Tuesday’s top stories

Terry McAuliffe wins Democratic primary for Virginia governor

Terry McAuliffe speaks to supporters at a campaign event on June 4, 2021 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Democrats on Tuesday nominated former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to face Republican Glenn Youngkin in the state's November gubernatorial election, per AP.

Why it matters: McAuliffe, who entered the primary in December as a clear front-runner, beat four Democratic candidates to secure the nomination.

Jun 8, 2021 - World

Senate passes sweeping China competition bill in rare bipartisan vote

Sen. Chuck Schumer. Photo: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate voted 68-32 on Tuesday to approve a sweeping China-focused global competition bill, overcoming Republican objections that had threatened to derail the $200 billion+ bipartisan package.

Why it matters: The bill's supporters cite the measure as evidence that the deeply divided Senate can still function on a bipartisan basis, despite the last-minute chaos that forced Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to delay final passage for weeks.

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Report: Corporate boards tapping limited circle of executives of color to fill open slots

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Data: Deloitte and the Alliance for Board Diversity; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Corporate boards are getting less white and male, but companies are "recycling" to achieve the feat — i.e., tapping a limited circle of executives of color to fill open slots.

Why it matters: In some cases, more diversity came "by recycling ... existing Fortune 500 board members rather than bringing in new individuals with different skills, backgrounds, and perspectives," according to a report out Tuesday by Deloitte and the Alliance for Board Diversity.

The darker side of hustle culture

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Choosing to hustle is a luxury. The hustle culture debate misses a bigger economic picture.

Why it matters: Workers are wary (and weary) of hustle culture, as the economy comes out of the pandemic. But for tens of millions of Americans, working nonstop may be a necessity. 

Jun 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden, Capito abandon infrastructure talks

President Joe Biden and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito during a May 13 meeting. Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Infrastructure negotiations between President Biden and a group of Republicans led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) have officially broken down, and Biden now plans to turn his attention toward striking a deal with a separate, bipartisan group of senators, administration officials said Tuesday night.

What we're hearing: When Biden and Capito spoke by phone on Tuesday, the call only lasted a few minutes, and it was clear that the two sides remain too far apart to find a compromise.

As early season heat roasts U.S., records tumble in Middle East

The "Misery Index" on June 6,, showing extremely hot conditions across the Middle East and parts of South Asia. (Earth.nullschool.net)

At the same time as much of the Lower 48 states are seeing temperatures soar through the 90s, an unusually severe heat wave for this time of year has also struck the Middle East.

Why it matters: While these extreme weather events have roots in various weather systems, human-caused climate change is raising the odds and worsening the severity of extreme heat events worldwide.

Jun 8, 2021 - World

State Department eases travel advisories for dozens of countries

Photo: Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Image

The State Department on Tuesday slightly eased the severity of travel advisories for dozens of countries.

Why it matters: The agency is still recommending that Americans avoid international travel to these countries due to serious risks associated with the pandemic, in its second-highest warning level.

Senate confirms Biden's first judicial nominee

Julien Xavier Neals. Photo: Tom Williams/pool/ AFP via Getty Images

The Senate voted 66-33 on Tuesday to confirm Julien Xavier Neals to be U.S. District Judge for the District of New Jersey.

Why it matters: Neals is President Biden's first judicial nominee to be confirmed, as Democrats begin a push to "restore the balance" of the courts after the GOP-led Senate confirmed a record number of conservative judges under former President Trump.

Jun 8, 2021 - World

UN court upholds Bosnian Serb commander's conviction for genocide, war crimes

Ratko Mladić looks on from the defendant box prior to the hearing of the final verdict on appeal. Photo: Peter Dejong/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

A court of United Nations appeals judges on Tuesday upheld Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladić's conviction and life sentence for genocide and war crimes committed during Bosnia and Herzegovina's 1992–95 war.

Why it matters: Mladić was known as the "Butcher of Bosnia" for commanding troops responsible for the Srebrenica massacre and other atrocities in Bosnia, where around 100,000 people were killed and more than 2 million displaced during the war.

