The head of Sudan’s military, Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, speaks during a press conference, Khartoum, Sudan, Oct. 26, 2021 (AP photo by Marwan Ali).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Africa Watch, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about the African continent. Subscribe to receive it by email every Friday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. Across Sudan, people have taken to the streets to protest a military coup that threatens to derail their aspirations for a democratic future. On Oct. 25, just weeks after a previous failed coup attempt, Sudan’s military leadership detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, several key civilian government officials […]

EU leaders pose for a group photo at an EU summit in Brussels, Oct. 21, 2021 (AP photo by Olivier Matthys).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Europe Decoder, which includes a look at the week’s top stories from and about Europe. Subscribe to receive it by email every Thursday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your inbox. European leaders are preparing for two big global summits taking place in Europe in the coming days: the G-20 Summit in Rome, Italy, and the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, or COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland. As the European Union strives to step up as a global power, this is […]

A butterfly alights on a leaf at the Yasuni National Park in the Upper Napo Valley of the western Amazon region, in Ecuador, Aug. 20, 2010 (AP photo by Dolores Ochoa).

October has been a busy month in the field of sustainable finance. China, the world’s largest bilateral creditor, hosted the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity; public development banks recommitted to aligning their practices with the Paris Agreement at the Finance in Common Summit; and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the World Economic Forum jointly launched a Global Alliance for Sustainable Investment.  This weekend, leaders from the G-20 countries will meet in Rome and renew their commitment to climate finance. And next month, the world’s governments will meet in Glasgow for the […]

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann during a press briefing at the OECD Ministerial Council meeting, Oct. 6, 2021, Paris (AP photo by Patrick Semansky).

A new agreement negotiated under the auspices of the G-20 and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development aims to crack down on tax havens by subjecting the world’s largest and most profitable multinational corporations to a minimum corporate tax rate of 15 percent. The deal has been agreed by 136 countries and jurisdictions, collectively representing more than 90 percent of the global economy. The OECD is hoping it will become effective by 2023. Many economists and commentators argue that such a deal is long overdue, given the ability of many gigantic corporations to avoid paying taxes on all or […]

Shawan Jabarin, director of the al-Haq human rights group, at the organization’s offices in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Oct. 23, 2021 (AP photo by Majdi Mohammed).

Editor’s note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Middle East Memo, which takes a look at what’s happening, what’s being said and what’s on the horizon in the Middle East. Subscribe to receive it by email every Tuesday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it. Last week, Israel placed “terrorism” designations on six Palestinian human rights groups, escalating an ongoing legal and political campaign against Palestinian civil society. The move drew condemnations from the international human rights community, while initially attracting a muted response from the United States. Israeli officials reportedly plan to travel to […]

A mother holds her baby receiving a malaria vaccine as part of a trial at the Walter Reed Project Research Center in Kombewa, western Kenya, Oct. 30, 2009 (AP photo by Karel Prinsloo).

No animal on the planet is responsible for more death than the mosquito. They may lack the shark’s sharp teeth, the snake’s poisonous bite or the crocodile’s powerful jaws, but they carry parasites that cause malaria, which sickened 229 million people and killed more than 400,000 in 2019 alone. Reducing the prevalence of malaria has long been a top global health priority, but mosquitos’ ability to develop resistance to insecticides and the emergence of new drug-resistant strains of the disease have continually stymied treatment and prevention efforts. Humans may have finally found a way to fight back. Earlier this month, the World Health Organization officially approved the first-ever malaria vaccine, […]

Italian Premier Mario Draghi addresses the media during a press conference, Rome, Oct. 5, 2021 (AP photo by Andrew Medichini).

When the leaders of the G-20’s member states convene for their Oct. 30-31 summit in Rome, there will be no time for fiddling. The planet is on fire. The pandemic smolders on. And the global recovery is faltering. The G-20 was created for just such a moment and just such challenges. To meet them, the assembled heads of governments must make credible commitments to accelerate decarbonization, expand vaccine access and alleviate developing nations’ crushing burden of debt.  The G-20 was born out of crisis—or crises, to be exact. It first emerged in 1999 as an informal network of finance ministers […]

Followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr celebrate after the announcement of the results of parliamentary elections, Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 11, 2021 (AP photo by Khalid Mohammed).

