Maria Gorpynych sits in her home in the government-controlled village of Opytne, in eastern Ukraine, Nov. 25, 2018 (Photo by Natalie Vikhrov).

OPYTNE, Ukraine—One afternoon in January 2015, 78-year-old Maria Gorpynych stood on her porch and anxiously watched her son Victor run the short distance to the home of a neighboring family. At the time, Opytne, located in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, was caught in the middle of heavy fighting between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian soldiers. Victor wanted to help the neighbors wrap a gas pipe in rubber to protect it from shelling. Less than five minutes after he left, Gorpynych saw one of the neighbors running back toward her house. He came bearing bad news: A mine had detonated […]

Paramilitary fighters from the “Banana Bloc” arrive at a rural area outside the northwestern Colombian town of Turbo to turn in their arms, Nov. 21, 2004 (Photo by Julio Cesar Herrerea for El Tiempo via AP Images).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the implications of the upcoming second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and the potential consequences of a content-free diplomatic process. For the Report, Mariana Palau talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about Colombia’s post-conflict land restitution program, which is not only struggling in its mission to help landowners reclaim property that was stolen during the country’s civil war, but is also in some cases driving a new cycle of displacement. If you like what you […]

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno holds a press conference with the foreign media in Quito, Ecuador, July 5, 2018 (AP photo by Dolores Ochoa).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series about national drug policies in various countries around the world. Eighteen people were killed last month in a fire at a drug rehabilitation center in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s second-largest city. The blaze was reportedly caused by patients who rioted in a bid to escape the clinic, which was operating illegally. In an interview with WPR, Carla Alvarez, a titular professor of political science at the State University of Milagro in Ecuador, discusses the pervasive problem of illegal rehabilitation clinics and explains why Ecuador’s government should focus on preventing drug addiction instead […]

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, right, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, left, and Babagana Monguno, center, attend Friday prayers, Abuja, Nigeria, Nov. 6, 2015 (SIPA photo via AP Images).

He is often tagged as an aloof, slow-moving executive with a narrow and insular coterie of advisers, and he has fallen short of the promises that won him the presidency four years ago. Yet Muhammadu Buhari remains the front-runner in Nigeria’s presidential elections scheduled for Feb. 16, which will pit the incumbent against several challengers—the most prominent, by far, being former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who served in office from 1999 to 2007 and placed third in the 2007 election. Buhari is still the favorite because of his party’s continued strength in its strongholds in northern and southwestern Nigeria, along […]

A woman attends a march to promote a law backed by then-President Juan Manuel Santos concerning the restitution of land to victims of the country’s armed conflict, Necocli, Colombia, Feb. 11, 2012 (AP photo by Luis Benevides).

APARTADO, Colombia—The sun was sitting low in the sky when Luis Izquierdo noticed the group of armed men walking onto his family’s farm in this town in Uraba, a region of northwestern Colombia that abuts the Caribbean Sea. In the fading daylight, he couldn’t see them clearly at first; he and his parents and siblings thought they might be soldiers looking for something to eat or drink. Their guts started to clench, however, when the men came closer with their rifles shouldered. They realized it was more likely that the men belonged to a paramilitary group that had recently started […]

United Nations General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa addresses the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit at U.N. headquarters in New York, Sept. 24, 2018 (AP Photo by Richard Drew).

What is the point of the United Nations General Assembly? The assembly—where all member states, from the United States to Kiribati, wield one vote each—has a reputation for generating more hot air than real action. It produces over 300 resolutions a year, but these lack the binding legal force of Security Council resolutions. Assembly members discuss certain sensitive issues, such as the situations in Palestine and North Korea, annually. They scored a major success in negotiating the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. They also chew over questions such as whether to designate 2024 the Year of Camelids. This is exciting […]

Myanmar Border Guard Police officers stand guard at a village street in northern Buthidaung township, Rakhine state, Myanmar, July 13, 2017 (AP photo by Esther Htusan).

Intense fighting has returned to western Myanmar’s troubled Rakhine state, this time between the military and the Arakan Army, a well-armed ethnic group that advocates self-governance for the region. At least 26 people have died since fighting erupted in December, and thousands of civilians have been displaced, according to the United Nations. The renewed conflict is likely to further complicate the already difficult process of repatriating hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims living in refugee camps across the border, in Bangladesh. In an interview with WPR, David Scott Mathieson, an independent analyst based in Yangon, Myanmar, discusses the Arakan Army’s […]

An Islamic Police officer walks through the square where members of the group Ansar Dine were preparing to publicly lash a person found guilty of adultery, Timbuktu, Mali, Aug. 31, 2012 (AP photo).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss a framework deal announced by U.S. and Taliban negotiators and the broader implications of an eventual American withdrawal from Afghanistan. For the Report, Anna Pujol-Mazzini talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about Mali’s halting efforts toward transitional justice and reconciliation for a war that began in 2012, amid ongoing fighting in the north and new outbreaks of violence in the country’s central region. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for […]

Cameroon’s president, Paul Biya, on a boat taking heads of state to the One Planet Summit in Boulogne-Billancourt, southwest of Paris, Dec. 12, 2017 (Photo by Blondet Eliot for SIPA via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Last November, during the swearing-in ceremony that marked the beginning of his seventh term as Cameroon’s president, Paul Biya addressed frustrated voters in the restive Anglophone regions and around the country, calling for unity and insisting he had heard their pleas for change. “I have also understood your desire for greater participation in taking decisions that concern the destiny of our country,” he said. His critics had good reason to be skeptical, given Biya’s long record of ignoring criticism […]

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