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The Rundown -- August 8

RFE/RL in the Media
# "The Nation" cites RFE/RL reporting on Chechens fighting in Syria
# Read Golnaz Esfandiari in "The Atlantic" on Rohani's comments about the U.S.
Middle East
# The "crazy pants" embassy closings
# Yemen is not just an "Al-Qaeda hotbed"
# In interview, McCain says he told Muslim Brotherhood to go to negotiating table
# Rohani expresses openness to direct nuclear talks with U.S.
# Can Iran's new foreign minister "mend ties" with Washington? - "Time"
# Former IDF chief says U.S. "coming around" to strike on Iran
# Afghanistan's elite forces
# "Banistan: Why is YouTube Still Blocked in Pakistan?" Ali Sethi, "The New Yorker"
# "Obama Bails on His Inevitably Awkward Date With Putin" - Julia Ioffe, "The New Republic"
# Hacked government channel shows anti-Putin documentary
# "Edward Snowden and Double Standards" - Mark Adomanis, Russia!
# "Outrage Over an Antigay Law Does Not Spread to Olympic Officials" - Jere Longman, "The New York Times"
# Frank Bruni suggests show of solidarity by American athletes at Olympics
# Russia is "silencing activists, journalists ahead of winter games" - Human Rights Watch
Central Asia
# Turkmenistan providing over half of Chinese gas imports
# Soccer team in Kazakhstan becomes first to qualify for UEFA Europe league
# "Azerbaijan Moves Toward Democracy" - R. James Woolsey and David J. Smith, "The Hill"
# Armenian police propose "gay propaganda" ban
Eastern Europe
# Bloodhound Gang band member is not welcome in Ukraine
# Kosovo group asks for U.S. help in stopping World Bank funding of coal plant
Of Interest
# "Open Letter to Jeff Bezos" - Gene Weingarten, "The Washington Post"
# Milos Zeman's "power grab" in the Czech Republic