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The Rundown -- October 18

RFE/RL in the Media
# BBC cites RFE/RL Uzbek Service on singer stripped of his "license" for refusing to participate in cotton harvest
# Foreign Policy cites Charles Recknagl's explainer on the status of forces negotiation in Afghanistan
# Read Tom Balmforth in "The Atlantic" on the difference between Russia's crackdown on Bolotnaya protesters and on nationalist rioters
Middle East
# David Ignatius says Turkey exposed Israeli spy ring to Iran; Turkey denies
# Saudi Arabia elected to UN Security Council
# Saudi image among Middle East neighbors takes a hit
# "What if Iran Already Has a Nuke?" Sheera Frenkel, Buzzfeed
# Why a little noticed chat was "a big deal"
# "A Hopeful City Waits for Change" - Thomas Erdbrink, "New York Times"
# "Afghanistan United" - May Jeong, "Sports Illustrated"
# "As They Leave Afghanistan, Britons Ask Why?" - Alan Cowell, "New York Times"
# Leaked documents show path from traced email to drone strike
# U.S. Rep. Sensenbrenner says Americans support Baluchistan self-determination
# Despite outward appearances, Russia says Sochi is ready
# Canadian developer investing $2.5 billion in Russian rail
# In interview, Snowden says he gave secret files to journalists before going to Russia
# "The Economic Spoils of the Biryulyovo Riot" - Sean Guillory, Russia
# "Russia's Faltering Energy Empire" - Holly Decker, "The National Interest"
# Russia praises Human Rights Watch
# Georgian elections in 8 days
# 1. 8 million year-old skull found in Georgia may change what we know about human evolution
# "Reading the Ruins in Baku" Thomas De Waal, Carnegie
Eastern Europe
# Sannikov and other activists call on EU to toughen sanctions on Belarus
# Yanukovych will let Tymoshenko go abroad if country's parliament approves
# Ukraine making impression on fashion world
# The Belarusian opposition's New York radio slot
Central Asia
# Kazakhstan ratifies deal linking oil pipeline to China
Of Interest
# Tor -- the State Department anti-censorship tool that annoys the NSA
# Soft power takes a hit over shutdown