A screen displays a notice on an iPhone in New York, Oct. 29, 2019 (AP photo by Jenny Kane).

This is the web version of our subscriber-only Weekly Wrap-Up newsletter, which uses relevant WPR coverage to provide background and context to the week’s top stories. Subscribe to receive it by email every Saturday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. Explosive revelations this week from the Pegasus Project detailed the widespread use of the Pegasus surveillance software program by repressive governments and three democracies—Hungary, India and Mexico—to spy on their own citizen activists and journalists, but also on foreign journalists and even heads of government. The software, developed and sold by the Israeli […]

Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin attends a Parliament session in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, July 13, 2020 (AP photo by Vincent Thian).

Southeast Asia has in recent weeks become an epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indonesia is recording the highest number of confirmed new cases per day in the world, and even one-time success stories like Thailand and Vietnam are experiencing major outbreaks. Myanmar, which remains mired in crisis following a coup in February, is suffering from the unchecked spread of the virus. And Malaysia is reporting roughly 12,000 cases per day, the highest per capita average in the region. But unlike every other Southeast Asian state save Myanmar, Malaysia’s response is being hampered by chaotic governance and persistent political infighting. With Parliament suspended since January due to a controversial […]

Young minors lie inside a pod at a detention center for unaccompanied children run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Donna, Texas, March 30, 2021 (AP photo by Dario Lopez-Mills).

Over the past few weeks, activists led by former border patrol agent turned refugee advocate Jenn Budd gathered at Fort Bliss military base outside El Paso, Texas, to protest the continued detention of children, many of them unaccompanied, in crowded conditions while they await asylum hearings. The protests are a continuation of direct action sparked off two summers ago by then-President Donald Trump’s draconian immigration policies, which included forcing immigrants to await asylum hearings in the dangerous city of Juarez, Mexico, rather than in El Paso; separating children from their parents or guardians upon detention, while deporting 1,400 parents back to their […]

A nurse at Kenyatta National Hospital fills a syringe from a vial of the Covid-19 Covishield vaccine in Nairobi, Kenya, March 24, 2021 (AP photo by Robert Bonet).

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. We are all in this together. COVID-19 is the great leveler. The pandemic knows no borders. Build back better together.  The coronavirus pandemic has yielded enough shopworn cliches to last an entire lifetime of Model United Nations speeches. Yet, nearly 18 months after Africa’s first recorded case […]

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, second from right, chairs the first weekly Cabinet meeting of his new government in Jerusalem, June 20, 2021 (pool photo by Emmanuel Dunand via AP).

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has been in office for just over a month, but his government is moving quickly to set a new tone on foreign policy. Earlier this month, Bennett quietly visited Jordan on a mission to repair a relationship that had deteriorated under his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu. At the same time, the new Israeli government is seeking to build on Netanyahu’s accomplishments, particularly the diplomatic normalization agreements with some Arab states, known as the Abraham Accords. On the Trend Lines podcast this week, Michael Koplow, policy director at the Israel Policy Forum, joined WPR’s Elliot Waldman to […]

The empty area for TSA screening of travelers at the John F. Kennedy airport's Terminal 1 in New York, March 13, 2020 (AP photo by Kathy Willens).

Last week, the European Union surpassed the United States when it comes to the share of its population that is vaccinated against the coronavirus.  More than 56 percent of people in the EU have now received at least one vaccine dose, compared with just under 56 percent in the U.S. The EU looks set to overtake the U.S. shortly on the percentage of people who have received a second dose as well, which now stands at 48 percent in the U.S. and 44 percent in the EU. Five EU countries, including Belgium and Spain, have already administered second doses to […]

Gabriel Boric addresses supporters after receiving the news of his victory in Chile's primary elections, July 18, 2021 (AP photo by Felipe Figueroa).

Primary elections in Chile over the weekend brought a sigh of relief to those in Latin America anxious about growing polarization in their countries. Many observers have feared that the crises roiling the region will prompt voters to flock to the extremes, on both the right and left, and create further instability and uncertainty. Those concerns were heightened after Peru’s first-round presidential election, featuring 18 candidates, catapulted the far-right and far-left candidates into a tense runoff, followed by a perilous period of uncertainty that only came to a close this week, six weeks after the votes were cast.  But voters in Chile […]

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, center, and other EU officials speak during a press conference at EU headquarters in Brussels, July 14, 2021 (AP photo by Valeria Mongelli).

The European Commission last week unveiled a package of climate policy proposals it dubbed “Fit for 55,” a nod to the European Union’s goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent relative to 1990 levels by 2030. While those proposals have now grabbed the spotlight, they are still subject to negotiation and potentially significant changes during the lengthy legislative process they will now undergo before becoming law.  With that in mind, it’s worth taking a looking at the legal framework from which those policy proposals emerged: a new climate law approved by the European Parliament and the European Council […]

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, center, chairs the weekly Cabinet meeting as Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, left, looks on, at the Knesset in Jerusalem, July 19, 2021 (pool photo by Gil Cohen-Magen via AP).

