Tanzanian President John Magufuli’s campaign rally in Dodoma, Tanzania, Oct. 27, 2020 (AP photo).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Subscribers can adjust their newsletter settings to receive Africa Watch by email every week. Tanzanian President John Magufuli claimed an overwhelming if dubious victory in a general election this week that was heavily slanted in his favor. But opposition leaders have rejected the results of Wednesday’s polls, which showed Magufuli winning a second five-year term with 84 percent of the vote, according to the country’s National Electoral Commission. The opposition has called on their supporters to stage peaceful anti-government protests, even as […]

Supporters of President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign rally outside of an early voting location in Hialeah, Fla., Oct. 27, 2020 (AP photo by Lynne Sladky).

Which candidate in America’s presidential race would be better for Latin America? The question is being asked across the hemisphere, further abroad and in the United States, where Washington’s relations with Latin America are a major domestic issue for many voters, with the power to tilt election results. The answer, of course, depends on your personal views. There’s hardly unanimity, but when a Colombian student asked me recently whether President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden would be better for her country, it wasn’t difficult for me to reach a conclusion. Biden has the political philosophy, the background […]

People demonstrate against police brutality in Lagos, Nigeria, Oct. 20, 2020 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

On Oct. 20, Nigerian security forces opened fire on two groups of unarmed demonstrators in the sprawling metropolis of Lagos, reportedly killing at least a dozen people. The victims had been part of a weeks-long civic uprising to demand more accountability from law enforcement and an end to rampant police brutality in Nigeria. In the wake of last week’s shootings, the direction and future of the protest movement remain unclear. Several states, including Lagos, have implemented curfews due to increased violence and pockets of unrest, much of it targeting the peaceful protesters. In the aftermath of last week’s shootings, several […]

Surveillance cameras near the portrait of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong at the Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, March 15, 2019 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR contributor Lavender Au and Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curate the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. Subscribers can adjust their newsletter settings to receive China Note by email every week. Last week, China’s National People’s Congress released the first draft of the Personal Information Protection Law, which would set up the first dedicated system to protect privacy and personal data in China. Having been in the works for well over a decade, it has been a wait. Personal information in China has been governed by a patchwork of regulations; some scholars […]

LGBTQ rights supporters protest in Warsaw, Poland, Aug. 8, 2020 (AP photo by Czarek Sokolowski).

A thousand miles separate the quaint French commune of Saint-Jean-de-Braye, in the central Loiret region, from the rural Polish town of Tuchow, east of Krakow. But for 20 years, they could have easily been next-door neighbors. Educational exchanges first brought the municipalities together in the mid-1990s, followed by the signing of a formal twin town agreement in 2000. The next two decades were filled with signs of their close relations: Local officials regularly traveled back and forth to see each other, while residents took sightseeing visits and pupils were offered apprenticeships. The small, tight-knit nature of the two communities—their combined […]

Aung San Suu Kyi, center, leaves a demonstration of voting for the upcoming  elections, in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Oct. 20, 2020 (AP photo by Aung Shine).

Myanmar is set to hold general elections next month, for the second time since the end of military rule in 2011. The last election, in 2015, ushered Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy into power with a landslide victory. Since then, the NLD has had a mixed economic record, and Suu Kyi, now the country’s de facto leader, has gone from human rights icon to international pariah for defending the army’s brutal persecution of the Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority concentrated in western Myanmar. More recently, the government has mismanaged its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and […]

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks about the coronavirus at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Oct. 23, 2020 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

Should Joe Biden win the American presidency on Nov. 3, the world will experience whiplash, as the United States performs a second about-face in its posture toward multilateralism in only four years. Although the U.S. has oscillated through cycles of internationalism and isolationism before, it has never executed such a swift and dramatic double-reverse. A Biden triumph would repudiate the “America First” platform on which Donald Trump won the White House in 2016, and the hyper-nationalist, unilateralist and sovereigntist mindset that undergirds it. Such a stunning shift in America’s global orientation would have major implications for global cooperation on everything […]

Supporters of Kyrgyzstan’s new prime minister, Sadyr Japarov, at a rally in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Oct. 15, 2020 (AP photo by Vladimir Voronin).

Kyrgyzstan is in the midst of historic political upheaval, spurred on by nearly three decades of government misrule, a frustrated civil society and the rise of unsavory criminal groups to positions of power. With the resignation last week of President Sooronbai Jeenbekov amid mass protests, and his shocking replacement by a convicted felon freshly sprung from jail, the Central Asian nation looks set for more volatility—and the Kyrgyz people will pay the price. The trouble began with parliamentary elections on Oct. 4, which were marred by blatant evidence of fraud and vote-buying on behalf of government-friendly candidates. Official results showed […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech at a military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany, in Moscow, June 24, 2020 (pool photo by Sergey Pyatakov via AP).

