Isabel dos Santos and her husband, Sindika Dokolo, arrive for a ceremony at the City Hall in Porto, Portugal, Jan. 6, 2020 (AP photo by Paulo Duarte).

A recently released trove of more than 700,000 leaked documents illuminate the shocking extent of corruption and kleptocracy in Angola. The files, known as the Luanda Leaks and published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and dozens of partner media outlets, detail how the country’s former first daughter, Isabel dos Santos, abused her power for personal gain, amassing a fortune estimated at $2.2 billion and earning her the title of “Africa’s richest woman.” Dos Santos, who splits her time mostly between London and Dubai, allegedly exploited positions of influence given to her by her father, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, […]

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at a meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 18, 2019 (Pool photo by Mandel Ngan via AP).

The stunning allegation this week that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hacked the phone of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, according to a report by United Nations investigators, may come as a shock to some. But for most people tracking the rise of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler over the past five years, it’s business as usual. From his disastrous proxy war in Yemen to the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018, the young crown prince, known as MBS, has demonstrated time and again his hubristic belief that there are no limits […]

Indonesian President Joko Widodo inspects troops at Selat Lampa Port, Natuna Islands, Indonesia (Indonesian Presidential Office photo via AP Images).

By reigniting a dispute with Indonesia over control of the Natuna Islands, China appeared to be asserting its expansive territorial claims and challenging Indonesia's newly re-elected president. The move could backfire, though, by undermining Beijing's regional diplomatic goals. China sparked a major maritime confrontation with Indonesia near the South China Sea last month when dozens of Chinese fishing vessels, along with a coast guard escort, entered waters off the Natuna Islands, which are within Jakarta’s exclusive economic zone but are also claimed by China. Indonesian authorities responded swiftly, summoning China’s ambassador on Dec. 30 to lodge a protest and subsequently […]

Workers disinfect a passing vehicle after the latest incident of African swine flu outbreak on the outskirts of Beijing, China, Nov. 23, 2018 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

Imagine this scenario: A viral disease emerges and spreads rapidly across borders. It has a nearly 100-percent fatality rate, with symptoms that include high fever, blotchy skin lesions, coughing, diarrhea, vomiting and hemorrhaging. There is no treatment or preventative vaccine for the disease, so it results in widespread loss of life and a staggering economic toll. The international system struggles to come together to stop it from spreading even further. This might sound like any of a number of infectious diseases among humans, including SARS, Ebola and H5N1 influenza, also known as bird flu. But it actually describes African swine […]

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at 10 Downing Street, in London, Jan. 8, 2020 (AP photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth).

Britain’s impending departure from the European Union on Jan. 31 is merely, as Winston Churchill might have said, the end of the beginning. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will herald Brexit as the moment the nation recovers its sovereignty. The truth, however, is far messier. The ultimate terms and costs of the divorce are yet to be determined. The nature of Britain’s future relationship with the continent, whether the United Kingdom will stay united in Brexit’s wake, and what global role Britain will play after regaining its “splendid isolation” all remain to be seen. The U.K. was always an awkward […]

The leaders of Serbia, Albania, North Macedonia and Montenegro attend a news conference during a regional summit in Tirana, Albania, Dec. 21, 2019 (AP photo by Hektor Pustina).

It was supposed to be a landmark year for the Balkans. In 2019, the European Union was due to give the green light to accession talks with Albania and what is now called North Macedonia. In Serbia, meanwhile, President Aleksandar Vucic saw a rare window for a lasting peace deal with Kosovo, 20 years after the war that led to Kosovo’s independence. Yet because of a de facto veto by French President Emmanuel Macron at an EU summit back in October, the Balkans now looks as far from a European embrace as it has for years. At that summit in […]

Protesters hold pictures of slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia outside Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s office, in Valletta, Malta, Nov. 29, 2019 (AP photo by Rene Rossignaud).

Investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia spent her career cataloguing what she believed to be endemic corruption among the political elite in Malta, the European Union’s smallest member state. When she was murdered in a car bomb in October 2017, it was, in the words of one of her three sons, “an assassination to match the scale of the crimes on which she was reporting.” Now, more than two years later, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is set to resign amid growing concerns over his handling of Caruana Galizia’s murder investigation. Partly due to a long delay by Maltese authorities, evidence has […]

A United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Cape Canaveral, Florida, Aug. 22, 2019 (AP photo by John Raoux).

When President Donald Trump signed the latest National Defense Authorization Act last month, he brought into existence the United States Space Force, the sixth branch of the country’s military. The name likely appeals to Trump for the same reasons that it appalls others: It is attention-grabbing and frames the issue of space in terms of American military dominance. At least initially, the new Space Force represents only a modest organizational change, one that is essentially neutral in terms of personnel and budgetary impact. A skeptical Congress appropriated only $40 million of its $738 billion military budget for the new endeavor. […]