January 30, 2012 nº 1,138 - Vol. 10


"Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what people do or say. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill."

W. C. Fields

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  • Top News

Greeks reject 'impossible' German plan for budget veto

Greek officials reacted angrily to the leaked German proposal for an EU budget commissioner with veto powers over Greek taxes and spending. "We have been giving up quite a bit, but I think sovereignty is a red line that no-one would dare cross. I would rather resign as a minister than allow anybody to tell us the way we should be spending our money" culture minister Yeroulanos said. Under the German proposal, a budget commissioner would have veto powers over Greek budgetary measures if they were not in line with targets set by international lenders. In reality, Greece's finances are already to a large extent controlled by foreign forces. The debt-stricken country has received enormous bailouts from the EU and IMF conditional on deep cuts and fiscal reforms drawn up largely by officials in Brussels. Greece would also legally commit itself to servicing its debt, before spending any money in any other way. There are concerns the measures Greece has taken to cut its budget deficit have not gone far enough. This new German proposal is clearly prompted by the widespread concerns that Greece is not succeeding in bringing its budget into order. Reforms have been slow and the budget deficit remains above target. Meanwhile, Greece and its private creditors are close to a deal to cut dramatically the country's debt levels.

Davos tells EU to fix crisis for good

European leaders were told by policy makers, bankers and academics from around the world that it's time to end the region's debt crisis and measures aimed at simply containing it are no longer enough. Five days of debating and partying at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting ended yesterday, with the euro area under pressure to swiftly deliver a bigger bailout fund that could help build a firewall worth more than $1trn. Leaders were also told they need to finish crafting tougher budget rules, and finally make Greece's debt burden manageable. Failure to comply would threaten economic growth and financial markets, as well as deprive the region of more outside support, said delegates including billionaire investor George Soros and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner. How far Europe's officials are willing to go in response may be revealed at a Brussels summit today.

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  • MiMIC Journal

China: Nationals missing after attack in Sudan

More than 20 Chinese are missing after militants attacked their remote worksite in a volatile region of Sudan, the Foreign Ministry and embassy said Sunday. The ministry said Sudanese forces launched a rescue mission Sunday in coordination with the Chinese embassy in Khartoum.

China signals limited loosening

China signaled caution toward more monetary loosening by holding off on a reduction in bank reserve requirements that some economists had predicted would come before a week-long holiday ending Jan. 28. China seeks to steer the world's second-biggest economy through a property market slowdown and the weakest export growth since 2009 without re-inflating asset bubbles or driving up consumer prices. The central bank aims to ease policies prudently and pace loan growth at the beginning of the year so as to avoid a replay of the credit explosion in 2009 and 2010 and prevent inflation from rebounding.

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  • Brief News

Poaching lawsuit against tech companies will proceed, says judge

Lucy Koh said overlapping relationships between the companies made it "hard to believe" the industry's arguments that they should not have to face the antitrust lawsuit. The proposed class action lawsuit brought by five software engineers against Apple Inc. and other tech companies including Google Inc. and Intel Corp accuses them of conspiring to keep employee compensation low by eliminating competition for skilled labor. In 2010, Google, Apple, Adobe Systems, Intel, Intuit Inc and Walt Disney Co's Pixar unit agreed to a settlement of a U.S. Justice Department probe that bars them from agreeing to refrain from poaching each other's employees.

Facebook readies IPO filing

Facebook Inc. could file papers for its initial public offering as early as this coming week, people familiar with the matter said, as anticipation mounts for what is likely to be one of the biggest debuts for a U.S. company. The deal, seen as defining moment for the latest Web investing boom, could raise as much as $10bn and value the social network between $75bn and $100bn, said people familiar with the matter. A valuation of $75bn would be below earlier expectations. The flotation later this year would raise about $10bn. It would dwarf the $1.9bn raised by Google when it went public in 2004. It would still, however, be some way short of the $20bn raised by carmaker General Motors in November 2010. At a $100bn valuation, Facebook would be worth about the same as McDonald's Corp. and nearly half of Google. Facebook's revenue is driven by its advertising business, as big brands rush to the site to interact with consumers through display ads and fan pages. An IPO will also test the ability of Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, age 27, to manage a global company whose financial performance will be scrutinized every three months by investors.

A quest for de-baptism in France

In France, an elderly man is fighting to make a formal break with the Catholic Church. He's taken the church to court over its refusal to let him nullify his baptism, in a case that could have far-reaching effects. Last October, a judge in Normandy ruled in his favor. The diocese has since appealed, and the case is pending. "One can't be de-baptized," says Rev. Robert Kaslyn, dean of the School of Canon Law at the Catholic University of America. Kaslyn says baptism changes one permanently before the church and God. French law states that citizens have the right to leave organizations if they wish. "If the justice confirms that the name Rene LeBouvier has to disappear from the books, if it is confirmed, it can be a kind of jurisprudence in France."

Goldman Sachs among banks lobbying to exempt half of swaps from Dodd-Frank

More than half of the derivatives- trading business of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and three other large banks could fall largely outside the Dodd- Frank Act if they succeed in lobbying regulators to exempt their overseas operations, government records show.

Law firms keep squeezing associates

Law firms are finally starting to recover from the recession, but they aren't taking their young lawyers along for the ride. Even as profits return, cautious partners with one eye on damaged balance sheets and the other on stingy clients plan to hang onto the lean silhouettes they acquired during the downturn. That means little relief for young associates—who took on hefty law-school loans, only to run into layoffs and stagnant pay in the years since 2008—and fewer chances for new law-school graduates to get in on the ground floor. And the elusive brass ring of partnership has grown more remote.

