November 16, 2011 nº 1,113 - Vol. 9


"Answers are not obtained by putting the wrong question and thereby begging the real one"

Felix Frankfurter

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  • Top News

Supreme Court to rule on Obama health care reform bill

The US Supreme Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law, most likely in March 2012. Opponents say the law's requirement for all Americans to buy health insurance is an overreach of the federal power. The court will decide if that clause is illegal, and if so whether the entire law should be scrapped. The White House said it welcomed the decision, adding it was "confident" the law was constitutional. When it begins arguments in March, the Supreme Court will hear the administration's request to declare the entirety of the law constitutional, as well as two other legal questions. The nine justices will also decide whether the entire law is invalid if the court deems the individual mandate unconstitutional, and how the law affects Medicaid, a public health program for low-income citizens. The argument time planned for the back-to-back hearings are five-and-a half hours, the longest in modern Supreme Court history.

Tech firms fight antipiracy bill

Leading technology companies including Google Inc. and eBay Inc. are stepping up efforts to block a bill in Congress that Hollywood studios say would clamp down on foreign websites selling pirated movies and other goods. Ahead of a House hearing Wednesday, nine tech companies sent a letter Tuesday to congressional leaders saying the legislation would "expose law-abiding U.S. Internet and technology companies to new uncertain liabilities." The bill would let the U.S. attorney general seek court orders requiring U.S. Internet sites and search engines to take reasonable measures to block access to other websites carrying pirated material. That could compel them to block domain names and search results featuring those sites. Under the new measure, a movie studio could also act on its own against alleged offenders by asking credit-card companies to block payments from U.S. customers. If they don't, a copyright owner could seek a court order to block the sites from receiving ads and getting payments from the U.S.

When patent, antitrust worlds collide

Antitrust law frowns on monopolies. Patent law grants them to inventors. The tensions between the two bodies of law, long apparent to scholars, are coming to a head in technology's hottest area: handheld devices.

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  • MiMIC Journal

Putin in China peace prize fiasco

Organisers of the Confucius Peace Prize - China's alternative to the Nobel Peace Prize - say they are determined to give the award to Vladimir Putin, despite opposition from Beijing. The Culture Ministry announced earlier that the award would not be given this year and disbanded the prize committee. It is unclear whether the Russian prime minister is aware of the award.

Sino-Forest panel rebuffs fraud and ponzi allegations

Chinese forestry firm Sino-Forest has said that a committee has found no evidence of it running an investor fraud or ponzi scheme. The company has been accused by an investigative research firm of inflating its revenues and exaggerating the value of its timber holdings.

IMF says Chinese banks face risks, urges quick action

The IMF - International Monetary Fund has warned that China's financial system "faces a steady build up in vulnerabilities". In a review, the IMF said that banks were robust enough to withstand isolated shocks but not combined exposure to credit, property and currency risks. The IMF has urged reforms, including allowing banks to rely more on market mechanisms such as interest rates.

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  • Historia Verdadera

Demanda x Cobre

Una corte chilena ordenó el martes suspender futuras ventas de acciones de una filial local de la multinacional Anglo American, tras acoger una petición de la estatal Codelco que busca proteger una antigua opción de compra sobre esos activos. (Presione aquí)

Fusión

Las aerolíneas TAM de Brasil y LAN de Chile, que tienen planes para fusionarse, presentaron un formulario preliminar a la Comisión Nacional de Valores de Estados Unidos para un canje de acciones. (Presione aquí)

Extradición

El ex presidente de Guatemala Alfonso Portillo será extraditado a Estados Unidos para enfrentar acusaciones de lavado de dinero, dijo el martes el actual mandatario del país centroamericano. (Presione aquí)

  • Brief News

France holds first trial of suspected Somali pirates

Six men have gone on trial in Paris over an attack on a yacht in September 2008, in the first French prosecution of suspected Somali pirates. They are charged with hijacking, kidnapping and armed robbery after allegedly seizing the boat and its crew, a married couple both aged 60. The defendants in Paris, aged between 21 and 35, face life in prison if convicted. Defense lawyers say the suspects were forced to take part in the attack.

SEC receives first claims for tips rewards

Whistleblowers alleging that two banks overcharged clients for currency trades could provide an early test of a new program to encourage information about financial wrongdoing.

