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Pedro Sanchez and Mariano Rajoy talk during a meeting in Madrid. Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy is on the verge of being forced out of power as a no confidence motion presented by the Socialist Party has the votes needed to topple his government. Pedro Sanchez, leader of the socialists, would be the next prime minister until new elections take place.

Go deeper: Rajoy, from the center-right Partido Popular party, took office in 2011 after the worst financial crisis in the country's recent history. His party has been rocked by several corruption cases that have eroded its popular support, even as the economy has improved steadily. The Socialists' motion won the backing of separatists and far-left groups, but it remains to be seen if that support will be enough to maintain a stable government without fresh elections.

Go deeper

Biden says he'll make Supreme Court pick by end of February

President Biden speaks on the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday said he will announce the nominee for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's replacement by the end of February.

Driving the news: Biden also affirmed that he will nominate a Black woman to replace Breyer, saying "it's long overdue."

Stephen Breyer formally announces retirement from Supreme Court

Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

Justice Stephen Breyer on Thursday sent a letter to President Biden formally announcing his retirement from the Supreme Court.

State of play: Breyer said his retirement will take effect when the court "rises for the summer recess (typically late June or early July) assuming that by then my successor has been nominated and confirmed."

COVID created an epic U.S. trade gap

Chart: Axios Visuals. Data: Census Bureau/Bureau of Economic Analysis

The details of the blockbuster fourth quarter GDP report released Thursday morning tell a vivid story of how the underpinnings of the world economy have been reshaped by the pandemic.

One example: In the arithmetic around U.S. economic output, trade acted as a more severe drag last year than it has in a generation.