The UK has benefited from EU trade pacts with more than 70 countries. But if Britain can't reach agreement with the EU on a new trade deal before it formally leaves the EU on January 1, it could lose its preferential access to those markets. In preparation for such a scenario, the UK has signed dozens of new trade agreements, allowing countries to boost trade with the UK even after its departure from the European Union is finalized. It has also tried to prepare ground for a trade deal with the US, a process that's become more difficult with the election of Joe Biden. Here's a look at which countries and blocs have signed deals with the UK and the total value of each trade relationship.
When Americans vote for president, the economy is (almost) always front and center, as Democratic strategist James Carville famously predicted in 1992, when he was the brainchild of Bill Clinton's successful "It's the economy, stupid" campaign message. But beyond the country's economic future, other issues are also on voters' minds when deciding on casting their ballot for the Democratic or Republican candidate. For instance, Pew surveys show that the 2020 electorate is more worried about the Supreme Court, violent crime and race than they were four years ago, while the coronavirus pandemic has become a major concern. On the other hand, foreign policy, guns and immigration are not as important now as they were in 2016. We compare the top 10 issues for voters in 2016 and 2020.
When US Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016 — 269 days before the US election — Senate Republicans blocked then-President Obama from filling the vacancy, arguing that — ostensibly to respect the wishes of the voting public — the Supreme Court seat should be filled only after the next US president was elected some nine months later. That precedent has now been upended after President Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last month. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (who stalled the process in 2016) put the nomination to a vote and Barrett was confirmed to the highest court in the land just 8 days out from the US presidential election. Democrats are livid, calling the last-ditch process "illegitimate." But what has happened in the past when Supreme Court seats have opened up in election years? We take a look at the ten vacancies that occurred closest to the vote in past years.
By 2030, ten urban areas are projected to attain "megacity" status, a population of more than 10 million people. Six will be in Asia, where more than half of the population will be living in cities at the end of the decade. But the fastest growing megacities will be in Africa — including new megacities in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Luanda (Angola). Can urban planners and governments in Africa keep pace with this rapid urban growth? We look at the world's upcoming megacities, comparing their current and future estimated populations, to get a sense of how crowded each megalopolis will be in 2030.
As more human activities go online to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the coronavirus has actually made the internet less free than before in many parts of the world. Freedom House warns that political leaders are using the pandemic to suppress access to information under the guise of combating fake news, to justify online surveillance that otherwise would be deemed too intrusive, and to break up the World Wide Web with so-called "cyber sovereignty" regulations that are drawing national borders on the online distribution of information. We take a look at the state of internet freedom in 68 countries, highlighting the top five that have improved and declined the most.
For decades, the US has sold weapons to Taiwan over China's strong objections. While Beijing claims the island is part of the People's Republic of China, Washington does not take a position on the question of Taiwan's sovereignty, holding that the issue should be resolved peacefully by both sides — while supporting Taiwan's self-defense capabilities. But tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan have been rising recently as the US-China relationship deteriorates more broadly. If China were to someday invade Taiwan — which it regards as a renegade province that sooner or later will be brought under mainland China's control — would the US come to the island's defense? A 1979 law provides "strategic ambiguity" on whether America would have to. In the meantime, US arms sales have bolstered Taiwan's defense deterrent while China's military budget has skyrocketed. We take a look at US military sales to Taiwan compared with China's own defense spending over the last 30 years.
This article has been updated to correct an error that stated the US recognized Taiwan as part of the People's Republic of China. In fact, the US acknowledges that is China's position, but does not recognize it. We apologize for the error.
The US presidential election, with all its surprises and absurdities, is being closely watched all around the world. But in Europe, home to some of Washington's longest-standing allies, a recent poll shows that people are interested not only in the outcome of the election, but in the conduct of the vote itself. As Europeans watch the current (mostly partisan) debate in the US over voter access, most seem to have strong doubts that the election will be "free and fair." Here is a more detailed look at what European populations think of the current state of play in the US election, and their relations with Washington more broadly.
Heavy fighting between Azeris and Armenians over the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region, which broke out in late September after years of mostly low-level clashes, has intensified in recent days. Nagorno-Karabakh, which is internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory but controlled by ethnic Armenian separatists, has long been a regional flashpoint: a years-long war between the two sides in the 1990s led to at least 30,000 deaths and displaced more than 1 million people. So how do the two nation states locked in this enduring conflict stack up against the other? We take a look.