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The US inflation rate for August was released on Tuesday and the figures are sure to cause anxiety in the White House. Overall, the consumer price index, which measures a range of consumer prices, rose 8.3% from the same time last year – 0.2% more than many economists anticipated – though it’s down from 8.5% in July and 9.1% in June.

Indeed, the latest findings surprised many analysts who predicted that the drop in US gas prices in recent months – down from $5 a gallon in June to a current national average of $3.70 – is a sign that the economy is cooling across the board.

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Paige Fusco

Even though the Taliban “control” Afghanistan, several militant groups still operate in the war-torn country. That's underscored by the recent killing of al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in downtown Kabul, although not all outfits present in Afghanistan are affiliated with the Taliban. We list some of the major militant organizations working out of the country, with regional and global ambitions.

For years, Afghanistan has ranked as one of the world’s worst places to be a woman. But over the past two decades — with the Taliban out of power and a US-backed government calling the shots — things had started to improve. Literacy rates for girls went up, and women were allowed to pursue higher education and more career opportunities — including serving in parliament. In many parts of the country, they also had greater autonomy to travel independently. But that’s all changed since the Taliban returned to power one year ago amid the US’ chaotic withdrawal. Afghan women and girls, many of whom weren’t alive when the Taliban last ruled, are now watching their hard-fought freedoms disappear.

The Taliban have been in control of Afghanistan for a full year. But before they took over, they had a shadow government operating across vast swaths of the country, complete with a justice, policing, and tax system. After the US left, and the democratic Afghan government fled, the Taliban didn’t take long to form an “interim” government not just in Kabul but also their own “spiritual” capital of Kandahar. Today, the regime is split, with the all-important religious leadership residing in Kandahar, and the more bureaucratic, hands-on cadres in Kabul. And this comes with its political divides as well: recently the Kandahar-based supreme leader vetoed Kabul’s decision to let girls return to schools. We list the leading who’s who of the Taliban regime.

Paige Fusco

China and Taiwan are longtime foes: Beijing is committed to reunifying the island with the rest of mainland China, while Taipei desperately wants to retain its self-governance. And in recent days, Beijing has demonstrated its willingness to use military force to safeguard its national security interests. Despite the bad blood, Taiwan and China are closely intertwined, maintaining robust trade and people-to-people ties. Beijing remains Taipei’s largest trade partner by far, accounting for nearly one-third of all Taiwan’s exports. It’s for this reason that recently imposed economic sanctions on Taiwan by China stand to really hurt the self-governing island.

Paige Fusco

The short answer is: we don't know (yet).

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Paige Fusco

The leaders of Russia, Iran, and Turkey recently met in Tehran, where they portrayed their countries as great friends. Not only were Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Raisi in agreement on many things — such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — but they signed a $40 billion deal to develop future oil and gas projects jointly. We look at trade numbers between the two to see just how strong their friendship really is. As it turns out, the commitment is real: the Russia-Iran trade balance more than tripled between 2020 and 2021.

Paige Fusco

In its Thursday meeting, the European Central Bank is expected to raise interest rates by up to 50 basis points — its first hike in more than 11 years — in a bid to tame rising inflation. For months, the ECB has stubbornly resisted calls to boost rates as inflation soared to a record 8.6% in June amid fears of a looming EU-wide recession. The hike will end the ECB's eight-year experiment with negative interest rates, which make it less attractive to save money but help spur demand (and, in turn, inflation). We take a look at Eurozone interest rates compared to inflation over the past 20 years.

This article comes to you from the Signal newsletter team of GZERO Media, a subsidiary of Eurasia Group that offers balanced, nonpartisan reporting, and analysis of foreign affairs. Subscribe to Signal today.

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