Afghanistan steps into the unknown: With Karzai heading for the exit and Nato winding down its troop presence, the country is entering a new era – and many Afghans fear renewed violence and foreign interference.

The US is playing the crooked lawyer in an Israeli-Palestinian drama, says David Gardner.

Anger over the economy simmers in Cyprus even though Brussels and Berlin have judged the island’s bailout to be a success.

♦ A South Sudan rebel leader with a satellite phone, a touch-screen tablet and a copy of “Why Nations Fail” ponders the next step in a young country’s civil war. The New York Times reports.

♦ A middle class job no longer supports a middle class life. The Washington Post explores the high price of middle class membershipRead more

• The flag of modern social democracy flies again in Europe but times are tougher for Blair and Schröder’s heirs.

• Critics argue that the migrant labour system in South Africa’s mines threatens the stability of gold and platinum producers.

• Tensions have emerged at the heart of the British government over David Cameron’s decision to order an inquiry into the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group, to see whether it should be classified as a terrorist organisation.

• Is China different? Or must its borrowing binge, like most others, end in tears?

• New governments – same old problems. The New York Times explores government by patronage in the Central African Republic, Mali and Ivory Coast. Read more

♦ As the Ukraine crisis escalates with Russian troops taking hold of Crimea, Barack Obama faces his sternest challenge – or as Edward Luce puts it, his chicken Kiev moment.

♦ Western military experts suspect Russia of plotting its action in Crimea for weeks.

♦ Politico suggests that Russia no longer fears the west , and outlines why.

♦ The New Yorker reports on the strange world of the Muslim Brotherhood court cases in Egypt. Read more

♦ On the trail of Ukraine’s missing Viktor Yanukovich . Rumours swirled that Ukraine’s deposed president was hiding out in Crimea, a pro-Moscow stronghold with easy water access to Russia via the Black Sea.

♦ Gideon Rachman says Ukraine’s fate must be decided by its people.

♦ Hawks on Capitol Hill are pushing for a tougher line on Ukraine from Barack Obama, a president they regard as a passive player at a grand historical moment.

♦ Janan Ganesh says UK prime minister David Cameron has overestimated Angela Merkel’s capacity to deliver change, even if she wanted it.

♦ An alliance of leftwing and regional parties aims to present an alternative to India’s two main parties in May’s general election. Read more

♦ Young ‘scrapper’ squares up for reform battle. The challenges awaiting Matteo Renzi, the 39-year-old centre-left leader likely to form Italy’s new government

♦ As Britons struggle to protect their homes from unprecedented floods, the sandbag – the traditional bulwark against rising water – has been branded by experts outdated and hopelessly ineffective.

Termite robots build the future. The FT looks at a ground breaking experiment in artificial intelligence.

♦ How an Arab/Iranian women’s movement to fight patriarchy through reclaiming the body has become intertwined with revolutions in the Middle East.

♦ Carlo Strenger in Haaretz slams the Israeli right’s use of ‘the holocaust card’ whenever the settlement policy is criticised by overseas allies.

♦ For romantically inclined smart readers: The Economist explains the science of love at first sightRead more

♦ Italy’s dire jobless figures have shattered a fragile optimism as the country’s political disarray increases, writes Guy Dinmore.

♦ David Pilling looks at the emergence of anti-establishment figures in Asia who are challenging the prevailing order in a year which will see elections across the region.

♦ Chris Giles says now that the Bank of England has been proved wrong over its forecasts on unemployment it is time the governor considered raising interest rates.

♦ Foreign Policy profiles the duelling protest movements that underline the spirit of division in post-revolutionary Tunisia. The journal also shines a light on a dangerous new front it says has opened up in Syria.

♦ Barack Obama has been boasting for two years that he “ended the war in Iraq, writes Peter Baker in The New York Times, as he describes the grim aftermath left behind.

Robert Gates, who served both Republican and Democratic presidents, has lifted the lid on his time running the Pentagon. Politico reviews his candid memoirRead more

♦ Borzou Daragahi on how the excesses of the extremist group Isis – the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – have sparked an armed rebellion against it in its northern Syria stronghold.

