Supporters of Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the president-elect of the Maldives, celebrate his election win, Maldives, Sept. 24, 2018 (AP photo by Eranga Jayawardena).

The Maldives’ authoritarian president, Abdulla Yameen, began hastily burning documents at his campaign headquarters and moving boxes out of his official residence in the capital, Male, earlier this week, after being resoundingly—and astoundingly—defeated by the opposition in Sunday’s presidential election. Nearly 90 percent of voters turned out, 58 percent of them casting ballots for Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, popularly known as Ibu. Yameen was silent for the better part of a day, before conceding defeat on state television. To say the opposition had the odds stacked against them would be a major understatement. Among Yameen’s first acts after coming to power […]

Construction work taking place in the port of Gwadar, Balochistan, in southern Pakistan, Oct. 4, 2017 (Photo by Christine-Felice R'hrs for DPA via AP.)

Five years after Chinese President Xi Jinping introduced the Belt and Road Initiative to the world, the ambitious multitrillion-dollar infrastructure scheme is experiencing major growing pains. Months of harsh media scrutiny, criticism from the United States and Europe, some surprising grumbling domestically, and backtracking from key partner countries have put a dent in what had been promoted as a seamless chain of China-funded transportation and development projects spreading out across the Asian continent. Xi’s signature foreign policy initiative now faces skepticism in the country that has been its most enthusiastic cheerleader and most willing testing ground: Pakistan. On Sept. 9, […]

Soldiers examine burnt-out cars outside the Splendid Hotel in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, after it was attacked by al-Qaida-linked extremists, Jan. 17, 2016 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

The Islamist militants came on motorbikes, arriving before dawn in two villages in eastern Burkina Faso. In the first village, Diabiga, they struck a mosque, killing a local Muslim leader and four other worshipers; a sixth person later died of his injuries. In the second village, Kompienbiga, they killed three members of the same family. The dual attacks, which occurred on Sept. 15, did not come as a total surprise. In the weeks leading up to them, a series of similar incidents in the east claimed around 20 lives. Analysts suspect the violence is the work of the Islamic State […]

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (2nd from left) and South Korean President Moon Jae-in (2nd from right) pose with their wives on Mt. Paektu, a volcano on the North Korean-Chinese border, on Sept. 20, 2018 (Kyodo photo via AP).

The traditional harvest festival of Chuseok is one of the most important days in Korean culture. It is a time to celebrate and rekindle family ties, aided by good food and good drink—that is, if you can make it through the traffic. Chuseok falls on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, which this year was Sept. 24, days after South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un met in Pyongyang for their third summit. In keeping with the spirit of the season, the two men and their spouses put on […]

A memorial is set up to mark the second anniversary of fighting in Ilovaysk between Ukrainian soldiers and pro-Ukraine paramilitaries and pro-Russia insurgents, Kiev, Ukraine, Aug. 29, 2016 (Sipa photo via AP).

Under the cover of darkness, eight cargo trucks from Russia rumbled down a dirt road just inside the Ukrainian border. A breeze cooled the early August night, drifting over the Russian countryside into this swath of coal-mining country in Donetsk, before being caught in the swells of the Black Sea. It was clear. A perfect night for a drone from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which has been monitoring a shaky cease-fire in eastern Ukraine for the past four years, to record video of the convoys of KamAZ-4310s, the green army trucks once called the “workhorse of […]

A young demonstrator plays a trumpet during a protest against austerity measures put in place by the government of President Mauricio Macri, Buenos Aires, Sept. 24, 2018 (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

BUENOS AIRES—Once again, Argentina has become synonymous with crisis. The Argentine peso has already lost half of its value against the dollar this year, and the economy is projected to contract by at least 2 percent while inflation reaches 40 percent. Beleaguered President Mauricio Macri is asking the International Monetary Fund for additional assistance, only three months after finalizing a loan agreement. Not surprisingly, Macri’s domestic popularity has suffered, weakening his re-election prospects next year. But while the situation is indeed serious, comparing it with Argentina’s total economic, political and social collapse in 2001—as some Argentine and foreign commentators have—is […]

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indonesian President Joko Widodo inspect the honor guard during a welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, Aug. 31, 2018 (Pool photo by Mast Irham via AP).

When Malcolm Turnbull was ousted as Australia’s prime minister last month, replaced by the country’s treasurer, Scott Morrison, Australians welcomed their seventh prime minister in just 11 years. Turnbull was the fourth prime minister to be removed from office by their own party since 2010 through what is known in Australia as “spills”—cutthroat internal party ballots to remove the leadership without a general election. Turnbull had been one of the leaders of a previous revolt within the governing Liberal Party against then-Prime Minister Tony Abbott that led to Abbott’s ouster in 2015. Turnbull now appears to have played a role […]

A Palestinian girl peeks out of a car window after receiving UNRWA food aid in a refugee camp north of Jabalia, Gaza Strip, Sept. 4, 2018 (Photo by Wissam Nassar for DPA via AP Images).

RAMALLAH—“We lose Trump’s money, but we preserve our dignity,” Ahmed, 19, told me at Qalandia refugee camp near Ramallah when I asked him how he felt about President Donald Trump’s recent decision to halt all U.S. funding to UNRWA, the United Nations agency that provides food, education and health care to the more than 5 million Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Created in 1949, UNRWA has been a lifeline for Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes during the 1948 and 1967 wars with Israel. Last year, the United States provided about […]

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, poses with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a group photo session at the G-20 summit in Hangzhou, China, Sept. 4, 2016 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

Last week, at a meeting on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in the Pacific port of Vladivostok, in far eastern Russia, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to improve their long-strained bilateral relationship. It was their seventh meeting since late 2012, though each one has been on the sidelines of international gatherings, rather than full-fledged bilateral visits. The reason is that, up until recently, China has been hesitant to court Japan and restore traditional high-level exchanges through state visits, especially since their relations fell off a cliff seven years ago due to tensions […]

A local woman harvesting seaweed and mollusks during low tide, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Jan. 10, 2018 (Photo by Sergi Reboredo for DPA via AP Images).

