Welcome back to Axios World. We've got 1,636 words (6 minutes) for your reading pleasure this evening.
Trudeau walks to a press conference on the SNC case. Photo: Lars Hagberg/AFP/Getty Images
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada got some bad news at a very bad time.
The big picture: Trudeau was already in danger of losing October's general election — polls show his Liberals in a dead heat with the Conservatives. Yesterday, the biggest scandal of his tenure burst back into the spotlight.
Flashback: The scandal began in February with a Globe and Mail report that Trudeau’s aides pressured Canada’s former attorney general to cut a deal with SNC-Lavalin. The engineering giant faced corruption charges over past dealings with the Gadhafi regime in Libya.
Why it matters: Bricker says the SNC-Lavalin affair is now the dominant issue in a campaign that will ultimately be a referendum on Trudeau.
"The No. 1 asset that the Liberals have going for them is Justin Trudeau. He is their brand. It’s not a great place to be starting an election campaign from.”
The flipside: Trudeau’s main opponent, former parliamentary speaker Andrew Scheer, is hoping to capitalize. He called Trudeau's actions "unforgivable."
What to watch: While Scheer’s political identity is still taking shape, Trudeau’s has been called into question.
The bottom line: Bricker says the rock star image — magazine covers, viral videos — that Trudeau projects globally was embraced by Canadians 4 years ago. Now, many view him as out of touch or unserious.
"The picture is the same. He’s always done the same thing. What’s changed is how people look at him now."
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today switched gears, under pressure from President Trump, and banned Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) from entering Israel over their support for the BDS movement to boycott Israel.
2. Rumblings of recession are everywhere today, including in Trump's tweets, but Axios' Dion Rabouin writes that the real warning about the global economy's dire health comes from Europe:
3. In a last-minute intervention, the U.S. Justice Department attempted to keep an oil tanker that was seized by British marines 6 weeks ago off Gibraltar from being returned to Iran.
Boris Johnson visits the Fusion Energy Research Centre at the Culham Science Centre on Aug. 8 in Abingdon, England. Photo: Julian Simmonds - WPA Pool/Getty Images
Three weeks into his premiership, Boris Johnson appears hellbent on fulfilling the promise that paved his path to Downing Street: delivering Brexit on Oct. 31, "do or die," Axios' Zach Basu writes:
Option 1 is legislation forcing the government to seek another extension from the EU. But with no amendable Brexit bills on the agenda, MPs don't have a clear mechanism to pass binding legislation.
Option 2 is a vote of no-confidence brought by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, which would give MPs 14 days to form a caretaker government.
That leads us to Option 3: The 93-year-old, historically apolitical Queen Elizabeth II is the only person with the absolute authority to sack Johnson and stop a no-deal.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Images of Chinese paramilitary police massing near Hong Kong have led to fears of an impending crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.
For now, China's message is that it’s up to local authorities to quash the unrest.
Bobi Wine, the Ugandan musician-turned opposition leader. Photo: Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images
1. A striking stat from Jon Temin, Africa director for Freedom House, speaking this week at the Brookings Institution:
2. Zimbabwe was the only country in which power changed hands through a coup in that period. But things remain bleak under President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
3. Two governments intent on remaining in power turned to Chinese telecom giant Huawei for help spying on their opponents, WSJ reports.
Duterte with Trump at the 2017 ASEAN summit. Photo: Mark R. Cristino/AFP/Getty Images
Sheila Coronel describes Rodrigo Duterte in a new Foreign Affairs profile as a "controlling patriarch" — first for 22 years as mayor of Davao ("imagine Singapore with thugs instead of technocrats") and now as president of the Philippines.
What to watch: “His illiberalism may be less enduring, as he is bereft of a movement, party, or ideology that will carry on his legacy. He has coyly hinted at his daughter Sara ... as a possible successor. ... For the time being, it’s only Duterte’s dark charisma that holds the country in thrall.”
Bonus: How's this for a lede?
"In his final year in law school at a Catholic men’s college in Manila, Rodrigo Duterte shot a classmate who made fun of his thick accent."
Putin cruisin' in Crimea. Photo: Alexei Druzhinin/AFP/Getty Images
"Typhoon Lekima has left the entire province dead, seven people are missing."— A push alert from Chinese internet giant Tencent. The province in question, Shandong, has 99 million residents. Tencent later revised the death toll to 5 and apologized for the "editorial error."
Thanks for reading — have a wonderful weekend!