February 21, 2011 nº 1.009 - Vol. 9

"You don't take a photograph, you make it.
A good photograph is knowing where to stand."

Ansel Adams

Insider's view: see how local concerns shape up the global world. Read the daily press review in Migalhas International.


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


  • Top News

Shanghai Stock Exchange and Brazil's Bovespa to link

The Shanghai Stock Exchange and Brazil's BM&F Bovespa are due to sign an agreement on Monday that could lead to closer ties between the two. Bovespa said it was looking for cross-listing across both exchanges, although this would not happen immediately. The bourse, which is the world's fourth largest, is facing increased competition in its domestic market. The agreement is the latest in a series of tie-ups between the world's leading stock exchanges. Bovespa said the objective of the deal was "to initiate a common discussion about business opportunities and exchange information".

Protests sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa

UN SG calls for an end to violence against Middle East protesters

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday called for an end to violence against protesters in Bahrain, referencing recent attempts to quell protests sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa. Ban said that he is "disturbed by all these violent means of trying to disperse demonstrators, the freedom of expression, freedom of access to information, particularly the journalists." Ban went on to urge restraint: "Here as elsewhere, violence should not be used against peaceful demonstrators and against journalists. It must stop. Those responsible must be brought to justice. Above all we have insisted on respect for the rights of peaceful protest and assembly, freedom of the press and access to information. There should be no violence from any quarter. I urge all parties to exercise restraint. The situation calls for bold reforms, not repression."

Algeria police prevent fresh opposition rally

Algerian security forces have prevented anti-government protesters from staging a march through the capital. Several hundred members of an umbrella group for some opposition parties, human rights bodies and trade unions, gathered in central Algiers but were dispersed by police in riot gear. Inspired by the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, Algerian opposition parties and other groups have been staging rallies. They say they will march every Saturday until democratic change is introduced. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's government has banned large rallies.

Tunisia seeks Ben Ali extradition from Saudi Arabia

Tunisia is formally requesting the extradition of ex-President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali from Saudi Arabia, where he fled last month. Ben Ali flew to Saudi Arabia on 14 January after 23 years in power, after being toppled by weeks of protests. Tunisia interim government is now seeking to put Ben Ali on trial on charges linked to the deaths of protesters during the uprising against his rule.

Morocco protesters demand political change

Thousands of people have marched in Moroccan cities to demand that King Mohammed VI give up some of his powers. In the capital, Rabat, police allowed protesters to approach parliament, chanting slogans like "The people reject a constitution made for slaves!" Sunday's rallies in Morocco are organized by groups including one calling itself the February 20 Movement for Change. More than 23,000 people have expressed their backing for its Facebook site.

Libya protests: Gaddafi's son warns of civil war

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son, Sayf al-Islam, has warned that civil war could hit the country. His comments came in a lengthy TV address to the nation broadcast as anti-government protests spread to the capital Tripoli. Despite criticizing protesters, he also held out the promise of significant political reforms.

Yemen protests: Five killed at anti-government rallies

At least five people have been killed during widespread anti-government demonstrations in Yemen. During what has been described as a nationwide "Friday of rage", tens of thousands of protesters in several cities demanded that President Ali Abdullah Saleh leave office immediately. It was the eighth day of anti-government demonstrations in Yemen, which have been inspired by uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, where the presidents have been forced to step down.

Bahrain opposition set demands for talks with royals

Opposition groups and anti-government protesters in Bahrain say their demands must be met before they will enter into talks with the Gulf state's monarchy. They want the government to resign, political prisoners to be released and the deaths of protesters investigated. The majority Shia population in Bahrain have long said they are discriminated against when it comes to housing and government jobs. They have also been calling for greater political rights from the Sunni royal family.

Iran briefly detains daughter of former president

Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who has appeared at opposition protests in the past, was detained Sunday while trying to cause unrest by chanting anti-government slogans in one of the main streets of Tehran, the IRNA news agency said. Another pro-government news service reported that she was released a short while later.

So much news that we'll implode?

Have you noticed? The news cycle is spinning faster. And faster. Andfasterandfaster. Congressman Christopher Lee (R-NY) resigns because of a scandal even before the scandal is known to the public. On websites we get Tuesday's news on Monday. As online commenters, we discuss articles we haven't read and dis movies we haven't watched. Google anticipates the stories we want to see even before we know we want to see them. And as one person tweeted recently: "Tunisia's revolution took four weeks. Egypt: 17 days. Who's next and how much time do they have?" When it comes to the news of the day, newspapers, websites, bloggers, cable networks and aggregators all trip over themselves to be the fastest and the first. The competition has always existed, but technology has ramped up the rivalries. At this increasingly accelerated pace, is it inevitable that noteworthy events — and the news they engender — will rush lickety-split into each other? What happens when things just cannot occur any faster? What if the rapidity of the newscycle outpaces the news itself and we wind up in some form of warp speed — living life in a wormholish, time-wrinkled world?
As a result, Gray says, "people are intentionally filtering the information they consume through sources they agree with, or are turning instead to entertainment and idle-time activities, becoming less informed." "Curious people will have more of an opportunity to engage in curated and complex editorial mixes, and people who define themselves as a political party, or an issue, or any other narrow set of filters will embrace sources that don't expose them to alternative points of view."

