When mutinous soldiers ousted Burkina Faso's democratically elected president in late January, they vowed to do a better job of securing the Sahelian country from attacks linked to al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State. But violence has only increased over the past months, draining public confidence in the junta, threatening coastal West African states, and worsening a humanitarian crisis that has now displaced almost two million people–around one in 10 Burkinabé.
It has been a year since the Taliban took back power—a year since desperate images at Kabul airport went around the world. Over those 12 months, Afghanistan has seen a reduction in conflict, but its economy has collapsed, record numbers are facing hunger, and it's projected that most of the population will soon be below the poverty line.
More than 5 billion people would die of hunger following a full-scale nuclear war between the US and Russia, according to a global study led by Rutgers climate scientists, published Aug. 15 in the journal Nature Food. The team estimated how much sun-blocking soot would enter the atmosphere from firestorms that would be ignited by the detonation of nuclear weapons. Researchers calculated soot dispersal from six scenarios—from a regional India-Pakistan exchange to a large US-Russia war.
Authorities in Sierra Leone imposed a nationwide curfew on Aug. 10, amid anti-government protests, in which a still undetermined number of people have been killed, apparently including at least four police officers. In the capital Freetown, protesters barricaded the streets and clashed with security forces, enraged at a 40% spike in the cost of living. A key demand is the resignation of President Julius Maada Bio, who is on a month-long vacation with his family in London—a trip apparently paid for with misappropriated public funds.
Argentina has seen weeks of mass protests in response to a rapidly deepening economic crisis. Prices for basic goods are skyrocketing, leaving many struggling to make ends meet. The protest wave began on Argentina's independence day, July 9, when thousands marched on the presidential palace. Dubbed the "Argentinazo," the mobilization was held in Buenos Aires and cities across the country. Last week, center-left President Alberto Fernández named his second new economy minister in less than a month, as his own coalition has fractured over how to handle the burdensome national debt.
Sri Lanka's newly appointed acting president Ranil Wickremesinghe unleashed police and army troops against remnant protesters at an encampment site in the capital, Colombo, in the early hours of July 22. More than 50 were injured in the raid and some 10 arrested. Military personnel also reportedly detained a small group of protesters for several hours and severely beat them before they were released. Just hours before the raid, protest leaders had announced that they would disband the encampment the following day, in response to a court order. The site had been occupied by protesters since March, when an uprising began in response to near-total economic collapse in the country.
A Security Council resolution that allowed the UN to deliver humanitarian aid across Turkey's border into northwest Syria without President Bashar al-Assad's permission expired on July 10, as diplomats failed to come to a deal in the face of a Russian veto. Russia, which has long opposed the cross-border aid operation as an affront to Syrian sovereignty, used its veto to stop a one-year renewal on July 8. Its own proposal for a six-month extension was voted down by the United States, Britain, and France. While negotiations continued through the weekend on a compromise, there was no vote by the resolution's end date, the 10th.
Governments around the world are scrambling to shore up economies hard hit by rising oil and wheat prices as a resut of the Ukraine war. Ghana has opened talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for emergency relief after angry protesters flooded the streets of the capital Accra last week. Clashes with police left several wounded and some 30 arrested on June 29. Protests were called under the slogan "Arise Ghana" to pressure President Nana Akufo-Ad to address a dramatic spike in the cost of food and fuel. (Reuters, Al Jazeera, AfricaNews)