Welcome to Axios World, where two evenings a week — holidays included — we catch you up on what you need to know on the big stories from around the globe.
Today's earlier edition gives you something to talk about at your BBQ, or wherever you're spending Memorial Day. Tell your friends and colleagues to sign up here, and send tips and feedback to email@example.com.
Situational awareness: Israel's national security adviser is heading to D.C. tomorrow to discuss Iran with John Bolton, Axios contributor Barak Ravid scoops.
Clapper testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, whose new book “Facts and Fears” is out now, has his eyes on Russia and China.
The big picture: Russia is building up its capacities for both military and information warfare “with one adversary in mind — the United States.” And "the long-term threat is China."
Why he's wary of Russia:
What concerns him about China:
Just today, the South China Morning Post reported that China is conducting an average of five simulated nuclear tests per month — far outpacing the U.S. — as it develops a more advanced nuclear arsenal.
Worth noting: I also asked Clapper about a man he worked directly with for years and who features fairly prominently in his book — Michael Flynn. Clapper saluted Flynn’s military service and noted that he had supported his appointment as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency before playing a role in removing him from that post.
"I think it ate at him that he was terminated early and retired early, and I think he became an angry man. He was trying to reach out to several Republican candidates and latched onto Trump, and the rest was history."
Go deeper: The interactive map, and what it tells us.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell writes for Axios Expert Voices about what a more ambitious and assertive China means for the U.S.
The bottom line: "In the U.S., there is no consensus — indeed, hardly much debate — about an overarching strategy to deal with China. Without one, the U.S is doomed to continue ceding ground and possibly worse — facing China in a military contest."
Sunday's elections in Colombia have set up a runoff next month between ideological opposites: right-wing senator Ivan Duque and leftist Bogotá mayor and former guerrilla Gustavo Petro.
Why it matters: Duque is the favorite, but whoever wins will face an electorate with little trust in its leaders, new data from Gallup's World Poll shows:
Xi and Merkel. Photo: Jason Lee/AFP/Getty Images
Gabe Lipton and Alex Kliment write in the latest Signal newsletter that German Chancellor Angela Merkel's recent visit to China comes "as a deepening estrangement between Europe and the U.S. is reshaping Germany’s choices and challenges on the world stage."
The bottom line: "Trump is also upset with China about these same issues, but has chosen to take up a trade fight with its European allies rather than work with them to pressure China together. This leaves Merkel in the extraordinary position of having to find common ground with a rising competitor, because of the lack of common cause with a traditional ally."
Two-thirds of Irish voters cast their ballots Friday in favor of removing a constitutional ban on abortion, a surprisingly emphatic result that comes three years after a referendum legalizing gay marriage.
Why it matters, from the FT's Orla Ryan, speaking on the World Weekly podcast ahead of the result:
Round and round we go...
A Jumia scooterman in Lagos in 2013. Photo: Pus Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images
Online retailer Jumia, which launched in Nigeria in 2012 and is attempting to become "Africa's Alibaba", has won the backing of Goldman Sachs and other big investors, the WSJ reports.
What to watch: "The advantage is that there’s no real retail industry to disrupt, no brick-and-mortar infrastructure to displace. It’s one of the leapfrog opportunities,' said Robin Miller, a partner at Dalberg, an emerging-markets advisory firm."
People arrive at a jetty to cross the Yangon River in Malaysia. Photo: Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images
“Chairman Kim and I have agreed that the June 12 summit should be held successfully, and that our quest for the Korean Peninsula’s denuclearization and a perpetual peace regime should not be halted.”— South Korean president Moon Jae-in, following a surprise meeting with Kim Jong-un.
Thanks for reading — see you back here on Thursday evening.