Masked members of the collective "500 Brothers" take part in a march supporting a general strike, Cayenne, French Guiana, March 28, 2017 (AP photo by Pierre-Olivier Jay).

Strikes and protests have paralyzed French Guiana since last Sunday, as residents of the French overseas department in South America demand an end to rising crime and insecurity and rampant unemployment. French Guiana, France’s biggest overseas department, has the highest murder rate in any French department, with one murder each week for a population of just 250,000. But residents are also fed up with poor economic and development indicators, including a youth unemployment rate of 40 percent and high infant mortality. The unrest, which according to some estimates has drawn 20,000 people to the streets, led to the closure of […]

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny and his wife, Yulia, take a selfie during a march in memory of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, Moscow, Russia, Feb. 26, 2017 (AP photo by Ivan Sekretarev).

Last Sunday, Russians did something they had not done in years: They took to the streets by the tens of thousands. In a wave of mostly unauthorized protests in about 100 different cities, crowds defied government restrictions and risked arrest in order to challenge the status quo. The protests’ principal organizer, Alexey Navalny, was arrested, as were more than a thousand other demonstrators. It was an impressive show of force by an opposition movement that had seemed all but completely crushed by the increasingly undemocratic government of President Vladimir Putin. The weekend protests were the largest in Russia since demonstrations […]

European Council President Donald Tusk holds up the document from the U.K. invoking Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty, marking the formal start of exit negotiations, Brussels, March 29, 2017 (AP photo by Virginia Mayo).

Just last weekend, the European Union turned 60, marking the milestone with a leaders’ summit in Rome, where the treaty that launched the bloc’s first iteration was signed in 1957. In that time, the original economic community of six founding members grew to become a common market with elements of shared sovereignty joining 28 countries. Or make that 27. Today, British Prime Minister Theresa May, who did not join the festivities in Rome, formally notified Brussels of the U.K.’s intention to leave the union. By triggering Article 50 of the EU’s current treaty, she opens a two-year negotiating period that […]

Jean Michel Berhokoirigoin, a Basque activist, speaks during a press conference ahead of the ETA's disarmament, Bayonne, France, March 23, 2017 (AP photo by Bob Edme).

More than five years after declaring a cease-fire, the Basque separatist group ETA has announced plans to fully disarm by April 8. Founded in 1959, the group, whose name stands for “Basque Country and Freedom” in the Basque language, sought to create a homeland in the Basque region in northern Spain and southwestern France. Its campaign of violence, including bombings and assassinations, is blamed for more than 800 deaths. In an email interview, Rafael Leonisio, political scientist and editor of the 2016 book ETA’s Terrorist Campaign: From Violence to Politics, 1968-2015 (Extremism and Democracy), discusses the challenges facing the group […]

An honor guard stands during Russia's Victory Day military parade, Moscow, May 9, 2016 (AP photo by Pavel Golovkin)

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and senior editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss Wednesday’s terror attack in London and whether anything can be done to mitigate the threat of self-radicalized extremists. For the Report, Michael Kofman talks with Peter Dörrie about Russia’s plans to expand its military while deploying modernized equipment. If you’d like to support our free podcast through patron pledges, Patreon is an online service that will allow you to do so. To find out about the benefits you can get through pledging as little as $1 per month, click through to WPR’s Trend Lines […]

Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Brussels, Belgium, March 21, 2017 (AP photo).

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with European Union leaders in Brussels this week, vowing to secure a free trade deal with the bloc as soon as possible. Negotiations over the deal began in 2013 and have run into a number of roadblocks. In an email interview, J. Berkshire Miller, a Tokyo-based international affairs fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations, discusses the challenges that remain to clinching the deal as well as what the two sides stand to gain. WPR: What is the current state of economic and political ties between Japan and EU countries, how have they been […]

Russian Air Force aerobatic teams in MiG-29 and Su-27 fighter jets fly over the Kremlin during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade, Moscow, May 5, 2016 (AP photo by Ivan Sekretarev).

If you read a recent report by IHS Jane’s that Russia is cutting its defense budget by over 25 percent—supposedly the “largest cut to military expenditure in the country since the early 1990s”—then you might be given the impression that Moscow’s military is finally succumbing to economic woes. But reports of the death of Russia’s defense budget have been grossly exaggerated. Simply put, it’s not true. Not only did Jane’s get the story largely wrong about Russia’s defense budget, claiming that Russia’s defense budget would fall from 3.8 trillion rubles, or $65.4 billion, to 2.8 trillion, but deep reductions in […]

President Donald Trump greets Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, March 17, 2017 (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

It’s no secret that President Donald Trump, like all of his recent predecessors, thinks America’s NATO allies have been free-riding on Washington’s largesse and should contribute more to their own security. In the familiar terms of NATO alliance management, that is understood to mean meeting the target of budgeting 2 percent of GDP for national defense. Set in 2006, that benchmark is currently met by only four other alliance members—one of them being tiny Estonia—with a fifth, France, falling just short. But last week, at a news conference following his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump went further than […]

People stand for a moment of silence during the one-year anniversary of the Brussels attacks, Brussels, Belgium, March 22, 2017 (AP photo by Geert Vanden Wijngaert).

