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Trump Under Fire for 'Astonishing' Debate Remarks

He's being accused of 'insulting democracy'

(Newser) - "Extraordinary," "breathtaking," and "stunning" are among the words being used to describe Donald Trump's biggest moment in Wednesday night's debate—and they're not being used to praise him. Trump, asked whether he would continue America's cherished tradition of peaceful transfers of... More »

Hong Kong Leader's Kid Brags About Diamonds

22-year-old taunts taxpayers, says they're funding her beautiful wardrobe

(Newser) - Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung, facing heavy criticism from pro-democracy protestors who are threatening to storm government buildings, now has another fire to put out. His 22-year-old daughter appears to have posted some incendiary comments on Facebook in which she taunts "all you HK taxpayers" for funding her... More »

China to Hong Kong: No Open Elections

Protesters vow civil disobedience

(Newser) - Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong have vowed to make good on their threat of widespread civil disobedience after Beijing crushed hopes of an open election for the territory's chief executive in 2017. China's legislature ruled that candidates must be backed by a nominating committee, a move that means... More »

5 Arrested Over Macau Democracy Poll

Activists say Beijing fears vote

(Newser) - Police in the global gambling hub of Macau have arrested five people involved with an informal poll to measure support for direct elections of the Chinese-controlled city's leader. The five were arrested yesterday after activists kicked off the weeklong unofficial referendum inspired by a similar vote in June in... More »

Russians in DC to See US Democracy Are Not Impressed

Exchange program backfires

(Newser) - A group of 49 Russians is in DC as part of a US-funded exchange program to witness American democracy in action. Just one problem: There's very little action right now. "This step, to shut down the government, is inconceivable," says one Russian journalist. "French people are... More »

Great, We've Ticked Off Another Rising Democracy

US blows it with Brazil over NSA spying: Daniel Kurtz-Phelan

(Newser) - It used to be that the US would take an annual drubbing from Iran during presidential speeches before the UN General Assembly. Not so this year . Instead, that drubbing came from Brazil in what the Guardian describes as a "scathing speech" from Dilma Rousseff, who called out the NSA... More »

Why Democracy Is Killing Pakistan, Indonesia

Pankaj Mishra: Politicians 'cynically deploy radical groups'

(Newser) - Indonesia and Pakistan are plagued by sectarian violence despite their embrace of democratic ideals—but why? According to Pankaj Mishra, writing at Bloomberg , their democracy is actually the problem. While officials secretly wield power through extremist groups and conservative Islamists flame religious tensions, elected officials are only making things worse:... More »

Myanmar Learns Democracy ... From West Wing?

Generals turn to US show for tips

(Newser) - Hillary Clinton yesterday recounted a bizarre conversation with a Myanmar official on her recent trip there, notes the AP :
  • He "said to me, 'Help us learn how to be a democratic congress, a Parliament. He went on to tell me that they were trying to teach themselves by
... More »

Jimmy Carter: Citizens United Is Destroying Democracy

He slams Citizens United ruling

(Newser) - America now has one of the "worst election processes in the world" because of an influx of cash from secret, wealthy donors, Jimmy Carter says. The "financial corruption" ruining US democracy has been made worse by the Citizens United ruling allowing unlimited anonymous contributions to third-party groups, the... More »

Jubilant Egyptians at Polls for Second Day

Despite months of unrest, mood remains upbeat

(Newser) - Millions of Egyptians went to the polls for a second day today, as the country votes on their first freely chosen president in history, reports the New York Times . So far, voter turnout appears lower than yesterday , but today has been made a holiday so public sector employees can vote,... More »

People Aren't Smart Enough to Pick Smart Candidates

Democracy often results in mediocrity, say researchers

(Newser) - When it comes to choosing a leader, we may simply be victims of our own ignorance. Researchers say that voters can't be trusted to choose experts on topics they themselves know little about—meaning, for instance, that we can't pick the candidate with the best tax policy without... More »

US Becoming 'Democracy in Name Only'

Income inequality threatens 'whole nature of our society': Paul Krugman

(Newser) - A new CBO report tells the same old story, writes Paul Krugman in the New York Times : The very rich are getting much richer at the expense of everyone else. Cue the think tanks and "obfuscators" who say it ain't so for all kinds of reasons. They're... More »

Libya Post-Gadhafi: Now What?

Tribal society faces barriers to unification

(Newser) - Libya is finally getting a shot at democracy—but experts expect growing pains as a divided tribal society makes the shift from decades of authoritarianism. Historically, such transitions have not gone well, political scientists tell the Christian Science Monitor . “We would actually feel fairly pessimistic about the prospects for... More »

Clinton: Assad Is 'Running Out of Time'

Says Syria needs democratic reforms, or there will be more violence

(Newser) - Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and his allies are "running out of time," and need to begin democratic reforms, said Hillary Clinton today, or else his government is “going to see increasingly organized resistance.” Clinton was speaking at a democracy conference in Lithuania when she targeted... More »

10 Things That Need to Go Away

We would all be better off ditching engagement rings, tipping, and more

(Newser) - In the spirit of spring cleaning, the Washington Post asked 10 writers to nominate one thing “we'd all be better off tossing out this spring.” Their ideas:
  • Engagement rings: “Here's a secret that the folks at De Beers don't want young people to know:
... More »

Chinese Artist Missing After Cops Raid House

Authorities cracking down in fear of Mideast-style protests

(Newser) - Internationally renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei remains missing, more than a day after police stopped him at the Beijing international airport, raided his home, and questioned his wife and assistants. Ai—best-known as a consultant on Beijing's famous "bird's nest" Olympic stadium—has been an outspoken critic of China's... More »

'Egypt Is a Mess' —but It's a Good Mess

Nicholas Kristof: Young democracies are always bumpy

(Newser) - Nicholas Kristof checks in on Egypt weeks after the fall of Hosni Mubarak and pronounces it "a mess." Protesters are still taking to the streets, the military-backed government is making noises about crackdowns, and army thugs are still beating up critics. "Yet for Americans, what is unfolding... More »

Wisconsin Battle About Power, Not Budget

Gov. pushing oligarchy as unions seek democracy: Paul Krugman

(Newser) - Wisconsin’s battle over union rights shares a key element with the protests in Egypt: In the end, it’s all about power, writes Paul Krugman for the New York Times . Gov. Scott Walker’s team is trying to make his state, and eventually the entire country, "less of... More »

Mideast Scrambles as Protests Spread

Some use carrots, other sticks to respond to growing unrest

(Newser) - Mubarak has stepped down in Egypt, but other states around the Middle East and North Africa are scrambling to keep the lid on their simmering populations, trying combinations of reforms and crackdowns, reports the Los Angeles Times . Algeria responded to protests Saturday with thousands of police officers, and Iran has... More »

US Foreign Policy in Arab World Needs Overhaul

Better intelligence needed, less realpolitik, fear of Islamism

(Newser) - With Hosni Mubarak finally out of power in Egypt, "It's a new day in the Arab world," writes Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times —and hopefully here, as well. "The truth is that the United States has been behind the curve not only in Tunisia... More »

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