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Israel’s Accountability Crusaders

The Economist describes a “rule-of-law gang” that is pushing accountability in Israel — and punishing those who oppose them. The Economist: They are known collectively by their opponents as the “rule-of-law gang”, and for the moment they seem to be in the ascendancy. The gang is the collection of judges, prosecutors, policemen and journalists who…

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Letter from a Cairo Jail

Writing from Tura Prison near Cairo, former Egyptian MP Ayman Nour pens a letter on the future of Egypt, the usefulness of Islamic fundamentalism in justifying authoritarianism, and the impact of the Iraq War on reformers in the Arab world. “Although legitimate dreams usually turn to be terrifying nightmares in our country,” Nour writes, “the…

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USA: Serious Doubts on U.S. Voting Machines

Partisan politics and closed-source technology collude to leave American democracy in questionable hands. Many election reform activists are voicing deep concerns about electronic voting machines being used in the next presidential election. Election reform activists (here, here) ask whether the political leanings of the companies developing the new electronic voting machines will have anything to…

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India: Improvement? Where?

Global Integrity’s Ritu Sarin reflects on the pessimistic state of India’s citizens towards anti-corruption efforts, despite an international conventional wisdom that says corruption is on the retreat. Reporter’s Notebook: India India, which boasts of being the world’s third-largest economy, is a country of contradictions. That remains true of the manner in which it continues to…

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USA: “Publish What You Pay” Bill Hits Senate

In a summer of record-breaking oil profits, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer introduced the Extractive Industries Transparency Disclosure Act (S. 3389), which mandates companies disclose payments to foreign governments for oil, gas and minerals. It is companion legislation to the bill of the same name in the House of Representatives. The “publish what you pay” concept…

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China: Humor and Dissent, Now Via Text Message

China’s culture of shunkouliu (“slippery jingles”) offer a rare — and witty — outlet for political frustrations. Perry Link and Kate Zhou describe the shunkouliu in their book Popular China: Unofficial Culture in a Globalizing Society. Invented by Chinese farmers, and once devoted to simple lessons of earth and toil, the medium mutated in the…

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