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Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Federal prosecutors have charged Charles Lieber, chair of the Harvard University chemistry department, with lying about funds he obtained through a Chinese government recruitment program.

Why it matters: Lieber's arrest marks one of the highest-profile cases yet in a sweeping U.S. government investigation of undisclosed ties between U.S. research institutions and China.

Details: A celebrated scientist in the field of nanoscale electronics, Lieber is accused of making false statements to investigators in 2018 and 2019.

  • Beginning in 2011, Lieber served as a "strategic scientist" at Wuhan University of Technology, according to a Justice Department press release on Jan. 28.
  • From around 2012–2017, Lieber also allegedly participated in China's Thousand Talents program, a Chinese government program aimed at recruiting foreign experts in order to strengthen China's own research institutions.
  • As the recipient of millions of dollars of Defense Department funding, Lieber was required by law to disclose foreign funding or conflicts of interest. But Lieber allegedly failed to do so.

By the numbers: The Chinese university that Lieber partnered with allegedly paid him a monthly salary of $50,000 and as much as $158,000 per year for living expenses. He also received more than $1.5 million to build a lab in China.

The big picture: The FBI is seeking to crack down on the rampant theft of scientific and biomedical research perpetrated by people with ties to a foreign government or entity.

  • A recent report from the JASON program at MITRE Corp, which manages research on behalf of several U.S. government agencies, stated that foreign interference in and theft of U.S. research "represents a threat to our fundamental research enterprise and, in the longer run, our economic security and national security."
  • But another concern, according to the report, is the potential for overreaction that might inhibit scientific collaboration. According to the report: "The benefits of openness in research and of the inclusion of talented foreign researchers dictate against measures that would wall off particular areas of fundamental research."

Go deeper: FBI spied on Chinese students and scientists, new book reveals

Go deeper

Updated 24 mins ago - Health

2 federal judges temporarily block Biden vaccine mandates

President Biden delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant at the White House on Nov. 29. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

The Biden administration was temporarily blocked from enforcing COVID-19 vaccine mandates for millions of workers by federal judges in two states on Tuesday.

The big picture: The orders, by federal judges in Kentucky and Louisiana, come one day after a federal judge in Missouri halted the mandate, which has a Jan. 4 deadline, in 10 states.

55 mins ago - World

Honduras elects first female president

Honduran President-elect Xiomara Castro, of the Libertad y Refundacion (Libre) Party, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on Sunday. Photo: Inti Ocon/Getty Images

Former Honduras first lady Xiomara Castro is set to become the country's first female president president, after the ruling party conceded defeat in the country's elections on Tuesday night, per AP.

Why it matters: The democratic socialist and her Libre Party have broken a 12-year run for the conservative National Party, which U.S. prosecutors alleged fostered a "narco-state," note Axios' Latinos' Marina E. Franco and Russell Contreras.

Food delivery "ghost kitchens" face major obstacles

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The growing popularity of food delivery has given rise to startups that open "ghost kitchens" — kitchens in warehouses or trailers that prepare food solely for delivery and have no option to dine in.

  • But they can come with a whole host of problems.

The big picture: The concept of "ghost kitchens" has been dubbed the next big thing in the future of services, with high profile backers like Uber founder Travis Kalanick. But these kitchens can be hard to run or unsafe.