While rural Americans have made significant strides in tech adoption over the past decade, they are less likely to have access to broadband or own a smartphone than urban or suburban adults, according to Pew's latest survey on the digital divide. Rural Americans are also about twice as likely to say they never go online as suburban and urban Americans.

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Data: Pew Research survey; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Why it matters: Expanding rural access to broadband has long been a challenge in the U.S. — since internet providers worry they'll never recoup the investment they make in building those networks. That's why it's something to watch if Congress gets around to an infrastructure package that includes incentives for expanded rural broadcast access, of if FCC Chairman Ajit Pai takes action on the issue -- something he has said is one of his priorities. It also matters to tech giants, like Google, Amazon and Facebook, because more people online means more customers for their web-based services.

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Lawmakers demand answers from World Bank on Xinjiang loan

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

U.S. lawmakers are demanding answers from the World Bank about its continued operation of a $50 million loan program in Xinjiang, following Axios reporting on the loans.

Why it matters: The Chinese government is currently waging a campaign of cultural and demographic genocide against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, in northwest China. The lawmakers contend that the recipients of the loans may be complicit in that repression.

Obama: Americans could be "collateral damage" in Trump's war on mail-in voting

Photo: Zahim Mohd/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama tweeted Friday that everyday Americans could become "collateral damage" if President Trump continues to attempt to slash funding for the U.S. Postal Service as part of his campaign against mail-in voting.

Why it matters: Trump linked his baseless claims that increased mail-in voting will lead to widespread voter fraud on Thursday to the current impasse in coronavirus stimulus negotiations.

Elon Musk is channeling Henry Ford in auto manufacturing

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Photo: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has spent more than a decade trying to disrupt the traditional auto industry, is sounding more and more like the man most closely associated with it: Henry Ford.

Why it matters: In his quest to build affordable electric cars for the masses, Musk is starting to embrace many of the ideas pioneered by Ford's founder — things like vertical supply chains and an obsession with manufacturing efficiency. A century ago that approach helped to popularize the American automobile by lowering the cost of the Model T.