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Bloomberg looms over yesterday's rehearsal. Photo: Mike Allen / Axios

Basketball legend LeBron James will open today's first-ever Bloomberg Global Business Forum, at the Plaza Hotel in New York, with a taped video for world leaders: "We all know the world needs us to step up. ... Great leaders emerged during the darkest, most difficult times for a simple reason: They were needed."

Axios is one of only two U.S. media partners for the event, giving us exclusive access and insights that you'll see all day here in the Axios stream, including my afternoon interview with former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg. The lineup includes Bill Clinton, Apple's Tim Cook, Alibaba's Jack Ma and French President Emmanuel Macron.

A twist: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is holding a competing event nearby — the inaugural Goalkeepers, featuring remarks and Q&A with former President Obama.

  • Mike Bloomberg will leave his forum to speak at the Gates event, and Bill Gates will leave his event to speak at Bloomberg's.

Pulling back the camera ... "The US Government-In-Exile Has A New President: And Mike Bloomberg has a big new platform," by BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith: "Bloomberg is reviving part of the [Clinton Global Initiative's] original role as a kind of US government in exile."

  • "The former New York mayor is inheriting not a conference, but a platform for an alternative American diplomacy."
  • Bloomberg, in an emailed comment: "Actions taken by the private sector, while not replacing official diplomatic channels, can often carry more weight than words spoken (or tweeted) by public officials."
  • Why it matters: "This isn't the first project Clinton has passed off to Bloomberg; that was the Clinton Climate Initiative. ... Bloomberg's new stage is a sign that ... the former mayor is likely just getting started."
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Go deeper

The biggest headline from Biden's town hall

President Biden greets attendees during a commercial break in Baltimore last night. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

What matters from President Biden's town hall with CNN's Anderson Cooper at Baltimore Center Stage on Thursday, via Axios night owl Hans Nichols:

The biggest headline: Biden is jettisoning the corporate tax increases that White House officials have insisted, for the past 10 months, are wildly popular across the country. He admitted he doesn't have the votes.

Trump, your 2024 GOP nominee

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Former President Trump is telling most anyone who'll listen he will run again in 2024 — and poll after poll shows the vast majority of Republicans would gladly cheer him on and vote for him. 

Why it matters: Trump is the heart, soul and undisputed leader of the Republican Party and will easily win the nomination if he wants it, the polls make unmistakably clear.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

How smartphone cameras became the best cameras

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

For years, the smartphone has been the most convenient camera, and in recent years it has also become the easiest and most versatile camera. But this year's high-end smartphones have taken things to a new level — capturing images that would be either tough or impossible even with a high-end digital camera.

Between the lines: Traditional cameras have the advantage of bigger sensors and better lenses, but smartphone cameras are rivaling and even surpassing them by tapping computational power.