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The mighty dam. Photo: Eduardo Soteras/AFP via Getty

Ethiopia is planning to begin to fill the 72 billion liter reservoir of the massive Grand Renaissance Dam within weeks. Egypt vows that Ethiopia will come to regret it if it follows through.

The big picture: The dam dispute has rumbled on since Ethiopia announced the staggeringly ambitious project, which will double its electrical output but disrupt the flow of the Nile to Egypt and Sudan, nine years ago.

  • One crucial issue is the rate at which Ethiopia will fill the reservoir. Egypt says that process must happen over 12 years. Ethiopia wants to do it in half that time.
  • The latest round of talks broke down last week. Ethiopia's rainy season begins in July, and it plans to begin to fill the reservoir then even without a deal.
  • Naguib Sawiris, a billionaire confidante of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, tweeted last week: “We will never allow any country to starve us, if Ethiopia doesn’t come to reason, we the Egyptian people will be the first to call for war."

Why it matters: "For Egypt, the Nile is synonymous with life itself. ... For millennia, it has enjoyed an almost entirely uninterrupted supply of Nile water, " write Samuel Getachew and Simon Allison in The Continent. "[S]oon, Ethiopia will have the power to turn Egypt’s taps on and off."

  • Egypt is trying to rally international resistance, including at the UN Security Council. Ethiopia is determined to forge ahead.

The bottom line: Doing so could change the distribution of power — electrical and political — in the region.

Go deeper

Big Tech's reputation takes a pandemic plunge

Expand chart
Data: Harris Poll; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Americans have fallen further out of love with Big Tech, the latest Axios/Harris 100 brand reputation poll shows.

Why it matters: Even though Americans were hyper-connected to their devices throughout the pandemic, their relationship with many of the world's biggest tech firms has continued on a downward trend, suggesting that people see their products as necessary evils.

There's an ETF for everything, except bitcoin

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Happiness. Weed. Robots. Water. Whatever the theme, there's probably an ETF promoting a basket of stocks related to it.

Why it matters: Thematic ETFs are an investment mania side effect. There's newfound retail investor interest in narrow exposure to hot corners of the stock market. More are launching to meet the moment.

A divided nation flocks to partisan brands

Data: Harris Poll; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Americans are leaning into companies that have strong political positions, in the wake of one of the country's most divisive election years.

Driving the news: New rankings from the Axios/Harris 100 poll — an annual survey to gauge the reputation of the most visible brands in the country — show that brands with clear partisan identifications are becoming more popular.

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