Tuesday’s top stories

Updated Apr 6, 2021 - World

U.S. could consider boycotting 2022 Beijing Olympics with allies

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaking in the State Department on April 5 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Alexander Drago/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. would discuss a joint boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in China with its allies and partners, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said during a press conference on Tuesday.

Why it matters: An Olympics boycott by the U.S. and its allies could help persuade international legal institutions to open an investigation related to allegations of genocide in Xinjiang, human rights lawyer Djaouida Siaci tells Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Apr 6, 2021 - Economy & Business

The world's pandemic rebound

Data: IMF World Economic Outlook; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The global economy is going to end 2021 2.5% larger than it was at the end of 2019. That's according to the latest forecast from the IMF, which has upgraded its economic projections by about half a percentage point since its last forecast in January.

Why it matters: The overall growth rate of 6% in 2021 masks a huge range between countries. India is projected to grow at a 12.5% pace this year, for instance, while Nigeria will only grow by 2.5%.

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Dr. Julie Morita calls the J&J vaccine pause "a reflection of a system that is working."

2020 was a great year for billionaires

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A historically bad year for the global economy was also a record-smashing one for the wealthiest people on the planet.

Driving the news: The 35th annual Forbes world billionaires list — out today — had a record number atop its list who largely saw their net worth skyrocket.

Scoop: Caitlyn Jenner explores run for California governor

Caitlyn Jenner. Photo: Greg Doherty/Getty Images

Former reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner is talking with political consultants as she actively explores a run for governor of California, three sources with direct knowledge of her deliberations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, is facing a recall election. A challenge from Jenner, a high-profile Republican and previous Trump supporter, would draw heightened attention to the race to lead the nation's most populous state.

Apr 6, 2021 - World

Scoop: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to visit Israel next week

Lloyd Austin at the White House. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is expected to travel to Israel next week, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This will be the first Cabinet-level visit to the Middle East from the Biden administration, which has been shifting attention away from the region and toward China and Russia.

Apr 6, 2021 - Health

California to fully reopen economy June 15 if COVID rates remain stable

Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California will aim to fully reopen its economy on June 15 if COVID-19 hospitalizations remain low and vaccine supplies adequately cover people ages 16 and older, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: More people have died of the coronavirus in California than in any other state. Newsom has faced a growing recall effort in recent months as Californians have called on him to lift heavy-handed restrictions on businesses.

Minneapolis use-of-force instructor: Officers not trained to use knee on neck

A use-of-force instructor at the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) testified Tuesday that officers have never been trained to use the type of knee-on-neck restraint that Derek Chauvin employed against George Floyd.

Driving the news: Johnny Mercil, a lieutenant who has worked in patrol and on the community response team, said that officers are trained to use the "least amount of force necessary" to subdue a suspect, and that a knee on the neck would not be authorized against a suspect who is "under control and handcuffed."

Apr 6, 2021 - Economy & Business

GM to build electric Chevy Silverado pickup in Detroit

2021 Chevrolet Silverado. An electric version is coming soon. Photo: GM

General Motors announced Tuesday it will introduce an electric version of its popular Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck that will be built at the company’s Factory ZERO assembly plant in Detroit.

Why it matters: GM is rapidly expanding its portfolio of battery-operated vehicles, with a plan to deliver more than 1 million EVs globally by 2025. It just unveiled the GMC Hummer electric SUV last weekend, joining the previously announced GMC Hummer electric pickup.

Olympic committee gave uniform contract to Chinese company with Xinjiang ties

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) gave a uniform contract for the Tokyo 2021 Summer Olympics and the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics to a Chinese textiles company that has an affiliated factory in Xinjiang and that openly advertises its use of Xinjiang cotton.

Why it matters: The opacity of supply chains in China means it may be hard to determine if goods are made through forced labor.

Trump: Georgia voting law doesn't go far enough

Donald Trump in Feb. 2021. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday wrote in a statement that it was "too bad" that the GOP-sponsored law restricting voter access in Georgia "didn't go further."

Why it matters: The law has garnered widespread condemnation from civil rights activists, Democrats, and more than 100 businesses and CEOs for instituting stricter ID requirements and limiting the use of ballot drop boxes, among other restrictions.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Apr 6, 2021 - Economy & Business

All eyes on Amazon union vote

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Bad news for Amazon is usually viewed as good news by its smaller retail rivals, wherever they sit in the supply chain. But that may not be true this week.

The big picture: Nearly 6,000 Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama are awaiting the preliminary results of a unionization vote, which could be released at any moment by the National Labor Relations Board.

Officer killed in vehicle attack to lie in honor in Capitol Rotunda

Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

Capitol Police officer Billy Evans, who was killed last Friday in a vehicle attack on the Capitol, will lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on April 13, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Tuesday.

What they're saying: "In giving his life to protect our Capitol and our Country, Officer Evans became a martyr for our democracy," Pelosi and Schumer said in a statement.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Apr 6, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Biden's climate balancing act with China

Data: Global Carbon Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

Partner? Rival? When it comes to China and climate policy, the White House answer to both questions seems to be yes.

