April 6, 2011 nº 1.026 - Vol. 9


"Words are the counters of wise men, and the money of fools."

Thomas Hobbes

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

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  • Top News

Federal appeals court dismisses challenge to FCC net neutrality rules

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Monday granted a motion by the FCC - Federal Communications Commission to dismiss a challenge to the new net neutrality rules. Verizon and MetroPCS filed an appeal challenging the new net neutrality rules that allow the government to regulate Internet traffic to preserve the Internet as a free and open platform of communication. The court dismissed the appeal for improper timing because the challenged rulemaking document has yet to be published in the Federal Register and is not a licensing decision with respect to the specific parties as required by 47 CFR § 1.4(b)(1). The court said it would be subject to judicial review once it is published in the Federal Register. Verizon spokesperson Ed McFadden said that the notices of appeal were filed because the FCC's rules governing timing of appeals were unclear and the company did not want to lose its right to appeal. Verizon plans to file a second appeal when the rules are published in the Federal Register.

Google goes shopping for patents

Google has made a $900m bid for the patent portfolio of Nortel Networks, the bankrupt Canadian telecom equipment maker. The final price could go well over $1bn and may be as high as $2bn. The patents could help arm it against potential lawsuits aimed at its Chrome browser and Android mobile operating system. Patents are becoming highly prized pieces of intellectual property. The amount of money being put up illustrates how fierce the patent wars have become as companies like Apple, Google, Nokia and HTC become embroiled in lawsuits. Google is not convinced that all the litigation is justified. "The patent system should reward those who create the most useful innovations for society, not those who stake bogus claims or file dubious lawsuits," said Kent Walker general counsel for Google. "If successful, we hope this portfolio will not only create a disincentive for others to sue Google, but also help us, our partners and the open source community - which is integrally involved in projects like Android and Chrome - continue to innovate," he added. Google's $900m bid is a "stalking horse asset sale agreement" which means other companies interested in the 6,000 patents on offer have to put more money on the table. The sale will include patents and patent applications for wired, wireless and digital communications technology.

Holder announces 9/11 conspirators to face military trials

US attorney general Eric Holder announced Monday that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other co-conspirators will be tried before a military commission for their roles in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Holder, who wanted the accused be tried before a federal civilian court, referred the cases to the DOD - Department of Defense after Congress imposed a series of restrictions barring the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the US. Holder refused to delay the trial any longer for the sake of the victims of the 9/11 attacks and their families, explaining that the restrictions are not likely to be repealed in the immediate future. While deciding to proceed with military commissions, Holder defended the federal judiciary, saying: "Too many people ... have expressed doubts about our time-honored and time-tested system of justice. That's not only misguided, it's wrong. The fact is, federal courts have proven to be an unparalleled instrument for bringing terrorists to justice. Our courts have convicted hundreds of terrorists since September 11, and our prisons safely and securely hold hundreds today, many of them serving long sentences. There is no other tool that has demonstrated the ability to both incapacitate terrorists and collect intelligence from them over such a diverse range of circumstances as our traditional justice system. Our national security demands that we continue to prosecute terrorists in federal court, and we will do so. Our heritage, our values, and our legacy to future generations also demand that we have full faith and confidence in a court system that has distinguished this nation throughout its history."

Compelling evidence in the U.S. in aid of a non-U.S. proceeding

Lawyers are often confronted with a practical and often frustrating discovery issue: How does one obtain documents or information for use in a non-U.S. proceeding if it is located solely in the US. Like many tribunals in other countries, Brazilian courts lack the authority to issue subpoenas to non-parties in the U.S., thus making it extremely difficult to obtain such documents or information. In this new article, Eric Waldman of The Barry Fischer Law Firm, in NY City, discusses this issue and offers practical recommendations. (Click here)

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  • Crumbs

1 - Toyota beats bid by Asia, Europe plaintiffs to join acceleration lawsuits - click here.

2 - Google said to be possible target of U.S. FTC antitrust probe - click here.

3 - Duke law students give musical nod to Nixon - click here.

4 - Mobile-app makers face U.S. privacy investigation - click here.

5 - 'Salford stallion teacher jailed for sex with pupils - click here.

6 - Britney Spears sued for $10M over fragrance deal - click here.

7 - Joel and Sergine Le Moaligou convicted of causing child's death - click here.

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  • Historia Verdadera

Licitación

La Autoridad del Canal de Panamá recibirá el 29 de abril las propuestas para el diseño del tercer puente sobre la vía interoceánica, que se construirá en el Atlántico, que tendrá un costo aproximado de US$ 280 mlls.

