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Protests, killings on tense election day in Venezuela

Ariana Cubillos / AP

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is predicting a "big victory" Sunday in an election to form a new constituent assembly, with the goal of adopting a new constitution. The opposition has boycotted the election, which has been condemned internationally as a sham and a power grab by the embattled Maduro.

  • Two people have reportedly been killed, a pro-government candidate and an opposition youth secretary, per the BBC. At least three others may have been killed in protests.
  • The government has banned protests, but demonstrators have nonetheless blocked streets in Caracas.
  • Some voting machines have been attacked and burned.

The stakes: The Washington Post's Anthony Faiola writes that the election is "a critical new stage in a long-simmering crisis that could mint the Western Hemisphere's newest dictatorship."

Jonathan Swan 3 hours ago
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Trump's two-front war

Photo: Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump is ending the week with a flop — nowhere close to the border wall funding he wanted in the DACA-less spending bill that congressional leaders released last evening. But he's fulfilling one of his most aggressive campaign promises with his anti-China trade action.

The big picture: Trump's expected announcement today of tariffs on Chinese imports is a big deal, and analysts fear it could provoke a trade war — and it comes as Trump has been battling his own party here at home over the government spending bill.

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The worst flu season in eight years

Note: Activity levels are based on outpatient visits in a state compared to the average number of visits that occur during weeks with little or no flu virus circulation; Data: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

This year's flu season caught many experts off guard with both its sustained prevalence and its virulence. At its peak, there was a higher level of flu-like illnesses reported than any other year during the past eight years. Watch in the visual as it hits its peak around Week 18.

Why it matters: Public health officials try to capture this data when developing the next year's vaccines. And, of course, they want to find better ways to prevent severe flu seasons. There's a "Strategic Plan" to develop a universal vaccine to protect against a wider range of influenza viruses, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, tells Axios.