March 21, 2011  nº 1.019 -  Vol. 9


"A timid person is frightened before a danger, a coward during the time, and a courageous person afterwards."

Jean Paul Richter


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  • Top News

Gadhafi forces in disarray after assault

A missile strike has destroyed a building in Libya's capital, Tripoli, which Western officials say was one of col Muammar Gaddafi's command centers. Countries including the US, UK and France are continuing strikes after the UN authorized action to protect libyan civilians from government forces. The action against col Gaddafi's military began on Saturday afternoon with French air strikes in the east. A barrage of cruise missiles, launched from US and UK ships and submarines followed. US defence secretary Robert Gates has said that while the US will continue to play a part in operations against Col Gaddafi's forces, it "will not have the pre-eminent role". Meanwhile, the build-up of forces to enforce the no-fly zone continues. Qatar is to send four planes to join the coalition enforcing the UN-mandated no-fly zone, the US and France have said. The move would make Qatar the first Arab country to play an active part in the campaign against Gaddafi, who has been battling a month-long revolt. Other Arab countries are also preparing to join the campaign against Gaddafi.

Constitution changes pass in Egypt referendum

Egyptians have strongly backed constitutional changes that will allow the country to move quickly on to elections. Official results show that 77% of voters in Saturday's referendum backed the changes. A parliamentary vote may now take place as early as September. Mohammed Ahmed Attiyah, the head of the supreme judicial committee who supervised the vote, said 18.5 million people who voted supported the changes. Turnout was 41.2 % of the 45 million eligible voters. The changes include:

  • Reducing presidential terms from six years to four years and limiting the president to two terms;

  • Obliging the president to choose a deputy within 30 days of election;

  • Installing new criteria for presidential candidates, including a rule that they must be over 40 years old and not married to a non-Egyptian.

The country's two main political groups, Mr Mubarak's National Democratic Party and the Muslim Brotherhood, backed the proposals.

Arbitration Express

Judge backs arbitration in case against Securities America

The ruling is potentially costly to the brokerage firm, which preferred a class-action settlement of investors' claims from a $48 million fund.

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  • MiMIC Journal

Google says China disrupting e-mail service

Google has blamed the chinese government for problems accessing its e-mail service in the country. Internet users have complained that the authorities have stepped up disruption of its Gmail service in recent weeks. Google said it had found no technical issues, and blamed "a government blockage carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail". Users say the interference coincided with an internet campaign calling for protests like those in the Middle East.

U.S. vulture fund's lawsuit may cause 'constitutional crisis' in Hong Kong

China must approve a U.S. investment fund's lawsuit in Hong Kong against the Democratic Republic of the Congo before it can proceed, the central african country's lawyers said in a challenge to the chinese region's independent judiciary.

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  • Brief News

AT&T in $39bn deal

Deutsche Telekom has sold T-Mobile USA to rival AT&T for $39bn (£24bn), creating the largest US wireless network. The deal sent Deutsche Telekom's shares to their biggest daily gain yet, and gives AT&T about 43% of the US mobile market. The deal still needs approval from regulators. It also gives the German telecoms giant the cash to buy backs shares and pay dividends. AT&T said regulators may ask it to sell some assets as a condition for approval.

Obama administration contests en banc review of health care law

The Obama administration on Thursday filed a brief in the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit contesting a request by plaintiff states to have the health care reform law appeal heard by an en banc court.

Obama praises Brazil democracy

Obama has praised Brazil as a model of democracy, during a visit to the country. On a five-day Latin American tour , he said Brazil's flourishing economy and growing democracy were a model for countries in the Middle East. The visit to Rio follow talks in Brasilia with Dilma that focused on trade. However, there was no direct US endorsement of Brazil's bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a move that left Dilma clearly frustrated at the lack of stronger support.

Sex domain given final approval

The overseer of the internet's addressing system gives final approval to the creation of a .xxx domain for explicit material.

Costs rise on data breach fallout

Security breaches, in which firms lose data by malice or neglect, are costing more to deal with. The average data breach costs firms millions annually. The expenses are generated by clearing up after breaches, loss of clients and rebuilding trust with customers. The costs have gone up for the third year running as the number of attacks rises and regulators push firms to keep defenses up to date. System failures, of both policies and technology, accounted for the biggest proportion, 37%, of all cases sampled.  Negligence, in which employees lose vital data on laptops, phones or USB sticks, accounted for 31% of cases. Encryption systems, which scramble data on these devices, were becoming increasingly popular way of limiting this type of loss. The most expensive threats to defend against were those coming from cyber criminals,

Europe rights court authorizes display of crucifix in Italy state schools

Displaying crucifixes in schools in Italy does not breach the rights of non-Catholic families, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled. The court ruled there was no evidence that a crucifix hung in a classroom would influence pupils. Friday's ruling focused on Italian public schools, and does not automatically force other countries to allow crucifixes in the public schools, according to the court. The ruling overturned a previous decision made in November 2009, which angered the roman Catholic country.

'Some' US banks pass stress tests

The US central bank has notified some of the country's 19 largest banks that they have passed the latest round of stress tests. "Some" banks will be allowed to buy back shares, repay capital to the government and boost dividend payments, the Federal Reserve said. But the Fed did not reveal the results including whether any had failed. JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo BNY Mellon and US Bancorp quickly said they would boost their dividends to shareholders, following the announcement. Citigroup, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs have not yet announced their situation.

