Putin’s Canny Politics in Russian Elections by Gregory Feifer in The Washington Post. Putin detractors in the U.S. and elsewhere may be premature in jumping on the United Russia party’s poor showing in the Duma elections as a sign that the leader is starting to lose his grip on power. In the view of this close Russia-watcher, it’s not the party, stupid, it’s Putin. United Russia is only a stalking horse. Recommended by European Affairs. (12/8)

As Britain’s political parties open their season of party conferences, leaders are publicly garretmartinassessing the impact and implications of the days and nights of rage that set England afire this summer.  How worried should they be? And how should the outburst be interpreted across Europe and in the U.S.? Is this a year of coincidences in violence or is it another global upheaval – like 1848 or 1968? – that seeks to upend a world order that outlived its sell-by date?

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Amid the strident furor about media freedom in Europe, Budapest has also started actively defending itself in the U.S. against charges that new Hungarian press laws will restrict reporting and could portend anti-democratic moves on a broader scale.

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Pelicans and marsh grass were not the only victims of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Another casualty was in Britain among some people there who felt aggrieved that their country seemed to get no specially gentle handling from the White House in the name of the “special relationship” between the U.S. and UK. That longstanding concept of a special bilateral tie has only slowly faded in London, even under the new government. But decision-makers in Washington have been saying privately for years that it no longer exists, except in special circumstances such as the wars in the Falklands and the Gulf.

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Ensuring a high-quality lifestyle is no challenge for European cities at their urban cores. A recent ranking of global cities – by special and sophisticated criteria reflecting modern priorities for living conditions – Europe claims 14 of the 25 top-ranked cities. The United States only made it into two slots, none in the top 10.

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