Oct 31, 2018

How long the world's most powerful leaders are likely to last

Gang's all here at last year's G-20. They won't be forever. Photo: Kay Nietfeld/AFP/Getty Images

Five years from now, Germany's Angela Merkel and the U.K.'s Theresa May will have faded from the political scene, while Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan and China's Xi Jinping will continue to dominate domestically and shape geopolitics.

The big picture: That's according to Bloomberg's World Leaders’ Political Health Check, which shows France's Emmanuel Macron and potentially Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) slipping over the past six months. Other prominent world leaders have held steady, with President Trump projected to carry on through 2024.

  • Most vulnerable: South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa and Argentina's Mauricio Macri are in tough positions heading into elections next year, while May faces constant speculation about her job security an uphill battle to get a Brexit deal by March.
  • Writing on the wall: Japan's Shinzo Abe is expected to step down in 2021. Merkel has now said she'll do the same — though she might not last that long.
  • Hard to gauge: Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu could end up in jail, but Bloomberg's timeline suggests it's more likely he'll serve another term. Nigeria's Muhammadu Buhari is in ill health but nonetheless favored to win another term next year. The verdict for Macron is that he's "unlikely to win re-election" in 2022 if his popularity doesn't improve.
  • Not leaving yet: The authors give Trump a strong chance of re-election. They also find it likely that Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro will serve at least through 2024 — though that's far from guaranteed. Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 79, is "likely to be in power until he dies," and their calculations "suggest he’ll live another nine years."
  • Strongmen sticking around: Erdogan is likely to dominate Turkish politics through 2028, or even beyond, while Russia's Vladimir Putin is term limited but unlikely to simply fade away after 2024. Xi could be "leader for life."
  • Young autocrats with long futures: North Korea's Kim Jong-un is in his mid-30s. MBS' iron grip might be slipping, but at just 33 there's every chance he'll be in power for decades.

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The rematch of the century

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The weekend's biggest sporting event is Wilder-Fury II, which despite its name is not an action movie sequel starring Jean-Claude Van Damme but, rather, a boxing match starring arguably the two best heavyweights in the world.

The backdrop: In their first meeting in December 2018, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury put on a memorable show at Staples Center, with Fury surviving a brutal right hand in the 12th round to earn a split-decision draw.

Pro-Trump warrior takes the helm of U.S. intelligence

Richard Grenell in Berlin. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

By picking Ambassador Richard Grenell to be acting director of national intelligence, President Trump has slotted a pro-Trump warrior into the ultimate apolitical role.

What they're saying: James Clapper, the longest-serving DNI (2010-2017), tells Axios it's "very worrisome installing a partisan with no real intelligence experience in this position."

Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers as Israel confirms first case

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship — as Israel confirmed its first case among evacuees from the ship.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 76,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

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