This week, Pope Francis sought to push ajar the heavy door of doctrine to accommodate the reality of modern families. In China, leaders of the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement sat down for talks with authorities while the Central Committee of the Communist Party in Beijing pondered how to move forward on "the rule of law." Elsewhere, in some good news, Nigeria cleared itself of Ebola. The fierce fight for Kobani continued as the western suburbs of Baghdad came under intense attack. Ukrainians head to the polls in the midst of a "frozen conflict" with Russia.
In our monthly series from the Vatican, "Following Francis," Sébastien Maillard recounts the ups and downs of the synod on family and the pope's efforts to outmaneuver conservatives among the assembled cardinals. (continued)
The "Chlorhuhn" chicken symbolizes the fears triggered by a proposed free trade agreement. The fear is that foreign products will push out local goods, and that health standards will drop. We are also having an argument about the way the major Internet companies mine and use data -- with the danger that they will turn us into transparent human beings. But one thing we do agree on is that unrestricted monitoring of communications by secret services can destroy the Internet as a space of liberty. Google's Eric Schmidt rightly described this practice as "outrageous."
Jokowi should take advantage of the current surge of optimism and popularity to push through difficult policies quickly, taking advantage of urban Indonesians' obsession with social media to take the debate out of the bubble blown by Jakarta's political elite.
Tunisia, which had shown Arabs a way out of the prison of dictatorship through peaceful protest, is today demonstrating that on the ruins of the old order a democracy could be built.
When the Soviet Union collapsed more than two decades ago, and Ukraine opted for independence, many expected the country to do better than Russia in the years to come. But events turned out differently.
I love my country, the land I was born in, and the culture -- but if being patriotic means dying, then I am not patriotic.
China has become the world's second biggest economy in the past 30 years, but has failed to grown into a state under the rule of law.
The natural evolution of Western democratic societies could be summed up this way: The first step is to develop the economy and the educational system. The second step is the establishment of a general culture for the citizens and the rule of law. The last step is democratization. If the above order is out of place, a society has to pay a severely heavy price.
It seems the world has begun to realize that a large piece of the millennial generation has suffered the consequences of an increasingly unequal global economy that has fostered despair and in many places, violent expressions of dissatisfaction.
People of good will hope that the ongoing P5 1 negotiations will culminate in a deal by November 24, but whether the final deal happens next month or not, it will be important to continue to avoid conflict in favor of dialogue and even collaboration when possible.
Even though he is the mighty "sovereign pontiff," he also knows he cannot just simply impose touchy pastoral shifts overnight without harming the Church's unity. As a former archbishop coming from "the end of the world," the Argentinian pope does not want Rome to solely decide.
No matter which country I report from across the Middle East and Africa, unemployment almost always tops the conversation, often trumping all other grievances that dominate headlines.
News that a second health care worker has been infected with Ebola here in the United States raises serious questions about the preparedness of health systems all over world to deal with the reality of this global health threat.
This moment demands a fresh interrogation of what theologian Reinhold Neibuhr euphemistically called "the highly contingent achievements of the west," and closer attention to the varied histories of the non-west. Instead, the most common response to the present crisis has been despair over western "weakness" -- and much acrimony over what Barack Obama, president of the "sole superpower" and the "indispensable nation" should have done to fix it.
China may join in discussions about hotspot issues with the aim of seeking a peaceful solution, but it will not turn into a party involved in the conflict or take steps that make the problem worse.
In its structure of combining selection and election, the emergent Hong Kong system is a kind of middle way between democratic consent and the idea of meritocratic guidance. In fact, the mechanism proposed to choose a chief executive is not so different from the Electoral College designed by American democracy's Founding Fathers. The idea, spelled out in Federalist Paper #68, was to "refine and enlarge the public views by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens." But there needs to be a proper balance not yet achieved in Hong Kong.
The modern Silk Road's establishment will also mark a step toward reinvigorating the ancient Chinese concept of tianxia, in which the Chinese emperor was considered the divinely appointed ruler of the entire known world.
Ukrainian government forces used cluster munitions in populated areas in Donetsk city in early October 2014. The use of cluster munitions in populated areas violates the laws of war due to the indiscriminate nature of the weapon and may amount to war crimes.
Not being afraid of one's enemies, this is the real secret of the future. This is the secret of happy peoples.