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RFE/RL's Friday Potpourri

NGO workers carry placards during a protest against the rape of a five year old girl, in Lahore, September 19, 2013

NGO workers carry placards during a protest against the rape of a five year old girl, in Lahore, September 19, 2013

A roundup of regional reports.

# Middle East relationships are complicated. RFE/RL's infographic helps to make sense of them.

# A timeline of tragedy in Syria's civil war.

# Correspondent Richard Solash spoke to U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, who slams Russia's ban on U.S. citizens adopting Russian children, saying Moscow is "doing a great disservice to itself."

# Solash also reports that U.S. prosecutors are looking to seize property they say was purchased with stolen "Magnitsky case" money -- a move that may prompt Congress to add more Russians to the Magnitsky sanctions list.

# U.S. Senator John McCain tells Radio Svoboda that he wrote his op-ed to make sure Russians know the truth about things like the death in custody of Russian whistle-blower Sergei Magnitsky and laws that effectively ban homosexuality.

# The unexpected release of several prominent political prisoners in Iran looks to many like the start of a shift toward moderation. Correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari looks at whether the move a sign of more changes to come in Iran.

# A top Islamic body in Pakistan is reportedly poised to recommend that DNA be allowed as primary evidence in rape cases, marking a reversal in the religiously conservative country and following public outrage over the alleged rape of a five-year-old girl in the city of Lahore earlier this month. Correspondent Frud Bezhan reports.

# Bezhan also reviews the new book by writer Nushin Arbabzadah, who has challenged widely held conceptions on Afghanistan in “Afghan Rumor Bazaar: Secret Sub-cultures, Hidden Worlds, and the Everyday Life of the Absurd.”

# Azerbaijan's second televised debate between presidential hopefuls descended into chaos when one candidate hurled a bottle of water toward the main opposition candidate, Camil Hasanli.

# As the "white gold" harvest begins anew in Central Asia, Uzbekistan yields to international pressure and grants access to monitoring teams to observe the cotton harvest. Correspondents Dan Wisniewski, Farruh Yusupov, and Farangis Najibullah report.

# The return of DSK: Serbia has chosen Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the libidinous former head of the IMF and onetime Socialist hope for the French presidency, as an economic advisor. From Web Managing Editor Andy Heil writing for Transmission.

# Also from Transmission, the Swedish PR man who used teddy bears to embarrass Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka over his miserable rights record is at it again.

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