Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A series of executive orders, signed by President Trump on Friday, will make it easier to lay off federal government employees and "[roll] back the prerogatives of unions that represent them," the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Per the Times, the signings were praised by the White House as Trump promoting "efficient government by reforming our Civil Service rules." But the unions criticized it as an "assault on democracy."

What they do, per BuzzFeed News:

  • Cut down on the time it takes to fire a federal employee.
  • "Reward 'performance over seniority.'"
  • Require federal employees to "devote at least 75 percent of their work hours for agency purposes."
  • Tell agencies to renegotiate union contracts and publish them.

Go deeper

Updated 8 mins ago - World

Massive explosion rocks Beirut

Photo: Anwar Amro/AFP via Getty Images

A major explosion has slammed central Beirut, Lebanon, damaging buildings as far as several miles away and injuring scores of people.

Driving the news: The cause of the explosion is unknown. It's also unclear how many people were killed or wounded, but the Lebanese Red Cross has told AP that casualties number in the hundreds. Reuters reports that at least 10 people have been killed, citing security sources.

Updated 44 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 18,349,260 — Total deaths: 695,550 — Total recoveries — 10,951,112Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 4,732,418 — Total deaths: 155,942 — Total recoveries: 1,513,446 — Total tests: 57,543,852Map.
  3. States: New York City health commissioner resigns in protest of De Blasio's coronavirus response.
  4. Public health: 40% of Americans continue to put off medical care.
  5. Politics: Trump tells "Axios on HBO" that pandemic is "under control," despite surges in infections and uptick in deaths.
  6. Business: Low-income households are struggling to pay energy bills — Construction spending falls for 4th straight month.
Updated 53 mins ago - Science

The U.S. is at risk of attacks in space

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Other nations are catching up to U.S. capabilities in space, potentially putting American assets in orbit at risk.

Why it matters: From GPS to imagery satellites and others that can peer through clouds, space data is integral to American national security.