Adjudicado

La mexicana Empresas ICA informó que el consorcio Cice, liderado por la compañía, se adjudicó mediante una licitación internacional un contrato con la colombiana Aguas Nacionales EPM para la construcción de un túnel interceptor de aguas residuales en Medellín, Colombia, por cerca de US$ 67 mlls. (Presione aquí)

Banca

El argentino Banco de Galicia emitirá títulos bajo su Programa Global de Obligaciones Negociables de simple, mediano y largo plazo por hasta US$ 300 mlls. en Argentina y Luxemburgo. Los papeles serán a tasa fija y cupón cero, con plazo de hasta 7 años.

Bolivia x Chile

El presidente boliviano, Evo Morales, nombró al frente de la nueva Dirección Estratégica Marítima al abogado Rubén Saavedra, hasta ahora ministro de Defensa, para hacerse cargo de demandar a Chile en tribunales internacionales por una salida al Pacífico. (Presione aquí)

  • Brief News

Nobel laureate loses last legal battle to save job at bank

Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Bangladeshi microfinance pioneer who popularized the notion of giving tiny loans to the poor, lost his legal battle on Tuesday to hold on to his job as managing director of the bank he created more than 30 years ago. Last month, Bangladesh's central bank ordered that Mr. Yunus be dismissed from his post at Grameen Bank, the institution he founded and with which he shared the peace prize in 2006. A lower court rejected his challenge to the order, and on Tuesday, the country's highest court rejected his appeal. The push to remove Mr. Yunus started last year after a Norwegian documentary accused him and Grameen, which has 8.3m borrowers, of improperly transferring to an affiliate $100m that had been donated by Norway. The money was retransferred after Norwegian officials complained. In a statement last year, Norway cleared Grameen and Mr. Yunus of wrongdoing.

In corporate disclosure, a murky definition of material

The way American companies disclose information is increasingly disconnected from the desires of investors and the marketplace. American securities laws are quirky when it comes to disclosure. They do not require, as they do in Britain, that all material information be disclosed on a continuous basis. Instead, companies must periodically file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission disclosing all material information. Certain categories of such information, like director resignations, are required to be reported within two business days. But most information is allowed to be reported quarterly or yearly. Even then, the information is typically required to be disclosed only if it is deemed material. What is material information? It has been defined by the US Supreme Court as "a substantial likelihood that the disclosure of the omitted fact would have been viewed by the reasonable investor as having significantly altered the 'total mix' of information made available." This is a subjective legal standard, so there is no bright line rule for what is material. Each situation is different. It also allows lawyers and others to argue that something is not material because they didn't think it was certain or important enough to affect the stock price of the company significantly. It's here where companies have gotten into trouble. A company's disclosure of controversial information is run past the lawyers, who look at it through a legal perspective. Since materiality is a legal concept to them, the lawyers too often find ways to judge it not material.

Ivorian leader denies surrender

Ivorian leader Laurent Gbagbo denies reports he is surrendering after troops loyal to his rival Alassane Ouattara surrounded his residence. Speaking by phone from his bunker, he said his military were only negotiating a truce and insisted he had won November's presidential election.

Libya: Rebel leader accuses Nato of failing civilians

The Libyan rebel commander, Gen Abdul Fattah Younis, has accused Nato of standing idly by while pro-Gaddafi forces kill people in Misrata. A Nato-led coalition mandated by the UN to protect civilians is enforcing a no-fly zone and attacking ground targets. It accuses Gaddafi forces of sheltering weapons in civilian areas.

ICC prosecutor claims to have evidence Gaddafi planned attacks on civilians

ICC - International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on Tuesday revealed that his office has uncovered evidence that embattled Libyan leader Mummar Gaddafi planned to attack civilians to forestall regime-toppling revolution. Moreno-Ocampo indicated that the plans were made in response to the conflicts in Tunisia and Egypt and included shooting civilians. Moreno-Ocampo wants to interview the recently defected foreign minister of Libya, Moussa Koussa, to gather more inside information on the Gaddafi government. The prosecutor hinted at possible immunity for Koussa, who fled to London last month, but stopped short of a guarantee. Gaddafi remains defiant even as several key figures have defected and NATO-led air strikes have grounded his planes.

Islam debate in France sparks controversy

Sarkozy's party, the UMP, has hosted a controversial debate on the practice of Islam in secular France. The debate provoked protests from Islamic and other religious groups, and even from some members of the governing party itself. Critics have accused the party of pandering to a resurgent far right. The debate was held a week before a law banning the Islamic full-face veil in public comes into force. The UMP argued that it would be irresponsible not to debate the great changes posed to French society by its growing numbers of Muslims.

Criminals target mobile devices and social networks

Smartphones and social networking sites are likely to become the next big target for cyber criminals, according to a security industry report. Symantec's annual threat analysis warns that the technologies are increasingly being used to spread malicious code.

