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NYPD officers at Times Square on Jan. 3kp. Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

Security is tightening in New York, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco in the aftermath of the U.S. killing Qasem Soleimani, one of Iran's most powerful figures.

The big picture: Iran largely stopped targeting the West after the Iran deal, but hacking re-emerged against the U.S. as tensions escalated, with activity that appears to be more for information gathering purposes than to cause harm. This could be the regime's tool of choice for retaliating against the U.S., according to multiple reports.

What's happening:

  • New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he ordered the deployment of the National Guard to city airports on Friday and called for "increased security at critical infrastructure points across the state." He noted the state has not received any direct threats.
  • The United States Park Police announced plans on Friday to step up patrols at landmarks in New York, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, AP reports. The Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials are among icons the park police are responsible for protecting.
  • The LAPD said Friday it is "monitoring the events developing in Iran" and in communication "with state, local, federal and international law enforcement," although "there is no credible threat to Los Angeles."
  • The Arlington National Cemetery, a military cemetery for U.S. service members, said Friday it is implementing ID checks at all entrances.
  • Chicago's police force put out a Friday statement indicating it will continue standard patrols with Homeland Security to monitor "critical infrastructure."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 15 mins ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.