From mass protests in Belarus to political chaos in Kyrgyzstan to the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, Russia is surrounded by mounting instability. According to Matthew Rojansky, the director of the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Institute for Scholars, President Vladimir Putin and his top advisers only have themselves to blame for these crises on Russia’s periphery, given their active assertion of “veto rights” over political outcomes that they find unfavorable, including any signs that a country is realigning away from Russia and toward the West. In many cases, this has meant staunch […]

Burundian refugees arrive back in Gasenyi, Burundi, Aug. 27, 2020 (AP photo by Berthier Mugiraneza).

For the first time since fleeing their country five years ago, Burundian refugees living in Rwanda are returning home. But while the government sees this as a significant step in uniting a nation torn apart by political violence, activists and aid workers are treating it with caution. Tens of thousands of Burundians remain fearful of returning to a country where human rights abuses are still rampant. The East African nation has been reeling since it was thrown into turmoil when late President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to seek a controversial third term in 2015. When thousands of Burundians took to the […]

Luis Arce, then-presidential candidate for Bolivia’s Movement Toward Socialism party, at a closing campaign rally in El Alto, Bolivia, Oct. 14, 2020 (AP photo by Juan Karita).

When Bolivian voters went to the polls Sunday, they started writing a new chapter in the ideological contest that has buffeted Latin America since the turn of the century. Held during the throes of the coronavirus pandemic, the results could offer a hint of what’s to come in the wake of this devastating crisis. But does it mean another “pink tide” is rising? The winner in Bolivia was Luis Arce, the former economy minister under iconic leftist President Evo Morales, of the Movement Toward Socialism, known by its Spanish initials, MAS. Arce’s victory has created excitement across Latin America’s left […]

People protest against police brutality in Lagos, Nigeria, Oct. 20, 2020 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

One of the rare times I made it through the international airport in Lagos with nary a request for a bribe, I was left feeling spooked. After all, during previous visits to Nigeria, I had had valuables seized right before my eyes under false pretenses; I had been detained in a cell awaiting ransom; and I had even once watched in alarmed disbelief as uniformed men with guns boarded my flight and extorted money from passengers, along with bottles of champagne from the crew, right there on the tarmac. This time, as I exited the terminal, just as I was […]

Pro-Brexit demonstrators fly flags outside Parliament in London, Oct. 31, 2019 (AP photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth).

Over the past four years, as the United Kingdom has wrestled with the consequences of its narrow vote to leave the European Union, there has been little to no broader foreign policy debate in the country. Instead, Britons seem to have become caught between three temperaments. There are the catastrophists, who argue the U.K. has become completely irrelevant on the international stage as a result of Brexit; the nostalgics, who see a powerful Britain through the lens of a great colonial power; and the denialists, who refuse to accept that Britain must adapt to a changing global context. All are […]

People hold banners as they demonstrate on the street to protest against police brutality in Lagos, Nigeria, Oct. 15, 2020 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. A campaign to get the Nigerian government to shut down a notoriously corrupt police unit has evolved into the most significant protest movement in Nigeria in decades, with demonstrators across the country calling for sweeping police reforms and an end to human rights abuses by security forces. President Muhammadu Buhari has tried to quell the protesters by promising to meet their demands, even as security forces have responded with a brutal crackdown, including the use of live ammunition, killing at least 10 […]

Honduran migrants wait for water being distributed by the Red Cross after hours of walking north in hopes of reaching the United States, in Quezaltepeque, Guatemala, Jan. 17, 2020 (AP photo by Moises Castillo).

Refugee advocates have condemned President Donald Trump’s notice to Congress last month that it plans to set a ceiling of 15,000 refugee admissions for the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1. Democratic candidate Joe Biden has pledged to raise the limit to at least 125,000 slots if he is elected. On the Trend Lines podcast this week, WPR’s Elliot Waldman was joined by Meredith Owen, interim director of policy and advocacy at Church World Service, to discuss the Trump administration’s cruel and misguided policies toward refugees and how easy it would be for Biden to change them if he […]

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer checks the documents of migrants who are on their way to apply for asylum in the United States, as they depart Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, Sept. 17, 2019 (AP photo by Fernando Llano).

Late last month, President Donald Trump told Congress that his administration plans to further slash the ceiling for refugee admissions during the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1, to 15,000 from an already historically low 18,000. The new limit is less than one-seventh the 110,000 slots that former President Barack Obama approved in 2016. As The New York Times put it, Trump has “virtually sealed off a pathway for the persecuted into the country and obliterated the once-robust American reputation as a sanctuary for the oppressed.” This comes as the number of refugees worldwide continues to grow. According to […]

Marian Kocner, center right, is escorted by armed police officers to a courtroom for his trial, in Pezinok, Slovakia, Sept. 3, 2020 (AP photo by Petr David Josek).

PRAGUE—Last month, a Slovakian tycoon accused of masterminding the assassination of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak in 2018—a murder that profoundly transformed Slovakian politics—was acquitted by a special criminal court in Bratislava, the capital. The surprising verdict in what Michal Vasecka, a sociologist at the Bratislava Policy Institute, calls “the most followed trial in the history of Slovakia,” has been met with “anger and disbelief,” he says. Many Slovaks see the acquittal of Marian Kocner as a major setback in the government’s campaign to rid the small Central European nation of its endemic corruption. “It seems that the apparent plotters of […]

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