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  • MiMIC Journal

China police break up 'protests' after online appeal

Police in China showed up in force in several major cities after an online call for a "jasmine revolution". Calls for people to protest and shout "we want food, we want work, we want housing, we want fairness", were circulated on Chinese microblog sites. Several rights activists were detained beforehand and three people were arrested in Shanghai, but the call for mass protests was not well answered.

China's fuel price hike raises concerns about inflation

China has raised fuel prices for a second time in three months as it looks to offset a jump in global crude costs. However, the move has raised questions over government attempts to slow inflation. "Excessively fast growth in oil consumption is exceeding the tolerance capacity of our country, economically and environmentally."

China raises bank reserves to cool inflation

China has raised the reserve requirement for banks by 0.5% in its latest attempt to curb inflation. By insisting the banks hold more cash, the central bank hopes to restrict lending, thereby reducing spending. The bank has already raised capital requirements once this year, following a number of hikes last year, and has raised interest rates three times in the past four months.


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  • Brief News

DOJ asks federal judge to clarify health care ruling

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday asked federal judge Roger Vinson to clarify his ruling to require states to enact the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act during the pendency of the government's appeal. In the motion, the government focused on the substantial uncertainty that would be faced by people who currently enjoy benefits from portions of the law that went into effect immediately. The motion also focused on the fact that the portion of the law ruled unconstitutional, the minimum coverage mandate, is not scheduled to go into effect until 2014, meaning there would be no prejudice to states if they would be required to enact the earlier-scheduled provisions. The government additionally noted the significant number of states, including those that are parties to this suit, have applied for funding under enacted portions of the law.

Google trying to avoid antitrust fight in Europe

As Google's ambitions have grown, stretching into businesses far beyond Internet search and advertising by the click, so has the scrutiny of antitrust agencies on both sides of the Atlantic. Google has been attracting the attention of the European Commission. With investigations by the U.S. antitrust authorities piling up and with complaints growing louder on other issues ranging from privacy to copyright, the last thing Google wanted was to get bogged down in a lengthy antitrust battle in Brussels. The case could also be costly for Google, and not just in tarnishing its "don't be evil" motto. If found in violation of European law, Google could be fined as much as 10 percent of its annual worldwide revenue, which topped $29 billion last year. It could also be required to adjust its business model as part of a remedy.

Plaintiffs lawyers in Vioxx battle closer to getting paid

After battling Merck & Co. in court for years over the safety of its Vioxx painkiller, lawyers for the plaintiffs are a step closer to finally getting paid. A committee charged with divvying up more than $300 million in attorneys' fees for work on lawsuits against the pharmaceutical company has made its recommendations to a federal judge in New Orleans.

Deep budget cuts passed by US

The US House of Representatives has approved deep cuts in federal spending, in a vote regarded as a victory for the new Republican majority in the house. The vote - largely along party lines - approved $61bn in reduced federal spending between now and the end of budget year on 30 September. The house's spending bill now goes before the Senate, which is controlled by the president's Democratic Party. Obama has outlined a plan for less drastic cuts in 2012.

Berlusconi launches new judicial reform attempt

Berlusconi has launched a new attempt to reform Italy's judicial system, days after being charged with having sex with an under-age prostitute. The proposals include a curb on the use of wiretaps and the re-instatement of full parliamentary immunity. Berlusconi says the reforms, given initial cabinet approval on Friday, will make the system fairer and faster. The prime minister has been trying to reform Italy's judicial system for years. "This is a reform based on principles (underlying) civilised life," he is reported as telling cabinet ministers. Critics say the measures are intended to shield him from trials.

