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.
Several Asian countries are facing new coronavirus waves, with some struggling to keep up with some of the worst outbreaks since the beginning of the pandemic.
The big picture: While India accounted for half of the global infections this past week, per the World Health Organization, cases are surging in countries such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Cambodia, CNN reports.
At least 178 Palestinians have been injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem, Reuters reported late Friday.
The big picture: The clashes come amid growing anger over the threatened eviction of Palestinians from their homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem. Tensions have also escalated in the occupied West Bank in recent weeks.
The World Health Organization authorized China’s Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use on Friday, making it the sixth vaccine to receive clearance from the global health agency.
Why it matters: The authorization will allow COVAX, the WHO's initiative to equitably develop and distribute coronavirus vaccines, to purchase Sinopharm's vaccine and bolster its supply, according to the New York Times.
Amnesty International announced Friday that it would restore jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny's status as a "prisoner of conscience," apologizing to Navalny and Russian activists for revoking the designation in February.
Why it matters: Amnesty made the decision to strip the Russian opposition leader of the status after being flooded with complaints — which the group acknowledged appeared to be "part of a coordinated campaign abroad to discredit" Navalny — about his past xenophobic comments.
Slow global COVID-19 vaccination rates are raising concerns that worse variants of the coronavirus could be percolating, ready to rip into the world before herd immunity can diminish their impact.
Why it matters: The U.S. aims to at least partially vaccinate 70% of adults by July 4, a move expected to accelerate the current drop of new infections here. But variants are the wild card, and in a global pandemic where only about 8% of all people have received one dose, the virus will continue mutating unabated.
A police operation against a group of alleged drug traffickers in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday ended in a shootout that left at least 25 people dead, Reuters reported.
Why it matters: It is the country's deadliest police raid since 2005, per Reuters.