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The government of Paraguay has in recent months come under criticism for its fumbling response to a long-running dispute over the Marina Cue Reserve, a plot of land in the rural district of Curuguaty. While currently state-owned, over 150 poor families claim the land belonged to them before it was forcibly taken decades ago by a powerful associate of the dictator Alfredo Stroessner, who ruled the country from 1954 to 1989. And while President Mario Abdo Benitez and members of Congress have expressed some interest in helping the families, handing over the land is not so simple. In December, Abdo […]

Venezuelans cross the International Simon Bolivar bridge into Colombia, Feb. 21, 2018 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

It’s not often that a large refugee population is given unexpected reason to feel overjoyed. But that’s what happened last week in Colombia, when President Ivan Duque, standing alongside United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, announced that he would allow all Venezuelans living in the country as of Jan. 31 to obtain residency permits for 10 years. Their official status will grant them full rights to work, study, receive health care and enjoy other benefits available to Colombian citizens. The news came as a surprise, particularly because just a few weeks ago Duque had said undocumented Venezuelans would […]

Israeli troops clash with Palestinian demonstrators following a weekly demonstration against Israeli Jewish settlements, in the West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum, Sept. 4, 2020 (AP photo by Majdi Mohammed).

Harun Abu Aram was shot in the neck on the first day of the New Year. In a confrontation captured on film, the 24-year-old Palestinian, along with several other men, can be seen tussling with Israeli soldiers who had been trying to seize a village generator in the West Bank’s South Hebron hills—before a single shot rings out. Over a month later, Abu Aram remains in critical condition in a Hebron hospital, paralyzed from the neck down. In the aftermath of the shooting, the Israeli Defense Forces claimed that there had been a “violent disturbance” involving “around 150 Palestinians” who […]

A woman is briefed before taking a COVID-19 test in Groblersdal, South Africa, Feb. 11, 2021 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Subscribers can adjust their newsletter settings to receive Africa Watch by email every week. COVID-19 vaccination campaigns across Africa suffered a potentially serious blow after new research showed that a vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca offered only minimal protection against mild and moderate infections caused by the more contagious coronavirus variant that was first detected in South Africa. The new strain has fueled a second wave of infections in the country and has been detected in at least 30 other […]

People sit under campaign election posters of President Paul Biya, in Yaounde, Cameroon, Oct. 5. 2018 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

When at least 53 people died in Cameroon in late January after a bus collided with a fuel-laden truck—one of the worst road accidents in the country’s history—few observers would have expected that reactions to the tragedy would include ethnic slurs, mainly on Facebook. They were directed toward members of the Bamileke community, from which most of the victims appeared to originate. Cameroon has long prided itself on the relative harmony between the country’s approximately 250 ethnic groups, none of which dominates nationally—a diversity that many Cameroonians consider to be a safeguard against communal violence. But Cameroon now has to […]

Women ride past a coronavirus-themed mural reading “Come on together fight the coronavirus,” in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sep. 10, 2020 (AP photo by Tatan Syuflana).

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, studies have found that women and girls in lower- and middle-income countries are being hit hardest by the crisis. According to Megan O’Donnell, a senior analyst at the Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C., appropriate policy responses to COVID-19 can help not just to address this disparity, but also to close the gender gap that existed in many societies prior to the pandemic. She joined WPR’s Elliot Waldman on the Trend Lines podcast this week to discuss her work leading a new initiative to study the gendered impacts of COVID-19. Listen to […]

Women at a vegetable market in Ahmedabad, India, Dec. 3, 2020 (AP photo by Ajit Solanki).

Around the world, the coronavirus pandemic has taken an especially high toll on women and girls. From public health to education to jobs and livelihoods, studies have revealed a gender disparity in the impact of COVID-19 that is particularly wide in lower- and middle-income countries. Yet for all the work that’s been done, experts say there’s still a lot they don’t know about how these impacts are being felt across different communities. To help address this problem, the Center for Global Development recently launched a new initiative to analyze the gendered impacts of the pandemic and study policy responses around […]

A security person moves journalists away from the Wuhan Institute of Virology after a World Health Organization team arrived for a field visit in Wuhan, China, Feb. 3, 2021 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR contributor Rachel Cheung and Assistant Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curate the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. Subscribers can adjust their newsletter settings to receive China Note by email every week. After months of bureaucratic delays and two weeks of quarantine in China, international investigators from the World Health Organization finally started their probe into the origins of COVID-19 in Wuhan. The mission began last Thursday amid political tensions and controversy. Less than a week into the trip, the scant information released so far under the watch of Chinese authorities offers little assurance that […]

Migrants from Morocco arrive on a beach at the southeastern coast of the island of Gran Canaria, Spain, Jan. 7, 2021 (AP photo by Javier Bauluz).

GRANADA, Spain—In the Canary Islands, off the coast of Morocco, the coronavirus pandemic isn’t the only crisis that 2020 will be known for. Over the course of the year, more than 23,000 migrants arrived in the Spanish archipelago by boat from Africa—8,000 of them in November alone—while some 500 died attempting the journey. The images of thousands of migrants stranded on beaches with no place to go evoked inevitable comparisons to another crisis, in 2006, when a total of 34,000 people landed on the archipelago in small wooden boats known as cayucos. African migrants are being pushed toward this dangerous […]

Robert Rosner, chairman of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, moves the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight during a news conference in Washington, Jan. 25, 2018 (AP Photo by Carolyn Kaster).

Last Wednesday, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which celebrated its 75th anniversary in December, unveiled the latest installment of its famous “Doomsday Clock,” which purports to measure how close the world is catastrophe. When it first appeared in 1947, at the dawn of the nuclear age, its hands were set at 7 minutes to midnight. In the intervening years, it’s moved both closer to and farther from that witching hour. The most comforting installment appeared in 1991, amid the sudden end of the Cold War, when the Clock was reset to a sanguine 17 minutes to midnight. That optimism […]