November 7, 2011 nº 1,110 - Vol. 9


"Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear."

Albert Camus

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  • Top News

Greeks agree coalition government

After a week of political turmoil in Greece that threatened the fate of the eurozone, Prime Minister George Papandreou is deadlocked with his major opposition rival in trying to form a coalition government. The unpopular prime minister has agreed to step down. A new coalition is due to lead the country until elections, which could be held on 19 February. The quest for a unity government is aimed at avoiding an early, messy debt default and uncontrolled exit from the euro, a prospect that had loomed large in the past week of political turmoil in Athens. The administration is hoping to agree on a new government by Monday, ahead of a meeting of euro-zone finance ministers in Brussels that is expected to discuss whether to release Greece's next aid payment. Greece's euro-zone partners blocked the aid tranche after Mr. Papandreou's plan for a referendum on the European Union aid deal raised questions about the country's commitment to push through the loan agreement and the necessary fiscal and structural overhauls. Without it, Greece will run out of money by mid-December.

Is yet another FCPA sweep On the Way?

Defense, oil services, pharmaceutical, medical device and finance. These industries have this in common: They've all endured broad government investigations for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the world's meanest anti-bribery law. Now, there might be another sweep underway. Aircraft manufacturer Embraer SA said that U.S. regulators are investigating whether the company paid bribes overseas. The Brazilian company said it had hired outside counsel in response to a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Embraer made the disclosure in its third-quarter results, marking the first time an aerospace company has revealed itself as the target an FCPA investigation since the FBI this summer notified federal agencies that it was taking a hard look at the industry. Bureau officials emphasized the agency's interest in possible corruption in contracts between aircraft and parts makers and state-owned airlines. Plenty of defense companies have been scrutinized, but the the focus on commercial sales is new.

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  • MiMIC Journal

China firms to censor online content

Chinese firms have agreed to increase their censorship of internet content as authorities seeks greater control over the medium. The heads of 39 companies including Baidu and Alibaba agreed to "curb rumours" and the spreading of "harmful information;" Chinese authorities has often been accused of censoring online material to maintain control over its population. China is the world's biggest internet market.

China credit squeeze prompts suicides, violence

In recent weeks a credit crisis in the eastern city of Wenzhou has led to the flight of dozens of businessmen, leaving thousands of workers at private companies unpaid, prompting a growing number of demonstrations and violent incidents, including clashes with employers and suicides. Wenzhou's 400,000 businesses are facing financial hardship because of rising costs, soaring black market interest rates and a sudden credit squeeze. Similar problems are happening across China because private enterprises in China rely on underground borrowing rather than banks to operate. National and local leaders have since announced moves to help small firms, including offering easier access to bank loans, a cap on private-lending interest rates in Wenzhou and a crackdown on loan sharks that use violence.

Supporters pay Ai Weiwei tax bill

Thousands of people contribute money to help pay a tax bill served on China's recently detained dissident artist Ai Weiwei.

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  • Brief News

Occupy Wall Street protesters on the march . . . to Court

Occupy Wall Street protesters marched into court Thursday. By the looks of it, they'll be marching back for trial. The first wave of the OWSers arrested to date, by and large, declined plea offers by Manhattan prosecutors. In all, 78 people appeared in court on Thursday – all of them arrested and a majority charged with disorderly conduct during a raucous Sept. 24 march to Union Square. With about 400 others detained during an Oct. 1 march on the Brooklyn Bridge also planning to challenge their cases, the mass trials would pose a test for city's already backlogged court system. And more cases are likely as the protests continue indefinitely. The protesters' attorneys had argued the cases should be dismissed to avoid clogging the courts, but prosecutors said they've devised a system to evaluate the cases, and District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has appointed a prosecutor to coordinate the flow of about 554 cases involving protesters. Vance "fully supports every person's First Amendment right to peacefully demonstrate, but at the same time, he is charged with enforcing violations of the law.

