Hong Kong's chief executive, Carrie Lam, speaks during a news conference in Hong Kong, April 22, 2020 (AP photo by Kin Cheung).

Before the coronavirus struck China, the people of Hong Kong had launched a massive push to protect the territory’s partial independence from Beijing. Giant protests had filled Hong Kong’s streets for months last year, as pro-democracy activists inspired millions of residents to join in the demonstrations. But suddenly, everything changed. The outbreak started in Wuhan, then China shut down and the world followed suit. The coronavirus crisis seemed to do for the Chinese regime what months of threats and intimidation had failed to: halt the protests in Hong Kong. Now, with the rest of the world distracted and China reopening […]

Asylum-seekers wearing masks attend a mandatory immigration court hearing in El Paso, Texas, March 16, 2020 (AP photo by Cedar Attanasio).

Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump has complained that on immigration, the United States has “the worst laws of any country in the world,” which constrain his anti-immigrant agenda at the border with Mexico. He hasn’t been able to convince Congress to change those laws, or even to pay for a wall along the southern border, even after instigating the longest government shutdown in history just to pressure Congress. Trump’s administration has instead sought to chip away at immigration statutes and bend them almost to their breaking point, in order to make it harder for all immigrants, but primarily asylum-seekers, to […]

Police test facial recognition technology in London, Dec. 17, 2018 (Photo by Kirsty O’Connor for Press Association via AP Images).

The growing prevalence of facial recognition technology in authoritarian countries like Russia and the United Arab Emirates, which use it to monitor activists and suppress dissent, has raised increasing alarm among human rights advocates. Perhaps the most egregious example is in China, where the government has used facial recognition technology to racially profile Uighurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority that is concentrated in Xinjiang province, and forcibly lock them up in internment camps. But authoritarian countries are not alone: This technology is now being harnessed for law enforcement and surveillance purposes in many democracies. Last month, for example, India’s government […]

Former pro-democracy lawmaker Martin Lee, second right, leaves a police station in Hong Kong, April 18, 2020 (AP photo by Kin Cheung).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. Hong Kong police arrested 15 prominent pro-democracy activists on charges of illegal assembly last weekend, the biggest crackdown on the territory’s protest movement since anti-government demonstrations erupted last year. Among the detained was 81-year-old Martin Lee, a major architect of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement who helped found the Democratic Party, the third-largest party in the Legislative Council. Lee is often called the “Father of Democracy” in Hong Kong and helped draft the Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution. Enacted in […]

A security guard stands next to shuttered shops in Beijing, China, April 15, 2020 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

As the global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic continues to mount, so does the economic wreckage. Millions more people are joining the already swollen ranks of the unemployed this week, and oil prices continued their historic rout. China’s GDP contracted for the first time in nearly half a century during the first three months of this year, and the International Monetary Fund predicts that the global economy will shrink by around 3 percent in 2020. Of course, governments and central banks around the world are doing whatever they can to contain the fallout. But will it be enough? For […]

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, center, discusses the novel coronavirus at a news conferences at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, March 9, 2020 (Keystone photo by Salvatore Di Nolfi via AP Images).

President Donald Trump justified his recent announcement that the U.S. would halt further payments to the World Health Organization by claiming that “the WHO failed to adequately obtain, vet and share information in a timely and transparent fashion” about the coronavirus pandemic. This charge has been widely rebutted by global health experts and practitioners. WHO representatives, journalists and academics have all demonstrated that the organization was doing what it could through diplomatic channels with Beijing to get updated information about the novel coronavirus that first emerged in central China and has since spread around the world. Contrary to Trump’s accusations, […]

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at a White House press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic, Washington, April 20, 2020 (AP photo by Alex Brandon).

As a teenager, I watched in confusion as my father, a successful chest surgeon who specialized in infant care, went back to school to gain an advanced degree in public health. This required easing himself out of a job that had always impressed me with its heroics, often literally saving a life or two each week. When my father patiently explained the rationale, I gradually came to not only accept it but admire it, for its logic and even nobility. No matter how hard he worked, in the operating room he could only help a few people each week. But […]

1

Guayaquil, the largest city in Ecuador, has emerged as Latin America’s epicenter in the COVID-19 pandemic. Though smaller in scale than the staggering outbreak in New York City, Guayaquil’s is no less devastating. Its 2.7 million inhabitants are enduring many of the same, wicked challenges that New Yorkers have been facing: a surge in confirmed cases, overwhelmed hospitals and mortuaries, and a national government that is trying to look like it is handling the crisis. Yet one thing is quite different: Guayas, the province surrounding Guayaquil, has been placed under military jurisdiction. To respond to the spread of the virus, […]

A worker folds medical gowns at Echota Fabrics, Inc., in Calhoun, Georgia, April 8, 2020 (photo by Alyssa Pointer for Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP).

