Welcome to Axios World. Tonight's edition is a brisk 1,486 words (~ 5 minutes).
Trump today at the White House. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
An American warship "destroyed" an Iranian drone operating in the Strait of Hormuz, President Trump announced today.
Why it matters: When Iran downed a U.S. drone last month, it very nearly led to a military conflict. Today's move came hours after news that Iran had seized a foreign oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz — the latest in a string of incidents in or near the narrow waterway through which one-fifth of the world's oil supply travels.
The big picture: During the current crisis, windows for diplomacy have seemed to open and then quickly close.
Between the lines: Trump has showed clear interest in talks. Politico reports he gave dovish Sen. Rand Paul license to intermediate on his behalf, potentially with Zarif this week in New York. French President Emmanuel Macron seems eager to play a similar role.
“The Iranians take anyone who has a direct link to the president and who does not belong to the Bolton-Pompeo camp seriously, because they understand the president is mostly interested in dealmaking but almost no one else in this administration feels that way," says Ali Vaez, Iran director for the International Crisis Group, who has been speaking with Iranian officials.
Getting there wouldn't be easy.
What to watch: For now, the default course is escalation.
1. The World Health Organization Wednesday issued a global health warning on the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, although it added that the risk of the deadly virus spreading outside the region remains low, Axios' Eileen Drage O'Reilly writes.
2. The U.S. has formally announced the removal of NATO ally Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program. The move came after Turkey purchased a Russian S-400 air defense system over vocal objections from Washington.
4. Boris Johnson will almost certainly be unveiled Tuesday as the new leader of the Conservative Party, and the U.K.’s next prime minister.
Construction of a bridge in Mombasa, Kenya, by the China Road and Bridge Corp. Photo: Xinhua/Pan Siwei via Getty Images
China plans to send government agents to monitor projects along its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), potentially extending the Chinese Communist Party's arm deeper into participating countries, Jonathan Hillman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies writes for Axios Expert Voices.
The big picture: Corruption has been damaging Chinese President Xi Jinping's signature foreign policy initiative. He now wants to deploy abroad the same Orwellian-sounding Central Commission for Discipline Inspection that has helped carry out his domestic anti-corruption campaign.
What's happening: Chinese projects have sparked allegations, investigations and convictions around the world.
Where it stands: China is eager to repair the Belt and Road brand and has promised to clean things up. But the Chinese government does not want to get rid of all corruption, only unsanctioned corruption.
Zuma during his testimony. Photo: Kim Ludbrook/AFP/Getty Images
Former South African President Jacob Zuma has been testifying this week in a probe into the massive corruption that took place on his watch.
What he’s saying: Zuma told investigators “he is the victim of a plot by foreign intelligence agencies to seek his downfall,” The Guardian’s Jason Burke reports from Johannesburg. That’s a far cry from reports that suggest he all but put South Africa’s government up for sale.
25 years ago today, the bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires left 85 people dead. Investigators in Argentina determined the attack "was planned and financed by Iran, and carried out by Hezbollah," per the BBC.
The attack has lasting political relevance in Argentina, emails Martin Aguirre, editor-in-chief of Uruguay's El Pais newspaper:
The bottom line: "Now, with Fernández seeking the vice presidency, the anniversary of the attack is being used to bring the issue back to public light and accuse her not only of failing to investigate the issue properly, but of protecting the Iranian government."
Saturday marks 50 years since man first walked on the moon. Here's a look at all the moon landings to date, from Axios' Harry Stevens:
Dust storm in Allahabad, India. Photo: Sanjay Kanojia/AFP/Getty Images
"And where is that, exactly?"— Trump yesterday at a religious freedom event. He was asked by a Rohingya man whether he had a plan to help refugees from the genocide in Myanmar.
Thanks for reading — have a wonderful weekend.