial officials.
The latest
  • Kuciak, 27, was found along with his partner, Martina Kusnirova, shot dead at their home in the town of Velka Maca, 40 miles east of the capital Bratislava.
  • Kuciak’s last story, on February 9, looked at suspected tax fraud connected to a luxury apartment complex in Bratislava, known as the Five Star Residence.
  • The suspected use of the apartment complex to commit tax fraud prompted thousands of protesters to demonstrate last year calling for the resignation of the interior minister, Robert Kalinak, a close Fico ally, over his business dealings with its developer. Both men have denied any wrongdoing.
The bigger picture:

The situation for journalists working in Central and Eastern Europe has deteriorated over the last few years.

Reporters Without Borders highlighted in its 2017 World Press Freedom Index the danger of a tipping point in the state of media freedom, and noted that “media freedom has retreated wherever the authoritarian strongman model has triumphed”, particularly in Poland, Hungary, Russia and Turkey.

On February 16, a Turkish criminal court sentenced six journalists to life imprisonment for their alleged involvement in a 2016 coup attempt; Turkey has the highest number of journalists in prison in the world.

Go deeper

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

9 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios