Pompeo meets with Netanyahu last month in Israel. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on the phone today with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and presented him with Israel's demands and interests for any future deal between the U.S., Russia and Jordan in Southern Syria, an Israeli official tells me. 

Why it matters: The Syrian army is about to start a military operation against rebels in Southern Syria near the Israeli and Jordanian borders, which would violate a ceasefire deal signed by the U.S., Russia and Jordan last July. The Russians want to update the deal because of the Syrian army operation. Israel, the U.S. and Jordan are open to the Russian proposal but want to make sure it will include a firm commitment from the Russians that Iranian forces, Hezbollah and Shia militias will not take part in the operation and will be completely removed from the areas close to the Israeli and Jordanian borders. 

What to watch: Russia, Jordan and the U.S. are trying to set up a trilateral meeting to start negotiating a new deal. Pompeo's call with Netanyahu was part of a series of calls he made on the issue today. Pompeo also spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Jordanian King Abdullah. Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman will meet tomorrow in Moscow with his Russian counterpart to discuss the emerging southern Syria understandings.

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Deadly Hurricane Zeta pummels Alabama after Louisiana landfall

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta has killed at least one person after a downed power line electrocuted a 55-year-old in Louisiana as the storm moved into Alabama overnight.

What's happening: After "battering southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi," it began lashing Alabama late Wednesday, per the National Hurricane Center.

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else in the world has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing," along with the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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