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Hot crisis, cool punks and dark India: August 13th -19th on openDemocracy

People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when crisis is upon them – quoting Jean Monnet, Somdeep Sen in our long-running ’Can Europe Make It?’ looks at the Spanish debt troubles, hoping for a blessing in disguise.

19 August 2012

But Monnet’s words are just as true on climate change. Paul Rogers calls it the key issue of our time, urging policy and attitudinal shifts; while a comment on Letter from an unapologetic alarmist prompts the question - could the North American drought augur a further phase of political turbulence, just as the food crisis helped provoke the Arab spring? 

But what if even a clear crisis does not lead to change, as ourdebate on the Euro suggests is more than possible: what hope too for China and Russia? 

Heated politics are a focus of oDRussia's coverage, with Dmitri Travin and Nicu Popescu measuring up Putin's second presidency, while Mikhail Loginov and Aleksei Tarasov highlight local corruption and organised crime and Valeria Costa-Kostritsky weighs the impact of the Pussy Riot trial on politics and feminism.

In China, Kerry Brown finds the Bo Xilai affair a symptom of a blocked political system lacking trustful information, an issue Charlie Beckett reflects on in relation to WikiLeaks and the travails of Julian Assange. In India energy policy is assessed in light of the electricity crisis, and the state’s counter-insurgency strategy towards the Maoists is found wanting. 

Our openSecurity and Arab Awakening sections continue to track that movement's evolution in its many guises. In Tunisia, the spotlight is on two very different political parties: Meriem Dhaouadi looks at the Pirate Party’s blend of cyber-revolution and egalitarian politics and Anne Wolf at their ultraconservative Salafist peers. In Tripoli, Rhiannon Smith questions the prevailing views of post-Gaddafi Libya, and Jamal Elabiad dissects the reform movement in Morocco

Moving eastwards, Bahrain's strategy for suppressing dissent is examined, the varying experience of Christians in the Gulf is mapped, while in Egypt, Virginie Collombier and Dina El Sharnoubyanalyse the security sector in the wake of the Sinai attacks. Mona Chalabi finds the imagery of "falling" dictators a way of robbing Arabs of agency, while Ahmad Barqawi sees Syria as a test-caseof the Arab spring's fate as a whole. 

In other high temperature regions, Pete Jones and David E Koderespectively highlight problems of intervention and possibilities of non-governmental diplomacy in the DR Congo and Burundi, openSecurity editor Jo Tyabji gathers expert views on possible ways ahead in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Matt Kennard investigatesthe neo-liberal model imposed on Haiti following the earthquake of 2010. 

OurBeeb features David Elstein on the BBC's Olympics and national identity, while OurKingdom carries a response from Sunder Katwala to Peter Oborne on English cricketing loyalties, and an essay from A.L. Shaw on the wider return of politics to a “Broken Britain”. 

openDemocracy continues not only to monitor a changing world, but to be part of the conversation on what we should strive to change it into.

 

Links not to miss:

The passionate, articulate and historical closing statements of our punk heroes, Pussy Riot. 

Drug lords in Rio de Janeiro decide crack isn’t good for the community, and stop selling it

Felix Salmon describes high-frequency trading as robotic wars with huge risk and little benefit, and illustrates with an eerie animation. 

Security analyst Peter Bergen on the swiftboating of Obama; did he really endanger Navy SEALs to grab bin Laden death glory?

 

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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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