Explainers

  • A group of more than one hundred countries has agreed to a historic rewrite of global tax rules. Here’s what to know.
  • The swift development of effective vaccines against the new coronavirus was an unprecedented scientific achievement. But production challenges, vaccine nationalism, and new virus strains have all presented hurdles.
  • Tariffs have been applied over the years to protect homegrown industries and target competitors who are seen as using unfair trade practices. They impose costs on both importers and exporters and had been in decline until the recent U.S.-China trade spat.
  • Africa continues to have more peacekeeping missions than any other continent. As conflict-stricken countries increasingly look outside the United Nations for support, experts say reforms are necessary to improve peacebuilding.
  • There were 2.8 million Afghan refugees in 2020, half of whom were living in Pakistan. Here are the countries that could host many of the Afghans fleeing the country after the Taliban’s takeover.
  • Only eight out of nearly fifty sub-Saharan countries are considered free. Here’s why democracy is declining across the region.
  • There’s a one-in-five chance the fish you ate for dinner was caught illegally. Illegal fishing is devastating ecosystems and coastal communities. Here’s what countries are doing about it.
  • Increased infrastructure spending could improve U.S. economic competitiveness, including by reducing traffic congestion, better preparing for extreme weather events, and improving broadband access.
  • Since 1992, when the United Nations recognized climate change as a serious issue, negotiations among countries have produced notable accords, including the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement. But leaders have struggled to maintain momentum and failed to slow global temperature rise.
  • Over the two centuries since Colombia’s independence, the relationship between Washington and Bogota has evolved into a close economic and security partnership. But it has at times been strained by U.S. intervention, Cold War geopolitics, and the war on drugs.
  • The Taliban surged back to power two decades after U.S.-led forces toppled its regime in what led to the United States’ longest war.
  • The events of September 11, 2001, set in motion sweeping changes to U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism practices, launched two major wars, and altered Americans’ daily routines. This timeline traces three pivotal years whose reverberations continue today.