September 12, 2011 nº 1,089 - Vol. 9

"It is a sin to believe evil of others, but it is seldom a mistake."

Henry Louis Mencken

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  • Top News

The 9/11 decade

9/11 shaped our history. Few parts of the globe have escaped its shadow. It was the defining moment of the past decade. We are still living with its legacy. American certainty and optimism have been dented.

Still searching for focus

It has taken a long time to turn a scar into a memorial, and the job is not yet done. America too has not fully absorbed and digested the events of that day, but it is beginning to do so. Obama's weekly radio address suggests some of the ways he thinks America should move on. But some of the changes will probably never go away.

The 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 was marked by prayers, solemn ceremonies, vows to remember the victims and pledges to never let terrorists fundamentally change the American way of life. While it's been a decade since the attacks, the emotions were raw.

A sense of vulnerability and the priority of protection will remain.

Replacing panic with a sense of pride

It is painful and puzzling to look back to that day, to the chasm after the second tower fell, when we knew nothing except that fires were burning, an untold number of lives had been lost, and Lower Manhattan was gasping in a cloud of what looked like Pompeian ash. That morning's terrible events marked a border between one realm and another, a boundary none of us would ever wish to have crossed. Everything had changed — that was how it seemed.

America has not been enlarged in the years that have passed. Based on false pretexts, we were drawn into a misdirected war that has exacted enormous costs in lives and money. Our civic life is tainted by a rise in xenophobia that betrays our best ideals. As we prepared for a war on terrorism, we gave in to a weakening of the civil liberties that have been the foundation of our culture.

We tried, almost immediately, to understand how the morning of 9/11 would change our future. A decade later, we're still trying to understand, looking back and looking ahead. It is not enough simply to remember and grieve.

It seemed, in the days after 9/11, as though we stood at the juncture of many possible futures. There was as much hope as grief, as much love as anger, and a powerful sense of resilience. We still stand at the juncture of many possible futures. They are occasioned not by what terrorists in four airliners did to us, but by what we have done in the decade since. As a nation, we have done a better job of living with our fears, sadly, than nurturing the expansive spirit of community that arose in those early days.

What would the world look like without 9/11?

What if the al-Qaeda attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, had never happened?

Of course, Osama bin Laden and his allies might have carried out another catastrophic and shocking attack. Absent such an event, however, U.S. efforts against al-Qaeda might have continued in their more limited pre-9/11 forms: some drone strikes against al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan and Sudan, pressure on the Taliban to expel bin Laden, international intelligence and law enforcement cooperation. We'd never have known the "war on terror" as an organizing principle of an entire presidential administration.

Without the catalyst of the attacks, Congress would not have undertaken the greatest reorganization of the national security bureaucracy since the Truman years, stitching together the Department of Homeland Security from nearly two dozen agencies. Airline travel would still have its annoyances, but massively intrusive security screening might not be one of them.

American foreign policy would be strikingly different and almost certainly less bellicose. In the early months of the Bush administration, U.S.-Chinese tensions were high, and many American neoconservatives were focused on the rise of China as a military "peer competitor." If the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had never come under attack, U.S. defense policy probably would have concentrated more on the Pacific than on the Middle East. A direct confrontation with China would have been unlikely, but without a distracting war on terror, Washington would have focused much more on China's military buildup, its deals with anti-American regimes, and cyber-attacks by Chinese hackers against the United States and its allies.

No Sept. 11 means no invasion of Afghanistan, and possibly no invasion of Iraq. At most, we might have seen covert actions and more cruise missile attacks, such as those the Clinton administration launched in 1998, against countries harboring bin Laden and his allies. And terms such as "IED" (improvised explosive device) and "TBI" (traumatic brain injury) would not have become the defining reality for a generation of American troops.

Without the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there would have been no effort to reorient the U.S. armed forces toward counterinsurgency operations. No 9/11, no COIN. America's defense planners might have spent the first decade of the 21st century focusing on possible high-tech naval and air combat in Asia, rather than on policing and nation-building in occupied Muslim countries.

