Welcome back and happy Thursday World readers. We've got the 1,458 words (5.5 minutes) you need to get up to speed on the latest global happenings.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios
There are three truly existential threats to humanity: pandemics, climate change and nuclear weapons.
Why it matters: COVID-19 has rightfully absorbed the world's attention and will for months to come. But the last treaty constraining the world’s largest nuclear arsenals is set to expire in nine months.
Where things stand: The Trump administration has expressed little urgency over the looming expiration of New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), which comes two weeks after the next presidential inauguration on Feb. 5.
The Trump administration has three primary concerns about extending New START, according to Frank Klotz, the former U.S. Department of Energy undersecretary for nuclear security (2014–2018).
The third point looms largest for the Trump administration.
Between the lines: China has no intention and little incentive to join such a deal, Rose Gottemoeller, the lead U.S. negotiator on New START, said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Arms Control Association.
On the one hand: Some China hawks see little reason to agree to an arms control deal that does not involve America’s biggest geopolitical adversary.
On the other: Adm. Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, says New START provides “continuous stability in an increasingly uncertain world."
Patients are screened in Dakar, Senegal. Photo: John Wessels/AFP via Getty
South Korea and Hong Kong recorded no new local cases yesterday, and New Zealand and Australia also approached that milestone.
The big picture: Beyond those poster children of effective COVID-19 responses (Germany and Taiwan also qualify), there are a number of other success stories with lessons to offer the world.
Vietnam has now gone two weeks without any known community spread and has yet to record a death.
Senegal “now boasts the third-highest recovery rate in the world,” according to a weekly report from Albright Stonebridge Group.
Ghana is now lifting its lockdown, with President Nana Akufo-Addo saying the country’s test-and-trace program is proving highly effective
Central European countries like Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic have also seen far fewer cases and deaths than Western European countries.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Scientists in the U.S. and China are working together on testing COVID-19 treatments and drug candidates, developing vaccines, and understanding the origin and spread of the virus, Axios' Alison Snyder writes.
But, but, but: Scientific advances are increasingly seen as a national competitive advantage, creating tension that experts warn could undercut global efforts to defeat the pandemic.
For some, those concerns provide more reason to collaborate.
What to watch: There are stark warnings of "vaccine nationalism" because if a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, there won't be enough at first to immunize the global population.
The vast majority of people across 34 countries surveyed by Pew Research Center say it's important for women to have the same rights as men — but majorities in many countries still believe men should take priority when jobs are scarce.
Zoom in: In the Philippines, 94% believe it's important that women have the same rights as men, yet 75% believe men should take priority in securing scarce jobs.
The flipside: Big majorities in most countries believe women currently have equal access to education and to express political opinions, notes Axios' Rashaan Ayesh:
The big picture: Opinions vary widely across the countries as to whether men currently have better lives than women.
Netanyahu at the unveiling of Trump's plan. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images
The Trump administration has told Israel it won't support annexations in the West Bank unless Israel agrees to negotiate over a Palestinian state and fully endorses President Trump's Middle East peace plan, U.S. and Israeli officials tell Axios contributor Barak Ravid.
Why it matters: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition deal with Benny Gantz envisions a vote on annexations as early as July 1.
What they're saying: A senior U.S. official tells Axios that any Israeli annexations must come "in the context of an offer to the Palestinians to achieve statehood based upon specific terms, conditions, territorial dimensions and generous economic support."
”We are prepared to recognize Israeli actions to extend Israeli sovereignty over areas of the West Bank in the context of the Government of Israel agreeing to negotiate with the Palestinians along the lines set forth in President Trump’s vision."— Senior U.S. official
The big picture: Many players in the international community are very concerned that the new Israeli government will move ahead with annexations.
What to watch: Once Israel's new government is sworn in, the Trump administration hopes it will formally endorse Trump's plan.
This little guy roamed around the supercontinent Gondwana a long, long time ago.
That's according to a new study, published in Nature, of a 66-million-year-old badger-sized skeleton found nearly complete in Madagascar.
Hopscotch for giants, on a foggy day in Curitiba, Brazil. Photo: Daniel Castellano/AFP via Getty
"Maduro's days are numbered."— U.S. envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams, today
"Maduro's days are numbered."— Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, 432 days ago