Editor's note

Eight years ago Tunisians embarked on popular protests that toppled authoritarian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The protesters were fed up with the absence of democracy as well as fundamental daily issues like joblessness and food shortages. Now, as Tunisians prepare to elect a new president for the second time since what became known as the “Jasmine Revolution” Pamela Abbott, Andrea Teti and Roger Sapsford set out why the poll will be a major challenge for the North African nation’s fledgling democracy.

Also today:

Thabo Leshilo

Politics + Society Editor

Top Story

Tunisians protest against tax hikes, austerity measures and increased food prices. EPA-EFE/Mohamed Messara

Tunisians head for the polls amid dimming faith in democracy

Pamela Abbott, University of Aberdeen; Andrea Teti, University of Aberdeen; Roger Sapsford, University of Aberdeen

Western perceptions of what's happening in Tunisia differ sharply with Tunisia's daily reality: the truth is that its political transformation is in trouble.

Environment + Energy

How potential of massive e-waste dump in Ghana can be harnessed

Alison Stowell, Lancaster University

Sites like Agbogbloshie provides a valuable service. They offer opportunities for job creation, profit and cleaning up environments littered with waste.

Ships’ risky fuel transfers are threatening African Penguins

Peter Ryan, University of Cape Town; Katrin Ludynia, University of Cape Town; Lorien Pichegru, Nelson Mandela University

Oil spills from a project that's designed to harness the economic potential of South Africa's oceans are threatening the world's largest remaining African Penguin colony.

How Kenya’s mega wind power project is hurting communities

Zoe Cormack, University of Oxford

Our research shows how a large scale renewable energy project can be plagued by many of the same troubling impacts on local communities as oil and extractive industries.

Uganda offers lessons in tapping the power of solid waste

Shuaib Lwasa, Makerere University

Residents have come up with solutions to make usable products out of organic waste materials.

From our international editions

Anxiety and depression: why doctors are prescribing gardening rather than drugs

Yvonne Black, University of Hull

How gardening can make you happier and healthier.

Barn owls reflect moonlight in order to stun their prey

Almut Kelber, Lund University; Alexandre Roulin, Université de Lausanne; Luis Martín San José García, Université de Lausanne

Scientists have discovered how the wise old barn owl is so good at catching rodents.

India: why a new law criminalising Muslim ‘instant divorce’ has divided feminists

Justin Jones, University of Oxford

The Indian government’s recent criminalisation of instant 'triple-talaq' divorce has stoked dispute among the very people it purports to protect: Muslim women.

Evolution doesn’t proceed in a straight line – so why draw it that way?

Quentin Wheeler, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry; Antonio G. Valdecasas, CSIC - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas; Cristina Cánovas, CSIC - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

If you go by editorial cartoons and T-shirts, you might have the impression that evolution proceeds as an orderly march toward a preordained finish line. But that's not right at all.


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