Members of the neurosurgery team at Mulago National Referral Hospital, Kampala, Uganda (AP photo by Rebecca Vassie).

In mid-April, a spokesperson for the Ugandan government admitted that the country’s only functioning cancer treatment machine had broken earlier that month. The radiotherapy machine, donated by China to Uganda in 1995 and housed at Mulago Hospital in Kampala, is now considered beyond repair. While the government did acquire a second radiotherapy machine in 2013, it has not been operational because of delays in allocating 30 billion shillings—just shy of $9 million—to construct a new building to house it. The funding delay has lifted, but the machine won’t be up and running for at least six months. The government has […]

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launches the SNP's Manifesto at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, Edinburgh, Scotland, April 20, 2016 (Rex Features via AP Images).

According to the latest poll, released Wednesday, on the British referendum on European Union membership, 45 percent of Britons are in favor of remaining in the EU, while 38 percent are in favor of leaving. While the “remain” camp maintains a significant lead, support for the so-called Brexit is growing, with the “leave” campaign gaining 2 percent in the past month. In Scotland, the story is different. According to the same poll, over 56 percent of Scots want to remain in the EU. Pro-EU sentiment in Scotland has been consistent over the past eight months, with some polls putting support […]

South Korean President Park Geun-hye delivers a speech at Gyeryongdae, South Korea's main military compound, Gyeryong, March 4, 2016 (Pool photo by Chung Sung-Jun via AP).

South Korea’s ruling conservative Saenuri Party is looking for answers after a crushing loss earlier this month in legislative elections. Led by President Park Geun-hye, the Saenuri Party managed to win only 122 of the National Assembly’s 300 seats, falling far short of the majority that many predicted. The opposition fared well, with the liberal Minjoo Party winning 123 seats and the left-wing People’s Party winning 38 seats. The National Assembly is now effectively deadlocked, with opposition parties controlling Park’s ability to pass legislation. Her party’s loss is a stunning reversal and will reshape the political landscape in South Korea […]

Migrants behind a fence at the Nizip refugee camp, Gaziantep province, southeastern Turkey, April 23, 2016 (AP photo by Lefteris Pitarakis).

There has been no shortage of criticism of Europe’s response to the worsening refugee crisis that first escalated in 2015. In January, Denmark passed a law authorizing the government to seize assets from asylum-seekers. Poland and Slovakia announced they would only accept Christian refugees from Syria. And a recent deal between the European Union and Turkey has come under fire over questions about its legality. The deal allows Greece to return “all new irregular migrants” to Turkey; in exchange, for every migrant settled in Turkey, one Syrian already in Turkey will be resettled in the EU. Immediately after the deal’s […]

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during a rally at Miraflores presidential palace, Caracas, April 14, 2016 (AP photo by Ariana Cubillos).

A series of crises at home, including a new plan to ration electricity, are not the only issues facing Venezuela. Abroad, the regional coalition forged by the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is starting to unravel. The ongoing impeachment saga of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and the possible departure of her Worker’s Party from power are the latest in a series of developments that has complicated Venezuela’s international relations for Chavez’s successor, Nicolas Maduro. In November, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s chosen successor lost Argentina’s presidential election, ending more than a decade of Kirchnerism, which found common cause with Venezuela’s leftist […]

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power with Multinational Joint Task Force Commander Maj. Gen. Lamidi Adeosun at its headquarters, N'Djamena, Chad, April 20, 2016 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

In March, the small West African nation of Benin announced that it would contribute 150 soldiers to the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNTJF), a West African coalition whose main mission is to fight the militant group Boko Haram. The task force has approximately 9,000 total troops, but nevertheless it is primarily a political prop rather than an integrated military outfit. The region’s national militaries largely pursue their own campaigns, while the optics of regional integration serve a political purpose: They explicitly support narratives about so-called African solutions to African problems, yet implicitly facilitate greater Western involvement in the fight against […]

Karabakh Armenian soldiers near a howitzer in Hadrut province, Nagorno-Karabakh, April 5, 2016 (Photolure photo by Albert Khachatryan via AP).

The recent bout of intense fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan along the so-called line of contact near the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh should be seen not as an isolated flashpoint, but as the culmination of years of escalating tensions. The regional economic downturn and ongoing tensions between Russia and Turkey only add to the conflict’s volatility. The four days of fighting in early April between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces was the largest eruption of hostilities since the cease-fire to the Nagorno-Karabakh war in 1994, which left Armenian forces in control of the landlocked mountainous region, as well as much of […]

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk leaves parliament after his resignation, Kiev, April 14, 2016 (AP photo by Efrem Lukatsky).

Earlier this month, in a nonbinding referendum, Dutch voters firmly rejected a treaty that would establish closer ties between the European Union and Ukraine. The Netherlands currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, and for Prime Minister Mark Rutte, a supporter of the treaty, the vote was a clear rebuke. The Netherlands, like many other countries across Europe, is in the midst of a populist backlash against European integration in general. Referendum voters also expressed discontent with migration and economic regulation, echoing sentiments held everywhere from France to Hungary. But the referendum also reflected discontent with Ukraine itself. More than two […]

Cuban President Raul Castro at the Seventh Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, Havana, April 18, 2016 (AP photo by Ismael Francisco).

