An anti-government protester waves a Chilean flag in Santiago, Oct. 29, 2019 (AP photo by Rodrigo Abd).

Chile witnessed the largest protests in its history last weekend, with more than 1 million people filling the streets of Santiago to demand the government deal with economic inequality and the high cost of living—and to express their outrage over the authorities’ repression of an initial wave of protests earlier this month. For a moment, the massive demonstrations seemed like the climax to a movement that began two weeks ago in response to a subway fare hike, and that had seemed to be on the cusp of fizzling out. Instead, protests have continued this week, and more are planned for […]

Women walk beneath an election banner for the ruling Frelimo party in Maputo, Mozambique, Oct. 11, 2019 (AP photo by Ferhat Momade).

The stakes were high when Mozambique voted in general elections on Oct. 15, its sixth poll since 1994, when the country’s first multiparty elections began what has been a shaky transition from 16 years of civil war. But rather than ease tensions, this month’s vote has inflamed new ones amid charges of voter fraud and electoral violence. When fighting between the government and Renamo, the former rebel group and now main opposition party, flared up in 2013, there were fears of a slide back into open warfare. Although a cease-fire allowed general elections to go forward in 2014, this month’s […]

Afghan security forces stand guard in front of an election poster for President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 23, 2019 (AP photo by Rahmat Gul).

Anyone following the ongoing controversies over Afghanistan’s recent presidential election will understandably have a sense of déjà vu. Nearly a month after Afghans voted on Sept. 28, not only is there no clear winner, there is not even any word on when preliminary results will be announced. Incumbent President Ashraf Ghani remains in office while Abdullah Abdullah, the national unity government’s chief executive and Ghani’s leading challenger, is once again crying foul over allegations of polling fraud. Officials at the Independent Election Commission, or IEC, are struggling to sort out how many voters actually turned out, after suspicions surfaced that […]

Anti-government protesters wave Lebanese flags and shout slogans against the Lebanese government during a protest in Beirut, Oct. 21, 2019 (AP photo by Hassan Ammar).

Historic anti-government protests in Lebanon have shut down the country over the past week, with hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets in Beirut and far beyond to demand the government’s resignation. Prime Minister Saad Hariri addressed the nation on Oct. 18, promising immediate reforms, but his words ultimately rang hollow as Lebanese continued to demonstrate in growing numbers. The Lebanese Forces, a prominent Christian political party, has already resigned its Cabinet members. The initial demonstrations in downtown Beirut late last week were a response to reports that the government would impose a $6 fee on the use […]

A protester faces off with an armored police vehicle during an anti-government march in Santiago, Chile, Oct. 22, 2019 (AP photo by Esteban Felix).

Until just a few days ago, Chile probably looked to most people like the most stable country in Latin America, and the least likely to erupt in massive social unrest. Few if any countries in the region have experienced decades of economic growth and an expansion of the middle class, alongside reliably fair and competitive elections. And yet last week, the streets of Santiago became the scene of violent clashes between thousands of protesters and security forces, leaving more than a dozen people dead and hundreds arrested. In response, President Sebastian Pinera deployed the military, imposed curfews and announced a […]

Armenian soldiers after shooting practice at the Mataghis army base in Armenian-controlled Karabakh, May 11, 2018 (AP photo by Thanassis Stavrakis).

The honeymoon is over for Armenia’s popular prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan. In addition to a series of problems at home, he has no choice but to deal with a perennial headache: the three-decades-old conflict with Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which dates back to the last years of the Soviet Union in 1988. Pashinyan came to office suddenly and unexpectedly in April 2018 on a wave of popular protests that swept away the previous government, which had monopolized power and was tainted by corruption. That peaceful revolution transformed Armenia overnight, briefly put it on the world’s television screens […]

Cover photo: A Syrian national flag with the picture of the President Bashar al-Assad hangs at an army checkpoint in the town of Douma in the eastern Ghouta region outside Damascus, July 15, 2018 (AP photo by Hassan Ammar).

After more than seven years of civil war that gutted Syria, the endgame is here. But there are more questions than ever. Download your FREE copy of What Is the Endgame in Syria? to learn more today. What does victory on President Bashar al-Assad’s brutal terms look like? How has the rise and fall of the Islamic State changed Syria’s political map? How will U.S. President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria and the subsequent Turkish invasion of the area change the situation?And what about reconstruction, let alone reconciliation? This WPR report provides a comprehensive look at […]

Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee, who along with Michael Kremer were awarded this year's Nobel Prize in economics, at a news conference at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Oct. 14, 2019 (AP photo by Michael Dwyer).

The winners of the Nobel Prize in economics usually toil in relative obscurity, renowned among their academic peers while carrying out work whose benefit may be elusive to everyone else. By comparison, the work of other Nobel laureates usually seems much more concrete and easier to grasp, especially for the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, whose impact is so clear-cut that they often become global superstars. Even in other scientific fields, the winners’ work can elicit popular nods of agreement with the Nobel Committee. Take this year’s winners of the chemistry prize, who helped develop rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which […]

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, left, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, center, and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, right, outside a conference hall in Mombasa, Kenya, Aug. 28, 2013 (AP photo by Gideon Maundu).

KAMPALA, Uganda—When a young Yoweri Museveni launched his rebellion to seize Uganda’s presidency in 1981, he found a vital ally in an exiled Rwandan soldier named Paul Kagame. The former guerilla leaders have been presidents of their respective countries for 33 and 19 years now, but their relationship has soured since those early days during Uganda’s Bush War. Tensions escalated sharply earlier this year, as both men hurled accusations of sabotage, and Rwanda sealed its border with Uganda, halting trade and issuing a travel advisory. In August, Kagame and Museveni met in Luanda, Angola to sign a memorandum of understanding […]

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, left, stands with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at a welcoming ceremony in Pretoria, South Africa, Oct. 3, 2019 (AP photo by Themba Hadebe).