Colonial Pipeline CEO tells Congress paying ransom was "the right choice"

Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount defended his decision Tuesday to pay the hackers that launched a ransomware attack against the crucial fuel line, telling a Senate panel it was "the right choice" and that he put "the interests of the country first."

Why it matters: Federal investigators for years have recommended that companies do not pay hacking groups to decrypt their computer systems over fears that the transactions would encourage more groups to conduct future attacks.

Jun 8, 2021 - World

U.S. military says Afghanistan withdrawal is 50% complete

President Biden announcing the Afghanistan withdrawal on April 14. Photo by Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

The U.S. has withdrawn more than 50% of its forces and equipment from Afghanistan, U.S. Central Command estimated in an update Tuesday.

Why it matters: President Biden announced in April that the U.S. would begin the process of withdrawing all forces from Afghanistan starting May 1, with the goal of finishing by Sept. 11. CENTCOM said Tuesday that it would no longer be updating the specific percentage of its withdrawal, citing security reasons.

Kamala Harris defends not visiting U.S.-Mexico border

Kamala Harris speaks at the National Palace in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Photo: Daniele Volpe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris defended her decision to not personally visit the U.S.-Mexico border during an interview with NBC News that aired Tuesday, arguing that her focus is on addressing the underlying causes of migration.

Why it matters: President Biden has put Harris in charge of solving the migrant surge at the southern border, a crisis that has threatened to overshadow some of the administration's early successes.

Jun 8, 2021 - World

Netanyahu is out if new government survives confidence vote on Sunday

Netanyahu. Photo: Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty

The incoming Israeli government will be sworn in on Sunday if it survives a confidence vote, outgoing parliamentary speaker Yariv Levin said in a statement on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies, including Levin, are trying to thwart the formation of the new government, which would see right-wing Naftali Bennett replace Netanyahu as prime minister in an alliance with Yair Lapid, the centrist opposition leader.

Exclusive: New York project to combine solar power with high-speed broadband

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A new type of housing initiative kicking off in New York City seeks to address two major problems facing the U.S. today: The lack of widespread, high-speed broadband access for low-income residents, and the need to more widely deploy clean energy technologies.

Why it matters: The project is a unique marriage between two of the Biden administration's top infrastructure policy goals, except on a local level.

The de-globalization of retail banking

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Big banks are pulling back from the heights of their global ambitions for retail banking.

Why it matters: The globalization dogma says bigger is better, and that more markets offer more opportunities for making money. But increasingly, the international mega-bank model is getting clunky, more expensive — and less popular.

Updated Jun 8, 2021 - Technology

Major news, social media sites back online after massive internet outage

Dozens of major websites — including The New York Times, CNN, Reddit, Spotify, Twitch, GitHub, gov.uk, Hulu, HBO Max, PayPal, Vimeo, Shopify — were beginning to return online Tuesday morning after crashing in an apparent internet outage.

What's happening: The cause of the massive outage was not immediately clear. Fastly, a popular content delivery network (CDN), confirmed it was experiencing an outage on its website and said around 7 a.m. ET that a fix had been implemented.

Developer war brewing over app store commissions

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Rivals circling Apple and Google are courting developers and creators who are growing increasingly frustrated with the fees those tech giants charge in their app stores.

Why it matters: In-app purchases have emerged as a key way for developers looking to make money from their apps, and Apple and Google tightly control the payment mechanism for such transactions.

Senate report: Failure to relay intelligence permitted Jan. 6 attack

A clash within the Capitol Rotunda on Jan. 6. Photo: Mostafa Bassim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Last December, the Capitol Police intelligence division began gathering data from social media about plots to breach the Capitol, as well as specific calls for violence on Jan. 6 and maps of the building's tunnel systems, a new Senate report finds.

