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Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. Postal Service cannot currently change postage rates because its Board of Governors has been empty since late 2016, although President Trump's first three appointees will have Senate confirmation hearings next week.

Why it matters: Trump has criticized USPS for losing money, and yesterday formed a task force to explore possible reforms — two things that might not have been needed were governors in place.

Yes, but: Trump's issues with Amazon won't be solved regardless of what happens with the appointees. Individual mailers like Amazon agree with to negotiated service agreements that are approved by a separate body called the Postal Regulatory Commission, whose bipartisan members also are appointed by the White House. Currently, three of the PRC commissioners (including the Republican chair) were appointed by President Obama, and one by President Bush.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Europe, U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Health officials in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany announced on Saturday that they've detected the first known cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The discoveries come as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.

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