June 27, 2011 nº 1,058 - Vol. 9


"We must not allow other people's limited perceptions to define us."

Virginia Satir

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

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  • Top News

US House approves patent reform bill

The US House of Representatives voted 304-117 Friday in favor of the America Invents Act, the largest potential reform to the US patent system since 1952. If the bill passes it would replace the current "first inventor to use" system with a "first inventor to file" system, making US patents more like the European and Japanese systems. In turn, it also changes the way other inventors can challenge a patent, including revising the appeals system. A similar bill passed the Senate in January. The America Invents Act now goes to reconciliation where differences will be negotiated over between the House and Senate, and then to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign the bill. There have been several significant legal decisions in patent law in the last few months. Earlier this month, the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled against Microsoft, holding that a patent will be invalidated only if the challenging party meets the "clear and convincing evidence" standard. The court also held in a separate decision that the Bayh-Doyle Act, which vests patent rights to universities for inventions from federally funded research, did not give Stanford University superior rights to the invention of its employee and thus, the employee could transfer his invention rights to a third party. In May, the Supreme Court ruled that induced patent infringement requires knowledge that the induced acts constitute patent infringement. Also in May, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit restricted the use of the "inequitable conduct" defense for invalidating patents.

EU gives final approval to Croatia membership

The European Council on Friday agreed to grant Croatia EU membership following six years of accession negotiations. The decision calls for negotiations to close by the end of the month and the accession treaty to be signed by year's end, allowing for the country to become the 28th member of the EU on July 1, 2013. In the interim, EU leaders strongly encouraged Croatia to continue pursuing crucial reform initiatives.

The Supreme Court as a market mover?

On Monday, the Supreme Court handed Wal-Mart a huge win, ruling that more than one million female employees did not have similar enough claims to sue as a class. The case was considered a triumph for employers because it will likely limit the size and scope of class action cases brought against companies. In the hour after the court decision, Wal-Mart's stock price ticked up one percent before settling at a closing price of $53.04, about 0.6% above the day's opening price. While such a fluctuation might seem tiny for such a landmark case, it turns out it's not so unusual. By the time an appeal reaches the Court, the market has already reacted to the event that sparked the lawsuit. Investors have also had time to consider the verdict at trial and have adjusted for the coming Court decision by evaluating the justices' demeanor at oral argument, said University of Michigan law professor Adam Pritchard. "The situation gets more analyzable as we get deeper in the court system," Nik Modi, a UBS analyst who covers the tobacco industry, said. However, a positive or negative ruling does impact the stock for a brief period, he said. Analysts, especially in litigation-heavy industries like tobacco, do watch those cases closely. There was a time, Modi said, when there was fear huge damages awards or class approval could bankrupt tobacco companies, and decisions favoring tobacco companies did rally those stocks.

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  • MiMIC Journal

Guarded welcome to Hu Jia release

China's release of the prominent dissident Hu Jia is greeted cautiously by officials in Europe, where Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is visiting.

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  • Brief News

EU tells crisis-hit Greeks to unite for new bail-out

EU leaders have urged all Greek politicians to support new spending cuts and tax hikes, saying there is no alternative if debt-laden Athens is to qualify for a second massive bail-out. "National unity is a prerequisite for success". For weeks Athens has been gripped by huge street protests and strikes by Greeks opposed to the tough bail-out conditions. Many of them think Greece is being sacrificed to save the euro. The new measures include even deeper spending cuts and tax hikes. Many economists believe Greece's international lenders are prescribing a harmful and inefficient medicine. The second rescue is being negotiated in Brussels. It is expected to be about 120bn euros ($171bn).

Philip Morris battles Australia on cigarette packaging

Tobacco giant Philip Morris has threatened to sue the Australian government over its plan to introduce plain, brandless packing for cigarettes. Australia's government has proposed to ban logos and branding on tobacco packaging. The company said it had sent a legal notice to the Australian government setting a mandatory three-month period for the two sides to negotiate on the issue. It warned that if no agreement was reached in that time, it would seek financial compensation.

Winklevoss twins file another lawsuit against Facebook

The Winklevoss brothers have re-started their long-running legal dispute with Facebook and its boss Mark Zuckerberg. Just days after dropping a supreme court action, the twins filed a fresh lawsuit against the company. It claims that Facebook "intentionally or inadvertently suppressed evidence" during their previous litigation. Originally, Tyler and Cameron accused Zuckerberg of stealing their idea to create the site.

First hearing ex-Khmer Rouge leaders' trial

A UN-backed tribunal in Cambodia is holding its first hearing in the trial of four former top Khmer Rouge leaders. The defendants include the "number two" in Pol Pot's regime, Nuon Chea. They face charges including genocide and crimes against humanity over the deaths of up to 2m Cambodians in 1975-79. They all deny the accusations, and the trial is likely to last for years.

