This week's editor

En Liang Khong

En Liang Khong is a submissions editor at openDemocracy.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Iraqi protests: aimed at changing the current regime?

Iraqi protesters recently denounced the Islamisation of Iraqi society, demanded better working conditions, and protested the torture of prisoners. But ‘regime change’ has a different meaning in Iraq, and unlike Egypt and Tunisia, these protesters are asking for more support from the current government.

Purging the Afghan government will not build the consensus necessary for peace talks

The resignation of a host of pro-Western, anti-Taliban officials from the Afghan government bodes badly for peace talks with the Taliban, argues Farhad Arian

Concealed lives: autism in Russia

A diagnosis of autism is difficult for any family; in Russia, it can be shattering. With little hope of integrating into society, and a medical establishment unfit for purpose, a majority of autistic Russians are being condemned to a life in isolation. Dmitry Golubovsky and Svetlana Reiter present a series of personal stories.

A civil society watchdog for financial markets: where private foundations stand

One might have expected charitable foundations - the financial muscle behind many civil society initiatives - to be keen to support pressure groups or policy research bodies concerned with financial markets structures and players. But the authors have found only weak evidence that foundations really want to engage with the issues and much caution about doing so. The challenge is there, however: formulate a vision and write a plan and the money might, just, be available.

Labour and the anti-cuts movement

I had the interesting experience of being treated like a well-meaning but fuzzy-headed utopian on Monday night when I spoke at Cambridge Labour party’s AGM about fighting the cuts.

Sexually liberated, or just badly brought up?

There was “no sex in the USSR” (that, at least, is what one Soviet woman famously declared in a 1986 TV talk show). Attitudes to sex in contemporary Russia have undeniably moved on from such social conservatism. But have they changed enough to be called a revolution, asks Elena Fanailova?

Libyan justice: medicine on death row

On 19 December 2006, a Libyan judge announced a verdict in the final appeal of six foreign health workers accused of deliberately infecting 426 children with HIV at the al-Fateh hospital in Benghazi, Libya.

Camera in hand, idea in head: Notes from a video blogger

The first video blogger for the New Statesman reveals his project to create a full-length documentary of the anti-cuts movement. In a new world of cheap digi-cameras and easy upload, he highlights some of the best video platforms online, and offers his perspective on the changing nature of the documentary medium.

All stations but America: why the US can't fall in love with rail

Train tracks : flickr/jurvetson There are many reasons why Amtrak suffers from an unenviable reputation: sluggish operating speeds, expensive tickets and long journeys being among the most obvious. But just as important is the American philosophy of ‘individualism’, which has proven incompatible with the idea of nationalized transport.

Meet the world’s smallest democratic government

The Chagos Islands have been the centre of a political storm touching upon human rights, international diplomacy, environmental protection and nuclear disarmament. Will the election of a provisional government change the fortunes of the archipelago?

Jordan demands democracy, not disintegration

While Arabs express solidarity, the specificity of each nation must not be overlooked. In Jordan, Mohammed Hussainy pleads that this opportunity for reform is not undone by divisive agendas.

Nick Clegg must oppose his government's privatisation plans

At a speech earlier this month, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said he would take a hard line against the "blanket privatisation" of public services. In the wake of a new white paper proposing just that, now is the time for him to step out from the prime minster's shadow by sticking to his word.

The Arab revolt: transformation to transition

A hurricane of change is blowing through the Arab world. Even now, many Arab regimes are still in denial. But it also challenges the west to grasp a new political reality, says Nadim Shehadi.

Dealing with dissent - The view from the authorities

How is dissent understood in the UK by those tasked with its “facilitation”? Several sources have emerged in the last month which give an indication of the contradictory environment in which public order policing is evolving.

How to stop a Libyan massacre: the power is in our hands

Ranj Alaaldin issues a timely call for a considered form of intervention in Libya's uprising. With the Libyan air force already firing on its own people, and escalation likely, a no-fly zone must be implemented over Libyan airspace to prevent mass casualties.

A great change is sweeping Arab political culture

All Arab regimes, regardless of regime type, have essentially behaved like dynasties. This is why the essentially secular, expansive, inclusive, internationally-aware neo-nationalism of the young Arabs in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere in the region offers a revolutionary break from an unending past.

No real freedom without dismantling the secret political police

In Egypt, police officers are needed back on the streets, protecting civilians from thugs: not the SSI back in full force again.

Ukraine’s mysterious exit from the arms trade

Having spent six years preparing for a lucrative deal supplying arms to Iraq, Ukraine seems to be about to breach the first part of the contract. Anna Babinets suspects external forces may be at play...

One asylum seeker in Belgium: Part Three

In March 2010, over 400 Macedonian asylum seekers arrived in Belgium. Many have since returned to Macedonia. Most are now considerably worse off. Parts One and Two.

The Welsh Assembly powers referendum will be won or lost in the housing estates

Hywel Francis MP, the former chair of the Welsh Affairs Select Committee and supporter of the Yes campaign, sets out the state of play in the run-up to the March 3 referendum on extending the powers of the Welsh Assembly.