Due to the pandemic, air pollution rates have dropped in places where infection rates have been highest. But is this only the calm before the storm? Are these lowered rates sustainable, or will air pollution just return to previous levels or worse once society adapts to the new normal?
The United States is the only western democracy that continues to uphold the death penalty. Globally, executions from a death penalty sentence are on the decline. This practice places the United States at odds with the rest of the world as violations of human rights are typically a key United States’ interest in foreign policy.
As of July 20, Brazil officially has the second highest rate of COVID-19 infections after the United States. They have surpassed 79,000 deaths and have over 2.1 million cases. In addition to the pandemic, Brazil continues to struggle with political instability, a right-wing controversial leader in their President Jair Bolsonaro, and a weakened economy.
Russia is on an influence campaign through Africa. Over the past decade, Russia has sought to build relations and establish a strategic presence by means of a unique diplomatic tool: nuclear power. Key to Russia’s growing access to the African continent is Rosatom, a Russian state run nuclear energy corporation. Rosatom’s state-like tool belt and Africa’s crippling power scarcity provide the opportunity for Russian infiltration.
Even when SpaceX is not launching Teslas into orbit, buying small towns in Texas, or synchronizing rocket booster landings, it continues to push boundaries. This launch, the first time that a private company has put American astronauts into orbit, marks a fundamental shift in the space industry.
On May 25, 2020, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the neck of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, for almost nine minutes during his arrest. Floyd’s consequent death ignited an ongoing series of protests in the United States. These protests have brought to the surface a history of discrimination which has resonated in countries worldwide.
A shortage of organ donors, high medical procedure costs, and increasingly long transplant waitlists has led to the rise in medical tourism, which can include the purchase of black market organs and operations abroad. These practices often prey on refugees or the impoverished, who may feel that selling an organ can provide them with the financial means for a better quality of life. While theoretically this market has developed to meet a clear demand, exploitation of vulnerable populations is rampant, making it a challenging and complex system to address.
Mongolia, sandwiched between two authoritarian neighbors, has been hailed as an “oasis of democracy.” After reforming from a Soviet-style regime in 1990, however, the country now faces a crossroads over the challenges of balancing efficient leadership with democratic values. At stake in its parliamentary election on June 24 is whether reform is needed to break political deadlock in the capital Ulaanbaatar.
Humanitarian workers warned of the day the COVID-19 virus reached refugee camps. When two individuals tested positive on May 15th in the Cox’s Bazar district of southern Bangladesh, home to over a million Rohingya refugees, their fears became a reality.
Many countries link their foreign policy and military strategy, though few are as interwoven as Iran’s. Informed by their fatalistic worldview and under constant threat from Western adversaries, their unique blend of foreign and military policy has successfully guarded against aggression, prevented regime change, and built powerful regional partnerships. Often misconstrued as antagonistic power plays, Iranian sabre rattling instead seeks to legitimize its deterrent capabilities and highlight Western weaknesses, especially political and diplomatic constraints.