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PML-N supporters at a rally in Rawalpindi. Photo: Muhammad Reza/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Pakistan will go to the polls on Wednesday to elect a new prime minister in what will be the country's second ever civilian-to-civilian transfer of power.
Why it matters: Pakistan is a nuclear power with volatile relationships with the U.S. and its neighbors, India and Afghanistan. An election that could have been a democratic breakthrough has been fraught by violence and military meddling. Things could still get worse. “We could be heading for a period of prolonged instability if you have a hung parliament,” says Ashley Tellis, a former State Department official now at the Carnegie Endowment.
The key players and political parties...
Al Jazeera’s Asad Hashim has been reporting from rural Pakistan on allegations the military is tipping the scales:
What the military ultimately wants is a fragile government it can control by using its carrots and sticks to manipulate key votes. It’s on course to get it, according to Javid Ahmad of the Atlantic Council: “The relationship between the military and the elected civilian governments is like two scorpions in a bottle — contentious, territorial, and deadly. This election, however, is particularly significant because the military is actively engineering the outcome.”
What to watch...
President Trump tweeted an all-caps threat at Iranian President Hassan Rouhani after Rouhani warned that "peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars."
"To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!"
That back-and-forth followed a speech from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the administration's Iran policy, which left some key questions unanswered.
Alex Vatanka of the Middle East Institute explains for Axios Expert Voices:
A local official conducts a check of rabies vaccine doses at a hospital in Rongan, China. Photo: AFP via Getty Images
A Chinese vaccine manufacturer gave hundreds of thousands of defective doses to children as part of mandatory vaccination protocols in China, Axios' Erica Pandey writes:
Worth noting: A low-budget comedy called Dying to Survive, which centers on the issue of unaffordable drug prices, is set to become one of China's highest-grossing productions of all time, the Economist reports. That's a big departure for Chinese cinema, and it's putting the pharma industry under pressure.
Bolsonaro waves at a military event. Photo: Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images
Far-right firebrand Jair Bolsonaro officially declared his candidacy for the Brazilian presidency today ahead of October's election. With poll-topping former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in prison on corruption charges, Bolsonaro has become the front-runner.
A demonstrator in Port-au-Prince. Photo: Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images
Speaking of Brazil... Haitian fans adopted the Brazilian team at the World Cup as their own, which made the timing of Brazil's elimination at the hands of Belgium particularly painful on the impoverished island.
What to watch: The riots have increased the pressure on Jovenel Moïse, Haiti's reform-minded president, who took office last year.
Ozil plays in the World Cup. Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
The resignation of Mesut Özil from the German national team over racist abuse is fueling a wider debate in Europe over immigration, integration and nationalism.
"July 22, 2018 marks a defeat that’s much more painful and unsettling for German football than anything that happened in Russia this summer. The most technically gifted player of his generation feels he can no longer represent the white and black colours due to racism. Let that horrific sentence sink in."— Raphael Honigstein writes for ESPN.
I encourage you to check out the deep dive from my insightful Axios colleagues on one of the trends that will define our global future.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
"The war against illegal drugs is far from over. It will be as relentless and chilling, if you will, as on the day it began. ... Your concern is human rights. Mine is human lives."— Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte in his third state of the nation address
Thanks for stopping by — see you Thursday evening!