Monday’s top stories

Bill and Melinda Gates announce split

Bill and Melinda Gates in 2006. Photo: Simon Hayter/Getty Images

Bill and Melinda Gates announced Monday they are getting divorced after 27 years of marriage.

Our thought bubble, from Axios' Ina Fried: Both Bill and Melinda had already made giving away their wealth through philanthropy a shared priority and said Monday they will continue to work together at their foundation.

Biden to raise refugee cap to 62,500

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden will raise the cap on refugees to 62,500 this fiscal year, he announced on Monday.

Why it matters: The move comes after a wave of outrage over his initial decision to keep the Trump-era ceiling of 15,000 admissions in place.

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NYC to resume 24-hour subway service, businesses to fully reopen

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Mike Segar/Pool/Getty Images

New York City will resume its 24-hour subway service on May 17, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday, along with fast-tracking the city's plans to fully reopen businesses.

The big picture: The return is a key part of the tri-state area's efforts to increase economic activity and bring back crowds.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Updated May 3, 2021 - Economy & Business

Warren Buffett hasn't made an "elephant" megadeal since before the pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Warren Buffett doesn't have much use for unicorns, instead building his Berkshire Hathaway empire by hunting for the sort of asset-heavy megadeals that he calls "elephants."

Driving the news: Berkshire hasn't fired a shot from its elephant gun in quite some time. Not even last spring, when many thought it would become the bailout partner of first resort, much like the role it played in 2008.

ESPN's Kevin Merida named executive editor of Los Angeles Times

Photo by Julia Ewan/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Veteran ESPN news editor Kevin Merida was named executive editor of the Los Angeles Times on Monday.

Why it matters: Merida — who has long been rumored for the role — replaces Norm Pearlstine, who stepped down as executive editor late last year after leading the paper for two and half years.

May 3, 2021 - Health

Some experts now say U.S. unlikely to reach herd immunity

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Some public health experts and scientists now believe that the U.S. is unlikely to reach herd immunity, and that the coronavirus will instead become "a manageable threat" that circulates for years, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Many emerging viruses become part of the viral ecology. The number of hospitalizations and deaths that endemic COVID-19 causes could depend on several factors, including how often people are reinfected, vaccine effectiveness and adoption, and virus mutations.

Liz Cheney refuses to back down on Trump criticism

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the No. 3 Republican on the House, tweeted Monday that anyone promoting "THE BIG LIE" that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump is "turning their back on the rule of law" and "poisoning our democratic system."

Why it matters: Top Republicans are now openly suggesting that Cheney could be removed from her leadership position because of her criticism of Trump, who remains the most popular figure in the GOP. Cheney was one of ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
May 3, 2021 - Energy & Environment

EPA moves to phase down powerful greenhouse gas

EPA Administrator Michael Regan. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency Monday morning floated draft regulations to sharply phase down planet-warming gases used in air conditioning and refrigeration over the next 15 years.

Why it matters: The plan is designed to cut production and importation of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are highly potent greenhouse gases, by 85% by 2036.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
May 3, 2021 - Health

What COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy looks like around the world

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Data: Gallup; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

More than 1 billion adults around the world said in 2020 that they wouldn't agree to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, per new Gallup polling released Monday.

Why it matters: Only slightly more than two-thirds — 68% — of adults worldwide said they would agree to be vaccinated if a shot was available to them at no cost.

Robinhood fires back at Warren Buffett

Warren Buffet at a 2019 shareholders' meeting. Photo: Houston Cofield/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Robinhood on Monday said that recent criticisms of the no-fee trading app by Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger were insults against younger investors, blasting the billionaires as out-of-touch elites who are "acting like they are the only oracles of investing."

The big picture: Critics have said that Robinhood — which says its mission " is to democratize finance for all," and has sought to popularize retail investing — pushes users into making more trades and reckless investing with its mobile game-like design and addictive elements.

