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WHO chief: "Time has come" for global pandemic preparedness treaty

World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged member states Monday to negotiate a global pandemic preparedness treaty to ensure sustainable funding for the WHO and address the challenges and failures exposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Driving the news: Tedros argued that the coronavirus pandemic has been defined by a "lack of sharing: of data, information, pathogens, technologies and resources."


  • A pandemic preparedness treaty would fill in these gaps, Tedros said, and build a partnership between states to allow for the "mechanisms for global health security," including an early warning system, equitable access to vaccines, stockpiling pandemic supplies, and an emergency workforce.

The big picture: Tedros added the interconnectedness of the international community necessitated a global approach to solving the pandemic, as "member states can only truly keep their own people safe if they are accountable to each other."

  • He urged all member states to commit to supporting the vaccination of 10% of the global population by September and 30% by the end of the year.

Of note: Tedros also urged states to find a sustainable financial model for the agency's work.

  • "The technical support and guidance we provide, the capacity building and training of health workers, the scaling up of sequencing, the critical supplies...It all has to be funded. We cannot pay people with praise," he said.

What's next: A potential global treaty could be discussed in a WHO meeting next November, the UN said.

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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

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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