April 2007

Japanese personal savings accounts fund governmental "assistance" program

2007-04-04 - shioyama

The web of connections appears almost too convoluted to believe: a governmental "assistance" program under the direction of Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) innocently titled the Fiscal Investment and Loan Program (FILP) (in Japanese 財政投融資/Zaisei Touyuushi), directs money from the personal savings of private Japanese citizens, stored in places such as bank accounts, employee pensions, government pension plans, and postal life insurance, to "development" aid carried out in third-world countries such as Indonesia. Among other things, these "assistance" programs have, over the years, financed the construction of gargantuan hydro dam projects to power the production of low-cost aluminium, which is then bought back at rock-bottom prices by resource-scarce Japan. The FLIP funds are also used to finance the World Bank and IMF (International Monetary Fund), who themselves impose further debt programs on these developing countries.

This according to an article which appeared in Japanese early last month in the biannual catalogue of People Tree, a Fair Trade company with operations in Japan and Britain, translated into English and posted on Tuesday at gyaku, an online Japanese/English media project based in Japan.

More ideas or more engagement?

2007-04-15 - chong
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OURMedia 6th International Conference held in Sydney is really more like a shopping mall than an academic conference. That's why the first question of the exit survey is about how many contacts during these four days one made. So I'd better talk about the interesting websites and media project we came across rather than the issues.

I like the Italian project of EuroMayDay which has been promoting an alternative image of workering class for the "precarious labourer". A group of Italian activists design a lot of interesting icons for people to make use of in their movement. As a catholic country, the icons of saint are so popular. They invent a holy icon for the precarious. They further design a lot of cards to showing some the images of different kinds of workers.

China: A Bottomless Glass

2007-04-16 - oiwan
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I came across this article, A bottomless Glass, from Chai Jing's blog, it is in prose style and written for a charity organization. Since Chai Jing is a reporter, the prose is probably the memories of her journalistic reports.

The metaphor of "A bottomless glass" is very accurate and powerful, it gives us reflection on the blooming charity works in China in the past few years. Below is a translation (it has lost much of the poetic and sentimental essence.)

Japan: The mystery of the 100,000 yen Accenture bid

2007-04-18 - shioyama
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Fingerprinting and mug shots

This has got to be the story of the year in terms of sketchy corporate deals in Japan, and yet, as far as I can tell, it never seemed to make it over the Japanese language barrier until now.

日本個人存款資助政府海外「援助」計畫

2007-04-18 - oiwan

這個關係網令人難以致信: 由日本海外發展援助計劃下的一個政府 "援助" 計劃, 一個被稱為財政投融資(fiscal Investment and Loan Program FILP)的項目, 把資金從日本市民的私人儲蓄戶口, 退休保障基金, 保險和公積金等, 引導到一些第三世界, 如印尼等地, 進行 "發展" 援助. 這些所謂的 "援助" 計劃, 在過去幾年投資在 gargantuan 水力發電廠, 以開發鋁礦, 以供應日本市場. FILP 的資金, 亦被投放到世銀 World Bank 和國際貨幣基金 IMF, 這些機構亦會貸款發展中國家.

這篇文章是根據一個於日本英國推廣公平貿易的公司的雙月刊 People tree內一篇文章寫成, 這篇文章於上月以日文出版, 上星期二於 gyaku 這個雙語網上媒體中被翻成英文.

US-Korea FTA on Copyright

2007-04-25 - oiwan
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Two weeks ago, I was in Sydney for the OURmedia conference. One of the most useful exchange was regarding the copyright issue.

PatchA from Jinbo.net had given us a very detailed brief about the US-Korea FTA negotiation on Copyright. There is a coalition of human right, media, citizen, and medical organizations against the FTA Copyright terms.

In brief, there are 4 major parts:

1. Extending the protection period from 50 to 70 years after the death of the creator. PatchA pointed out that Mickey mouse is already 76 years old, every year, the Disney company still fought to extend its copyright because its face worth billions of dollars every year.

A Hotel in Peking University for "Teaching and Research"?

2007-04-27 - chong
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The Peking University is building a five-star hotel. But the teachers and students accuse this project of occupying the university’s land for research and teaching and violating the land-use designation in the campus planning.

This hotel, named after “Weiming Lake”, the famous spot in the Peking University and located at the northern side of Baiyi Road and by the wall of campus, is still under construction. This is a project of the Peking University Science Park Limited (PUSP). It is scheduled to open in October.

Hollywood Star Chow Yun Fat Supports Queen's Pier Preservation

2007-04-28 - oiwan

The Hong Kong government has once again ignored the public opinion to preserve the Queen's Pier in situ and decided to ask the legislative council to approve the budget for disintegrating the pier and relocating it elsewhere in order to give space to the P2 highway, a giant shopping district, a yet to be approved subway line in 2016 and a People's Liberation Army Pier at the Central Water Front.