Supreme Court hears warrantless GPS tracking case

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that could determine if police need a warrant to track a suspect's car with GPS. The use of warrantless GPS may amount to an unreasonable search and a violation of the fourth amendment. The Obama administration appealed to the courts, saying it's a necessary tool of law enforcement.

Russian tycoons face off in court

A $6bn suit filed in London's High Court by an exiled oligarch, Boris Berezovsky, against his former partner, Roman Abramovich, is shedding light on Russian business in a post-Soviet setting one lawyer called a "society without law." Abramovich took the stand in a high-stakes trial and found himself in a situation he has never before faced -- publicly addressing pointed questions about his rise to wealth and influence.

Ex-general wins Guatemala run-off

Ex-general Otto Perez Molina wins Guatemala's presidential run-off, becoming the first former soldier to lead the country since the 1990s.

BP's sale of its Argentina assets falls through

BP had hoped to sell its 60% stake in PAE - Pan American Energy to its partner in Argentina, Bridas Energy Holdings. Bridas is 50% owned by CNOOC, China's largest offshore oil producer. But CNOOC said it was terminating the deal, signed a year ago in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The deal was worth an estimated $7bn(£4.4bn) and was one of the largest sales agreed by the firm following the disaster.

Groupon shares jump 30% on debut

Shares in daily deals site Groupon have jumped more than 30% on the company's first day of trading in New York. Groupon's shares were listed on the Nasdaq at $20 a share but closed at $26.11, having earlier risen to $29.95. On Thursday, the company said it had sold 35 million shares for $20 each, raising $700m. This valued the firm at $12.7bn, making it the second biggest internet company to make a market debut, behind Google, which was valued at $23.1bn in 2004. Groupon had originally filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to sell 30 million shares for $16 to $18 each, but high demand led it to raise the price and number of shares for sale.

Italy reforms 'lack credibility'

The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, says that Italy's planned budgetary reforms "lack credibility".

EU competition regulator opens investigation into Samsung, Apple

The European Commission has opened an investigation into whether Apple and Samsung Electronics have breached EU antitrust laws in their dispute over smartphone patents. The investigation could potentially force Samsung to halt action against Apple over smartphone patents in the EU. The European Commission enforces Articles 101 - 109 of the TFEU - Treaty on the Functioning of the EU. Article 102 of the TFEU prohibits "directly or indirectly imposing unfair purchase or selling prices or other unfair trading conditions" and "limiting production, markets or technical development to the prejudice of consumers." The EU patent system has a compulsory licensing regime under the Agreement on TRIPs - Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. TRIPs gives entities the freedom to negotiate licenses, but if they are unable to reach an agreement within a reasonable length of time then the government may impose a compulsory license under Article 31.

Cuba to allow buying and selling of houses

The Cuban government on Thursday announced the passage of a bill that will modify its housing law to allow permanent residents of the country to buy and sell their homes at will. The new law, which will take effect on November 10, will still limit home ownership to one house in the city and one seasonal house in the country, but will allow Cubans the freedom to buy, sell and trade these homes at their discretion. All transactions will take place through Cuban bank accounts so they can be regulated, and parties will be required to obtain a seal of notary for every transaction. There will also be bank commission collected for each sale and a tax of 8% of the value of the property.

Regulator to skip MF global probe

The CFTC chairman has removed himself from the investigation into MF Global's sudden implosion. Gensler's decision was made to eliminate the perception of a conflict of interest due to his longstanding ties to Jon Corzine, the company's now-departed CEO.

Madoff trustee sues BNP Paribas for nearly $1bn

Irving Picard said a feeder fund, Cayman Islands-based Harley International Ltd, transferred $975.5m to a unit of the French bank in 2008.

