Tuesday’s top stories

Oct 12, 2021 - Health

FDA approves first e-cigarettes

Vuse brand e-cigarette flavor cartridges seen for sale in 2019. The FDA has cracked down on marketing of flavored products due to high rates of use among adolescents. Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration authorized three electronic cigarette products by Vuse Solo on Tuesday, citing benefits to adult smokers who are trying to quit tobacco.

Why it matters: It's the first such move by the agency in its effort to regulate new tobacco products. While e-cigarette manufacturers have touted the vape products as safer, the FDA has previously cracked down on them amid high rates of use among teens.

Oct 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

House temporarily raises debt ceiling, averting default

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

The House of Representatives followed the Senate on Tuesday, voting 219-206 along party lines to raise the federal debt ceiling and officially avert a potential default.

Why it matters: While Congress has pushed off the debt limit issue for now, the fight over a final resolution will be even uglier come December — when lawmakers need to address the problem once again.

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Oct 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

House Budget Chair John Yarmuth to retire

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

House Budget Chair John Yarmuth, the lone Democrat representative in Kentucky, announced on Tuesday he will not run for re-election in 2022.

Why it matters: Yarmuth, a senior Democrat who runs one of the House's most powerful committees, has been a key negotiator for President Biden's roughly $2 trillion social spending package and other economic priorities.

Oct 12, 2021 - Health

Experts change guidance for people taking daily aspirin

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

People 60 and older should not take low-dose aspirin daily to prevent a first heart attack or stroke, according to a working recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Why it matters: It's a revision of the panel's 2016 recommendation that recommended some people take baby aspirin daily to prevent heart disease and colorectal cancer.

Democrats eye Hispanic candidates to boost swing-district turnout

U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

The campaign arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is launching an aggressive effort to recruit more Hispanic and Latino candidates to compete next year in swing districts with open seats or Republican incumbents.

Why it matters: U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), who chairs the CHC BOLD PAC, told Axios he believes running more Hispanic Democratic candidates could increase Latino voter engagement and the prospects for a midterm blue wall keeping Democratic control of the House of Representatives.

DHS secretary orders ICE to halt mass workplace raids

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday issued a memo ordering U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to stop mass worksite raids.

Driving the news: Mayorkas said the Biden administration would instead focus on pursuing employers who hire and take advantage of immigrants without work authorizations, rather than the employees.

Oct 12, 2021 - World

LinkedIn's unanswered questions about China censorship

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

After blocking the profiles of several U.S. journalists, including mine, from its China-based website, LinkedIn has repeatedly avoided answering key questions about the censorship.

Why it matters: LinkedIn has promised transparency to its users regarding its China operations.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Oct 12, 2021 - Economy & Business

PE firms avoid mandating vaccines for portfolio companies

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Private equity firms are sitting on the sidelines when it comes to vaccine mandates for portfolio companies, despite often requiring shots for their own employees.

Why it matters: Private equity employs around 7% of all American workers, and is represented in almost every industry and geography, which means that PE vax mandates could have a significant impact on public health.

Oct 12, 2021 - Economy & Business

Digital TV ads will flood living rooms during 2022 midterms

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Data: AdImpact; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The phaseout of internet tracking cookies is fundamentally changing political campaigns, which have for years relied on them to narrowly target potential voters across the web.

Why it matters: Ad buyers expect the 2022 midterm elections to be the first campaign cycle where connected television (CTV) ads will take a meaningful market share of political spend, in part due to the fact that cookies are being scrapped.

Updated Oct 12, 2021 - Economy & Business

The creator economy is failing to spread the wealth

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The creator economy was supposed to democratize media, but it turns out that a small portion of creators still reap the most revenue for their work across multiple platforms.

Why it matters: New tipping and micropayments features will hopefully make it easier for smaller creators to get paid. But for now, much of the creator economy is still supported by pricier subscriptions, forcing consumers to be selective.

Oct 12, 2021 - Sports

Exclusive: Youth sports reach inflection point after COVID lull

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Youth sports in America have been put through the wringer amid the pandemic, and while accessibility and participation are starting to rebound, there's still work to be done.

State of play: 47% of kids have returned to their pre-pandemic level of play and 17% are more active than they were pre-pandemic, per the Aspen Institute's State of Play report, which surveys youth sports parents.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Oct 12, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Another fine mess for the IMF

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The messiness of international politics is on full display this week in Washington, D.C., at the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. That's inevitably going to make it harder for the storied institutions to help the world's poorest countries recover from the pandemic.

Why it matters: The IMF's leadership has never been weaker — managing director Kristalina Georgieva is weakened by scandal, while her #2, Trump nominee Geoffrey Okamoto, is generally regarded as inexperienced and otiose.

Justice Department again urges courts to suspend Texas abortion law

People rally in support of abortion rights in New York City on Oct. 2. Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

The Department of Justice asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late Monday to suspend Texas' new law that bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, or roughly six weeks — before many people know they are pregnant.

