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White House selects destinations for first wave of vaccine donations

The Biden administration has laid out its framework for sharing vaccines for the world and named the recipients of the first 25 million doses, taking a major step toward becoming a global vaccine supplier.

Why it matters: The U.S. had been the only major vaccine producer to keep virtually its entire supply at home while countries looked to Russia or China for doses. But Biden has pledged to share at least 80 million doses this month and additional shipments beyond that.

Driving the news: The White House said today that 75% of the first wave of doses would go through the WHO-backed COVAX initiative, with priority shipments to Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa.

  • Another 25% of the vaccines will be shared bilaterally to address immediate surges (with first doses available to Mexico and Canada).
  • Through COVAX, approximately 6 million doses are planned for South and Central America, including hard-hit Brazil. 7 million doses are expected to reach Asia, including India and Pakistan.
  • Africa will receive 5 million doses with recipient countries to be chosen through coordination with the African Union, the White House said.

What they're saying: “We want to save lives and thwart variants that place all of us at risk,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said at a press briefing Thursday.

  • “And as the president has said, the United States will not use its vaccines to secure favors from other countries.”

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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