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RFE/RL's Friday Potpourri: Elections, Drag Queens, and More

Visar Arifaj, leader of Kosovo's "Strong Party" and candidate for mayor in the capital, Pristina.
Visar Arifaj, leader of Kosovo's "Strong Party" and candidate for mayor in the capital, Pristina.
A sampling of original reports from throughout RFE/RL's broadcast regions:

# FLASH ANALYSIS: Voters across Kosovo go to the polls on November 3 to elect local mayors and municipal councils. It is the first time since Pristina's 2008 unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia that Belgrade has supported a Kosovo-wide election. RFE/RL's Kosovo Unit director Arbana Vidishiqi discusses the significance of the vote, and RFE/RL Balkans Service correspondent Ziyad Gashi interviews members of the new Strong Party, which hopes to attract Pristina's young, weary, and cynical electorate by mocking...well, everything.

# With the outcome all but certain in Tajikistan's November 7 elections, correspondent Farangis Najibullah and Dushanbe-based journalist Firuz Barot talk to two families, from both urban and rural backgrounds, about the issues they care about. Meanwhile, Tajik President Rahmon takes his "non-campaigning" campaign to the streets to meet a lot of potential voters, including this adorable tot.

# Conchita Wurst is Austria's chosen contestant for next year's Eurovision Song Contest. But the cross-dressing singer, who proudly wears short dresses, long hair, and a beard, has provoked controversy in some European countries, particularly in Belarus, where a campaigner wants to have the song contest banned from television. Claire Bigg reports.

# INFOGRAPHIC: Every autumn, Uzbek citizens -- including schoolchildren -- are pressured by authorities to participate in a nationwide cotton-picking effort. This graphic maps the human cost of Uzbekistan's forced labor, based on reports by RFE/RL's Uzbek Service, other news outlets, and The Cotton Campaign, a nonprofit coalition of human rights, labor, investor and business organizations.

# Foreign labor migrants have a tough life in Russia. But in Moscow, the experience of a foreign migrant and a Russian citizen from the North Caucasus is remarkably similar. Correspondent Tom Balmforth spoke to two residents of the capital, a Tajik migrant and a Russian citizen of Ingush origin, and files this report.

# Do different countries have different relationships with food? Definitely, says Anya von Bremzen, a food writer born in Brezhnev-era Moscow. Correspondent Daisy Sindelar spoke to von Bremzen about ration cards, food lines, and the longing for exotic flavors in her new book, "Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking."

# Radio Free Iraq marks 15 years of broadcasting.

# RFE/RL's Video Roundup covers the last 24 hours of news across the regions.

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-- Karisue Wyson