Why it matters: Medical providers in the state briefly resumed performing abortions last week after a federal judge ruled that the law was unconstitutional, though it was temporarily reinstated by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Future of megacities "hang in the balance" as diplomats prepare for COP26

Still images from an interactive slider comparing Washington Nationals Stadium's future with steep emissions cuts with our current carbon path. Courtesy: Climate Central

Nations’ follow through — or lack thereof — on pledges made at the looming UN climate summit will help determine the long-term fate of tens of millions of people living in coastal megacities threatened by rising seas.

Why it matters: The delayed response of the climate system, with seas that warm and expand slowly and ice sheets that can take centuries to reach equilibrium — long after air temperatures have leveled off, means the stakes of COP26, and government decisions in coming years, are extraordinarily high.

Tech embraces global corporate minimum tax

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A new global agreement to levy a near-universal 15% minimum tax on large corporations' profits could cost tech giants billions each year. Yet lobbies representing the companies have rallied behind the plan, largely because it phases out a different kind of tax that tech dislikes even more.

The big picture: The minimum tax passed a crucial hurdle last week when more than 130 nations reached agreement at an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) meeting. It still awaits final approval from many stakeholders, including the U.S. Congress.

Unruly customers threaten economic recovery

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The pace of the economic recovery hinges in part on workers returning to jobs that involve dealing with an unpredictable public. But many of those workers say increasingly combative customers — angry about everything from long wait times to mask mandates — have prompted them to quit.

The big picture: Aggressive and violent clashes between customers and service workers over COVID safety protocols over the past nearly two years have led to prison sentences, fines and deaths.

Oct 12, 2021 - Technology

Power shifts from Big Tech as digital crackdowns intensify

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Data: Freedom House "Freedom of the Net 2021" report; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Internet freedom around the world has dropped for the 11th consecutive year, according to an annual report from Freedom House, a non-profit focused on expanding freedom and democracy.

Why it matters: The findings suggest that a broader shift in power from tech companies to nation states over the past year has resulted in "a record-breaking crackdown" on freedom of expression online.

Axios-Ipsos poll: Biden is losing COVID trust

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Data: Axios/Ipsos Poll; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Americans' trust in President Biden has eroded as they've slowed their expectations for how quickly they can get back to their pre-pandemic lives, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: Two trends we've been watching for a while — drawn-out timelines for returning to normal, and declining trust — are not a coincidence but cause-and-effect, these findings suggest. That's hurting Biden with Democrats as well as independents.

Oct 12, 2021 - Health

The health care worker revolt

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The toll of the coronavirus pandemic has spurred nurses, front-line technicians and other hospital employees to walk out or authorize strikes.

Why it matters: The pandemic has buckled a system that already faced worker shortages and burnout. Patients ultimately can't receive adequate care if workers leave from the stress and violence.

Updated Oct 12, 2021 - World

Kim Jong-un blames U.S. for tensions as Pyongyang showcases weaponry

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and military members stand next to what appears to be a hypersonic missile at the National Defense Development Exhibition "Self-Defense 2021," according to the Korean Central News Agency. Photo: KCNA

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declared while attending a weapons exhibition that the country had "invincible" defense capabilities as he accused the U.S. of being the source of regional tensions, state media reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: Kim said in a speech at Monday's event that the country was strengthening its weapons arsenal but didn't want a war, per the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Updated Oct 12, 2021 - Sports

Jon Gruden out as Las Vegas Raiders head coach

Jon Gruden coaches a Las Vegas Raiders game against the Chicago Bears at Allegiant Stadium on Oct. 10 in Las Vegas. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Jon Gruden announced Monday that he had resigned as Las Vegas Raiders head coach.

Why it matters: The New York Times reported earlier Monday that Gruden used homophobic and misogynistic language in emails over a roughly seven-year period that ended in 2018 before he joined the Raiders, in addition to racist remarks that emerged last week.

Miami suspends Police Chief Art Acevedo with intention of firing him

Art Acevedo as Houston police chief. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Miami City Manager Art Noriega has suspended Police Chief Art Acevedo “with the intent to terminate his employment," Miami Herald reports.

The big picture: Noriega wrote that Acevedo's relationship with his department "has become untenable and needed to be resolved promptly. In particular, the relationship between the Chief and the Police Department he leads — as well as with the community — has deteriorated beyond repair."

Oct 12, 2021 - Health

Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive for COVID

Students sit in a classroom at a high school during the first day of classes in Novi, Michigan. Photo: Emily Elconin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A parent is suing a Wisconsin school district and its school board after their child contracted COVID-19 from a classmate, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Driving the news: The lawsuit alleges that Shannon Jensen's son contracted the virus because of the Waukesha School District's lack of mitigation measures. The district lifted its mask mandate and many other measures back in May.