Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Police officers gather to remove activists during an anti death penalty protest in front of the US Supreme Court. Photo: Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

A top British official has given the U.S. permission to pursue the death penalty against "The Beatles," two British ISIS fighters responsible for the 2014 execution of American journalist James Foley, The Telegraph reports.

Why it matters: The decision by the United Kingdom's home secretary, Sajid Javid, has drawn the ire of human rights groups and politicians for breaking the U.K.'s longstanding policy of opposing extradition of criminals that could face the death penalty. It's one of several capital punishment debates that have sprung up recently in countries all over the world.

What's happening:

  • In the United States, Nevada's plan to execute convicted murderer Scott Dozier using fentanyl, the drug at the heart of the opioid crisis, has been postponed after a pharmaceutical company filed a lawsuit. Anti-death penalty activists have made it difficult to obtain the necessary drugs for lethal injections, forcing the 31 states in which capital punishment is legal to seek alternatives, often in secrecy.
  • In Sri Lanka, President Maithripala Sirisena has vowed to end a 42-year moratorium on capital punishment for drug smugglers, citing public demand for executions in response to rising gang violence and narcotics abuse, reports the AP. The European Union and other countries have warned Sri Lanka that an end to the moratorium will prompt trade retaliation.
  • In Kenya, where the last execution was conducted in 1987, a former beauty queen has been sentenced to death for stabbing and killing her boyfriend, reports Independent Online. Kenya's mandatory death sentence for murder and armed robbery was declared unconstitutional last year, but courts still have the ability to use capital punishment at their discretion.
  • In Japan, which is one of three OECD members (along with the U.S. and South Korea) that still use capital punishment, the execution of seven members of a deadly cult has renewed questions about the transparency of the death penalty system, reports The Japan Times. Japan's Justice Ministry has a history of keeping its process veiled in secrecy, and even today refuses to disclose how death row inmates are chosen for execution.

The bottom line: The number of countries that have executed criminals each year for the past decade has wavered between 18 and 25. Even in 2018, with all that has been done to improve human rights advocacy worldwide, the death penalty debate rages on.

Go deeper: American support for the death penalty jumps in 2018

Go deeper

22 mins ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

Obama speechwriter fears Biden unity drive is one-sided

Cody Keenan (right) is shown heading to Marine One in December 2009. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.

What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."