April 19, 2017 nº 1,859 - Vol. 14
"All is not gold that glisteneth."
Read Migalhas LatinoAmérica in Spanish every Tuesday and Thursday. Visit the website at www.migalhas.com/latinoamerica
More plaintiffs join 'emoluments' lawsuit against Trump
An organization of restaurant workers and a hotel booking agent in Washington, D.C. have joined a federal lawsuit accusing Trump of receiving unconstitutional "emoluments." Trump faces a lawsuit claiming his business interests run afoul of rarely litigated constitutional provisions aimed at preserving presidential independence and curbing foreign influence. The lawsuit by watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, is one of the first legal attempts to target Trump's decision to maintain ties to his business empire. Filed in New York federal court, the complaint has considerable obstacles ahead of it, not least of which are questions about the plaintiffs’ broad reading of constitutional provisions governing foreign gifts and presidential compensation. CREW essentially argues that Trump violates the Constitution whenever a diplomat patronizes a Trump-owned hotel or when a foreign-government leases space from one of his buildings. Trump has said the lawsuit is "totally without merit." The plaintiffs on Tuesday filed a new version of their complaint that tries to deal with at least one potential major hurdle: the issue of legal standing. Many scholars are skeptical that a private party would have standing to bring such a lawsuit. A plaintiff would have to at least show that an alleged gift or emolument caused the litigant to suffer a particular harm and that the injury could be remedied by the court.
Insurance companies seek $4.2B from Saudi Arabia banks, other organizations in 9/11 lawsuit
Over two dozen US insurance companies associated with Travelers Companies initiated a lawsuit last week against ten defendants over the September 11 terrorist attacks, including companies affiliated with Osama bin Laden's family, Saudi banks and several charities. The companies filed suit in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York and alleges that the defendants aided and abetted the attacks through activities in support of al Qaeda. The defendants include National Commercial Bank, Al Rajhi Bank, the Mohamed Binladin Company and the Muslim World League. This is the latest in a series of lawsuits filed after Congress overrode former President Obama's veto, in order to remove Saudi Arabia's immunity from US citizens' lawsuits. (Click here)
1 - Australia to introduce stricter rules on working visas - click here.
2 - Canada announces plan to legalize marijuana - click here.
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China's first quarter growth beats expectations at 6.9%
China's economy grew by 6.9% in the first quarter of 2017, according to official figures. The growth rate, which compares expansion with the same three months in the previous year, was slightly higher than many economists had forecast. State-led infrastructure spending and demand for new property helped drive the world's second-largest economy. Last month China cut its growth target for this year to 6.5% from 6.7% in 2016. (Click here)
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Un tribunal brasileño ordenó a la petrolera estatal Petróleo Brasileiro SA suspender la venta de su participación en un bloque exploratorio a la noruega Statoil ASA, después de que un sindicato alegó que debería haberse realizado un proceso abierto de licitación. Petrobras informó que el acuerdo por su participación en la región BM-S-8, conocida como el campo de Carcara, fue aprobado por los entes reguladores.
Perú analiza subastar, el primer trimestre de 2018, el millonario proyecto de gasoducto que fue devuelto por la brasileña Odebrecht en medio de un escándalo de corrupción. El ministro de Energía y Minas, Gonzalo Tamayo, recordó que la concesión del Gasoducto Sur Peruano fue cancelada en enero porque Odebrecht no pudo conseguir su financiamiento en momentos en que es investigada por sobornos para ganar obras públicas en el país.
Discovery Communications, propietaria de Discovery Channel y Animal Planet, construirá un parque temático de US$ 400 mlls. en Costa Rica. El gobierno confirmó que Sun Latin America será la firma encargada de la inversión para el desarrollo del proyecto que cubrirá 800 hectáreas en la provincia de Guanacaste, unos 225 kilómetros al norte de la capital.
EU urges Turkey to probe illegal vote claims
The European Commission has called on Turkey to launch a "transparent investigation" into allegations of irregularities during the referendum giving the president sweeping powers. Turkey should "consider the next steps very carefully." European leaders have expressed concern that the result - 51.4% in favor of the changes - has split Turkey. Erdogan has rejected criticism by international election observers. The main opposition party has launched an appeal to invalidate the result. The changes - due to be introduced before presidential and parliamentary elections in November 2019 - will turn Turkey into a presidential republic similar to the US and France. This could enable President Erdogan to stay in power until 2029.
