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This week's editor

Adam Ramsay, Editor

Adam Ramsay is editor of oD-UK.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Russia is running out of cash

As the Russian government tries to put together its budget plan for 2013-2015, it is clear that it cannot possibly meet all its pre-election promises. Dmitry Travin looks at the financial crisis facing the country (photo RIA Novosti Agency).

New and small parties are starved by British media: Democracy2015, take heed

Democracy 2015 was initiated to 'seize the UK parliament' from discredited career politicians. If it resolves serious issues around policy, it could be a promising alternative for voters. But no matter how much potential the party has, it is stunted from birth by the mainstream media’s failure to adequately cover parties other than the ‘big three’. 

Russia’s draft treason law: a new big freeze

The draft law currently going through the Duma could definitely be regarded as tightening the screws on relationships between Russians and foreign organisations or individuals. A worrying turn of events, thinks Andrey Soldatov (photo: RIA Novosti Agency)

Georgia is not for sale

On 1 October Georgians go to the polls to choose between their president, Mikheil Saakashvili, and Bidzina Ivanishvili, an oligarch. Feelings are running high among the voters, with compromise not an option for most. There is such a range of opinions about the political situation in Georgia that it could be regarded as a very difficult choice. But the European People’s Party is solidly behind Saakashvili, says its president Wilfried Martens (photo: RIA Novosti Agency).

Great policy challenge facing Australia: a land of plenty and not a leader in sight

In Australia, both at the Commonwealth and state levels economic policies do not address the problems the country faces. However, Australia isn't in a bad economic situation at all. Political leadership is what's lacking in a much more serious way.

Britain's nuclear endgame

A significant change of thinking inside Britain's military services raises the prospect that the long-term ambition of nuclear disarmament could become reality.

Turkey’s Syria problem

Turkey’s cooperation with the Gulf states, reportedly establishing a secret shared command centre in southern Turkey to coordinate rebel attacks, may be designed to contain the influence of others and control which groups get arms. But Turkey’s recent regional resurgence in the Middle East is at risk of drowning in the Syrian quagmire.

"Is Hollande going to expel us all?"

Like their classmates, Roma children in one Paris suburb are getting to grips with a new school year - but French ministers continue to play politics with their future

Coalition promise in tatters as Home Office 'independent' panel wants more children detained

The Coalition government promised to end child detention for immigration purposes, and appointed an 'independent' panel to protect children caught up in the asylum system. That Panel's first annual report rightly exposes a commercial contractor's ineptitude — and unwittingly reveals its own capture by the Border Agency.

Lebanon: seeking an escape from eternal confrontation

If history offers a lesson it is that no one group in Lebanon can eliminate or subdue the other. The challenge is devising a working solution that benefits, and is accepted by, all major Lebanese communal components.

Time for Azerbaijan to open up

Azerbaijan has hydrocarbon riches and a strategic position, which means that all the great powers have an interest in good relations. But one family has dominated the political scene for many years, corruption is rampant and the economy needs diversifying. It’s time to open up, says Nicu Popescu

Portugal and the eurozone crisis: the well-behaved pupil plays truant

The people have finally realised that the troika-imposed austerity is not working in Portugal. In fact, the austerity packages are not working in Ireland (another good pupil of the troika), or in Greece, or Spain, or Italy.

How the BBC betrayed the NHS: an exclusive report on two years of censorship and distortion

In the two years building up to the government’s NHS reform bill, the BBC appears to have categorically failed to uphold its remit of impartiality, parroting government spin as uncontested fact, whilst reporting only a narrow, shallow view of opposition to the bill. In addition, key news appears to have been censored. The following in-depth investigation provides a shocking testimony of the extent to which the BBC abandoned the NHS. Download the PDF of this article.

Afghanistan Post-2014: power will be shared between the CIA, the Pentagon and the current elite

%22Bordering"A power-sharing political system already exists, but not the one Farhad Arian envisions. The system proposed is unrealistic, and looking to the 'International Community' to bring it into being is misguided, at best.

Danish clients dump G4S because of security company’s ties to Israeli occupation

After pressure from Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) activists, several Danish clients have terminated contracts with British-Danish security company G4S for the company’s role in the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

The not-so-strange case of the lost potato field of Jibata Al-Khashab

The Israeli government has taken advantage of the unstable political and security conditions in Syria and in the town of Jibata al-Khashab to extend its control within Syrian territory.

Kate Middleton: the female body in the post-Berlusconi media

The publication of topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge, and the backlash it evoked, reveal an uneasy and gendered understanding of privacy in British, French and other countries' media, that the oldest tactics are still deployed to humiliate women, and how life in the public sphere is filtered through Berlusconi lenses.

Why we in the UK shouldn’t celebrate these extraditions

This week’s decision of the European Court of Human Rights to allow the extradition of five individuals accused of terrorist offences from Britain to the USA has been greeted with government ‘relief’. Instead, the coalition government should stick to its undertaking to review the extradition treaty.

My encounter with the MEK

Before I worked in Congress, I would have said that advocating for Palestine is the most challenging foreign policy topic on Capitol Hill. But after I worked in the House of Representatives, I realized it is harder to have a rational discussion about Iran.

On bullshit and truthiness: Harry Frankfurt, Stephen Colbert, and Paul Ryan's Convention speech

How do we know when someone is speaking bullshit or talking with 'thruthiness'? In the latter case this is particularly important when it comes to politicians speaking in public, because we are all involved in the resulting compact.  Could this be what radical democracy looks like?