President Donald Trump’s aggressive unilateralism on trade appears to be driven by his belief that making imported goods more expensive will lead multinational companies—foreign and domestic, but especially American—to relocate production facilities to the United States. There is nascent evidence that Trump’s trade war with China has caused some reshuffling of supply chains, but mainly to other parts of Asia, not to America. Now, though, some trade hawks in the administration appear to view the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to encourage firms to move their supply chains to the U.S., no matter the cost. The Trump administration is not […]

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

MONTREAL—On Feb. 10, Karla Tait was arrested in northern British Columbia while participating in a ceremony along the path of a multi-billion-dollar pipeline project to honor missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police accused Tait and other members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation of violating an injunction preventing them from blocking construction on the Coastal GasLink pipeline. The project passes through an area where members of the Unist’ot’en clan, a sub-group of the Wet’suwet’en peoples, have set up a traditional healing center and camp to reclaim their ancestral lands and protest the pipeline’s construction. The road […]

A sign indicates a COVID-19 checkpoint ahead as a truck crosses the Confederation Bridge in Cape Jourimain, New Brunswick, Canada, March 22, 2020 (photo by Andrew Vaughan for The Canadian Press via AP).

Throughout history, outbreaks of infectious disease have often been linked with illicit trade. A cholera outbreak in Mexico during the 1990s, for example, is believed to have originated with an infected person from South America who arrived on an illegal airstrip used for drug trafficking. The historian Julia Clancy-Smith writes that in mid-19th-century Tunisia, “contraband, quarantine, and cholera worked together.” And while the precise origin of the coronavirus pandemic currently sweeping the globe is unknown, the illicit wildlife trade in China may have been a major factor. Once they spread widely, infectious diseases also disrupt the illicit drug trade at […]

A city worker closes an area of Newport Beach in California, United States, April 10, 2020 (AP photo by Chris Carlson).

This Wednesday, most of us will commemorate the 50th Earth Day not by frolicking in nature but by hunkering down in the comforts of our built environment. That’s a pity, because it’s pretty out there. Suddenly blue skies and cleaner water are showing us what a healthier environment might look like, if only our governments took decisive action to decarbonize the global economy and if we stopped running down the natural capital assets upon which our prosperity and indeed survival depend. Beyond a chance to daydream of a greener future, our current quarantine provides an apt moment to reflect on […]

Voters line up to vote in Wisconsin’s primary election, Milwaukee, April 7, 2020 (AP photo by Morry Gash).

If the April 7 Democratic presidential primary vote in Wisconsin was a test of American democracy’s ability to handle the coronavirus pandemic, then by many accounts, it failed. The lead-up to the election was marred by last-minute partisan wrangling and poor communication with the public. Thousands of absentee ballots went missing or undelivered. And when people showed up to vote, they encountered crowded, under-resourced and under-sanitized polling stations. The state’s leaders have been widely condemned for forcing voters to choose between their health and their democratic rights. Wisconsin’s example shows that without proper preparation, voters across the country could face […]

A man wearing a mask walks through Brooklyn Bridge Park, April 14, 2020 (AP photo by Mark Lennihan).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s Judah Grunstein, Freddy Deknatel and Prachi Vidwans talk about the things we previously took for granted, didn’t sufficiently appreciate or simply didn’t know—whether on a national or international level—that the coronavirus pandemic has brought into sharper focus. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a free preview article every day of the week, plus three more complimentary articles in our weekly roundup […]

A woman wearing a mask and a shirt with the face of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 15, 2020 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Forty African nations will be eligible for a debt moratorium declared this week by the world’s richest countries. The decision by the G-20 to freeze the debt of the world’s poorest nations follows calls for an unprecedented effort to support the continent’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Demands for a debt freeze had been mounting as countries across Africa have scrambled to find the resources to respond to the pandemic. Oxfam had raised alarms that the world’s 76 poorest countries face $40.6 […]

A city worker sprays disinfectant at a public gas station in Caracas, Venezuela, April 11, 2020 (AP photo by Matias Delacroix).

Years from now, when historians and economists begin tallying the devastation wrought by COVID-19, it is likely only a few will focus much on world energy markets. Yet if there is one thing that has snapped into sharper view with the onset of this global pandemic, it is the extremely brittle state of OPEC and the autocratic governments that rely almost exclusively on the cartelization of oil markets to prop up their regimes. In September, OPEC will mark its 60-year anniversary as the world’s most preeminent price-fixing consortium. But it seems far from certain that the governments of the 13 […]

A motorcycle taxi driver wearing a face mask waits for customers in Jakarta, Indonesia, April 14, 2020 (AP photo by Achmad Ibrahim).

Southeast Asian countries, already struggling to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, are bracing for a new surge of COVID-19 cases. Most countries in the region, with the exception of Singapore and Vietnam, had sluggish initial responses to the virus. Most also are poor or middle-income states, which lack public health systems that can effectively track and trace coronavirus patients. Malaysia now has more than 5,000 known COVID-19 cases, although the true number is probably much higher, while the Philippines and Indonesia also have more than 5,000 known cases. With minimal testing in Indonesia, the region’s most populous country, […]

Showing 18 - 34 of 78First 1 2 3 4 5 Last