Explainer

Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin wearing sunglasses

What to Expect From the Biden-Putin Summit in Geneva

The two leaders have much to discuss. Just don’t hold your breath for a breakthrough.

Protesters hold smoke flares as they take part in a demonstration organized by the global environmental movement Extinction Rebellion and the Dutch climate activist group Code Rood at the Shell headquarters in The Hague on May 18.

Big Oil’s Tobacco Moment

Shell is responsible for more emissions than most countries. A new court ruling holds it accountable.

People walk past a mural showing the face of George Floyd on a section of Israel's controversial separation barrier in the city of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank on March 31.

Does America Need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission?

Transitional justice has worked for dozens of countries with a legacy of systemic abuses.

A rare-earth refinery.

Why Rare Earths Are the Key to Just About Everything

They’re not actually that rare, but their importance to almost all modern technologies cannot be overstated.

Demonstrators in Berlin display banners in support of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny

Sanctioning Russia Is Easier Said Than Done

Quiet threats, not public pronouncements, could be the best way to save Navalny.

A group of Jehovah's Witnesses in Massachusetts

Why Is Putin Afraid of Jehovah’s Witnesses?

Since they were labeled an extremist group in 2017, more than 400 have been charged or convicted.

Supporters of Ousmane Sonko in Senegal.

What’s Going On in Senegal?

Protests over the arrest of a popular opposition leader highlight the decline in what was a beacon of democracy in West Africa.

Protesters demonstrate against the so-called "anti-separatism" bill in Paris on Feb. 14.

Why Has France’s Islamist Separatism Bill Caused Such Controversy?

While the French far-right believes the bill could do more to fight extremism, the country’s Muslim population feels the legislation is unfairly targeting their community.

André Ventura, the leader of Chega, delivers a speech in Lisbon on Jan. 24.

Was Portugal’s Election a Breakthrough for the Far-Right?

The incumbent president won in a landslide, but a populist right-wing candidate raised eyebrows in a country that has so far avoided extremes.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (right), Justice Minister Alfonso Bonafede (left), and Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio talk during a debate prior to a confidence vote in Conte's government in the Senate at Palazzo Madama in Rome on Jan. 19.

Italy Dives Headfirst Into Political Crisis During Pandemic

Conte’s ruling coalition is out—but that may not be the end for the prime minister.

The president of the Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadéra

Why Did the Central African Republic Declare a State of Emergency?

The country’s postelection violence threatens a humanitarian catastrophe—and a continued standoff between Russia and France for influence in Central Africa.

Assistants await patients at a check-in counter for vaccinations against COVID-19 at the converted Merkur-Arena in Düsseldorf, Germany on Dec. 1.

Where Do Things Stand With the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout?

The U.K.’s quick approval of the Pfizer vaccine means some Britons will get shots starting next week—but in the rest of the world, it’s going to take a while for regular people to get inoculated.

U.S. President Donald Trump

Why Is Trump Threatening America’s Defense Budget?

The president is pushing against a law that digital rights groups say protect social media firms.

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