♦ Jamil Anderlini argues that modern China needs to set up its own House of Lords to improve governance.

♦ In a world with more inherited riches, it makes no sense to cut estate taxes, writes Robin Harding.

♦ A handwritten poster at a Seoul university has struck a nerve, prompting a wave of copycat banners airing grievances across South Korea. Young-Ha Kim explains the craze in The New York Times.

♦ Bangladesh’s leaders must deliver on the most basic promises of democracy – or they will prove Henry Kissinger right, says Tahmima Anam in The Guardian. Read more

Chequebook diplomacy: With the US becoming an absentee superpower in the Caribbean, the Chinese are moving in.

♦ A corruption investigation has shaken Turkish political and business life with the detention of prominent executives and people close to the government amid a deepening feud within the ranks of a country’s religious conservatives.

♦ In The New Statesman Paul Conroy asks when will people start taking notice of Syria again.

Gun country: The New York Times examines the complicated relationship between the US and firearms, told through the personal stories of Americans. Read more

♦ While many previously buoyant island states across the Caribbean are struggling, Jamaica’s crisis is the deepest. Robin Wigglesworth profiles a country teetering on the edge of an economic precipice.

♦ The FT interviews Haruhiko Kuroda, the central bank outsider who this year took over the Bank of Japan.

♦ Israelis see many positive economic, strategic and diplomatic developments despite Benjamin Netanyahu’s dark public statements on Iran that present an image of an embattled, paranoid state, says Gideon Rachman.

♦ The Washington Post spoke to refugees from all walks of life in its report: Stories from the Syrian exodus.

♦ When veteran Egyptian politician Amr Moussa unveiled Egypt’s new draft constitution on Sunday, he did so in front of a vast banner that proclaimed the text represented “all Egyptians”. Unfortunately for Moussa, three of the five models used to depict “all Egyptians” turned out to be westerners.

♦Veronique Greenwood in Aeon explains why Swiss farmers take such good care of their cowsRead more

Justin Trudeau with his wife Sophie Gregoire at a film premiere in September 2012 (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

Justin Trudeau with his wife Sophie Gregoire (Getty)

Historically, the legislative class has often liked to keep it in the family. And while hereditary titles have fallen out of fashion in most modern democracies, political dynasties appear to be thriving nonetheless.

The latest scion of a political leader to seek office is Justin Trudeau, 41-year-old son of Canada’s former prime minister, the swashbuckling Pierre Trudeau.

Justin was elected leader of Canada’s Liberal party on Sunday.

The ruling Conservative party greeted the news of Trudeau Junior’s victory somewhat sniffily, with Fred DeLorey, the Conservative party’s director of communications, saying:

“Justin Trudeau may have a famous last name, but in a time of global economic uncertainty, he doesn’t have the judgment or experience to be prime minister.”

Perhaps mindful of that kind of criticism, Justin Trudeau was careful in his acceptance speech to mix confidence – “More than one hundred thousand voters have sent a clear message: Canadians want better leadership” – with modesty: “I take nothing for granted. I understand that trust can only be earned. And my plan is to earn yours.

George W. Bush and his father George H.W. Bush in 2010 (Stephen Dunn/Getty)

George W. Bush and his father George H.W. Bush in 2010 (Stephen Dunn/Getty)

The Trudeaus are of course part of a long tradition of North American political clans, from the Kennedys and the Clintons to presidents Bush I and II – despite America’s Founding Fathers’ concerns around the implications of power flowing through blood.

But it is in Asia where political dynasties have really flourished. In India, the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty has provided three prime ministers since the country’s Independence in 1947. Rahul Gandhi, 42-year-old great-grandson of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, is tipped to be the Congress party’s candidate for India’s 2014 election. But the prospect of yet another Gandhi at the helm has met with criticism in some quarters.

“Essentially he has nothing besides his name,” Ramachandra Guha, a historian, said when Gandhi was promoted to the role of the Congress party’s vice president earlier this year. Read more