Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets the crowd during a visit to Varanasi, India, April 25, 2019 (AP photo by Rajesh Kumar Singh).

VARANASI, India—On a recent morning, Hindu pilgrims in white robes scurried through the dusty stone alleyways of this city on the Ganges River. They moved back-and-forth between various temples and the ghats, or piers, on the riverbank, and occasionally one or more of them would wade into the sacred waters, which are said to cleanse the soul. As the sunlight faded, a traditional folk band featuring tabla drums and a harmonium struck up a song as students and families sat on the steps to take in the early evening breeze. It was, in many ways, a fairly ordinary scene for […]

Cameroon’s president, Paul Biya, casts his vote during the presidential elections in Yaounde, Cameroon, Oct. 7, 2018 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

Authorities in Cameroon are jailing opposition politicians and barring their supporters from holding rallies. Security forces and separatist groups continue to carry out atrocities in the country’s restive Anglophone regions. More and more civilians are being forced from their homes, adding to a tally of displaced people that already exceeds half a million. These problems and more were cited in a speech delivered last week to the European Parliament by Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s top foreign policy official. Her words painted a picture of an increasingly volatile country, just six months after 86-year-old President Paul Biya coasted to reelection […]

Anti-Brexit demonstrators protest at the Irish border, Carrickcarnon, Ireland, March 30, 2019 (AP photo by Peter Morrison).

While the recent six-month extension of the deadline for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union has delayed any Brexit fallout, for now, it has not alleviated renewed tensions in Northern Ireland over the possible return of a hard border with the Republic of Ireland. The EU’s recent receptiveness to a so-called Irish backstop in any Brexit agreement that would prevent the reintroduction of a hard border was nevertheless a good sign for Belfast, given that during the 2016 Brexit referendum, 56 percent of Northern Irish voters opted to remain in the EU. Irrespective of whether that Irish backstop is implemented […]

Tunisian police block a street to keep demonstrators from reaching a meeting of Arab leaders, Tunis, Tunisia, March 31, 2019 (AP photo by Hussein Malla).

Tunisia is often considered a success story compared to other Arab countries caught up in the popular uprisings of 2011. Unlike Syria and Libya, it has been spared armed conflict. And unlike Egypt, which is descending deeper into authoritarianism, it has implemented impressive democratic reforms. Yet such comparisons risk overlooking the many ways in which Tunisia is still fragile eight years after protests toppled longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. As Francisco Serrano notes in this week’s in-depth report for WPR, the security forces are struggling to counter the threat posed by Islamist extremists based near the border with […]

A woman attends a demonstration to celebrate Tunisia’s independence, Tunis, March 20, 2019 (AP photo by Hassene Dridi).

KASSERINE, Tunisia—The blast that claimed the life of Cherifa Hilali was likely meant for a soldier, not a civilian. One day in May 2016, Hilali, 40, was out picking rosemary on Mount Semmama, an area near the border with Algeria where Islamist extremists routinely battle Tunisian security forces, when a land mine detonated. The explosion killed her and another woman and left a third woman injured. “They were walking through a trail normally used by the military,” Hilali’s husband, Makki Hilali, told me when I met him in February. Rising up from fields of olive trees and cacti, Mount Semmama […]

A health worker at an Ebola treatment center in Beni, eastern Congo, April 16, 2019 (AP photo by Al-hadji Kudra Maliro).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. It’s been more than eight months since the Democratic Republic of Congo announced the first cases in its current Ebola outbreak, which has become the worst in the country’s history. According to the World Health Organization’s latest situation report, published Tuesday, the outbreak has resulted in more than 1,200 cases and more than 800 deaths. Yet when President Felix Tshisekedi traveled this week to eastern Congo, where the outbreak is unfolding, he bore a message that underscored how not […]

Colombian police escort a Venezuelan soldier who defected at the Simon Bolivar international bridge, Cucuta, Colombia, Feb. 23, 2019 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

It’s been nearly three months since Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president, vowing to oust Nicolas Maduro and bring the country’s protracted crisis to an end. But while Guaido successfully managed to muster international support from a host of countries in Latin America and beyond, it appears that hopes for a speedy improvement in conditions for ordinary Venezuelans are bound to go unmet. That’s the case not just for Venezuelans who are still in the country, but also for those who have migrated to neighboring Colombia and elsewhere in Latin America. Officials in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and […]

Demonstrators rally near the military headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan, April 15, 2019 (AP photo by Salih Basheer).

Sudan has experienced more change in the past week than in the previous three decades under President Omar al-Bashir, who was deposed in a coup d’état on April 11 following four months of mass protests. Many Sudanese, however, have had little time to savor the euphoria of Bashir’s departure. Their most immediate task is to preserve and protect their revolution from the military leaders they fear will subvert it. Protesters have had some initial success, rejecting the self-appointed head of the new transitional military council, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, who was considered unacceptably close to the old regime. […]

Demonstrators on the Simon Bolivar international bridge during a clash with the Venezuelan National Guard, in Cucuta, Colombia, Feb. 23, 2019 (Photo by Benjamin Rojas for dpa via AP Images).