Why it matters: The scope of these threats was not relayed to USCP leadership, rank-and-file officers or federal law enforcement agencies. As a result, all were unprepared for the worst attack since the War of 1812, the 127-page document reveals.

Jun 8, 2021 - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: America says goodbye to the pandemic

Data: Axios-Ipsos poll; Survey of U.S. adults, March 5-8 and June 4-7, 2021; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

In a very short time, Americans have returned to doing the things many haven't done in a long time — and now see less risk than ever in returning to their pre-pandemic lives, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The big picture: The number of people who say they've ventured out to eat or see friends and relatives has been inching up steadily as Americans get their shots. And compared to just three months ago, their perception of the risk has plummeted.

Jun 8, 2021 - Health

Experts question FDA standards with Aduhelm approval

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Following the FDA's approval of Biogen's Alzheimer's treatment Aduhelm, experts fear the approval — based on weak scientific data — is a sign the agency is putting speed over rigor.

The big picture: "A general signal being sent to the rest of the drug industry is: If you can get uncertain, maybe suggestive data and a post-hoc analysis — get that threshold to us — we may approve your drug," said Peter Bach, a drug researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Jun 8, 2021 - Science

A renaissance for Venus

Illustration: AĂŻda Amer/Axios

NASA is sending missions to Venus for the first time in more than 30 years, breathing new life into the scientific quest to understand the oft-ignored planet.

Why it matters: Understanding Venus is thought to be key to learning more about how habitable worlds form within our own solar system — and outside of it.

Updated Jun 8, 2021 - World

Hundreds arrested in FBI-led global crime sting using messaging app

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Australian Federal Police commissioner Reece Kershaw during a news conference in Sydney on Tuesday. Photo: Mark Evans/Getty Images

An FBI-led sting using an encrypted messaging app has resulted in the arrests of hundreds of suspected organized crime figures around the world, authorities in Australia announced Tuesday.

Driving the news: Authorities decided to use the AN0M messaging app to track suspects globally in an investigation after Aussie police officers and FBI agents came up with the idea to run the platform while having some after-work beers in 2018, according to Australian police.

Updated Jun 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden's DOJ defends Trump in E. Jean Carroll's defamation lawsuit

Combination images of former President Trump and E. Jean Carroll. Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images/Eva Deitch for The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Biden's Department of Justice indicated in a court filing Monday night that it's continuing with the DOJ's defense of former President Trump in a defamation lawsuit brought by writer E. Jean Carroll.

Why it matters: When President Biden was a presidential candidate last year, he criticized the DOJ's highly unusual move to intervene and replace Trump's private lawyers with attorneys from the department, per the New York Times.

Ukraine amends statement saying Biden backed NATO membership plan

Photo: Amr Alfiky-Pool/Getty Images

The White House and the Ukrainian government initially sent out conflicting official accounts of Monday's phone call between President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Why it matters: Ukraine's government initially reported on its official website that Biden had "highlighted... the importance of providing the Ukrainian state with a NATO Membership Action Plan," which would put Ukraine on course for membership in the alliance. The White House denied Biden expressed support for such a step on the call.

Hans Nichols, author of Sneak Peek
Jun 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Pro-McConnell PAC prepared to intervene in 2022 primaries

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

A super PAC closely aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is prepared to intervene in GOP primaries — and potentially challenge former President Trump — as it looks for the most viable candidates to reclaim the Senate.

Driving the news: Trump’s weekend endorsement of Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) in his state's 2022 Senate race put the GOP establishment on notice that party leaders won’t necessarily get to handpick their preferred candidates for the crucial midterms.

Scoop: Illegal border crossings most in over decade — with four months to go

Migrants attempting to cross from Mexico are detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Photo: Nick Ut/Getty Images

The number of migrants illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border this fiscal year is already the most since 2006 — with four months left to go, according to preliminary Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The numbers quantify a lingering problem. Nearly 900,000 migrants were stopped by the Border Patrol from Oct. 1 to May 31. There also were more than 170,000 apprehensions last month — in line with 20-year records set in March and April.