Editor’s note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Middle East Memo, which takes a look at what’s happening, what’s being said and what’s on the horizon in the Middle East. Subscribe to receive it by email every Monday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it. Iraq has begun the long, tortuous and now-familiar process of post-election negotiations among the country’s powerful, mostly armed blocs, and the interregnum between the Oct. 10 parliamentary election and the swearing-in of a new government could potentially stretch into next summer.  The election results have made possible many important shifts […]

Participants attend the New Africa-France Summit 2021, Montpellier, France, Oct. 8, 2021 (AP photo by Daniel Cole).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Africa Watch, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about the African continent. Subscribe to receive it by email every Friday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. For the first time since the inaugural event in 1973, the Franco-Africa Summit—rebranded as the New Africa-France Summit, or as some referred to it on Twitter and other social media platforms, #AfricaFranceRemix—did not feature a single African head of state or government, or ministerial delegation. Instead, the […]

Then-Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz speaks during a press conference, Belgrade, Serbia, Sept. 4, 2021 (AP file photo by Darko Vojinovic).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Europe Decoder, which includes a look at the week’s top stories from and about Europe. Subscribe to receive it by email every Thursday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your inbox. The sudden and unexpected resignation of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is causing shock waves across Europe, where the continent’s center-right was already reeling from the impending departure from the political stage of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The ripple effects of Kurz’s ouster over a corruption scandal are still reverberating, complicating the already difficult calculations […]

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern holds up a card showing a new alert system for COVID-19, in Wellington, New Zealand, March 21, 2020 (AP photo by Nick Perry).

COVID-19 has walloped the world’s women. As the virus spread, women—who are overrepresented in hard-hit industries like food service, hospitality, education and, crucially, health care—found themselves vulnerable, unemployed and without a social safety net, and often neglected by government crisis responses. Closures of businesses and schools, necessitated by social distancing, have pushed millions of women from the global workforce: Worldwide, women lost 64 million jobs—$800 billion in earnings—in 2020. At the same time, women’s retreat to the home widened gendered inequities in household labor, as women shouldered ever-greater child care responsibilities and more domestic chores. More time at home also […]

Kenyans read the morning newspapers following the Pandora Papers revelations that President Uhuru Kenyatta is among the beneficiaries of secret financial accounts, Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 5, 2021 (AP photo by Brian Inganga).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Africa Watch, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about the African continent. Subscribe to receive it by email every Friday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox.   Nearly 50 politicians and public officials from 18 African countries have connections to secretive offshore financial structures and trusts in tax havens, according to the Pandora Papers investigation. The leaders implicated by the leaked files—the latest effort of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, or ICIJ—include Kenyan […]

Syrian children walking through a camp for displaced people near the village of Kafr Aruq, in Idlib province, Syria, Jan. 28. 2021 (AP photo by Ghaith Alsayed).

Today, nine of every 10 people in the world who have been internally displaced by conflict have been living in a state of limbo for over a decade. For many of the millions of people who were displaced last year alone, fleeing to escape violent conflict and natural disasters while remaining in their home countries, the end of displacement may not come soon, if at all. When short-term humanitarian aid and media attention dry up, they will be largely forgotten. In a highly anticipated report launched in late September, the United Nations’ High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement called for concrete measures […]

Vice President Kamala Harris is greeted as she exits Air Force Two on arrival in Guatemala City, June 6, 2021 (AP photo by Jacquelyn Martin).

While the Biden administration tries to navigate the domestic political obstacles to implementing the president’s so-called Build Back Better plan, it has quietly started laying the groundwork for a parallel program with major geopolitical implications. Just getting off the ground, Build Back Better World, or B3W, is a plan to improve global infrastructure, widely defined, with an eye to not only raise living standards but, just as importantly, to counter China’s growing influence. The idea was formally announced by the Group of Seven leaders during the G-7 summit last June. It aims to take on China’s high-profile Belt and Road Initiative, or […]

Then-Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seko at a press conference a week before relinquishing power, Libreville, Gabon, May 8, 1997 (AP Photo by Enric Marti).

In 1997, after his longtime Western backers, Belgium and the United States, had abandoned him, Mobutu Sese Seko, the ruler of the country then known as Zaire, turned to mercenaries from Serbia and Ukraine in a desperate bid to beat back an accelerating insurgency. In the middle of that war, I flew to Kisangani—the famous, centrally located river-port city that is a gateway to the vast country’s west—to watch the mercenaries drill Zairian troops and take up positions to repel an impending attack on the town. The mercenaries looked fearsome and seemed to have everything they needed to defend the […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a plenary session at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, Sept. 3, 2021 (AP photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko).

In early September, Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, a port city on the Pacific coast, to issue a call to action. Russia, he said, needed a new generation of pioneers to revive the country’s eastern frontier. “The development of the Far Eastern region is of huge importance to Russia,” Putin said, urging the assembled businesspeople to invest in the region. No less than “the development of our country not [just] for decades, but for centuries to come” depended on it, he added.  Nearly 30 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia’s […]

The World Bank Group headquarters in Washington, D.C., Sept. 24, 2021 (Sipa photo by Graeme Sloan via AP Images).

Editor’s note: Guest columnist Richard Gowan is filling in for Stewart Patrick, who will return Oct. 11. Can we trust international institutions to give us impartial information about the state of the world? This question is at the heart of a controversy currently roiling the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. It is likely to haunt other multilateral organizations in the future, too. Kristalina Georgieva, currently the IMF’s managing director, stands accused of pressuring staff at the World Bank, where she previously occupied a senior post, to improve China’s position in an annual ranking of countries’ openness to business. […]

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