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.

All world stories

2 mins ago - World

The political ramifications of Israel’s actions

Images out of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict depict an imbalance in military might — Israel’s Iron Dome defense system neutralizing rockets launched by Hamas, while Israel’s retaliation against Hamas has led to more than 200 Palestinain deaths, including 61 children. World leaders, such as President Biden, are calling for a ceasefire.

Axios Re:Cap producer Naomi Shavin is joined by Axios Tel Aviv author Barak Ravid to discuss the context of the current strife, the political motivations of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and whether Israel’s actions this month could have long-term consequences for the political landscape there and in the U.S.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Several states report zero COVID deaths for the first time in months — CDC says schools should still universally require masks and physical distancing.
  2. Politics: New York to lift mask mandate for vaccinated people — CDC director says politics didn't play a role in abrupt mask policy shift.
  3. Vaccines: Sanofi, GSK COVID vaccine shows strong immune response in phase 2 trials — Vaccine-hesitant Americans cite inaccurate side effects — 600,000 kids between 12 and 15 have received Pfizer dose since FDA authorization.
  4. Business: How retailers are responding to the latest CDC guidance — Delta to require all new employees be vaccinated — Target, CVS and other stores ease mask requirements after CDC guidance.
  5. World: World's largest vaccine maker expects to resume exports by end of 2021 — Biden administration to send 20 million U.S.-authorized vaccine doses abroad.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
3 hours ago - World

Scoop: Biden to waive sanctions on company in charge of Nord Stream 2

Angela Merkel (left) with Vladimir Putin. Photo: Adam Berry/Getty Images

The Biden administration will waive sanctions on the corporate entity and CEO overseeing the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline into Germany, according to two sources briefed on the decision.

Why it matters: The decision indicates the Biden administration is not willing to compromise its relationship with Germany over this pipeline, and underscores the difficulties President Biden faces in matching actions to rhetoric on a tougher approach to Russia.

5 hours ago - World

Huawei's cloud services find government buyers

Chinese telecom giant Huawei is finding plenty of government buyers for its cloud services despite growing suspicion of the company, according to new data compiled by the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Reconnecting Asia Project.

The big picture: Middle-income countries without strong civil freedoms are the most common customers for Huawei's cloud and e-government services.

5 hours ago - World

The novelist now locked away in Xinjiang's security state

Perhat Tursun in his apartment in Urumqi, China, in 2015. Photo: Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian

Perhat Tursun is a prominent modernist writer in Xinjiang whose work is inspired by Kafka and Rumi — and who is now serving a 16-year sentence in a Chinese prison.

Why it matters: Perhat is one of the hundreds of Uyghur intellectuals jailed by the Chinese Communist Party as it seeks to erase an independent Uyghur culture.

5 hours ago - World

Beijing's antitrust push poses a problem for Western regulators

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Chinese government's anti-monopoly machinery presents a major challenge to U.S. and European regulators, a new book argues.

Why it matters: China's huge markets are attracting investment from multinational corporations and shaping the behavior of its own globe-trotting companies — giving international heft to the country's idiosyncratic antitrust enforcement and putting it on a collision course with Western-style regulation.

6 hours ago - World

World's largest vaccine maker expects to resume exports by end of 2021

A Serum Institute of India truck driving in Maharashtra, India, on May 5. Photo: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg via Getty Imagesg

The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest maker of vaccines, announced Tuesday that it expects to resume exporting coronavirus vaccines by the end of 2021.

Why it matters: The delay could be a major setback for the United Nations-backed COVAX initiative, which was created to help pool resources to produce and distribute coronavirus vaccines to countries regardless of their wealth.

Arab American activists to protest Biden's Michigan visit over Israel support

"Free Palestine" rally in Dearborn on May 15. Photo: Matthew Hatcher/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arab American activists are planning a series of protests on Tuesday during President Biden's visit to Dearborn, Michigan, which has one of the highest percentage of Arab Americans of any U.S. city, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Why it matters: Arab American activists are outraged over Biden's public support of Israel's military operation in Gaza, which has killed more than 200 Palestinians, including 61 children.

Ina Fried, author of Login
6 hours ago - Technology

Apple faces dilemma over Chinese censorship and surveillance

Apple CEO Tim Cook attends China Development Forum 2018. Photo: Visual China Group via Getty Images

China is home to most of Apple's manufacturing and accounts for a significant and growing share of its sales. At the same time, doing business in China requires the company to make significant concessions that run counter to the company's positioning as a protector of the "human right" of privacy.

