A Dictator's Dream

Azerbaijan will play host to this year's Eurovision Song Contest. In the run-up to Europe's largest television event, the authoritarian regime has launched a campaign to improve its image. German PR experts, lobbyists and politicians across the spectrum are playing a role in those efforts. spiegel.de/international

 Unrest is being crushed 

 Bullets, beatings and Blair's brutal friend in Kazakhstan "This is the Kazakh oil town of Zhanaozen, where clashes between security forces and protesters this month have left 15 people dead." independent.co.uk

 Blair Inc's 'baffling' increase in earnings

 The accounts reveal that the company received "remuneration of £9,837,000 in connection with management services" from a limited liability partnership ultimately controlled by Blair. In the previous year Windrush Ventures Limited received £5.2m in remuneration for providing management services. Exactly what sort of management services are provided, and how the company derives its income, are impossible to determine as the accounts do not go into detail. Blair is legitimately taking advantage of laws allowing him to limit what his companies and partnerships must disclose. "It is baffling; these accounts make remarkably little sense," said accountancy expert Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK, a firm that scrutinises company finances. "This limited disclosure is not within the spirit of the law. " guardian.co.uk