September 13, 2017 nº 1,904 - Vol. 14

"Ideas are, in truth, forces. Infinite, too, is the power of personality. A union of the two always makes history."

Henry James

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

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  • Top News

EU escalates efforts to preserve rule of law in Poland

The European Union on Tuesday escalated its case against Poland over what it sees as democratic backsliding in the Central European nation, moving a step closer to a possible court case that could result in financial penalties for Warsaw. Poland's ruling Law and Justice party, led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, is pushing to overhaul the nation's justice system in a way that gives it direct power over the courts, saying it seeks to create a more efficient justice system. The European Commission, however, sees the move as an attack on the independence of the justice system and rule of law in the 28-year-old democracy, and launched the first step in a legal proceeding against Poland in July. The Commission, which polices law in the 28-member bloc, said Tuesday that it has now taken the second of three steps in the so-called infringement procedure against Poland. It said it was giving Warsaw one month to address judicial changes which it believes violate the rule of law. (Click here)

Brexit talks delayed a week 'for consultation'

The next round of Brexit talks has been postponed by a week to "allow more time for consultation". The fourth round of UK-EU negotiations, due to begin on 18 September, will start on the 25th instead. The government said a short delay "would give negotiators the flexibility to make progress". Both sides settled on the date after discussions between senior officials in recognition that more time for consultation would give negotiators the flexibility to make progress in the September round. Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, has emphasized the need to be flexible while also warning that the "clock is ticking" if an agreement is to be reached by the time the UK is scheduled to leave at the end of March 2019.

Angel investors

In this new article, Welson H. Lassali Rodrigues, lawyer at Chiarottino e Nicoletti – Advogados, talks about how Brazilian authorities completed the legal framework regarding how angel investors can supply funds to Brazilian start-ups and the applicable taxation on their capital return. (Click here)

  • Crumbs

1 - Maldives suspends lawyers calling for rule of law. (Click here)

2 - Google appeals against huge EU anti-trust fine. (Click here)

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  • MiMIC Journal

China banks fear US North Korea sanctions

China's big banks have been quietly but surely weaning themselves off North Korean money. This is not particularly about their troublesome neighbor. It is because of a fear of US repercussions. Bank branches near the North Korean border said they've been instructed not to open any new accounts for that country's citizens and businesses. This is not part of any United Nations sanctions regime. It is an attempt to head off further US measures targeting Chinese banks which are accused of doing sanctions-busting business with North Korea.

Beijing court sentences Ponzi scheme operators to life in prison

A Beijing intermediate court sentenced two brothers to life in prison on Tuesday after ruling that the brothers' peer-to-peer lending company, Ezubao, was a Ponzi scheme. One of the brothers, Ding Ning, was founder of the company and chairman of the Anhui Yucheng Holdings Group. His crimes included illegal fundraising and "smuggling precious metals." The Ponzi scheme collected the equivalent of over USD $9 billion from nearly one million investors, making it "close to one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in modern Chinese history." Twenty-five others involved in scheme were also arrested for up to 15 years.

China's currency rebounds as economic optimism returns

Though the country faces long-term problems, like soaring debt, the government’s recent moves have reassured investors that it can stave off crises.

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  • Brief News

U.N. Security Council approves new North Korea sanctions

Facing opposition from China and Russia against even tougher sanctions, the US compromised to win a unanimous resolution. (Click here)

North Korea threatens US with 'greatest pain' after UN sanctions

North Korea has threatened the United States with the "greatest pain" it has ever suffered following new sanctions imposed by the United Nations. Pyongyang's envoy to the UN accused Washington of opting for "political, economic and military confrontation". Trump said the move was nothing compared to what would have to happen to deal with North Korea. The UN sanctions are an attempt to starve the country of fuel and income for its weapons programs. The measures restrict oil imports and ban textile exports, and were approved after North Korea's sixth and largest nuclear test earlier this month.

