July 18, 2011 nº 1,067 - Vol. 9

"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."

Nelson Mandela

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

Federal appeals court rejects challenge to TSA body scans

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Friday unanimously rejected a constitutional challenge to the full-body scans conducted at airports by the TSA - Transportation Security Administration. The appeals court held that the use of full body scanners, also known as AIT - Advanced Imaging Technology, does not violate the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches, nor does it violate any federal statutes. However, the court said that the TSA violated procedural requirements by failing to give notice to the public as well as provide an opportunity to file comments with the agency pursuant to the APA - Administrative Procedure Act. Though the petitioners, EPIC - Electronic Privacy Information Center, were disappointed that the court dismissed the constitutional challenge, president of EPIC Marc Rotenberg applauded the ruling: "We are pleased with the court's decision. The TSA is now subject to the same rules as other government agencies that help ensure transparency and accountability. Many Americans object to the airport body scanner program. Now they will have an opportunity to express their views to the TSA and the agency must take their views into account as a matter of law." The court ultimately remanded the case to the agency for further proceedings to "cure the defect."

Cyber-symbiont terrorists: evolution at work

The US Government says they have credible intelligence that al-Qaida's newest bombs are people with surgically implanted explosives or explosive components. This is the logical extension of the current arms race. They use metal weapons, we install metal detectors, they escalate the race by using non-metallic weapons, we create better scanners … now, we have pretty good scanners and sniffers, so they will surgically implant the explosives. It makes perfect sense. We are already Cyborgs. According to Wikipedia, a Cyborg is a "being" with both biological and artificial (e.g. electronic, mechanical or robotic) parts. What's fascinating is that it's al-Qaida, not Big Brother or the NSA or Skynet, is going to take the first steps implanting technology in humans for interaction with the outside world. (We've been implanting pacemakers and other medical devices to keep us alive for years, but those devices have worked in a closed system.) It looks like history is repeating itself. The first HumanMachines, the very first Cyber-Symbiont is going to be a human being with explosives surgically implanted in them — a malevolent life form – just like the first artificial life form.

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  • MiMIC Journal

Foreign investment in China slows

Foreign direct investment in to China slows down as the government steps up its efforts to rein in the country's growth.

China blasts Dalai Lama's visit to White House

China lodged formal protests with the U.S. government over president Barack Obama's private meeting with the Dalai Lama, accusing Washington of "grossly" interfering in China's internal affairs and damaging bilateral relations.


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  • Brief News

Switzerland high court upholds UBS disclosure of client information

The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland ruled Friday that the Swiss FINMA - Financial Market Supervisory Authority was right to order UBS to disclose information to the US on more than 250 of the bank's clients. FINMA issued the order in February 2009 after the US DOJ - Department of Justice accused UBS of assisting Americans in hiding accounts from the IRS - Internal Revenue Service. The Supreme Court found that FINMA acted lawfully, overturning a January 2010 lower court ruling that had found FINMA in violation of the law. FINMA welcomed Friday's ruling and said they would carefully review the court's judgment. The judgment will be available on the court's website once it has been redacted.

U.S. investigation into tax havens entangles 2nd Swiss bank

Credit Suisse said that the U.S. Department of Justice was investigating its private banking unit as part of a 'broader industry inquiry', raising the possibility that the Swiss lender would face proceedings similar to those that led its cross-town rival UBS to pay a costly settlement and open its books to tax officials.

Murdoch struggles for control as scandal grows

News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch is struggling to control the destiny of the company he began building six decades ago after a trusted deputy was arrested and Scotland Yard's top official quit over ties to a suspect in the phone-hacking probe. The Murdoch empire in Britain still includes the top-selling tabloidThe Sun, as well as the Times of London and the Sunday Times. He also has a 39 percent stake in BSkyB. Mr Milliband, the U.K. opposition leader, said that "the amount of power in one person's hands has clearly led to abuses of power in his organization." He called the concentration of media ownership in Murdoch's hands "unhealthy." The Cameron government released information documenting the prime minister's close ties to Murdoch company executives. The dairy shed light on what Cameron acknowledged was the "cozy and comfortable" world in which politicians, the news media, and the police have functioned for decades.

Rebekah Brooks's arrest may limit answers

The head of Scotland Yard resigned yesterday, hours after former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks was arrested as the scandal over phone hacking at the now-defunct News Corp. tabloid widened. "Over the next 24 to 36 hours, her lawyers will be in discussions with the committee about whether it will still be appropriate for her to attend," David Wilson, a spokesman for Brooks, said in a phone interview yesterday. "She has nothing to hide, and she was very happy to give evidence, but today's actions have changed the ballpark."

