Nov 18, 2017

The cautionary tale of Zimbabwe's autocratic president

Tens of thousands of protesters gather today in Harare, Zimbabwe, in "a euphoric gathering that just days ago would have drawn a police crackdown." Photo: Ben Curtis / AP

"Africa's postcolonial 'Big Man' era may be ending: Zimbabwe leader's fall holds warnings for other autocrats," the L.A. Times' Ann Simmons and Laura King report on the front page:

  • What happened: "The collapse of Africa's colonial order set in motion the almost Shakespearean trajectory of Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe: from fiery liberation hero to avaricious dictator to seeming victim, in frail old age, of his own misrule."
  • Why it matters: "For other African leaders who wield Mugabe's longtime brand of power, marked by ruthless campaigns against domestic enemies and scornful dismissal of scolding by successive U.S. administrations, the Zimbabwean president's fall is a cautionary tale."
  • The problem: "The Human Rights Foundation, a nonprofit that tracks closed societies, says countries in Africa that it considers democratic — 14 in all — are outnumbered by 19 full dictatorships and another 19 it calls 'competitive authoritarian regimes,' in which autocrats allow elections to be held while engaging in serious anti-democratic abuses."
  • A sign of hope: "J. Peter Pham of the Atlantic Council's Africa Center said the way in which the move against Mugabe had been orchestrated pointed to the 'slow spread of constitutional order and the norms of legality' in Africa."

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 766,336 — Total deaths: 36,873 — Total recoveries: 160,001.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 153,246 — Total deaths: 2,828 — Total recoveries: 5,545.
  3. Federal government latest: The White House will extend its social distancing guidelines until April 30 — Rep. Nydia Velázquez diagnosed with "presumed" coronavirus infection.
  4. State updates: Virginia and Maryland issued stay-at-home orders to residents, joining 28 other states — Florida megachurch pastor arrested for refusing to call off mass services.
  5. World updates: Spain's cases exceed China's — Italy reports 1,590 recoveries from the virus, its highest ever.
  6. In photos: Navy hospital ship arrives in Manhattan
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a Monday press briefing that he won't get into a political tussle with President Trump — calling it "counterproductive" and "anti-American" — as his state deals with the most confirmed coronavirus cases in the country.

The backdrop: Trump said during an appearance on "Fox & Friends" earlier Monday that Cuomo has received high polling numbers during the outbreak because New York has received federal aid.

Maryland and Virginia issue coronavirus stay-at-home orders

Data: Axios reporting; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued stay-at-home orders on Monday, with exceptions for residents engaged in essential services, including health care and government functions.

The big picture: The states are the latest to announce policies to enforce social distancing, which have affected almost 250 million Americans. More than 1.5 billion people worldwide had been asked to stay home as of last week.

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