Hadi Mizban / AP

The Department of Justice announced this afternoon that it had settled a civil action with Hobby Lobby, in which the craft store admitted to smuggling thousands of ancient cuneiform tablets and other Mesopotamian artifacts into the United States via the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

The backstory: Hobby Lobby began assembling "a collection of historically significant items" in 2009, but against the advice of a cultural property lawyer, still chose to import thousands of valuable clay artifacts in 2010 and 2011 in shipments labeled as tile samples.

The punishment: Under its settlement with the government, Hobby Lobby has to forfeit all of the smuggled artifacts, pay a $3 million fine, and institute internal policies and training surrounding the purchase of cultural property.

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Updated 18 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Politics: Trump calls Fauci a "disaster" on campaign call.
  2. Health: Coronavirus hospitalizations are on the rise — 8 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week.
  3. States: California to independently review FDA-approved coronavirus vaccinesWisconsin judge reimposes capacity limit on indoor venues.
  4. Media: Trump attacks CNN as "dumb b---ards" for continuing to cover pandemic.
  5. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown as cases surge — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 5 million infections

USA Today breaks tradition by endorsing Joe Biden

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

USA Today, one of the largest newspapers by circulation in America, gave Joe Biden its first-ever presidential endorsement on Tuesday.

The big picture: A slew of media companies are endorsing a candidate this year for the first time ever, citing the unprecedented nature of this election.

2 hours ago - Technology

Exclusive: AP to call elections for Alexa and other Big Tech channels

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Many of the world's biggest tech and telecom companies, like Google, Amazon, Microsoft and AT&T, are licensing the Associated Press' election results to power their voice, video and search products, executives tell Axios.

How it works: Because tech firms need to answer millions of unique voice commands and search queries in real time, the results will be coded through an API — an interface that a computer program can read — designed to handle "not enough results in yet" and "too close to call" cases.