October 3, 2011 nº 1,097 - Vol. 9

"You simply
*must* stop taking advice from other people."

Alvin Toffler

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

Funds spring up to invest in high-stakes litigation

Lawyers-turned-financiers are laying plans to profit from what they hope will be the new hot investment: high-stakes U.S. lawsuits. At least three start-up businesses are entering the fledgling "alternative litigation funding" market this year, creating funds that will invest at least a few million dollars in a case in exchange for a share of the lawsuit's winnings, which can be in the several-million-dollar or even billion-dollar range. The idea has critics, who worry about a possible rise in frivolous lawsuits and increased pressure on defendants to settle. But some forms of third-party litigation funding have been around for decades. Search the Web for "lawsuit loans," and you'll find hundreds of companies offering cash advances, generally of up to $10,000, to people with personal-injury claims to help them offset living expenses while their claims are pending. There have also been occasional "syndicated lawsuits," allowing investors to pay a plaintiff's legal costs and gamble on receiving part of a monetary judgment or settlement. The new breed of profit-seeker sees a huge, untapped market for betting on high-stakes commercial claims.

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  • MiMIC Journal

BP deal in danger of collapse

A $7.1bn deal by BP to sell its majority stake in Pan American energy, an Argentine oil producer, to a company owned by Cnooc of China may be in jeopardy.


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  • Brief News

Greece will miss deficit target

European stock markets opened sharply down on news that Greece is likely to miss targets to cut its deficit. Athens announced that the 2011 deficit is projected to be 8.5% of GDP, down from 10.5% in 2010 but short of the 7.6% target set by the EU and IMF. The government, which on Sunday adopted its 2012 draft austerity budget, blamed the shortfall on deepening recession. Inspectors from the IMF - International Monetary Fund, EU - European Union and European Central Bank are in Athens to decide whether Greece should get a key bail-out installment.

European financial tax not a good idea

A European financial transaction tax is unlikely to raise the sums of money projected as it would encourage firms to move overseas, Sweden's finance minister said. Sweden abandoned its own transaction tax after most trading companies left the country. The tax "had a very detrimental impact on our financial markets", he said. If the European Union introduces the tax, it would basically be taxing growth away from Europe and firms could simply move to New York or Asia.

Wall Street protesters in it for the long haul

Police in New York City have freed most of the more than 700 people arrested on Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday during a protest against corporate greed. Fewer than 20 protesters are still held as they are yet to be identified. Most of those freed were given citations for disorderly conduct and a criminal court summons. "We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of non-violence to maximise the safety of all participants," the Occupy Wall Street group said.

Kodak hires legal adviser amid talk of bankruptcy

Eastman Kodak has said it has "no intention of filing for bankruptcy". The struggling US camera and printing group's comments came after it confirmed it had hired a law firm well-known for handling bankruptcy protection cases, Jones Day. Kodak said it was "not unusual for a company in transformation to explore all options". The company currently has a market value of $210m. This compares with $31bn at its height in February 1997.

Turkey's quiet deal keeps U.S. close

Turkey's leaders have called Israel the "West's spoiled child," and the "bully" of the eastern Mediterranean. Yet in September it also quietly signed off on hosting a U.S. radar installation that will share data with Israel. Elsewhere, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said Israel risks isolating itself in the Middle East and should pursue peace talks with the Palestinians.

Obama reaffirms support for DOMA repeal

Obama on Saturday told gay rights activists that he would continue to fight for the repeal of the DOMA - Defense of Marriage Act. During a speech given at the 15th annual dinner hosted by equal rights group HRC - Human Rights Campaign, Obama told the audience that DOMA "runs counter to the Constitution, and it's time for it to end once and for all," and that his administration was no longer defending the legislation. The president called on equal rights advocates to continue fighting for equality and acknowledged that progress would take time: "I don't have to tell you how many are still denied their basic rights—Americans who are still made to feel like second-class citizens, who have to live a lie to keep their jobs, or who are afraid to walk the street, or down the hall at school. Many of you have devoted your lives to the cause of equality. So you know what we have to do; we've got more work ahead of us."

Denmark introduces food fat tax

Denmark has introduced what is believed to be the world's first fat tax - a surcharge on foods that are high in saturated fat.

Bahrain medics urge UN probe of protest convictions

Bahraini doctors and nurses on Saturday urged the UN to investigate claims of abuse and due process violations in relation to their recent convictions for pro-democracy protests. Last week, the National Safety Court of Appeal, a court composed of military prosecutors and civilian and military judges, in Bahrain sentenced one anti-government protester to death for killing a police officer and gave lengthy prison sentences to medical personnel, including doctors, for providing treatment to injured protesters during the country's uprising.

