Welcome to Axios World, where two evenings a week we break down the big stories from around the globe.
Back Boris! Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images
There is little standing in the way of Boris Johnson becoming Britain’s next prime minister.
Why it matters: Johnson is a brash Brexiteer who has vowed to take the U.K. out of the EU without a deal if one can’t be reached by October. He’s often praised for his charisma and criticized for his lack of substance on policy and penchant for provocative rhetoric. He also has a friend in the Oval Office.
The latest: Step one in the two-step process to replace Theresa May as Conservative Party leader, and thus prime minister, officially began today.
Between the lines: This was supposed to be the hard part for the former mayor of London, who has long been considered a shoo-in if he makes the final two.
What to watch: “The pro-Brexit support is coming home to Boris, causing problems for Raab, whose candidacy is based on pursuing a hard Brexit,” Ben Roback of the Cicero Group political consultancy emails from London.
Flashback: Johnson was the front-runner to replace David Cameron back in 2016, before a bizarre split with Gove cleared the way for May.
The bottom line: If he does triumph, Johnson will take ownership of the most intractable dispute in recent British political history and a divided party that has fallen to once-unthinkable depths in the polls. There are clearly many who think he's just the man for the job.
A day in which a reduction of tensions with Iran seemed possible has turned into one of the most contentious of the current standoff after two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of being behind the attacks during a news conference today.
Context: Fears that the U.S. was on course for war with Iran had been falling, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe traveled to Tehran today with a message from President Trump.
The big picture: Pompeo said Iran was attempting to follow through on its threat to "disrupt the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz" and was "lashing out" in the face of the Trump administration's "successful maximum pressure campaign."
What to watch: Oil prices spiked on news of the attacks. Nearly 20% of the world's oil supply flows through the narrow Strait of Hormuz.
Larry Kudlow, President Trump's top economic adviser, warned today that "there may be consequences" if Chinese President Xi Jinping rejects President Trump's request for a meeting two weeks from now at the G20 summit in Japan.
Meanwhile, Xi's trade war point man, Vice Premier Liu He, said today that there were upsides to the "external pressures" China was facing.
“Those external pressures will help us boost our self-reliance in innovation and accelerate the pace of high-speed development."
In other news, Kudlow was asked about the protests and clashes in Hong Kong this week and said, "It makes one think of Tiananmen Square and the battle over freedom."
Go deeper: Hong Kong's people stand up to China
News of the assassination of Kim Jong-nam (pictured) flashes on a TV screen in Seoul in 2017. Photo: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images
President Trump responded to reports that the CIA had recruited Kim Jong-un's late half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, by assuring North Korea that "would not happen under my auspices."
Flashback: Few Americans had ever heard of Kim Jong-nam before he was murdered with a chemical weapon in a Malaysian airport in 2017. That might be North Korea's most infamous recent execution, but it's far from the only one.
Details, per the report:
Fernández arrives at a court hearing. Photo: Daniel Vides/AFP/Getty Images
"The presidential campaign in Argentina is delivering a shock every week, even for the most seasoned analysts," Martin Aguirre, editor-in-chief of Uruguay's El País newspaper, emails from Montevideo.
"The second shock came earlier this week, when Macri announced that his vice president would be Miguel Angel Pichetto."
The big picture: Macri, a center-right pragmatist, was viewed by many as an economic savior when he took power four years ago, but he has presided over steep declines. His supporters blame the mess left behind by his predecessor, Fernández.
Malta's capital city, Valletta. Photo: Geography Photos/Universal Images Group via Getty
The debate around China's global ambitions continues to heat up in Washington, with the Trump administration making a public case that countries should reject Chinese investment and influence. But is that message breaking through?
Zoom in: Malta, the EU's smallest member state, is among several countries considering joining China's Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, but Transportation Minister Ian Borg told me the matter wasn't raised in any of his meetings this week in Washington.
Taking a dip in Bangladesh's Buriganga River. Hope the sun shines wherever you are this weekend. Photo: Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images
“Just imagine how many people in Russia are in jail for nothing, for reasons invented by our government.”— Tatyana Malshava, who was among those who turned out yesterday to protest police tactics following the arrest of journalist Ivan Golunov. More than 400 of the protestors were themselves arrested.
Thanks for reading — see you back here on Monday.