Press freedom in Southeast Asia
In the mid-2000s, writes Megha Rajagopalan for BuzzFeed, an influx of social media and "gutsy" online news outlets suggested a brighter future for press freedom in Southeast Asia. But a decade later, activists say, the situation has never been more dire, thanks to repressive regional governments and the Trump administration's lack of interest in human rights.
Running out of water
Cape Town, South Africa's second-largest city, has contingency plans for when it could run out of water, which might happen as soon as April. As it is, residents are only allowed to use enough to wash the dishes, take a one four-minute shower and flush the toilet four times — but even these restrictions may not be sufficient to prevent "Day Zero", as Carolyn Thompson reports for Maclean's.
A history of the heroin trade
After 16 years and a trillion dollars, fighting in Afghanistan continues. In this piece for The Guardian, Alfred McCoy delves into the history of the heroin trade and how it has hindered the US military's success. While Western forces could forseeably remain trapped in the same endless cycle, he writes, "even for this troubled land and its dauntingly complex policy problem...there are alternatives."
Brazil's income inequality
In the first 15 years of the 21st century, Brazil's supposed reduction of its income inequality was a good news story, studied by researchers from as far away as Bangladesh and Tanzania. But, as The Globe and Mail's Stephanie Nolen reports, it turns out the gains were merely an illusion, leaving hard-working families right back where they started from.