Whistleblower supporters demonstrate outside the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court in Canberra, Australia, June 27, 2019 (AP photo by Rod McGuirk).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series about press freedom and safety in various countries around the world. Earlier this month, authorities in Australia conducted two raids in two days on the offices of the public broadcaster and the home of a prominent journalist over leaked documents, raising concerns about press freedom in the country. The Australian Federal Police searched the offices of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, or ABC, apparently in connection with a 2017 series of stories on alleged misconduct by Australian special forces in Afghanistan. That raid came only one day after the same agency […]

U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, along with other Group of 20 leaders, gather for a group photo in Buenos Aires, Nov. 30, 2018 (Kyodo photo via AP Images).

This weekend, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomes world leaders to Osaka for the annual summit of the Group of 20. This club of major economies has been at the forefront of global governance since November 2008, when U.S. President George W. Bush convened an emergency committee to help rescue a world plummeting into the financial and economic abyss. The G-20’s ambit has since broadened to encompass an ever-expanding range of global issues. The Osaka summit continues that trend. Japan set an ambitious agenda for its presidency of the G-20, which rotates every year. Major themes include removing structural impediments […]

Former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi raises his hands inside a defendant’s cage in a makeshift courtroom at the national police academy, in an eastern suburb of Cairo, Egypt, June 21, 2015 (AP photo by Ahmed Omar).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. The death of Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, in a Cairo courtroom Monday has put another spotlight on the repressive regime that replaced him in a 2013 military coup. Under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the Egyptian government has imprisoned thousands of dissidents and members of Morsi’s now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, while also cracking down on freedom of expression and tightening its control over the media. True to form, Sisi’s government even restricted how journalists could report on Morsi’s death this week. […]

Lilit Martirosian, a founder of the Armenian transgender organization Right Side, during an interview for the Associated Press in Yerevan, Armenia, April 26, 2019 (AP photo by Sona Kocharyan).

On April 5, Lilit Martirosyan, the first registered transgender woman in Armenia, became the first member of the country’s LGBT community to speak in the Armenian parliament. LGBT people in Armenia, she told the National Assembly, have been “tortured, raped, kidnapped, physically assaulted, burned, stabbed, murdered, robbed and unemployed.” It was a courageous public appearance in a country where homophobic and transphobic sentiments are widespread. Sadly, but not surprisingly, Martirosyan’s speech was followed by a torrent of death threats and verbal abuse. The chairperson of the parliamentary session she spoke at denounced her appearance. Days later, a crowd of more […]

Tens of thousands of protesters carry posters and banners through the streets as they demonstrate against an extradition bill, in Hong Kong, June 16, 2019 (AP photo by Kin Cheung).

In the first decades after the commencement of China’s economic reforms and “opening up,” which began at the end of the 1970s, one question loomed in the minds of Western heads of state and many professional China watchers: How long would it take, as capitalist production and consumerism took hold, for Western forms of law and government to follow? By the time the Soviet Union was dissolved, in 1991, this kind of evolution came to be seen as inevitable, and with the invention and near-universal adoption of the internet, a robust vehicle to help catalyze change in China seemed at […]

El Salvador’s newly sworn-in president, Nayib Bukele, delivers his inaugural address in Plaza Barrios in San Salvador, El Salvador, June 1, 2019 (AP photo by Salvador Melendez).

“CICIES! CICIES!” the crowds chanted at the inauguration of El Salvador’s new president, Nayib Bukele, on June 1. Salvadorans had a message for the members of the Legislative Assembly, too, whom they booed. “Give us back what you have stolen!” Implementing “CICIES”—an international commission against impunity in El Salvador—was the key campaign promise that helped the 37-year-old Bukele win the presidency in February. More than half the population believes that Bukele’s administration will fight corruption within the Salvadoran government, according to polls. The name CICIES is directly inspired by its counterpart next door, the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, […]

Kazakh police detain a demonstrator during protests in Almaty, Kazakhstan, June 12, 2019 (AP photo by Vladimir Tretyakov).

Authorities in Kazakhstan cracked down on a series of large-scale protests before and after a tightly controlled presidential election on June 9, arresting thousands of demonstrators as well as a number of journalists. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, an ally of Kazakhstan’s longtime autocratic leader Nursultan Nazarbeyev, won the election in the first transition of power that the country has seen since it emerged as an independent state following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. But the election was orchestrated to ensure Tokayev’s victory, leading protesters to demand more political openness and civil liberties. In an email interview with WPR, Paul Stronski, […]

Demonstrators hold photos of persons who were killed during Brazil’s dictatorship during a protest in Sao Paulo, Brazil, March 31, 2019 (AP photo by Andre Penner).

In December 1972, when she was 28 years old, Maria Amelia de Almeida Teles was arrested along with her husband and another communist leader while walking down the street in Sao Paulo. The following day, Teles’ two young children and pregnant sister were also taken in. The arrests were carried out by members of the “Operation Bandeirantes” team, a secret police operation formed within the Brazilian army, and had been ordered by Brazil’s military dictatorship, which at the time was led by President Emilio Garrastazu Medici. Though the Medici years are often remembered for the so-called Brazilian Miracle, during which […]

Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Daqlou, top right, the deputy head of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council, waves to supporters during a rally in the town of Garawee, northern Sudan, June 15, 2019 (AP photo).