CUCUTA, Colombia—Blood seeped from Juan Carlos Parra’s head as he slumped in a white plastic chair just a few steps from the border with Venezuela. His floral button-down shirt, which he had removed as he fought with a member of the Venezuelan National Guard, sat rumpled in his lap, soaked a deep red. Moments earlier, Carlos, 24, had been struck with a projectile launched by Venezuelan forces on the other side of the border. Two medics from the Colombian Civil Defense dressed in orange helmets and jumpsuits gathered around him and tried to stitch up the wound. Around them, chaos […]

An Indian paramilitary soldier stands guard outside a closed market in Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Feb. 28, 2019 (AP photo by Dar Yasin).

In late February and early March, India and Pakistan engaged in a series of aerial skirmishes after a suicide bombing killed 40 Indian security personnel in the disputed territory of Kashmir. The crisis marked the worst escalation between the two nuclear-armed countries in nearly two decades. In an interview with WPR, Avinash Paliwal, a lecturer and deputy director of the South Asia Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, discusses the longer history of the dispute over Kashmir and what it will take to prevent future crises from escalating. World Politics Review: Recent tensions between India […]

Sudanese demonstrators gather outside the Defense Ministry a day after the military took power and arrested President Omar al-Bashir, Khartoum, Sudan, April 12, 2019 (Photo by Ala Kheir for dpa 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. For a few days this week, the fate of Sudan’s protest movement seemed to hang in the balance. As large crowds continued their sit-in Tuesday morning outside the army headquarters in Khartoum, they were fired upon by paramilitary troops loyal to President Omar al-Bashir, who had been in power for three decades. Yet these troops soon clashed with soldiers who appeared to be sympathetic to the protesters, highlighting how, as the movement to oust Bashir gained unprecedented momentum, at […]

Honduran migrants en route to Mexico gather in a park in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Jan. 17, 2019 (AP photo by Moises Castillo).

President Donald Trump announced late last month that he is cutting off $450 million in U.S. aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, delivering on a previous threat amid news that another migrant caravan was forming in Central America. The move has drawn significant criticism, even from within Trump’s administration. The aid is largely used for social, economic and governance development programs that many consider to be an effective, long-term solution to underlying issues—such as violence, poverty and corruption—that are driving people out of their home countries and toward the United States. Perhaps not unexpectedly, Trump’s attempt to reconcile these […]

Production stack emissions from the Johns Manville fiberglass insulation plant in Alberta, Canada, Feb. 13, 2019 (Photo by Larry MacDougal via AP Images).

The world is losing its battle against climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions rose to record levels last year, as countries lagged in meeting their already inadequate pledges under the Paris Agreement. Based on the current trajectory, the warming Earth will blow well past the 2-degrees Celsius ceiling widely agreed to be the maximum acceptable increase in average global temperatures before catastrophic impacts set in. In the face of this looming threat, climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts are necessary but insufficient. Humanity must also consider a third option it has long resisted: geoengineering, or the deliberate, large-scale manipulation of the […]

Women take part in an International Women’s Day march in Santiago, Chile, March 8, 2019 (AP photo by Esteban Felix).

The annual session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women was held over the course of two weeks last month in New York. Established in 1946, the commission is the largest global forum on gender equality and women’s rights. It provides an opportunity for representatives from U.N. member states, international organizations and civil society groups to take stock of recent progress and assess unfinished business in advancing gender equality around the world. This year’s commission meeting, which included a record number of attendees, was focused on social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure to […]

Greek Cypriots wait at a checkpoint to cross into the Turkish part of Nicosia, April 27, 2003 (Photo by Mustafa Sagiroglu for Anatolia via AP Images).

For 45 years, the island of Cyprus has been divided, politically and physically, between the Turkish-Cypriot north and Greek-Cypriot south. Despite many efforts over the years to resolve it, including some near misses, the conflict has proved intractable. Security guarantees, though perceived differently for both sides, have been among the major sticking points to reuniting the island. But so, too, has restitution of property abandoned by Cypriots who were displaced from both sides of the island during the Turkish invasion and occupation of northern Cyprus in 1974. That sense of loss has long featured prominently in Cypriots’ experience of the […]

Police acting superintendent Mike McIlraith shows New Zealand lawmakers in Wellington an AR-15 style rifle, on April 2, 2019 (AP photo by Nick Perry).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series on gun policy and the debate over gun control around the world. New Zealand is set to ban certain types of semi-automatic weapons following last month’s mass shooting that killed 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch. This week, new gun control legislation passed the first of three votes in Parliament. Many commentators have compared the situation to what happened in Australia in 1996, when strict new gun laws were enacted in the wake of a deadly mass shooting that shocked the country. But studies looking at the effectiveness of […]

A U.N peacekeeper walks near a checkpoint intended to link Cyprus’ breakaway Turkish Cypriot north and internationally recognized south, Dherynia, April 27, 2017 (AP photo by Petros Karadjias).

The recent opening of new checkpoints between northern and southern Cyprus represented a rare piece of good news in the long, frustrating push for Cyprus reunification. Yet while the status quo can sometimes seem immutable, the incentives to keep trying for a resolution are only growing more powerful. FAMAGUSTA, Cyprus—On a Monday morning last November, cars began queuing at checkpoints marking the buffer zone between the north and south of this long-divided island. For the first time in eight years, the authorities had agreed to create two new crossings—at the village of Dherynia, in the east, and in Lefke, a […]

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