March 18, 2011  nº 1.018 -  Vol. 9

"The love of their country is with them only a mode of flattering its master; as soon as they think that master can no longer hear, they speak of everything with a frankness which is the more startling because those who listen to it become responsible."

Marquis De Custine

In today's Law Firm Marketing, Short words add power and impact to your writing and big words are for the birds.


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


  • Top News

UN backs action against Gaddafi

The UN Security Council has backed a no-fly zone over Libya and "all necessary measures" short of an invasion "to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas". In NY, the 15-member body voted 10-0 in favor, with five abstentions. Rebel forces reacted with joy in their Benghazi stronghold but a government spokesman condemned UN "aggression". It is not thought that the US would be involved in the first strikes, but the British and French are likely to get logistical backup from Arab allies. There were reports military action could come soon. US officials said an attack on Col Gaddafi's air force could begin by Sunday.

US Congress introduces legislation to repeal Defense of Marriage Act

Congressional Democrats on Wednesday introduced legislation to repeal the DOMA - Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 federal law that defines marriage as a "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife." Companion bills were introduced in both chambers of Congress in an effort to capitalize on growing public support for same-sex marriage. Representatives Jerry Nadler (D-NY), John Conyers (D-MI) and over 100 cosponsors are leading the effort in the House, and Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and about twenty cosponsors are promoting the bill in the Senate. Five states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriages. Currently DOMA allows other states to ignore those recognized same-sex marriages, and prevents same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits available to married couples. The proposed legislation would repeal DOMA and formally amend United States Code definition of marriage: "For the purposes of any Federal law in which marital status is a factor, an individual shall be considered married if that individual's marriage is valid in the State where the marriage was entered into or, in the case of a marriage entered into outside any State, if the marriage is valid in the place where entered into and the marriage could have been entered into in a State."

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  • Crumbs

1 - Expatriate lawyers leave Tokyo as firms react to radiation threat - click here.

2 - RIM strikes Microsoft partnership, to debut PlayBook 'very soon' - click here.

3 - Man charged in 3rd Facebook attack - click here.

4 - Celebrating St Patrick's Day - click here.

5 - Proposition 8 supporters argue for standing to appeal - click here.

6 - Utah governor signs package of immigration reform bills - click here.


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  • MiMIC Journal

China's intimidation of the foreign press

What's new is the way the police have turned on foreign journalists. The sort of tactics being used are toned-down versions of those China's extensive and repressive public security apparatus usually deploys to intimidate and silence Chinese citizens whom the authorities see as threats to "social stability". The moves are part of what appears to be a concerted campaign launched in recent days to monitor and intimidate foreign reporters in China. Fears about the revolutions in the Arab world spreading here seem to have induced a state of paranoia in the internal security services.

  • Law Firm Marketing

Short words add power and impact to your writing

by Trey Ryder

Some people like to use long words, for many reasons.  They think using long words makes them look smart.  Or proves they know words the reader might not know.  Or they've learned it's quicker to use jargon than to reduce words to their shorter counterparts.

Here's the bottom line:  Long words are harder to read than short words.  They are also harder to understand.  They require more energy and brain power to decipher.  As a result, they sap your reader's desire to continue reading.  So your reader sets down your materials, fully intending to get back to them later.  Sometime.  Maybe.  Well, I guess not.  And -- your materials end up in the round file.

Short words sound friendly because most people speak in short words.  Short words keep readers reading because they don't have to translate long words into short words they can understand.

Don't be concerned about the number of words you use.  People often think it's more efficient to use one long word in place of three or four short words.  But three or four short words are still much easier to understand and digest than one long word.  So don't look at word count.  Instead, look at word length.  If you can replace a long word with shorter words, it's almost always a good idea to do so.

Look at what you read over the next few days.  Likely, the things you enjoy reading are written with short words.  Things you dread reading are written with long words.  In the battle for ease, understanding and impact, short words win every time.


Big words are for the birds

by Joseph Ecclesine

When you come right down to it, there is no law that says you have to use big words in ads.

There are lots of small words, and good ones, that can be made to say all the things you want to say -- quite as well as the big ones.

It may take more time to find the small words -- but it can be well worth it. For most small words are quick to grasp. And best of all, most of us know what they mean.

Some small words -- a lot of them, in fact -- can say a thing just the way it should be said. They can be crisp, brief, to the point. Or they can be soft, round, smooth -- rich with just the right feel, the right taste.

Use them with care and what you say can be slow, or fast, to read -- as you wish.

