The Concerns behind a Finely-Balanced Political Landscape

With the new regional elections to be held this month (December 21) and official campaigning starting this Tuesday, Catalonia is deep in election mode. A variety of new and old players are running in the elections: some abroad, some in jail, and some on bail. One particular man will have to run his campaign for now from behind bars. After six separatist leaders were released on bail, four politicians and activists were denied bail by a Supreme Court Judge on December 4, 2017. This includes form...
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A Success Story: Madagascar in Remission

After months of treating patients and enacting public health measures, it appears that the WHO and the government of Madagascar have successfully battled the plague into remission on the African island nation. The plague, the same disease that killed 50 million in Europe during the Middle Ages, is a regular occurrence in Madagascar, with the plague season lasting from September to April. Yet this year’s outbreak was particularly severe, with around 1800 suspected cases and 127 deaths by the end...
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Why Putin Underplayed the Centennial of the Bolshevik Revolution

Earlier this month Russia marked the 100th anniversary of the day Vladimir Lenin and his small band of  Bolshevik revolutionaries successfully staged an armed insurrection in Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg), overthrowing the weak provisional government that came to power when the Tsar abdicated power months earlier. Within a year the Romanov dynasty was destroyed, Tsar Nicholas II and his family executed, and Russian society irreparably altered. Imperial Russia was dead, and a classless, rapidl...
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100 Years Since Balfour: A History of the Balfour Declaration From 1917 to 2017

November 2nd marks the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which established the British government’s formal support for the Zionist movement and the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The motives behind this declaration varied, from a genuine support for the Zionist movement to a hope that such a declaration would increase support for the Allies of World War One in countries with a significant Jewish population (namely the United States and post-tsarist Russia). The text itse...
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The DRC’s Dilemma

Since its founding, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been riddled with conflict. The Second Congo War (2003-2016) and its ongoing violent aftermath in the east of the country comprised the bloodiest conflict since World War II. More violence flared up at the end of 2016, when President Joseph Kabila failed to hold elections at the arrival of his constitutionally-mandated two-term limit. In the end, the government and opposition agreed to a deal brokered by the Roman Catholic Church under...
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After Major Scandal, Iceland’s Ruling Party Stays On Top

On October 28, Iceland held a snap parliamentary election. Surprisingly, given the scandals plaguing the governing coalition, not much changed. The ruling right-wing Independence Party was still the largest party in the Althing (Iceland’s Parliament), and the Left-Green movement was still the second largest party. This came as a surprise, given recent opinion polls and the scandals plaguing the Independence Party. In fact, the only reason for these elections are due to scandal. The sca...
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After King’s Cremation, Thailand Potentially Unstable

After a year and two weeks since his death, the former Thai king Bhumibol Adulyadej has finally been cremated, ending a year-long mourning period, and making the reign of his son Maha Vajiralongkorn official. During the cremation, hundreds of thousands of Thais, all dressed in black, mourned along the procession in Bangkok, hoping to see the elaborate golden royal urn. Once the king’s ashes were interred, people went back to work in a Thailand that has been in political limbo. One issue i...
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Deadly Terrorist Attacks, But Do We Care?

Loud explosions rocked Somalia's capital Mogadishu on 28th of October. There was not one but two car bombs going off in the center of the city, leaving at least 23 people dead and 30 wounded. These attacks are not the first instances of bombings in Mogadishu, where approximately 300 people were killed in terrorist attacks last month. So far the militant Al-Shabaab group has taken the responsibility for the most recent attacks, but there are no confirmations from the regional law enforcement. Al-...
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A History of Division: Why Catalonia has chosen to declare independence

Spain faces a sudden political crisis due to Catalonia's declaration of independence. One of Spain's 17 autonomous provinces, Catalonia is one of Spain’s richest regions, containing the major city of Barcelona. The Spanish Constitutional Court has ruled the referendum in favor of secession on September 30, 2017 as illegal. However, president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont officially declared independence from Spain on October 27, 2017. This division between Spain and Catalonia has a histori...
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Crackdowns on LGBTQ+ Rights in Tanzania

Amidst protests and parades for LGBTQ+ equality in the United States, the fight for equal rights in Tanzania seems to be ostensibly getting worse. The recent crackdown certainly came as a surprise, as Tanzania has in the past been relatively tolerant of the LGBTQ+ community, particularly in comparison to other African countries such as Kenya and Uganda. Although sodomy is punishable by life imprisonment, homosexuality was not criminalised, and as such, many could live normal lives without be...
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