Between the lines: Apple says that it's simply following local laws in China, as it does elsewhere. However, China's "local laws" require granting the government access to a great deal of user content, as well as severely limiting what can be said about a wide range of issues, from Taiwan and Tibet to mentions of the 1989 Tienanmen Square uprising.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
9 hours ago - World

Japan and Europe's economic contractions weigh on global recovery

Japan's economy shrank by 5.1% in the first quarter, government data showed, putting the world's third-largest economy again at risk of falling into recession.

Where it stands: With Japan's economy shrinking by more than expected in Q1 and at risk for another contraction in Q2, the global recovery theme looks to be at risk.

Israeli-Palestinian fight spills over into social media

Credit: Data: Zignal Labs; Chart: Axios Visuals

As outrage about the conflict in Gaza and misinformation about clashes between Palestinians and Israelis snowball online, social media companies face yet another test of their capacity to manage their platforms.

Why it matters: Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians haven't been this high since the last round of combat in Gaza in 2014, and social media has become a much larger part of our everyday lives and media diets since then.

12 hours ago - Health

U.S. confronted by calls for larger effort in vaccine exports

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

President Joe Biden's plan to share an additional 20 million COVID-19 vaccine doses overseas brings the U.S. total exports to 80 million. But experts and some policymakers say it's not enough.

Driving the news: The world has reached a situation of "vaccine apartheid", World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday, saying "the big problem is a lack of sharing."

Updated 13 hours ago - World

In photos: Scenes from Israel-Hamas aerial bombardments

Explosions light-up the sky above buildings in Gaza City as Israeli forces shell the Palestinian enclave early on May 18.

Israel and Hamas continued aerial bombardments into Tuesday morning as over a week of fighting showed no sign of ending despite international calls for a ceasefire, per Reuters.

Why it matters: The worst violence in the region since 2014 has resulted in the deaths of 212 people in Gaza, ruled by Hamas, and 10 in Israel. 61 Palestinian children and two Israeli children are among those killed since the aerial exchanges began on May 10, Reuters notes.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
16 hours ago - Energy & Environment

IEA analysis charts "narrow" pathway to Paris climate goal

Photovoltaic solar panels at the power plant in La Colle des Mees, Alpes de Haute Provence, southeastern France. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP via Getty Images

The pathway for transforming global energy systems to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 is "narrow but still achievable" and demands unprecedented acceleration away from fossil fuels, an International Energy Agency report published Tuesday concludes.

Why it matters: It provides detailed analysis and estimates of what's needed for a good shot at limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels — the Paris Agreement benchmark for avoiding some of the most damaging effects of climate change.

16 hours ago - World

Death toll in Myanmar military's crackdown surpasses 800

Protesters make three-finger salutes during a demonstration against Myanmar's military coup in Yangon on Saturday. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

Security forces have killed at least 802 activists in Myanmar since the military took power in a Feb. 1 coup, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPI) monitoring group announced Tuesday.

The big picture: Some 4,120 activists have now been arrested, charged or sentenced in the military's continued crackdown on protesters, the AAPI said. The army has in recent days been fighting militias in the Indian border state of Chin, where martial law was declared, Reuters reports.

17 hours ago - World

In photos: Deadly Cyclone Tauktae leaves trail of destruction across India

A police officer helps a public transport driver cross a flooded street due to heavy rain caused by Tropical Cyclone Tauktae in Mumbai, India, on May 17. Photo: Ashish Vaishnav/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Tropical Cyclone Tauktae killed at least 16 people in India after making landfall in Gujarat Monday, packing 100mph winds, as the country continued to face surging infection rates and deaths from COVID-19, per Reuters.

The big picture: Tauktae unleashed heavy rains and winds as it moved across Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra. Over 200,000 people were evacuated from Gujarat, and ports, airports and vaccination centers shut across the state and Mumbai, Reuters reports. Tauktae weakened from a Category 3 storm to a "severe cyclonic storm" Tuesday.

20 hours ago - World

Schumer's Israel vise

Sen. Chuck Schumer addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in March 2014. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's longtime support for Israel puts him on a collision course with the progressive wing of his party as the conflict between Israel and Hamas worsens.

Why it matters: This is the toughest political position the New York Democrat has been in since becoming majority leader. The fighting in the Middle East is dividing his party — and creating a clear rift among its different wings.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
20 hours ago - World

Behind Nepal's alarming COVID-19 surge

A cremation site for COVID-19 victims in Kathmandu. Photo: Prakash Mathema/AFP via Getty Images

While India's second wave has alarmed the world, the situation is equally dire across the border in Nepal, which has now surpassed India's per capita death rate.

The big picture: A number of geopolitical, cultural and medical factors have created the perfect pandemic storm in the landlocked Asian nation.

More world stories