Editor's note

Even though some countries withdrew, the Global Compact on Migration was approved by 164 countries in Marrakesh earlier this week. But despite the optimism about international moves to protect the rights of refugees and migrants, the political situation in the countries hosting them can get in the way. Drew Mikhael looks at the situation for Syrian refugees in Lebanon and how they are trapped by a complex political power-sharing arrangement that has left them marginalised.

Each year palaeontologists and other scientists make new discoveries that add to our understanding of evolution. 2018 was a bumper year. Julien Benoit sets out some of the big discoveries and breakthroughs of the past 12 months.

Gemma Ware

Society Editor

Top story

Syrian refugees in Haouch El Nabi in the Bekaa valley, Lebanon. Wael Hamzeh/EPA

Syrian refugees remain trapped and marginalised by Lebanon’s power-sharing politics

Drew Mikhael, Queen's University Belfast

The intricacies of Lebanese politics mean Syrian refugees continue to be scapegoated.

Science + Technology

Five reasons why 2018 was a big year for palaeontology

Julien Benoit, University of the Witwatersrand

Five major finds this year adds to our understanding of evolution and ancient life history.

Geminids meteor shower: an astrophysicist on what to look out for

Samantha Rolfe, University of Hertfordshire

Expect a spectacular display of 120 or more meteors per hour – some of them brightly coloured.

Politics + Society

South Africa’s electoral body has its work cut out to ensure legitimate 2019 poll

Kealeboga J Maphunye, University of South Africa

South Africa's electoral commission's failure to ensure a credible voters' roll threatens to undo its legacy of free and fair elections.

Theresa May’s handling of Brexit is a classic case of bad leadership

Stefan Stern, City, University of London

For two-and-a-half years misstep has followed misstep.

Health + Medicine

Business + Economy