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He's No. 1. Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

The world has rarely been more ripe for power grabs, and Hungary's Viktor Orbán is not the only leader taking advantage.

The big picture: Emergency laws in Serbia and Cambodia also provide leaders near-total power, while governments elsewhere are using the virus as cover to crack down on the media, opposition or minorities, the Economist reports.

  • China chose now to arrest Hong Kong’s leading pro-democracy activists and puncture its Basic Law.”
  • Algeria banned street marches that have lasted, off and on, for a year, threatening the elderly ruling elite.”
  • Azerbaijan’s president says the ‘isolation’ of members of the opposition may ‘become a historical necessity.’ Several have been locked up for supposedly violating a lockdown.”
  • “In Uganda police raided a shelter housing 20 gay and transgender people and later charged them with ‘congesting in a school-like-dormitory setting within a small house.’”
  • “In Turkey at least eight journalists have been arrested on charges of ‘spreading misinformation.’”
  • “In Bolivia the interim president, Jeanine Áñez, decreed that those who ‘misinform or cause uncertainty to the population’ can be jailed for one to ten years.”
  • “In Fiji there have been more coronavirus-related arrests than diagnostic tests.”

Go deeper: Read the article

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.