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The Week in 1 Minute: Petroleum, poverty and progress - March 24 – 30 on openDemocracy

The Ukraine conflict continues to dominate headlines. Iryna Solomko says Ukrainians have accepted the loss of Crimea but fears run high that worse is to come. Luca Uberti examines comparisons between Kosovo and Crimea and says the west is delusional to think the recent annexation is exceptional. In a highly contentious piece, Ackerman and Bartkowski argue that the Crimean referendum was a fraud and the world has a duty to intervene in whichever ways it deems most useful. Columnist Paul Rogers compares Putin and W. Bush in a tale of two speeches.

30 March 2014

On more positive notes, Heather McRobie continues our exploration of how Bosnians are trying to rebuild their society from the bottom up and Georgy Borodyansky looks at the family of reindeer herders attempting to obstruct Russia’s oil giants. Concluding the Transformation series on money, Michael Edwards suggest we put it out if its misery.

In Africa race, gender and sexuality are still the source of much discontent. In Uganda religious pressure leads to increased persecution of homosexuality with the passage of some draconian anti-gay legislation. In South Africa, is it ok for Oscar Pistorius to shoot his girlfriend if he believed she was an “imaginary black intruder”? On the security front, Nick Turse asks just how light is the US military’s “light footprint” in Africa.

David Wearing interviews leading human rights activist Maryam al-Khawaja on Bahrain, ongoing government repression and Britain’s role in the unrest. Avi Mograbi speaks about his latest film as part of a new collaboration between openDemocracy and Open City Docs Fest. Soraya Morayef reviews a new film, The Square, on the uprisings in Egypt, and asks, ‘but where are the women?’.

Britain’s state of dysfunction and farce continues with Alison Whyte examining a new BBC documentary where celebrities come face to face with people who can’t afford food. Sunder Katwala criticises the radio debate on the EU between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage, and says the pro-EU side are concentrating on reason to the point of irrationality. In media, Brian Winston argues that the BBC license fee levied on the British audience is an essential part of the BBC’s make up as the Corporation’s opponents find new ways to undermine it.

Erin Evers considers the situation in Iraq where sectarian violence may be obscuring issues of deteriorating rights for Iraqi women and girls. And finally, despite much progress (and funding) towards Turkey’s membership of the EU there is still much work to be done to secure the human rights that membership requires.

Last but far from least, Fawaz Gerges sorts myth from reality regarding this revolutionary chapter of the Middle East.


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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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