A view of banners promoting the U.N. COP26 climate conference, Glasgow, Scotland, Oct. 29, 2021 (AP photo by Scott Heppell).

This is the web version of our subscriber-only Weekly Wrap-Up newsletter, which gives a rundown of the week’s top stories on WPR. Subscribe to receive it by email every Saturday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. Starting Sunday, all eyes will be on Glasgow, where the United Nations Climate Conference will be taking place for the next two weeks. The COP26 summit has been described as the world’s last chance to head off the worst-case catastrophic scenarios projected by climate scientists. According to the most recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate […]

Women and teachers demonstrate inside a private school to demand their rights and equal education for women and girls, Kabul, Afghanistan, Oct. 5, 2021 (AP photo by Ahmad Halabisaz).

Last week, a group of Afghan women appealed to the United Nations, imploring it not to recognize the Taliban’s proposed ambassador to the global body as the representative of their country. “The UN needs to give that seat to somebody who respects the rights of everyone in Afghanistan,” Fawzia Koofi, a former Afghan politician and peace negotiator, told reporters. The group’s call was echoed by Ghulam Isaczai, the embattled ambassador appointed by the government the Taliban ousted, in remarks he made to the U.N. Security Council. “Women and girls in Afghanistan are pinning their hopes and dreams on this very […]

The head of Sudan’s military, Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, speaks during a press conference, Khartoum, Sudan, Oct. 26, 2021 (AP photo by Marwan Ali).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Africa Watch, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about the African continent. Subscribe to receive it by email every Friday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. Across Sudan, people have taken to the streets to protest a military coup that threatens to derail their aspirations for a democratic future. On Oct. 25, just weeks after a previous failed coup attempt, Sudan’s military leadership detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, several key civilian government officials […]

EU leaders pose for a group photo at an EU summit in Brussels, Oct. 21, 2021 (AP photo by Olivier Matthys).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Europe Decoder, which includes a look at the week’s top stories from and about Europe. Subscribe to receive it by email every Thursday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your inbox. European leaders are preparing for two big global summits taking place in Europe in the coming days: the G-20 Summit in Rome, Italy, and the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, or COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland. As the European Union strives to step up as a global power, this is […]

Detail from the Catalan Atlas, a medieval map produced in the 1370s, depicting Mansa Musa of the Mali Empire (Bibliotheque Nationale de France, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons).

No regular reader of my columns at World Politics Review can be surprised by now that I believe the future of Africa is one of the most important as well as one of the most neglected questions facing humankind. Africa is so routinely marginalized from the concerns of global affairs that even among otherwise well-informed people, most are unaware that it is the continent where almost all the action is taking place in terms of worldwide demographic growth. So it bears repeating here what I have written before: Africa’s population, which at the outset of my own career was about […]

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann during a press briefing at the OECD Ministerial Council meeting, Oct. 6, 2021, Paris (AP photo by Patrick Semansky).

A new agreement negotiated under the auspices of the G-20 and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development aims to crack down on tax havens by subjecting the world’s largest and most profitable multinational corporations to a minimum corporate tax rate of 15 percent. The deal has been agreed by 136 countries and jurisdictions, collectively representing more than 90 percent of the global economy. The OECD is hoping it will become effective by 2023. Many economists and commentators argue that such a deal is long overdue, given the ability of many gigantic corporations to avoid paying taxes on all or […]

Supporters attend a rally for a group of young people who filed a lawsuit saying U.S. energy policies are causing climate change and hurting their future, Portland, Ore., June 4, 2019 (AP photo by Steve Dipaola).

At next month’s long-awaited United Nations Climate Summit in Glasgow, all eyes will be on national leaders to make commitments that give the world a chance to limit average global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. At a recent youth-led event, Hilda Nakabuye, founder of the Ugandan Fridays for Future movement, articulated the impatience felt by young people across the world, calling on global leaders to finally “put on their big boy pants, to stand up and to take concrete climate action!” All the focus on the leaders at center-stage, however, risks missing the action taking place […]

Supporters of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik party rally against Asia Bibi in Karachi, Pakistan, Oct. 12, 2018 (AP photo by Fareed Khan).

Last summer, Tahir Ahmad Naseem was at a bail hearing in a high-security courtroom in Pakistan when he was shot dead. His killer, a 15-year-old student named Faisal Khan who had sneaked a pistol into the courtroom, was arrested immediately. But rather than facing public opprobrium, Khan was hailed as a hero. Thousands took to the streets to defend him, chanting slogans in his support and rallying for his release from prison. Police officers clicked jubilant selfies with him as they ferried the teenager in and out of court.  Naseem, his victim, had been targeted both by the lawsuit and […]

The sun shines near the Space Needle during a record-setting heat wave, Seattle, Washington, June 28, 2021 (AP photo by Ted S. Warren).

