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January 17, 2020

Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico: A U.S. Territory in Crisis

The Caribbean island, which shares a close yet fraught relationship with the rest of the United States, faces a multilayered economic and social crisis, rooted in long-standing policy and compounded …

A man rides his bicycle through a damaged road in Puerto Rico.

January 10, 2020

Somalia
Al-Shabab

Al-Shabab remains capable of carrying out massive attacks in Somalia and surrounding countries despite a long-running African Union offensive against the Islamist group. 

Al-Shabab in Somalia

December 3, 2019

NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

As NATO readies for what some believe is a new Cold War with Russia, the seventy-year-old alliance struggles to manage widening internal divisions.

Nato

October 3, 2019

Eurozone
The Role of the European Central Bank

As Europe has weathered a succession of economic crises, the European Central Bank has responded with an aggressive set of monetary policies that have redefined the bank’s original mandate.

Workers repair the euro sign in front of ECB headquarters

July 16, 2019

North Korea
What to Know About Sanctions on North Korea

Kim Jong-un hopes a summit with President Trump will lead to sanctions relief, while experts disagree over whether increased pressure would push Pyongyang toward denuclearization.

A woman works at a textile mill in Pyongyang, North Korea.

June 25, 2019

China
The China–North Korea Relationship

China is North Korea’s biggest trade partner and has leverage over Kim Jong-un’s regime, yet its policies focus more on border stability than nuclear threat.

Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un wear black suits, stand out the sunroof of a car, and wave to people in Pyongyang, North Korea.

May 21, 2019

China
China’s Massive Belt and Road Initiative

China’s Belt and Road Initiative is the most ambitious infrastructure investment effort in history. But is it also a plan to remake the global balance of power?

Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

May 17, 2013

South Africa
South Africa’s Economic Fault Lines

South Africa in the post-apartheid period has registered steady growth, but mounting problems over inequality threaten the continent’s economic engine.

Girls stand outside shacks made from metal in Cape Town's Khayelitsha township.

November 19, 2012

Development
Poland’s Economic Model

Poland has maintained economic growth despite the global financial crisis and eurozone woes, while asserting itself as a leading advocate for greater European integration.

Stock exchange figures are displayed above clocks with time from around the world at Warsaw Stock Exchange.

July 11, 2012

Financial Markets
The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision

Controversies over too-big-to-fail financial institutions continue to mount. The Basel Accords represent the latest effort to ease risk and restore confidence, as this Backgrounder explains.