BOOKS

In the Far-Flung African Diaspora, Writing by Women Flourishes

Margaret Busby is a pioneer in the literary world. In 1967, she became the first black woman to start a publishing company in Britain. The small company, Allison & Busby, was co-founded with Clive Allison, when both women were recent university graduates. At first, it focused on poetry. Over the years, however, Busby, who was … Read more

Pompeo Retreats on Universal Human Rights as US Looks More Inward

Secretary of State Pompeo

In an audacious move that could be the capstone of the Trump administration’s campaign to reverse decades of American support for human rights globally, the State Department is creating a separate new commission to advise Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on redefining United States policies, aligned with “natural law and natural rights.” For many human-rights … Read more

 

TOPIC: WOMEN

An Assault on Trump’s Global Women’s Health Policy Begins

Syrian refugees stuck in Rukban camp, near the Jordan border

With a fierce national budget battle looming in the United States Congress, Democrats on a key committee have formally proposed legislation overturning Trump policies that deny millions of women and girls in developing countries access to vital reproductive health care, including family planning. The legislative bill that emerged on May 16 from the House of … Read more

Serving the UN Where Violence Never Ends: One Person’s Story

Simon Handy, a specialist in African politics and conflict, is a veteran of a hazardous and tormented mission in the Central African Republic that left him with an enduring cause that still haunts him. He argues that when a United Nations mission changes or is abandoned, as was the case for him, staff members can fall … Read more

Pressures Mount for Deeper Investigations Into the UN Trade Group

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, riven internally by disputes over its mission and future direction, may be in trouble. Faced with questions about its basic competence from board members and outside investigators, accusations have been gathering about unsatisfactory statistical work and laxity in meeting UN standards and regulations for spending reports by … Read more

With Scandals Rife Across the UN, Are Managers at Fault?

A sea of new or lingering allegations of harassment and corruption in numerous agencies and programs in the United Nations system appears to be washing over a sprawling organization battered by scandal. Poor or careless management and oversight, from top to bottom, is partly to blame, but so is persistent, overt politicization of high-level appointments … Read more

 

In Numbers, Africa May Be a Force in the Christian World by 2060

Schoolgirls in Sierra Leone

New projections from a leading American research group suggest that the number of Christians in various denominations and sects is steadily rising in Africa and could dominate the faith numerically worldwide for decades to come. In 2015, according to the Pew Research Center, only three African countries were included in the top 10 in numbers … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Celebrating Women’s History Month, Trump-Pompeo Style

Here’s how the United States government marked the 2019 monthlong celebration of the world’s women in March: Donald Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo got off to an early start on March 13  by releasing the State Department’s annual global human-rights report, scrubbed of all references to reproductive health and rights. Hewing to the obsession … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

Indians Ask Why 21 Million Women Are Not on Voter Rolls

Every national election in India is numerically mind-boggling, and this year is no exception. More than 800 million registered voters are expected to participate in an election spanning 39 days from April 11 to May 19. In this huge exercise in democracy, simultaneously organized at national and state levels, the government’s election commission has identified … Read more

Big Holes in the UN Development Goals Are Exposed by New Studies

Serious flaws in the system for tracking progress on the Sustainable Development Goals have been uncovered in a newly published collection of stunning, provocative research by eminent developing policy specialists. They are finding that the lofty visions that produced the SDGs, now in their fourth year of implementation, have from the start been undercut and … Read more

 

Together, the Caribbean Confronts a Major Problem: Climate Threats

GOSIER, Guadeloupe — The Caribbean islands, though culturally and linguistically diverse and differing government systems, are coming together to confront the climate changes that threaten their rich tropical environment and the livelihoods of their people. Seas are warming and acidifying, reducing fish catches, while on land water shortages are being recorded in recent droughts. Sargassum … Read more

TAKE A LOOK

Unsafe Food, a Killer in Poor Nations, Needs Government Action

A World Bank report on foodborne diseases says food-safety regulations are most deficient in low-income countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, which can result in early deaths, especially among children. A dried-fish market in Kathmandu, Nepal, above.

Poverty’s companions — hunger, malnutrition and recurring sickness — do not have to be the inevitable fate of people in low-income countries, the World Bank said in a recent report. But from national governments to farmers to market stallholders and their customers, making food safer has not been recognized and tackled as a major deterrent … Read more

Reform Clouds Darken the Future of the UN Development Program

As the first effects of Secretary-General António Guterres’s ambitious organizational reform plans become apparent, former and current officials of the United Nations Development Program see the future of the internationally influential agency as uncertain if not in peril. Fears center on aspects of the reform plan for development that would allow more political interference by … Read more

How Many Immigrant Children Is the US Detaining? Nobody Knows

Sloppy or nonexistent identification systems at the United States-Mexican border, no organized tracking of children snatched from their parents — some often too young to say who they are — and the withholding of important information by Trump officials, frequently defying a federal court order and a presidential decree six months ago, have come to … Read more

 

TOPIC: WOMEN

Young, Female and Diverse: Legislatures Begin to Change to Save Democracy

As many political analysts see democracy weakened by introverted, xenophobic parties and autocratic leaders, a glimmer of hope is offered by a new generation of candidates and voters. This year will test that optimism in a series of important elections around the world. Changes in the composition of national legislatures were already being recorded before … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

Another UN Harassment Case Quietly Disappears

Amid a busy December, when the United Nations was focusing on important conferences on climate change and migration and year-end holidays loomed, a case of harassment that never got the traction it arguably deserved ended in a traditional UN way: it disappeared. On Dec. 14, the chairman of the International Civil Service Commission, which regulates … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

As Nicaragua Slides Deeper Into Dictatorship, Other Nations Grow Alarmed

In a rebuke to President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua on Dec. 21, governments of 14 democratic nations in Europe, the United States, Chile and Australia condemned the closing, banning or expulsion of civil-society organizations working on rights and governance issues in Nicaragua. The censure came as violence is again being used against Ortega’s critics. Young … Read more

A Record Year of Death and Demonization for Journalism Globally

After the savage murder of Jamal Khashoggi, major organizations monitoring the freedom and safety of journalists worldwide are reporting, albeit coincidentally, that 2018 has been an exceptionally dangerous year everywhere. The deaths of journalists have risen sharply, to 53 from 47 in 2017, the Committee to Protect Journalists announced on Dec. 19. “The recent uptick … Read more

 

Climate Talks Bypass the Poorest, Who Endure Polluted Homes

Today and every day around the world, in bleak rural villages and the poorest urban neighborhoods, millions of people are igniting small fires to cook their meager meals, brighten dark homes or scare away intruders at night. The number of people using small fires is not small. Climate scientists estimate that three billion people in … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

Trump Wants a New ‘Liberal’ World Order, Pompeo Tells Europe

They call it the “Trump effect” and it is permeating and weakening support for numerous international agreements still in their formative stages. For governments, diplomats and civil society around the world, accustomed to bombastic outbursts from Donald Trump, American policy appears to be consolidating into more than ad hoc attacks on efforts to tackle global … Read more

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