Former Goldman Sachs Rajat Gupta director sues SEC

Former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta has sued the US SEC - Securities and Exchange Commission. In a civil law suit, the SEC had accused Gupta of revealing corporate information to hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam. Court papers said Gupta "stands ready to mount a defence against each and every one of the commission's charges". Gupta felt he had not been granted his "statutory and due process rights".

Yemen president declares state of emergency

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh declared a state of emergency throughout the country on Friday. The state of emergency will last 30 days and gives security forces greater powers to maintain order and also includes a ban on citizens carrying arms in public. There is also a possibility that the state of emergency includes a curfew. The decree came after 25 protesters were killed on Friday at an anti-government rally in the country's capital of Sana'a. Police were present at the rally to ensure control, but Saleh stated at a press conference that the police did not use live rounds on the crowd and that the shootings were the result of confrontations between protesters and local residents. Saleh stated that a "committee of neutral bodies" will investigate the incident and called those killed during the protest "martyrs of democracy."

UN warns Ivory Coast shelling may be war crime

The UNOCI - UN peacekeeping operation in the Ivory Coast on Thursday denounced the shelling of a market in the capital Abidjan which killed 25 to 30 civilians and injured scores more, calling it a possible war crime. In the statement, UNOCI condemned the use of violence against civilians: "The authors of these abusive acts, which constitute flagrant violations of human rights, will not go unpunished. UNOCI reserves the right to take appropriate measures to prevent such acts in the future, in compliance with our mandate to protect the civilian population."

Battle for control of Parmalat attracts attention

The Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo said it could team up with Ferrero, the maker of Nutella, to help keep Parmalat in italian hands.

Judge temporarily blocks Wisconsin's anti-union law

A judge on Friday temporarily blocked Wisconsin's controversial new law stripping public employee unions of key collective bargaining rights.

Microsoft and feds execute court order to seize spam network

Microsoft Corp claimed credit on Thursday for taking down one of the biggest producers of spam e-mail in a joint effort with federal authorities across the US.

Pilots say revised US screening still too invasive

Two US commercial airline pilots complained in a lawsuit on Friday that new screening procedures for flight crews -- scaled back after complaints by pilots -- were still too invasive and violated privacy rights. The US Transportation Security Administration on Oct. 19 started requiring air travelers and flight crews to go through full-body scanners or physical patdowns amid concerns that militants could hide a bomb underneath their clothing and detonate it aboard a plane. Pilots and flight crews complained the new screening exposed them to excessive radiation because they fly so frequently and that extra scrutiny for them was unnecessary because they already control the planes.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Time
The day the earth moved. Japan's cataclysmic earthquake set off a chain reaction felt round the world.

Newsweek
How to save California. After the disaster trifecta in Japan—quake, tsunami, nuclear crisis—californians are asking if they might be next. The state's two reactors sit near seismic faults, tsunamis are a risk, and evacuation plans are iffy. Did someone say 'prepared'?

Business Week
Special report: Crisis in Japan. A look at how the disasters will affect the crippled Asian nation—and the world.

The Economist
The fallout. Some natural disasters change history. Japan's tsunami could be one.

Der Spiegel
Fukushima - Was wirklich geschah.

  • Daily Press Review

Coalition strike hits Gaddafi's control center in Tripoli
Al Arabiya, Online news, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Top army commanders defect in Yemen
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Fears Egypt vote to benefit Islamists
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

Italians rescue Egyptian migrants
Egyptian Gazette, English-language, Cairo, Egypt

Rebels: Gadhafi forces use human shields against West's strikes
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Syria protesters torch buildings
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Saudi women embrace feminism - on their own terms
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

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

Prince William winds up trip to flood-hit Australia
Times of Oman, English-language daily, Muscat, Oman

Al Jazeera reporters deported from Yemen
Yemen Observer, Sana'a, Republic of Yemen

Missile destroys Gaddafi 'command centre'
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Coalition targets Gadhafi compound
CNN International, London, England

Smoke forces evacuation from Fukushima plant
Euronews, Ecully Cedex, France

LIBYA: Tripoli bombardment targets Gaddafi compound
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Japan nuclear plant operator missed inspections
Independent The, London, England

AT&T to buy T-Mobile USA
Irish Times The, Centrist daily, Dublin, Ireland

Libya: how the West just made things worse
Spiked, (Alternative Internet Magazine), London, England

Gaddafi's HQ blown to bits
Sun The, London, England

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

Wyclef Jean shot while campaigning for Haiti election
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

Next U.S. envoy to Korea needs hotline to the White House
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

After year of woe, Haiti chooses a new president
Daily Jang, Left-wing daily, Karachi, Pakistan

Smoke at reactor 3 triggers evacuation
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

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

Japan reconstruction may take 5 years
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Japan's tragedy: Caribbean consequences
Caribbean360, Online news portal, St. Michael, Barbados

Tanks deploy in Yemen as top commander defects to opposition
Globe and Mail The, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Western planes hit Gaddafi compound, Tripoli says
Reuters, New York, U.S

Obed Asamoah returns to NDC
GhanaWeb, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Fedusa: Labour law a human right
News24.com, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

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