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Biden bans U.S. investment in companies linked to China's surveillance activities

President Joe Biden issued an executive order Thursday that would ban Americans from investing in companies linked to China's military and its surveillance activities.

Why it matters: Biden's executive order is an expansion of one issued by the Trump administration in November 2020, and shows that the Biden administration "continuing some of the hard-line China policies left by former President Donald Trump," according to the Wall Street Journal.

The big picture: The Trump administration's executive order banned Americans from investing in 31 companies linked to the Chinese government.

  • Biden's executive order expands on the order, listing 59 companies and includes Chinese technology firms that make or deploy surveillance technology, which contribute to the "surveillance of religious or ethnic minorities or otherwise facilitate repression and serious human rights abuses," per the White House press release.
  • The goal of the executive order is to "ensure that U.S. investments are not supporting Chinese companies that undermine the security or values of the United States and our allies," per the release.
  • The ban will take effect on August 2, but investors will be allowed to conduct trades over the next year in order to divest themselves of their holdings in the banned companies, per the Financial Times.

Of note: In order to effectively crack down on China's use of surveillance technology the U.S. would need to convince its allies in Europe, as well as Japan and South Korea, to also institute similar investment bans, the New York Times notes.

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When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

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Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

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Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

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"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

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What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

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