Editor's note

The death of former Zimbabwean strongman Robert Mugabe provides a moment to reflect on leadership succession in the last three countries to achieve independence and black majority rule in southern Africa: Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa. Henning Melber sets out how in all three countries – which remain led by liberation struggle heroes decades after the end of white minority rule – young people and women have hardly made significant inroads into the meritocratic, male-dominated core structures of power.

For the past few months the world has watched, aghast, as fires have swept large swathes of the Amazon. Detractors have laid the blame for these fires squarely at the feet of Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro. Many of the fires have been set by farmers, who support Bolsanaro, to clear rainforest for cattle grazing. Some have suggested that what's happening in the Amazon amounts to a crime against humanity. Tara Smith unpacks the legal issues at play when declaring any action a crime against humanity.

Thabo Leshilo

Politics + Society Editor

Top Stories

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the funeral of his predecessor, Robert Mugabe. EPA-EFE/Aaron Ufumeli

Mugabe is dead, but old men still run southern Africa

Henning Melber, University of Pretoria

It remains to be seen how much longer the 'old men syndrome' will persist in Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa, despite growing frustration among the politically powerless.

A protestor dresses as Jair Bolsonaro on Amazon Day in Rio de Janeiro, September 5 2019. EPA-EFE/MARCELO SAYAO

Are the Amazon fires a crime against humanity?

Tara Smith, Bangor University

Destroying the Amazon rainforest will accelerate climate change, harming millions. Can those responsible be prosecuted?

Politics + Society

More refugees arrive on Greek islands amid overcrowding and water shortages

Gemma Bird, University of Liverpool

The new Greek government is putting in place new measures to stop the flow of refugees crossing the Aegan Sea.

Science fiction offers a useful way to explore China-Africa relations

Nedine Moonsamy, University of Pretoria

Science fiction writing often serves as a thought experiment that explores shared and hidden beliefs whose material and political reverberations lie further in the future.

Environment + Energy

Climate explained: how different crops or trees help strip carbon dioxide from the air

Sebastian Leuzinger, Auckland University of Technology

Planting any tree is more important than planting a particular tree when it comes to removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Why the global Red List mislabels the risk to many species

Mark D. Scherz, Technical University Braunschweig

The Red List ranks species based on how threatened they are. But it can be inaccurate.

En français

L'écoanxiété mène au retour de l'action citoyenne

Chantal Pouliot, Université Laval; Audrey Groleau, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR); Isabelle Arseneau, Université Laval

Les citoyens détiennent des savoirs pertinents et sont capables de saisir les enjeux complexes des questions socialement et scientifiquement vives, dont les changements climatiques.

Droits de l’homme : l’impact indirect des multinationales dans les pays émergents

Olivier Lamotte, École de Management de Normandie – UGEI; Ana Colovic, Neoma Business School; Octavio Escobar, PSB Paris School of Business – UGEI; Pierre-Xavier Meschi, IAE Aix-Marseille Graduate School of Management – Aix-Marseille Université

Le cas du Mexique nous enseigne que les multinationales sont de plus en plus vigilantes mais que leurs activités encouragent les violations dans les entreprises locales.