One year ago, a series of terrorist attacks struck the Brussels international airport and a metro station, killing 35 and injuring hundreds. The incident occurred just months after Belgium was thrust into the center of discussions about the terror threat facing Europe, when it was revealed that a Belgian national had coordinated attacks on a concert hall and other sites in Paris, killing 130 people and injuring hundreds more. That man, 27-year-old Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was among the many Belgian citizens who had gone to Syria and Iraq to fight with the so-called Islamic State, making Belgium Europe’s largest per capita […]

Protests against U.S. President Donald Trump and the far-right Alternative for Germany party, Berlin, Jan. 20, 2017 (SIPA photo by Omer Messinger).

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives today in Washington, where she will meet with U.S. President Donald Trump for the first time. The trip was initially scheduled for earlier in the week, but was delayed by a snowstorm that hit the East Coast. It was perhaps a fitting prelude to their first encounter. After all, when Trump was elected president of the United States, Merkel sent him a congratulatory message that seemed, in no uncertain terms, to be a rebuke to his behavior and rhetoric during the campaign. She suggested that Germany would only cooperate with the United States if it […]

Thousands of anti-government protesters demand the resignation of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Athens, June 15, 2016 (AP photo by Petros Giannakouris).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and senior editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss what election results from the Netherlands could mean for populist movements across Europe. For the Report, Yiannis Baboulias talks with Peter Dörrie about Greece’s economic and political challenges, and why they are no closer to being resolved now than they were seven years ago. If you’d like to support our free podcast through patron pledges, Patreon is an online service that will allow you to do so. To find out about the benefits you can get through pledging as little as $1 per month, […]

Prime Minister Mark Rutte following his victory in the Dutch general election, The Hague, The Netherlands, March 16, 2017 (Rex Features via AP images).

It’s no secret why the global media converged on the Netherlands to cover Wednesday’s parliamentary elections. All eyes were on the small European country not because the world has great interest in Dutch politics, but because the elections looked like the third test for an emerging populist movement that had already scored victories in the United Kingdom with the Brexit vote and in the United States with the presidential election of Donald Trump. It fell to the Dutch, then, to erect a barrier to stop nationalist, anti-immigrant populists from winning three contests in a row. But advocates of moderate, inclusive […]

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras speaks to supporters of his Syriza party on the first anniversary of its general election victory, Athens, Jan. 24, 2016 (AP photo by Yorgos Karahalis).

As the Greek economic crisis enters its seventh year, the difficulties standing in the way of its resolution continue to mount. At first glance, this is surprising. After all, Greece is a small country, representing just 2 percent of the European Union’s economy, and is home to just over 10 million of the bloc’s more than 500 million citizens. But it has played an outsize role in driving the political and economic uncertainty facing Europe today, and has in many ways taken the brunt of the fallout. For Greece and Europe, nothing has been the same since 2008, when news […]

Istanbul's Taksim Square, backdropped by a poster of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, March 14, 2017 (AP photo by Lefteris Pitarakis).

The row between Turkey and the Netherlands over a banned political rally by Turkish immigrants in Rotterdam has now escalated into a diplomatic crisis that threatens Turkey’s relations with the European Union. Like Germany had done days before, the Netherlands cited a threat to public order as the reason for banning the rally last week. The demonstration had been called to show support for Turkish constitutional reforms that would create an executive presidency, strengthening President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian grip on power. In addition to banning the gathering, Dutch authorities turned back the airplane carrying Turkey’s foreign minister to […]

Ruoholahti Comprehensive School, Helsinki, Finland (photo by Jori Samonen via flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0).

Editor’s note: This article is the first in an ongoing WPR series about education policy in various countries around the world. Last year, schools across Finland began implementing the country’s new National Curriculum Framework, which was first approved in 2014. Though the country, long praised for its school system, has seen test scores decline in recent years, the reforms show the Finnish government is more focused on other problems. In an email interview, Finnish educator, author and policy adviser Pasi Sahlberg explains what the changes are intended to achieve. WPR: What are the biggest changes resulting from the adoption last […]

Iskander missile launchers in Red Square during the Victory Parade marking the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, Moscow, May 9, 2015 (AP photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko).

Despite years of warnings, Russia has doubled down on its previously alleged violation of a three-decade-old nuclear arms control treaty by deploying a banned intermediate-range ground-launched cruise missile. Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed the deployment of the missile to Congress on Wednesday, calling it a violation of “the spirit and intent” of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, commonly known as the INF Treaty. “We believe that the Russians have deliberately deployed it in order to pose a threat to NATO and to facilities within the NATO area of responsibility,” he added. Western […]

Hungarians attend a demonstration against the government's media law and against its new constitution, Budapest, Hungary, April 15, 2011 (AP photo by Bela Szandelszky).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and senior editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the security and diplomatic implications of North Korea’s launch of four ballistic missiles aimed toward Japan. For the Report, Zselyke Csaky talks with Peter Dörrie about Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s stealth takeover of the press and silencing of critical media outlets. If you’d like to support our free podcast through patron pledges, Patreon is an online service that will allow you to do so. To find out about the benefits you can get through pledging as little as $1 per month, click through […]

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