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Kurz departs after losing the vote. Photo: Alex Halada/AFP/Getty Images

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has been removed from office in a vote of no-confidence a week after his alliance with the far-right Freedom Party collapsed. Austria will now be led by a technocratic government until fresh elections are held in September.

The backdrop: It was Kurz who brought the Freedom Party into government 17 months ago, in a move many believed would tame a party with a long history of racism. But things unraveled spectacularly when video emerged of the party's leader discussing how a woman he believed to be a wealthy Russian could buy influence with the government. With Kurz suddenly vulnerable, the opposition brought the no-confidence vote.

Between the lines: Kurz's center-right party actually performed quite well in European elections yesterday. He has described the move to oust him as "a game of revenge" and said, "at the end of the day the people will decide, namely in September," per the BBC.

  • "For now, the vote of no-confidence means that 32-year-old Kurz could go down in Austria’s history books not just as its youngest ever chancellor, but also the one who lasted the shortest time in office," per the Guardian.

Go deeper: Populism smothers Europe's mainstream conservatives

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
10 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.