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Drones, Demonstrations and Interdependence: September 10th - 16th on openDemocracy

At openDemocracy this week, critical gazes fell upon a variety of tactics, strategies and individuals. Drones are like suicide bombs – only without the suicides, explains Paul Rogers: the US and its allies might use them with great enthusiasm today, but live to regret it if they inspire jihadists to make their own.

5 October 2012

In the UK, Niki-Seth Smith looks positively at Andreas Whittam Smith’s daring attempt at renewing democracy, warning that it needs broad participation to make real changes, while Stuart Weir reflects on the Hillsborough tragedy. Over at 50.50, Marion Bowman and Aisha Mirza maintain that feminism is once again on the rise in the UK as women bear the brunt of financial crisis.  
 
OurKingdom and oD filled London’s café OTO to the last chair and beyond with its event on Liberty and the Olympics – available as podcast for those who weren’t lucky enough to be there. ourBeeb offer their own podcast: Richard Eyre on the BBC and culture.
 
Elsewhere in Europe, the Dutch went to the polls as the Catalans took to the streets. In Barcelona, Pere Vilanova warns that this year "la Diada" is different, as Patrice De Beer traces the history. In the Netherlands, Mark Rutte survives an election with potential consequences for the continent – some might envy the ’Swiss option’, where they nevertheless have their own problems. All is exacerbated by the euro crisis of course, which in turn as Andre Wilkens writes, is about lack of trust. Other populations have a much harder time of it; in France the Roma haven’t seen much of a change in attitude since the left took over, in Ukraine schoolbuses catch fire due to widespread corruption, while Abkhazia, broken off from Georgia, must consider its position in the world.
 
Afghanistan, India, China, Russia and Iran join in a surprising confluence of interests, while the Lebanese struggle to be responsible for their own fate. This week's Window on the Middle East gives a broad picture of the region touching on art and oil, exile and violence.
 
Mitt Romney has had a tough week, with foreign policy blunders and Obama inching ahead. Shahid Mahmood takes him to task for wanting to make IVF procedures more difficult, turning the tables on the empty chair metaphor, while Seth Redniss questions if the former bishop’s loyalty lies with country or church. Arturo Lopez Levy asks if Romney can capture Latino voters, lamenting the current president’s refusal to hold a rational discussion on Cuba.

Obama might get four more years, but the president of Yale had no such luck, forced to resign due to his venture with less-than-democratic Singapore. Journalist Robert Fisk also receives criticism.

Whether you escaped unscratched from this week’s sharp minds and pens or not, keep reading, and openDemocracy will keep holding people to account.


Three links not to be missed:

  • Could a rethinking of our laws reduce tragedies by those seeking Herostratic fame – like Anders Behring Breivik?

  • Thousands of elephants are killed annually to make religious objects out of ivory.

  • George Soros offers Europe his advice.

 

 

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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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