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Today’s top stories
Sequoia Capital, one of the world's oldest and most successful venture capital firms, is forming a single fund to hold all of its U.S. and European investments, including stakes in publicly-traded companies, Axios has learned.
Why it matters: Venture capital is the money of innovation, but the industry itself rarely innovates. This is a radical exception.
Fear of never being able to pay off school loans is keeping many young Latinos in the U.S. from going to college or completing a degree, according to a report published in September.
State of play: Latinos tend to have more difficulty repaying school debt than white student borrowers, according to Federal Reserve data, at the same time that they need more loans in order to afford tuition.
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The Biden administration has privately protested to the Israeli government over its plan to approve the planning and construction of more than 3,000 new housing units in the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, sources briefed on the issue tell me.
Why it matters: The approvals for new homes in the settlements will be the first since President Biden assumed office, and come after Biden and his top aides personally pressed Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to restrain settlement activity and decrease the number of new housing units.
U.S. intelligence believes ISIS-K has the "intent" to eventually launch attacks outside of Afghanistan and could be capable of doing so "somewhere between six or 12 months," a top Pentagon official told senators Tuesday.
Why it matters: The U.S. withdrawal and subsequent Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has raised fears that terrorist groups will reconstitute and potentially pose a renewed threat to the U.S. homeland.
A new public benefit corporation backed by billionaires Reid Hoffman, George Soros, and others is launching Tuesday to fund new media companies and efforts that tackle disinformation.
Why it matters: Good Information Inc. aims to fund and scale businesses that cut through echo chambers with fact-based information. As part of its mission, it plans to invest in local news companies.
RightForge, an internet infrastructure company that courts conservatives, will host former President Trump's new social media platform, CEO Martín Avila told Axios on Monday.
Why it matters: By relying on a web hosting service that won't cut ties over controversial comments, Trump's new platform could avoid the problems conservative network Parler faced when Amazon pulled its web services following the Capitol insurrection.
Facebook has been embroiled in scandal for the past five years, and while the specific allegations change over time, a central theme is constant. Given the choice between commercial and moral imperatives, Facebook always seems to choose the option that is best for the share price.
Why it matters: Facebook's stock chart supports that narrative. Since the 2016 scandals alleging that the social network was infiltrated by foreign actors trying to influence the outcome of democratic elections, Facebook's revenues — and its stock — have been soaring.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday said that the company is pivoting its strategy to focus on young adults, following reports that teens have fled its apps.
News outlets are increasingly willing to work together on big, multifaceted stories — including this week's reporting on leaked documents from a Facebook whistleblower.
Why it matters: Collaborative efforts help bring more resources to bear on complex stories, some of which require a global reporting effort. But they require high degrees of coordination, and competition can sometimes get in the way.
Confidence in President Biden's ability to rescue the economy from COVID-19 has dropped since January, even as Americans' faith rises in his ability to make the vaccine widely accessible, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.
Why it matters: It's Democrats and independents driving the declining economic confidence, from 52% of all U.S. adults at the start of his presidency to 44% now. Their softening faith could hinder Biden's ability to lead and hurt Democrats' position heading into the 2022 midterms.
Houses of worship — across a variety of faiths, including Jewish synagogues to Buddhist temples, Muslim mosques and Catholic churches — are experiencing high amounts of vandalism, arson and other property damage.
The big picture: 2021 is on track to exceed last year's spike in hate crimes in the U.S., many of them linked to religious bigotry. The number of hate crimes reported in FY 2020 was the highest since 2001, when a wave of Islamophobia followed the 9/11 attacks, according to updated FBI data released yesterday.
As Democrats try to reach a deal on a massive social policy bill, the legislation's health care measures are emerging as key sticking points.
Between the lines: Moderate members have successfully reduced the amount of new spending that the party is aiming to pass, amplifying the tug-of-war between different factions of the party over which health policies to prioritize.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for businesses, as the government pushes to reach a nationwide 90% vaccination target.
Why it matters: Under the new COVID-19 Protection Framework, businesses must require vaccine certificates from customers if they're in close contact with them. Ardern said at a briefing Tuesday that such venues wishing to operate, including hair salons, bars, restaurants and gyms, must ensure staff is vaccinated.
Secretary of State Tony Blinken announced Monday plans for the State Department to create a new bureau of cyberspace and digital policy.
Why it matters: The establishment of the bureau and plans for a new envoy to oversee critical and emerging technology come after a series significant hack attacks and other online crimes, notably ransomware assaults on U.S. infrastructure.
The White House on Monday rejected two more of former President Trump's claims of executive privilege over documents that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot requested, CNN first reported.
Why it matters: Trump's legal team is seeking to block some of the panel's requests for records by invoking executive privilege, which can allow presidents and their aides to sidestep congressional scrutiny. The Biden administration has maintained that it will evaluate on a case-by-case basis.
Amazon warehouse workers in New York City filed a petition on Monday with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a vote on unionization.
Why it matters: The move comes six months after an organizing effort was defeated at Amazon's distribution center in Alabama.
The Biden administration froze a $700 million aid package to Sudan after a military coup on Monday threatened to end the country's transition toward democracy.
Driving the news: At least three protesters have been killed and dozens wounded in the chaotic scenes that followed the announcements from Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan's ruling council, dissolving the government and declaring a state of emergency.
Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) is the latest House lawmaker to announce he won't seek re-election next year, bringing the total number of Democratic retirements to 13, compared to nine Republicans.
Why it matters: The increasing number of Democratic retirements — put against the backdrop of President Biden's sagging approval ratings and uncertainty about redistricting — is adding to concerns the party may not be able to keep its slim majority in the House.