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People watch the Long March-5B Y2 rocket carrying the core module of China's space station, Tianhe, blasting off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in Wenchang, Hainan Province, on Thursday. Photo: Wang Longhua/VCG via Getty Images

Officials in China launched the core element of a new permanent space station into orbit on a Long March-5B Y2 rocket from Wenchang in Hainan Province, Thursday, per the BBC.

Why it matters: The launch from Wenchang Space Launch Center marks a significant step in the space program drive of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, seen as a rival to the U.S. in space.

  • China's government is excluded from the International Space Station program — the only space station in orbit.

Of note: The module, called Tianhe, or Harmony of the Heavens, is the first component launched.

  • Scientists in China had made use of two smaller test stations in orbit that hosted crew before moving on to this more complex design, Axios' Miriam Kramer notes.

What to watch: The goal is to have the Chinese Space Station operational by the end of next year, Space.com reports.

Flashback: The big picture on China's space station that fell out of the sky

Go deeper

China's homegrown techlash

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

With the Chinese government accelerating moves against its own tech industry, China is — for now — prioritizing Communist Party control of the domestic economy over aggressive international competition.

Why it matters: China and the U.S. are both playing a long game, with tech as the playing field, companies as the pieces and domination of the global economy as the stakes.

Brazil's health minister tests positive for COVID during UN summit in N.Y.

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro (L) and Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga in Brasilia, Brazil, in May. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazil's Health Minister Marcelo Queirog has tested positive for COVID-19 while in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), he confirmed Tuesday night.

Why it matters: Hours earlier, Queirog had accompanied Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to the UNGA. The Biden administration expressed concern last week that the gathering of world leaders could become a coronavirus "superspreader event."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump sues New York Times and his niece over tax report

Former President Trump hosting a boxing match in Hollywood, Florida on Sept. 11. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump filed a $100 million lawsuit against the New York Times and his niece Mary Trump on Tuesday over the news outlet's 2018 reporting on his tax records, the Daily Beast first reported.

Details: The suit, filed in New York's Dutchess County, alleges NYT journalists "engaged in an insidious plot to obtain confidential and highly-sensitive records" and that they "convinced" Mary Trump to "smuggle records out of her attorney's office and turn them over to The Times."