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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The deteriorating political situation in Hong Kong threatens to severely muddy the financial gateway between East and West.

The state of play: If the protesters succeed in maintaining, or even furthering, "one country, two systems" governance, then it likely would keep global capital flowing through Hong Kong. But it's unclear how China can possibly allow that to happen without eroding its authoritarian bonafides on the mainland, and almost any crackdown would be viewed as ripping down the legal fabric that made Hong Kong a financial powerhouse in the first place.

What's happening:

  • Alibaba Group, which listed in New York five years ago, may delay a planned Hong Kong float that was set to raise upwards of $20 billion as early as this month.
  • Per Reuters: "The listing was always expected to be a complex affair because of China’s tight control of cross-border share trading, but Hong Kong’s unrest has taken the complexity several notches higher."
  • The Hang Seng Index fell more than 10% between the beginning of August through this past Wednesday. It has since recovered slightly, bringing the monthly loss to 8.6%, but is now the only major developed market index in the red for 2019.

Go deeper ... Pro Rata Podcast: Democracy vs. dictatorship in Hong Kong

Go deeper

26 mins ago - World

Israel to approve new construction in West Bank settlements

Bennett (L) and Biden discussed the settlements issue. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Israel will approve the construction of 4,400 new homes in the West Bank next week: 3,10o in the Jewish settlements and 1,300 in Palestinian villages.

Why it matters: This will be the first time Israel has approved new settlement building since President Biden assumed office, and it's the first time since 2007 that it approves a significant number of new homes for Palestinians in "Area C" of the West Bank, which is controlled by Israel.

House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress

Steve Bannon. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

The House of Representatives voted 229-202 on Thursday to hold former Trump strategist Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the Jan. 6 select committee.

Why it matters: The Justice Department will now consider bringing criminal charges against Bannon, marking a significant escalation in the Jan. 6 committee's efforts to enforce subpoenas against Trump allies who refuse to cooperate.

Biden: Jan. 6 Capitol riot "was about white supremacy"

President Biden speaks during the 10th anniversary celebration of the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial with Vice President Harris in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 21. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden said Thursday that white supremacy motivated rioters who carried out the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Driving the news: "The violent, deadly insurrection on the Capitol nine months ago, it was about white supremacy, in my opinion," Biden said at an event commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington.