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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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Exclusive: Pompeo says new China media restrictions "long overdue"

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The State Department announced Tuesday that it has designated five Chinese state media outlets as "foreign missions," meaning that they will be treated as arms of the Chinese government.

Driving the news: In his first public statement on the new designation, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tells Axios that the five outlets are "clearly controlled by the [Chinese Communist Party], and we are simply recognizing that fact by taking this action.”

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - World

Ghani declared victor in Afghanistan's disputed presidential election

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Photo: Britta Pedersen/picture alliance via Getty Images

Tuesday's long-awaited announcement that Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani won re-election last September appears likely to deepen, rather than resolve, a tense dispute over the country's presidential election.

Why it matters: The U.S. has reached a truce with the Taliban that, if it holds, will lead to negotiations between Taliban and the Afghan government. That development comes amid a bitter dispute over who speaks for Afghanistan.

Go deeperArrow5 hours ago - World

U.S. targets Russian oil giant in escalating campaign vs. Venezuela

Maduro and Putin in 2015. Photo: Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images

The Trump administration today announced sanctions on Rosneft Trading, a subsidiary of Russian oil giant Rosneft, for helping to keep Venezuela's Maduro regime afloat by facilitating oil exports.

Why it matters: Senior administration officials announcing the sanctions in a call with reporters framed the step as a warning not only to Rosneft but to Russia. They described it as part of a "maximum pressure" campaign that is currently "50-60%" implemented and will continue to ramp up as long as Nicolás Maduro refuses to give up power.

Go deeperArrow8 hours ago - World

Israeli court sets date of Netanyahu corruption trial

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust is set to begin on March 17 at the district court in Jerusalem, the court announced today.

Why it matters: Netanyahu's trial will begin two weeks after the March 2 elections, likely in the middle of efforts to form a new government.

Go deeperArrow9 hours ago - World

Economists warn coronavirus risk far worse than realized

Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Worries are growing that the economic impact from the novel coronavirus outbreak will be worse than expected and that markets are being too complacent in factoring it in as a risk.

What's happening: The number of confirmed cases has already far outpaced expectations and even those reports are being viewed through a lens of suspicion that the Chinese government is underreporting the figures.

WSJ: New trade limits on chips for Huawei could hurt U.S. company growth

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Trump administration is weighing new trade restrictions that could force factories across the globe to obtain licenses if they want to use U.S. equipment to make chips for Huawei products, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The restrictions "risk disrupting the global supply chain for semiconductors and dent growth for many U.S. companies," the WSJ reports, citing unnamed U.S. industry participants. One goal of the proposed restrictions is for China to see the action as a threat, per the WSJ.

Go deeperArrowFeb 17, 2020 - World

Household basics are scarce in Hong Kong under coronavirus lockdown

A Hongkonger walks past empty supermarket shelves that were last stocked with toilet paper and paper towels. Photo: Miguel Candela / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

A deliveryman in Hong Kong on Monday was robbed at knife point for toilet paper, as the city copes with ongoing shortages of basic household and cooking supplies amid the coronavirus outbreak, the New York Times reports.

What's happening: Some Hong Kong supermarkets began selling out of sanitary towels, frozen dumplings, cooking oil, bottled water, bread, shower gel, cleaning products and noodles in the first week of February, South China Morning Post reports, while canned goods started to run low.

Go deeperArrowFeb 17, 2020 - World

In photos: Deadly Storm Dennis lashes U.K., Ireland and western France

A family is rescued from a property in Nantgarw, Wales, on Sunday. The storm comes a week after the U.K. was battered by storm Ciara, which killed two people, per the BBC. Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Storm Dennis continued to pummel parts of England, Wales and Ireland over Sunday night with heavy rain after battering Northern Ireland and Scotland, per the official British weather agency the Met Office.

Why it matters: It's the second-strongest nontropical storm ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean, with its hurricane-force winds and heavy rains that caused widespread flooding across the U.K., the Washington Post notes. Police in Wales confirmed Sunday they found the body of a man who fell into a river as the storm lashed Ystradgynlais.

See photosArrowFeb 17, 2020 - World
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