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The coronavirus pandemic and other global challenges have highlighted the importance of addressing the fractures and failures within the U.S. agencies tasked with implementing the Global Fragility Act. A good place to start is by applying some of the act’s components to the United States’ own institutions and programming.

Farmers’ protests over the Dutch government’s plan to cut ammonia pollution highlight the political challenges of bringing farming practices in line with environmental objectives. But the problems the new policy is meant to address also serve as a warning to food producers everywhere: Factory farming is a dead end.

In early July, Sierra Leone’s Cabinet approved the decision to draft a bill conferring a constitutional right to safe abortion. But once passed, the law will only be the first step in ensuring access to safe abortions and other reproductive health services in a country where unsafe abortions have dire health consequences.

French President Emmanuel Macron greets Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso in Paris, Nov. 12, 2021 (AP photo by Francois Mori).

Corruption is rampant and inequality is endemic in the Republic of Congo. In many countries, these conditions, combined with the staggering price hikes caused by the war in Ukraine, have led to rises in public anger that have threatened world leaders from Sri Lanka to Ecuador. Yet, despite being in control during the decades when those conditions became entrenched in Congo-Brazzaville, President Denis Sassou Nguesso and his ruling Congolese Labor Party, or PCT, actually strengthened their grip on power in the country’s recent legislative elections, thanks both to domestic repression and international complacency. Provisional results released by the government indicate that the PCT won nearly 110 seats in the 151-seat National Assembly in the mid-July vote. A second round of voting is […]

Terrence Howard is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Los Angeles, Sept. 24, 2019 (Sipa photo via AP Images).

Earlier this month, during a visit to Uganda, the Hollywood actor Terrence Howard held a press conference with local journalists and senior Ugandan government officials, including President Yoweri Museveni, in attendance. In a clip that was shared by Uganda’s state broadcaster and quickly went viral, Howard claimed to have invented a new hydrogen technology that could help Uganda “defend the sovereignty of a peaceful place and a peaceful people.” The dubious nature of Howard’s claims made for some comic relief among Ugandans and other observers alike, with many Twitter commenters—including me—making allusions to investment schemes promoted by the Senegalese-American singer Akon that have drawn comparisons to […]

Women take part in a protest against gender violence as part of demonstrations marking International Women’s Day, in Lima, Peru, March 5, 2022 (AP photo by Martin Mejia).

The political left is not always a progressive choice in Latin America, as has become starkly evident in Peru, where the rights of women and the LGTBQ community have come under attack by political leaders from both the left and right. President Pedro Castillo, a former teacher and organizer from the rural province of Cajamarca, won election in 2021 against the right-wing candidate, Keiko Fujimori, with a radical-left platform that was pro-poor—but also socially conservative. Like his opponent, Castillo appealed to conservative religious sentiments that are gaining traction throughout the Americas. The policy impact of that religious stance is now evident, […]

Gabonese President Ali Bongo speaks during the opening ceremony of the U.N. Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, Nov. 1, 2021 (Pool photo by Yves Herman via AP).

Gabon has long flaunted its green credentials, enjoying a reputation as a leader in global efforts to combat climate change and environmental destruction. In June 2021, that image got another boost when Gabon became the first country in Africa to receive a payout for having reduced its carbon emissions. In disbursing the first payment of $17 million, the Central African Forest Initiative, on behalf of the Norwegian government, committed to providing Gabon’s government with $150 million in conservation financing over 10 years for lowering emissions from forest loss in 2016 and 2017, compared to baseline data from 2006 to 2015. […]

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune speaks with the press ahead of a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in Algiers, Algeria, March 30, 2022 (AP photo by Jacquelyn Martin).

On July 5, Algeria celebrated the 60th anniversary of its independence with a military parade in the capital city, Algiers, complete with tanks, helicopters and missile launchers, moving along roads lined with the national flag. The event was meant to celebrate a pivotal day in 1962, when the country officially bucked French colonial rule after fighting a brutal, eight-year war of liberation. But for many, the vision of military hardware parading across the capital that sunny, summer day served instead as a reminder of all that has gone wrong since independence. According to Mourad Ouchichi, a professor of political science […]

A high-speed rail train is pictured in Vientiane, Laos, at the opening of a Chinese-built railway connecting the Lao capital to the Chinese city of Kunming, Dec. 3, 2021 (Kyodo News photo via AP Images).

Over the past few years, the Southeast Asian state of Laos has positioned itself at the center of growing trade, economic and infrastructure integration in the Mekong subregion. Its ambitious plan envisioned its dams providing electricity for Laos’ more populous neighbors and its expanding web of roads and rails—whose development is funded extensively through debt, much of it to China—connecting the region’s rising economies. But that was before Laos’ economy crashed. Today, inflation is skyrocketing. Staple goods like cooking oil are becoming scarce. And the local currency is collapsing against the dollar. The country, whose credit rating was downgraded by Moody’s in […]

A demonstrator holds a placard in favor of a work quota for transvestites and transgender people outside Congress ahead of the Senate vote that approved the law (Sipa photo by Manuel Cortina via AP Images).