Online shoppers to receive more help from new EU rules

New rules that regulate off-premises and distance contracts, such as online trading, where the most cross-border sales take place, return period and credit-card payment have been approved by MEPs. Governments will have two years to implement the changes after an expected rubber-stamping next month. The new rules are intended to help consumers looking to grab bargains from overseas via the internet. Many of the current consumer rules operating in EU countries pre-date the widespread use of the internet by shoppers.

NY state approves gay marriage

New York becomes the sixth and most populous US state to allow same-sex marriage, after a Senate vote on the controversial issue. Activists hope the New York vote will help convince judges and politicians across the country that support of same-sex marriage is now a mainstream viewpoint and a winning political stance. But many challenges remain, and opponents say they have had more success when voters get to cast ballots.

Low rates may create 'financial distortions'

The BIS - Bank for International Settlements has warned that low interest rates across the globe are a threat to world financial stability. The BIS warned low cost of borrowing had resulted in a credit and property price boom that was fuelling inflation, especially in emerging economies. Central banks across the globe have cut interest rates in an attempt to boost growth after the 2008 financial crisis. However, BIS warned that the policy may prove to be counterproductive. One of the biggest concerns that economists and analysts have about low interest rates is the formation of asset bubbles.

Google facing US antitrust probe

US federal regulators are preparing to issue court orders to Google and other companies as part of a probe into practices in Google's search engine business. The FTC - Federal Trade Commission is expected to open a formal inquiry within the next days. The FTC is looking at whether Google manipulates its search results to steer users to its own sites and services. Google has not commented on the matter.

Among the costs of war: $20b in air conditioning

The amount the U.S. military spends annually on air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan: $20.2bn. That's more than NASA's budget. It's more than BP has paid so far for damage during the Gulf oil spill. It's what the G-8 has pledged to help foster new democracies in Egypt and Tunisia. More than 1,000 troops have died in infrastructure and fuel convoys, which remain prime targets for attack.

Brazen hacker group says it's disbanding

Lulz Security, a publicity-seeking hacker group that has left a trail of sabotaged websites over the last two months, including attacks on law enforcement and releases of private data, said unexpectedly on Saturday it is dissolving itself.

Israel threatens 10-year ban for journalists participating in Gaza aid flotilla

Israel issued a warning to the international media on Sunday, threatening deportation and a 10-year ban from the country for any foreign journalist caught on board an aid flotilla headed for the Gaza Strip. The Israeli Government Press Office issued a letter to foreign journalists reportedly calling the flotilla a dangerous provocation by extremists and an intentional violation of Israeli law. The letter warned that in addition to a ban from the country, participants in the flotilla may face equipment seizures and other sanctions.

Federal judge enjoins Indiana immigration law

A judge for the US District Court Southern District of Indiana on Friday issued a preliminary injunction against two provisions of a controversial Indiana immigration law. The ACLU - American Civil Liberties Union filed a class action lawsuit in May challenging the two provisions, one which authorized state and local police officers to make warrantless arrests of persons who have an immigration court removal order against them or who they have probable cause to believe have been indicted or convicted of aggravated felonies. The second challenged provision created a new infraction for anybody other than police officers to knowingly or intentionally accept consular identification as a valid form of identification.

Tunisia ratifies Rome Statute, joining ICC

Tunisia on Friday acceded to the Rome Statute of the ICC - International Criminal Court, which is now set to become effective in the country on September 1, 2011. EU High Representative Catherine Ashton commended the move, noting the positive effects that ratification will have on prosecuting war crimes. AI - Amnesty International offered similar praise and encouraged the country's regional neighbors in North Africa to follow suit.

ICC to decide whether to issue Gaddafi arrest warrant

The ICC - International Criminal Court said Thursday it will decide whether it will issue arrest warrants for Libyan leader Mummar Gaddafi and two high-ranking officials on allegations of war crimes. The Pre-Trial chamber will deliver is decision on the application for warrants against Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and his brother-in-law Abdullah al-Sanussi in a public hearing Monday in The Hague. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said his office has gathered "direct evidence" that the men committed crimes against humanity in connection with efforts to quell the three-month old Libyan revolt.

E-Discovery malpractice is more common than perceived

Lawyers beware: the pitfalls of e-discovery may be more complicated than many litigators—even experienced partners—expect or are prepared to handle. E-discovery is a discipline. Far too many attorneys in firms large and small think that e-discovery is something they can do on the side, when they are not drafting motions to dismiss an antitrust class action or preparing to depose a scientist in a patent infringement matter. Unfortunately, this is simply not true.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Time
Does it still matter? One document, under siege: the Constitution

Newsweek
Diana at 50. Chilling with the Middletons. Tweeting from Davos. And still the people's princess. If not for that tragic night, what her life might look like now.