German 'plagiarism' minister drops doctorate

German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has temporarily renounced his doctorate title following accusations of plagiarism. German media allege several passages of his 2006 thesis were lifted from other people's work. The minister, dubbed "Zu Copyberg" by television, strongly denied the claims. He said there were undoubtedly mistakes and he was unhappy about them. "I will temporarily, I repeat temporarily, give up my doctoral title," Guttenberg told reporters

Utah House passes Arizona-style immigration bill

The Utah House of Representatives on Friday approved an Arizona-style immigration law by a 58-15 majority vote. Sponsored by Representative Stephen Sandstrom (R), the controversial bill had been amended several times before going up for a vote. The proposed law will give state law enforcement officials the authority to investigate the immigration status of those they stop or arrest, but under the approved amendments, only for serious crimes. A controversial provision to the bill, which allowed police officers to inquire about a person's immigration status while being stopped or arrested for a misdemeanor, was changed last week. Unlike its Arizona predecessor, the Utah immigration bill does not provide an avenue for private citizens to sue local police who do not enforce the law. The House did not pass a proposed amendment that would allow illegal aliens "being held for transportation" to remain in the state "if a legal resident of this state offers to sponsor the alien in compliance with the requirements under federal law." The bill will now head to the state Senate where uncertainty remains as to whether it will pass and be signed into law.

Pakistan court issues second warrant for ex-president Musharraf

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court on Saturday issued a second arrest warrant for former military president Pervez Musharraf for not appearing in court for charges related to the 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. Authorities were unable to serve an arrest warrant issued last Saturday because Musharraf is currently living in self-imposed exile in London.

UN rights chief urges Russia to protect rule of law

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Thursday urged Russian officials to reform institutions to protect the rule of law in Russia. Pillay claimed that the Russian people do not trust government institutions, in part because of the ongoing harassment of journalists and human rights activists. She said that the "rule of law, including accountability and protection of rights for all citizens and non-citizens on Russian territory, is an essential prerequisite for true democracy, peace and development."

Kenya parliament speaker rules presidential nominations unconstitutional

Kenneth Marende, Speaker of the Kenyan National Assembly, ruled Thursday that four nominations made by President Mwai Kibaki had violated the requirement of consultation with the prime minister under the new constitution.

Former Chrysler dealers sue U.S. over store closures

Sixty-four former Chrysler dealers sued the U.S. government on Thursday, saying the Obama administration violated their rights by closing their stores during the automaker's bankruptcy without compensation. The dealers said they were due "at least $130 million" in damages from the shutdown of their stores, according to a complaint filed with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington. In May 2009, Treasury said the store closures were "necessary" to help Chrysler rebound from its near-collapse and said it played no role in deciding which and how many dealers would close.

  • Weekly Magazine review

The generation changing the world. Why It's Different This Time. The combination of youth and technology is driving a wave of change. Fingers crossed: it may turn out just fine

A 21st Century Statesman. In the age of Twitter-shortened attention spans, fame is an increasingly powerful weapon of diplomacy. How George Clooney is helping to bring change—and a hefty dose of hope—to Sudan.

Business Week
Hungry for a Solution to Rising Food Prices. Even if the global agriculture crisis doesn't turn cataclysmic, it represents a massive test

The Economist
The awakening. As change sweeps through the Middle East, the world has many reasons to fear. But it also has one great hope

Der Spiegel
Das Märchen vom ehrlichen Karl - (Dr.) zu Guttenberg und die Wahrheit

  • Daily Press Review

Egypt state media: Mubarak has no assets abroad
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

Saudis offer Bahrain rulers support against opposition
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

UAE urges Bahrainis to respond to talk offer
Khaleej Times, English-language daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Bahraini protests not sectarian, says Muneera Fakhro
Middle East North African Network, Online financial portal, Amman, Jordan

Austria Prepares for Evacuations from Libya, Other Arab Countries
Nahamet, Online news portal, Beirut, Lebanon

Libya forces shoot dead dozens, talks begin in Bahrain
Times of Oman, English-language daily, Muscat, Oman

Yemen President reconsiders juvenile death penalty
Yemen Observer, Sana'a, Republic of Yemen

Libya: UK seeks world condemnation
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

Uganda President Wins New Term; Opposition Alleges Fraud
Radio Free Europe, Prague, Czech Republic

Libya on the brink as protests hit Tripoli
The Guardian, Liberal daily, London, England

Estonia mourns orphanage fire dead
The Independent, London, England

Ivory Coast police fire on crowd
The Irish Times, Centrist daily, Dublin, Ireland

DPP legislative nominations seen as prelude to 2012 presidential election
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Libyan city falls to anti-goverment forces - reports
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

64 civilians killed in Kunar raids, says governor
Pajhwok Afghan News, (Independent news agency), Kabul, Afghanistan

Death sentence to gunman in Mumbai attacks
Sify News, Chennai, India

Libyan unrest spreads
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Dominican teachers end week-long protest
Dominican Today, Independent daily, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Chinese official accused of embezzling $14M flees to Canada: reports
The Globe and Mail, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Amendments to Employment Equity Act 'unconstitutional'
Mail & Guardian Online, Liberal, Johannesburg, South Africa


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