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Photo: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

The United Kingdom's abolishment of a tax on menstrual products goes in effect today, according to a release from the government.

Why it matters: The repeal is among the first acts the U.K. is taking as part of its formal separation from the European Union because EU law prevents member nations from reducing the value-added tax on menstrual products below 5% because they are considered "luxury items."

What they're saying: “Sanitary products are essential, so it’s right that we do not charge VAT,” Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak said.

  • “We have already rolled out free sanitary products in schools, colleges and hospitals and this commitment takes us another step closer to making them available and affordable for all women.”

The big picture: Other countries, including Australia, Canada and India, have also repealed their taxes on such products.

Of note: Ireland is the only EU nation that does not tax menstrual products because it did not have a tax in place when the EU set its tax rate floor, according to AP.

Go deeper

Jan 6, 2021 - Health

EU regulator approves Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine

Photo: John Beckmann/BSR Agency/Getty Images

The European Medicines Agency on Wednesday recommended Moderna's coronavirus vaccine for authorization in the European Union's 27 member states.

Why it matters: This is the second vaccine to be granted approval by the regulator. The European Commission — which has purchased 160 million doses of the Moderna vaccine — is likely to issue final approval this week.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Scoop: Google is investigating the actions of another top AI ethicist

Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Photo by Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google is investigating recent actions by Margaret Mitchell, who helps lead the company's ethical AI team, Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The probe follows the forced exit of Timnit Gebru, a prominent researcher also on the AI ethics team at Google whose ouster ignited a firestorm among Google employees.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The incoming administration is planning extraordinary steps to protect its most prized commodity, Joe Biden, including requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times, according to new guidance sent to some incoming employees Tuesday.

Why it matters: The president-elect is 78 years old and therefore a high risk for the virus and its worst effects, despite having received the vaccine. While President Trump's team was nonchalant about COVID protocols — leading to several super-spreader episodes — the new rules will apply to all White House aides in "high proximity to principals."