Brexit pettiness lingers: Here we were naively thinking the Brexit shenanigans were over after the EU and UK agreed to an eleventh-hour post-Brexit trade deal last month. We were wrong — the saga continues. Now, a new row has erupted after the Johnson government said it will not give the EU ambassador in London the same diplomatic status awarded to other representatives of nation states. Unsurprisingly, this announcement peeved Brussels, whose delegates enjoy full diplomatic status in at least 142 other countries. The UK says it will give the EU envoy the same privileges as those given to international organizations, which are subject to change and do not include immunity from detention and taxation given to diplomats under the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations. EU members are furious, with officials accusing London of simply trying to flex its muscles and engaging in "petty" behavior. The two sides will discuss the matter further when UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets EU representatives next week, their first face-to-face since the two sides settled the Brexit quagmire on December 31. Alas, the Brexit nightmare continues.
Hard Numbers: Suicide bombing in Baghdad, India's farm bill pause, Italy to sue Pfizer, Portugal's COVID surge
32: Twin suicide bombings ripped through a central Baghdad market on Thursday, killing at least 32 people. It was the first massive suicide attack in Iraq in three years. While no group has claimed responsibility for the carnage, Iraqi authorities say it's likely the work of Islamic State militants.
Now that Joe Biden is officially US president, leaders from around the world would like a word with him — but where will he make his first international trip?
After a tumultuous four years, many countries are now clamoring for a face-to-face with President Biden. That includes allies who felt abandoned by Trump's "America First" presidency, as well as adversaries with thorny issues on the agenda. We check in on who's pitching him hardest on a near-term state visit.
Tunisians demand change: Marking ten years since Tunisians sparked the Arab Spring by taking to the streets to demand the ouster of longtime autocrat Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, a fresh generation is now protesting the country's dire economic and social crisis. Security forces responded with a heavy hand, using tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters who hurled gas bombs, and over 600 demonstrators were arrested. As Tunisia descends further into economic ruin, with youth unemployment hovering at 30 percent, protesters demand a new election (they have not been placated by Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi's recent attempt at a government reshuffle.) Demonstrators say that the political class has failed to follow through on pledges of reform made during the 2011 revolution: since then, living standards for most Tunisians have plummeted while poverty has soared. While Tunisia is the only state involved in the Arab Spring that became a democracy, the political elite has largely failed to root out corruption and inequality. Last year, the government responded to similar protests by creating more public sector jobs, but options are limited now due to pandemic-fueled economic stagnation.
After the rampage at the US Capitol building on January 6, elected officials in Washington DC aren't taking any chances with security ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20. While National Guard troops are always deployed to DC ahead of presidential inaugurations, this year there will be at least 25,000 of them stationed in DC, compared to just 8,000 when President Trump was sworn in just four years ago. For context, the US currently has fewer than 6,000 troops deployed in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq combined. So how does the current security scene in Washington compare to US active military boots on the ground elsewhere in the world?
Since Martin Luther King Jr delivered his iconic "I have a dream" speech in August 1963, the number of Black Americans elected to the United States Congress has dramatically increased. Still, it wasn't until 2019, more than half a century later, that the share of Black members serving in the House of Representatives reflected the percentage of Black Americans in the broader population —12 percent. To date, only six states have sent a Black representative to serve in the US Senate (recent runoff elections will make Georgia the seventh state), and many states have never elected a Black representative to either house of Congress. Here's a look at Black representation in every US Congress since 1963.
Hard Numbers: Some Republican dissent, Italian mafia on trial, Rohingya camp blaze, Joe the pigeon under attack
10: Donald Trump became the first US president in history to be impeached twice on Wednesday, when 232 members of the House — including 10 Republicans who bucked party lines — voted in favor of impeaching the president for inciting last week's riot at the US Capitol building. Trump now faces a trial in the Senate, and if convicted, will be barred from ever holding federal office again.
More than 32 million COVID shots have now been administered globally, raising hopes that the light at the end of the tunnel is now in sight.
The US has vaccinated 3 percent of its total population, while the UK is nearing a solid 5 percent inoculation rate. In Israel, which has been hailed as a vaccine success story, almost 24 percent of people have already received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.
But while many countries are able to glimpse the outlines of a post-COVID world, there is a huge population of people who are being left out entirely. Refugees, as well as displaced, undocumented, and stateless people around the world remain ineligible for inoculations and vulnerable to the coronavirus.
We take a look at three case studies where powerless populations are being left in the lurch.