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Anna Nemtsova reports from the town of Baikalsk, where the shutdown of one of Russia's dirtiest factories threatens the community's livelihood. Photographer Brendan Hoffman captures Baikalsk in pictures.
Juan Nagel marvels at Venezuela's new, Orwellian Ministry of Happiness.
Christopher Walker and Alexander Cooley expose Azerbaijan's zombie election monitors.
Asma Ghribi explains why Tunisia's first suicide bombing sends an ominous signal amid rising political violence.
Christian Caryl looks back on the life of Tadeusz Mazoweicki, Poland's modest revolutionary, and explains what today's activists can learn from him.
Luka Oreskovic argues that Bosnia's politicians should seize the chance to embrace a broader notion of citizenship.
Mohamed Eljarh reports on Benghazi's assassination epidemic.
And now for this week's recommended reads:
Writing for the Atlantic, transitions scholar Larry Diamond asks whether the world's dictatorships are suffering from the "70-Year Itch."
The Center for International and Strategic Studies issues a new report urging increased U.S. assistance for the Burmese health care sector.
Writing in the Washington Post, Michael Abramowitz and Holly Atkinson demand protection for Burma's beleaguered Muslim minority.
The Community of Democracies publishes A Diplomat's Handbook for Democracy Development Support.
Today's Zaiman writer Ali Aslan Kilic reports on the female lawmakers who are challenging Turkey's secular establishment by wearing headscarves to parliament. (In the photo above, thousands of Turkish Alevis rally to demand equal citizenship.)
Michael L. Ross finds that countries rich with petroleum tend to have violent conflicts and durable autocracies.
On the Arabist, Fahmy Howeidy argues that the current alliance between Egyptian liberals and the military will not stand the test of time.
In the Financial Times, Jonathan Ledgard and John Clippinger make the case for a universal digital currency in Africa.
In the National Interest, Vivek S. Sharma argues for a new view of corruption in developing countries.
BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images
The results are in! The Legatum Institute has just launched the 2013 Prosperity Index, a broad measurement of national success that looks beyond GDP. Norway tops the rankings (for the fifth year running) followed by Switzerland in second place and Canada in third. The United States ranks outside the top ten, placing 11th overall.
On Oct. 18, Benghazi experienced its latest assassination. This time the target was Libya's Military Police chief colonel, Ahmed al-Barghathi. The city has suffered more than 100 killings in the past year, mainly targeting army and security officers, as well as activists, judges, journalists, and moderate Imams. The authorities have been unable to stop the murders, bring any of those responsible to justice, or even achieve breakthroughs in any of the investigations, which have all been linked to "unknown entities."
ABDULLAH DOMA/AFP/Getty Images
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Erica Chenoweth analyzes the techniques that make for successful protest movements.
Samia Errazzouki and Maryam al-Khawaja explain why we shouldn't trust Middle Eastern autocrats who try to justify their rule by claiming respect for women's rights.
Anna Nemtsova watches as Sochi's Olympic volunteers practice smiling.
Juan Nagel describes the dystopian nightmare of crime-ridden Venezuela.
Mohamed El Dahshan ruminates on the recent U.S. cuts in aid to Egypt.
Besar Likmeta reports on Tony Blair's new mission to Albania.
Christian Caryl warns against the dangers of rule by the few in a world dominated by the super-wealthy.
Finally, Prachi Vidwans presents a visual analysis of protestors wielding unlikely weapons of dissent: pots and pans.
And now for this week's recommended reads:
Arch Puddington of Freedom House offers talking points to the defenders of democracy around the world.
Democracy Digest offers its take on the new White House strategy for the Middle East, which downgrades democracy promotion; it also presents an illuminating interview on the situation in Tunisia with a leading Tunisian labor union official.
A new Asia Foundation report offers a primer on the local governing structures codified in Burma's 2008 Constitution.
Writing for the Monkey Cage, Jason Brownlee, Tarek Masoud, and Andrew Reynolds zero in on two factors that determined which states were vulnerable to the Arab Spring.
Al Arabiya reports on the latest unrest from Sudan, suggesting that the regime is "on the verge of collapse."
In the Financial Times, Borzou Daragahi explains how the countries of the Arab Spring are rewriting school textbooks to reflect changed circumstances.
Writing for Project Syndicate, Daniel A. Bell and Chenyang Li contend that Singapore's "compassionate meritocracy" poses a real challenge to liberal democracy.
Tech in Asia's Enricko Lukman reports on the huge success of Indonesia's crowd-sourced corruption website.
(The photo above shows Turkish dissidents huddled together in a cloud of tear gas and mist during a recent protest.)
ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images
Is there a way to solve a range of problems in the world's poorest countries -- from improving education in classrooms to increasing child vaccination rates to building bridges -- in one easy step? The World Bank thinks it's found the solution: Hire a former British prime minister to fly in on his $45 million private jet and have him offer some advice on what works and what doesn't.
PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images
I'm not sure what the U.S. government was hoping to achieve by suspending some of its military assistance to Egypt, but whatever it was -- it failed.
AHMED GAMEL/AFP/Getty Images
NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images
Transitions is the group blog of the Democracy Lab channel, a collaboration between Foreign Policy and the Legatum Institute.