In what could be seen as petty revenge for Argentina’s legalization of abortion in 2020, Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, the chief of government of the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital, has banned gender-inclusive language in the city’s public schools. The decision, which was announced at the end of June, is the latest development in what many consider a widening war on feminism in Argentina. The main advocates of the ban, the Royal Spanish Academy and the Argentine Academy of Letters, have argued that changing the Spanish language to accommodate gender neutrality would be confusing and, in any case, unnecessary. As […]

A Ukrainian serviceman steps on the barrel of a destroyed tank near the village of Malaya Rohan, Ukraine, April 1, 2022 (AP photo by Andrew Marienko).

In the immediate aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many military analysts found that their prewar predictions about the Russian military’s performance were wildly off the mark. Even if many had expressed doubts about Russia’s ability to sustainably achieve its strategic objectives in Ukraine, most experts shared the widespread expectation that the superior firepower and mobility of Russian forces’ combined arms operations would quickly overwhelm the Ukrainian military. In the months since then, endless post-mortems have dissected the particular Russian blunders and Ukrainian successes that determined the course of the war’s first weeks, and why military analysts were unable to […]

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, left, walks with European Council President Charles Michel at the European Council building in Brussels, March 9, 2020 (AP photoby Olivier Matthys).

After nearly two years of intermittent border skirmishes and protracted diplomatic talks, Armenia and Azerbaijan are edging closer to reaching a definitive peace agreement to their decades-long dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Significant hurdles still exist, but the Armenian perspective on Nagorno-Karabakh since the end of the 2020 war over the breakaway Azerbaijani province has undergone significant changes, reflecting the altered geopolitical balance of power in the region. The first concrete evidence of the progress in peace negotiations came in March 2022, when Azerbaijan presented a framework for normalizing bilateral relations. This includes establishing diplomatic relations, opening transport routes, mutually […]

Prime Minister James Marape of of Papua New Guinea addresses the U.N. General Assembly, Sept. 24, 2021, New York (Pool photo by Peter Foley via AP).

It’s a case of new election, same old faces in Papua New Guinea, where voting for the Pacific Islands nation’s general elections began on July 4. Nevertheless, turnout is expected to be relatively strong: Half the population of about 10 million is projected to head to the polls over the coming weeks, with some areas having almost three weeks to vote due to the remoteness of many communities. Incumbent Prime Minister James Marape, who heads the Pangu Party, is facing off against Peter O’Neill, the man he replaced in May 2019, when O’Neill resigned rather than face a no-confidence vote after […]

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It has been over two years since Chinese incursions in the summer of 2020 along the disputed India-China boundary in eastern Ladakh led to a series of skirmishes that left dozens of soldiers dead on both sides. Yet unlike a February 2019 confrontation with Pakistan, which resulted in an Indian airstrike on Pakistani territory and a tense standoff between the two nuclear-armed neighbors, the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi appears content to relegate the tensions with China over Ladakh to the margins of national consciousness. The sum total of New Delhi’s response to China’s violations of treaties and […]

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This spring, Malta was crowned the top European country for LGBTQ rights and freedoms by the annual ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Index for the seventh year in a row. The Mediterranean island country didn’t just win the top spot. It dominated the rankings, with a score of 92 percent—nearly 20 points above its nearest competitor, Denmark. This recognition did not come to Malta via a high-priced PR campaign or effort to “brand” Malta as the LGBTQ dream destination. Rather, it is the result of good policymaking that ensures rights for LGBTQ people on the three islands that make up the country. However, given that […]

A man draped with an Ecuadorean flag protests next to a burning barricade, Santa Rosa, Ecuador, June 14, 2022 (AP photo by Dolores Ochoa).

On June 30, the government of Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso reached an agreement with the country’s leading Indigenous organization, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, or Conaie, and other civil society organizations to bring an end to social protests that had ground the country to a standstill for 18 days. The protests, which began in rural areas and later converged on Quito, the capital, were triggered by rising fuel prices and escalating inflation. But they took place against the backdrop of a surge in violent crime linked with drug trafficking, exacerbated by a deteriorating justice system limiting the government’s efforts to […]

Armed militiamen gather near Rutshuru, 45 miles north of Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, June 22, 2022 (AP photo by Moses Sawasawa).

Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi and his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame, have agreed to a deescalation process between their two countries following bilateral talks last week to address rising tensions on their mutual border. The two leaders held the talks in Luanda, Angola’s capital, at a tripartite summit hosted by Angolan President Joao Lourenco, who was appointed by the African Union to mediate. In a statement released on Twitter, the Congolese presidency said that “the summit aimed to restore trust between the two neighboring countries,” adding that their process of deescalation will be achieved by reviving the joint Congo-Rwanda joint commission, which has […]

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