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari traveled to Pretoria in early October to meet his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, just weeks after the latest outbreak of attacks against foreigners—including Nigerians—in South Africa in September. The visit was intended to smooth over bilateral relations between Africa’s two largest economies, which have been bumpy in recent years, in part because of periodic episodes of xenophobic violence in South Africa. Xenophobic violence has been a problem in South Africa for years, with recent peaks in 2008 and 2015 prior to the most recent attacks in September. Analysts have pointed to numerous causes, notably a […]

Relatives and villagers gather around the coffin of Balkisun Mandal Khatwe, a Nepalese migrant worker who died while working on a Qatari construction project, Belhi, Nepal, Nov. 23, 2016 (AP photo by Niranjan Shrestha).

DOHA, Qatar—More than a year later, the workers living in Building 14 of Labour City, a migrant workers’ camp in Doha, remember the gasps and screams that woke them one night in May 2018. As lights flicked on, they heard shouting in the halls. Bhupendra Magar, a 35-year-old plumber from Nepal, was struggling to breathe. Magar’s roommates tried to revive him and called for help. Soon, an ambulance arrived, and medics rushed him across the city to Qatar’s largest hospital, but he didn’t survive the night. Magar had been in Doha for 16 months working on the Al Wakrah stadium, […]

Drugs and drug paraphernalia in Belfast, Northern Ireland, March 28, 2004 (Photo by Paul Faith for Press Association via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series about national drug policies in various countries around the world. Scotland is in the throes of a devastating drug crisis. Data released this past summer showed that the number of drug-related deaths in 2018 spiked to nearly 1,200—a 27 percent increase over the previous year. Scotland’s drug-related fatality rate is three times higher than that of England and Wales, and is now on par with that of the United States on a per capita basis, according to The Guardian. In an interview, Catriona Matheson, professor in substance use at the […]

People line up with their vehicles to load up on fuel at a gas station in Havana, Cuba, Sept. 11, 2019 (AP photo by Ismael Francisco).

Venezuela’s economic collapse and Washington’s new sanctions on companies shipping Venezuelan oil to Cuba have plunged the island nation into its most severe energy crisis since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. In response, Havana is looking to its old ally Russia to plug the hole in energy supplies left by the decline in Venezuelan shipments. But the crisis is hampering plans to implement economic reforms that Havana hopes will respond to popular demands for economic liberalization while retaining the Communist Party’s political dominance. Visiting Cuba last week, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev promised that Russia would […]

From left, Bosnian Serb President Milorad Dodik, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, Croat President Zeljko Komsic and Muslim Bosniak President Sefik Dzaferovic after their meeting in Brussels, Jan. 29, 2019 (AP photo by Francisco Seco).

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s unique and often unstable tripartite presidency missed its deadline to form part of its national government in early September, almost a year after general elections, amid continued disagreements on whether to proceed with long-in-the-works plans to join NATO. With its leaders deadlocked, the country’s path toward both the Western military alliance and membership in the European Union is as uncertain as ever. Twenty-five years after the end of the brutal war that killed over 100,000 people and left millions displaced, Bosnia’s dysfunctional political system continues to hamper its long recovery. The country is still reliant on international […]

Maka indigenous leader-in-training Tsiweyenki, or Gloria Elizeche in Spanish, handles a copy of the Bible translated into her native language, in Mariano Roque Alonso, Paraguay, April 17, 2019 (AP photo by Jorge Saenz).

Seven thousand indigenous languages are spoken around the world today, and four in 10 of them are in danger of going extinct, a recent United Nations study warned. After its release in August, U.N. experts called for a series of steps, including new laws and international commitments, to reverse what they described as the “historic destruction” of indigenous languages. Researchers like the linguist Frank Seifart of Berlin’s Leibniz Center for General Linguistics, whose work includes a study of Carabayo, a language of indigenous people in the Colombian Amazon, have found that older speakers of a range of indigenous languages are […]

OAS and Rio Treaty members meet to discuss sanctions on Venezuela, New York City, Sept. 23, 2019 (AP photo by Bebeto Matthews).

The Organization of American States took a new step late last month that it hopes could lead to an end to the ongoing crisis in Venezuela—but that others fear may spark an armed conflict between Venezuela and its neighbor, Colombia. On Sept. 23, the OAS voted to take punitive actions against as-yet-unspecified members of President Nicolas Maduro’s government through a somewhat obscure mechanism: the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, also known as the Rio Treaty, or the TIAR by its Spanish acronym. The TIAR is a mutual defense treaty among 19 states in the Western Hemisphere. Signed in 1947, it […]

Tita and Emet Comodas with their young children, shortly before the birth of their fifth child, in the late 1970s (photo courtesy of Jason DeParle).

In 1987, a 40-year-old mother of five named Tita Comodas received a strange request. Comodas, a resident of a sprawling slum district in Manila, had just been asked by an acquaintance if a young American journalist named Jason DeParle could rent space in her already cramped dwelling. She somewhat reluctantly agreed, and DeParle stayed for eight months, kicking off what became a lifelong friendship. For this week’s interview on Trend Lines, WPR’s Elliot Waldman is joined by DeParle, now a senior writer at The New York Times, for a discussion on his new book, “A Good Provider Is One Who […]

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