Small words have a charm all their own -- the charm of the quick, the lean, the lithe, the light on their toes. They dance, twist, turn, sing... light the way for the eyes of those who read, like sparks in the night -- and stay on to sing some more.

Small words are clean, the grace notes of prose. There is an air to them that leaves you with the keen sense that they could not be more clear.

You know what they say the way you know a day is bright and fair -- at first sight And you find as you read that you like the way they say it.

Small words are sweet -- to the ear, the tongue, and the mind.

Small words are gay -- and lure you to their song as the flame lures the moth (which is not a bad thing for an ad to do).

Small words have a world of their own -- a big world in which all of us live most of the time (which makes it a good place for ads, too).

And small words can catch big thoughts and hold them up for all who read to see -- like bright stones in rings of gold.

With a good stock of small words, and the will to use them, you can write ads that will do all you want your ads to do -- and more, much more.

In fact, if you play your cards right, you can write ads the way they all say ads should be done: in words like these (all the way down to the last one, that, is) of just one syllable.


© Trey Ryder

FREE LAWYER MARKETING ALERT:  If you'd like to receive Trey Ryder's weekly Lawyer Marketing Alert, send an e-mail to Write "Subscribe LMA" in the subject line and write your name and e-mail address in the body of the message.


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  • Brief News

Malaysian Christian lawyer barred from Shariah courts

A Christian lawyer in Malaysia has failed in her attempt to be allowed to practise in the Muslim Shariah courts. Victoria Jayaseele Martin said she wanted to appear for non-Muslim clients fighting in such courts, to provide them with fairer representation. An increasing number of cases heard in the Islamic courts involve both Muslims and non-Muslims. Malaysia runs two parallel legal systems. The civil courts cater to its non-Muslim citizens while the Islamic system decides issues affecting the fate of the country's Muslim majority. A judge in Kuala Lumpur dismissed her challenge to the decision of a religious council that all lawyers in Islamic courts must be Muslim.

Airbus faces manslaughter charges

A French judge has filed preliminary manslaughter charges against European aircraft maker Airbus over a crash in 2009. All of the 228 people onboard were killed when an Air France flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris came down in the Atlantic Ocean on June1  that year. The preliminary charges pave the way for further investigation. The cause of the accident is not known, though sensors on the aircraft sent faulty speed readings to pilots.

US Senate passes three-week government budget bill

The US Senate has passed a fresh stop-gap bill that will fund the US government for three more weeks, and avoid a shut-down while lawmakers work out a deal on the main federal budget. The bill slashes $6bn (£3.71bn) from government spending in that period. The US government would have run out of money on Friday had it not passed.

US drones track drug gangs in Mexico

The US has been sending unarmed drones over Mexico since February to gather intelligence on major drug cartels, the Mexican government has confirmed. The flights were made at Mexico's request and were supervised by the Mexican air force and other agencies. It is the latest sign of growing US involvement in Mexico's campaign against violent drugs gangs. The missions had been kept secret because of Mexican legal restraints and sensitivities over sovereignty. Mexico's National Security Council said the high-altitude flights had been carried out with "unrestricted respect" for Mexican law.

Murdoch deal for Shine faces shareholder writ

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp is being sued for buying his daughter's business and giving her a seat on the board. US pension funds allege in a writ that News Corp is "paying for nepotism" and that Murdoch uses the company as a "family candy store". News Corp is paying $675m for Shine, which Elisabeth Murdoch built into a successful UK film company. A News Corp spokeswoman told the Reuters news agency the lawsuit was "meritless".

Stress test banks, EU capital pass rate undecided a month before deadline

EU regulators have yet to agree on which banks to test as part of annual exams on capital, or what the passing grade will be, a month before an April deadline for disclosure of stress test methodology.

Peru national first to be arrested under new UK genocide law

A spokesperson for the UK's Metropolitan Police Service on Thursday confirmed the arrest of a 46-year-old peruvian national on suspicion of crimes against humanity and torture. He is suspected of involvement with the Shining Path, a Maoist guerilla organization, believed to be responsible for the deaths of thousands in conflicts in Peru. The man, whose name has yet to be released, was arrested on Tuesday and is being held while police conduct searches of several addresses in the area linked to him. The man is the first to be arrested under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, which allows UK courts to hear cases of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by nonresidents between 1991 and 2001.