The slow pace of carbon emissions reductions and the increasingly obvious, devastating consequences of climate change make it imperative for the world’s governments to develop a broad portfolio of strategies to manage climate risk. That portfolio currently includes three main strategies, all of which will be discussed at the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow: mitigation of the causes of climate change, via emissions cuts; adaptation to its effects; and carbon dioxide removal, via both nature-based solutions and negative-emissions technologies.  Given the quickening pace and growing magnitude of the climate emergency, however, the world must also consider the feasibility and wisdom of adding a fourth arrow to […]

Shawan Jabarin, director of the al-Haq human rights group, at the organization’s offices in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Oct. 23, 2021 (AP photo by Majdi Mohammed).

Editor’s note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Middle East Memo, which takes a look at what’s happening, what’s being said and what’s on the horizon in the Middle East. Subscribe to receive it by email every Tuesday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it. Last week, Israel placed “terrorism” designations on six Palestinian human rights groups, escalating an ongoing legal and political campaign against Palestinian civil society. The move drew condemnations from the international human rights community, while initially attracting a muted response from the United States. Israeli officials reportedly plan to travel to […]

A woman protests at Lekki Toll plaza on the one-year anniversary of the #EndSARS demonstrations against police brutality, Lagos, Nigeria, Oct. 20, 2021 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Africa Watch, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about the African continent. Subscribe to receive it by email every Friday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. In Oct. 2020, Nigerians took to the streets in cities across the country during widespread protests against police brutality, popularly known as #EndSARS. The demonstrations, regarded by many as the most significant popular uprising since the country’s pro-democracy struggles of the 1990s, initially began as a campaign […]

A grave digger wears a protective suit during a burial for a person who died of COVID-19, at a cemetery in Omsk, Russia, Oct. 7, 2021 (AP photo).

In the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, Russian officials seemed to delight in pointing to the country’s relatively low COVID-19 death toll and highlighting what they portrayed as a disastrous response by the West. Russia developed the first coronavirus vaccine, and it reopened its economy before many others. Now, however, as global deaths due to COVID-19 reach their lowest levels in a year, the trend is going in the opposite direction in Russia. In fact, the pandemic response has all but gone off the rails, with a record number of deaths, hospitals straining to keep up and, astonishingly, less than one […]

A mother holds her baby receiving a malaria vaccine as part of a trial at the Walter Reed Project Research Center in Kombewa, western Kenya, Oct. 30, 2009 (AP photo by Karel Prinsloo).

No animal on the planet is responsible for more death than the mosquito. They may lack the shark’s sharp teeth, the snake’s poisonous bite or the crocodile’s powerful jaws, but they carry parasites that cause malaria, which sickened 229 million people and killed more than 400,000 in 2019 alone. Reducing the prevalence of malaria has long been a top global health priority, but mosquitos’ ability to develop resistance to insecticides and the emergence of new drug-resistant strains of the disease have continually stymied treatment and prevention efforts. Humans may have finally found a way to fight back. Earlier this month, the World Health Organization officially approved the first-ever malaria vaccine, […]

Italian Premier Mario Draghi addresses the media during a press conference, Rome, Oct. 5, 2021 (AP photo by Andrew Medichini).

When the leaders of the G-20’s member states convene for their Oct. 30-31 summit in Rome, there will be no time for fiddling. The planet is on fire. The pandemic smolders on. And the global recovery is faltering. The G-20 was created for just such a moment and just such challenges. To meet them, the assembled heads of governments must make credible commitments to accelerate decarbonization, expand vaccine access and alleviate developing nations’ crushing burden of debt.  The G-20 was born out of crisis—or crises, to be exact. It first emerged in 1999 as an informal network of finance ministers […]

Followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr celebrate after the announcement of the results of parliamentary elections, Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 11, 2021 (AP photo by Khalid Mohammed).

Editor’s note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Middle East Memo, which takes a look at what’s happening, what’s being said and what’s on the horizon in the Middle East. Subscribe to receive it by email every Monday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it. Iraq has begun the long, tortuous and now-familiar process of post-election negotiations among the country’s powerful, mostly armed blocs, and the interregnum between the Oct. 10 parliamentary election and the swearing-in of a new government could potentially stretch into next summer.  The election results have made possible many important shifts […]

An anti-coup protester peeps from behind makeshift barricades in Yangon, Myanmar, March 11, 2021 (AP photo).

Up until the spring, the pro-democracy movement in Myanmar was mainly expressing its opposition to the military junta that seized power in February through peaceful protests. But over the summer, in reaction to the junta’s violent and often lethal response, hundreds of small, armed, civilian resistance groups popped up and begun to carry out ambushes on military convoys around the country. As Betcy Jose and Peace Medie have shown, this is typical of how civilians begin to protect themselves with force when faced with violence from their own government, and in the absence of adequate outside help. And when peaceful protesters begin to […]

Followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr celebrate after the announcement of the results of parliamentary elections, Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 11, 2021 (AP photo by Khalid Mohammed).

On Sunday, for the fifth time since the U.S. invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraqis voted in elections. Initial results suggest that the big winner was nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose political formation once again emerged with the most seats in parliament. Parties aligned with pro-Iranian militias were the big losers, seeing their vote totals plummet. But with turnout at a record low 41 percent of registered voters, the election is being seen as an expression of Iraqis’ disillusionment with the state of the country’s electoral politics. The elections were the culmination of a political process triggered by […]

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