What 'arrest' means for legal cases in Britain

The English legal system can use an arrest as an early step in a criminal investigation and it doesn't mean charges will be filed.

FBI to probe News Corp in 9/11 phone hacking scandal

US Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday announced that the FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation will open an inquiry into whether journalists working for the media company News Corp. and its subsidiaries violated US laws by hacking into the mobile phones of 9/11 victims. The FBI said that it had begun to examine the allegations against News Corp., an organization owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch. British Prime Minister David Cameron announced earlier this week that the UK would also initiate an inquiry into the alleged wrongdoing of the press and police in connection with the 9/11 phone hacking scandal, as well as a full-scale review of press regulations.

Federal judge dismisses BP oil spill fraud lawsuit

A judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on Friday dismissed consolidated racketeering claims against BP - British Petroleum in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Gulf residents and businesses filed lawsuits in June 2010 alleging violations of the RICO - Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations statute, claiming that BP purposefully defrauded the American public in order to increase company profits. The first lawsuit, a class action filed on behalf of US residents affected by the oil spill, contends that BP engaged in a scheme to secure profits by deceiving the public. The second suit alleges that BP has been involved in racketeering and corruption related to the BP claims payment process. According to the complaint, BP has been involved in corruption, wire fraud, mail fraud, unauthorized practice of law, violation of state insurances laws and regulations and other criminal activity in order to delay or reduce the payment of legitimate claims for damages. The court granted BP's motion to dismiss the RICO claims on the grounds that the causal connection between BP's alleged fraud and the plaintiffs' injuries was too attenuated to constitute a RICO violation. The same court on Friday also granted BP's motion to stay a claim filed by Andarko, a BP partner, because its contract with BP required arbitration for such legal disputes rather than litigation.

Zimbabwe 'Egypt uprising' activists in treason trial

The trial of six Zimbabwean activists charged with treason for attending a lecture in February about the Egyptian uprising is due to open in Harare. The seminar by a university lecturer asked "what lessons can be learnt" - which the prosecution says means they were planning a similar revolt. The six accused face the death penalty if found guilty of treason. They all deny the charges.

Eight banks fail EU stress test with 16 in danger zone

Eight out of 90 European banks have failed stress tests designed to ensure they can withstand another financial crisis. The EBA - European Banking Authority, which carried out the health check, said another 16 banks were in the danger zone. The EBA called on national financial regulators to ensure that capital shortfalls would be quickly resolved. Five Spanish banks failed, as well as one in Austria and two in Greece. On Wednesday, Germany's Helaba pulled out of the stress tests, effectively making it the ninth bank to fail. A key benchmark for passing the test was whether the banks have at least 5% "core tier 1" capital, which describes the best form of capital a bank can hold to make up any losses. The tests are a key element in fighting Europe's debt crisis, intended to identify weak banks and ensure they are made robust enough to survive a possible default on government bonds by heavily indebted countries such as Greece. However, the tests did not consider the impact of Greece defaulting, something some analysts believe is increasingly likely.

Obama ignores China on Dalai Lama

Obama hosts talks at the White House with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, angering China.

Consumers' personal debt ceilings on the rise again

Federal Reserve data show consumer debt has begun ticking up again after dropping during the recession. The company that measures credit risk attributes growing credit card debt to wealthier people spending more freely and to poorer people not paying their balances in full.

Russia president signs law regulating abortions

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev signed a law on Thursday that will place restrictions on abortion by requiring that clinics warn women of the health hazards associated with the practice. Abortions in Russia are free at any licensed medical clinic, and the only restrictions on the practice since the end of the Soviet Union ended have applied to late term pregnancies, which are restricted to those performed for the sake of the mother's health or fetal abnormalities. Under the new law, clinics must allocate at least ten percent, of their advertising to health warnings. Also, it is now illegal to promote abortion as a safe procedure. The goal of the law is to protect women's health, decrease the number of deaths that occur with the practice, and to mitigate the drop in population that Russia has experienced, as the UN has found Russia to have the highest abortion rate in the world. Russia has faced recent political divide over the practice as the Russian Orthodox Church has made efforts to restrict abortion. The parliament is expected to take up more legislation dealing with abortion in the fall.

Conflicts seen in mortgage reviews

U.S. regulators are barring certain law firms from assisting in ferreting out foreclosure abuses, citing their perceived coziness with the mortgage-servicing industry

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Tabloid Bites Man. Rupert Murdoch sacrificed the U.K.'s biggest Sunday paper to protect something more precious — his influence.

