Abortion-rights activists protest outside the Constitutional Court during a proceeding on the decriminalization of abortion in Bogota, Colombia, Feb. 21, 2022 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

BOGOTA, Colombia—This week, thousands of demonstrators clad in green, a color that has become the symbol of South America’s pro-choice movements, celebrated in the streets of Bogota as the Constitutional Court struck down laws criminalizing abortion in Colombia. The verdict was the culmination of a legal battle waged since September 2020 by a collection of over 80 women’s organizations calling themselves the “Just Cause Movement” that slowly wound its way to the nation’s highest court. Colombia joins Mexico and Argentina to become the third country in Latin America to decriminalize or legalize abortion in just over a year. A regional […]

Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, center in chains, is shown to the press at the Police Headquarters in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Feb. 15, 2022 (AP photo by Elmer Martinez).

On Feb. 14, the U.S. Department of Justice requested the extradition of former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez on drug trafficking and weapons charges. Hernandez was arrested the following day, just two weeks after he left office and a mere week after Washington had revoked his visa. Hernandez was led away from his home in handcuffs and a bullet-proof vest, and he will likely remain detained in the military headquarters of Honduras’ special forces until his extradition hearing, which is set to take place on March 16.  Hernandez’s arrest and the outcome of the extradition hearing signal a watershed moment […]

The Spanish word for “murderer” covers a mural of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, as part of anti-government protests demanding his resignation in Managua, Nicaragua, May 26, 2018 (AP photo by Esteban Felix).

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega surprised precisely no one last year when he won yet another term in an election so farcical it verged on grotesque. After securing victory by imprisoning opponents and silencing critics, one might have expected Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, to relax a bit, having dealt a punishing blow to the opposition. Sadly, that’s not what happened. Since winning his fourth consecutive term as president—his fifth overall—Ortega has only intensified his campaign of repression, and he is now dragging his imprisoned opponents through a series of sham trials in Managua, the capital. It’s the […]

Former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga arrives at a rally of his supporters to declare his 2022 presidential bid, Nairobi, Kenya, Dec. 10, 2021 (Sipa photo by Donwilson Odhiambo via AP Images).

Over the course of the next two and a half years, voters in several of Africa’s largest and most populous countries will be going to the polls, with a lot riding on the outcomes. This year, Kenya and Angola will both elect a president and national legislature to five-year terms. In 2023, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, two of Africa’s four most-populous countries, are scheduled to hold general elections that include keenly anticipated presidential races, as are Zimbabwe and Madagascar. The following year, Egyptians, Rwandans and South Africans will cast ballots in elections that will ostensibly determine the […]

Parked trucks block lanes of traffic during a protest against pandemic restrictions in Ottawa, Ontario, Feb. 14, 2022 (AP photo by Ted Shaffrey).

For the first time in half a century, Canada’s federal government has declared a national emergency. The move was in response to continuing demonstrations in major cities and at several points along the Canada-U.S. border, where truckers and other protesters have blockaded major commerce routes and crossings for the better part of a month. The protests, which paralyzed Canada’s capital city Ottawa for weeks, were sparked by a national COVID-19 policy requiring truck drivers to be vaccinated in order to cross into Canada from the United States. The movement has since expanded to give voice to a wider variety of […]

Myanmar nationals living in Thailand attend a candlelight vigil for those who died in protests against Myanmar’s military coup, in front of the United Nations building in Bangkok, Thailand, March 4, 2021 (AP photo by Sakchai Lalit).

On the first day of February last year, the world woke up to the news that the generals in Myanmar, also known as Burma, had seen enough of the country’s fledgling experiment in democracy. Military forces had arrested the country’s iconic pro-democracy figure and de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, along with more than a hundred other elected officials. Outraged, the people took to the streets, catching the Tatmadaw, as the military is called, by surprise. Unfortunately for the people of Myanmar—and perhaps by the generals’ design—the timing of the coup made it difficult for international attention to focus […]

A protester holds the scales of justice outside the District Court during a hearing in then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial, in Jerusalem, Feb. 8, 2021 (AP photo by Maya Alleruzzo).

Opposing corruption is not “easy” nor is doing so a “convenient distraction” from addressing “the world’s most persistent ills and injustices,” as Gabriella Cook Francis and Christopher Sabatini argued in a recent World Politics Review article titled, “The Corruption Obsession is a Convenient Distraction.” To the contrary, we insist that the “ills and injustices” to which the authors refer will never be properly addressed while endemic serious corruption, kleptocracy and state capture are allowed to persist in modern states. Our interest in the topic and our desire to correct what we consider to be the misconceptions in their article stem from our […]

Child activists join a march through Westminster during a “climate strike” demonstration, part of the global Fridays for Future movement led by Swedish teenage environmentalist Greta Thunberg, in London, Sept. 24, 2021 (AP photo by David Cliff).

At the heart of the international system lies a seemingly intractable tension between sovereignty and cooperation. The United Nations is a collection of states that, while recognizing the need for collaboration in global governance, still seek to retain their independence. This tension haunts the international community as a whole, but it is the people of the future who will pay the heaviest price. The major challenges facing humanity in the 21st century are borderless and intergenerational. Climate change will wreak havoc in every corner of the world and will only grow worse if we fail to act now. Similarly, lawlessness in […]

Anthony Shadid during a talk at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum in Oklahoma City, April 7, 2011 (AP photo by Sue Ogrocki).

