Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

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EU Council Plans to Scrap Parliamentary Vote without Discussion

2004/05/07

For immediate Release

The EU Council of Ministers is demonstrating that the concept of democracy is alien to the EU. This Wednesday, the Irish Presidency managed to secure a qualified majority for a counter-proposal to the software patents directive, with only a few countries - including Belgium and Germany - showing resistance. The new text proposes to discard all the amendments from the European which would limite patentability. Instead the lax language of the original Commission proposal is to be reinstated in its entirety, with direct patentability of computer programs, data structures and process descriptions added as icing on the cake. The proposal is now scheduled to be confirmed without discussion at a meeting of ministers on 17-18 May, unless one of the Member States changes its vote. In a remarkable sign of unity in times of imminent elections, members of the European Parliament from all groups across the political spectrum are condemning this blatant disrespect for democracy in Europe.

I think software patents are a bad American idea. Japan has followed the US and now Europe is planning to pass one of the worst versions software patent law discarding many of the amendments to limit its power without discussion. Although I'm for many types of patents, I think that software patents are generally bad and in particular hurt small companies and innovation.

via xcasex on IRC (or should I say, I.R.C.)

AP, Reuters, NYT
Scandal drives out Koizumi aide

Fukuda, 67, the son of a prime minister, had been widely regarded as a conservative pillar in a government dominated by Koizumi's freewheeling style. His resignation highlighted the damaging disclosure over the past two weeks that a third of the cabinet members have failed to pay their pension premiums - just as the government is trying to pass a bill that would increase most citizens' premiums and reduce retirees' benefits.

I rarely say "fuck" on my blog, but "Fuck you Japanese politicians!" (Lucky the FCC doesn't control my blog... yet.) I've paid about 1/2 of all of my life earnings in tax to the Japanese government and have paid my premiums to the national pension system even though studies that I worked on at the Association of Corporate Executives showed that I would most likely not benefit from these pensions. Now it turns out many Japanese politicians don't pay their national pension premiums. Actually, a third of the cabinet members haven't paid their pension premiums. The "Vice President" of Japan, Yasuo Fukuda just resigned for not paying his premiums. This is all amid a move by the government to increase premiums and lower pay-outs. The study we did showed that unless you were about retirement age today, would would most likely not benefit from the pension system.

What's worse is that they use strong arm tactics like using the agricultural union (which hires retired bureaucrats and takes a commission) and other semi-public organizations to collect premiums from average citizens.

This is totally disgusting and I really wonder why I live and pay taxes in such a corrupt country.

Japan Today
N Korea's Kim criticized at home for apology to Japan

Friday, May 7, 2004 at 04:00 JST

WASHINGTON — North Korean military hardliners have been critical of leader Kim Jong Il for apologizing to Japan for the abduction of Japanese nationals, a U.S. expert who visited North Korea in April said.

This makes it difficult for the North Korean leader to make a decision to break the impasse over the abduction issue with Japan, said Selig Harrison, Asian project director at the Washington-based Center for International Policy. He said the hardliners were angry because they think North Korea should never apologize to Japan, which colonized the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945. (Kyodo News)

Thank you Kim Jong Il. Japan has done many things that I think requires apologies, but the abductions of Japanese by the North Koreas is an issue that I believe required an apology. I think this is a important first step, even if it is causing him some grief at home. I'm not sure what these means from a diplomatic tactics perspective, but I think Kim Jong Il deserves some credit on this one.

Pakistani council aproves rape to avenge honour. "A village council in Pakistan permitted a landlord to rape the sister and sister-in-law of a man he accused of an illicit relationship with his daughter, police said Thursday. (...) The council members, all of them landlords themselves, ruled that Ghaffar, who uses only one name, could avenge his honour by having sex with the farmer's daughter, who is 16, and daughter-in-law, who is 22." (BBC version here). "An estimated 80 percent of women prisoners in Pakistan are in jail because they failed to prove rape charges".
This is totally disgusting. Is my blog becoming depressing lately, or is it just the state of the world?