New G8 cash for Palestine

8 July 2005

Ahead of his 2.15 press conference, Tony Blair has just made a statement, flanked by the others G8 leaders, the African leaders here today and the heads of the WTO, IMF, World Bank and UN. Kofi Annan looked solemn, Paul Wolfowitz looked lupine.

The leaders are now signing the G8 communique, though it will not be issued until the PM's press conference. Blair headlined a US$3bn cash injection for the Palestinian Authority, aimed at reinvigorating the Middle East peace process. While that was always on the table - the PM is a leading advocate of more well-meaning meddling in the Middle East - yesterday's attacks may well have pushed it up the briefing list.

Overseas aid from G8 donors will rise to US$50bn a year, though it is not yet clear how much of that is new and how much is tied. He conceded that the deal on Africa is "not all everyone wanted" (one wonders if he meant Bono or the two-thirds of destitute people who do not live in Africa).

On climate change, there appeared to be some consensus. A new dialog on global warming will begin at a meeting in Britain in November.

One clause was crucial. Blair said the communique would contain "a signal for a new deal on trade". His sheepishness suggests that deal will be a new bind for the global south.

More anon...

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

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