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Police officer who killed Ashli Babbit says he has no regrets: "I saved countless lives"

The Capitol Police officer who killed Ashli Babbit during the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection told NBC News that he shot her as a "last resort," but ultimately he knows he "saved countless lives."

Driving the news: Lt. Michael Byrd was cleared this week of any wrongdoing for killing Babbitt, whom he shot as she tried to make her way through a broken window into the Sspeaker's Lobby, just off the House chamber floor.

  • An internal investigation found that Byrd followed department policy, which allows use of deadly force only when an officer reasonably expects serious physical harm to themselves or others.
  • Byrd said that after the incident, he received deaths threats and experienced racist attacks when his name was leaked online, NBC News notes.

What they're saying: "I tried to wait as long as I could," Byrd told NBC's Lester Holt. "I hoped and prayed no one tried to enter through those doors. But their failure to comply required me to take the appropriate action to save the lives of members of Congress and myself and my fellow officers."

  • Byrd said he yelled repeatedly to get demonstrators to step back, but his orders were not followed.
  • Byrd said he had no political agenda: "I do my job for Republican, for Democrat, for white, for Black, red, blue, green. I don’t care about your affiliation."

The big picture: Byrd, who was stationed outside the House chamber on Jan. 6, said he heard several reports on his radio of officers down. When he heard that rioters got inside the building, he went into the chamber and told lawmakers to hide under their chairs, per NBC News.

  • Officers then proceeded to barricade the chamber doors using whatever furniture available.
  • “[W]e were essentially trapped where we were,” Byrd said. “There was no way to retreat. No other way to get out.”

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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