Michael Dwyer / AP

"United faces more questions as dragged passenger hires high-powered attorney" — Chicago Tribune: "David Dao, the passenger at the center of the growing imbroglio, retained a high-powered Chicago personal injury lawyer, Thomas Demetrio. Dao was in a Chicago hospital undergoing treatment for his injuries ... [F]our [U.S.] senators sent several questions about the 'very disturbing' incident."

Why it matters: N.Y. Times front-pager, "Dragging of Passenger Sets Off a Crisis at United": "[T]he videos had already cast an unwelcome light not just on United, but on the airline industry's efforts to maximize profits. As companies push to make money from baggage fees, seat reservations and other services that were once included with a basic plane ticket, the videos added the potential for an even harsher indignity: sitting in a seat with a ticket and getting physically ejected from the airplane."

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Over 73 million people watched the first debate on TV

Data: Nielsen; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than 73.1 million people watched the first presidential debate on television on Tuesday night, according to Nielsen ratings.

Why it matters: While that's a sizable audience for any American TV program, it's down more than 13% from the record number of TV viewers who tuned in for the first debate of the 2016 election. The chaotic nature of the debate and the overall uncertainty around this year's election may have pushed some viewers away.

Senate passes bill funding government through December

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Senate on Tuesday passed legislation to fund the federal government through Dec. 11, by a vote of 84-10.

Where it stands: The legislation will avert a government shutdown before funding expires Wednesday night and before the Nov. 3 election. The House passed the same measure last week by a vote of 359-57 after House Democrats and the Trump administration agreed on the resolution.

  • Both sides agreed early in negotiations that the bill should be a "clean" continuing resolution — meaning each party would only make small changes to existing funding levels so the measure would pass through both chambers quickly, Axios' Alayna Treene reported last week. The bill now goes to President Trump for his signature.
Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Technology

The age of engineering life begins

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Synthetic biology startups raised some $3 billion through the first half of 2020, up from $1.9 billion for all of 2019, as the field brings the science of engineering to the art of life.

The big picture: Synthetic biologists are gradually learning how to program the code of life the way that computer experts have learned to program machines. If they can succeed — and if the public accepts their work — synthetic biology stands to fundamentally transform how we live.