Outside the Yaba Mainland hospital in Lagos, Nigeria, Feb. 28, 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. After a delayed arrival of the novel coronavirus, there are now more than 720 confirmed COVID-19 cases and at least 20 related deaths across Africa. With the head of the World Health Organization warning the continent to “prepare for the worst,” African leaders are turning to extraordinary measures to try and slow the pandemic’s spread before it can overwhelm their fragile health systems. The first confirmed case of COVID-19 on the continent came only in mid-February, weeks after the outbreak had spread […]

A sign urging commuters to avoid gatherings, reduce crowding and to wash hands in the Brooklyn borough of New York, March 19, 2020 (AP photo by Wong Maye-E).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s Judah Grunstein and Freddy Deknatel talk about the transformation of daily life in countries facing lockdowns to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. They also discuss the longer-term political and societal impacts the pandemic is likely to have in Western democracies. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a free preview article every day of the week, plus three more complimentary articles in our […]

President Donald Trump during a press briefing with the coronavirus task force at the White House, Washington, March 17, 2020 (AP Photo by Evan Vucci).

For three years, Americans, along with the rest of the world, have watched President Donald Trump run an administration unlike any other in U.S. history. He repeatedly broke norms, principles and traditions, upending the way all of his predecessors had governed. His many disruptions have taken their toll, but it took the emergence of a global pandemic to expose the full cost of Trump’s now-familiar patterns. As the coronavirus spread, and a global crisis loomed, Trump resorted to the flawed habits and measures that have been the hallmark of his presidency. He relied on the advice of unqualified acolytes. He […]

People walk by a giant TV screen at a shopping mall in Beijing showing China’s leader, Xi Jinping, talking to medical workers as he visited a hospital in Wuhan, March 10, 2020 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. As the rate of domestic coronavirus transmission in China continues to fall, the Chinese government declared last Thursday that the peak of its COVID-19 outbreak has passed. With the epidemic at home largely under control, Beijing is directing its attention to cases imported by infected travelers. It is also seeking to reshape the narrative of a global pandemic that originated in China. Wuhan, the city in central China at the epicenter of the outbreak, remains on lockdown. But the […]

A masked couple walks on the empty Trocadero next to the Eiffel Tower, in Paris, March 17, 2020 (AP photo by Francois Mori).

Europe is now the epicenter of the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to the World Health Organization. The continent has more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, outside China. In response to the outbreak, European Union leaders held an emergency summit via video conference this week, agreeing to temporarily close all external borders to non-essential travel. COVID-19 is clearly the most urgent of the many issues facing EU leaders, but it is not the only one. The Brexit process with the U.K., a migration crisis on Greece’s border with Turkey, and an inability to come to […]

A large crowd wearing masks commutes through Shinagawa Station in Tokyo, Japan, Mar. 3, 2020 (AP photo by Jae C. Hong).

Editor’s note: The following article is one of 30 that we’ve selected from our archives to celebrate World Politics Review’s 15th anniversary. You can find the full collection here. In just a few months, the tightly connected systems of a globalized world have transformed the novel coronavirus from a handful of cases in China to a global pandemic. But we have yet to see an international response that matches the scale of the threat. The contrast with the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent economic crash is stark. Then, governments vastly upgraded the G-20 from a somewhat obscure forum of finance ministers […]

President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with tourism industry executives about the COVID-19 pandemic, at the White House, Washington, March 17, 2020 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

Three months after reports emerged of a novel coronavirus spreading in central China, it is safe to say that our world, and all of our individual worlds, have been transformed by what has become a terrifying pandemic. Governments around the globe are taking unprecedented steps to restrict movement and limit social contact among their populations to contain that virus’s spread. Growing numbers of the world’s inhabitants are now living in either voluntary or imposed isolation, or preparing to do so. The COVID-19 pandemic has been called the first truly global crisis since World War II. Arguably the climate crisis already […]

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, March 16, 2020 (AP photo by Craig Ruttle).

The coronavirus pandemic is, first and foremost, a global health emergency. But it is also having major economic effects—sinking stock markets and threatening to send the global economy into recession. The economic shocks outside China, where the outbreak originated, were relatively modest at first, as the authorities there—after initially trying to suppress any news of an epidemic—finally imposed strict containment measures that shut down major parts of the economy and disrupted supply chains globally. But those shocks grew rapidly as the virus spread around the world and countries took drastic steps to try and contain it. In the midst of […]

Women protest outside the Justice Ministry after five men accused of gang raping an unconscious 14-year-old three years ago were convicted of sexual abuse instead of assault or rape, in Madrid, Spain, Nov. 4, 2019 (AP photo by Paul White).

