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Federal judge keeps Biden's new eviction moratorium alive, but signals it's illegal

A federal judge denied landlords' request to pause the Biden administration's new federal eviction moratorium, saying she doesn't have the authority to do so despite her belief that the policy is illegal, according to a court document filed Friday.

Driving the news: U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich determined that the new moratorium is "virtually identical" to a previous ban that she deemed illegal in May, and should therefore be considered an "extension."

  • However, because that moratorium is subject to a previous appeals court ruling that allowed it to remain in place, Friedrich said that her "hands are tied."
  • Alabama landlords who are challenging the ban on evictions will likely appeal, per AP.
  • If the appeals court ruling doesn't go their way, they will take the case to the Supreme Court — where Justice Brett Kavanaugh has already signaled he believes the moratorium is illegal without congressional authorization, tipping the court's balance in the landlords' favor.

Why it matters: Biden himself has acknowledged that the new moratorium is "not likely to pass constitutional muster," but suggested the legal process will buy the administration and state governments time to distribute rent relief. The new 60-day moratorium imposed by the CDC is set to expire Oct. 3.

The big picture: The CDC issued an order earlier this month that barred evictions for most of the country, following protests from Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and other progressives on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

  • The Biden administration, which initially said that it did not have the legal authority to extend the eviction ban, changed course amid pressure from Bush and other progressive Democrats.
  • The Alabama and Georgia Associations of Realtors' emergency argue that the new order exceeds the CDC's powers.

Go deeper: Landlords mount legal challenge to Biden admin's new eviction moratorium

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

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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Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

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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