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Chinese President Xi Jinping at the National People's Congress in Beijing. Photo: Andrea Verdelli/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping will arrive in Rome tomorrow ready to plant a flag in the heart of Europe.

What to watch: Italy is expected to break with most other advanced economies by formally signing onto Beijing's $1.3 trillion global Belt and Road (BRI) infrastructure initiative.

The big picture: Announced in 2013, BRI aims to boost China's trade and international clout through massive new investments in roads, railways and ports across the world. Italy's decision to sign onto the initiative — the centerpiece of Beijing's plans to overtake the U.S. as the dominant global economic power of the 21st century — is controversial.

  • Brussels and Washington don't like it at all, because they fear that if Italy takes loans from China, it could end up in a dangerous web of debt that exposes it to pressure from Beijing.
  • After all, Italy is already Europe's second-most indebted country, and unlike much smaller economies like Greece, a systemic crisis there could unravel the entire Eurozone.

Within Rome, too, there is some disagreement: Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio, of the centrist Five Star Movement, is all for closer relations with Beijing, but far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini is more skeptical.

Still, Chinese cash solves a pressing problem for their populist governing coalition.

  • Clashes with Brussels over budget parameters have forced Di Maio and Salvini to backtrack on their campaign promises to cut taxes and boost social spending.
  • Delivering new infrastructure with Chinese money could be a big political winner, especially after a high-profile bridge collapse last year.

More broadly, Europe is already having trouble finding consensus on how to approach China's tech investments, 5G equipment suppliers and infrastructure investments.

  • The smaller economies of Central and Eastern Europe welcome the cash, while most of the larger economies are concerned about the financial and security implications of Chinese capital.
  • EU members are scheduled to meet on Friday to discuss a common approach to Chinese investment into the bloc.

The bottom line: The decision of the bloc's fourth largest economy to embrace Beijing has just opened up a major new fault line within Europe.

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A driver in a pickup truck hit spectators at a Pride festival in Wilton Manors, Florida, killing a man and leaving another person hospitalized Saturday, authorities said.

Details: Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis told reporters police had "apprehended the driver" and that the vehicle missed a parade car carrying Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) "by inches."

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Uganda Olympic team member tests positive for COVID in Tokyo

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A Uganda Olympic team member tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Japan late Saturday, officials said.

Why it matters: Japan's government has faced criticism for vowing to host the Tokyo Games next month as coronavirus cases rise. The Ugandan team is the second to arrive in Japan after the Australian women's softball players, and this is the first COVID-19 infection detected among the Olympic athletes, Al Jazeera notes.

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In photos: Brazilians rally against Bolsonaro as COVID deaths top 500,000

A June 19 protest in São Paulo, Brazil, against the administration of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has railed against precautionary health measures despite the soaring COVID-19 death rate and cases. Photo: Rodrigo Paiva/Getty Images

Demonstrators took to the streets in at least 22 of Brazil’s 26 states to protest President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the pandemic — as deaths from COVID-19 in the country surged past 500,000 Saturday, per AP.

The big picture: Brazil has the world's second-highest coronavirus death toll and third-highest number of reported cases. Only 12% of the country's population has been vaccinated against the virus, AP notes.