December 14, 2011 nº 1,125 - Vol. 9

"The skeptic community overwhelmingly embraced what they formerly dismissed as New Age claptrap ... We give up! The nuts were right."



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  • Top News

NY law establishes benefit corporations

A new law for New York authorizes establishment of benefit corporations with a dual focus on social responsibility and profits. While officers and directors of existing companies are required to pursue profits on behalf of shareholders, sponsors say the new model envisions other fiduciary responsibilities meant to have a positive material impact on society and the environment. It is meant in part to address concerns among some entrepreneurs who need to raise growth capital but fear losing the social or environmental missions of their business. The bill will go into effect in 60 days. It unanimously passed the Senate and Assembly and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed it. Supporters say New York is the seventh state to enact the legislation, following Maryland, Vermont, New Jersey, Virginia, Hawaii and California.

So what does the new law mean for businesses?

In the future, companies in New York can incorporate as a "benefit corporation" if they agree to publish a public report that rates their social and environmental performance against a "third party standard." In layman's terms: The companies must agree to publicly rate themselves on criteria like whether they have an environmental officer or a written policy laying out workers' rights. Benefit corporations should, as a result of the designation, receive greater legal protection for activities that help society, but hurt their financial performance. So if a benefit corporation decides to pay higher wages to overseas workers—and its profits drop accordingly—the company should, in theory, be insulated from shareholder lawsuits. And if it employs child labor or dumps waste into rivers, it becomes vulnerable to lawsuits from socially-minded investors. Because the law yet hasn't been tested , it's too soon to tell how well the intended protection would actually work. These are new ways to inject non-profit values into for-profit companies. If the New York law has its intended consequences, it will be another sign that the strategy works.

High Court to assess key bankruptcy issue

The U.S. Supreme Court has opted to weigh in on a key topic in bankruptcy law: whether lenders have the right to use debt as currency in bankruptcy auctions. The issues at play go to the heart of bankruptcy—the balance of power between secured creditors and debtors and the leeway a struggling company is allotted in trying to carve a creative way out of Chapter 11. A corporations realizes that it could tie a sale transaction into its bankruptcy-exit plan in a way that allowed it to block credit bidding—a loophole that upset what was long thought by many to be a lender's guaranteed right. The legal battle wound its way up to an appeals court, which declared the new tactic kosher. The lenders ended up winning the battle for the company’s assets anyway, with cash instead of debt, but a new strategy had been born. "More and more debtors are proposing plans that involve sales of collateral without allowing for lenders to credit bid or some variation."

Corruption resultis in unequal access to resources

Corruption is leading to unequal distribution of land and resources, resulting in human rights violations, according to a working paper published Monday by the UN FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization and TI - Transparency International. According to the report, corruption flourishes where land governance is efficient. "Weak land governance tends to be characterized by low levels of transparency, accountability and the rule of law." Corruption can involve public officials as well as private actors and can "undo the legal and social legitimacy of these actors if they are considered to be too corrupt." The report recommends "build[ing] transparent, effective and accountable land tenure systems," revising land policies, "providing legal recognition to tenure rights that are considered legitimate but are not correctly protected by law" and "promoting more transparent and effective land certification and registration systems."

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  • Crumbs

1 - Manchester teen uses Facebook to mock sentence - click here.

2 - US charges eight in Siemens foreign bribery case - click here.

3 - Wells Fargo to pay "defamed" broker $500,000 - click here.

4 - Wikipedia co-founder threatens blackout over anti-piracy law - click here.

5 - Honduras bans motorcycle passengers in anti-crime move - click here.

6 - Government opposes Bradley Manning defense witness requests - click here.

7 - Islamic group decries veil ban for citizenship oaths - click here.

8 - Supreme Court to decide Arizona immigration law - click here.