Over the course of his 12 uninterrupted years as prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu left a profound mark on Israel’s foreign policy. Since taking the reins from him last month, his successor, Naftali Bennett, has tried to capitalize on some of Netanyahu’s accomplishments—such as the diplomatic normalization agreements with Arab states that are known as the Abraham Accords—while also charting a new course when it comes to relations with traditional partners like the United States and Jordan. This week on Trend Lines, Michael Koplow, a WPR contributor who serves as policy director at the Israel Policy Forum, joins WPR’s Elliot Waldman […]

Riot police stand guard in front of an American flag near the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong, July 4, 2020 (AP photo by Kin Cheung).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, China Note, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about China. Subscribe to receive it by email every Wednesday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox.  Washington imposed new sanctions on seven deputy directors in the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong last week. They are the latest addition to a list of 24 officials who have been blacklisted by the U.S. over their roles in undermining the city’s autonomy.  Separately, […]

Activists wearing masks depicting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Joe Biden hold signs reading “Free the vaccine” and “Waive the patents,” in front of the Brandenburg Gate, in Berlin, Germany, July 14, 2021 (AP photo by Fabian Sommer).

For just about anyone who spends time thinking about the future of the world, the fast-unfolding competition between the United States and China looms as one of the most important issues shaping both expectations and uncertainty over the near and medium term. The rivalry between these two countries, which boast the biggest economies and most powerful militaries in the world, is ostensibly over global leadership. The international crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, however, has revealed another darker reality: Where it counts most—meaning for the well-being of the largest numbers of people in the world—there is no real leadership competition. […]

President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House, in Washington, July 19, 2021 (AP photo Andrew Harnik).

In early June, President Joe Biden issued a memorandum “establishing the fight against corruption as a core United States national security interest” and ordering a significant mobilization of government resources to address this issue. The move comes amid heightened public awareness of the threats to democracy and security posed by transnational corruption, mainly due to the Panama Papers leaks that began in 2016 as well as the various investigations into allegations of malfeasance against former President Donald Trump and his associates.  Yet while some federal agencies and departments have taken steps to turn Biden’s laudable rhetoric into reality, it still […]

Indians watch a rocket carrying communication satellite GSAT-29 lift off from Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India, Nov. 14, 2018 (AP Photo/R. Parthibhan).

Over the past several months, as China began building its own space station in low-Earth orbit and collaborating with Russia on an asteroid mission and new lunar base, some in the United States have expressed concerns that a new space race is on. Cold War-style rhetoric has cropped up in media reports and government statements alike—and not for the first time. The establishment of the U.S. Space Force in 2019, for example, was largely justified as a response to the alleged weaponization of space by China and Russia, both of which in turn saw the new American military branch as […]

A man walks past a Huawei store promoting 5G technologies in Beijing, China, July 15, 2020 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

Once again, the U.K. appears to be out of step with its closest ally on chips and China, sitting on its hands over the sale of its largest semiconductor factory to a company with alleged links to the Chinese Communist Party. The U.K’s “have your cake and eat it, too” approach highlights disturbing inconsistencies that undercut its national security positioning and seem certain to reawaken tensions with the U.S. on policy toward China and technology. Highlighting the inconsistency at the heart of U.K. policy, the current controversy arises even as Hull, in the northeast of England, is due this month […]

Rwandan armed forces prepare to board a flight to Mozambique, at the airport in Kigali, Rwanda, July 10, 2021 (AP photo by Muhizi Olivier).

A violent insurgency in Mozambique’s northernmost province of Cabo Delgado is sparking fears that the area could become the next frontier for global jihadism in Africa. In recent years, young men, sometimes carrying the black flag of the Islamic State, have swept hundreds of thousands of people off their land in the natural gas-rich province. The militants’ attacks have often been marked by beheadings and mutilations, including of children.  All told, more than 3,000 people have been killed in the violence. Mozambican security forces have struggled to contain the insurgents, who in late March stormed the northern town of Palma, […]

Mounds of rubble, remnants of the battle to retake the city three years ago from the Islamic State group, remain in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, Nov. 29, 2020 (AP photo by Samya Kullab).

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. MOSUL, Iraq—Last week, the inhabitants of Mosul observed the fourth anniversary of their city’s liberation from the Islamic State, in a cityscape scarred as much by the military operation to dislodge ISIS as by the rule of ISIS itself. The now-defunct caliphate, which governed Mosul from 2014 to 2017, still […]

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a press conference to unveil the EU’s sweeping new climate legislation in Brussels, July 14, 2021 (AP photo by Valeria Mongelli).

Last week the European Commission seized global leadership on climate change, unveiling a sweeping scheme to reduce the EU’s carbon emissions by 55 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 and achieve “net zero” by 2050. Brussels envisions a total overhaul of the bloc’s economy, including eliminating the sale of new gas- and diesel-powered automobiles by 2035 and introducing border taxes to penalize imports from jurisdictions less committed to decarbonization.  The bloc’s bold move ramps up diplomatic pressure on the United States, China and other major emitters to respond in kind in the run-up to the Glasgow climate change conference. The ultimate fate […]

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