Hey, you're busy! We know rferl.org isn't the only website you read. And that it's just possible you may have missed some of our most compelling journalism this week. To make sure you're up-to-date, here are some of the highlights produced by RFE/RL's team of correspondents, multimedia editors, and visual journalists over the past seven days.
We are also including content here from Gandhara, an RFE/RL website focusing on developments in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
'It's Like Someone Cutting Off Your Arms And Legs': Rio Tinto's Lithium Mine Sparks Anger In Serbia
A multibillion-dollar mining venture becomes a symbol of public resistance, as Serbia's ruling party pushes through laws that would make it easier to override public opposition to such projects. By Nevena Bogdanovic and Andy Heil
Poisonous Ruins: Russian Town Struggles With Toxic Lead Legacy
It was once ranked among the most polluted places on Earth, but Rudnaya Pristan in Russia's Far East, about 500 kilometers north of Vladivostok, has cleaned up its act since the closure of its lead smelting plant. Local fish populations benefited from cleaner water but are now threatened by overfishing. A big problem for locals is unemployment and many engage in illegal fishing to make ends meet. By Ray Furlong and Current Time's Unknown Russia
The Instagram 'Influencers' Trying To Make Old Romanian Buildings Cool
Born of neglect for Romania's historic buildings and other cultural heritage, a small movement is afoot to harness their beauty and back stories to inspire public preservation efforts. By Norbert Nemes and Andy Heil
In The Balance: Urgent Calls For Taliban, UNESCO To Safeguard Famed Minaret
Afghan experts say urgent action is needed to protect the famed Minaret of Jam after guards disappeared and critical damage became visible on the cultural treasure. By RFE/RL's Radio Azadi
In Russia, Coal Is Still King. And The Government Wants Even More.
Russia wants to mine, and export, more coal than ever in the coming years. That's bad for the environment and for the Arctic, where climate-change thaw is making production easier. It's good for workers with well-paying mining jobs -- except when lax safety norms lead to catastrophe, like last week’s disaster than left 51 people dead at a mine in Siberia. By Mike Eckel
'Sell A Kidney': Locals In One Of Russia's Poorest Regions Struggle Under A Mountain Of Personal Debt
The Siberian region of Tyva has long been one of the poorest and least-developed corners of Russia. Now a recent study shows that locals are burdened by the highest level of personal debt as well – and experts say they are caught in a perilous downward spiral. By Viktor Borisov
'No Reason To Stay': Taliban Repression, Economic Collapse Accelerate Exodus From Afghanistan
The Taliban's repressive rule and the worsening economic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is driving thousands of people to flee the country every week. Many Afghans are making the perilous journey westward through Iran, from where some hope to reach Europe. By Abubakar Siddique and RFE/RL’s Radio Azadi
Baking Armenian Lavash With Bare Hands, Fire, And Love
When Armenians bake the flatbread known as lavash, they incorporate Christian rituals and family knowledge -- but there aren't many who still practice this culinary craft at home. Knarik Torosian is one of a few elders in her village who still makes lavash in an underground wood-fired oven, saving her stockpile of homemade bread to last through the long winter. By Amos Chapple and Margot Buff
Judge, Jury, And Executioner: Taliban Brings Afghanistan's Justice System Under Its Thumb
The Taliban has taken control of Afghanistan’s Independent Bar Association and declared that only Taliban-approved lawyers can work in its Islamic courts. The move has raised deep concerns about the impartiality and fairness of criminal trials under the Taliban regime. By Ron Synovitz and RFE/RL’s Radio Azadi
'Stalking, Threats, Deprived Of A Normal Life': A Bulgarian Domestic Violence Victim Speaks Out
Petya suffered years of abuse at the hands of her husband before divorcing him. She is one of many victims of domestic abuse in Bulgaria, but the number is unclear. The government does not tabulate such statistics, underscoring what some say is a failure to take the issue seriously. By Elitsa Simeonova