Jun 11, 2017

Top defense news you missed this week

Bullit Marquez / AP

It's been a busy week, mostly preoccupied with James Comey's Senate testimony on Thursday and the subsequent updates. Here are the top defense stories you might have missed this week:

1. U.S.-backed Kurdish forces have entered Raqqa, the de facto capital of ISIS. ISIS "losing Raqqa is the beginning of the end for Daesh," via The Guardian.

2. Trump-Saudi $110 billion weapons deal revealed to Defense News: "Previously slim on specifics, includes seven THAAD missile defense batteries, over 100,000 air-to-ground munitions and billions of dollars' worth of new aircraft, according to a White House document obtained by Defense News and authenticated by a second source."

3. The U.S. vs. the Kurds: This September, the U.S. will oppose the Kurdish region's decision to hold a referendum on independence. A referendum is necessary because "Iraqi Kurds currently enjoy almost total autonomy, but tensions with the Baghdad government remain over control of oil reserves." More via RadioFreeEurope.

4. American military casualties abroad. Three U.S. soldiers were killed in a Taliban attack in Eastern Afghanistan. The Afghanistan soldier also wounded another U.S. soldier, per The Hill. Trump was "following the emerging situation in Afghanistan."

5. The U.S. helps Philippines in fight against ISIS. After recently threatening to kick U.S. military out of the region, the Philippines government is now accepting "technical support" from the U.S. as Islamic militants to continue to terrorize their country. "Nearly 140 militants and 60 government troops have been killed the fighting." More from The Atlantic.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 5,463,392 — Total deaths: 344,503 — Total recoveries — 2,195,325Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,653,904 — Total deaths: 97,948 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Italy reports lowest number of new coronavirus cases since February

Italy’s aerobatic team Frecce Tricolori fly over Milan in Duomo Square on May 25. Photo: Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images

The Italian government reported 300 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, the lowest daily increase since Feb. 29.

Why it matters: Italy, the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown after emerging as a hotspot in March, appears to have finally weathered its coronavirus outbreak. Italy has reported nearly 33,000 total deaths, the third-highest total behind the U.S. and U.K.

Joe Biden makes first public appearance in over two months

Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in over two months on Monday to honor Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a Delaware veterans park, AP reports.

Why it matters: Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, has taken the unprecedented step of campaigning from his home during the coronavirus pandemic, ever since canceling a rally in Cleveland on March 10.