Certainly, the Middle East would still have been a priority for Washington, and Iraq's Saddam Hussein would have remained one of America's chief enemies in the region. But if 9/11 had never occurred, the United States might have continued its post-Persian Gulf War policy of "containment" against Hussein's regime to this day — through no-fly zones and intermittent bombing of the territory that Hussein controlled.

But it is possible that, even without 9/11, the Bush administration would have chosen to invade Iraq. The much-hyped threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction — which turned out not to exist — might have been enough for Washington to launch an invasion. Or the United States might have carried out plans, favored by many neoconservatives before 9/11, to back an Iraqi rebellion, a scheme opponents called the "Bay of Goats" scenario. If Hussein's regime had fallen as a result of an American invasion or a domestic rebellion, then a bloody fracturing of the country along ethnic lines might have occurred regardless.

Without 9/11, Iran, another chief U.S. rival in the region, almost certainly would wield less influence than it does today. America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan removed two of Iran's major enemies — Hussein, who had waged war against Iran, and the Taliban, a Sunni radical regime that despised Iran's Shiite mullahs. And the destruction of Hussein's Sunni-minority regime has allowed Iran to greatly increase its influence among Iraq's Shiite majority.

And what of the Arab Spring? How did 9/11 affect this movement? It seems clear that the timing of the revolts in the Arab world has had more to do with the long-term decay of sclerotic dictatorships than with anything the jihadist movement has offered — in part because its atrocities against Muslims as well as against "crusaders" and "Jews" have disgusted many Muslims. Paradoxically, if Muslim radicalism had been less tainted by the mass murder of 9/11, its long-term goal of replacing Arab regimes with Muslim theocracies might have had more appeal among the region's revolutionaries.

And what of the U.S. economy in a world in which Mohamed Atta and his fellow terrorists never hijacked airplanes? If the United States had not invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, the national deficit and debt would be considerably lower today. According to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, between September 2001 and March 2011, Congress appropriated $1.283tn for the wars, additional security measures and health care for veterans — with 63% of the total related to Iraq and 35% to Afghanistan. Economists Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes have estimated that the long-term cost of the wars, including veterans' care, may exceed $3tn.

That's a lot of money, no doubt. But as a contribution to the long-term budget deficit, the combined costs of the wars are lower than the costs of the Great Recession and related recovery measures. Recession-driven deficits, in turn, are lower than the long-term deficits caused by the Bush tax cuts.

Bottom line: Even without 9/11 and the subsequent wars, the United States still might be facing huge deficits — particularly if the Bush tax cuts had been enacted and if the stock and real estate bubbles had inflated and then popped, with disastrous effects for the global financial system and consumer demand.

Indeed, when historians write the actual — not counterfactual — history of our time, Sept. 11 might receive less attention than the crash of 2008, which produced the greatest global economic crisis since the Great Depression. The bubble that burst that year was a result of trends dating back to the 1970s, including American consumers taking on excessive debt to finance consumption, despite their stagnant incomes, and the low interest rates made possible by Japan and China, which recycled their huge trade surpluses into purchases of U.S. debt to keep their currencies artificially low and their exports competitive.

These macroeconomic imbalances would have made a global economic reckoning inevitable, with or without 9/11. As it happens, the costs to the world economy after the bubble burst, in lost wealth and slow growth, dwarf both the direct economic damage inflicted on Sept. 11, 2001 — $40bn in insurance costs, temporary losses in the airline business and a stock market decline — and the indirect costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and of spending on homeland security. And its possible full costs, including the failure of Europe's experiment in integration and the self-defeating moves by countries exporting unemployment to one other through protectionist policies, have yet to be tallied by historians.

The fall of Lehman Brothers has resulted in far more economic damage and greater long-run consequences than the fall of the twin towers. This is not to minimize the horror of 9/11, its tragic death toll or the costs of its aftermath, but to put them in perspective. Whether the attacks of Sept. 11 had taken place or not, the world almost certainly would have been devastated by weapons of mass destruction — not airplanes hijacked by jihadists, nor the imaginary atomic bombs and chemical weapons of Saddam Hussein, but explosive credit derivatives in the hands of the world's bankers.

Source: Michael Lind is policy director of the Economic Growth Program at the New America Foundation and the author of "The American Way of Strategy."

Law changes and what it means.

