Category: World

Saudi Arabia’s Ban on Woman Drivers Comes to an End

On a steamy evening in Riyadh, just after evening prayer, scores of Saudi women gathered outside one of the city’s most popular malls. There, under pulsing searchlights and speakers blasting upbeat Arabic music, the women lined up to enter a parking lot that had been converted into an expo featuring an array of driving-related workshops. The festival, with the Arabic…

The Fate of Turkey’s Democracy Lies With the Kurds

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey—This past Sunday, four Kurdish candidates running for office in Turkey’s June 24 elections rolled into the rural town of Hani to rally their supporters. The candidates, along with their campaign team, had been speaking from atop their bus to a crowd of some 150 people for about 10 minutes before a plain-clothed policeman ordered them to leave. The…

What the Happiest Places Have in Common

The happiest places in the world are those where enlightened leaders shifted their focus from economic development to promoting quality of life. “The biggest predictors of happiness are tolerance, equality, and healthy life expectancy,” Dan Buettener, a National Geographic writer and the author of The Blue Zones of Happiness, said Saturday at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is cohosted by…

A Brief Drive in Saudi Arabia Changed My Life

I never set out to be an activist. I was a religious girl, born and raised in Mecca. I started covering myself with abayas and niqabs before it was even required, simply because I wanted to emulate and please my religious teachers. And I believed in a highly fundamentalist version of Islam. For years, I melted my brother’s pop music…

Deported Into a Nightmare

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras—Edwin Vásquez, a 16-year-old, is learning how to live with fear. One afternoon last fall, as he played soccer on a field near his house in La Rivera Hernández in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, gunfire suddenly rang out, and he barely dodged bullets meant for him. Lurking around the field were members of the Olanchanos, one of…

Will Erdoğan Cheat His Way to Victory?

ISTANBUL—Few members of Turkey’s battered political opposition were surprised when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won the constitutional referendum of April 2017, which transformed the country from a European-style parliamentary government into a presidential system. What did surprise them: that after campaigning relentlessly, partnering with nationalists who were once his enemies, stirring up tensions with Germany and the Netherlands to bring…

Michael Bloomberg is spending big to flip the House

ELECTIONS are never won by money alone, but a weighty campaign chest gives candidates for political office a boost both practical and psychological. On June 20th moderate Democratic candidates for Congress received such a fillip when the New York Times reported that Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire, political independent, and former mayor of New York, intends to spend at least $80m…