Petraeus's Next Battle. As top commander in Afghanistan, he rewrote the book on combating terror. Now, as spy chief, he must transform the CIA to help fight 21st-century wars.

Business Week
Murdoch's Mess. News Corp.'s British newspapers have put the future of Rupert Murdoch's empire in question.

The Economist
On the edge. By engulfing Italy, the euro crisis has entered a perilous new phase—with the single currency itself now at risk.

Der Spiegel
Ciao Bella! - Vom Niedergang des schönsten Landes der Welt.

  • Daily Press Review

Senior Karzai aide killed in Kabul attack
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Fallback plan gains momentum in US debt talks
Arab News, Pro-government, Jidda, Saudi Arabia

Rebekah Brooks arrested in scandal - sources
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

Bahrain's main opposition quits national dialogue
Egyptian Gazette, English-language, Cairo, Egypt

Erekat: Palestinians planning 'massive' diplomatic push for state recognition
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Hidden bombs hit Libyans
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

US is Pakistan's 'Real Enemy'
Iran Daily, English-language, reformist, Tehran, Iran

Jordanian businesses feel the pinch of Syria's revolution
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

Official: PA refusing to transfer Gaza power funds
Ma'an News Agency, Bethlehem, Palestinian Territories

Two Russian police killed, 7 injured in Chechnya blast
Times of Oman, English-language daily, Muscat, Oman

New visa system for Yemeni passengers at UK airports
Yemen Observer, Sana'a, Republic of Yemen

Pressure on PM as Met chief quits
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Embattled Gaddafi rallies support
BreakingNews.ie, Online news portal, Cork, Ireland

Mandela celebrates 93rd birthday
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

Sir Paul Stephenson resigns over phone hacking scandal
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Kai Rooney takes a tumble as he tries to make a splash swimming with Coleen in Dubai
Daily Mail, Conservative

MEDIA: Police chief resigns over ties to Murdoch's News Corp
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Police chief quits over phone hacking scandal
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Indonesian volcano erupts twice in half an hour
Independent The, London, England

Cheap European wine set to get more expensive
Moscow News The, Independent, Moscow, Russia

Egypt's Ousted president Mubarak 'In A Coma'
Sky News, Independent newscaster, Middlesex, England

How to avoid being one of those women
Spiked, (Alternative Internet Magazine), London, England

Sir Paul Stephenson resigns as Metropolitan Police Commissioner over phone hacking scandal
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

Britain's metropolitan police chief resigns over hacking scandal ties
Antara News, News agency, Jakarta, Indonesia

New Democrat Party pleads for justice
Bangkok Post, Independent, Bangkok, Thailand

White House's Lew reports progress in debt ceiling talks
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

ACC revisits major Gen-i contract
Computer World, IT information, Fairfax, New Zealand

Transition to Afghan security forces begin
Daily Jang, Left-wing daily, Karachi, Pakistan

Australian PM vows to push on as support plunges
Dawn, English-language daily, Karachi, Pakistan

Talk of drift, corruption is propaganda: Manmohan
Hindu The, Left-leaning daily, Chennai, India

Obama, aides warn of Armageddon if debt talks fail
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Behind UP doctors killings, multi-crore health fraud
India Express, News portal, Mumbai, India

N. Korean players test positive for steroids
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Funding questioned as autism service shuts down
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

Transition to Afghan security forces begin
News The, Left-wing, Karachi, Pakistan

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

S. Korea, U.S. to stage joint annual drill next month
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

7,500 earthquakes hit shattered New Zealand city
Straits Times, Pro-government, Singapore

Deans not surprised at Samoa outcry
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Tainan fried cookie-maker satisfies generations of stomachs
Taiwan Today, Government Information Office, Taipei, Taiwan

Graphite-water combo recharges batteries in seconds
Thaindian News, Bangkok, Thailand

Philips surprises with 1.3 bn euro Q2 loss
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

Egypt's new cabinet to be sworn in after protests
Times of India, Conservative, New Delhi, India

Cholera epidemic has killed 76 in Dominican Republic thus far
Dominican Today, Independent daily, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Stocks stymied without a debt deal
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

China assails U.S. over Dalai Lama, fallout seen limited
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

Stage collapses at Ottawa Bluesfest during severe storm
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Sando vendors complain city police 'taxing' them
Trinidad Guardian, Independent daily, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad

'Fierce fight' in Libyan oil town
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

SOMALIA: Mogadishu hospitals running out of medicine
Irin News, Humanitarian news and analysis, Nairobi, Kenya

Sudan says prepared to engage in 'currency war'
Sudan Tribune, Khartoum, Sudan


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