100% Migalhas:


  • MiMIC Journal

China-based hacking of 760 companies reflects undeclared global cyber war

Google Inc. and Intel Corp. were logical targets for China-based hackers, given the solid-gold intellectual property data stored in their computers. An attack by cyber spies on iBahn, a provider of Internet services to hotels, takes some explaining. iBahn provides broadband business and entertainment access to guests of Marriott International Inc. and other hotel chains, including multinational companies that hold meetings on site. Breaking into iBahn's networks, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the matter, may have let hackers see millions of confidential e-mails, even encrypted ones, as executives from Dubai to New York reported back on everything from new product development to merger negotiations. The networks of at least 760 companies, research universities, Internet service providers and government agencies were hit over the last decade by the same elite group of China-based cyber spies. They are stealing everything that isn't bolted down, and it's getting exponentially worse. China has made industrial espionage an integral part of its economic policy, stealing company secrets to help it leapfrog over U.S. and other foreign competitors to further its goal of becoming the world's largest economy, U.S. intelligence officials have concluded in a report released last month.


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  • Historia Verdadera


Bolivia planea formalizar el próximo año la anunciada demanda contra Chile en cortes internacionales en reclamo a una salida soberana al océano Pacífico. (Presione aquí)


La Cámara de Diputados de Argentina endureció el proyecto de ley que restringe la compra de tierras a extranjeros, al probar en gran comisión la iniciativa modificó a un 15% desde un previsto 20% el límite a la tenencia foránea de tierra agraria. (Presione aquí)


El grupo español Telefónica venderá a American Tower Corporation 2.500 torres móviles de su filial mexicana Pegaso por US$ 500 mlls.


El grupo español Acciona ampliará una planta desalinizadora en Chile con una inversión de US$ 143 mlls. La empresa -que ya había ganado en marzo el contrato para la construcción de la planta y su operación durante veinte años- dijo que las obras consistirán en la realización de las conducciones de agua y concentrado vinculadas a un proyecto minero en la región de Atacama. La planta entrará en funcionamiento en 2013.

  • Brief News

Immigration detainees seek rape protection

Human rights advocates are calling on the Obama administration to do more protect people in immigration detention centers from sexual assault. A new federal rule covers inmates in jails and prisons, but some Homeland Security officials want an exemption for facilities that house illegal immigrants.

India set for all-party meeting on anti-corruption bill

India's government is due to hold a key all-party meeting to build consensus on a new anti-corruption bill. The Lokpal bill envisages setting up an independent ombudsman, who would have the power to investigate and prosecute politicians and civil servants. Activists and opposition parties say the bill should include the prime minister and lower-level bureaucracy.

US charges eight in Siemens foreign bribery case

US authorities have charged eight former executives at German industrial giant Siemens in connection with a $100m foreign bribery scheme. The charges relate to a $1bn contract to produce national identity cards in Argentina. Among those accused are a former member of Siemens central committee and two former heads of its Argentine unit. In 2008, Siemens agreed to pay $1.6bn to the US and German authorities to resolve charges of corrupt practices in connection with the case, and helped in the investigation of those charged.

EU delays Google Motorola merger

Google's takeover of Motorola Mobility faces a delay after EU regulators suspended their review of the deal. The European Commission has revealed that it halted the approval process last week, and requested more information. Motorola split in two earlier this year. Google subsequently offered $12.5bn in August for the part that makes phones and tablet computers. The EU has the power to block the tie-up or demand that it be amended. The takeover will give Google access to more than 17,000 of Motorola Mobility's patents.

When are partners really employees?

A New York Supreme Court Justice ruled on Tuesday that a former Holland & Knight partner wasn't an employee for the purposes of city and state anti-discrimination laws, in a case that has been closely watched in the NY legal community.

Iraq PM calls for US investment

As the last US troops prepare to leave Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki tells US investors in Washington that Iraq is open for business. Maliki is in Washington with some 40 Iraqi business leaders hoping to sign business and trade deals. He told potential investors at the US Chamber of Commerce that as well as oil, there were many other sectors which could be of interest, including healthcare, telecommunications, construction and financial services.

Egypt starts next round of voting

People in parts of Egypt start going to the polls in the second round of post-revolution elections, with Islamists expected to build on earlier gains.

In Brazil, oil boom brings environmental worries

In Brazil, the discovery of huge oil deposits has prompted a patriotic outpouring as Brazilians celebrate the country's rise as an oil power. Currently the world's ninth largest oil producer, Brazil believes it may become one of the top five. But a recent spill has brought home the dangers of deep-sea drilling.

Congress reaches agreement on controversial defense bill

Leaders in the US House and Senate on Monday evening announced that they had reached an agreement on the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 after making some modifications and adding text. The bill, which was passed by the Senate in its original form earlier this month, included a controversial provision authorizing the president to use "all necessary and appropriate force" to detain individuals suspected of terrorism. President Barack Obama expressed concerns that some of the provisions in the bill were "legally questionable" in a Statement of Administrative Policy released in November.

