26 January 2006
The beginning of the World Social Forum in Caracas has been a exercise in expectation meeting reality.  The prospect of a forum that encourages an open dialogue between a diverse group of people has been noticeably marred by disorganization and an inconsistent dialogue.  Navigating the forum is a difficult at best.  The programs delineating the events have become a coveted rarity and obtaining one often means chasing down harried young volunteers and gesticulating wildly for a copy.  At one point a young women suggested that we only need to take a fifteen minute walk away from the center of the forum and there will be a board advertising the panel discussions. 
Another difficulty is presented by the lack of centralization of the various individualized events.  The discussions and workshops are located throughout the city and can be difficult for the novice traveler to find, not to mention time consuming.  You can end up traveling a hour and half to discover that the talk was canceled, or simply lacking in focus. Yesterday a large line formed at the Forum registration center.  After asking several people what the line was for and receiving shrugs in return, it became evident that people were queuing with no idea what was at the end of the line.
They may still be there.

Who's getting rich from COVID-19?

Boris Johnson's government stands accused of 'COVID cronyism', after handing out staggering sums of money to controversial private firms to fight COVID-19. Often the terms of these deals are kept secret, with no value-for-money checks or penalties for repeated failures which cost lives. And many major contracts have gone directly to key Tory donors and allies – without competition.

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Peter Geoghegan Investigations editor, openDemocracy, and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'

Jolyon Maugham Barrister and founder of the Good Law Project.

Layla Moran Liberal Democrat MP (TBC)

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