Editor's note

Before the midterms, President Trump tried to rally his base by stoking fear of a caravan of Central Americans heading toward the southern border – overlooking the fact that people often migrate together for safety. But even group travel couldn’t protect all caravan members. Two trucks carrying 80 migrants have gone missing in Mexico, “sold” to a band of armed men, according to one witness. Human rights scholar Luis Gómez Romero reports on the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Mexico, one of the world’s most violent places.

The point of having a World Toilet Day is to highlight the fact that safe sanitation remains a luxury. Billions of people don’t have access to a toilet. Part of the reason is that toilets are badly designed for regions like sub-Saharan Africa that are water scarce and have only limited plumbing and sewage facilities. But there are solutions. Mooyoung Han and Shervin Hashemi describe innovative designs that use no water and can transform waste into a valuable resource.

Catesby Holmes

Global Affairs Editor

Top Stories

Migrants travel in groups through Mexico for safety reasons. But Mexico is still one of the world’s most dangerous countries. AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd

Dozens of migrants disappear in Mexico as Central American caravan pushes northward

Luis Gómez Romero, University of Wollongong

Two trucks carrying migrants have gone missing in Veracruz, Mexico. A witness says that '65 children and seven women were sold' to a band of armed men. Other caravan members have reached the border.

Every flush by a typical toilet sends about 6 to 16 litres of fresh water to wastewater treatment centres. lchumpitaz/Shutterstock

Some smart ideas to make toilets fit for purpose in Africa’s cities

Mooyoung Han, Seoul National University; Shervin Hashemi, Seoul National University

Existing toilets aren't a good fit for parts of sub-Saharan Africa because many areas lack water and there's often no proper plumbing.

Science + Technology

Here’s how the ‘brightest’ object in the universe formed

Andrew Blain, University of Leicester

A number of surrounding galaxies are slowly being devoured by the most luminous object in the sky.

You can’t characterize human nature if studies overlook 85 percent of people on Earth

Daniel Hruschka, Arizona State University

Ninety percent of psychology studies come from countries representing less than 15 percent of the world's population. Researchers are realizing that universalizing those findings might not make sense.

Politics + Society

Brexit draft withdrawal agreement – experts react

Katy Hayward, Queen's University Belfast; Adrienne Yong, City, University of London; Maria Garcia, University of Bath; Michael Gordon, University of Liverpool; Nauro Campos, Brunel University London; Nieves Perez-Solorzano, University of Bristol; Phil Syrpis, University of Bristol

Academic experts explain the key details of the draft Brexit deal agreed by UK and EU negotiators.

Iran: how US sanctions are strengthening China’s global power

Tom Harper, University of Surrey

As the US excludes nations from the established system, China is offering them an alternative. And America will pay the price.