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Supporters of Khan (pictured on the sign) rally in Islamabad. Photo: Aamir Qureshi / AFP

Imran Khan, the cricket star-turned anti-establishment politician, has declared victory in Pakistani elections that have been marred by violence and allegations of military meddling.

Why it matters: Khan's Pakistan Movement for Justice (PTI) party has reportedly benefited from behind-the-scenes support from Pakistan's powerful military and intelligence agencies, and some experts believe his victory will cement them as the preeminent powers in Pakistani politics for the foreseeable future. The PTI's chief rival, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), has cited widespread irregularities in rejecting the results.

What to watch: Khan has lambasted the U.S. in the past, though foreign policy is the military's domain, so his views there may be of limited consequence. He called today for dialogue with India, Pakistan's neighbor and rival.

"I started this struggle 22 years ago and thankfully today I have been given a chance to fulfill what I dreamt for the country. ... We are going to uplift Pakistan’s poor and help our country’s laborers. Corruption has been eating Pakistan like a kind of cancer."
— Khan, in his victory speech

The backdrop:

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wall Street is pinning its bets of an economic rebound this year on mass vaccinations and a virus brought under control, but new coronavirus strains threaten that sunny outlook, a number of firms are warning.

Why it matters: None downgraded growth forecasts because of the variants, but they’re acknowledging there’s a new asterisk to the anticipated economic recovery.

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Merck ends Covid-19 vaccine development

Photo: TOM MIHALEK/AFP via Getty Images

Merck & Co. is ending development of its two experimental Covid-19 vaccines, after early data showed they could not produce immune responses to the virus, the company announced Monday.

Why it matters: The news leaves one of the top pharmaceutical companies out of the running for producing a vaccine, as demand for the inoculation is outstripping supply.

Dominion files $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani

Photo: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani on Monday seeking $1.3 billion in damages for his "demonstrably false” allegations about the company's voting machines, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Giuliani led former President Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the election and spread the baseless conspiracy theory that Dominion's voting machines flipped votes from Trump to Joe Biden.

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