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Visitors walk past an image of President Xi Jinping holding a ballot ahead of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing.

REUTERS/Florence Lo

What We’re Watching: China’s party congress, US-Mexico migrant deal

China's party is having a party

China's ruling Communist Party kicks off its 20th Congress on Sunday. By far the most-followed event in Chinese politics, the CCP will give itself, as always, a (glowing) report card and lay out how it'll govern China until 2027. All eyes will be on Xi Jinping, a shoo-in to get a precedent-shattering third term as CCP secretary-general, paving the way for him to become China’s leader for life. What's more, Xi is also expected to adopt the symbolic title of “Helmsman,” putting him at the same level as Mao Zedong. Perhaps even more importantly, by the end of next week, we'll know the composition of Politburo's elite Standing Committee, whose seven members — including Xi himself — have the final say on major political, economic, and social issues. If the bulk of them are Xi loyalists instead of technocrats, that'll be a signal that he prioritizes political control over the structural reforms China needs to fix its big problems. Finally, keep an eye out for the order in which the seven men step onto the stage of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. If none of them is in his mid-50s and stands close to Xi, that’ll mean he hasn’t picked a successor yet.

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Paige Fusco

The Graphic Truth: Bracing for a surge at the US-Mexico border

The Biden administration is preparing to lift Title 42, a Trump-era immigration rule that allows the US to immediately turn away asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border because of the public health crisis. Since it was first enforced in March 2020, the measure has been used to expel around 1.7 million people, accounting for more than 50% of those who crossed the border illegally in 2021. Authorities are bracing for up to 18,000 border crossings per day when the Biden administration lifts the public health order on May 23. We take a look at encounters between border patrol agents and migrants at the southern US border from 2019 to 2022.

What We’re Watching: SCOTUS immigration ruling, Barbecue runs Haiti quake relief, Eritreans back in Tigray

SCOTUS brings back "Remain in Mexico" policy: The US Supreme Court has ordered the Biden administration to reinstate a Trump-era immigration rule that requires asylum-seekers who attempt to cross the US southern border to wait in Mexico until their applications get processed. This is bad news for Joe Biden for two reasons. First, he cancelled that policy because it failed to accomplish its stated goal of reducing processing backlogs, while leaving thousands of migrants stranded in Mexico in legal limbo. Second, Biden knows he can't actually implement the policy anew if Mexico doesn't agree to accept migrants whom the US wants to send back. More broadly, the ruling throws yet another wrench into an already testy US-Mexico relationship — with tens of thousands of vulnerable human beings caught in the middle. Biden, who's tied up with the Afghanistan fiasco these days, wants to avoid a tussle with the Mexicans amid record numbers of migrants arriving at the US border so far this year. The Mexicans, for their part, will probably want something in exchange (maybe COVID vaccines) to be helpful.

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Why Election Reform Laws Are Deadlocked On Capitol Hill | US Politics In :60 | GZERO Media

Why election reform laws are deadlocked on Capitol Hill

Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

With the For the People Act not passed in the Senate, what's the outlook on Democrats' election reform?

Well, the thing about election laws is that they're really all about power, how to get it, how to maintain it once you have it. And the Republicans and the Democrats are unlikely to agree on even the basics of what's wrong with our election system today, and they were definitely unlikely to agree on how to reform those things. So there's really no consensus on Capitol Hill on what's broken about the current election law. You've got Republicans at the state level who are pushing, rolling back some of the more generous rules that were laid out during coronavirus. You also have some that are trying to combat President Trump's allegations of widespread fraud during the 2020 election cycle. Democrats, on the other hand, are doing everything they can to make it easier to vote, to expand access to the vote. And that's part of what was in the federal legislation that Republicans voted down.

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What We're Watching & What We're Ignoring

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING

Another shutdown showdown — Unless the US Congress and President Trump reach a deal to fund the federal government by Friday, there will be another partial government shutdown. The issue, once again, is President Trump's request for $5.7 billion to begin building a wall along the US-Mexico border, which the Democrats refuse to grant. Late on Monday night, Democrats and Republicans reached a compromise "in principle" on about $1.3 billion in funding for new border barriers as well as no change to the number of detention spots for undocumented migrants funded by the budget. Democrats had wanted to reduce that number of "detention beds," while the GOP sought to increase it. Congressional leaders seem optimistic, but we are watching to see if this compromise will be acceptable to President Trump himself.

Polar invasion of Russia — Over the weekend more than 50 polar bears stormed a restricted military community on a Russian island in the Arctic, prowling through garbage dumps and apartment blocks in search of food. The local government has declared a state of emergency. Wildlife experts blame the crisis in part on global warming – as Arctic ice floes melt, the polar bears' vast traditional hunting grounds are shrinking, forcing them to look for food in human settlements. As we've written, the Russian government sees a lucrative opportunity to profit from new shipping lanes as the polar ice recedes – but if the polar bears have anything to say about it, things could get ugly fast.

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