Editor's note

As US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping prepare to meet at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires today, there is much at stake. In fact, writes Tony Walker, the encounter will be one of the most significant between two leaders in the modern era. World markets will be watching to see how the growing trade conflict plays out at the meeting between an unpredictable US president and a Chinese leader who will not want to be seen to yield ground.

And Timothy Clack tells the tragic story of the Omo-Turkana Basin. A UNESCO World-Heritage protected area, it lies across parts of Ethiopia, South Sudan and Kenya, and is one of the oldest landscapes known to have been inhabited by Homo sapiens. But the livelihood of its communities is under threat as the Ethiopian government pushes ahead with Africa’s tallest hydro-electric dam.

Amanda Dunn

Section Editor: Politics + Society

Top story

US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are set to meet again at the G20 in Buenos Aires, at a pivotal moment in world economic history. AAP/EPA/Roman Pilipey

Much at stake as Donald Trump and Xi Jinping meet at G20

Tony Walker, La Trobe University

At a time when the rules-based trading system is being shredded and the Paris Agreement risks unravelling, it is vital that the G20 meeting between the two superpowers is a constructive one.

Damning development. Wikimedia Commons/Mimi Abebayehu

‘World’s worst environmental disaster’ set to be repeated with controversial new dam in Africa

Timothy Clack, University of Oxford

When the Aral Sea dried up, it was called the "world's worst environmental disaster". We're witnessing its equivalent in Africa.

Health + Medicine

The largest number of HIV-exposed but uninfected children are in South Africa. Shutterstock

Babies born to mums with HIV face higher risks even though they’re HIV negative

Amy Slogrove, Stellenbosch University; Kathleen M. Powis, Harvard Medical School ; Mary-Ann Davies, University of Cape Town

HIV negative children born to women with HIV have a greater risk of dying before their first birthday.

Arts + Culture

Factors ranging from the timing of a book’s release to its subject matter can determine whether it will crack the vaunted list. Billion Photos/Shutterstock.com

What big data can tell us about how a book becomes a best-seller

Albert-László Barabási, Northeastern University

It's easier to make the list than you might think.


Relishing the independence of the mind is the basis for naturally imaginative activity. Shutterstock

Why it is (almost) impossible to teach creativity

Robert Nelson, Monash University

Our contemporary education systematically trashes creativity and unwittingly punishes students for exercising their imagination.

Science + Technology

  • Why we are not ready for genetically designed babies

    Françoise Baylis, Dalhousie University; Graham Dellaire, Dalhousie University; Landon J Getz, Dalhousie University

    Chinese researcher, Jainkui He claims to have created the world's first genome-edited twins. Such action would pose unknown risks to the lives of these children and to humanity as a whole.

Business + Economy