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Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, December 16, 2013

Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, December 16, 2013

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Christian Caryl voyages into Mali’s Inner Niger Delta and explores the relationship between environmental protection and democracy.

Alex Hanna and Kevan Harris test the theory that social media data can predict elections.

Askold Krushelnycky tracks Kiev’s anti-government protests during their most tumultuous — and violent — week. Anna Nemtsova sits down with Ukraine’s demonstrators to ask them what they want.

Ellen Bork explains that the success of the Cambodian opposition’s agenda depends on how well its leaders can play politics.

Daniel Lansberg-Rodríguez describes how women in Egypt are fighting back against all-too-common sexual violence.

Juan Nagel explains the challenges faced by Venezuela’s opposition after last week’s elections.

Mohamed Eljarh reports on how local leaders hold the key to ending Libya’s oil crisis.

And now for this week’s recommended reads:

AP reporter Rukmini Callimachi discovers six bodies in a desert grave — victims of retaliatory violence by Mali’s army after the country’s recent war.

International Crisis Group questions Burma’s faulty civil society legislation and its efforts to better the lawmaking process.

U.N. Women’s Constitutional Database compiles the gender-based provisions in constitutions worldwide.

Writing for the New Republic, Emily Parker reveals that some Western journalists censor themselves in fear of China’s government.

In the New York Review of Books, Christopher de Bellaigue argues that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s "vindictive authoritarianism" is fuelling the belief that Islam and democracy don’t mix.

On Al Jazeera, Konstantin Parshin writes on how Tajikistan’s citizens prefer the stability of authoritarianism to the uncertainty of change.

In the New York Times, Nick Cumming-Bruce disparages the United Nations for failing to act as violence escalates in the Central African Republic.

In the London Review of Books, Owen Bennett-Jones reviews history to explain al Qaeda’s resurgence in transitioning countries.

The Diplomat‘s Zachary Keck argues that the United States has to get better at promoting democracy — and suggests that focusing on capitalism would be one winning strategy.

(In the photo above, Syrian children build a snowman in a refugee camp in Lebanon, where freezing temperatures have resulted in a number of deaths.)