How surprisingly little our politics have changed following 9/11

"It changed everything." But as the dust is settling, commentators and pundits applied the changed-everything observation to other aspects of our society. Even though case-closing facts emerged to show that Bush and Cheney had distorted information to move the nation toward war, their actions appear to have indelibly shaped the false perceptions still held by about half the public. The shock of 9/11 did not cause Americans to be more discerning.

Anti-terrorism legislation designs all types of laws passed in the aim of fighting terrorism. They usually, if not always, follow specific bombings or assassinations. Anti-terrorism legislation usually includes specific amendments allowing the state to bypass its own legislation when fighting terrorism-related crimes, under the grounds of necessity.

Because of this suspension of regular procedure, such legislation is sometimes criticized as a form of ‘lois scélérates,' which may unjustly repress all kinds of popular protests. Critics often allege that anti-terrorism legislation endangers democracy by creating a state of exception that allows authoritarian style of government. Governments often state that they are necessary temporary measures that will be dispelled when the danger finally vanish.

However, most anti-terrorist legislation remains in activity even after the initial target of it has been eliminated. A good example of this is the "War on Terror" which officially was to end in 2003, however it persists to this day. With no clear end in sight it violates the laws of reason, facilitating its own brand of circular reasoning and a pseudo straw man ("Terror" as the straw man). Perpetuating its own existence as it were. This presents an unusual case as a logical fallacy. Measures which may be included by anti-terrorism legislation include preventive detention (that is, detention without trial), control orders in the UK and Australia, warrantless searches in the United States.

Many governments also passed legislation to combat terrorism as the Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act, the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 and the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 in Great Britain, the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 in New Zealand.

Let's look at some important law changes and what they mean.

Privacy, Profiling, and Free Speech

  • The FISA Amendments Act of 2008

Allowed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to authorize warrantless surveillance of Americans' international electronic communications.

In 2005, the New York Times reported on the Bush administration's secret wiretapping of American citizens since 9/11. Civil liberties advocates were outraged, but it didn't stop Congress from passing this law in 2008 essentially legalizing certain aspects of the system. Under the new law, for the first time since the inception of the modern legal framework governing surveillance, the government can intercept Americans' international communications without a warrant as long as one party to the communication is "reasonably believed" to be outside the US.

  • USA Patriot Act of 2001

Authorized "sneak and peak" searches.

"Sneak and peak" search warrants allow the government to search your home or business without telling you about it until months later. Although national security concerns were the stated justification for this authority, these warrants are issued overwhelmingly in drug cases, with less than 1% used for terrorism cases.

  • USA Patriot Act of 2001

Expanded the authority of the FBI to issue NSL - National Security Letters requesting information from and about Americans.

NSLs can compel banks, internet service providers, and other third parties to secretly reveal your personal information. No judicial approval is required, and the FBI need only certify that the requested information is "relevant" to a terrorism investigation (a much lower standard than under previous law). The number of NSLs has doubled in the last two years, and the Justice Department's Inspector General has found widespread abuse of this law enforcement tool.

  • USA Patriot Act Humanitarian Law Project v. Holder, 2010

Criminalized pure speech in furtherance of the non-criminal acts of terrorist groups.

The USA Patriot Act expanded 18 USC. § 2339, which criminalizes giving "material support" to terrorists, to include "expert advice or assistance" as a prohibited form of "support." Under previous Supreme Court precedent, pure speech could be criminalized only if it had the intent and likely effect of furthering a group's illegal aims. In 2010's Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, however, the Supreme Court held that the First Amendment permitted criminalization, under the "material support" law, of efforts to provide advice to members of a terrorist group on how to use international law and other non-violent conflict-resolution mechanisms.

  • HSA - Homeland Security Act of 2002

Control of borders, at times with inconsistent results or conflicting authorities. Contains setbacks to civil liberties protections such as the right to privacy and obstructing public access to information.

The HSA created both the United States Department of Homeland Security and the new cabinet-level position of Secretary of Homeland Security. It is the largest federal government reorganization since the Department of Defense was created via the National Security Act of 1947 (as amended in 1949). It also includes many of the organizations under which the powers of the USA Patriot Act are exercised.

  • National Security Agency

Coordinates intelligence activities; its activities are limited to foreign communications, although domestic incidents such as the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy have occurred.

