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Pompeo briefs reporters Wednesday. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Foreign ministers of the G7 countries failed to agree to a joint statement following a video conference Wednesday in part because the Trump administration insisted the statement refer to COVID-19 as the "Wuhan virus," Der Spiegel first reported and multiple U.S. outlets have confirmed.

Why it matters: The world's two most powerful countries are in a battle of narratives over the pandemic, with some in Beijing spreading disinformation about its origins and U.S. officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo increasingly blaming the Chinese government.

  • The phrase "Wuhan virus" has not been adopted by other countries, and G7 members considered it needlessly antagonistic.
  • The countries ultimately agreed on a common set of principles and actions to confront the coronavirus, and each released their own statements after the video conference.

Go deeper: Top Chinese official disowns coronavirus conspiracy

Go deeper

Defense taking steps to mitigate civilian harm after botched airstrikes

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia on Sept. 1, 2021. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a directive Thursday to improve the U.S. military's approach to civilian harm mitigation and response, calling it a "strategic and a moral imperative."

Why it matters: The Pentagon has faced criticism for years for amassing civilian casualties in its missions, especially in the Middle East. New York Times investigations have found systemic failures in efforts to prevent civilian deaths, as well as a cover-up of a 2019 airstrike that killed dozens of women and children in Syria.

2 hours ago - World

Mapped: The world's most and least corrupt countries

Expand chart
Data: Transparency International; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

The most corrupt governments in the world are in South Sudan, Syria and Somalia, according to Transparency International's annual index, while the "cleanest" are in Denmark, Finland and New Zealand.

  • Breaking it down: The U.S. is 27th, China 66th, India 85th, Brazil 96th and Russia 136th. Scroll over the map to see each country's ranking.

Crypto leads to massive surge in online scams

Expand chart
Reproduced from FTC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Bogus cryptocurrency investments led to an unprecedented increase in online scams last year, according to new data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Why it matters: Cryptocurrency is an easy target because while it's surging in popularity, there's still a lot of confusion about how it works.

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