A new look and a view on the world: June 25- July 1st openDemocracy

It’s been a transformative week for openDemocracy; after months of preparation we’ve unveiled a completely redesigned site. We hope you like the fresher look, find it easier to explore our diverse content, and will forgive the kinks of early days. A good website is always work in progress, and we will be honing and shining in the weeks to come.

1 July 2012

Others face much bigger challenges - such as Yannis Stournaras, who has taken up the post as Greek finance minister! His friend Yanis Varoufakis writes him a compelling open letter. He isn’t the only economist to worry. Richard Layard and Paul Krugman lament that we’ve not learnt from the past, and urge all of us to support their Manifesto for Economic Sense. Meanwhile George Papandreou, the ex-Prime Minister of Greece hits back at the way his country was treated.

We have decided to break open a special debate on the future of the Euro: can it be saved, should it be saved? David Malone engages with oD writers and asks who we are really saving the Euro for, while Victoria Curzon Price writes that the slate must be wiped clean to salvage a deeply flawed project.

We believe intelligent action can make a difference. Susan Richards, one of openDemocracy’s founding editors, writes a moving memoir on a beautiful idea known as Bookaid. 1.4 million books were collected and sent as a “good infection” to what had only recently become the Soviet Union. In current day Russia, Dmitry Travin looks at a generational gap; in Ukraine the status of languages causes dissatisfaction.

In one of many great pieces in this week’s window on the Middle East, Rita from Syria teaches us what it means to be “wiping ElJokh". For women, the post-spring Arab world can hold disquiet and despair.

In Britain David Cameron is held responsible for his rhetoric, a job-seeker set himself alight and further scrutiny of security giant G4S shows its involvement in prisons and charities alike, while Mandy Rose sends an open letter to the incoming head of the BBC saying break the chains and embrace non-linear, interactive programming.

In the US, immigration reform still has a long way to go, the Pentagon plans for war on Iran, and little has changed when it comes to policy on Latin America. In India, Maoists continue with abductions, but overtures for a peaceful resolution have been met by government indifference.

We hope you are anything but indifferent to our new look - your suggestions and feedback are most welcome!

Elsewhere on the web

Jimmy Carter mourns the US that once was a champion of human rights, and pleads for a new course

Mother Jones aims its telescope at the universe of US super-PAC money, resulting in a handy chart for political stargazers

UK phone companies and ISPs to be required to install government surveillance hardware

openDemocracy’s week in 400 words is emailed to Members and Friends to help pay for our great content. Please forward this to any contact you think might be interested and want to join; they should see here or email [email protected].

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.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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