The NSA/CSS - National Security Agency/Central Security Service, sometimes called jokingly "No Such Agency" is a cryptologic intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign signals intelligence, as well as protecting U.S. government communications and information systems, which involves cryptanalysis and cryptography. The number of exemptions from legal requirements has often been criticized.

  • Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004

Authorized the Department of Homeland Security to develop a "strategic plan" for airport security measures.

The new plan called for the TSA to improve and deploy equipment that detects weapons and other objects in airports. Beginning in March 2010, TSA began employing some 450 full body scanners, which display an image of the passenger's body underneath his or her clothing. Despite continued outrage from passengers, the D.C. Circuit of Appeals ruled in July 2011 that the use of scanners did not violate the 4th Amendment, which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures.

  • US Customs and Border Protection and Department of Homeland Security Policy Changes

Allowed suspicion-less searches of documents and electronic devices carried by US citizens returning from overseas travel.

Before this change, a government directive allowed customs officials to read documents or papers belonging to Americans returning from overseas travel only if there was a reasonable suspicion that a US law had been violated. The new policy, introduced by the Bush administration and followed by the Obama administration, allows government officials to search any documents or papers, including the entire contents of laptops and other electronic devices, without any suspicion of wrongdoing.

  • Attorney General Guidelines for Domestic FBI Operations, 2008

Domestic FBI operations have expanded dramatically since 9/11. Intrusive investigations are now permitted based on less evidence of wrongdoing than in the past. The 2008 Attorney General Guidelines for Domestic FBI Operations, in particular, allow the FBI to conduct "assessments" using techniques such as informants, "pretext interviews" in which an agent surreptitiously questions an individual, and 24-hour physical surveillance—even in the absence of any factual predicate for the investigation.

  • FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, 2008

Allowed ethnic profiling.

The FBI's 2008 domestic investigations guide institutionalized suspicion of Muslim Americans by allowing the FBI to map "locations of concentrated ethnic communities" and "ethnic-oriented businesses and other facilities" as permissible means of gathering information about potential terrorism. The FBI has reportedly conducted such mapping in cities with concentrated Muslim populations in California, Michigan and Minnesota.

Detainee Policy

  • Military Commissions Act of 2006
    Detainee Treatment Act of 2005

Hamdi v. Rumsfeld; Rasul v. Bush; Boumediene v. Bush

Established the practice and limits of indefinite military detention at Guantánamo Bay.

After 9/11, the US began an unprecedented practice of holding so-called "enemy combatants" in military detention without charge and without according them the status or rights of prisoners of war. The Supreme Court essentially upheld this practice in 2004. But in the Hamdi and Rasul decisions of 2004 and again in 2008 with Boumediene v. Bush, the Court ruled that Guantánamo detainees were entitled to bring habeas corpus petitions in US courts to challenge whether they were properly found to be "enemy combatants."

Although President Obama pledged to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Congress has enacted laws prohibiting the transfer of detainees to the US and imposing obstacles (that are in some cases insurmountable) to transferring detainees to other countries. Moreover, regardless of whether the prison is closed, the Obama administration has determined that it will continue to hold several of the men currently at Guantánamo without trial because the evidence against them is either insufficient or tainted by torture.

  • Military Commissions Act of 2006

Authorized military tribunals for enemy combatants.

Following a Supreme Court ruling that the military commissions established unilaterally by the Bush administration were illegal, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act in 2006. The Act authorized "trial by military commission" for enemy combatants and left out basic procedural protections that are mandatory in civilian criminal court. In one of his first acts following his inauguration, President Obama effectively suspended the use of military tribunals. But he worked with Congress to devise a new Military Commissions Act that restored only some of the procedural protections that the 2006 Act omitted. In the spring of 2011, after Congress blocked the transfer of detainees to the US for civilian trial, the Obama administration officially reinstated military tribunals for prosecution of Guantánamo detainees.

  • Torture

The Bush administration jumped through hoops to authorize the use of torture, which it referred to as "enhanced interrogation techniques." Its lawyers issued secret legal opinions designed to get around the prohibition on torture by redefining what torture meant and claiming that the laws against torture didn't apply to the President acting as Commander in Chief. When the details of the "enhanced interrogation techniques," such as waterboarding, surfaced, human rights advocates cried foul.

