Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez gestures to supporters outside the headquarters of the Socialist Party following Sunday’s election, Madrid, April 28, 2019 (AP photo by Bernat Armangue).

MADRID—Spain’s left breathed a collective sigh of relief Sunday night as right-wing parties failed to win enough seats in parliament to put them within striking distance of forming a government that would have included the ultranationalist and far-right Vox party. Instead, voters gave a clear win to the ruling Socialist Party, led by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who is now the only party leader in a position to form a government. But there’s been no shortage of drama in what was Spain’s third national election in just four years. Since 2015, Spain’s political landscape has fractured, amid a backlash against […]

Construction work at the Fangchenggang Nuclear Power Plant, Fangchenggang city, China, May 23, 2018. China is increasingly viewed as a competitive threat to the Western nuclear energy industry. (ImagineChina photo by Hai Ou via AP Images)

China’s voracious appetite for new nuclear power plants has helped to slow the decline in recent years of an ailing nuclear energy industry long dominated by the United States and Europe. From a late and inauspicious start in the 1990s, China’s nuclear fleet has risen to become the world’s third largest. According to Chinese government projections, within the next decade China may surpass the United States as the world’s leading nuclear energy producer. Despite that growth, though, China is increasingly viewed less as the salvation of the Western nuclear power industry, and more as a competitive threat. Chinese companies have […]

Ukrainian president-elect Volodymyr Zelensky at his campaign headquarters following the presidential election in Kiev, Ukraine, April 21, 2019 (Sputnik photo via AP Images).

Ukraine’s hybrid conflict with Russia over the past five years has not just unfolded in annexed Crimea and the regions of eastern Ukraine where Russia continues to back separatist groups. It has also been felt in Kiev and across the rest of the county, as Russian interference continues to destabilize Ukrainian politics. In an effort to defend against Russian disinformation and propaganda, Ukraine’s government has responded with measures that have led to a substantial erosion of digital freedoms for journalists, activists and the wider Ukrainian public. A country once heralded as one of the most progressive in Eastern Europe for […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after their talks in Vladivostok, Russia, April 25, 2019 (Photo by Alexei Nikolsky for Sputnik via AP Images).

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made his first trip to Russia this week for a long-anticipated summit with President Vladimir Putin. Kim traveled by train to the far eastern port city of Vladivostok, about 75 miles from the North Korean border, where he and Putin met Thursday and discussed the North Korean nuclear issue, as well as bilateral economic engagement. It was the first meeting between the two leaders since Kim rose to power in 2011, although Putin is acquainted with the Kim family dynasty. He previously met with the young dictator’s father, Kim Jong Il, three times in […]

Anti-Brexit demonstrators protest at the Irish border, Carrickcarnon, Ireland, March 30, 2019 (AP photo by Peter Morrison).

While the recent six-month extension of the deadline for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union has delayed any Brexit fallout, for now, it has not alleviated renewed tensions in Northern Ireland over the possible return of a hard border with the Republic of Ireland. The EU’s recent receptiveness to a so-called Irish backstop in any Brexit agreement that would prevent the reintroduction of a hard border was nevertheless a good sign for Belfast, given that during the 2016 Brexit referendum, 56 percent of Northern Irish voters opted to remain in the EU. Irrespective of whether that Irish backstop is implemented […]

Cameroon’s president, Paul Biya, casts his vote during the presidential elections in Yaounde, Cameroon, Oct. 7, 2018 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

Authorities in Cameroon are jailing opposition politicians and barring their supporters from holding rallies. Security forces and separatist groups continue to carry out atrocities in the country’s restive Anglophone regions. More and more civilians are being forced from their homes, adding to a tally of displaced people that already exceeds half a million. These problems and more were cited in a speech delivered last week to the European Parliament by Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s top foreign policy official. Her words painted a picture of an increasingly volatile country, just six months after 86-year-old President Paul Biya coasted to reelection […]

Melton Roy prays amid the graves of Easter Sunday bomb blast victims, Negombo, Sri Lanka, April 23, 2019 (AP photo by Gemunu Amarasinghe).

As Christians around the world were flocking to churches for Easter services Sunday, Sri Lanka was already in mourning. A string of deadly, coordinated explosions early Sunday, which tore through churches and luxury hotels in Colombo and across the island nation, killed over 321 people, including some 38 foreigners, and injured around 500 others. Seven of the eight attacks were suicide bombings. A ninth explosion was prevented late Sunday when security personnel defused an improvised explosive device on the road to Colombo International Airport. Among the churches attacked on Sunday morning was the 18th-century St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, St. […]

People wait in line to buy chicken at a government-run grocery store, Havana, Cuba, April 17, 2019 (AP photo by Ramon Espinosa).

With its allusions to a planned economy and proletarian internationalism, Cuba’s 1976 constitution was unmistakably a product of the Cold War. Perhaps that’s why the island’s new leaders, led by President Miguel Diaz-Canel, moved quickly to recodify the country’s founding charter. A new constitution, which was formally adopted earlier this month, is Diaz-Canel’s first major accomplishment since his inauguration last year and should set the tone for the remainder of his tenure. Cuban authorities appear to have consulted many other countries’ constitutions in redrafting their own, and one country stands out: China. Although there is no sign that China had […]

Bolivian President Evo Morales speaks during a joint press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ankara, Turkey, April 9, 2019 (AP photo by Burhan Ozbilici).