US military chaplains to perform same-sex marriages

The US DOD - Department of Defense on Friday issued a memorandum giving military chaplains permission to participate in or officiate same-sex marriage ceremonies. The memorandum, released by Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness Dr. Clifford Stanley further provides that chaplains can perform a ceremony either on or off military property as long as it complies with state and local laws. Chaplains are also not required to participate or officiate if it "would be in variance with the tenets of his or her religion or personal beliefs."

Rick Perry suggests US military role in Mexico drug war

Texas Governor Rick Perry - who is seeking the Republican nomination for US president - has said he would consider sending American troops into Mexico to combat drug-related violence.

Facebook sued for tracking users after log-off; class-action status sought

Facebook Inc. was accused by users of the site in a class-action lawsuit of secretly tracking their Web activity after they log off. The company assures users that "cookie" files installed on their computers to identify them and track their interactions with Facebook applications and websites while they are logged on are removed when they log off. Now,Facebook admitted on Sept. 26 that the cookies track users' Internet activity after they log off.

"This admission came only after an Australian technology blogger exposed Facebook's practice of monitoring members who have logged out, although he brought the problems to the defendant's attention a year ago," according to the complaint.

Killing of American in Yemen raises new legal questions

Legal experts who have long criticized a government program to kill members of al Qaeda abroad as a breach of international law say the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki may also have broken U.S. law.

SEC finds failures at credit raters

The SEC says concerns include failures to follow ratings methodologies, failures in making timely and accurate disclosures and failures to manage conflicts of interest.

House is gone but debt lives on

Banks increasingly go to court and obtain "deficiency judgments" against former homeowners when foreclosure sales of houses don't bring enough to cover the full amount of the mortgage.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

What we spend. Has the much heralded age of austerity really come? Following the financial crisis and recession, consumer spending dropped in 2009 for the first time in 71 years, but we didn't close our wallets completely.

You got your sperm where? The Coffee Shop Baby. Meet a 'donorsexual' on the web—and he'll service you anywhere. Plus, key moments in insemination history.

Business Week
Amazon, the Company That Ate the World. Jeff Bezos’ new tablet, the Kindle Fire, is cheap, pretty, and puts Amazon in perfect position to take a bite out of Apple—and every online transaction you make.

The Economist
Be afraid. Unless politicians act more boldly, the world economy will keep heading towards a black hole.

Der Spiegel
Der Stress mit dem Kreuz - Woher kommt der Rückenschmerz?

Fabrica Italiana Automobili Detroit. Fabbrica Usa. Sergio l'Americano rinvia i nuovi modelli e i progetti per l'Italia. E guarda sempre più a Detroit. Nonostante l'aiuto di Confindustria, governo e sindacati. Quale sarà il prossimo passo? Rapporto su un progetto nell'impasse

  • Daily Press Review

Greece to miss key budget-cut targets
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Egypt parties retract boycott threat after army concessions
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

Yemen official decries US call for Saleh to quit
Egyptian Gazette, English-language, Cairo, Egypt

Netanyahu: Mosque arson 'horrifying' and has no place in Israel
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Ahmadinejad: Israelis should go back to original homes
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

Council tax freeze to be extended
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Knox, Sollecito: Quash our murder convictions
CNN International, London, England

Settlers suspected of mosque blaze
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

I want to scrap the Human Rights Act but Clegg won't let me, says the PM
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

X Factor 2011: Frankie Cocozza and Janet Devlin go through to the live finals
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Back in the Day : reunification of Germany
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

GREECE: Greece to miss deficit targets despite austerity measures
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Israeli mosque torched in apparent 'price tag' attack
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Perry attacked over hunting camp with racist name
Independent The, London, England

Michael Jackson trial: who is Dr Conrad Murray?
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

Jean Marsh pulls out of Upstairs Downstairs following minor stroke
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

Flood death toll up to 212
Bangkok Post, Independent, Bangkok, Thailand

HIV infection among Taiwan's young people on the rise: CDC
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

A Confusing Legacy for Kim Jong-il's Grandson
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Fruit pill to fight greying hair
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Clubs begin Durga Puja celebrations in Jaipur
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

What political moderates can learn from America's political extremes
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

NZ helps Tuvalu with fresh water emergency
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

Seychelles ruling party wins all the seats in parliamentary elections
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

New Zealand sends aid to ease Tuvalu water crisis
Straits Times, Pro-government, Singapore

Master of the circus
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

Stepanek cruises past Devvarman at Japan Open
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

China Vice-Premier Li: Global risks rising
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

Asian markets drop on Greek woes
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Amanda Knox appeal verdict expected in Italy
Globe and Mail The, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

U.S. Boosts Egg Inspections to Curb Salmonella
International Business Times, Business news organization, New York, U.S

BRAZIL: Undersea Oil Revives Shipbuilding Industry
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Asia's factories downshift to crisis-era lows
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

Jittery Amanda Knox awaits verdict in murder trial
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

McGuinty rejects possible coalition with NDP or Tories
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Hundreds of civilians flee Sirte
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England


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