President Obama has taken a firm stance in banning the use of torture by US military and intelligence officials. But as the debate over whether torture led us to Osama Bin Laden's hideout showed, America's commitment to the laws banning torture may well be wavering. The Obama administration must share some of the blame for that: It has refused to allow any inquiry into the Bush administration's systematic approval of torture; it has asserted an overbroad version of the state secrets privilege to prevent lawsuits that would expose torture; and it continues to employ the practice of rendition — sending detainees to other countries where they are likely to be tortured.

Now, here's a look at how different industries and sectors were reshaped by the Sept. 11 attacks:

  • Airlines

The terrorist attacks turned the act of flying into a test of patience. Air travel changed from a routine exercise — almost as simple as hopping on a train — into a process of seemingly ever-changing rules and procedures and time-hogging scrutiny. The role of flight attendants changed from serving coffee and a meal with a smile to being a first responder with a need for combat training.

Mergers have reduced the number of airlines. The result: Airlines employed about 380,000 people at the end of last year — down 27% from roughly 520,000 from 2000.

  • Energy

Electricity and other energy costs are likely higher than they would be had the Sept. 11 attacks not occurred. Power plants and energy transmission networks are deemed to be potential terrorist targets. So the security costs related to them have risen, with costs passed along to customers. But the threat, and the fear premium, have diminished in recent years, in part because attempted attacks failed to do any damage.

  • Technology

The attacks spurred more demands for more sophisticated computers and software.

The fear of another destructive attack that might target information technology, or IT, forced companies to hustle to upgrade their security software. This included heavy-duty encryption and data-recovery protections. The urgency has been especially felt in banking and government and operators of bridges, tunnels and power plants.

More companies also tried to make their workers more productive to help offset their higher costs in 9/11's aftermath. That goal also helped sell more computers and technology services.

  • Port security

Before 9/11, port security focused almost solely on smugglers and thieves. Now, the focus has shifted to international terrorism threats. And that's raised the cost of doing business. There are more guards, and radiation and gamma ray technology is used to scan containers and ships. Unusual shipments like artillery or chemicals draw extra attention.

  • Financial companies

Banks had to shoulder higher costs to obey the Patriot Act after 9/11. Among other things, the law required banks to police their customers more vigilantly to prevent money laundering and detect the transfer of money to terrorist causes. To comply, the banks had to improve their record-keeping and more closely scrutinize new accountholders and the sources of large deposits. They now use extra back-up servers on standby, at least one for each primary one. The costs involve millions for redundant fiber-optic lines and software to coordinate the multiple systems.

A decade of legal twists

The mass of litigation that flowed out of the Sept. 11 attacks is seemingly without end: Since 2001 more than 12,000 victims' families, first responders, cleanup workers, property owners, businesses and insurers have filed lawsuits against a host of defendants, from the airlines to the city of New York to the contractors who handled the recovery efforts at Ground Zero.

Due to a law passed shortly after the attacks, almost every Sept. 11 case has landed on the doorstep of the federal courthouse in Manhattan, only blocks from where the Twin Towers stood.

The cases were eventually consolidated into four "master cases," all overseen by U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein.

There are surely mass tort cases with more plaintiffs, or with greater claims for damages, but lawyers involved say the Sept. 11 litigation has few rivals when it comes to sheer complexity.

"This is one of the most unique pieces of litigation in American history," said Robert Clifford, one of the plaintiffs' liaison counsel for the consolidated case brought by property and business owners who suffered losses.

"The number of plaintiffs may be the same or less as in other mass tort cases," said Joseph Hopkins, co-counsel for the city in its case against the first responders. "But the degree of complexity is many magnitudes of order greater.

The case against the airlines was deceptively simple: Were the attacks preventable, and if so, did the airlines fail in their duty to safely screen their passengers? But security concerns complicated those cases, as lawyers were forced to request security clearance from the government in order to view classified documents related to the attacks.

The case involving first responders and cleanup workers claiming illness from exposure to toxic dust includes the assertion of 350 separate medical conditions. Lawyers in that case first had to assess damages based on each plaintiff's disease, then assign liability by determining what portion of the illness was caused by the dust, and finally decide which defendants were responsible.