Business Week
The Rise and Inglorious Fall of Myspace

The Economist
If Greece goes... The opportunity for Europe's leaders to avoid disaster is shrinking fast.

Der Spiegel
Schwarz-Gelb: - Abrechnung mit einer sogenannten Regierung

  • Daily Press Review

Qaddafi agrees to stay out of Libya talks, renews (again) election proposal
Al Arabiya, Online news, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Four Khmer Rouge leaders go on trial
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Plan to set up new Zamzam water distribution center in Madinah
Arab News, Pro-government, Jidda, Saudi Arabia

Kadhafi staying in power: spokesman
Egyptian Gazette, English-language, Cairo, Egypt

Israeli group urges yellow pages to boot businesses advertising Jewish-only labor
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Scrubbing Egypt clean of Mubarak
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

'Arab uprisings may pave way for extremism'
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

Gaza official says Egypt working to fix Rafah delays
Ma'an News Agency, Bethlehem, Palestinian Territories

Six mountaineers die in French Alps: official
Times of Oman, English-language daily, Muscat, Oman

Consumer loan of banks grows 6.8%
Times of Oman Business, English-language daily, Muscat, Oman

Ten al-Qaeda suspects arrested in Aden
Yemen Observer, Sana'a, Republic of Yemen

MoD to be streamlined in shake-up
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Missing Midleton teen found
BreakingNews.ie, Online news portal, Cork, Ireland

E. coli strain resurfaces in France
CNN International, London, England

Wildfire threat shuts nuclear lab
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

Burnout risk of working more than 40 hours
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Polish diplomat and academic Jan Kulakowski dies in Warsaw
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

LIBYA: Gaddafi agrees to stay out of peace talks, AU says
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Media and the security state: Making a revolution
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Reagan: A president's second act
Independent The, London, England

Yukos lawyers launch new parole request
Moscow News The, Independent, Moscow, Russia

UN urges Afghan Parliament not to deepen crisis
Radio Free Europe, Prague, Czech Republic

Extremists 'infiltrate Syrian protests'
Sky News, Independent newscaster, Middlesex, England

David Cameron's local Tory chairman found dead in Glastonbury toilet
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

Skype for iPad ready to be released
WNC News, London, England

Russia air crash death toll rises to 47
Antara News, News agency, Jakarta, Indonesia

SET index down 7.16 at opening
Bangkok Post, Independent, Bangkok, Thailand

Wen visits Britain on European trip
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

CIOs gather to discuss new challenges
Computer World, IT information, Fairfax, New Zealand

Tripoli activists plot revolt without Facebook
Daily Jang, Left-wing daily, Karachi, Pakistan

UN Security Council to vote on Abyei force Monday
Dawn, English-language daily, Karachi, Pakistan

Government has no will to create a strong Lokpal, says Ramdev
Hindu The, Left-leaning daily, Chennai, India

Pakistan to set up consolidated databank on terrorists: Report
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Police crack J Dey murder case: sources
India Express, News portal, Mumbai, India

Disaster plans need overhaul after tsunami
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Tripoli activists plot revolt without Facebook
News The, Left-wing, Karachi, Pakistan

11 dead as Kandahar clashes enter 2nd day
Pajhwok Afghan News, (Independent news agency), Kabul, Afghanistan

Magnitude-6 quake hits Indonesia: HK Observatory
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Venezuela: Hugo Chavez's brother talks of armed struggle
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Three crushed to death by train, 12 hurt
Thaindian News, Bangkok, Thailand

France's Lagarde poised to become next IMF chief
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

Prostitutes in Colombia unite against child abuse
Times of India, Conservative, New Delhi, India

Canada Post promises mail delivery Tuesday
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

President Fernandez warns of catastrophic effects of another world financial crisis
Dominican Today, Independent daily, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Hospital bomb in Afghanistan may have been intended for governor’s office
Globe and Mail The, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Carbon tax: Australia willing to shoulder financial burden, extend public relief
International Business Times, Business news organization, New York, U.S

Improved showing for JLP - But majority of Jamaicans still think it is more corrupt
Jamaica Gleaner, Independent daily, Kingston, Jamaica

China's Wen signals doubt inflation goal can be met - report
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

Women united in battle for justice after brutal rape
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Fierce fighting near to Tripoli
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Zim court frees PM's aide
iafrica, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

South Sudan accuses SAF of backing deadly clashes in Warrap state
Sudan Tribune, Khartoum, Sudan

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