• Jan

January 11, 2017 nº 1,825 - Vol. 14

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything."

Alexander Hamilton

Read Migalhas LatinoAmérica in Spanish every Tuesday and Thursday. Visit the website at www.migalhas.com/latinoamerica

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  • Top News

European Commission proposes stricter rules for electronic communication

The European Commission on Tuesday proposed rules to bolster electronic communications as well as to "create new possibilities to process communication data and reinforce trust and security." The First Vice President stated that the proposals would "complete the EU data protection framework" and it is expected that the proposals will cover more cites such as Facebook and WhatsApp, present new business opportunities and increase spam protection. It is expected that the proposals will also increase enforcement measures and will bolster international communication by promoting "better law enforcement cooperation, while ensuring a high level of data protection." (Click here)

Google, Facebook face tighter EU grip with new privacy law

Google, Facebook Inc. and other Internet companies will be covered by strict new European Union privacy rules that seek to limit access to consumers' data. The EU unveiled draft rules in Brussels Tuesday that would give online users more control of their settings and limit the "overload of consent requests" for cookies people encounter when browsing the web. The rules would extend the EU's ePrivacy law beyond telecommunications operators to include "new providers of electronic communications services, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Gmail, iMessage, or Viber," the regulator said.

Rights group launching legal challenge against UK surveillance law

Liberty, a UK-based advocacy group, announced Tuesday that it had met its crowding funding goal to launch a legal challenge against recently passed surveillance legislation. Among other provisions, the Investigatory Powers Act allows the government to record the Internet history of every UK citizen for up to a year. Liberty is primarily concerned that the totality of the act will amount to an unprecedented level of invasion of privacy.

Big banks lose bid to halt crisis-era lawsuits

The Supreme Court declined to hear a case in which several of the nation's largest banks argued that regulators had filed financial crisis-era claims too late. (Click here)

  • Crumbs

1 - Jeff Sessions, Trump's pick for Attorney General, says he'll recuse himself from Clinton investigations - click here.

2 - Yahoo to change name to Altaba - click here.

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  • MiMIC Journal

Trump hails Alibaba boss

Trump has held what he said was a "great meeting" in New York with Jack Ma, chairman of the e-commerce site Alibaba. After the meeting Ma said that both had agreed that US-China relations "should be strengthened, should be more friendly and do better". He said he would help US businesses create a million new jobs by using his website to sell to China. During his campaign Trump threatened to place tariffs on Chinese imports.

China's first domestic violence law still needs work, say activists

In December 2015, the Chinese government passed the country's landmark first bill against domestic violence, finally recognizes spousal abuse as an offense in its own right. But one year on, campaigners warn that the law is not being implemented effectively enough; not enough people know about it, and victims remain uncompensated.

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  • Historia Verdadera

Facebook

Facebook ya tiene licencia en España para poder gestionar transferencias entre particulares. La compañía estadounidense ha conseguido la autorización en Irlanda. Esto le abre la puerta al mercado europeo. Y ya figura, previa comunicación preceptiva al Banco de España, en el registro de entidades del supervisor financiero de dinero electrónico.

Multa

El Tribunal Supremo de España anuló una sentencia del Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Madrid (TSJM) que en diciembre de 2011 multó a Iberdrola con 600.000 euros por utilizar un sistema de facturación por consumo eléctrico estimado a la hora de cobrar a sus clientes. (Presione aquí)

  • Brief News

Trump rejects new 'compromising' Russia claims

Trump has decried as a "political witch hunt" US media reports that Russian intelligence agencies have obtained personally compromising material related to him. Unsubstantiated allegations say Russia has embarrassing information about him. Without referring to the stories, the president-elect tweeted: "FAKE NEWS - A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!". Trump is due to hold a news conference on Wednesday, nine days before he takes office. It was meant to be about his attempts to separate himself from his business commitments, to address concerns about conflicts of interest. But it now comes at an awkward time for the Republican president-elect.

VW set to pay $4.3 bn for emissions cheat

Volkswagen has agreed a draft $4.3bn settlement with US authorities over the emissions-rigging scandal. The German car maker also said it would plead guilty to breaking certain US laws. VW said it was in advanced discussions with the Department of Justice and US Customs about the deal. The final agreement has yet to be approved by VW's management and supervisory board.

UN expert: Puerto Rico austerity measures will undermine human rights

A UN Independent Expert has warned that increasing austerity measures to the American territory will threaten residents' human rights. Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, the Independent Expert, stated that "ensuring financial stability, controlling public debt and reducing budget deficits are important goals, but should not be achieved at the expense of human rights." Puerto Rican austerity measures, designed to deal with the ballooning debt, have included tax increases, salary freezes, suspension of collective bargaining agreements, and a reduction in government employment contracts. Bohoslavsky stated that these measures have only "deepened the economic recession, caused higher unemployment, accelerated emigration from the island, reduced tax revenues and resulted in a downward spiral of fiscal and economic contraction."

Venezuela Supreme Court overrides impeachment of President Maduro

The Venezuelan Supreme Court on Monday annulled Parliament's decision to begin impeachment proceedings against President Nicolás Maduro, ruling that the action went beyond Parliament's constitutional power. The High Court reaffirmed a decision they had issued last November, in which it ordered the country's parliament to "refrain from continuing the procedure of declaring 'political responsibilitt' against the president of the Republic." The National Assembly had approved a resolution earlier Monday declaring that Maduro had "abandoned his post" and failed to perform his duties as president.

