Galloping horses at World Bank

31 March 2005

The United States has 17% of the share capital and 100% of the power when it comes to appointing the new head of the World Bank. Not everyone is wild about this situation, as Alex Wilks recently reported for openDemocracy.

Take the FT. In an online poll of 30 March, 80% of Financial Times readers opposed the appointment of Paul Wolfowitz, the Bush administration's candidate (sample size 5711 at 9pm GMT).

Oh those wild and crazy senior accountants and chief financial officers!

Still, Wolfowitz is considered a shoo-in when the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors meets today in Washington. And to mark the event, "race fans" are holding a photo finish one horse race at 10am local time outside the Bank's HQ.

This will be re-creation of the process that led to Wolfowitz’s enthronement, says Soren Ambrose of New Voices on Globalization.

"Neigh-Sayers" deplore the small field, Ambrose adds. There will be NO BETTING. But just because there’s only one horse in the race doesn’t mean no one else wins. Consolation prizes go to several countries for being good sports and accepting Wolfowitz despite their distaste for the man.

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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