Indian accounting firm is fined $7.5m over fraud at Satyam

The Indian outsourcing concern and PriceWaterhouseCooper will pay $17.5 million to settle an S.E.C. inquiry involving inflated revenue and cash balances.

Boards tread carefully after Del Monte case

Boardrooms are more cautious about how they use investment banks following a recent Delaware court ruling that blasted a bank's motives in being both adviser and financier in a deal. The case, which struck at the core of the relationship between investment banks and the companies they advise, has made boards nervous about whether they will be accused of not conducting sales of companies openly and fairly. In the Delaware case in February, the judge accused Barclays Capital of a conflict of interest in advising on and financing the buyout of Del Monte Foods Co by private equity firms including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. Del Monte ended up hiring another investment bank to search for potential buyers. In a contract negotiation where the directors want to sell for cash, they may be nervous that Delaware courts will intercede in certain situations.

Brazil rejects panel's request to stop dam

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights had raised concerns about the displacement of indigenous people and the environmental effects of the construction.

Brazil takes stronger hand in vale with CEO ouster

Mining giant Vale SA's choice for its new chief executive—a former executive considered the government's pick—appears to give Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff greater control over the world's largest iron-ore producer. That has left investors and executives alike scrambling to gauge whether and how far Ms. Rousseff might push the Rio de Janeiro-based company into potentially money-losing projects to drive the country's broader development goals, like reviving its shipping industry.

The problems with derivatives clearing

The International Monetary Fund is out with a new paper on derivatives after the storm, and it is a strangely academic exercise for an institution that one would hope would be a bit practical. In short, the paper argues that the focus in the Dodd-Frank Act on central clearing of derivatives is not the best solution and that central clearing parties are apt to become "too big to fail." The first point seems to ignore the current political reality in the US. Many members of the House majority seem to doubt the need for derivatives regulation at all. Apparently, they think such regulation destroys jobs, although the connection between employment and derivatives is a bit vague (it apparently has something to do with the benefits of unchecked lending). In any event, the realistic options now seem like there reside somewhere between what we have in Dodd-Frank and nothing. The I.M.F.'s new paper essentially ignores the costs of close-out netting, which, if you talk to some in the derivatives industry, is something to be protected with fervor. In particular, the article in question worries that the move to central clearing will reduce big financial institutions' ability to "net" their gross exposure to a given counterparty. This is pretty typical among banking types, where netting is seen as a universal good. The costs of netting are rarely discussed.

Obama: Government shutdown over budget 'inexcusable'

Obama has said it would be "inexcusable" for lawmakers to fail to reach a budget that would fund the government to September. Obama spoke after he and Congressional leaders were unable to reach a budget deal on Tuesday. Without a new budget, the US government will shut down on Friday.

Colombia investigates military jail 'special treatment'

Prosecutors in Colombia say they will investigate the treatment of prisoners at one of the country's military jails, after a news magazine reported they were being given special privileges. Reports say that many prisoners came and went as they pleased and lived in luxurious cabins. Others were reportedly allowed to take holidays on the Colombian coast. Defence Minister Rodrigo Rivera said he had already taken measures to reinstate discipline at the jail. He said the country was fighting a culture of impunity, where crimes often went unpunished, and promised that the military would not be excluded.

Switzerland court rules Google Street View constitutes breach of privacy

The Swiss FAC - Federal Administrative Court on Monday publicized its ruling that Google Street View constitutes a breach of privacy for the country's citizens and ordered Google to take extra steps to ensure adequate protection. The FAC officially ruled on the claim brought by the Swiss FDPIC - Data Protection Ombudsman and Public Domain against Google on March 30. According to the judgment, before publishing any pictures on the web, Google must make all faces and license plates unrecognizable as well as ensure the anonymity of individuals in the vicinity of sensitive facilities. In making its decision to impose restrictions on Google's Street View, the FAC considered the interests of the public in having a visual record and the commercial interests of the defendants, but ultimately determined that these did not outweigh the rights an individual has over one's own image. Google now has the opportunity to appeal the decision to the Swiss Federal Supreme Court. The FDPIC originally brought the claim in November 2009.

Kenya urges ICC to drop post-election violence cases

Kenya has urged the ICC - International Criminal Court to dismiss the cases against six senior Kenyan leaders accused of committing crimes against humanity and contributing to the 2007-2008 post-election violence. Kenyan authorities last week emphasized that "the ICC's jurisdiction complementary to national criminal jurisdictions" and argued that, with its new constitution and reformed judicial system, Kenyan officials are capable of prosecuting the cases domestically.

