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Shifting realities (Oct 15 - 21)

There are two weeks left till the US elections, and openDemocracy launches its series, How it looks from here - perspectives on the American choice from across the globe - with voices from Russia, Greece and Cuba. In the US, Ruth Rosen looks at the key role of women in the elections, and Meredith Tax accuses the US anti-war movement of failing to develop a politics that is critical of both US imperialism and religious fundamentalism.

14 December 2012

Paul Rogers revisits the major shift in modern warfare which is the remote use of armed drones, and unfolds the Syrian-Mali-Niger dynamic of interrelated pressures on the international community.

Ulrike Guerot and Konstanty Gebert tell us that Poland may have replaced France as Germany’s most trusted European partner. Ana Stanic urges that the EU and Spain must remember lessons from Slovenia’s independence, noting the parallels between Spain and 1980s Yugoslavia. Daniel Trilling talks to Jamie Mackay about the prevailing myths surrounding the far right in Britain, while Cas Mudde insists that the victory of conservatives and nationalists in Flanders has brought about a newly challenging democratic landscape.

Rachel Clogg treats us to a roll-call of peacebuilders in the new cabinet in post-election Georgia, and peace talks begin between the FARC and the Colombian government, with Darynell Rodriguez Torres delineating the challenges ahead. Tim Wallis looks at an altogether new Philippines Peace Agreement, which builds peace on the ground first; while Jessica Horn brings together the counter-narratives of African women’s critical resistance, Engin Isin looks at "movements without frontiers" that are neither commercial nor protected, and openSecurity’s Andrew Wallis and Pete Jones, in English and French, address themselves to breaking the cycle of violence in the Congo.

In a vexed Middle East, Mohamed-Salah Omri asks if there is anything to celebrate, as the first anniversary of Tunisia’s post-revolution elections approaches. Amro Ali returns to Egypt’s Tahrir Square to investigate its rent-a-thug culture, and the lessons that arise for the Muslim Brotherhood, while Rita tries to fill out our knowledge on Syrian Salafis, and Vicken Cheterian takes on leftist analysis of events in Syria.

In his obit, Patrice de Beer chastises ‘armchair analysts’ too quick to make reductivist assertions on the life choices of Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia: David Chandler agrees that the King-Father is inseparable from his country’s history. Meanwhile N Jayaram notes that the shooting of Malala Yousafzai should not be used by South Asians to paint themselves as superior to one another in their treatment of women, given the levels of violence against women and girls in all South Asian communities.

Follow openDemocracy for more on a world that shifts, on the surface and beneath it.

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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.


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

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