On June 3, the eve of the 30th anniversary of China’s bloody dispersal of demonstrators in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, Sudan’s military authorities launched their own massacre of unarmed pro-democracy protesters. State-linked paramilitaries attacked a peaceful sit-in in the capital, Khartoum, claiming, without proof, that it had been infiltrated by drug dealers and criminals. More than 100 people were killed, according to doctors’ groups in Khartoum. Scores of bodies were dumped into the Nile River, women were reportedly raped and hospital staff attacked as they tended to the injured. That the atrocities echoed those conducted in Darfur for more than a […]

Same-sex couples wait to get married prior to a group marriage in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Dec. 15, 2018 (AP photo by Nelson Antoine).

Brazil’s highest court officially ruled last week that homophobia and transphobia should be criminalized until Congress passes a law on the subject. The verdict was a much-needed victory for Brazil’s LGBT community, which has faced an increasingly difficult climate under far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. In an email interview with WPR, James Green, the Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Professor of Latin American History and director of the Brazil Initiative at Brown University, discusses the challenges facing LGBT Brazilians and the significance of the court’s decision. World Politics Review: How has the situation facing LGBT Brazilians changed over the past few years? […]

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, right, is welcomed by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed at the airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 14, 2018 (AP photo by Mulugeta Ayene).

ASMARA, Eritrea—The streets of Eritrea’s capital in the runup to this year’s Independence Day celebrations on May 24 were unusually quiet. But cafes and restaurants were full of many Eritreans from the diaspora who had traveled back to mark 28 years of national independence. “I come every year on this occasion,” an Eritrean living in Germany told me, “to celebrate my country.” Most of the people I know who put up with life in Eritrea the whole year, however, do not feel like celebrating. For them, the holiday is a day off work that they will spend at home, in […]

Thailand’s prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, speaks after the royal endorsement ceremony at Government House in Bangkok, June 11, 2019 (Pool photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha via AP images).

Earlier this month, the retired general who led a military coup in Thailand five years ago, Prayuth Chan-ocha, was formally confirmed as prime minister by King Vajiralongkorn, after parliament unsurprisingly voted to hand the position to the former coup leader. Of course, Prayuth, who did not even run in Thailand’s elections in March, was in the position to win the parliamentary vote because, since the coup, the junta he led had essentially hand-picked the upper house of parliament, after rewriting the constitution to make the Senate appointed, and overseen other constitutional changes that weakened large and anti-military parties. Then, after […]

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega speaks next to first lady and Vice President Rosario Murillo during the inauguration ceremony of a highway overpass in Managua, Nicaragua, March 21, 2019 (AP photo by Alfredo Zuniga).

Last year, Nicaragua looked like it might slide into civil war. Facing mass protests, President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, responded with repression and violence that only added fury to demonstrators’ demands. One year later, it is clear the two have survived the greatest challenge so far to their move to remain in power indefinitely. But their legitimacy is shattered, the country’s economy is in shambles, and the worst may be yet to come. If all goes according to Ortega’s plan, the protests that started in April 2018 will formally come to an end within a […]

Protesters march along a downtown street against the proposed amendments to an extradition law in Hong Kong, June 9, 2019 (AP photo by Vincent Yu).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. The massive demonstrations against a controversial extradition bill that have rocked Hong Kong in recent days “cannot be what Beijing wanted,” as commentator Yi-Zheng Lian argued this week in The New York Times. The simmering anger in Hong Kong toward the central government poses a major headache for China’s leaders as they attempt to extend control over the territory. Protesters took to the streets again Wednesday and surrounded Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, where they were met by riot police […]

A Taang National Liberation army officer walking through a poppy field in northern Shan state, Myanmar, Jan. 30, 2014 (AP photo by Gemunu Amarasinghe).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series about national drug policies in various countries around the world. On a balcony in the heart of downtown Bangkok, Thailand’s sprawling capital, Jirasak Sirpramong smokes cigarettes while discussing his experiences with methamphetamine, a drug he has been using for 25 years. “I love it,” he says, “because it makes my brain so clear.” His manner is easy and open as he patiently answers my questions in the suffocating heat of Bangkok’s hot season, exacerbated by the mass of concrete that surrounds us. When I ask him if his feelings toward […]

Security forces charge at protesting teachers during a demonstration in Rabat, Morocco, Feb. 20, 2019 (AP photo by Mosa’ab Elshamy).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of anongoing seriesabout education policy in various countries around the world. Thousands of teachers went on strike and marched for better working conditions in Morocco in recent months. The waves of demonstrations, which occasionally turned violent as police used water cannons to disperse the protesters, have since subsided as teachers have returned to classes. But there is potential for further unrest if the government doesn’t meet the teachers’ key demand: being accorded full civil servant status. In an email interview with WPR, Aboubakr Jamai, dean of the School of Business and International Relations at […]

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange being taken from court, where he appeared on charges of jumping British bail seven years ago, in London, May 1, 2019 (AP photo by Matt Dunham).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series about press freedom and safety in various countries around the world. When the Trump administration announced its decision last month to indict Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for violating the Espionage Act, it argued that it was not targeting journalists for their reporting, since it did not consider Assange a journalist. That did not stop journalists and other commentators from warning of the indictment’s grave consequences for press freedom. In an interview with WPR, Geoffrey Stone, the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, discusses […]

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