The Seventh Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba ended Tuesday, April 19 with First Secretary Raul Castro declaring that the “principal tasks” of the party going forward are “the development of the national economy, along with the struggle for peace and ideological firmness.” That neatly summed up the major themes discussed by the 1,000 delegates during the previous three days, and the challenges the party faces on all three fronts as it manages normalizing ties with the United States and opening up its economy while preserving the state’s socialist identity. The economy was the main focus of the conclave, […]

An F-35A at Mountain Home Air Force Base to conduct operational testing, Idaho, Feb. 8, 2016 (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Connor J. Marth).

Intellectual property: It sounds boring, but its protection has become one of the cornerstones of U.S. economic policy. And now, it may have an impact on how the Pentagon thinks about the future of technology. In recent years, the big push for international intellectual property protection came about through the concerted action of a group of powerful, well-connected American corporations. These corporations had determined that they could make a great deal of money—or at least stop the loss of a great deal of money—by putting crucial intellectual property protections into international law. Washington has embraced this idea, making intellectual property […]

Men in t-shirts before the start of a rally held an anti-EU campaign group, London, U.K., Feb. 19, 2016 (AP photo by Matt Dunham).

Just two months ahead of a referendum on the so-called Brexit, the prospects of a British exit from the European Union have sent any number of economists back to their computers to weigh how it would affect the country’s economy. Most seem to think that exit is a bad idea—at least that is the conclusion reached by more than three-quarters of the 100-plus economists polled by the Financial Times. But the British public, as it prepares to vote, is hardly thinking about economics. Instead, matters of sovereignty and culture take precedence. The people want to protect the nation’s borders from […]

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic at a press conference, Belgrade, Jan. 14, 2016 (AP photo by Darko Vojinovic).

BELGRADE, Serbia—Growing fears about the unmooring of the Western Balkans from its European path; the prime minster himself warning that the region remains a powder keg; concerns over malign Kremlin influence and gains made by pro-Russian hard-right parties; allegations of rising authoritarianism and corruption in government circles; and claims of double-dealing among a fragmented and fractious opposition. This is the atmosphere in which Serbia’s parliamentary election this Sunday, April 24, is taking place. The ruling pro-European Union Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) looks assured of topping the poll, the third Serbia has had in four years. The snap election was called […]

View of Mamoudzou, Mayotte, Sep. 15, 2003 (photo by David Stanley, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license).

Denunciations of French President Francois Hollande’s government know no geographic boundaries these days. In Paris, students are protesting a labor reform bill; in Mali, demonstrators ransacked an airport, decrying arrests made by French forces there. And since March 30, strikes and protests have paralyzed the French department and former colony of Mayotte, as residents demand “real equality” with the rest of France. Mayotte, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean situated between Madagascar and Mozambique, is one of France’s overseas departments; its residents are French citizens with parliamentary representation. But in many ways, Mayotte is far behind other overseas departments and […]

A member of Nigeria's civil defense corps secures an area following an explosion at a gas pipeline, Arepo, Ogun, Nigeria, Jan. 23, 2013 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

Last week, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari vowed to crush the “vandals and saboteurs” responsible for a growing number of attacks on oil pipelines in the economically vital but historically unstable Niger Delta. Buhari, however, has offered mixed signals to southern Nigeria: In January, he renewed an amnesty program for ex-militants, the same month that Nigerian authorities issued an arrest warrant for a former Delta militant leader on corruption charges. Attacks have been on the rise ever since, targeting the Escravos pipeline, Shell’s underwater Forcados pipeline and a pipeline operated by Italy’s ENI in Bayelsa state. Buhari’s carrot-and-stick approach to rising […]

Chinese paramilitary policemen march outside the Bank of China headquarters, Beijing, Feb. 25, 2016 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

The recent publication of the so-called Panama Papers—a trove of 11 million leaked confidential documents from the Mossack Fonseca law firm in Panama City—and the earlier publication of what might be called the Offshore Papers—2.5 million documents linked to the Singapore-based Portcullis law firm and the British Virgin Islands-based Commonwealth Trust Ltd.—have revealed a large number of offshore shell companies owned or linked to individuals and companies in either China or Hong Kong. Although there are legitimate uses for such shell companies, their secretive nature, combined with reports of vast outflows of capital from China, create suspicions that these companies […]

U.S. President Barack Obama and Argentine President Mauricio Macri during the State Dinner at the Centro Cultural Kirchner, Buenos Aires, March 23, 2016 (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

Argentina is the new darling of Latin America. Just over four months into his term, President Mauricio Macri is taking every step to put the welcome mat out for the international community, and the United States in particular. The Obama administration has reciprocated in kind. It’s a new era, and the future is bright for the bilateral relationship, as well as for Macri’s domestic standing. Gone are the days of antagonistic relations. Now, U.S.-Argentine relations are being advanced on multiple fronts—from trade facilitation to climate change and global health. Even before Obama’s state visit in late March, Washington had already […]

Senegal’s then-president, Abdoulaye Wade, meeting with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Tehran, Iran, June 27, 2006 (AP photo by Vahid Salemi).

On Jan. 6, Djibouti announced it was severing relations with Iran inresponse to attacks on Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic missions in Tehran, following the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric by Saudi authorities. Shortly after, a joke appeared on Telegram, an instant messaging app popular among Iranians: “One good thing that the snapping of ties with Saudi Arabia taught me is geography. At least now I know where Djibouti is.” Although many Iranians have since dismissed the tiny Horn of Africa state as an inconsequential actor, it was not that long ago that Tehran sought to expand its engagement with small […]

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