Brazil banks outshine global rivals

Itaú Unibanco, Latin America's largest lender by market capitalisation, said net profit was 25.5% higher than a year earlier while rival Bradesco reported a 14% increase and Banco do Brasil 10%. Santander Brasil, the country's largest foreign lender, also reported better than expected third-quarter results. The figures hide strains in the system, including rising delinquencies. Yet, along with central bank data showing that credit growth in Latin America`s largest economy is still running at nearly 20%, they seemed to confirm the underlying strength of Brazil's banking sector despite the turmoil gripping Europe. The resilient Brazilian banking sector of today is the product of the country's near decade of stable economic growth, more inclusive development and better financial regulation.

Dodd-Frank may add to opacity in derivatives market

The Dodd-Frank Act has the potential to create global arbitrage opportunities due to the size, scope and complexity of the law. This potential arbitrage may create more opacity in the derivatives market instead of shedding light as desired by the act's authors. One example is the act's indemnification provision, which requires US-based swap data repositories to obtain indemnification from third party ("foreign") regulators before sharing market data. The provision was added at the last moment with little discussion or debate and was not subject to the hearing process. The unintended consequence of this measure is that it could lead to data fragmentation in the over-the-counter derivatives market. This clearly would undermine the legislation's goals of achieving transparency, and it would hinder international regulators from effectively monitoring systemic risk across the global financial system.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Time
Can you still move up in America? What ever happened to upward mobility? Why the U.S. has become the land of less opportunity--and what we can do to revive the American Dream.

Business Week
The Underground Solution. Could shale gas reignite the U.S. economy?

The Economist
The presidential race one year out. America's missing middle.

Der Spiegel
Friedrich der Größte - Triumph und Tragödie eines Preussenkönigs.

L'Espresso
Big bang. La speculazione attacca l'Italia. La recessione si avvicina. Il governo vacilla. C'è poco tempo per evitare che salti tutto. E a muoversi e napolitano. Ecco come e con quali obiettivi .

  • Daily Press Review

Nicaragua's Ortega poised to win third term
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Arabs to meet on Syria failure to honour peace plan
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

Arabs will meet on Syria crisis again
Egyptian Gazette, English-language, Cairo, Egypt

Damian Karlik convicted of murdering six members of Oshrenko family
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

'Abbas says he'll plan elections with Hamas, but won't run'
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

Greeks await new PM announcement
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Greece's 'grand coalition' seeks leadership
CNN International, London, England

Jackson jury to resume deliberation
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

Childhood friends who met on holiday in France marry after re-meeting by chance 18 years later
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

MTV Europe Music Awards 2011: Lady Gaga scoops best female
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Former trainee-nun is crowned Miss World
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

FRANCE: Carlos the Jackal stands trial for 1980s terror bombings
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Accord for early Greek elections Feb 19: finance ministry
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Floods continue to batter Thai capital
Independent The, London, England

Georgia lets Russia into WTO
Moscow News The, Independent, Moscow, Russia

Euro debt crisis: Greek PM George Papandreou to resign when new coalition government formed
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

Justin Bieber denies 'love child' claims at MTV European Music Awards
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

Evacuation for more of Lat Phrao
Bangkok Post, Independent, Bangkok, Thailand

Retired general sweeps to power in Guatemala election
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Korea to Host Development Aid Conference
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

US confident over Pak's nuke security
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Teen gang-raped for more than 7 months in UP
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Broncos lose in spite of Humphrey's best efforts
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

US election: Cain rises in polls, despite sex claim
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

Yemenis rally during Eid Al-Adha, asking for resignation of president
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Russia says military strike on Iran 'very serious mistake'
Straits Times, Pro-government, Singapore

Mansell guilty of murder
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

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

Occupy Canada braces for winter weather
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Sex abuse case against ex-coach jolts Penn State's Happy Valley
Globe and Mail The, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Thailand Floods Disrupt Global Electronics, Automotive Supply Chain
International Business Times, Business news organization, New York, U.S

Q&A: "Reducing Inequality Should Be a Political Priority";
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Asia shares fall after Greece coalition deal, Italy eyed
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

Italy's Berlusconi at mercy of party rebels, markets
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

Rattled neighbours just want the thumping to stop
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

US warns of Nigeria hotel attack
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

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