Welcome to Axios World. This is my last edition before your usual host Dave Lawler retakes the reins — and I head back to my day job editing on Axios' newsdesk.
While current headlines might make you think that geopolitics is going to hell in a handbasket, things right now are better than normal around the world — at least from the market's perspective — according to BlackRock's latest global risk update.
The big picture: The respite is largely due to apparent breakthroughs in trade between the Trump administration and the U.S.' traditional allies. But some of the analysis' most impactful risks — like the state of play between the U.S. and China — are also among its most likely to worsen given the uncertainty of current policymaking, leaving the world facing potential volatility.
The bottom line: BlackRock's risk measure is notably volatile. Take a look: The markets viewed the world's geopolitical risks as above-average back in June during the height of the uncertainty surrounding North Korea. Things have trended downward significantly since then on more positive news, but we live in an age when 280 characters can turn the world on its head.
Go deeper: Take a look at the full report, which includes detailed analyses of what BlackRock has deemed the 10 greatest geopolitical risks.
After this week's news that the U.S. will limit refugee admission to 30,000 in 2019 — down from 45,000 this year — Axios' Stef Kight took a deeper look at 2018's admission numbers, finding that the overwhelming majority of the small group of refugees admitted under President Trump are Christians.
By the numbers: The number of Muslim refugees admitted into the U.S. dropped from more than 9,000 in the 2017 fiscal year to fewer than 2,000 with less than a month left in FY 2018 — an 80% drop.
Photo: Pyongyang Press Corps, Pool/Getty Images
It's been an eventful week of announcements during the latest summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang.
The big picture: North Korea agreed to dismantle its main nuclear complex and allow international inspectors into the country as long as the United States takes still-undetermined "corresponding measures."
The bottom line: Platitudes aren't progress. Much was made of the joint Korean show of diplomatic force at this year's Winter Olympics and Trump's summit with Kim, but there's been little concrete progress toward North Korea's denuclearization.
Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
"Theresa May's proposed new economic partnership with the EU 'will not work,'" according to European Council President Donald Tusk after a summit of EU leaders in Austria, writes the BBC.
The big picture: Perhaps, unsurprisingly, the EU called May's bluff — just days after she said her Chequers plan was the only possible solution to avoid a "no-deal" Brexit.
What's next: "Mr. Tusk added that October would be the 'moment of truth' for reaching a deal, and that 'if the conditions are there' an additional summit would be held in November to 'formalise' it."
Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini. Photo: Simona Granati/Corbis via Getty Images
The recent surge of right-wing populist movements in Europe has become a dominant narrative in international media, but the actual election performance of nationalist parties suggests that the scale of their growing influence may be overblown — and that their rise may be rooted in social forces besides migration, writes Axios' Zachary Basu.
The big picture: An Axios analysis found that in the last two election cycles, right-wing populist parties, as defined by the Foundation for European Progressive Studies, experienced gains (>0.05%) in 15 out of the 27 countries that will vote in next year's European Parliament elections.
Salt Bae and DJ Khaled. Photo: Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Ciroc
"'Salt Bae' chef lavishes Venezuela’s Maduro with steak dinner," writes the Miami Herald's Carlos Frías about the week's most unexpected mashup of Internet memes and human suffering.
Worth noting: A rack of lamb at Salt Bae's Manhattan location costs $250, notes the N.Y. Times. Back in June, it was nearly impossible to acquire the cash needed for a 29-cent cup of coffee in Caracas.
Russian President Vladimir Putin looks through a sniper rifle. Photo: Alexey Nikolsky/AFP/Getty Images
"I want to contribute to society in a different way."— Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, on choosing to spend a chunk of his fortune on a voyage to the Moon with SpaceX