The nature of Anthony Shadid’s work is sometimes misunderstood. After his death 10 years ago this week, he was celebrated as one of the greatest journalists of his era, which he most certainly was. On multiple occasions he was recognized as one of the best at his craft, but he was so much more. Better understanding what Anthony did in his lifetime can help those of us who are still endeavoring to make narrative sense of a world in constant flux. Anthony was a brilliant thinker, reporter, writer and storyteller who, during a critical decade of history from 9/11 to […]

A woman holds a weapon during a basic combat training for civilians organized by a special forces unit of Ukraine’s National Guard, in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Feb. 13, 2022 (AP photo by Vadim Ghirda).

KYIV—Oleksandr Biletskyi is standing in a lecture hall on the outskirts of Kyiv laying out the items he considers most necessary to have on hand for emergencies. On the table in front of him, he’s placed a bag containing a compass, a pocketknife, a carabiner and a roll of tape. Gently, he adds three more bags: one with a Kalashnikov, one with a shotgun and one with a pistol. “We have to prepare for anything,” he tells me. Normally, this lecture hall, which belongs to Taras Shevchenko National University, offers continuing education courses in law, economics and psychology. Today, it’s […]

An image from a video provided by the U.S. Department of Defense shows the compound where Islamic State leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi died during a U.S. raid, in Idlib province, Syria, Feb. 3, 2022 (Department of Defense via AP Images).

Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden ordered a team of U.S. special operations forces to carry out a raid in northern Syria that is now stoking legal controversy. The mission targeted a residential compound where Islamic State leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi had been holed up with his family and civilian neighbors. By the end, al-Qurayshi and a disputed number of civilians were dead. As Washington Post reporter Miriam Berger has explained, since Syria did not consent for U.S. forces to carry out the raid, Biden’s order arguably violated the charter of the United Nations, which limits a state’s ability […]

African heads of state gather for a group photograph at the 35th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Feb. 5, 2022 (AP photo).

The African Union leaders’ summit took place last weekend at the AU’s headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The two-day gathering, which kicked off Feb. 5, was held against the backdrop of the continent’s ongoing struggles with the adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic—including its persistently low vaccination rates—as well as growing fears of democratic erosion amid a spate of military coups. The summit also marked the passing of the AU’s rotating leadership baton, with Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi handing over the ceremonial chair to his Senegalese counterpart, Macky Sall. Setting out his priorities for the coming year in his inaugural […]

People chant slogans during a protest in Khartoum, Sudan, Oct. 30, 2021 (AP photo by Marwan Ali).

When Myanmar’s anti-coup uprising kicked off in February 2021, it had three demands that look quite simple in retrospect. First, the protesters said, the military and its leader, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, must end their takeover of power. Second, they must restore the democratically elected government they had unseated. And third, they must release all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National Democratic Union party, which had come out on top in the country’s competitive, albeit flawed election in November 2020. By the time I spoke to Thinzar Shunlei Yi, a leading Myanmar activist, in late September […]

Olympic workers in protective gear walk through the Beijing Capital International Airport as they work to assist passengers ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Beijing, Jan. 31, 2022 (AP photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth).

On Aug. 7, 2008, I boarded a flight from Shanghai, leaving China for the last time as bureau chief for The New York Times there, on the very eve of the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in Beijing. Rather than cover it in person, I watched the grandiose show, or at least some of it, from the remoteness of Virginia. Given the scale of China’s investment in hosting the Games for the first time, I thought the Olympics were an especially good bookend for my six years living in the country, but I didn’t need to be there myself. […]

Syrian Democratic Forces soldiers hold a position in Hassakeh, northeast Syria, Jan. 27, 2022 (AP photo by Baderkhan Ahmad).

The Islamic State, or ISIS, made global headlines recently on account of two significant developments in Syria: a prison uprising in Hasakeh in late January and the raid by U.S. special operations forces a week later, on Feb. 3, that resulted in the death of ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi. Both events have focused attention on the Islamic State’s capacity to wage insurgency and mobilize militants in its former territory. But another factor that is potentially more important in assessing the group’s future prospects is the large number of ISIS members and sympathizers languishing in detention nearly four years […]

Activists make posters before participating in a protest as part of the Fridays for Future climate movement, Kolkata, India, Sept. 24, 2021 (AP photo by Bikas Das).

Being an activist is tough. Being a young activist is tougher still. Although youth-led groups and movements have proven time and time again they can be drivers of progress and prosperity, the world has a poor track record of offering them a helping hand as they try to do so.  Today, for instance, we look back with fond nostalgia at the protests that swept the West in 1968, including the civil rights movement in the U.S. that resulted in the landmark Civil Rights Act, as well as student and wildcat strikes across France known collectively as May ’68. Popular accounts of that time highlight how […]

Tibetan Buddhist lamas stand outside Mongolia's largest monastery, Gandantegchinlen, where the Dalai Lama is expected to visit, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia Aug. 21, 2006 (AP photo by Vincent Yu).

Last summer, a fake news article went viral on a popular Mongolian website, under an alarming headline: “His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama has passed away.” The story was quickly denied by the Dalai Lama’s office-in-exile in Dharamsala, India, and by Gandantegchinlen, the main Buddhist monastery in Mongolia. Just a few weeks later, the Mongolian monastery found itself denying another rumor, this one falsely claiming that the third-highest authority in Tibetan Buddhism—the Jebtsundamba Khutuktu—was about to assume his throne. Had either of these rumors been true, they would have brought the worst fears of many Mongolians to life. The Jebtsundamba Khutuktu is Mongolia’s […]

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