IMF says global economic growth picks up
The International Monetary Fund says the global economy "could be at a turning point". The report forecasts global growth this year of 3.5%, up from 3.1% predicted in 2016. The IMF also warns of headwinds that could weaken its global projections. The organisation highlights the possibility of protectionism and what the report calls "trade warfare". However, the dominant tone of the report is rather sunnier than it has been for some time. For much of the period since the financial crisis of 2008 the IMF has worried that the recovery was failing to generate momentum.
Odebrecht to pay $2.6bn fine for corruption
A US judge has formally fined Brazil's engineering giant Odebrecht $2.6bn in a corruption case centered around the country's state oil company, Petrobras. The fine was a plea bargain deal agreed last year with the US, Brazilian and Swiss authorities. The judge said Brazil will receive $2.39bn, with the rest going to the Swiss and US authorities. The US charged Odebrecht with bribery in 12 countries in Latin America, with some bribes flowing through US banks. Odebrecht, and its affiliated petrochemical company Braskem SA, pleaded guilty in December in a deal designed to draw a line under the company's wrongdoings. (Click here)
Trump order to target foreign worker visa program
Trump has signed an executive order to review a temporary visa program used to place foreign workers in high-skilled US jobs. The order directs agencies to enforce government rules on excluding foreign contractors from bids for government projects. He signed the so-called Buy America, Hire America order on a visit to a tool factory in the US state of Wisconsin. The order is aimed at fulfilling his "America First" campaign promises. But it falls way short of Trump's campaign pledge to end the H-1B visa program. (Click here)
EU's Brexit plans 'unchanged' by snap election announcement
The European Union's Brexit plans remain unchanged by Theresa May's snap election announcement, the council representing EU leaders has said. The UK prime minister, who had promised not to call an election before 2020, said she planned to call a snap general election on 8 June. May's decision to call for the election is thought to have been spurred by political divisions in parliament as the talks on Brexit with the European Union are sent to begin soon. Many are focusing on the risk May and the Conservatives are potentially taking. It is a understandable choice to strengthen negotiation mandate for Brexit, but at the same time huge gamble and risk of even greater instability. There iss also speculation among European politicians over what impact the election result would have on Britain's approach to Brexit: "The elections in GB on the 8th June are the perfect opportunity - especially for the young generation - to avert hard Brexit." (Click here)
Algeria parties ordered to show female faces on posters
Algerian political parties have agreed to show female candidates' faces after some posters displayed blank avatars instead, the state news agency says. Parties in Bordj Bou Arreridj Province had been showing hijabs surrounding blank spaces alongside photos of male candidates. On Tuesday the election authorities gave parties two days to display photos or be removed from the vote. An official said the practice was illegal. "This kind of encroachment is dangerous; it is not legal and it opposes all laws and traditions."
Supreme court unanimously rules to limit sanctions on bad-faith conduct
The US Supreme Court on Tuesday held unanimously in Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Haeger that a monetary sanction of bad faith conduct is limited to the fees the innocent party incurred because of the conduct. Justice Kagan delivered the opinion of the court. "We hold that such an order is limited to the fees the innocent party incurred solely because of the misconduct—or put another way, to the fees that party would not have incurred but for the bad faith. A district court has broad discretion to calculate fee awards under that standard. But because the court here granted legal fees beyond those resulting from the litigation misconduct, its award cannot stand."
Trump lawyers argue immunity for protest lawsuit
Lawyers for US President Donald Trump, in their answer to a lawsuit Friday, contended the president was immune from being sued by protesters who were injured during a campaign rally in Louisville in 2016. The attorneys argued Trump was immune due to being the president. In addition, his attorney's argued the protesters waived any right to sue after buying a ticket to the rally and contended Trump had not urged the crowd to "get the protesters out of here." The contentions of Donald Trump in his answer were contradictory to claims made by Alvin Bamberger, a co-defendant in the lawsuit who was accused of pushing a black woman at the rally; Bamberger argues he was simply following Trump's orders in shoving the woman. A federal judge earlier this month rejected a free speech defense by President Trump in the ongoing lawsuit.
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