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Why it matters: The U.S. has responded to standoffs with North Korea, Russia, Iran and Venezuela in unorthodox and unpredictable ways. Alliances are rupturing, authoritarians are rising, and China is steadily becoming the most powerful rival America has ever faced.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 19,734,428— Total deaths: 728,612 — Total recoveries — 12,001,537Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 5,036,387 — Total deaths: 162,851 — Total recoveries: 1,656,864 — Total tests: 61,792,571Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi says states don't have the funds to comply with Trump's executive order on unemployment — Mnuchin says Trump executive orders were cleared by Justice Department.
  4. Public health: Ex-FDA head: U.S. will "definitely" see 200,000 to 300,000 virus deaths by end of 2020 — Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective.
  5. Schools: Nine test positive at Georgia school where photo showing packed hallway went viral — How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on.
1 hour ago - World

Protests erupt in Belarus after "Europe's last dictator" claims election victory

A man lies on the ground in front of riot police in Minsk. Photo: Sergei Gapon/AFP via Getty Images

Demonstrations broke out across Belarus on Sunday after a government exit poll predicted that President Aleksander Lukashenko, an authoritarian who has ruled the Eastern European country since 1994, had swept to overwhelming victory over a pro-democracy opposition candidate.

Why it matters: It's a precarious moment for the former Soviet republic, where decades of repression and a complete disregard for the coronavirus pandemic now threaten to topple "Europe's last dictator."

Blumenthal calls classified briefing on Russian interference "absolutely chilling"

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D- Conn.) called on the Trump administration to declassify intelligence detailing Russian efforts to influence the 2020 elections, telling MSNBC on Sunday that the classified briefing lawmakers received about the Kremlin's activities last week was "absolutely chilling."

The big picture: National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina said in a statement Friday that the Russian government is "using a range of measures" to "denigrate" Joe Biden ahead of the election. China and Iran would prefer that Trump is defeated, according to Evanina.

10 hours ago - World

Pelosi says election threats from China and Russia are "not equivalent"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that the threats posed by China and Russia to U.S. elections are "not equivalent," stressing that "Russia is actively, 24/7, interfering in our election."

Why it matters: Top counterintelligence official William Evanina revealed in a statement on Friday that the Russian government is "using a range of measures" to "denigrate" Joe Biden ahead of the election. The government of China, meanwhile, prefers that Trump does not win re-election, Evanina said.

11 hours ago - World

Lebanon information minister resigns days after deadly explosion

Anti-government protesters in Beirut. Photo: STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Lebanon’s information minister resigned on Sunday in the wake of mass protests over the deadly blast in Beirut's port last week, which has killed at least 160 people and injured nearly 6,000, AP reports.

Why it matters: In her resignation letter, Manal Abdel-Samad called change "elusive" and apologized for not delivering more to the country, which had been devastated by a financial crisis and the coronavirus pandemic even before the blast destroyed much of the capital city.

17 hours ago - World

World leaders holding Lebanon aid summit after night of unrest in Beirut

Anti-government protesters at Martyrs' Square on Saturday after the deadly explosion at the Port of Beirut, Lebanon. Photo: Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

President Trump was due to attend on Sunday an online world leaders summit organized by his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and the United Nations to discuss raising aid for Lebanon following last week's deadly explosion.

The big picture: The talks come after massive protests Saturday night that saw demonstrators storm government ministries and attack the offices of the Association of Lebanese Banks, as anger grows over the explosion that killed 158 people and wounded over 6,000 others, per Reuters. At least 728 people were wounded and one officer killed in overnight clashes between police and protesters, Al Jazeera reports. The Lebanese government has blamed poorly stored ammonium nitrate for the blast.

Go deeper: What's next for Lebanon after the Beirut explosion

Updated 18 hours ago - World

Brazil coronavirus death toll tops 100,000 and case numbers surpass 3 million

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro posted a photo of himself to Facebook congratulating his soccer team, Palmeiras, for winning the state title Saturday, moments after the health ministry confirmed the national COVID-19 death toll had surpassed 100,000.

Why it matters: Brazil is only the second country to confirm more than 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus. On Sunday morning, it became the second country to surpass 3 million cases, per Johns Hopkins. Only the U.S. has reported more. Bolsonaro has yet to address the milestones. He has previously tested positive for COVID-19 three times, but he's downplayed the impact of the virus, which has crippled Brazil's economy.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the latest coronavirus case numbers and more context.

Ukraine's Zelensky warns citizens not to interfere in U.S. elections

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky attends a meeting in a Parliamentary Hall in Kyiv, Ukraine, in July. Photo: Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a statement on his Facebook page Saturday stating that it "is never and under no circumstances acceptable to interfere with another country's sovereign elections."

Why it matters: National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina said Friday the Russian government had taken action to "denigrate former Vice President Biden" before November's election and that a "pro-Russia" Ukrainian lawmaker was "spreading claims about corruption" to "undermine" the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

23 hours ago - World

PM prepares for "COVID election" as NZ marks 100 days of no community spread

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attends the launch of the Labour Party's election campaign in Auckland on Saturday. Photo: Michael Bradley/AFP via Getty Images

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — New Zealand has now gone 100 days with no detected community spread of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health confirmed in an emailed statement Sunday afternoon local time.

Why It Matters: New Zealanders are going to the polls on Sept. 19. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been widely praised for her leadership that saw NZ lock down hard for several weeks before all domestic restrictions were lifted in June. She sees her government's response to and recovery from the coronavirus outbreak as key to her Labour Party being re-elected.

Aug 8, 2020 - World

Venezuelan court sentences 2 former Green Berets to 20 years in prison

Identification cards of people linked to the operation, including Airan Berry. Photo: Miraflores Presidential Palace/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A Venezuelan court on Friday sentenced two ex-U.S. special forces soldiers to 20 years in prison for their part in a failed operation to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro, AP reports.

Why it matters: The case comes amid heightened tensions between Washington, D.C., and Caracas after the Trump administration last year publicly supported opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has vowed to oust Maduro through a military uprising.

Aug 8, 2020 - World

Security forces and protesters clash in Beirut after devastating explosion

Protesters clashing with security forces in Beirut on Aug. 8. Photo: Joseph Eid/AFP via Getty Images

Lebanese security forces fired tear gas at protesters on Saturday who threw stones in Beirut over a massive explosion that devastated the city earlier this week, injuring roughly 6,000 people and leaving nearly 160 dead, AP reports.

Why it matters: Activists say political corruption and negligence are to blame for Tuesday's blast, caused by a store of ammonium nitrate left unsecured near the city's port for more than six years.

Aug 8, 2020 - World

What's next for Lebanon after the Beirut explosion

Photo: Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Beirut residents are still clearing rubble from streets that appear war-torn, days after a blast that shocked the country and horrified the world.

Why it matters: The explosion is likely to accelerate a painful cycle Lebanon was already living through — discontent, economic distress, and emigration.

Aug 8, 2020 - World

Trump and Macron talk over aid for Lebanon after massive blast

Photo: Ludovic Marin/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Friday that he and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke over the phone to discuss sending immediate aid to Lebanon following a massive explosion in Beirut this week that killed more than 100 people and injured thousands.

What he's saying: "Had a lengthy discussion this morning with President Macron of France concerning numerous subjects, but in particular the catastrophic event which took place in Beirut, Lebanon..." Trump tweeted.

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