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European Parliament Hands ACTA Anti-Piracy Accord Stunning Defeat



In a bitter defeat for large media and pharmaceutical companies, the European Parliament on Wednesday roundly rejected the global ACTA anti-counterfeiting accord. The Guardian reports that the US and Japan are likely to proceed with approval of the international accord, and it remains to be seen whether European supporters try to revive it.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was negotiated among officials in large Western nations for the purpose of establishing international standards for intellectual property rights enforcement. It was chiefly aimed at strengthening the battle against counterfeit medicines, and to coordinate repression against illegal Internet downloading.

The text of the agreement became a bête noire for digital liberty activists and patients using unapproved drugs, including anti-AIDS medicines. A movement spread across Europe to oppose ACTA, convincing some governments of EU member states not to ratify the agreement. The European Parliament voted 478 to 39 (with 165 abstentions) to reject the provisions.

The European Parliament's decision was welcomed by activists and politicians across Europe:

The French Pirate Party, the organisation supporting the liberalization of copyright and patent law tweeted:

Citizens' victory against the ACTA treaty in the European Parliament.

PartiPirate ‏@PartiPirate

Victoire des citoyens contre le traité #ACTA au Parlement européen

Former French Presidential candidate:

Good news for the democratic system: the European Parliament has just rejected ACTA.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon ! ‏@melenchon2012

Bonne nouvelle pour la démocratie : le parlement européen vient de rejeter #ACTA.

Spanish website Cultura Ahora tweeted :

The European Parliament rejects the antipiracy treaty.

Cultura Ahora ‏@Cultura_Ahora

La Eurocámara tumba el acuerdo antipiratería #Cultura #Eurocámara#Acuerdo #ANTIPIRATERÍA #ACTA #Questionity

It is game over according to Pablo Romero, Madrid-based journalist who tweeted:

The "antipiracy" treaty has been definitively rejected by the EU Parlement.

pabloromero ‏@pabloromero

Game over: El Parlamento Europeo tumba de forma definitiva elacuerdo "antipiratería" #ACTA

On the Romanian version of the EU Parlement's account :

Final vote on ACTA: the European MPs rejected the treaty by 478 votes against, 39 in favour and 165 abstentions.

Parlamentul European ‏@Europarl_RO

Vot final asupra #ACTA la #PE: eurodeputații resping acordul cu 478 voturi împotrivă, 39 pentru și 165 de abțineri

There was also some winks of satisfaction from the United States, which was celebrating the July 4 Independence Day. Noting the reports on the same day about the Swiss-British discovery of the Higgs boson "God Particle," Global Voices founder Ethan Zuckerman had this much to say:

Ethan Zuckerman‏@EthanZ

ACTA defeated, Higgs Boson found (maybe) - perhaps US should take a day off more often?

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Seven Wacky (And Boozy) Races Around The World

Alcohol, food, costumes and ... wife carrying? Around the world, people have imbued weirdness and fun into the very serious sporting events that are marathons and races. Follow us in exploring the silliest ones out there.

Photograph of runners dressed up in carnival costumes during the Cape Wine Marathon​. They are running next to vineyards on a hill.

Runners dressed up in carnival costumes during the Cape Wine Marathon

Cape Wine Marathon/Facebook
Valeria Berghinz

Long distance running is an athletic feat that many associate with months of hard training, muscle strains and unbelievable breath control work. Running a marathon is no joke — except when it is.

✉️ You can receive our Bon Vivant selection of fresh reads on international culture, food & travel directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

Around the world, lovers of athleticism have found ways to turn the sport of racing into a fun, and often outright weird, event. Sometimes it's about costumes, other times its about putting a twist on cultural traditions, and a lot of the time it's about alcohol.

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