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The Rundown -- December 16

RFE/RL in the Media
# Reporters Without Borders launches petition to free Khadija Ismayilova
# BBG Governor Matthew Armstrong on RFE/RL's role in countering Russia's "war on information"
# Russian ruble falls to new low; Central Bank raises interest rate to 17 percent;
# Why the ruble fell as oil rose (Bitcoin has had a worse year, at least)
# Russia depleting currency reserves rather quickly
# The fraudulent "hawkish" think tank that may be a Russian set-up
# Lavrov calls for autonomy for Donbas within eastern Ukraine
# UN Report: Human rights abuses in eastern Ukraine are rampant
# "Ukraine's Real Crisis: A Demographics and Health Time Bomb" - Judy Twigg Wayne Merry, National Interest
# "Ukraine Underplays Role of Far Right" - David Stern, BBC
Eastern Europe
# "Moldova: EU Integration at All Costs" - Vladimir Soloviev, Institute of Modern Russia
# China may join operations against IS; while 300 Chinese reportedly fighting on IS side
# Iraq's new PM challenged with forming common front against IS
# Sunni tribes who fight against IS face heavy toll
# Arrests of journalists in Turkey a new "witch hunt"; Erdogan tells EU to mind its own business
# Paris and Washington sparing behind the scenes on Iran nuclear deal
# Is Iran already cheating?
# Iranian support seen as crucial for Yemen's Houthis
# Iran nuclear talks resume in Geneva
# Crocodiles suffer from Taliban attacks on Sufi shrines
# 87-year-old American woman and her "passion for conserving Afghanistan's heritage"
# Khan leads Lahore protests
Central Asia
# RT on Kazakhstan's "sleepy hollow"
# Kazakhstan FM asks for spot on UNSC
# "Yes, Uzbekistan Is Putin’s Friend" - Paolo Sorbello, "Diplomat"
# Li to visit Serbia
# Video: Tito's "blue train" open for visitors
Of Interest
# Only five white rhinos left and one is in the Czech Republic
# Pageviews are nothing without a product