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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.
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
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