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Marcus Rashford. Photo: Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

The British government will spend £170 million ($220 million) on providing free meals to poor children and their families during the holidays, following a child hunger campaign by soccer star Marcus Rashford, AP reports.

The big picture: The program was spurred by a petition from the 23-year-old Manchester United forward and garnered more than 1 million signatures after initially being rejected by Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government. It will affect nearly 1.7 million children in the U.K. over the next 12 months, Rashford said.

  • It's the second time Rashford has pressured Johnson's government into changing its child poverty policies, convincing the government to extend a voucher program for free school meals over the summer.
  • "I had a good conversation with the prime minister to better understand the proposed plan, and I very much welcome the steps that have been taken to combat child food poverty in the UK,” Rashford tweeted Sunday.

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
Updated Nov 24, 2020 - World

Tracking Biden's first calls to world leaders

Combination images of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and President-elect Joe Biden. Photo: NZ Prime Minister's Office/Instagram/Joe Raedle/Getty Images

One ritual of becoming president-elect is the carousel of congratulatory phone calls with other world leaders.

What to watch: The order in which the calls are returned is watched closely around the world.

3 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.