A thousand candidates, but who will be approved to run?

18 May 2005

So far approximately 1,010 candidates have registered to run for presidency in Iran - including 89 women.

100 of those registered are unemployed! But the numbers don't represent anything. As one moderate Persian newspaper (Iran) has said,

bq. "More than one thousand people have registered to run in the presidential election. The rush of these people to the election headquarters is the result weaknesses in the electoral laws and people's lack of knowledge. This is neither suitable for the Iranian nation nor is it a sign of democracy."

I was surprised to see Hooshang Amirhamdi's name on the list. Mr. Amirahamdi asked his lawyer in Iran to register his name as a candidate. See, Mr. Amirahamdi lives in the United Stated and is a professor at Rutgers University! He helped found the Center for Iranian Research and Analysis and is founder and president of the American-Iranian Council, an organization devoted to improving understanding between the United States and Iran. He has angered many opposition groups with his relentless lobbying effort to end the embargo on Iran.

Well let's see if he gets approval from the Guardian Council, you could argue he has helped the regime's interests in the United States.

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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