Supreme Court hears arguments on credit card surcharges, attorney's fees

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday in Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman. This case focuses on the fees charged by credit card companies to merchants whenever customers pay with a credit card. Ten states have passed laws that forbid these credit card surcharges, but these laws also do not forbid merchants from offering a discount when customers pay with cash or check. The issue to be decided is whether the anti-surcharge laws merely affect a "pricing practice," or whether the laws violate the First Amendment in preventing merchants from using the surcharge as a means to describe a higher price charged to card users.

Swiss Muslim girls must learn to swim with boys, court rules

Switzerland has won a case at the European Court of Human Rights obliging Muslim parents to send their children to mixed swimming lessons. It said authorities were justified in giving precedence to enforcing "the full school curriculum" and the children's "successful integration" into society. The ECHR acknowledged that religious freedom was being interfered with. But judges said it did not amount to a violation. The case was brought by two Swiss nationals, of Turkish origin, who refused to send their teenage daughters to the compulsory mixed lessons in the city of Basel. (Click here)

With competition fierce, even elite law firms resort to the unusual

America's law firms, even the most prominent, are mired in an era of noticeably modest growth and volatility in the industry, and 2017 promises to be no better. Fierce competition is prompting firms to take unusual steps to bolster their profiles. Top firms are hiring groups of lawyers to expand specific practice areas, changing pay practices, jettisoning or demoting some partners and staff members and seeking ways to distinguish their brands to set them apart from competitors. Beyond that, the top-drawer firms are increasingly jostling with one another to win lucrative legal work. It is getting tougher for firms to hang onto traditional portfolios of corporate business and avoid elbowing from rivals. "It was a growth story in the 1990s, but since 2008, it's a more competitive world where there is less growth."

Morocco 'bans the sale and production of the burka'

Morocco has banned the sale, production and import of the burka. Letters announcing the ban were sent out on Monday, giving businesses 48 hours to get rid of their stock. There was no official announcement from the government, but unnamed officials told outlets the decision was made due to "security concerns". It is unclear if Morocco is now intending to ban the garment outright. A high-ranking interior ministry official confirmed that "bandits have repeatedly used this garment to perpetrate their crimes".

South Korea scandal: Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong a suspect

Samsung heir-apparent Lee Jae-yong is to be interviewed as a suspect in a corruption scandal surrounding the impeached South Korean president. The firm is accused of giving donations to non-profit foundations operated by Choi Soon-sil, a confidante of President Park Geun-hye. The donations were allegedly made in exchange for political support of a controversial merger. Lee will face special prosecutors on Thursday, officials said.

US may hold fire on 'non-threatening' N Korea missiles

US Defence Secretary Ash Carter has said the US would not necessarily shoot down a North Korean missile, if it was not threatening. He said the US military would want to gather intelligence from the missile's flight instead of intercepting it. Carter's remarks follow Trump's Twitter comments on North Korea's nuclear ambitions. Trump had said the North's development of a nuclear missile that could reach the US "won't happen". He did not elaborate how he would stop such plans.

It's a new game for Uber drivers if New York passes this law

Oisin Hanrahan has big plans and a big problem. The plan is for his city-focused startup, Handy—which sends people to your home to clean up or make repairs—to deliver every kind of home service anywhere. Problem is, it's not clear his business model is legal. Now he's helping develop a bill that could have big repercussions for Uber, Instacart, TaskRabbit, and other so-called gig-economy businesses. Like those companies, Handy, which Hanrahan co-founded in 2012 with a fellow Harvard Business School student, treats workers as independent contractors. That means it doesn't consider them employees entitled to payroll tax contributions, anti-discrimination protections, or collective bargaining rights under federal law. And like Uber, Handy has been sued by former workers who say that given how much control the company exercised over their work, they deserved to have been treated as employees. Hanrahan Workers have brought potential class actions against Hanrahan's company under California, Massachusetts, and federal law, and some are also pressing their case with the National Labor Relations Board. Handy persuaded a judge to send the California case to arbitration; it's trying to do the same with other claims and has denied its cleaners are employees. At the same time, Hanrahan echoes a common tech-industry refrain: Workers who love the flexibility and "empowerment" of at-will labor are the ones suffering most under what he calls Flintstones-era laws in a Jetsons world.

Trump role for son-in-law Jared Kushner needs review, Democrats say

Democrats have called for US President-elect Donald Trump's naming of his son-in-law as a top adviser to be reviewed over concerns of nepotism and conflict of interest. A group wants the Justice Department and Office of Government Ethics to scrutinize "legal issues" related to the appointment of Jared Kushner, 36. His lawyer says the post does not breach anti-nepotism laws. The millionaire will step down as boss of his family's real estate business and publisher of the New York Observer newspaper in order to comply with ethics laws, his lawyer said. The influential Trump adviser will also divest "substantial assets."

Obama's work to limit mergers may stop with Trump administration

Though. Trump has railed against media company mergers, conservatives and liberals say they see no proof he will worry about the rise of megacompanies.

Prisons run by C.E.O.s? Privatization under Trump could carry a heavy price

Privatization is being portrayed as a surefire way to deliver better services for less public money, but a body of economics suggests this belief is false.

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