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Debating Prostitution
Governments around the world are challenging traditional approaches to dealing with prostitution in an effort to eliminate the harms of prostitution, including minors being forced into sex work and attacks on prostitutes. In Sweden, the act of selling sex has been decriminalized, and police now target johns for arrest and prosecution. The plan wins plaudits from traditional feminist groups who say its focus on snuffing out demand is the surest way to eliminate the sex industry, which they argue inevitably promulgates violence against women. Germany, New Zealand and several Australian states have legalized certain forms of prostitution, such as brothels in specified districts. But advocates of sex-workers’ rights are skeptical of both approaches, arguing that only complete decriminalization and recognition of sex work as a form of labor like any other can end the social stigma that leaves prostitutes unprotected from disease and violence and unable to seek help for fear of arrest or harassment by authorities.
By Marcia Clemmitt

America’s Changing Electorate
Demographics have played nearly as large a role in this year’s presidential race as health care, war and the economy. The Democratic field has come down to an African American man dominating voting among blacks, the young and highly-educated voters and a white woman winning older voters, Hispanics and the white working class. Regardless of whether Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton is the nominee, the Democratic candidate’s first order of business will be reuniting party supporters against Republican John McCain. Many trends favor Democrats, including increased support among Latinos and voters under 30. But states that have supported George W. Bush are gaining in population and will gain electoral votes by 2012. As the American electorate changes shape, the big question is which party stands to gain the most.
By Alan Greenblatt

The U.S. and the “New” Russia
When Russian voters elected a new president on March 2, the outcome was hardly in doubt. First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, 42, is both genuinely popular and had the backing of the incumbent, Vladimir Putin. The Bush administration is hoping Medvedev will improve current U.S.-Russian tension. In 2001, Bush said he looked Putin in the eye and saw a man who was “straightforward and honest.” But it was downhill from there. Relations between Washington and the Kremlin got steadily worse after Iraq, with some experts warning that further worsening could lead to a new Cold War. The contours of U.S.-Russian differences have emerged in disagreements over how to deal with Iran’s nuclear ambitions, in diplomatic stand-offs over Kosovo, Ukraine and Georgia (Russian neighbors who want to join NATO), in disputes over gas and oil pipelines and above all in the Bush administration’s plan to put an anti-missile system in Eastern Europe. Caught in the middle as usual is Europe, the historic battlefield of Russian expansionism. French President Nicolas Sarkozy expressed the general concern – increasingly reflected in the polls – that “Russia is imposing its return on the world scene by playing its assets, notably oil and gas, with a certain brutality.”
By Roland Flamini