Canada Supreme Court to review ban on Muslim veil during testimony

The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to review a lower court order requiring a Muslim woman to remove her niqab while testifying. The Court of Appeal for Ontario in October ruled that a witness does not have to remove her veil unless the failure to do so will prevent the accused from receiving a fair trial, and should be determined on a case-by-case basis. The case was then remanded to the lower court. The trial began in 2007 after the woman told police that her uncle and cousin had repeatedly sexually assaulted her when she was between the ages of six and ten years old. The trial court required the victim to remove her veil when testifying against her uncle and cousin. The defendants argue that allowing the woman to wear a niqab on the stand obstructs their right to face their accuser. David Butt, the woman's lawyer, responded that an exception should be granted to ensure that victims of sexual assault, specifically Muslim women who practice religious veiling, feel welcomed by the judicial system.

Federal appeals court allows woman to sue over forced removal of headscarf

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reinstated a lawsuit on Tuesday, allowing a Muslim woman to sue several government parties for forcing her to remove her religious headscarf while detained in a holding cell. Souhair Khatib argued that being forced to remove her hijab was a violation of her religious rights under the RLUIPA - Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which prohibits governments from imposing regulations upon inmates that engender religious discrimination. (Click here)

Poland court rules 1981 martial law declaration unconstitutional

Poland's Constitutional Tribunal on Wednesday ruled that the 1981 declaration of martial law violated the country's then-governing constitution. The decision facilitates the restitution process for those harmed while martial law remained in effect by eliminating the need for courts to rule on the declaration's constitutionality on a case-by-case basis. Thousands of restitution claims are expected from victims or their families, including those killed, imprisoned, terminated from their employment or otherwise harmed during the period.

Foreclosure deal could be delayed

The effort by the Obama administration and some state regulators to help homeowners avoid foreclosure is facing modest delays in the face of opposition from banks and Congressional Republicans.

Judge mulls dismissing Glaxo lawyer indictment

A federal judge is considering whether to dismiss an indictment against a former GlaxoSmithKline PLC lawyer after new evidence emerged about possible prosecutorial errors in her indictment.

Sodexo sues union under federal racketeering statute

The american unit of French catering giant Sodexo SA on Thursday filed a civil racketeering lawsuit accusing the Service Employees International Union of engaging in illegal tactics in its efforts to unionize workers.

Law schools attract far fewer students

Student applications to law schools are down sharply this year, as college seniors grow leery of a degree that promises certain debt and uncertain job prospects.

  • Daily Press Review

Military strikes on Libya within hours: France
Al Arabiya, Online news, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

UN authorises no-fly zone over Libya
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Libya intervention looms, as int'l task force begins to takes shape
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

U.S. Congress weighs aid package to post-Mubarak Egypt
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Gaddafi's son: Libya not afraid of UN resolution
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

Japan nuclear plant rocked by second blast, reactor undamaged
Nahamet, Online news portal, Beirut, Lebanon

China urges Japan to give swift radiation information
Times of Oman, English-language daily, Muscat, Oman

Yemen donors require private sector role
Yemen Observer, Sana'a, Republic of Yemen

UK prepares for Libya no-fly zone
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Britons to be evacuated from Japan
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

Engineers look to regain control of Fukushima
Euronews, Ecully Cedex, France

Foreign Office to start evacuation from Japan
Independent The, London, England

G7 intervention lifts Japan's shares
Irish Times The, Centrist daily, Dublin, Ireland

'Piracy lair' stands between Russia and WTO membership
Moscow Times The, Independent daily, Moscow, Russia

Pakistan demanding U.S. apology for deadly drone strike
Radio Free Europe, Prague, Czech Republic

Japan nuclear evacuation kills 14 elderly hospital patients
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

Foreign Ministry unable to contact with more than 600 Taiwanese expats
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Gadhafi regime sets bad precedent for N.Korea
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Hillary checks out Pranab, and the competition
Hindu The, Left-leaning daily, Chennai, India

4 civilians dead in Kandahar bombing
Pajhwok Afghan News, (Independent news agency), Kabul, Afghanistan

FACT CHECK: Are 82 percent of schools 'failing'?
Sify News, Chennai, India

Japan asks for US help in nuclear crisis
Times of India, Conservative, New Delhi, India

CF-18 jets to help enforce Libya no-fly zone
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Agents seized more than 36 kilos of alleged cocaine in the Malecon
Dominican Today, Independent daily, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

BRAZIL-US: Obama promises 'equal partnership'
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

UN okays military action on Libya
Reuters, New York, U.S

UN authorizes 'all necessary measures' to stop Gadhafi in Libya
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Jub Jub back in court for trial, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa


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