Driving the news: The last few days underscore the delicate role that China is playing in White House climate efforts.

Biden sets new April 19 deadline for all adults to be eligible for vaccine

President Biden. Photo: Michael Reynolds/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden will announce Tuesday that he is moving up the deadline for states to make all American adults eligible for a coronavirus vaccine to April 19, CNN first reported and Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The announcement means states will be pressured to make all Americans 16 years and older eligible for the vaccine two weeks earlier than the original May 1 deadline, reflecting a growing confidence in the U.S. vaccination campaign.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Apr 6, 2021 - Economy & Business

Service sector sentiment survey surges to record high

Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The March reading of the ISM services index reached the highest level on record last month (with data going back to 1997), far outpacing economists' forecasts. At 63.7, it jumped more than eight points from the month before.

The big picture: Readings from business owners in the U.S. services sector now have joined the manufacturing sector in ebullience about the future, as stimulus checks hit bank accounts, vaccination rates rise and job growth returns.

Apr 6, 2021 - World

Netanyahu tapped to form new Israeli government, despite no majority

Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

Two weeks after Israel's fourth consecutive election, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Monday gave the mandate for forming a new government to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Why it matters: Netanyahu's path for forming a coalition is very, very narrow. Although he received the mandate from the president, Netanyahu does not at the moment have a majority in the Israeli Knesset that will allow him to form a new government. 

1 in 4 plan to bolt job post-pandemic

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

1 in 4 workers (26%) plans to look for a job at a different company once the pandemic has subsided, according to Prudential's latest Pulse of the American Worker Survey, conducted by Morning Consult in March.

Why it matters: High-skilled workers with plenty of opportunities are the hardest to replace. This massive reshuffling also will create major headaches for employers, and will likely expand the gaps between men and women in the workplace.

Google's Supreme Court win has the software industry breathing easier

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Monday's Supreme Court's ruling in favor of Google over Oracle left much of the software industry feeling like they'd dodged a bullet.

Why it matters: By resolving an 11-year-old dispute over rights to program code in favor of Google, the Supreme Court is allowing tech companies to largely continue with their practice of building on past software advances in creation of new technology.

Apr 6, 2021 - World

Global capitalism abets China's repression

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

By incentivizing companies to go along with the Chinese government's repressive policies in Xinjiang and imposing punishments on those that don't, the Chinese Communist Party has made complicity in repression profitable for some companies — and for others, even mandatory.

The big picture: With the second-largest market in the world — one that is projected to surpass the U.S. to take the top spot by 2028 — the Chinese Communist Party has an enormous amount of power.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Apr 6, 2021 - Science

Russia is dialing up its military space ambitions

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Russia is staging shows of military might in orbit as its civil and commercial space sector loses its longstanding edge.

Why it matters: These demonstrations threaten to undermine responsible behavior in space, and could put U.S. military — and possibly commercial — assets in orbit at risk.

Axios-Ipsos poll: Parents split on vaccinating kids

Data: Axios/Ipsos Poll; Note: 3.3% margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals

Just half of U.S. parents plan to get their children vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as they can, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: High vaccination rates are seen as a key to achieving herd immunity, but many parents don't want their kids to be the first in line once pediatric vaccinations become available.

Updated Apr 6, 2021 - World

New Zealand to open quarantine-free "travel bubble" with Australia

Australian Prime Minster Scott Morrison and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Sydney, Australia, in February last year. Photo: James D. Morgan/Getty Images

New Zealand will open a quarantine-free "travel bubble" with Australia from 11:59pm on April 18, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: New Zealand tourism industry official Chris Roberts and Michael Barnett, an NZ Chamber of Commerce director, told Axios the plan could serve as a model for other countries.

Apr 6, 2021 - World

North Korea first country to pull out of Olympics over COVID concerns

The Olympic Rings installation in Odaiba Marine Park, Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Stanislav Kogiku/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

North Korea's sports ministry announced Tuesday that it's decided to pull out of this summer's Tokyo Olympics "to protect athletes from the global health crisis caused by the coronavirus."

Why it matters: North Korea is the first country to withdraw its team from the Games because of pandemic concerns.

In photos: Baylor ends Gonzaga's winning streak to win first NCAA title

Baylor Bears head coach Scott Drew addresses the crowd after beating the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, Monday. Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Baylor Bears defeated the Gonzaga Bulldogs 86-70 in the Division I men's basketball title game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Monday night.

Why it matters: This was Baylor's first NCAA title, handing the Bulldogs their first loss of the pandemic-interrupted season and quashing their hopes of becoming the first unbeaten champion since 1976.

Report: MLB relocating All-Star Game to Denver's Coors Field

A general view of the stadium as the Colorado Rockies takes on the San Diego Padres without fans in attendance during pandemic restroctions last August in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Major League Baseball is moving its 2021 All-Star Game to Denver's Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies, on July 13, according to multiple reports Monday night.

Driving the news: After the MLB pulled the event from Atlanta over Georgia's new voting restrictions, a spokesperson for Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) said last Friday he would be "burning up the phones" to bring the game to Denver.