Anna Nemtsova reports from Moscow's Bolotnaya Square, where opposition activists are returning to demand that President Putin step down.
David Scott Mathieson calls for Burma's president, Thein Sein, to put the military on a leash.
Juan Nagel explains to Venezuela's new president why tackling inflation is crucial.
Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez offers some free advice to Arab Spring democrats on the do's and don'ts of constitution-writing.
Joshua Foust reviews Philip Shishkin's new book on the tumultuous politics of Central Asia.
In our latest collaboration with Princeton's Innovations for Successful Societies, Gabriel Kuris details Latvia's efforts to crack down on corruption.
Meriem Dhaouadi assails the persistent racism against dark-skinned Africans in Tunisia.
Mohamed Eljarh warns that by bowing to militiamen that Libya is seriously undermining its fledgling democracy.
And now for this week's recommended reads:
Writing in The Atlantic, Thor Halvorssen reveals how the Human Rights Foundation pulled off its Argo-esque plan to rescue Bahraini dissident blogger Ali Abdulemam.
The International Crisis Group assesses the impact of the Syrian war on its neighbor Lebanon.
The International Center for Transitional Justice hails the conviction of former Guatemalan dictator José Efrain Ríos Montt on genocide charges. In the photo above, Efrain Ríos Montt listens to his sentence being read out.
A United Nations affiliate, offers guidelines for foreign businesses investing in Burma on how to consult with affected groups.
Writing at Dr. Sean's Diary, Seán Hanley argues that technocrats are threatening democracy in Eastern Europe.
In Dawn, Murtaza Haider praises Pakistanis for making it to the polls in spite of well-founded fears of violence.
And finally, be sure to check out Bird of Chaman, Flower of the Khyber: Riding Shotgun from Karachi to Kabul in a Pakistani Truck, FP's new ebook, detailing a reporter's wild journey in the back of a Pakistani truck from Karachi to Kabul through the treacherous Afghanistan-Pakistan borderlands. It's available here and on Amazon.
JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images
At noon today, the center of Benghazi was rocked by the explosion of a huge car bomb. The blast, adjacent to the city's leading Al-Jala Hospital, killed at least three people while injuring at least 15 more. Needless to say, it's more bad news for the deteriorating security situation in one of Libya's most important cities. This is the first time that attackers have targeted a crowded area in daylight, clearly an attempt to inflict as many casualties as possible. Witnesses on the ground are reporting extensive damage to nearby buildings and cars.
Venezuela's economy is in an endless state of disarray. Inflation is soaring, and basic staples are increasingly harder to find. Electricity blackouts are frequent, and crime presents an enormous problem for citizens and companies crazy enough to do business there.
The multilingual residents of Tunis, Tunisia's capital, fancy their city on the Mediterranean to be a thriving, cosmopolitan metropolis. But not everyone is welcome. "Not a day goes by without a black African suffering from racial abuse. The most often-used insult is guira guira which, according to some means in a local dialect ‘big monkey'" says a student from Côte d'Ivoire. "For many Tunisians, we black Africans are savages."
Over the weekend, Libya's interim legislature, the General National Congress (GNC), voted overwhelming in favor of a controversial political isolation law that will ban Qaddafi-era officials from holding public office. As many as 164 voted in favor of the law, while four members voted against it and 19 members did not show up for the voting session. The circumstances under which the vote passed were far from ideal for deciding important legislation: The capital of Tripoli was effectively being taken over by armed supporters of the law. Militias besieged numerous government ministry buildings for more than a week, and several ministries continue to be blockaded even after the passing of the law. Many lawmakers are demanding Prime Minister Ali Zeidan's resignation.
MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images
Robert Looney finds some good news for Haiti's economic future.
Mohamed Eljarh provides insight into the political motives behind the recent militarized takeover of Libya's government buildings.
Deborah Loh reports on Malaysia's grassroots efforts to crack down on vote fraud.
Juan Nagel argues that Venezuela's president, Nicolás Maduro, needs to start building bridges rather than burning them.
And now for this week's recommended reads:
In a new paper, Eric Mvukiyehe and Cyrus Samii discuss their recent research on promoting democracy in fragile states.
In response to Jordan Michael Smith's piece last week in The National Interest, Zalmay Khalilzad, writing in the same publication, makes the case that promoting democracy in other countries serves the best interests of the United States.
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) releases its annual report on the world's worst violators of religious freedom.
Anders Aslund analyzes the crisis in Ukraine's banking system.
Patrick Kingsley reports for The Guardian on the rise of secular activism in Egypt.
Le Monde's Maghreb blog showcases cartoons demonstrating Libya's continued obsession with Qaddafi.
Finally, the Oslo Freedom Forum awards its annual Havel Prize on creative dissent to Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, North Korean democracy activist Park Sang Hak, and the Cuban civil society group the Ladies in White.
GOH CHAI HIN/AFP/Getty Images
This morning, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the city of Zawiya, about 40 km west of the capital, to denounce the takeover of government ministries by armed groups in Tripoli. The demonstration moved on to both Algeria and Martyrs Square, with numbers growing by the hour. The protesters, who have remained there, are calling for the disbanding of all armed militias in Tripoli and the end of the siege.
Nicolás Maduro, who is now officially Venezuela's president, is not enjoying much of a honeymoon period. After narrowly winning a special election to replace the late President Hugo Chávez -- only to have his main rival question the results -- Maduro should be extending an olive branch to the vast sectors of voters that opposed him.
LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images
Transitions is the group blog of the Democracy Lab channel, a collaboration between Foreign Policy and the Legatum Institute.