MADRID—After a series of gut-wrenching incidents of rape sparked a massive public outcry in Spain in recent years, the country’s new leftist coalition government has quickly focused on overhauling its sexual assault laws. It has public opinion on its side, as several high-profile trials, including the conviction last summer of five men calling themselves the “Wolf Pack” who gang-raped an 18-year-old woman during the annual bull-running festival in Pamplona in 2016, have galvanized support for tackling this issue. According to the Madrid-based Sociological Research Center, 93 percent of Spaniards find sexual assault to be a worrying problem and 71 percent […]

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By 2050, hundreds of millions of people in developing countries will have left their homes as a result of climate change—a mass displacement that will make already-precarious populations more vulnerable and impose heavy burdens on the communities that absorb them. Unfortunately, the world has barely begun to prepare for this impending crisis. Those displaced by climate change are neither true refugees nor traditional migrants, and thus occupy an ambiguous position under international law. The world needs to agree on how to classify environmental migrants, as well as what their rights are. It also needs to strengthen its capacity to manage […]

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, at a press conference at EU headquarters in Brussels, March 9, 2020 (AP photo by Olivier Matthys).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. The European Union unveiled a new strategy this week for building a closer relationship with Africa that looks to move beyond the focus on migration that has dominated Europe’s engagement with the continent since 2015. Observers cautioned that despite new rhetoric from Brussels about adopting a shared response to climate change and improving trade relations, migration was likely to continue to dictate the EU’s relationship with African countries, and its spending across the continent. “Our growth and security depend on what happens […]

A member of the Afghan security forces stands guard after an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 6, 2020 (AP photo by Tamana Sarwar).

There have already been many military maneuvers, political pivots and plot twists since the U.S. inked a peace deal with the Taliban late last month. But the one development that could finally bring a measure of clarity to Afghanistan in the long term is the International Criminal Court’s decision on March 5 to approve opening a full investigation into allegations that U.S., Taliban and Afghan government forces committed systematic abuses during the nearly 20-year-long war. For Afghanistan, the ruling issued by the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber reversed the court’s earlier, mystifying decision last April to deny the request of the ICC’s […]

People watch a TV showing a live broadcast of U.S. President Donald Trump’s speech at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, March 12, 2020 (AP photo by Ahn Young-joon).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s Judah Grunstein and Freddy Deknatel talk about the latest developments in the COVID-19 pandemic, including President Donald Trump’s surprise decision to close the U.S. border to European travelers. They also discuss government responses to the crisis, the competing narratives that are emerging, and questions of solidarity and resilience—both within countries and among them. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a free […]

A firefighter disinfects the shrine of Saint Saleh to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in Tehran, Iran, March, 6, 2020 (AP photo by Ebrahim Noroozi).

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran is accelerating its production of enriched uranium. It was just the latest in a series of progressive breaches by Tehran of the 2015 nuclear agreement, as part of an effort to raise the pressure on the Trump administration for withdrawing from the deal and reimposing devastating economic sanctions on Iran. But last week’s announcement marked a key milestone: For the first time in years, Iran possesses enough low-enriched uranium to manufacture a nuclear weapon, although it would first have to enrich the uranium to a much higher level. Experts now […]

Vice President Mike Pence and other U.S. officials take questions in the press briefing room of the White House, Washington, March 10, 2020 (AP photo by Carolyn Kaster).

These are humbling times to be American, or at least they should be. They are humbling times to be an American journalist, too, especially one of my generation, who spent a career spanning the 1980s to the end of the aughts traveling the wide world as a foreign correspondent. America, of course, had problems back then, indeed very real problems. But one function of America’s immense wealth and power during this period was the illusion, which foreign correspondents could sustain without too much difficultly, that the world was innately more interesting than their own country, because the world was where […]

Trash collectors pick up plastic bottles in New Delhi

In September 2018, after years of modeling and development, the Ocean Cleanup project launched System 001, a floating barrier designed to scoop up plastic debris from an area in the Pacific Ocean that, because of prevailing currents, had become a natural repository of ocean-borne plastic waste. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, as the area the size of France became known, was first discovered in 1988, but it gained prominence after a public awareness campaign in 2008. Although System 001 ultimately failed to hold onto the plastic debris it collected, Ocean Cleanup announced late last year that a modified prototype known […]

The Statue of Freedom on top of the Capitol Dome in Washington, Jan. 15, 2020 (AP photo by J. Scott Applewhite).

As Democratic voters in America enter a decisive stage in determining who should face Donald Trump in the November presidential election, Freedom House has issued an alarming report on the status of representative government worldwide. The annual report, titled “Freedom in the World 2020,” makes for sobering reading. For the 14th consecutive year, democracy lost ground to tyranny in 2019. Authoritarian regimes are emboldened. Long-established democracies are slipping. And attacks on religious minorities and other vulnerable populations are surging. The human yearning for freedom remains powerful, as evinced by recent protest movements in Hong Kong, Algiers, Khartoum and Tehran. Unfortunately, […]

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