ICC refers Malawi to UN over Sudan's Bashir

The ICC - International Criminal Court has referred Malawi to the UN Security Council for refusing to arrest Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir. Malawi hosted Bashir in October in defiance of an ICC arrest warrant for him on charges of genocide in Darfur. Malawi said Bashir enjoyed presidential immunity, and it would not violate African Union policy by arresting him. Three other African countries have already been referred to the Council.

Murdoch uses Saturday defense to explain missed phone-hacking e-mail

News Corp. Deputy Chief Operating Officer James Murdoch has an explanation for why he failed in 2008 to properly read an e-mail that then triggered a phone- hacking scandal: It was a Saturday.

AT&T, rivals delay legal fights over T-Mobile merger

AT&T's agreement to delays in the cases, after a previous insistence on expediting them, have led to pessimism that the $39 billion deal will be completed.

US safety panel urges sweeping phone-use ban for drivers

States should ban all driver use of mobile phones and portable electronic devices, except in emergencies, a US safety board has said. The NTSB - National Transportation Safety Board recommendation includes a ban on hands-free devices, making it stricter than any current state laws. Thirty-five states have banned texting when driving, and nine states have outlawed hand-held mobile phone use. But enforcement is generally not a priority.

Apple launches iTunes Store in 16 Latin American countries, including Brazil

Apple has launched its iTunes store in Brazil and 15 other Latin American countries, the company said Tuesday, making available for sale more than 20 million songs in a region where music piracy is rampant.

Appeals court tosses JP Morgan lawsuit against insurers

The court rejected the idea that a $250 mln settlement between Bear Stearns and the SEC should be paid by insurers, because the bank intentionally violated the law.

Cambodia genocide tribunal blocks release of Khmer Rouge leader

The Supreme Court Chamber of the ECCC - Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia on Tuesday ordered that former Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Thirith remain in detention. The Trial Chamber found last month that Ieng Thirith is unfit to stand trial for war crimes because of dementia from Alzheimer's disease and ordered her immediate release. The prosecution appealed. Granting the prosecution's request, the Supreme Court Chamber found that the Trial Chamber must exhaust all measures to help Ieng Thirith become fit to stand trial.

  • Daily Press Review

Belgian city reeling after killing spree
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Tunisia opposition veteran Marzouki sworn in president
Egyptian Gazette, English-language, Cairo, Egypt

Fears of outpost demolition trigger spurt of West Bank violence
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Thomas Cook to close 200 stores
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Baby among dead in Belgium grenade attack
CNN International, London, England

Two charged with Briton's murder
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

Apple contract nets more than 1m euros at auction
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

EGYPT: Egyptians vote in second round of legislative elections
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Egypt begins second round of voting
Independent The, London, England

Photograph leads to sackings at Kommersant
Moscow News The, Independent, Moscow, Russia

Elderly care reforms may have to wait until 2025
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

PM to visit Burma Dec 19-20
Bangkok Post, Independent, Bangkok, Thailand

DPP claims Liu forged TaiMed files
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Former 'Comfort Women' Hold 1,000th Protest at Japanese Embassy
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Attack in Belgian city leaves 5 dead, 122 wounded
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

10 people die due to hooch consumption in Kolkata
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

No funding for Monju reactor test run
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

7.3 magnitude earthquake hits Papua New Guinea
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

Horrible mushroom clouds of nuclear explosions
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Vandals attack disused mosque in west Jerusalem
Straits Times, Pro-government, Singapore

James Murdoch: Explained missed E-mail for phone hacking scandal
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

US economy expands 2% in September quarter
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

Belgian police find body at attacker's home
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Injustice in Bahrain
Globe and Mail The, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

RBI's Reference Rate for Dollar Today
International Business Times, Business news organization, New York, U.S

PERU: Humala Surrounds Himself with Uniforms
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Stocks, euro fall after Fed shuns new stimulus
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

Bombs halve Iraq's Rumaila output; exports OK - officials
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

Tim Connolly scores twice as Leafs beat Hurricanes in overtime, 2-1
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Italian kills Senegalese traders
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England


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