Three of the four master cases have largely been settled, and most of the lawyers expect that very few individual lawsuits will ever reach trial, if for no other reason than the time and effort it would take.

Senate approves legislation reforming US patent system

The US Senate Thursday voted 89-9 to approve legislation to amend the US patent system for the first time since 1952. The America Invents Act, sponsored by Congressman Lamar Smith (R), proposes significant changes to the current US patent system. One of these would result in the conversion from a system of "first to invent" to a system of "first to file", a change which Congress supports because of its belief that it will "promote the progress of science" as well as promote the "harmonization" of the US patent system with those used in nearly all other countries. Additionally, the Act would alter the way funds are allocated to the Patent Office and the way patents that are granted, but later contested, are handled in an attempt to cut down on costly legal disputes. The US House of Representatives approved the bill in June. The bill will proceed to President Barack Obama, who has indicated that he will sign it into law.

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Chinese imports hit record high

China's imports hit a record monthly high in August indicating strong domestic demand despite concerns of a global slowdown.

UK 'to develop as China yuan hub'

China and the UK are to develop an offshore trading hub for the yuan based in London.

Cisco suits on China rights abuses to test legal reach

The suits could provide answers to an evolving legal question: Can U.S. companies be held liable if foreign governments use their products for repression?


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  • Brief News

Ten years of the TSA, are we safer or sorry?

Just two months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Congress established the Transportation Security Administration, eventually hiring some 50,000 airport screeners. What before Sept. 11 had been a simple walk through a metal detector before boarding a flight has become an ordeal. Ten years and $40bn later, screening has become a routine and often frustrating part of air travel. And some critics say the system still has holes. The key is not searching for dangerous items, but rather for dangerous people. He says the TSA needs to do more than physically screen passengers. It should use behavior analysis and interview those people it deems suspicious — similar to what security officials do in Israel. He says it does not mean racial profiling and would involve only 1 or 2% of passengers. Homeland Security officials say that behavioral screening will eventually lead to an end to the requirement that passengers remove their shoes, though it's unclear when that day might arrive.

Feasting on paperwork

The amount billed by Debevoise & Plimpton to write a 17-page letter on a new rule intended to rein in risky banking — around $100,000 — would make most authors jealous. That's the fee just for parsing the proper definition of a bank-owned hedge fund. Longer and more complex regulatory missives, weighing in on who should be deemed too big to fail or how derivatives are traded, can easily cost twice as much. These comment letters could save Wall Street banks billions of dollars if they help persuade policy makers to adopt a more lenient interpretation of the coming rules. And white-shoe law firms like Debevoise & Plimpton are cranking them out by the dozen. Call it Dodd-Frank Inc. A year after Congress passed the broadest financial overhaul since the Great Depression, the law has spawned a host of new businesses to help Wall Street comply — and capitalize — on the hundreds of new regulations. "You can stress-test all you want, but somebody has to validate the results." Besides the lawyers, there are legions of corporate accountants, financial consultants, risk management advisers, turnaround artists and technology vendors all vying for their cut. "It is a full-employment act," said Gregory J. Lyons, a partner at Debevoise, where a team of a half-dozen lawyers has drafted 30-plus comment letters in the last six months. The law is passed, but we are still reasonably early in the process. There is still a lot to be written.

Murky trade secret law at heart of Gundlach trial

Court cases dealing with trade secrets law often boil down to whether defendants conspired to steal confidential information for a new enterprise. In the trade-secrets trial pitting star bond fund manager Jeffrey Gundlach against his former firm, lawyers and the judge frequently have joked about the clear-cut example of Colonel Sanders' famously guarded fried chicken recipe. At financial firms, however, trade secrets are typically more abstract concepts than they are in restaurant kitchens. The outcome of this case, a high-stakes fight between Gundlach and asset manager Trust Company of the West, may hinge on how the jury interprets the meaning of "proprietary information" involving client lists, interfaces and sprawling databases.

Worries over rule of law in Egypt as military leader fails to take stand

Egypt's military ruler and one-time confidant of Hosni Mubarak failed to attend a court session that was expected to shed light on the ousted president's alleged role in the death of protesters and the regime's final days.

