Welcome back to Axios World. We're traversing the globe in 1,458 words (5.5 minutes).
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Family room without a family, in Idlib. Photo: Muhammed Said/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
The worst humanitarian crisis of Syria’s brutal civil war is colliding today with what could be the war’s most dangerous geopolitical showdown, after at least 29 Turkish troops were killed in an airstrike.
The big picture: The fighting is taking place in Idlib in northwest Syria, where a ferocious Syrian and Russian offensive has displaced 1 million civilians and infuriated Turkey, which borders the region.
Zoom in: Syria's campaign to retake the final rebel strongholds in Idlib — backed by Russian strikes on schools, hospitals and homes — has displaced 1 million people and counting.
With nowhere to go, many in Idlib are sleeping in cars, in caves, in sports stadiums or on the street in bitter winter weather. About half are children.
What to watch: Today’s events make escalation more likely.
Where things stand: A previous request for U.S. help, including for a Patriot missile system to defend against airstrikes, was rebuffed.
The bottom line: After nine years, one of the war's most tragic chapters is still being written.
People around the world have grown far more cynical about the idea that their governments have their best interests at heart, according to polling from Pew.
By the numbers: When Pew last asked this question in 2002, majorities in nearly all countries polled believed their government was run to benefit all people. Amid the current populist wave, there is far more doubt.
Zoom in: Italy saw the most remarkable decline in people's belief that the country was run for all, falling from 88% in 2002 to 30% in 2019. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Italy's mainstream parties have rapidly lost support to populists.
Bucking the trend were the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as well as Japan (albeit from a low starting point).
Netanyahu campaigns with a friend behind him. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enters Israel's third elections in 10 months with momentum — and with his corruption trial looming just two weeks after the vote.
Why it matters: Israeli politics have been deadlocked for nearly a year as Netanyahu and his centrist rival, Benny Gantz, grapple for power. Monday's vote could provide the breakthrough, or set Israel on course for yet another election.
Where things stand: Netanyahu's Likud party has taken a narrow lead in recent polls, ahead of Gantz's Blue and White, which had previously led most polls since September.
What to watch: Netanyahu is seeking a right-wing majority in the Knesset, Israel's 120-member parliament. With 61 seats, his political bloc could disrupt the legal proceedings or at least allow him to continue as prime minister during the trial.
The aftermath, in New Delhi. Photo: Amal KS/Hindustan Times
Mob violence between Hindus and Muslims in New Delhi has left at least 38 dead. Mosques, homes and shops were burned down.
The big picture: The clashes follow a citizenship law from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government that excludes Muslims and has sparked widespread protests.
The violence began while President Trump was in India.
Evo Morales addresses supporters from exile in Buenos Aires. Photo: Alejandro Pagni/AFP via Getty Images
1. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro shared a video promoting an upcoming far-right protest that some "suspect is designed to undermine or intimidate Congress ahead of a potential attempt to impeach him," per The Guardian.
2. Two MIT researchers found no evidence of fraud in the vote count from Bolivia's election last October, they write in the Washington Post.
3. Women's rights groups in Mexico are calling on women across the country to go on strike on March 9 — no school, no work — to protest violence against women.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
With the Summer Olympics scheduled to open in Tokyo in less than five months, organizers are facing questions about whether the games could be moved, postponed or even canceled due to coronavirus, Axios' Kendall Baker writes.
The state of play: Longtime International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound estimates that the IOC has until late May to decide if the Olympics can go forward as scheduled.
Why it matters: Public-health officials' warnings about the coronavirus are sounding increasingly urgent, so it's imperative that organizers take all necessary precautions ahead of the Olympics, where hundreds of thousands of people from every corner of the world will spend two weeks in close quarters then fly home.
The flipside: Despite previous disease outbreaks (Zika in 2014) and frequent geopolitical tensions, the Olympics have only been canceled three times, all due to world wars (1916, 1940, 1944).
Water returns to a dry riverbed in Louth, Australia. Pboto: Jenny Evans/Getty Images
"Go, ducks! I hope you come back alive."— One Weibo user's reaction to reports that China would be deploying 100,000 ducks to eat locusts swarming Pakistan.