Several years ago, in a speech marking his final International Women’s Day as Tanzania’s president, Jakaya Kikwete demonstrated how he had cultivated a reputation as a champion of women’s rights. At a rally in the town of Morogoro, outside the capital Dar es Salaam, Kikwete touted a record that included appointing more women to government posts, expanding economic opportunities for women and investing in improvements to maternal and reproductive health. Just as importantly, his words suggested these were causes in which he felt personally invested. “I am proud to have created an enabling environment for women’s economic empowerment that has […]

Heavily armed soldiers escort the caravan of Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales to a ceremony to inaugurate a soccer field, Mixco, Guatemala, Sept. 17, 2018 (AP photo by Moises Castillo).

GUATEMALA CITY—It looked like a modern-day re-enactment of the 1982 photograph of Gen. Efrain Rios Montt and other military officers at a press conference following their coup. On Aug. 31, military, police and special forces officers lined up several rows deep behind Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, who announced the government’s decision not to renew the mandate of a United Nations-backed anti-corruption body, the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, known by its Spanish acronym, CICIG. Although it has been widely praised internationally for exposing deep-seated networks of corruption within the highest levels of the Guatemalan government, bringing down several politicians […]

British Prime Minister Theresa May looks up as an aircraft flies past during a visit to the Airbus area at the Farnborough Airshow, Farnborough, England, July 16, 2018 (AP photo by Matt Dunham).

More than two years after narrowly approving a referendum to leave the European Union, the British are discovering that asserting national sovereignty is less straightforward than the proponents of Brexit promised. Leaders of the “Leave” campaign in 2016 painted the issue in black and white. Britain had subordinated its sovereignty to Brussels, not least its authority to control its own borders. A fully independent Britain would regain those rights, while also negotiating a favorable, bespoke trade agreement with the EU’s remaining 27 members. With only seven months left before the deadline to leave the EU, it is clear that this […]

A currency exchange shop in Istanbul, Turkey, Aug. 14, 2018 (AP photo by Lefteris Pitarakis).

Governments in emerging markets should be forgiven if they are dealing with a case of crisis fatigue. For 10 years now, they have lurched from one financial mess to another, triggered largely by external events and decisions outside of their control. Things are once again getting messy as global investors have soured on Argentina, Turkey and Indonesia, among other emerging market economies, causing their currencies to crash. As troubles have developed in one country after another late this summer, some observers have been careful to point out that the causes of the individual economic crises are very different. Don’t jump […]

Young women listen to a member of the Sweden Democrats, Stockholm, Sweden, Aug. 31, 2018 (AP photo by Michael Probst).

As the nationalist, anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats claimed their best result yet in Sweden’s parliamentary elections last Sunday, the nation’s newspapers went bold with their headlines. “Chaos,” read the front pages, in all caps, of the two largest tabloids. Dagens Industri, a financial newspaper, called the outcome “a political earthquake.” But the subject of their worry was not the rise of the Sweden Democrats, the latest party to surf Europe’s anti-establishment populist wave. Instead, it was the utter fragmentation of the country’s political landscape. That few focused their attention on the far-right party’s performance—it gained seats but still came in third […]

Venezuelan migrants cross the Simon Bolivar International Bridge into Colombia, Feb. 21, 2018 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

The exodus of refugees and migrants fleeing Venezuela—a crisis that has largely been undercovered—appears to be reaching a breaking point, as leaders across Latin America scramble to deal with the growing number of Venezuelans arriving at their borders each day. Representatives of 13 Latin American nations met in Quito, Ecuador, last week for a summit to address the problem head-on, while setting in place some regional strategies for helping the estimated 2.3 million people—7 percent of Venezuela’s population—who, according to the United Nations, have already fled President Nicolas Maduro’s dictatorship. Other estimates put the figure at 4 million. Since taking […]

Chad’s president, Idriss Deby, left, listens to Burkina Faso’s president, Roch Marc Christian Kabore, before a working session of the African Union in Nouakchott, Mauritania, July 3, 2018 (AP photo by Ludovic Marin).

About a month ago, a fresh wave of violence kicked off in northern Chad when rebels crossed over from neighboring Libya and staged an attack on a border post in the region of Kouri Bougri. According to one report, the rebels, who arrived on vehicles equipped with machine guns, managed to kill at least three soldiers while possibly kidnapping others. A security source, speaking to Radio France Internationale, initially downplayed the significance of the incursion, saying it had been perpetrated by common criminals. But the Military Command Council for the Salvation of the Republic, or CCMSR, a Chadian rebel group […]

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addresses a news conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, Sept. 26, 2017 (AP photo by B.K. Bangash).

Evidence of ethics violations by President Donald Trump and his inner circle continues to accumulate, with a rash of plea deals, indictments and guilty verdicts broadsiding the White House in recent weeks. But while Americans grapple with what some observers have called the most corrupt presidential administration in U.S. history, a remarkable wave of anti-corruption activism has swept the rest of the globe. In the past three years alone, corruption scandals have led to the ousting of prime ministers in Pakistan and Malaysia, impeachments of presidents in Brazil and South Korea, and resignations of presidents or prime ministers in Guatemala, […]

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