The New Autocratic State

On November 16th, Cambodia’s Supreme Court announced a ruling that effectively dissolved the main opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP). With this, Prime Minister Hun Sen is likely set to retain his position of three decades in the upcoming general elections next year. The ruling also included a five-year political ban for 118 members of the party. But to understand the tension between the two parties necessitates a look at the history of the relationship between CNRP an...
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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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Syrian Kurds After ISIS

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have liberated Raqqa from the Islamic State, replacing dead bodies that hung from railings with yellow and green flags and marking the end of ISIS’s control over its self-proclaimed capital. This allows the SDF and their parent group, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) to nearly complete their unification of a region of northern Syria they refer to as Rojava, which the PYD declared autonomous in 2016. While the liberation of Raqqa represents a triump...
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The Votes Heard Round The World

From Scotland to Crimea, self-determination has attracted much attention as independence movements across the globe have made big leaps towards self-rule. Though these movements, grounded in historical, ethnic and political disputes, have long existed, we have seen a resurgence of late in various regions’ pushes for independence. Recent votes in Catalonia and Kurdistan have captured the world’s attention and are likely to have far-reaching consequences for independence movements worldwide. &n...
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