Senegal court confirms third term bid for Wade

Senegal's highest court has dismissed opposition appeals and confirmed that President Abdoulaye Wade can run for a third term in office. The Constitutional Council said the 85-year-old president was not bound by a two-term limit because his first term began before the rule was introduced. There were violent protests on Friday after the court's original ruling in Wade's favor. The elections will take place on 26 February.

RBS boss Stephen Hester rejects $1.5m bonus

Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Stephen Hester has turned down his controversial bonus worth nearly £1m ($1.5m), only payment after succumbing to "enormous political pressure". Chancellor George Osborne said it was a "sensible and welcome" decision that now let Mr Hester focus on getting back billions of pounds for the taxpayer.

Sarkozy announces French financial transaction tax

Sarkozy has announced plans to introduce a tax on financial transactions. The 0.1% levy will be introduced in August regardless of whether other European countries follow suit. The tax is part of a package of measures set out by the president to promote growth and create jobs. Sarkozy faces a presidential election in April, but is currently trailing in the opinion polls behind his Socialist rival, Francois Hollande.

Chavez threatens Venezuela banks

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatens to nationalize banks that refuse to finance agricultural development projects backed by his government.

Carnival sued in Miami by passengers of wrecked cruise ship in Italy

Carnival Corp., the world's largest cruise line owner, was sued in Miami over the Jan. 13 wreck of the Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy. The plaintiffs were "in terror of catastrophic injury, death, drowning, having been placed in a situation where common sense said the vessel was sinking but the orders from the crew were to return to their cabins," according to the complaint. Attorney Marc Bern said he's working with an Italian consumer-law group, Codacons, as well as the New York firm of Proner and Proner. He said he expects to later sue on behalf of about 1,000 passengers of the Costa Concordia. Unlike in Italy, accident victims who file suit in the United States can recover punitive damages if they can prove a defendant acted egregiously.

Libya to take control of makeshift prisons

In response to international criticism the Libya Ministry of Justice announced on Sunday that it will be commandeering "makeshift prisons" around the country to prevent further prisoner torture. Deputy Minister Khalifa Ashour acknowledged that primarily loyalists to former dictator Muammar Gaddafi have been tortured in unregulated prisons.

Court rules criminalizing false claims of military honors constitutional

The US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled on Friday that the SVA - Stolen Valor Act, which criminalizes the act of falsely claiming to have received a medal from the US military, is constitutional and not a violation of the First Amendment right to freedom of speech. The SVA imposes a six month prison sentence on anyone who falsely claims to have received a military service medal or a one year sentence if the individual claimed to have received a Congressional Medal of Honor.

Italy must end violence against women: UN

A UN expert on violence against women urged Italy on Friday that it must do more to end violence against women, primarily by focusing at underlying causes of gender discrimination in Italian society. UN Special Rapporteur Rashida Manjoo made her recommendation after a 12-day visit to Italy during which she met with multiple survivors of domestic violence. Manjoo emphasized that the current poor economic climate in Italy is no justification for violence against women and that the country has many resources available to women, such as psychological and economic assistance, that should not be disposed of.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Time
The power of shyness.

Newsweek
I will prevail (Mitt Romney).

Business Week
Amazon's Hit Man. Larry Kirshbaum was the ultimate book industry insider—until Amazon called. Amazon Wants to burn the book business.

The Economist
China and the paradox of prosperity.

Der Spiegel
Die Zocker AG. Die dubiosen Geschäfte der Deutschen Bank.

L'Espresso
Cricca alla Milanese.

  • Daily Press Review

Syrian army 'regains Damascus suburb'
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Iraqi Sunni-backed lawmakers end parliament ban
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

Fierce Syrian clashes near Damascus
Egyptian Gazette, English-language, Cairo, Egypt

Panetta: Iran is one year away from producing nuclear weapon
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

PA TV glorifies murderers of Fogel family
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

RBS boss Hester rejects GBP 1m bonus
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Arab League halts Syria mission amid violence
CNN International, London, England

Atheist describes West Bank ordeal
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

The United Kingdom has no industry any more: Sneering Sarkozy attacks Britain on French TV
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Caroline Flack parties with friends days after splitting from Harry Styles
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Pope releases doves of peace for the Holy Land
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

FRANCE: Sarkozy unveils economic reforms in televised interview
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Paul Auster refuses Turkey visit over jailed scribes
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

EU acts over N'Dour ban
Independent The, London, England

Moscow in top 20 worldwide for commercial realty investment
Moscow News The, Independent, Moscow, Russia

Vince Cable: footballers deserve lavish pay, bankers don't
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

Deep South drama The Help scoops honours at annual SAG awards
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

Don Mueang to reopen March 6
Bangkok Post, Independent, Bangkok, Thailand

China's Wen govt debt risk 'controllable', sets reforms
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Affordable Housing in Seoul Dwindles
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Search goes on for thousands of Japan's tsunami missing
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Four cops axed for lodging false case
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

JFBA to help smaller firms jump legal hurdles abroad
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Torture 'rampant' in Libyan prisons
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

100 firefighters battle bushfire in Western Australia's south west
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Sudan army frees 14 'kidnapped' Chinese
Straits Times, Pro-government, Singapore

Mikee's 'personality is back'
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

Official: Philippines to sign agreement with Italy to accelerate defense orders
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

EU urges Greek debt deal to be reached without delay
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

Shafia jury finds all guilty of 1st-degree murder
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

America's still skeptical about central banking
Globe and Mail The, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Australian Stock Market Report - Afternoon 1/30/2012
International Business Times, Business news organization, New York, U.S

THEMATIC SOCIAL FORUM: Working Towards a Never-Ending Democracy
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Asian shares, euro slip as markets eye Greek debt deal
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

6.3 earthquake shakes Peru but no injuries or damage reported
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

Shafia family members guilty of first-degree murder
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Senegal court confirms Wade bid
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

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