What We’re Watching: America Rules the Waves & An Istanbul Do-Over

US warships steaming toward Iran – A US aircraft carrier group is now headed to the Middle East following warnings from Washington that Iran and its proxy forces have given "troubling and escalatory" indications of a possible attack on US forces in the region. It's not immediately clear what these indications are, but we're certainly watching for any dangerous escalation in US-Iranian military tensions. Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the US from the Iranian nuclear agreement.

The Istanbul Do-Over – Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wanted another chance to win local elections in Istanbul, and he'll get one on June 23. A Turkish court ruled on Monday that a previous vote, which the opposition won by a margin of about 14,000 votes out of more than 8 million cast on March 31, must be re-run. We'll be watching not only for the new election result but for how Erdogan, the opposition, and residents of Istanbul react to them – if you call a do-over, you better be sure to win when it's done over, right?

What We're Ignoring: The UK's Newest Royal & A Deep, Deep Hole

Baby Sussex – The Signal team sends hearty congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex—that's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for all you Americans—on the birth of their first child, a boy. But given that this kid is only seventh in line of royal succession, he better be doing card tricks by Thursday or we won't have much further interest in him. (Trivia fans: per our friend Dave Lawler at Axios, seventh in line to the US presidency is Attorney General William Barr — how's that for an expert weaving of news flows?)

Jumping down the deepest hole on Earth – You probably know that there was a Cold War race to the moon, but less familiar is the fierce scramble to the center of the Earth. By the time the USSR fell, Soviet scientists had drilled the deepest hole in the planet, more than 7 miles under the Siberian tundra, in an unfinished bid to reach all the way to the earth's mantle. The Kola Superdeep Hole has been capped since then, but Japanese scientists now want to take the plunge. We are doing our best to ignore this extraordinary story, because we fall down WAY too many fascinating rabbit holes in our line of work as is...

How much material do we use to send a package? Too much. Does recycling help? Yes – but not really. Packaging material often accumulates as waste, contributing to its own "polluting weight." To solve our packaging dilemma, Finland came up with RePack: a "circular" solution for the reuse of material.

Learn more about RePack in Eni's new Energy Superfacts series.

Anyone with a pulse and a smartphone probably knows by now that the US-China rivalry is heating up these days, and fast. (If you know anyone who doesn't, get them a Signal subscription.)

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A steady increase of violence in the Sahel region of Africa over the past eight years has imposed fear and hardship on millions of the people who live there. It has also pushed the governments of Sahel countries to work together to fight terrorists.

The region's troubles have also captured the attention of European leaders, who worry that if instability there continues, it could generate a movement of migrants that might well dwarf the EU refugee crisis of 2015-2016.

But is Europe helping to make things better?

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Ian Bremmer's QuickTake:

It's Monday, coronavirus still going on. Plenty to talk about.

I mean, I guess the biggest news in the United States is the fact that we still don't have any stimulus going forward. I mean, now, keep in mind, this is on the back of an exceptionally strong initial US economic response, over 10% of GDP, ensuring relief for small businesses, for big corporations, and most importantly, for everyday American citizens, many of whom, large double digit numbers, lost their jobs, a lot of whom lost them permanently but didn't have to worry, at least in the near term, because they were getting cash from the government. Is that going to continue?

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Lebanon's government resigns: Lebanon's government resigned on Monday over last week's twin explosions at Beirut's port, which killed at least 160 people and shattered much of the city's downtown areas. After promising a thorough investigation into why dangerous explosives were stored at the port so close to civilian areas, Prime Minister Hassan Diab said he would step down in solidarity with the people." The people in question are furious. Thousands of Lebanese have taken to the streets in recent days demanding "revolution" and the resignation of a political class whose corruption and mismanagement had plunged the country into economic ruin even before last week's blasts. The international community, meanwhile, held a conference on Sunday and pledged $300 million in humanitarian aid to rebuild battered Beirut, with aid distribution to be coordinated by the UN. But the attendees, which included US President Donald Trump, the European Union, and the Gulf Arab states, said that the funds would not be released until the Lebanese government reforms its bloated, inefficient, and corrupt public sector. So far, Beirut's power brokers have resisted change. As rage on the streets intensifies — with angry protesters swarming the city center and setting public property and government buildings ablaze even after cabinet members resigned — it remains unclear who will run Lebanon going forward and guide the country's rebuilding process.

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