Trump's legal team debated whether son-in-law Jared Kushner should leave White House

A small group of White House lawyers this summer urged that President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner step down from his White House role amid a broadening probe into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russians in the 2016 election. Some of the lawyers worried that the presence of Kushner, a senior adviser with a broad domestic and foreign policy portfolio, created potential legal complications for Trump, while the probe threatened to limit Kushner's ability to perform his job. Kushner had several interactions with Russian officials in the campaign and transition that have drawn interest from investigators, and some White House lawyers warned that even casual discussions between him and Trump could spark additional scrutiny.

French protests target Macron labor reforms

Protests have taken place in cities across France against changes to the country's labor laws. The interior ministry said 223,000 protesters had attended but the unions said the number was even higher. Two of the biggest unions distanced themselves from the action, indicating they may be willing to compromise. It is the first big test for Macron,

Temer slams judiciary

Brazil's President Michel Temer has accused his country's judiciary of using allegations of corruption to destroy reputations. Temer's statement came just hours before a Supreme Court justice authorized a new corruption investigation into the president. Temer is already implicated in Operation Car Wash. He has denied all accusations of corruption. (Click here)

Loans to West Bank settlers violate international law, HRW says

Human Rights Watch called on Israeli banks to halt the financing of settlement activity in the West Bank, arguing that the legal justification they use for doing business there isn't valid. Israel's five biggest banks, led by Bank Hapoalim Ltd. and Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd., are contributing "to serious human rights and international humanitarian law abuses" by financing construction in the settlements, the New York-based group said in a report. "Israeli banks are making existing settlements more sustainable, enabling the expansion of their built-up area and the take-over of Palestinian land, and furthering the de-facto annexation of the territory," the report said.

Uber's legal chief Salle Yoo is resigning

The top lawyer at Uber Technologies Inc. is departing the ride-hailing company as it faces three federal investigations into its operations and welcomes a new chief executive.

Myanmar denounces UN's 'ethnic cleansing' suggestion

Myanmar has denounced the suggestion by the UN human rights chief that its treatment of Rohingya Muslims amounts to "ethnic cleansing". The country's envoy to the UN blamed Rohingya insurgents for the violence in Rakhine state, saying that Myanmar would never tolerate such atrocities. Some 370,000 Rohingyas have crossed the border to Bangladesh since the situation escalated last month. The UN Security Council is due to meet on Wednesday to discuss the crisis.

Rebel Wilson awarded A$4.5m in magazine defamation case

Actor Rebel Wilson has been awarded A$4.5m ($3.6m) in Australia's largest payout for a defamation case. Wilson successfully argued that a series of magazine articles had wrongly portrayed her as a serial liar. In June a jury unanimously sided with Wilson, who had claimed the articles stifled her career in Hollywood. She has said she will give the money away. Bauer Media has always denied the articles were defamatory.

Supreme Court backs broad enforcement of travel ban — for now

Justice Anthony Kennedy delays implementation of an appeals court ruling that would have allowed certain refugees from six Muslim countries to enter the US despite the Trump administration's order.

Philippines cuts rights body's budget to $20

Lawmakers in the Philippines have voted to give an annual budget of just 1,000 pesos ($20) to the public body investigating the country's controversial war on drugs. The cut to the budget of the Commission on Human Rights was supported by a margin of 119 to 32 in Congress. Speaker of the House Pantaleon Alvarez labelled the commission "useless".

Judge suspended for wearing Trump hat

A Canadian judge who wore a "Make America Great Again" hat into court after the US election has been reprimanded and suspended for 30 days without pay. Ontario court justice Bernd Zabel, 69, faced a series of possible sanctions for his conduct on 9 November. The Ontario Judicial Council held an inquiry into his actions in late August. Zabel has called wearing the hat an "ill-considered" attempt at a joke. He has also apologized in open court and admitted that wearing the Donald Trump campaign hat into court was judicial misconduct.

Hillary Clinton Is 'Done,' But Not Going Away

In interviews, Clinton discussed her life since the election she didn't expect to lose and why she lost. And she offers scathing criticism of President Trump.

Americans' borrowing hits another record. Time to worry?

Americans owe more than ever before, with household debt hitting nearly $13 trillion. Some economists say the lessons of the credit bubble that led to the financial crisis are being forgotten.

Iraq votes against Kurdish independence referendum

The council of Iraq on Tuesday denied the referendum petition of Kurdistan to permit its independence.

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