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Samantha Power at her confirmation hearing on March 23. Photo: Greg Nash/The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Samantha Power, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday with a 68-26 vote to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Why it matters: Power's nomination signaled the Biden administration's plans to use foreign assistance as an instrument of soft power as the U.S. has pledged to deliver millions of vaccines and offer aid to countries battling the coronavirus pandemic.

Background: Power served on the National Security Council as former President Obama's special assistant from 2009 to 2013 while working as his senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights. She later served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 2013 to 2017.

  • She grappled with the Obama administration's response to Syria's civil war, sanctions against North Korea, Ebola and Russian aggression against Ukraine.
  • As a journalist, she worked as a foreign correspondent in Zimbabwe, Bosnia, Rwanda, Sudan, Kosovo, and East Timor.
  • Her 2002 book on genocide, "A Problem from Hell," won the Pulitzer Prize in 2003.

Go deeper

Marty Baron writing book on running a newsroom during Trump era

Marty Baron in Washington, DC on Feb. 25. Photo: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Marty Baron, former executive editor of the Washington Post and a Pulitzer Prize recipient, is writing a book on his newsroom leadership during the Trump administration, AP reports.

Why it matters: The book, titled “Collision of Power: Trump, Bezos, and The Washington Post," could offer rare personal reflections from Baron after he oversaw the Post's editorial transformation under Amazon founder Jeff Bezos — turning it from a regional paper into a national brand.

At least 3 dead after Amtrak train derails in Montana

Photo: Jacob Cordeiro/Twitter

An Amtrak train derailed near Joplin, Montana, resulting in at least three deaths and multiple injuries to passengers and crew on Saturday, per authorities and a company statement.

The big picture: 141 passengers and 16 crew members were estimated to be on the Empire Builder train, traveling from Chicago to Seattle and Portland, when eight of the 10 cars derailed about 4p.m., Amtrak said early Sunday.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Federal judge blocks vaccine mandate for NYC teachers

Students are dismissed from the first day of school at PS 133 in Brooklyn on Sept. 13. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

A federal appeals court is set to hear a challenge Wednesday to a vaccine mandate planned for New York City school employees.

Why it matters The vaccine mandate was set to begin on Monday, prompting concerns over staffing shortages in schools across the nation's largest school system. But a judge on Friday temporarily blocked the measure, per AP.