Senate passes change to health law

Congress sent the White House its first rollback of the new health care law on Tuesday, a bipartisan repeal of a tax reporting requirement that was widely unpopular with businesses. The Senate voted 87 to 12 to repeal a requirement that would have forced businesses to file tax forms for every vendor selling them more than $600 in goods each year, starting in 2012. The requirement was unrelated to health care, but it would have been used to generate revenue to pay for part of the law. Obama supports the change, which was approved by the House in early March.

Lawsuits over Wachovia collapse thrown out

A Manhattan federal judge has dismissed three shareholder lawsuits accusing Wachovia Corp and its former executives of lying about the bank's exposure to risky mortgage loans, which caused its near collapse.

  • Daily Press Review

Mideast turmoil adds urgency to push peace: Obama
Al Arabiya, Online news, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Ivorian leader denies move to surrender
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Aid boat carrying wounded Libyans arrives in Turkey
Egyptian Gazette, English-language, Cairo, Egypt

Goldstone says won't seek nullification of Gaza war report
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

LIBYA: Prisoners on both sides at risk
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Egypt ready for normal relations
Iran Daily, English-language, reformist, Tehran, Iran

Mystery strike on car kills two in Port Sudan
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

Paris: Ivory coast's Gbagbo negotiating his surrender, crisis may end within hours
Nahamet, Online news portal, Beirut, Lebanon

Russian Pravda newspaper: Syria Stable Country, refuses to bow down to foreign dictates
Sana, Syrian Arab News Agency, Damascus, Syria

New sex scandal rocks Australian military
Times of Oman, English-language daily, Muscat, Oman

Yemen turmoil results in killing four, wounding 23
Yemen Observer, Sana'a, Republic of Yemen

Ivorian leader denies surrender
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Real lesson for Spurs as Madrid run riot
BreakingNews.ie, Online news portal, Cork, Ireland

Utility: Radioactive water leak stopped
CNN International, London, England

Immigration cap enters into force
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

Bridgwater becomes internet laughing stock after 'turtle-pig' is sighted in river
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Coronation Street: Weatherfield gears up for double wedding and Gail can't believe what one bride is wearing...
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Rubygate trial begins after Berlusconi gets a boost
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

Debate on Islam provokes ire in France
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Men freed after Zambian mine shootings
Independent The, London, England

Congresswoman to lead US Democrats
Irish Times The, Centrist daily, Dublin, Ireland

George 'broken' over MacCorkindale's death
OK! Magazine UK, Celebrity news, London, England

White House: Pakistan making little progress against insurgents
Radio Free Europe, Prague, Czech Republic

The other Libyan war looks like a stalemate, too
Spiked, (Alternative Internet Magazine), London, England

Britain triples aid for Pakistan's schools
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

Charlie Sheen moves to trademark 22 catchphrases
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

Wall Street trading is still quiet
WNC News, London, England

Yemen's president renews call for opposition to resume dialogue
Antara News, News agency, Jakarta, Indonesia

Flights resuming to N. Si Thammarat
Bangkok Post, Independent, Bangkok, Thailand

Gov't allows fishing near Japan's nuke leak site
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Korea leads in battery production but lacks innovation
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

D. Medvedev congratulated N. Nazarbayev on convincing victory at elections
Gazeta.kz, Official online newspaper, Kazakhstan

PAC quizzes Anil Ambani, telecom CEOs on 2G scam
Hindu The, Left-leaning daily, Chennai, India

Dalai Lama second among 100 most influential spiritual leaders
India Express, News portal, Mumbai, India

Tepco stems leak of highly radioactive water
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Obama takes aim at 2012 in 'final campaign'
News The, Left-wing, Karachi, Pakistan

Doctors say more maternity hospitals are needed in Kabul
Pajhwok Afghan News, (Independent news agency), Kabul, Afghanistan

Global stocks decline on rate hike
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

China dismisses int'l concerns over missing artist
Sify News, Chennai, India

Japan nuclear plant plugs highly radioactive leak
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Four devotees die in Uttar Pradesh accident
Thaindian News, Bangkok, Thailand

Mercedes-Benz recalls 136,000 cars in US
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

Japan nuclear plant plugs highly radioactive leak
Times of India, Conservative, New Delhi, India

RCMP boss OK'd ex-PM aide Carson's security clearance
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Singer beats former first lady in Haiti elections
Caribbean360, Online news portal, St. Michael, Barbados

Republican plan to fix U.S. budget mess could prove costly for GOP
Globe and Mail The, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Banker to the poor falls foul of Bangladesh politics
International Business Times, Business news organization, New York, U.S

ECUADOR: US ambassador expelled over Wikileaks cable
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Southwest Airlines will still beat the market
Motley Fool The, Financial, Virginia, U.S

Ivorian leader denies surrender
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

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