FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2013 file photo, Muslim men organized in militias with machetes rough up a Christian man while checking him for weapons in the Miskine neighbourhood of Bangui, Central African Republic. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)
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Civil rights and liberties around the world declined for the eighth straight year, dragged down by the Egyptian military's coup, Venezuela clinging to authoritarianism and Russia's crackdown on opposition groups, according to a pro-democracy watchdog group.The erosion of civil liberties and rigCivil rights and liberties around the world declined for the eighth straight year, dragged down by the Egyptian military's coup, Venezuela clinging to authoritarianism and Russian President Vladimir Putin's crackdown on opposition groups, according to a pro-democracy watchdog group. The report showed 54 nations showed declines in political rights and civil liberties, and 40 showed gains -- the eighth year in a row that erosion exceeded improvement, and the longest stretch since the first Freedom House democracy report was published 41 years ago.Freedom House, which has ranked national trends in civil rights and liberties since the 1970s, said it is worried by a new trend in totalitarianism, in the form of bogus democracies, in which the ruling party or class cripples the opposition, co-opts the media and hobbles civil society groups, without crushing or banning them.
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