Justice Dept's newest challenge: getting penny wise

Every year, the Justice Department's watchdog, the Office of the Inspector General, ranks the top challenges facing the agency. Since 2001, counterterrorism has owned the n° 1 spot. No surprise there. But the No. 2 spot has been more interesting. In three out of the past four years, "restoring confidence" in the department was named as the top challenge, besides counterterrorism. The OIG cited several reasons, from the U.S. attorney firings and politically tinged hiring during the Bush administration to cheating on FBI exams to prosecutors' failure to turn over certain evidence in the government's public corruption case against Ted Stevens. This year, "restoring confidence" fell to No. 7 and was replaced by belt-tightening — or "Implementing Cost Savings and Efficiencies." You recall the flap over the $16 muffin that never was? While OIG may have been red-faced over its math, the watchdog said the department needed to cut more than its spending on conference planning and food and beverage costs.

EU targets credit rating agencies

The European Commission has put forward stricter rules for the credit rating agencies that rank countries' and companies' debt. It says the agencies, including Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch, should follow stricter rules, be more transparent about their ratings and be held accountable for their mistakes. The EC internal market commissioner, Michel Barnier, said the agencies, which are privately owned by investors, had a serious and widespread effect on individuals. He said any agency that "infringes, intentionally or with gross negligence, the CRA regulation, thereby causing damage to an investor having relied on the rating", should have the case taken to the courts. For hard-core supporters, it may simply be a case of changing venues. It's a strategy that Francesca Polletta, a sociology professor at the University of California, Irvine, thinks could backlash. "You risk losing a broad base of support, and I think that's one of the ways in which the movement has been extraordinarily successful," Polletta said.

Louisiana challenges count of undocumented immigrants in US census

The state of Louisiana on Monday filed suit directly with the US Supreme Court arguing that undocumented immigrants should not be counted in the US census for the purpose of determining seats in the US House of Representatives. The state alleges that it was put at a disadvantage when population totals were determined and that it lost a seat in the House because undocumented immigrants were improperly counted in census totals. The suit also alleges that "because the population of non-immigrant foreign nationals is not distributed uniformly among the States, the inclusion of these individuals in apportionment figures alters the apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives among the States" resulting in states with larger immigrant populations attaining greater electoral power, including greater strength in the Electoral College.

Protesters return after New York eviction

Occupy Wall Street protesters re-enter Zuccotti Park, but are banned from returning with tents after a New York court says an overnight clearance of the park was legal. Adbusters, which first called for the protest, now is calling for a tactical retreat — essentially, declaring victory and going home for now. But that call carries no teeth in a movement that has prided itself on "horizontalism" — the notion that it is, essentially, leaderless.

Arab League mulls Syria response

Arab foreign ministers are to meet to consider how to increase the pressure on Syria, a day after one of the bloodiest crackdowns on protesters. Syria will be suspended from the Arab League on Wednesday and has said it will not attend the meeting in Morocco.

Italian government to be unveiled

Italy's new government is to be unveiled after two days of intense negotiations by Prime Minister-designate Mario Monti. He will go with a list of cabinet ministers, expected to be technocrats, already drawn up. Italy's cost of borrowing rose again past 7% during trading on Tuesday amid ongoing nervousness about its high level of debt.

Legal Services facing a big budget cut

The House and Senate appear to have met in the middle on 2012 funding for the Legal Services Corp, the nation's largest funding source for civil legal aid to the poor. LSC said Tuesday that, per a congressional agreement, its fiscal 2012 budget would be slashed by about 14% to $348 million. A substantial and painful cut, with pro bono hours down and the number of people eligible for free legal assistance on the rise. A LSC spokesman said that most of the 136 nonprofit legal aid organizations that rely on LSC grants are cutting lawyers, paralegals and support staff.

Africa's mobile industry 'booms'

Africa is the fastest-growing mobile market in the world, and is the biggest after Asia

Brazil grants first citizenship based on same-sex marriage

The Brazilian government on Monday granted citizenship for the first time to a foreigner based on his same-sex marriage. Spaniard Antonio Vega Herrera will become a Brazilian citizen due to his marriage with his Brazilian partner, according to the country's Federal Register. The news comes a month after Brazil's High Court of Justice upheld the same-sex marriage of two women. The court voted 4-1 in favor of recognizing same-sex marriages. The ruling was necessary following a number of disparate rulings by lower courts on petitions from couples seeking to have their civil unions recognized as full marriages.

Staff shortages burdening UN war crimes tribunals

The presidents of the ICTY - International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the ICTR - International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on Friday told the UN General Assembly that the tribunals are in need of experienced staff to complete their work. The presidents warned of the difficulties in retaining staff at the ICTY and the ICTR because both tribunals are nearing the end of their work and employees are leaving for more permanent jobs.

