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People holding up a Taiwan National Flag in Hong Kong, Oct. 10, 2019. Photo: Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

World Health Organization legal counsel Steven Solomon said on May 4 that two WHO member nations have proposed the organization grant observer status to Taiwan.

Why it matters: China opposes the WHO granting recognition to Taiwan. The decision will likely be seen as a reflection of Beijing's influence within the organization.

  • Solomon said the 194 WHO member states will discuss Taiwan's status at the upcoming World Health Assembly, the organization's decision-making body, to be held virtually on May 18 and 19.

What's happening: Taiwan's successful coronavirus response and its early warnings to the WHO have renewed international debate around its lack of official status in the organization.

Background: Taiwan had observer status in the WHO from 2009 to 2016, when Tsai Ing-wen, who favored more distant relations with China, was elected president of Taiwan.

  • After Tsai's election, Beijing took numerous measures to isolate Taiwan internationally, including poaching several of its few remaining diplomatic allies.

What to watch: The debate over Taiwan's status may turn into a superpower showdown.

  • China will oppose restoring Taiwan's observer status and will likely seek to mobilize its supporters to shut down any related discussion.
  • The U.S. has long been a strong supporter of Taiwan, and this morning Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged WHO member states to give Taiwan observer status.

Go deeper: Johns Hopkins coronavirus map changes "Taiwan" to "Taipei and environs"

Go deeper

Anti-abortion activists' Supreme Court dreams are coming true

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela. Photos: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

This is the moment the conservative legal movement has been building toward for decades: The solidly conservative Supreme Court is about to hear two major abortion cases within a month of each other.

Why it matters: All of this is likely to end with significant new restrictions on abortion and a clear path for Republican-led states to win the next big abortion cases, too — the culmination of a long and bitter fight for control of the judiciary.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Trump's volatile return to the stock market

Expand chart
Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios Visuals 

Donald Trump this week became both a meme stock and a social-media entrepreneur at the same time, by announcing that a new company called Trump Media & Technology Group was going to merge with an existing company listed on the stock market.

Why it matters: The medium-term promise of Trump's media company is that it will replace Twitter for anybody wanting to keep track of Trump's messages. The short-term promise is that it can be a hot new speculative vehicle for people wanting to get rich quick in the stock market.

Updated 14 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.