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February 12, 2012

Anti-ACTA activists protest across Europe

Anti-ACTA activists protest across Europe

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

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Anti-ACTA protestors on the steps of Trafalgar Square outside the National Gallery in London.
Image: Tom Morris.

Guy Fawkes masks were on display in cities across Europe yesterday as part of a protest against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), an international trade agreement on copyright and intellectual property that opponents believe will limit free speech online.

Organisers of the protest said about 100,000 people turned up in German cities such as Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Hanover. In Berlin, police estimated 6,500 protestors. Protests also took place in Paris, Sofia in Bulgaria, Vilnius in Lithuania, Valetta in Malta, Tallinn in Estonia, and Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland. In London, about 200 people protested outside some major copyright holders’ offices. Last month, there were major protests in Poland when that country signed ACTA, which has led to the Polish government deciding not to ratify the agreement, for now. Latvia and Slovakia have both delayed the process of joining ACTA.

Jim Killock from the Open Rights Group, a UK digital civil liberties campaigning group, said ACTA was “undemocratic”, “lacked scrutiny”, and was “setting up dangerous new pressures to censor the internet”.

The United Kingdom have signed ACTA, along with 21 other EU countries. Germany and the Czech Republic have held out on agreeing to it, awaiting a debate on the matter in the European Parliament in June. Baroness Wilcox, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, claims signing the treaty was important to help bring about “common enforcement standards and more effective international cooperation” in intellectual property law.



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Amartya Sen among the scholars for US National Humanities Medal

Amartya Sen among the scholars for US National Humanities Medal

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Official Portrait of Amartya Sen at the Nobel Prize

Indian economist Amartya Sen is among nine scholars to receive the US National Humanities Medal tomorrow. No other Indians have received the medal in the sixteen years since it was introduced.

A White House citation hoted “his insights into the causes of poverty, famine, and injustice” and claimed “by applying philosophical thinking to questions of policy, he has changed how standards of living are measured and increased our understanding of how to fight hunger.”

A 1998 Nobel Prize for Economics laureate, Sen is currently Harvard University‘s professor of Economics and Philosophy. Other new awardees include John Ashbery, Robert Darnton, Teofilo Ruiz, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Charles Rosen, Andrew Delbanco, and Ramon Saldivar.

Scholars of Indian origin have won National Medals in Science and Engineering but not in Humanities. Introduced in 1996, the medal is awarded to “those individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities,” says the White House.



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