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- Tonight's edition (1,626 words, 6 minutes) starts in Ethiopia with stops in Gaza, Nepal and the Arctic.
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Abiy Ahmed. Photo: Simona Granati/Corbis/Getty Images
Ethiopia has delayed a critical general election that was to be held on June 5 and stands as a critical test for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the hopes for democracy in Africa's second-largest country by population.
Why it matters: Ethiopia is in the midst of a wave of ethnic violence, a vicious war in the northern Tigray region, and an existential debate about how power should be divided between the regions, ethnic groups and the state.
Driving the news: Ethiopia's electoral commission predicted a delay of less than three weeks, but the logistical issues that forced the delay — registering voters, training electoral staff, distributing ballots — are tied to security challenges that won't be resolved anytime soon.
That delay helped spark the war in Tigray, as the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) claimed Abiy was illegitimately extending his term and defied him by proceeding with regional elections.
Troops from neighboring Eritrea have been repeatedly accused of carrying out atrocities in Tigray, and the State Department said Saturday that they remain in the country despite Abiy's pledge that they would leave.
There will be no voting in Tigray if the elections proceed. It will also be hard to hold them in parts of Oromia, Ethiopia's largest state, where another insurgency is raging.
The bottom line: Abiy promised a new dawn in which Ethiopia's politics would be defined by national, rather than ethnic, identity.
Searching for survivors after a strike in Gaza. Photo: Mahmud Hams/AFP via Getty
President Biden expressed support for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in a call on Thursday evening with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said in a statement.
Why it matters: This is the first time since the beginning of the crisis last Monday that Biden or anyone in his administration has publicly backed a ceasefire. It will increase pressure on Israel to seek an end to the conflict, which Netanyahu has insisted will continue until Hamas' ability to attack Israel is further degraded.
Between the lines: An Israeli official told Axios' Barak Ravid that the Biden administration hadn't given Israel a deadline for reaching a ceasefire but had been stressing on Monday that it was reaching the end of its ability to hold back international pressure on Israel over the Gaza operation.
“The overall message was that they support us but want this to end."— Israeli official to Axios
During the call, Biden reiterated his support for Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks while encouraging Netanyahu to make every effort to avoid civilian casualties, the White House said.
What to watch: Netanyahu thanked Biden for his support for Israel’s right to self-defense but stressed that he wants to complete all the goals of the Gaza operation, his office said.
Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios
1. President Biden will send an additional 20 million doses of coronavirus vaccines to other countries by the end of June, including shots authorized by the FDA for use in the U.S., White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.
2. Southeast Asia had avoided the worst of the pandemic — until now.
3. 90% of Brits have been vaccinated or are willing to be, according to YouGov, the highest among 21 countries or territories polled.
Screengrab via Apple Maps
Name this city that has been renamed twice. For a bonus point, name the place of worship marked by the pin.
Scroll to the bottom for the answer.
A cremation site for COVID-19 victims in Kathmandu. Photo: Prakash Mathema/AFP via Getty Images
While India's second wave has alarmed the world, the situation is equally dire across the border in Nepal, which has now surpassed India's per capita death rate, Axios' Erica Pandey writes.
Zoom in: Nepal had been relying on India for vaccines, liquid oxygen and other medical supplies, but India cut back on exports to fight its own surge and Nepal is struggling to find other sources.
What's happening: The virus is spreading rapidly not just in big cities, but in rural areas that weren't previously exposed to the virus and have limited access to health care.
Nepal's spike was driven in part by the calendar.
What to watch: Less than 10% of Nepalis are fully vaccinated and more doses are desperately needed, Adhikari says.
Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
What happens when a lame duck president gives an order the Pentagon doesn't want to follow?
My colleagues Jonathan Swan and Zach Basu explore that question in vivid detail in their final "Off the Rails" installment about Donald Trump's final days.
Circumventing the typical channels, Trump issued a one-page memo on Nov. 9, 2020, to Christopher Miller, the newly installed acting defense secretary, ordering all U.S. troops out of Somalia by Dec. 31 and Afghanistan by Jan. 15. He'd originally wanted them out of Iraq, Syria and Germany too.
Icebergs near Ilulissat, Greenland. Photo: Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Secretary of State Tony Blinken is in Denmark today on a Nordic tour that will take him to Greenland and Iceland for an Arctic Council summit.
Flashback: Blinken's predecessor, Mike Pompeo, said at a 2019 Arctic Council gathering that the Arctic had become an "arena of global power and competition," particularly with Russia, and that melting ice was opening up new resources and opportunities.
A swim in the Nile, in Qanater el-Khayreya, Egypt. Photo: Khaled Desouki/AFP via Getty
“Regrettably, simply because of the obstruction of one country, the Security Council hasn’t been able to speak with one voice."— Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the U.S. decision to block a statement on Gaza at the UN Security Council.
Answer: Istanbul (previously Byzantium and Constantinople), home to Hagia Sophia.
Correction: In last week's edition, I wrote that Río de la Plata meant River Plate, like the soccer team. The correct translation is River of Silver, but the Anglicized version inspired the name of the team.