Not much remains of the “pink tide” of leftist governments that swept across Latin America in the 2000s, riding the long commodities boom. After the boom came the bust, and with it widespread voter dissatisfaction. Where free elections have been held, most of the region has subsequently swung to the right. There are, of course, some exceptions, most notoriously in Venezuela. President Nicolas Maduro, who came to office in 2013 as the handpicked successor of the leader who launched the wave, Hugo Chavez, continues to preside over one of the worst economic and humanitarian disasters in recent Latin American history. […]

Slovakia’s newly elected president, Zuzana Caputova, arrives for a television interview in front of the Presidential Palace in Bratislava, Slovakia, March 31, 2019 (AP photo by Petr David Josek).

The election of Zuzana Caputova as Slovakia’s first female president last month was a landmark in more ways than one. The win by the 45-year-old lawyer and activist represented a liberal turn in Central Europe, where right-leaning, populist governments have been in power for several years. Much of the news coverage since Caputova’s victory has framed Slovakia as a great liberal hope that could push back populism and resurgent nationalism in the region, if not across the continent. But can this small state, which has endured political upheaval over the past year, really deliver on that lofty promise? The election […]

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker speaks at the European Parliament, Strasbourg, France, April 16, 2019 (AP photo by Jean-Francois Badias).

MADRID—Europeans will elect a new European Parliament in May, but how many of them really know what it does? The continued lack of common knowledge across Europe about the European Union and how its byzantine governance institutions actually function is a challenge for political parties and their candidates. It is why these races have typically revolved around domestic issues. This time, however, populist and euroskeptic parties are bringing some EU issues into the debate, such as migration, but as a way to criticize the EU, not constructively engage with it. They have a receptive audience, as they are poised to […]

Social media apps displayed on a smartphone, March 1, 2018 (Press Association photo via AP Images).

On Monday, the European Union’s member states approved a package of controversial reforms to the bloc’s copyright laws, known as the Copyright Directive, that the European Parliament passed last month. It came just after Australia implemented a new law to police certain content on social media following the mass shooting at two mosques in New Zealand, which the attacker had livestreamed on Facebook. And last week, the United Kingdom entered the fray, releasing a widely anticipated white paper on “online harms” about keeping citizens safe online. Together, all three developments represent ways that democratic governments are building out content-filtering regimes […]

Demonstrators rally near the military headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan, April 15, 2019 (AP photo by Salih Basheer).

Sudan has experienced more change in the past week than in the previous three decades under President Omar al-Bashir, who was deposed in a coup d’état on April 11 following four months of mass protests. Many Sudanese, however, have had little time to savor the euphoria of Bashir’s departure. Their most immediate task is to preserve and protect their revolution from the military leaders they fear will subvert it. Protesters have had some initial success, rejecting the self-appointed head of the new transitional military council, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, who was considered unacceptably close to the old regime. […]

South Korean President Moon Jae-in during a meeting with his aides at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, April 15, 2019 (Photo by Bae Jae-man for Yonhap via AP Images).

In the aftermath of the failed summit meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi in February, the task of resuscitating talks over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program has fallen to the man who brokered Trump and Kim’s historic first meeting in June 2018: South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Moon’s willingness to again play the role of mediator is commendable, but he faces an uphill climb. The surprising breakdown of talks in Hanoi revealed nothing if not the extent to which the United States and North Korea misunderstand each other. U.S. negotiators understandably turned […]

Indonesian women cheer during a campaign rally for Indonesian President Joko Widodo at a stadium in Jakarta, April 13, 2019 (AP photo by Dita Alangkara).

Indonesians go to the polls this week to elect their president and a new parliament. It is the first time in Indonesia’s modern history that both elections will be held on the same day. But most of the focus is on the presidential race and incumbent Joko Widodo, widely known as Jokowi, who remains the strong favorite against challenger Prabowo Subianto, a former lieutenant general whom he defeated in a tight election five years ago. Most polls show Jokowi with a wide lead, although Prabowo’s campaign could be picking up steam in its final days. If Jokowi is reelected, he […]

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen at a groundbreaking ceremony for a Chinese-funded expressway project in Kampong Speu province, south of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, March 22, 2019 (AP photo by Heng Sinith).

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia—In December, nearly 40 men stepped off a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-chartered plane onto a humid tarmac on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, the capital of their unfamiliar homeland. It was the first time many of them, who were born in refugee camps in Thailand and the Philippines to parents fleeing the Khmer Rouge regime, and who grew up in the United States, had ever set foot in Cambodia. Others fled the country as children, with their only memories of Cambodia being the horrors of the Khmer Rouge. The overwhelming majority of these Cambodian deportees came to […]

Members of the ruling African National Congress gather at a stadium in Durban, South Africa, Jan. 12, 2019 (AP photo).

Like all elections, South Africa’s upcoming national vote on May 8—the country’s fifth ballot since the end of apartheid—will see rival parties waging a struggle to control the narrative and frame the contest in the best possible terms. Given the change in the leadership of the ruling African National Congress in December 2017, that means much of the campaign will focus on President Cyril Ramaphosa and the extent to which he is delivering his promised “new dawn” in South Africa following what he has called the “nine lost years” of Jacob Zuma. Restoring the sense of mission and idealism that […]

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