Australia PM proposes vote on same-sex marriage

Australian PM Julia Gillard said Tuesday that, while she is personally opposed to same-sex marriage, the decision should be left to parliamentary vote. Gillard called on the Australian Labor Party to back her adamant position that the institution of marriage has a particular meaning and should remain unchanged.

Malaysia rights group to hold symbolic war crimes trial for former US, UK leaders

The Malaysian Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War will hold a symbolic four-day war crimes trial against former US president George W. Bush, former UK prime minister Tony Blair and other former US officials on charges in connection to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. The trial, set to begin Saturday, will be adjudicated by the Kuala Lumpur War Crime Tribunal, which consists of prominent legal minds including retired and non-retired Malaysian judges, lawyers, authors and professors.

The wisest entrepreneurs know how to preserve equity

Decisions that entrepreneurs make early in terms of financing can affect how much money they will reap later. Sometimes entrepreneurs have no choice about these matters. They need financing to build their business, and venture capital money is precious and life-supporting. And venture capital firms are not the bad guys. They often lose money on these risky businesses and need huge upside because their investments fail more often than succeed. The venture capital firms also offer expertise and networking opportunities that can help a company. But there is a hefty price to be paid for this. What is the lesson here? Entrepreneurs need to not only have a great idea and successfully manage their business but also to be careful not to sell too much of the business too soon.

New Consumer Agency beefs up its staff

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced eight new hires on Tuesday who will fill senior leadership spots, ranging from top lawyers to the bureau's chief financial officer.

MF Global activity looks 'suspicious'

A U.S. futures regulator said that activity leading up to the bankruptcy of brokerage MF Global appears to be "either nefarious or illegal."

Perry vows to end lifetime tenure for judges

Republican candidate would overhaul Congress, too, but skips legal details.

  • Daily Press Review

Activists: Syrian intelligence base attacked
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Gulf nations reject Syrian request for Arab summit
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

Israel to invite bids for 800 E. Jerusalem homes: ministry
Egyptian Gazette, English-language, Cairo, Egypt

Stolen monkey affair leaves Israeli zoo officials scratching their heads
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

'Syrian army defectors hit intel complex'
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

Doctors call for car smoking ban
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Military issues top agenda in Obama trip to Australia
CNN International, London, England

Japan to keep key rate unchanged
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

Couple demand compensation from Tesco after finding emaciated carcass of dead bird in supermarket salad
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

That's enough to give anyone perfect vision! Kara Tointon wears a very daring and plunging green sparkly dress at the Spectacle Wearer of the Year 2011 party
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

The EU targets rating agencies
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

ITALY: Monti to unveil new govt as bond yields hit danger level
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Amnesty report highlights Azerbaijani rights violations
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Merkel ally's warning to Cameron
Independent The, London, England

Luzhkov to cooperate in Bank of Moscow inquiry
Moscow News The, Independent, Moscow, Russia

Stephen Lawrence trial: teenager stabbed to death because of 'colour of his skin'
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

Behind the scenes at a Pirelli calendar shoot
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

SET index drops 0.01% midday
Bangkok Post, Independent, Bangkok, Thailand

Italy builds gov't, France hears warning
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Seoul Mayor's Inauguration Broadcast Online
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Qaeda's Zawahiri praises Osama bin Laden's loyalty, morals
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

F1 powers Noida as Gurgaon hits a jam
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Kemp, Dodgers haven't reached deal
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Polygamous sect leader's daughter pleads guilty
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

Chilean court orders Anglo American to halt share sales
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Uninsured US hospital patients discharged sooner
Straits Times, Pro-government, Singapore

GG's quick change
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

Ex-Penn State football coach Joe Paterno transferred his house to wife for $1 before a sexual abuse scandal
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

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

Long-time Mountie chosen as next RCMP commissioner
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Deal to divert Keystone XL pipeline puts heat on Obama
Globe and Mail The, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Investments of Pelosi and Boehner Questioned: Is Insider Trading Legal for Members of Congress?
International Business Times, Business news organization, New York, U.S

CARIBBEAN: Cuba Shares Its Experiences in Agroecology
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Apple, with eye on media, names Disney's Iger to board
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

Police shoot armed man in lab at California campus
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

Mountie Bob Paulson chosen RCMP commissioner after 9 month search
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Arab League mulls Syria response
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

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