College students enter the main gate of Peking University in Beijing, July 13, 2018 (Photo by Su Weizhong for Imaginechina via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR’s newsletter and engagement editor, Benjamin Wilhelm, curates the top news and analysis from China written by the experts who follow it. On Monday, Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations suspended two exchange programs with Beijing-based Renmin University after students there were punished for their labor rights activism. According to the Financial Times, it is the first case in years of a foreign university suspending ties with a Chinese counterpart due to concerns over academic freedom. Renmin students faced various forms of punishment—including surveillance and threats of suspension—after they participated in labor protests this […]

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 22, 2018 (Saudi Press Agency photo via AP Images).

Editor’s note: Guest columnist Neil Bhatiya is filling in for Judah Grunstein, who will be back next week. Saudi Arabia continues to face unprecedented criticism from the United States, its longstanding regional ally, over the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul four weeks ago. Earlier this month, Congress formally asked the Trump administration to determine whether Khashoggi’s killing exposed Saudi leaders to sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act, a law passed two years ago with broad bipartisan support to punish credibly accused violators of human rights around the world. Saudi Arabia is trying […]

Cambodians hold a protest demanding the release of opposition leader Kem Sokha,  Brussels, Belgium, Sept. 18, 2017 (DPA photo by Wiktor Dabkowski via AP Images).

Cambodia has made significant progress on reducing poverty since its transition to democracy in the 1990s, yet millions still remain at risk of falling back into destitution given the nation’s shaky dependence on foreign money, both from trading partners and aid donors. That’s why many Cambodians will be desperately hoping the European Union’s recent threat to suspend valuable trade preferences does not actually come to fruition. In early October, the EU announced that it was formally looking into removing Cambodia’s special trade status, known as “Everything But Arms,” which gives developing nations duty-free access to export into Europe. European Trade […]

Nigerian soldiers man a checkpoint in Gwoza, Nigeria, April 8, 2018 (AP photo by Lekan Oyekanmi).

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria—Lirfa Dashe, a lieutenant in the Nigerian army, was due to get married this month. Instead he is buried in the cemetery of Mai Malari barracks, alongside other soldiers killed in the seemingly endless conflict against the jihadist insurgency of Boko Haram. At the entrance to the cemetery, located in this city in northeastern Nigeria, is a cenotaph with the names of the fallen inscribed on plaques. There are 1,307 names etched so far, stretching back to 2013. Mai Malari, the home of the army’s Seventh Division, is just one of several sites where soldiers killed in the northeastern […]

Journalists protest against brutality in the course of doing their job after photo journalist Benedict Uwalaka was beaten up in Lagos, Nigeria, Aug. 16, 2012 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing series about press freedom and safety in various countries around the world. As Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari prepares his re-election bid for February 2019, he is positioning himself as a leader who prizes good governance, accountability and human rights. But watchdogs point out that his record on press freedom tells a different story, as journalists in Nigeria face an uptick in repression under his watch. In an interview with WPR, Angela Quintal, the Africa program coordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists, discusses the threatening environment for reporters in Africa’s most […]

People are seen through a banner showing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a protest against the nation-state law, Tel Aviv, Israel, July 30, 2018 (AP photo by Oded Balilty).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss political polarization and violence in the United States in the run-up to the congressional midterm elections. For the Report, Shira Rubin talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about Israel’s recently passed nation-state law and why it has outraged the country’s Druze minority in particular. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a free preview […]

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, center, and Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen, second right, attend the Future Investment Initiative conference, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 23, 2018 (AP photo by Amr Nabil).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Criticism of Saudi Arabia is easy to come by these days. As the kingdom has struggled to get its story straight on the killing earlier this month of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Riyadh has encountered a chorus of condemnation from Berlin, Brussels, London, Ottawa and many voices in Washington. Even U.S. President Donald Trump seemed to turn on his Saudi allies this week, referring to their shifting statements on the murder as “the worst cover-up ever.” From Africa, however, the […]

Members of the Druze minority rally against Israel’s nation-state law, Tel Aviv, Israel, Aug. 4, 2018 (AP photo by Sebastian Scheiner).

YARKA, Israel—When soldiers from this small community in Israel’s lush Galilee region are killed in combat, Walid Mula turns up with advice and guidance. The affable 49-year-old is the director of a support group for bereaved families, and it falls to him to make hours-long house calls. Over sweet tea and snacks, he talks grieving relatives through the logistics of burying the dead, including the role of the Israeli state in financing funerals and memorial ceremonies. Yarka is a community made up of around 1,000 members of the Arab-Israeli Druze minority. The Druze in Israel total 140,000, or around 2 […]

Communist Party General Secretary and Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong delivers a speech at the National University of Public Service in Budapest, Hungary, Sept. 11, 2018 (AP photo by Balazs Mohai).

When President Tran Dai Quang of Vietnam died suddenly last month, shortly before he was scheduled to visit New York and address the United Nations General Assembly, the usual condolences poured in from foreign dignitaries. But the news did not prompt grief among human rights watchdogs, who have criticized Vietnam’s brutal suppression of political dissent. Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia division at Human Rights Watch, summed up his reaction in two words: “Good riddance!” Quang, a security sector apparatchik who rose through the ranks to become minister of public security, was elevated to the largely ceremonial post of […]

U.S. Lt. Col. William Clark, second from left, talks with Gen. Abdul Raziq, a police commander in southern Afghanistan, on the outskirts of Spin Boldak, Afghanistan, Aug. 7, 2009 (AP photo by Emilio Morenatti).

