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Lawyers for migrant teens in U.S. custody sue, alleging "deplorable conditions" at Texas sites

Lawyers of migrant children held in U.S. custody asked a federal court on Monday for the release of teenagers from two emergency housing sites in Texas, arguing that their conditions violate standards for government facilities that house migrants.

Why it matters: Teens at the facilities have reported "deplorable conditions" and said they've suffered from mental health problems and prolonged stays at the facilities, according to the complaint, which contains testimony from more than a dozen children.


Catch up fast: Government watchdogs launched a probe into one of the facilities after a whistleblower complaint last month corroborated reports of trauma among children because of overcrowding and lack of access to mental health services.

  • Authorities there have regularly supervised children under their care for panic attacks, escape attempts and self-harm, CBS News reported in June.
  • Two brothers said they were held at the other facility for 65 days despite having a relative in Houston who was willing to care for them. Others reported a lack of educational and recreational services and alleged that they were served undercooked food during their stay.

The facilities in question — one in Fort Bliss Army base and the other at a camp for oil workers in Pecos — house 1,800 and 800 unaccompanied children, respectively, per documents obtained by CBS News, which first reported the lawsuit.

The bottom line: The lawsuit calls for expedited release of children who are being held at the makeshift sites and for the government to establish higher standards for such emergency facilities.

The big picture: President Biden has faced criticism for his response to the record surge in unaccompanied children crossing the southern border. Administration officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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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Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

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

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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