Welcome back and happy Thursday, World readers. We're trekking around the globe in 1,623 words (6 minutes).
Demonstrators and security personnel today in Guwahati. Photo: Biju Boro/AFP via Getty
India's parliament passed a bill this week that would link citizenship to religion for the first time in the country's history.
Why it matters: This is the latest in a series of steps by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that could "fuel the sentiment that Muslims are a kind of permanent underclass," says Milan Vaishnav of the Carnegie Endowment. "The damage that could do to the social fabric is potentially enormous."
Between the lines: The bill is linked to a deeply controversial effort to register all citizens in the northeastern state of Assam. The government has vowed to nationalize the citizenship register.
Zoom out: Modi’s critics say he’s undermining the secular principles on which the Indian state was founded 70 years ago.
The big picture: “The BJP has for a long time been powered by three principle objectives,” Vaishnav says. They include modernizing the economy, making India a leading global power, and redefining India’s social contract in a more “pro-Hindu” fashion, he says.
The bottom line: “The economy is in a tailspin,” Vaishnav says. "Instead of addressing that with the urgency it deserves, they’re lighting all of these other fires that are going to be hugely distracting and detrimental to the larger objective of 'making India great again.'"
The latest: Violent mobs set buildings and rail stations alight and clashed with police today in Assam, leaving at least two dead. Authorities cut internet and mobile service and imposed a curfew. The demonstrators worry the new law will flood the state with immigrants and change the local culture.
Johnson and his dog after casting their votes today. Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
Polls have closed in the U.K.'s general election and a key BBC exit poll suggests Prime Minister Boris Johnson is on track for the parliamentary majority he has desperately sought to "get Brexit done."
Why it matters: If the results hold, Johnson will have far exceeded expectations and should be able to easily pass his Brexit deal. It would be the biggest Conservative majority since Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's 1987 victory, and a disaster for the opposition Labour Party and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
By the numbers:
Between the lines: After three years of division over Brexit, Johnson appears to have united the "Leave" vote behind him while the "Remain" vote was divided between Labour — which lacked a clear position on Brexit — and the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats.
What to watch: This result would be a massive vindication for Johnson — long mocked and little trusted, but now set to steer the U.K. through what should be a crucial five years for the country.
Alberto Fernández at his Dec. 10 inauguration ceremony in Buenos Aires. Photo: Mario De Fina/NurPhoto via Getty Images
1. Alberto Fernández was inaugurated Tuesday as Argentina's new president, but he has yet to reveal how he'll pull Argentina out of its economic slump while balancing demands from vying political factions, Michael McCarthy of American University writes for Axios Expert Voices:
2. Israel's political drama is entering yet another unprecedented stage. The Knesset, Israel's parliament, dissolved itself last night, and the third election in under a year was set for March, Axios contributor Barak Ravid writes:
3. Algeria held an election today to find a successor for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was forced to resign in April amid a popular uprising.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Many countries around the world view the U.S. as a vital partner — and as a potential threat, according to a survey of 18 countries from Pew.
Why it matters: The data is a reflection of America's superpower status. But while American power is still respected, polls also show global views of the U.S. growing frostier in the Trump era.
In 14 of 18 countries polled, the U.S. ranked first as top ally:
The flipside: 5 of 18 picked the U.S. as the top threat to them:
7 of 18 picked China:
Worth noting: Just 2% in Turkey (a NATO member) listed the U.S. as their country's top ally, while 46% consider America the top threat.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
The U.S. Army is planning to finance mines and processing plants to establish a domestic supply of rare earth minerals, which are used in weapons and electronics, according to a government document reviewed by Reuters.
Why it matters: The investment comes in response to last year's threat from China, which processes most of the world’s rare earths, to stop exporting them to the U.S. amid the ongoing trade war, Axios' Jacob Knutson writes.
Details: Though the U.S. has domestic deposits of rare earths, it imports roughly 80% of its supply from China because mining and processing the materials can be difficult and environmentally dangerous.
Flashback: The U.S. hasn't invested in domestic rare earths since developing the atomic bomb during World War II.
The latest: "Trump is expected to sign off on a limited agreement aimed at ending the trade war with China that would prevent new tariffs planned for Sunday and roll back some existing tariffs," WSJ reports tonight.
Just 3% of Haitians have "good jobs," according to Gallup. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images
Global unemployment has been pegged as low as 5%, but add in self-employed people living on less than $2 per day and part-time workers seeking full-time jobs, and you’re up to 32% of the global workforce — or 1.7 billion people — according to a new Gallup report.
The big picture: The countries with the highest percentages of workers in “good jobs” are Gulf states with expat-heavy populations (Kuwait: 61%; UAE: 58%), with Singapore (53%) and Israel (51%) also high in the rankings.
Key trend: China is almost solely responsible for the global rise in good jobs, as the percentage there has risen from 29% to 36% over just a few years.
The flipside: Haiti (3%), Liberia (4%), Niger (5%) and Yemen (6%) are at the very bottom.
The gender gap: 36% of men worldwide have “good jobs,” compared to 21% of women.
Swinging at sunset on Indonesia's Lhoknga beach. Photo: Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP via Getty
"[Genaro] García Luna cultivates the image of a cop in a world of politicians, a doer in a world of talkers, and after a cursory welcome he quickly moved to the matter at hand. He wanted to discuss, he said, 'combating corruption through the systematic purging of the police corps.'"— From a 2008 NYT profile of the man who oversaw Mexico's war against drug trafficking.
"Genaro García Luna, Mexico’s former public security secretary, was charged with taking millions of dollars in bribes while in office to protect the Sinaloa Cartel, allowing the organization to smuggle tons of cocaine and other drugs into the United States. "— From the NYT yesterday. García Luna's arrest in Texas stunned Mexico.