In one fell swoop last Thursday, a gunman eliminated two of the most powerful officials in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province and critically injured a third. The Taliban quickly claimed credit for the attack, which killed Gen. Abdul Raziq, who held the title of provincial police commander but was in reality a prominent 39-year-old warlord in an official uniform. In the past decade, the Taliban’s insurgency has grown to cover all corners of the country, swarming the non-Pashtun northern crescent and pushing to reclaim southern Afghanistan. The Taliban has made gains in Helmand and Uruzgan provinces, with advances more recently into neighboring […]

Bangladeshi students participate in a protest, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Aug. 4, 2018 (AP photo by A. M. Ahad).

Bangladesh’s prime minister, Sheikh Hasina Wajed, doesn’t seem to be taking any chances before national elections in December, in which she hopes her Awami League will win an unprecedented third consecutive term in office. While she seeks the domestic and international legitimacy that was missing in her 2014 election victory, after arguably the most bloody and controversial polls in the country’s history, she also can’t afford to lose a zero-sum contest with the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, or BNP, which her government has made more toxic with a series of increasingly coercive measures against it. The second objective has overshadowed […]

A family bathes in one of the irrigation ditches at a hideout in a banana plantation on the island of Mindanao, Philippines (Lindsay Fendt).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the implications of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder for Saudi Arabia’s international partnerships and the Middle East. For the Report, Lindsay Fendt talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about the Philippines’ other campaign of extrajudicial killings, this one targeting anti-mining activists in Mindanao’s Compostela Valley. Lindsay’s two-part series of in-depth articles is the second to be funded by WPR’s International Reporting Fellowship. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter […]

Angola’s newly inaugurated president, Joao Lourenco, shows his ink-stained finger as he faces the media after casting his vote in the recent election, Luanda, Angola, Aug. 23, 2017 (AP photo by Bruno Fonseca).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. A year ago, when Joao Lourenco took over as Angola’s president, tensions between his country and the Democratic Republic of Congo were already unusually high. In a Q&A with WPR at the time, Alex Vines, head of the Africa program at Chatham House, described how Luanda’s patience with Congolese President Joseph Kabila had been exhausted by Kabila’s handling of Congo’s political crisis. The situation has changed somewhat since then. Today, Congo is much closer to holding long-awaited elections—they are […]

A farmer surveys his crops at a hideout in a banana plantation on the island of Mindanao, Philippines (Lindsay Fendt).

Editor’s Note: In July 2019, this story won the Kevin Carmody Award for Outstanding In-depth Reporting, Small Market from the Society of Environmental Journalists. This is the second installment of a two-part series on killings of environmental activists in the Philippines, funded by WPR’s International Reporting Fellowship. The first installment can be found here. MINDANAO, Philippines—On a secluded banana plantation on the Philippine island of Mindanao, nearly 400 people pass each night in tents, huts and makeshift dormitories. They bathe in the plantation’s irrigation ditches, surrounded by blue bags of pesticides that have fallen from the banana plants. The entire […]

Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa rides on an open car during an anti-government protest in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sept. 5, 2018 (AP photo by Eranga Jayawardena).

Thousands of Sri Lankan demonstrators marched in the capital, Colombo, last month, protesting poor economic conditions and the government’s decision to delay local elections. The protests were led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, whose return to political prominence poses a major threat to the ruling United National Front coalition, or UNF. In an interview with WPR, Stanley Samarasinghe, a professor at Tulane University who writes extensively on the poltical economy of Sri Lanka, discusses the widespread discontent with the government and what might be in store for Sri Lanka’s political future. World Politics Review: What are the main political issues […]

A protest at the Saudi Embassy over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Oct. 10, 2018, Washington (AP photo by Jacquelyn Martin).

The disappearance and presumed murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul 15 days ago has focused attention on the U.S.-Saudi relationship. At the center of that relationship—and Saudi policymaking—for the past three years has been Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Known as MBS, the crown prince rose to prominence after his father, King Salman, took the throne in 2015. Quickly consolidating control over the Saudi economy and the kingdom’s foreign policy, MBS raised hopes with his promised program of bold social and economic reforms, while also causing alarm with rash and reckless moves like […]

A new Japan Airlines Boeing 787 airplane with the GE Aviation GEnx engine on it, is shown following a delivery ceremony, March 26, 2012, Everett, Washington (AP photo by Ted S. Warren).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR’s newsletter and engagement editor, Benjamin Wilhelm, curates the top news and analysis from China written by the experts who follow it. The United States Department of Justice announced the extradition of a Chinese intelligence official to the U.S. on economic espionage charges last Wednesday. It is the first time a Chinese government spy has been extradited to the U.S., according to The Washington Post. Yanjun Xu, a deputy division director in the Ministry of State Security, China’s main spy agency, traveled to Belgium last spring, believing he was set to receive “proprietary information about jet […]

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