Verizon sells Yahoo and AOL to private equity firm for $5 billion

Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Verizon on Monday announced that it will sell its digital media unit, including Yahoo and AOL, to private equity firm Apollo Global Management.

Details: Apollo will pay $5 billion for a 90% stake in the business, with Verizon retaining a 10% stake. It's a slightly higher price than what was expected, but still far short of the $9 billion that Verizon paid to acquire the businesses.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
May 3, 2021 - Economy & Business

A jobs report for the ages

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Expectations are growing for Friday's nonfarm payrolls report to be a big one, with some economists expecting it could show the U.S. added jobs in April at a pace not seen since last year's record-setting hiring spree in May and June.

Why it matters: While it is not expected to match or exceed June's 4.8 million, some economists believe we could see more than 2 million jobs added, compounding the momentum from March when American employers added 916,000 jobs.

Ina Fried, author of Login
May 3, 2021 - Technology

The trial that will decide the future of Apple's App Store

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A federal court in Oakland will on Monday begin hearing Epic Games' antitrust suit against Apple, a case that could radically reshape the way iPhone apps and services are sold.

Why it matters: Fortnite maker Epic Games is asking the court to invalidate the entire business model behind the iOS ecosystem, seeking to bar Apple from requiring developers to use its in-app purchases for digital goods and services.

May 3, 2021 - World

EU proposes lifting non-essential travel restrictions for fully vaccinated

Eiffel Tower. Photo: Xinhua/Gao Jing via Getty Images

The European Commission on Monday proposed easing restrictions on non-essential travel for visitors who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Why it matters: The recommendation could be adopted by the European Union's 27 member states as early as May 5, paving the way for the return of summer travel to one of the world's most popular tourism destinations.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
May 3, 2021 - Economy & Business

The pandemic stunted America's youth

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

American jobs are starting to come back, but youth unemployment is still high. And many young people are postponing college.

Why it matters: Young people across the country are falling behind because of the pandemic, and they will feel the macroeconomic consequences of these months of pain long after the pandemic is over.

DHS: Migrant family reunifications to begin this week

Alejandro Mayorkas. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Four families separated under the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy will be reunited this week, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on a call Sunday night.

Why it matters: Reuniting migrant families is one of Biden's biggest immigration-related promises and progress has been slow.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
May 3, 2021 - Health

There's not just one kind of vaccine hesitancy

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Data: The Harris Poll; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Around 10% of Americans aren't very eager to get the vaccine, but they're not really hesitant either — they're just waiting to get it until they get around to it, according to new Harris polling.

Why it matters: Making vaccination more convenient will be a big part of the difficult process of getting more shots in arms, now that many of the most eager Americans have gotten their shots.

Column / Harder Line

To combat climate change, electric cars have to be cheaper

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Most drivers of electric cars are wealthy, and most electric cars are luxury.

Why it matters: To effectively combat climate change, the opposite needs to happen: electric cars need to become affordable and broadly appealing so the masses can and want to buy them. Only with mass adoption will heat-trapping emissions steeply decline in America’s most polluting sector.

Updated May 3, 2021 - Politics & Policy

4 dead, dozens injured after suspected smuggling boat capsizes near San Diego

The San Diego coastline. Photo: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Four people were killed and dozens of others hospitalized after an overcrowded boat capsized and broke off the coast of San Diego, per a statement from the U.S. Coast Guard late Sunday.

Driving the news: Authorities believe the 40-foot cabin cruiser was being used in a "suspected human smuggling operation," AP notes.

May 3, 2021 - World

Narendra Modi's party loses key election as India's COVID cases surge

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures while addressing his supporters during an election campaign rally ahead of the national elections in Chanditala Hooghly District, West Bengal, India on Thursday. Photo: Debajyoti Chakraborty/NurPhoto via Getty Images

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost an election in the key state of West Bengal on Sunday.

Why it matters: Modi has been criticized for his handling of the pandemic amid a widespread oxygen shortage, record daily cases and a surging death toll, with accusations that the real numbers are much higher.