Editor's note

China has a long-term Hong Kong challenge on its hands. If it wants to resolve the current impasse, hardline tactics are not sufficient. Both sides – Beijing and the protesters – must compromise. But there is little prospect of this happening in the current environment of escalating violence and hardening attitudes. As Adam Ni explains, China’s actions are sowing the seeds of future conflict.

And as Tunisia prepares for elections next month following the death of President Mohamed Beji Caid Essebsi in July, Jonathan Powell and Clayton Besaw outline the prospects for democracy in the country.

Caroline Southey


Top Stories

Beijing has a long-term Hong Kong challenge on its hands, one that in many ways is of its own making. Miguel Candela/EPA

Beijing is moving to stamp out the Hong Kong protests – but it may have already lost the city for good

Adam Ni, Macquarie University

The Chinese government has a multi-pronged approach to quell the protests –building support among business elites, putting pressure on companies and ramping up its misinformation campaigns.

A military procession accompanies the coffin of the lateTunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi during his funeral in Tunis. Amel Pain/EPA-EFE

Essebsi is gone: Tunisia’s young democracy faces its toughest test

Jonathan Powell, University of Central Florida; Clayton Besaw, University of Central Florida

In death, President Mohamed Beji Caid Essebsi has left behind an unfinished revolution which now needs a new leader.

Arts + Culture

Want to put together a winning AFCON team? Here’s the formula

Ernest Yeboah Acheampong, University of Education; Ellis Kofi Akwaa-Sekyi, Catholic University College of Ghana

Football coaches can improve their chances of winning tournaments by choosing a team based on a unique combination of factors.

Explainer: from bloodthirsty beast to saccharine symbol - the history and origins of the unicorn

Jenny Davis Barnett, The University of Queensland

Unicorns are a staple of social media. Today we might think of them as all magic and rainbows, but their past is one of ferocious beasts, religion, and mistranslation.

Science + Technology

New research shows that Antarctica’s largest floating ice shelf is highly sensitive to warming of the ocean

Dan Lowry, Victoria University of Wellington

New research shows that ocean and air temperatures both contributed to the melting of Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf in the past, but melting from below by a warming ocean became more important over time.

Curious Kids: where did rats first come from?

Peter Banks, University of Sydney

Black rats are originally from India and brown rats are originally from China.

The language gives it away: How an algorithm can help us detect fake news

Fatemeh Torabi Asr, Simon Fraser University

Using machine learning and natural language processing, researchers are developing an algorithm that can distinguish between real and fake news articles.

Why are so many languages spoken in some places and so few in others?

Marco Túlio Pacheco Coelho, Universidade Federal de Goias; Michael Gavin, Colorado State University

Linguists have a lot of largely untested theories. Borrowing a tool from ecology, researchers built a model that didn't look for one worldwide explanation.