October 11, 2017 nº 1,913 - Vol. 14

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

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  • Top News

Catalan President stops short of declaring immediate independence

Catalonia's separatist leader backed down on Tuesday from a declaration of independence from Spain that would take immediate effect, opening the door to negotiations with Madrid. The move could prolong the tense political standoff between the Catalan government and Madrid. Catalan President Carles Puigdemont told the regional parliament Tuesday that support for independence in the Oct. 1 referendum had earned Catalonia the right to become a separate state. Puigdemont cited that result in declaring the wealthy Spanish region an independent republic, but then handed responsibility to regional lawmakers, asking them to suspend that declaration temporarily to allow Catalan leaders more time to negotiate secession with the central government in Madrid. The move buys Puigdemont more time to iron out differences that have emerged among separatist groups. (Click here)

Madrid scorns Catalan leader's move

Spain mulls its response after Catalonia's leader signs a document of secession but calls for talks.

Lawsuit over Las Vegas shooting tests gun industry's immunity

Last week's massacre at a Las Vegas country music festival offers gun control advocates a fresh chance to test a law, put in place by Republicans and the gun industry's lobby, that protects the industry from liability for the criminal actions of some of their customers. Starting with a lawsuit filed late last week in Nevada state court, the effort follows similar litigation over mass killings, most notably those of 20 elementary school children and six adults in Newtown, Conn. In most cases, the plaintiffs fail to overcome the law's high bar for liability, but with the Harvest 91 Festival, where almost 60 died and more than 500 were injured, that pattern may shift. A dozen bump stocks, which allow a semi-automatic weapon to fire with the speed of an automatic weapon, were found in gunman Stephen Paddock's 32nd-floor Mandalay Bay Resort hotel room. The complaint, which was filed in Clark County District Court and seeks class action status, alleges that Slide Fire Solutions Inc, a bump stock manufacturer, and other, unidentified makers and retailers behaved negligently in selling and producing these devices. "This horrific assault did not occur, could not occur, and would not have occurred with a conventional handgun, rifle, or shotgun, of the sort used by law-abiding responsible gun owners for hunting or self-defense," the complaint states. One crucial issue is whether the gun itself is mechanically altered.

Car Wash

In this article, the criminal lawyers of Torres | Falavigna AdvogadosLuis Carlos Dias Torres and Andrea Vainer talks about the Brazilian anti-corruption law and new trends for government criminal investigations after the "Car Wash" probe. (Click here)

  • Crumbs

1 - Google uncovers Russian-bought ads on YouTube, Gmail and other platforms. (Click here)

2 - Russian central bank to ban websites offering crypto-currencies. (Click here)

3 - EPA announces plans to repeal Obama-era Clean Power Plan. (Click here)

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  • MiMIC Journal

China congress: Military facelift a sign of bigger changes

Of the many noteworthy developments that have characterized Chinese President Xi Jinping's first five-year term, none stands out as much as military reform, and this reveals a great deal about the coming political trajectory in China. Xi Jinping did not shy from the bold and broad undertaking of military reform and it has resulted in profound changes to the People's Liberation Army. Even beyond the monumental purges of top generals, whose shameless corruption extended to practices like selling military titles, Xi has worked with single-minded purpose to organize and modernize China's military.

In China, scholars are being punished amid growing squeeze on public expression

Space for public expression has been tightening in media, the arts — and now in higher education as well. Some university professors have been fired for expressing views outside the mainstream.

China charges toward electric-car supremacy

Beijing’s bet on plug-in vehicles leaves the world’s leading car makers with little choice but to shift their clean-energy know-how to China.

Uncovering China's state aid empire

China was recently a foreign aid recipient but now rivals the US as the world's largest donor.

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  • Historias Verdaderas

Contratos

Anadarko, una firma de petróleo y gas con sede en Estados Unidos, invertirá unos US$ 200 mlls. para desarrollar un lote petrolero en el mar frente a la costa norte de Perú. La compañía suscribió con la estatal Perupetro tres contratos de exploración y explotación de petróleo y gas de los lotes Z-61, Z-62 y Z-63 ubicados en aguas del Océano Pacífico frente a las regiones de Lambayeque y La Libertad.

Negocios

Brookfield Asset Management Inc. está en negociaciones avanzadas para adquirir la participación del 41.5% de la española Abengoa, en su unidad que se cotiza en Estados Unidos Atlantica Yield. Las acciones de la unidad de energía limpia han experimentado un ascenso del 3.5% este año, lo que asigna a la compañía un valor de mercado de alrededor de US$ 2,000 mlls.

Rescate

El jefe del banco central de Brasil defiende una ley que permitiría al Gobierno rescatar parcialmente a entidades financieras en problemas, un paso más en los esfuerzos por fortalecer al sector. El presidente del banco central, Ilan Goldfajn, en audiencia de la comisión de Asuntos Económicos del Senado, aclaró que un rescate sería la última opción. Hay rumores que con este propósito se busca hacer algunos ajustes legales en las normas financieras vigentes. (Presione aquí)

  • Brief News

EU lawmakers give tentative nod to Brexit clearing law that could clobber Britain

European Union lawmakers on Tuesday gave broad support to a law that could end the City of London’s global dominance in clearing euro-denominated financial contracts after Brexit. The plan has raised hackles in Britain, where it threatens both job losses and tax revenues. The draft EU law proposes that a foreign clearing house -- which stands between two sides of a transaction to ensure its smooth completion -- must be subject to more intense supervision by the bloc’s regulators if it wants to serve customers in the EU. But if a clearing house is systemically important to the euro zone, then euro-denominated business with EU based customers must move to the bloc. The draft law is anathema to Britain, which voted to leave the EU in a referendum last year. It is home to LCH, an arm of the London Stock Exchange that clears most euro-denominated swaps in Europe. Financial services represent Britain’s biggest tax earning sector and the LSE has warned that thousands of jobs could leave the UK if euro clearing was forced out. (Click here)

