December 12, 2019
The UK currently benefits from EU trade pacts covering more than 70 countries. But if the UK leaves the EU without a trade deal in place, London could lose its preferential access to those markets. In preparation for such a scenario, the UK has signed 20 "continuity" agreements, allowing countries to keep trading with the UK under current rules even after Brexit. Here's a look at which countries and blocs have signed these deals with the UK, and the total value of each trade relationship.
For almost half a century NATO and the Soviet-backed Warsaw Pact alliance glowered at each other across the Iron Curtain. But after the Soviet empire collapsed, NATO expanded further eastwards, welcoming former East Bloc members into the organization. For these countries, it was a way to anchor themselves firmly in the "West," and to protect themselves from any future Russian revanchism. But Moscow saw NATO's eastward creep as a direct challenge to Russia's sphere of influence. Tensions between Washington and Moscow over NATO persist. Here's a look at the history of the organization's expansion.
November 26, 2019
The world's economy is set to grow at its slowest pace since the global financial crisis a decade ago, according to the OECD, a group of industrialized nations. The gloomy report says governments aren't doing enough to deal with big structural changes like US-China trade tensions, climate change, or the digital revolution. The last time the global economy nose-dived countries were able to muster enough collaboration to coordinate a global response. But given the profound dysfunction of the international order these days, it's hard to imagine countries doing the same again if things take a turn for the worse. Here's a look at global GDP growth over the past decade as measured by the OECD.
November 22, 2019
After a jam-packed week of testimony in the impeachment probe of President Trump there were plenty of memorable moments, but will any of it sway public opinion? The answer is: probably not. Overwhelmingly, US voters across parties say nothing they hear in the impeachment inquiry will change their minds, according to a recent NPR/PBS News Hour/ Marist poll. Independents are a little more open-minded than Republicans or Democrats, but not by much. Here's a look at the numbers.
November 19, 2019
Increasingly violent anti-government protests in Hong Kong have dealt a major blow to the city's once booming economy. Tourism – an economic lifeline in that city – has dropped, and retailers are suffering from a sharp decline in sales. Now, six months since the unrest began, Hong Kong has recorded its first recession in a decade, meaning its economy has contracted for two consecutive quarters. Here's a look at how Hong Kong's quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) growth has fared during the past two years.
Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron said that NATO was experiencing "brain death," citing a lack of coordination and America's fickleness under Donald Trump as reasons to doubt the alliance's commitment to mutual defense. NATO – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – was formed in the wake of World War II as a counterweight against Soviet dominance in Europe and beyond. Its cornerstone is that an attack on one member is considered an attack on all. But disagreements over sharing the cost of maintaining military readiness have caused friction between the alliance's members in recent years. In 2014, the bloc agreed that each member state would increase their own defense spending to 2% of their respective GDP over the next decade. But so far, only seven of 29 members have forked out the money. Here's a look at who pays what.
It's not quite 1968, true, but the past few months have seen an extraordinary outburst of popular protests in all corners of the world. In some places, protesters are mainly demanding more political freedoms. In others, they are sick and tired of corruption and unemployment and want to throw the old guard out. Here's a map of the locations, and primary causes, of recent unrest around the world.