U.S. has tax statistics from 10 Swiss banks

U.S. authorities now have statistical data from the ten Swiss banks being investigated by the United States for helping U.S. clients to dodge taxes.

Banks face major reorganization

UK banks should ring fence their retail banking divisions to protect them from riskier investment banking arms, a government-backed commission has said. The firewall is intended to protect the key banking activities for individuals and businesses such as making loans.

Supercomputer predicts revolution

Feeding a supercomputer with news stories could help predict major world events. A study, based on millions of articles, charted deteriorating national sentiment ahead of the recent revolutions in Libya and Egypt. While the analysis was carried out retrospectively, scientists say the same processes could be used to anticipate upcoming conflict. The system also picked up early clues about Osama Bin Laden's location. The computer event analysis model appears to give forewarning of major events, based on deteriorating sentiment. Reports are analyzed for two main types of information: mood - whether the article represents good news or bad news, and location - where events were happening and the location of other participants in the story.

Greece sets new measures to skirt default

Papandreou, vowing to avoid a default and keep Greece in the euro, approved new measures to help plug a yawning budget gap as resistance builds at home and in Europe to extending more aid to the European Union's most-indebted nation. The Cabinet yesterday voted to cut one month's wages from all elected officials and impose an annual charge on all property for two years, to be levied through electricity bills to ensure rapid collection, The debt-crippled nation urgently needs to keep a program of cutbacks on track to secure the continued flow of international rescue loans protecting it from catastrophic bankruptcy.

French banks slide on possible Moody's cut

France's three largest banks by market value may have their credit ratings cut as early as this week because of their Greek holdings. French banks top the list of Greek creditors with $56.7bn in overall exposure to private and public debt. Moody's placed the three banks' ratings on review in June. The ratings company cited "the potential for inconsistency between the impact of a possible Greek default or restructuring and current rating levels." Cuts are likely as the review period concludes.

AT&T files response to DOJ antitrust lawsuit

Telecom giant AT&T filed a response Friday in the US District Court for the District of Columbia to the antitrust lawsuit initiated against it by the US DOJ - Department of Justice. The DOJ filed suit last month attempting to block AT&T's proposed $39bn acquisition of cellular carrier T-Mobile USA, citing the important role T-Mobile has played in keeping prices down by creating pressure on the other large carriers, including not only AT&T, but also Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel. In its response to the suit, AT&T argued that acquiring T-Mobile will allow it to provide better services to its customers as a result of the expansion of its mobile network. In addition, AT&T contends that smaller, regional carriers will act as alternatives to consumers and thus not allow the market to be completely dominated by itself, Verizon and Sprint. The case is set to be heard on September 21.

Microsoft online services hit by major failure

Millions of Microsoft users were left unable to access some online services overnight because of a major service failure. Hotmail, Office 365 and Skydrive were among the services affected. Microsoft was still analyzing the cause of the problem on Friday morning, but said it appeared to be related to the internet's DNS address system. Such a major problem is likely to raise questions about the reliability of cloud computing versus local storage. Moving applications from installed software on individual computers, to web-based "software as a service" has been a major trend in computing in recent years. Such systems are seen as easier to manage, simpler to scale-up and down, and potentially offering more robust security. But a number of high profile failures have dented confidence in cloud computing.

Five arrests in 'slavery' raid

Twenty-four men suspected of being held against their will have been found during a raid at a travellers' site. Detectives believe some may have been there for up to 15 years. Four men and a woman were arrested on suspicion of committing slavery under the Slavery and Servitude Act 2010.

Gadhafi's son found in Niger

Saadi Gadhafi was intercepted by local troops after he entered the country through Libya's southern desert border as part of a convoy, officials said. The International Criminal Court has not issued a warrant for Saadi's arrest.

Uganda chief justice says judiciary not free

Ugandan Supreme Court chief justice Benjamin Odoki on Friday said the Judiciary lacks independence as a result of interference by African governments. At the Southern African chief justices Forum in Kampala, Odoki pointed to surveys by the World Bank and the World Economic Forum that rank African countries below other countries with respect to judicial independence. Odoki claims the government's refusal to enforce court decisions and recent attacks on the courts are further indicators of the government's intrusion. Odoki also suggested that inadequate allocation of resources to the judiciary undermine the judiciary's power in relation to the other branches of government. The chief justice ultimately called on African governments to make the Judiciary a priority in budget matters.