Supreme Court denies review in conviction of Bin Laden's personal assistant

The US Supreme Court on Tuesday, denied certiorari to consider the last remaining conviction of Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman Al Bahlul, a Yemeni Guantanamo Bay detainee and former personal assistant to Osama bin Laden, who was tried and convicted by a military commission created after September 11, 2001. Al Bahlul is reported to have taped recruitment videos and the wills of some of the hijackers who were responsible for the September 11 attacks. Al Bahlul was convicted in 2007 of providing material support for terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism, and solicitation of others to commit war crimes. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned all but the conspiracy convictions in July 2014. The court remanded the conspiracy charge back to the Court of Military Commission Review.

Trump challenges Rex Tillerson to IQ test

"I guess we'll have to compare IQ tests," Trump said. "And I can tell you who is going to win."

Greek parliament approves law allowing legal gender change

Greece's parliament has approved a new law that will make it easier for people to change their legal gender. Citizens over the age of 15 will now be able to change their gender with a court ruling and without requiring a medical operation. LGBT activists said the new law was an improvement, but criticized it for not doing enough to establish "full self-determination" for transgender people. The Greek Orthodox Church said the move was "immoral". The bill, which passed by 171 votes in Greece's 300-seat parliament, removes medical requirements from the process of changing legal gender. Under the old law, those wanting to change their gender on official documents had to undergo sex-change surgery and medical tests. (Click here)

Mexico warns US about ending Nafta trade deal

Ending the North American Trade Agreement (Nafta) would break relations between Mexico and the US, the Mexican foreign minister has warned. Luis Videgaray was speaking ahead of a new round of trade talks this week between the US, Mexico and Canada. The talks to update the 1994 deal have become increasingly acrimonious, with Mexico and American business groups saying US proposals would hurt trade. This week, Trump repeated threats to scrap the deal. Videgaray warned that ending the regional trade pact would hurt relations between the US and Mexico and damage their co-operation on other issues such as fighting drug-trafficking and stopping illegal immigration across the US's southern border. The head of the US Chamber of Commerce, Thomas Donahue, warned that scrapping the deal would endanger $1tr in annual trade.

IMF forecasts stronger global growth

The global economic recovery is strengthening, according to the International Monetary Fund. In its latest World Economic Outlook, the IMF has revised its forecast for the global economy and is now expecting slightly stronger growth. It now predicts growth of 3.6% this year and 3.7% in 2018. The report says the global economy is experiencing a "welcome cyclical upturn after disappointing growth over the past few years". The report also warns that the global recovery is not complete and faces risks.

World Bank chief sounds alarm over job automation

The world is on a "crash course" as people's hopes collide with a future in which millions of jobs are automated, the World Bank chief has said. Jim Yong Kim said policymakers should take action by investing in education and health. The remarks come amid wider concerns about political threats to economic growth. Kim said other kinds of investments are important to economic growth in the future, as robots displace millions of low-skill workers. "The one thing you know for sure that you'll need in whatever the economy looks like in the future is people who can learn," he said.

Italy calls confidence vote on contested electoral law

The Italian government called on Tuesday for confidence votes in the lower house of parliament to try to force through an electoral law that is likely to penalize the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement. The new voting law, which would be used in a national election due by next May, is backed by the ruling Democratic Party, former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (Go Italy!) and the anti-migrant Northern League. Unlike the current rules, the new system, known as the Rosatellum, would allow the formation of broad coalitions before the ballot, a factor likely to hurt the maverick 5-Star, which refuses to join alliances.

Justice Department to be more aggressive in seeking encrypted data

The Justice Department put technology companies on notice that it intends to be more aggressive in seeking access to encrypted information on consumer devices, setting the stage for potential legal and legislative clashes in the tug of war between data privacy and public safety.

HRW to Colombia: fix flaws in transitional justice law

José Miguel Vivanco, director of Human Rights Watch's Americas division, sent a letter to several heads of the Colombian government Sunday, urging them to implement legislative proposals of a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas. A peace agreement between the two sides was signed on November 12, 2016.

UK court rejects challenge to law on assisted dying

The High Court of Justice on Thursday rejected a terminally ill individual's petition for assistance to die, upholding the Suicide Act 1961, which makes it illegal to assist in suicide. Noel Conway, who suffers from terminal motor neurone disease, argued that the Suicide Act 1961 is in conflict with Article 8 of the Human Rights Act of 1998 by undermining his right to respect of private and family life through a blanket ban on assisted suicide. Opposing counsel however argued that the act satisfied section 2 of Article 8 as "necessary in a democratic society" as a proportionate measure "for the protection of health," for the protection of morals" and "for the protection of the rights of others." (Click here)

Costly corporate investigations have no natural end-point

Corporate criminal investigations, especially for potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, can take years and sometimes cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

FAA panel splits on drone tracking requirements

In a potentially serious setback for expanded commercial drone operations, a federal advisory panel has failed to agree on proposals to identify and track unmanned aircraft nationwide.

Celebrity endorsement comes to the IPO market

Some startups are trying to lure investors to a risky new kind of share offering with an old tactic: the sheen of celebrity. These firms are using a process that helps small businesses to go public through a crowdfunding approach.

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