Editor's note

Scientists recently unearthed the skull of humankind’s oldest ancestor, living 3.8 million years ago. The hominin, known as Australopithecus anamensis, is believed to be the direct ancestor of the “Lucy” species Australopithecus afarensis. But the discovery has important implications for our understanding of human evolution, suggesting crucial previous theories have actually been wrong. Hester Hanegraef talks us through the findings.

Zimbabwe’s economic and political crisis shows no signs of abating. Inflation is out of control; crippling power cuts and water shortages are a daily reality. The country’s main opposition power has put its faith in a wave of public mass demonstrations to try and depose President Emmerson Mnangagwa. But Tapiwa Chagonda argues that such an approach is doomed to fail, and sets out why forming a second government of national unity might be the best option for the flailing nation.

Miriam Frankel

Co-host, To the moon and beyond Podcast

Top Stories

MRD skull. Dale Omori, courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History

How the skull of humanity’s oldest known ancestor is changing our understanding of evolution

Hester Hanegraef, Natural History Museum

The hominin known as Lucy may not be the direct ancestor of humans.

Many Zimbabweans have turned to hawking to keep the wolf from the door as the economic crisis in the country deepens. EFE-EPA

Zimbabwe’s deepening crisis: time for second government of national unity?

Tapiwa Chagonda, University of Johannesburg

It's time for a new approach as it becomes increasingly clear that protests won't topple the Zanu-PF government.

Politics + Society

Hong Kong: how the police trained for riots – and why their response to protesters has been so violent

Carol Anne Goodwin Jones, University of Birmingham

Police tactics in Hong Kong have not helped the cycle of protest, repression and further protest.

Indonesia needs to fix ‘authoritarian’ clauses in bill on cyber security before passing it into law

Tangguh Chairil, Binus University

Indonesia is set to issue its first cyber security bill. It's badly needed, but in its current form the legislation also create risks of abuses of power and violations of human rights.

Middle East tensions: what Lebanese border strikes mean for Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia

Abdulaziz Alghashian, University of Essex

Saudi Arabia and Israeli in balancing act after strikes on Iran-backed militias.

Why Syrian refugees have no negative effects on Jordan’s labour market

Jackline Wahba, University of Southampton

Jordan has a huge number of Syrian refugees and since 2016 it has let them legally enter the workforce.

Environment + Energy

Why forecasting floods should be a global collaborative effort

Andrea Ficchì, University of Reading

Tropical cyclones Idai and Kenneth have shown how important it is to integrate local information and resources with global scale forecasts and support.

3 ways insecticides can be counterproductive in agriculture

Julien Le Roy, Western University

Pesticides have become almost essential for agriculture, but their misuse can have negative effects on crops too.