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January 15, 2021

United States
A Unique Military Force: The U.S. National Guard

The National Guard is a special part of the U.S. military that answers to both state governors and the president. In some instances, how leaders have used the Guard has generated controversy, particu…

Members of the Connecticut National Guard survey flooded areas in Florida from a helicopter as part of the response to Hurricane Irma.

November 12, 2020

United States
How Police Compare in Different Democracies

Killings by U.S. officers in 2020 have sparked widespread calls for police reform and an end to systemic racism. Here’s how U.S. policing compares with other countries’ approaches.

A photo from behind of rows of police officers wearing navy blue uniforms and hats in a moodily lit arena.

September 25, 2020

China
Religion in China

As more people in China practice religion, the government continues to toughen oversight, increase religious persecution, and attempt to co-opt state-sanctioned religious organizations.

People kneel and pray in a mosque in Shanghai, China.

July 27, 2020

Education
How Countries Are Reopening Schools During the Pandemic

Educators worldwide are facing the agonizing decision of whether to resume in-person instruction while there’s still no cure for the new coronavirus. Countries including Denmark, India, and Kenya are…

A student wearing a protective face mask makes a presentation behind a plastic sheet during an English class at Takanedai Daisan Elementary School in Funabashi, Japan, on July 16, 2020.

July 7, 2020

Labor and Employment
U.S. Temporary Foreign Worker Visa Programs

The United States has long accepted hundreds of thousands of foreign workers each year, but the Trump administration has blocked many of these visas as unemployment among the domestic labor force has…

Agricultural workers from Bud Farms harvest celery on March 26, 2020, in Oxnard, California.

January 19, 2018

Olympics
The Economics of Hosting the Olympic Games

The costs of hosting the Olympics have skyrocketed, while the economic benefits are far from clear. This has led to fewer states interested in playing host and a search for options to lighten the bur…

Lighting the Olympic Torch

October 5, 2016

Sub-Saharan Africa
Can Malaria Be Eradicated?

A leading killer among diseases is now targeted for eradication by the middle of this century. Efforts to combat malaria are costly and challenging.

A child is given an injection as part of a malaria vaccine trial at a clinic in Kilifi, Kenya.

June 10, 2013

India
Governance in India: Women’s Rights

Several high-profile sexual assault cases in India have sparked a national debate over women’s rights and the need for social reform in a rapidly modernizing country.  

Protesters carry candles as they shout slogans during a demonstration to mark the first anniversary of the Delhi gang rape in New Delhi, India.

June 4, 2012

United States
U.S. Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital

In the face of persistently high unemployment, policymakers and workers look to innovation and entrepreneurship to create new jobs. This Backgrounder discusses how entrepreneurs create and finance th…

March 7, 2012

Infrastructure
U.S. Rail Infrastructure

Rail infrastructure is a critical component of a transportation network capable of helping the United States compete in global markets. Efforts to expand and modernize U.S. rail, particularly to incl…