Demonstrators hold placards reading “Say No to Mass Surveillance” and “Members of Parliament Protect our Freedom,” Paris, France, May 4, 2015 (AP photo by Francois Mori).

The French Parliament overwhelmingly approved a bill yesterday that will give authorities the ability to tap phones and read emails without first getting permission from a judge. The bill now moves the French Senate, where is it likely to pass. In addition to phone tapping, the law would allow French intelligence services to monitor telecom and Internet operators’ networks and servers, as well as track the behavior of suspected terrorists using algorithms that analyze metadata. French lawmakers have considered expanding the state’s surveillance capabilities since 2012, after Mohammed Merah committed a series of attacks on French troops and a Jewish […]

A soldier stands between demonstrators and riot police facing off in the Musaga district of Bujumbura, Burundi, May 4, 2015 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

When Burundi’s ruling party, known the CNDD-FDD, chose President Pierre Nkurunziza on April 25 to run for a third five-year term in a presidential election scheduled for June, his supporters did their best to mark the occasion with festivity. In the capital, Bujumbura, hundreds of youths in the party’s red, white and green t-shirts jogged alongside the presidential motorcade, chanting the party’s theme song. Many had legitimate cause to celebrate. Under Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader elected president in 2005, Burundi had emerged from a 10-year civil war to become what many hailed as an international model of peace-building. Despite […]

Guinea troops fall over each other as they clamp down on an opposition protest, Conakry, Guinea, April 20, 2015 (AP photo by Youssouf Bah).

Opposition supporters clashed with police in Guinea’s capital, Conakry, on Monday, with reports that more than 20 people were injured, seven of them shot. For over two weeks, the opposition has taken to the streets to protest the government’s decision to hold a presidential election Oct. 11, violating a 2013 agreement to hold local elections first. Local elections were last held in Guinea in 2005. Though local leaders are supposed to serve a term of five years, local elections were not held in 2010, when the country was still transitioning back to democracy after a military coup in 2008. At […]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a brief press conference at the Cotroceni presidential palace in Bucharest, Romania, April 1, 2015 (AP photo by Vadim Ghirda).

On June 7, Turkish citizens will head to the polls to elect representatives for the Grand National Assembly. Although Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is certain to retain its parliamentary majority, the outcome of this important election will likely determine the future of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Since 2011, Erdogan, echoed by the party’s manifesto, has argued that Turkey must change its political system to create what AKP supporters refer to as the “New Turkey.” To do so, Erdogan has called for the drafting of a new constitution that includes a strengthened presidential system imbued with few […]

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif receives Chinese President Xi Jinping, Islamabad, Pakistan, April 20, 2015 (Photo from Pakistan’s Press Information Office).

Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan last month to inaugurate the 1,800-mile China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which will stretch from the landlocked western Chinese province of Xinjiang to the Arabian Sea port city of Gwadar in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Baluchistan. The project, which includes investment deals worth up to $46 billion, has the potential to significantly alter the economic geography of the region, spur the next generation of Chinese growth and lift Pakistan out of its economic slumber. But it faces major challenges, including threats from violent ethnic separatists and jihadis, who will seek to play the role of […]

Newly elected northern Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci speaks to his supporters, April 26, 2015 (AP photo by Petros Karadjias).

Mustafa Akinci was sworn in as president of northern Cyprus yesterday, after overwhelmingly defeating right-wing incumbent President Dervis Eroglu, 60.5 percent to 40.5 percent, in Sunday’s election. Though Eroglu, who has been in office since 2010, had just barely finished atop the first-round voting a week before, the leftist Akinci and the two other leading candidates, who all focused their campaigns on change and cleaner politics, together received 70 percent of the vote. The second round became, in effect, a referendum between those content with the conservative status quo, including a hard line in peace talks on Cyprus’ reunification, and […]

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