The system of passports as we know it today dates from roughly a hundred years ago, when leading world powers were trying to figure out a way to regulate international travel in the messy aftermath of World War One. Ever since, these documents have been seen both as boarding passes to freedom and as levers for government control. But which of the world's passports open up the widest vistas of international travel? The Henley Passport Index has an answer. For 199 passports, it tallies up the number of countries that are accessible without obtaining a prior visa. Here's a heat map of which countries' passports are the most powerful right now.
Spain's far right surge — The far right Vox party made the biggest gains in Spain's general election Sunday, more than doubling their seat count to 52 (out of 350), to become the third largest party in parliament. For decades, the stigma of Francisco Franco's dictatorship (1939-1975) seemed to insulate Spain from the far-right populism that's swept Europe in recent years. But now Vox's ultra-nationalists will find it easier to shift the national dialogue on key issues like immigration and quashing the Catalan independence movement. The current Socialist prime minister Pedro Sanchez had hoped that the election – the country's fourth in as many years – would break a political deadlock and strengthen his hand to form a new government. Though Sanchez's Socialists came out on top, they fell short of an absolute majority, losing three parliamentary seats since the last election in April.
Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal
50 billion: Iran has discovered a new oil field containing more than 50 billion barrels of crude oil, its president said, a development that could bolster its oil reserves by a third. However, the discovery is yet to be verified by an outside party, and it's unclear if Iran could sell any of this oil under the current US sanctions regime.
Latin America's longest-serving head of state is now out. Bolivia's fiery leftwing President Evo Morales resigned on Sunday, after weeks of increasingly violent protests over his apparent bid to rig last month's presidential elections.
Although he agreed under international pressure to hold a fresh ballot, he and his vice president were ousted by the military after a number of local police units sided with demonstrators.
His supporters say this is an illegal coup that undermines democracy. His opponents say Morales' attempt to rig the election was the real assault on democracy and that the army has merely stepped in to restore order so that elections can be held.
In the years since 1989, the population of most former East bloc countries has shrunk as a result of emigration and low birth rates. That has put a brake on potential economic growth, but some argue it's also contributed to the rightward shift in some of the region's countries, as many of the more liberal-minded folks have already left for Western Europe.
In 1990, the two parts of Germany reunited in a process whereby the much wealthier West absorbed the East. After decades of separation there were cultural divergences as well as economic ones. In the years since, the gaps between east and west have closed substantially, but in many ways they persist. Here's a look at a few different ways in which that's true.
Thirty years ago, the Berlin Wall fell. Within months, the Soviet-backed governments of Central Europe were swept away by democratic systems. Two years later, the Soviet Union itself collapsed.
It's hard to capture just how extraordinary all that was at the time. Faced with popular protests, one of history's most fearsome empires had swiftly and (largely) peacefully melted away. Freedom had won. Police states had lost. Right?
But those events were seen in very different lights around the world. Here are three interpretations of 1989 that, in many ways, gave us the more troubled world of 2019.