Iraq PM accepts resignation of lead corruption watchdog

Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki on Saturday accepted the resignation of the country's lead corruption watchdog, Raheem Uqaili. Uqaili was the chairman of Iraq's Integrity Commission, an independent corruption monitoring agency that investigates officials from the Defense Ministry and other government agencies. Uqaili supporters say political conflict prevented him from taking on key cases, while critics claim Uqaili was ineffective.

ECJ rules France ban on genetically modified maize illegal

The ECJ - European Court of Justice ruled Thursday that France's ban on the cultivation of a GM - genetically modified maize was illegal. Although France has the right to impose a ban on GM maize, the court stated that France acted illegally by not following proper EU protocol. In order to impose a ban, EU members must demonstrate that the product poses a serious risk to the environment or human or animal health, and notify the European Commission authorities of the need to take emergency measures. The GM maize was developed by US biotech giant Monsanto in 2008. The use of GM organisms, whether through experimentation or cultivation, is governed by EU law. France issued two orders prohibiting the planting of MON 810 maize seed, which is primarily used to make animal feed resistant to certain parasites. France first banned the product by way of emergency measures in 2007.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Beyond 9/11. Portraits Of Resilience

Let's just fix it. Citizens, it's down to you. Tired of waiting for Washington? Good old American innovation is the answer.

Business Week
Can Brian Moynihan Save Bank of America? The CEO holds the fate of the U.S.'s largest bank—and the entire financial system—in his unproven hands

The Economist
The quest for jobs.

Der Spiegel
Der Straßenkampf - Rüpel-Republik Deutschland

Dopo il cavaliere chi? La manovra ha logorato ancor più un governo traballante. E ora perfino nella maggioranza si pensa a un nuovo esecutivo. E già spuntano candidati alla successione.

  • Daily Press Review

Gaddafi's son 'flees to Niger'
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Gaddafi town hit as NTC chief warns still a threat
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

Azhar prepares Arab Document
Egyptian Gazette, English-language, Cairo, Egypt

Turkey PM Erdogan begins Egypt visit amid tensions with Israel
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Banks face major reorganisation
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Saadi Gadhafi arrives in Niger
CNN International, London, England

Miss Universe crown up for grabs
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

Hurricane Katia: Worst storm since 1996 will hammer Britain today
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Kim Kardashian shows off her famous curves in a low cut top and tiny shorts in New York
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Crime is the big issue in Guatamala poll
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

FRANCE: African leaders gave Chirac, de Villepin 'millions' in cash
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Three killed in coordinated PKK attacks in SE Turkey: report
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Video: Massive wildfires in Texas
Independent The, London, England

Egypt on high alert after deadly attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

David Bailey and Jean Shrimpton: on improving with age
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

Building collapse death toll now 5
Bangkok Post, Independent, Bangkok, Thailand

Financial shares to rally pre-poll: analysts
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Tropical Storm Nate Weakens in Mexico
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Happy Feet loses his way again
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Laptop plan raises fears of misuse
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Japan wrap up Olympic qualifying round with win over China
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Kiwi uses snake as weapon in police stand-off
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

Americans in silent tears, solidarity on 10th anniversary of 9/11
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Player death brings Russian plane toll to 44: Hospital
Straits Times, Pro-government, Singapore

Scherri-Lee's showdown
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

Robinson not losing any sleep early at World Cup
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

UK bank reform will not hit economy - ICB hea
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

B.C. parents say 'thank you' after abducted son returned
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Alexander Galimov, only player to survive Russian crash, dies
Globe and Mail The, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Greek Government Announces New Tax Hikes
International Business Times, Business news organization, New York, U.S

GUATEMALA: More Not Always Better for Women
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Stock futures signal further sharp losses
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

Australia PM seeks to revive Malaysia asylum deal
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

'I've never seen anything like this:' Kienan Hebert returned home
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Gaddafi son given refuge in Niger
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England


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