Japan to make efforts to become U.N. Security Council permanent member




Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida pledged Monday to step up Japan’s contribution to the U.N. Security Council, as the country aspires to become a permanent member of the United Nations’ top decision-making body.

“Japan needs to make a high-level contribution to the Security Council to show that it is suitable as a permanent member,” Kishida said as he launched the “Strategic Headquarters regarding UNSC” at the Foreign Ministry.

Kishida said the headquarters will discuss Japan’s contribution during its two-year term from January as a nonpermanent member of the Security Council and ways to achieve the country’s “long-cherished goal” of becoming a permanent member of the body.

The foreign minister said North Korea’s fourth nuclear test earlier this month proved that discussions at the Security Council “directly relate to Japan’s national interests and are very important.”

“Japan will make firm efforts to adopt a U.N. Security Council resolution imposing tougher sanctions on North Korea,” Kishida said.

The meeting was attended by Seiji Kihara, senior vice foreign minister, Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki and other ministry officials.

Japan, along with Brazil, Germany and India,—known as the Group of Four—are calling for expanding the number of both permanent and nonpermanent members of the 15-member council so it can better represent the realities and needs of the international community in the 21st century.

The debate has seen little progress as there is no consensus so far on how to restructure the body.

At present, the Security Council has five veto-wielding permanent members—Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.


China Edges Closer to Leading World’s New Industrial Revolution




China is edging closer to being prepared to lead the world’s new industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, as it is swiftly setting the stage for the convergence of multiple new technologies, said observers at the annual World Economic Forum here.

“I do not see any reason why China should not be the leading or at least under the top three leading countries driving that transforming forward,” said Bernd Leukert, member of the executive board of SAP, a global leader in corporate management software, referring to the new industrial revolution.

China has the technological edge and boasts great efficiency in the manufacturing sector, he said at the Davos forum over the weekend, which was held under the theme of “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Experts at the forum said China has gained a strong foothold in the economy of the future by quickly embracing the new industrial revolution and encouraging Internet-based innovations.

While China is selling high-speed trains to overseas buyers, information technology companies like Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu are quickly making an impact on the lives of almost everyone in the country of 1.3 billion people.

Online stores are trying to ensure that ordered goods arrive at the doorstep of their customers in as short a time as one day. This is forcing changes in the shopping malls, too.

“China is overtaking other players at the corner if you look at areas like mobile Internet,” said Zhang Yaqin, president of Internet search provider Baidu, one of the information technology leaders in China.

Experts at Davos said the new industrial revolution is not powered by any single breakthrough but by the integration of multiple technologies.

Matthew Grob, chief technology officer of Qualcomm Technologies Inc., said these include artificial intelligence, machine learning and telecommunications. Others cited 3D printing and driverless cars.

“People were quite keen to see how China is transforming from a manufacturing hub to an innovation hub,” David Aikman, chief representative officer for Greater China, World Economic Forum, told Xinhua in an interview ahead of the forum.

Chinese leaders have said innovation is at the core of the national development plan. The government has implemented measures to drive market-based reforms, encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, and cut red tape by streamlining procedures. It is now much easier to register new businesses in China, and incubators are booming across the country.

“A number of activities defined by the government in its 13th Five-Year Plan such as the ‘Internet Plus’ and ‘Made in China 2015’ shows that China is going right towards that direction,” said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.

Hans-Paul Buerkner, chairman of the Boston Consulting Group, told Xinhua at the forum that among economies talking about reform or transformation, China would probably deliver greater certainty than the other parts of the world.

Despite challenges like the removal of excess capacity, “the sincerity of the efforts in China is very strong,” he said.

Buerkner, who visits China several times a year, said some Chinese companies, like Huawei, Lenovo, Haier and Xiaomi, have become strong global competitors in innovation and digitalization.

Still many more Chinese companies are emerging as strong competitors in the innovation-based new economy. DJI, a company established ten years ago in China’s southern city of Shenzhen, is now the market leader in easy-to-fly drones and aerial photography systems.

China has been among the leading countries in recent years in terms of the number of patent applications in 3D printing, robotic engineering and nanotechnology, according to statistics released by the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates said that with the recognition that people have done something that they can be rewarded for, many experts have founded new companies in sectors such as IT, biology and robots. “China is going to carry its weight,” he said.

The increasingly delusional smears of PZ Myers


After the Richard Dawkins Foundation and the Center For Inquiry announced their merger, PZ Myers published Rebecca Watson’s claim that atheist organisations “will continue polishing Richard Dawkins’ knob until he dies.”

PZ also claimed that Christopher Hitchens “had no problem with killing Muslims and American Indians,” and he misrepresented Godless Spellchecker Stephen Knight’s exposure of his previous inaccurate claims about Christopher Hitchens.

While all of this is now predictable, his latest smears also include his most bizarre yet. Referring to what he calls “atheism as a movement,” he writes that “we (now) have an atheism where it is acceptable to rail against feminism, because feminists should be raped and killed.”

Even by PZ’s own standards, this is his most delusional smear yet. It is analogous to Dan Aykroyd in the movie Trading Places, snarling incoherently through his Santa beard after being caught trying to frame Eddie Murphy by planting drugs in his office desk drawer.

I have recorded many of the PZ smears of recent years. One consequence of there being so many, is that each smear can hide behind the others, as we become desensitised to such behaviour and internally normalise it.

So this time, I’ll let this one stand on his own.

PZ Myers says that “we (now) have an atheism where it is acceptable to rail against feminism, because feminists should be raped and killed.”

It is incredible to think that reasonable people once took him seriously.

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man hating feminazi Jen Gann “Why Am I So Sad About Having a Boy”?











I was really looking forward to being dumber than my daughter. For the first 20 weeks of my pregnancy, my husband and I spun a collective daydream about our wise little girl: We pictured her walking through life with confidence and long, wavy hair, a perfect combination of my curly and my husband’s straight. She’d be his willing partner at museums, so gifted in math she could do her homework without my help. The dumbest, basest jokes, our favorite kind, would make her roll her eyes.

The afternoon of my 20-week ultrasound, I left work early and got on the wrong train. I was late, my husband even later, and we were silent in the waiting room, answering work emails. Following the technician down the hallway, I felt wobbly and unsure: less This is it! than Oh, is this it? We knew we might be wrong, but there hadn’t seemed much harm in hoping. What was wrong with wanting the girl with long hair, so smart, annoyingly smart, just like her dad.

In the aquarium glow of the ultrasound room, the technician held the wand over my bare stomach and asked if we wanted to find out.

“Yes,” my husband and I said at the same time.

“You will have …” she said, adjusting the wand, “a baby boy.”

Gender disappointment is not a term I was familiar with, but one I quickly learned. Parents magazine points out that there are “ways to deal with your mixed feelings.” A blogger for the New York Times’ Motherlodeemphasizes her luck at the health of her child, while Babble recommends being open about your gender-related feelings, whatever they are. Katherine Asbery’s 2008 book, Altered Dreams … Living With Gender Disappointment, devotes 135 pages to struggling and eventually coming to terms with her unfulfilled desire for a girl. (???? my husband texted me, after coming across the copy I bought to research this essay.)