Is Democracy Dying?

    Maclean's magazine looks at the rise of authoritarian rule around the
    Plus: Condo craters: Abandoned holes in the ground in Canadian cities are
    an ominous sign of the times; and, Could getting laid off be just what
    you need?

    TORONTO, Feb. 26 /CNW/ - Twenty years after the long-awaited and dramatic
end of the Cold War, democracy is now under increasingly hostile threats
around the world. In Russia, under Vladimir Putin, the political opposition
continues to be stifled as does the independent media: More than two dozen
Russian journalists, most of whom turned a critical eye to the government,
have been murdered since 2000. In China, where Tibetans and other minority
groups are denied basic freedoms, dozens of political dissidents were recently
arrested as part of a crackdown on Internet "vulgarity." Censored websites
include those of the BBC and Voices of America.
    But Russia and China are not the only countries where authoritarianism is
on the rise. Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, whose government has restricted
demonstrations, the media and academic freedom, recently won a referendum
allowing him to run for president as often as he wants. Libya's Moammar
Gadhafi recently took over leadership of the African Union, and has said the
best model for Africa is his own country - where opposition parties are not
allowed. Then there is Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, Nicaragua's Daniel
Ortega and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, among other dictatorial leaders.
    In many of these countries, the democratic opposition is in tatters. And
citizens appear willing to accept a closed political system, like those of
China and Russia, as long as the economic system is open and they can earn
money and provide for themselves.
    Maclean's senior writer Michael Petrou takes an in-depth look at the
erosion of democracy around the world and how the current economic climate
might be making it worse as Western nations look inward.


    Econowatch: Using charts, graphs, quotes, images and news from Canada and
    around the world, Maclean's new weekly economic scorecard looks at the
    good, the bad and the ugly of the economy: housing, jobs, retail sales,
    stocks, inflation, consumer and investor moods, and much more.

    -   Condo craters: Developers are pulling out of their barely started
        condo projects due to plunging housing prices, leaving behind
        problems for cities-and condo buyers.

    The upside of downsizing: Sometimes getting laid off can be the push that
    people need to finally pursue their long-postponed dreams.

    The latest issue of Maclean's is on newsstands starting Thurs., Feb. 26.

    About Maclean's

    Maclean's is Canada's only national weekly current affairs magazine.
Maclean's enlightens, engages and entertains 2.5 million readers with strong
investigative reporting and exclusive stories from leading journalists in the
fields of international affairs, social issues, national politics, business
and culture.


For further information:

For further information: Louise Leger, (416) 764-4125,

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