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.
While its Big Tech rivals were testifying in front of a congressional antitrust committee last week, Microsoft was negotiating what could be the largest — and most politically perilous — tech acquisition of 2020.
The state of play: The hullabaloo surrounding Microsoft picking up TikTok has undergone a flurry of twists and turns over the weekend, as both the White House and the tech giant reacted in real time.
At least 5 passengers and 36 crew members aboard a Norwegian cruise ship have tested positive for the coronavirus, and authorities fear the outbreak may have spread to towns along the country's western coast, AP reports.
Why it matters: Cruise ships have shown to be a prime vector for coronavirus spread. Hundreds were infected aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in the early days of the pandemic.
Victoria's premier Dan Andrews said Monday all retailers except for essential services like grocery stores in state capital Melbourne must shut for six weeks, effective Aug. 7, as cases continue to surge in Australia's second-most populous state.
The big picture: A day after he declared a disaster in Victoria to enacted tougher measures, Andrews told a briefing, "we need to dramatically reduce people moving in the community." Restrictions including a nightly curfew in Melbourne began Sunday. Andrews confirmed 429 new cases and 13 deaths from COVID-19 — equaling the state and national death toll record set last month. Australia looked set to suppress COVID-19 in May. Most places have had few or no cases, but Victoria's have spiked in recent weeks.
Kosovo's Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti announced on Facebook late Sunday that he's in isolation and will work from home for two weeks after testing positive for COVID-19, adding, "I have no signs, except a very mild cough."
The big picture: Kosovo has reported almost 8,800 cases and 249 deaths from the novel coronavirus, per Johns Hopkins data. The Kosovar government reintroduced lockdown measures last week for its population of 1.8 million amid surging cases, AP notes.
Eid al-Adha, a major Muslim festival, was observed by thousands over the weekend — although the coronavirus pandemic has thwarted traditional celebrations.
The big picture: The United Arab Emirates closed mosques for Eid prayers, the hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia was scaled down, Oman reinstated a nighttime curfew, and Lebanon and Iraq recently entered two-week lockdowns, the Wall Street Journal reports.
India's Home Minister Amit Shah was admitted to the hospital on Sunday after testing positive for the coronavirus, he said in a tweet.
Why it matters: Shah "is widely viewed as the second most powerful person in India" behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Arbitrary and sometimes harsh quarantine rules and a lack of information about the coronavirus have contributed to a culture of stigma around the virus in parts of Africa, which is approaching 1 million cases, AP reports.
Why it matters: Coronavirus patients were being treated “just like the way, early on in the HIV epidemic, patients were being treated,” Salim Abdool Karim, chair of South Africa’s COVID-19 ministerial advisory committee, told the World Health Organization last month. That's hampering nations' abilities to control the coronavirus pandemic.
The big picture: Many in the estimated crowd of 17,000, made up of conspiracy theorists, right-wing populists and others, were not wearing masks, reports AP, which notes: "Unlike the U.S., Brazil and Britain, Germany’s government has been praised worldwide for its management of the pandemic." The country has confirmed more than 211,000 cases and just over 9,100 deaths from COVID-19, per Johns Hopkins data.
Editor's note: The top photo in this post has been replaced. The earlier photo depicted a demonstration against evictions.