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Quiet after the storm (Nov 19-25)

So the rockets have stopped in Gaza. But these events need to remain tied to their historical context, says Eóin Murray; Israel is playing a long game. Martin Shaw sees them playing with fire, while our columnist Paul Rogers argues that, despite the close relationship between Israeli and US defence forces, regional politics are moving in favour of Hamas. Mohammed Suliman’s interview live on CNN was interrupted by a missile, and the ceasefire is discussed by Rob Prince and Mohammed S. Alnadi.

14 December 2012

A special oDRussia investigation tells a harrowing story of modern day slavery as, at the other end of the power spectrum, the implications of Sergei Shoigu once again accepting his General’s epaulettes are analyzed.

Just starting up is the 16-day campaign against gender violence, as always covered better than anywhere else at oD 50.50. In Uganda, the anti-gay bill could be days away from passing: we hear the story in an audio interview with an LGBT campaign leader there.

In Spain, two suicides in quick succession by homeowners facing eviction have forced some hurried legislation, but waves of protest started by the 15-M movement, extensively covered on openDemocracy, are spreading. The other major groundswell in the country is in Catalonia, where elections took place on Monday. Matthew Tree explains and clarifies some of the economic questions of the debate.

It has been a week for decisions in Britain too. The Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, has told MPs that they can vote to uphold the ban on prisoners voting, despite a European Court ruling that this breaches their human rights. Michael Bartlet puts the case for enfranchisement.

Meanwhile the governing body of the Church of England voted against women bishops. Jane Tillier, one of the first women to be ordained as a priest in the CoE, expresses her pain at the news, while Simon Barrow takes us through what this means for church and state.

openDemocracy likes to hold institutions to account, especially when it comes to public service. So OurKingdom explains why the old-boy fixing at the BBC has to end, and launches a petition for an open process to elect a new Director-General. Maybe our petition gave Aunty a fright. She went ahead with her back-room deal anyway, and a suddenly, mysteriously, a new head has grown where George Entwhistle’s fell. We will be holding a debate on the future of public-service broadcasting on Monday, December 10 in London. Come and help us work out how to re-establish trust between the BBC and its public. In other media news, Lord Leveson will soon deliver his report. Lis Howell explains why he should wait.


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openDemocracy’s week in 1 minute is emailed to Members, Friends and authors who help pay for and create our great content. Please forward this to any contact you think might be interested and want to join or email us ([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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