February 15, 2012 nº 1,144 -  Vol. 10


"A man admires a woman not for what she says, but what she listens to."

George Jean Nathan

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  • Top News

Eurozone Greece talks 'cancelled'

The head of the eurozone countries has downgraded an eurozone finance ministers meeting on Wednesday, saying Greece has not yet given the necessary assurances about its austerity plan. Ministers, who had demanded Greece find an extra 325m euros of savings, had been set to meet in Brussels. But Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker said the talks would be replaced by a conference call. He said technical work with Greece was still needed "in a number of areas". A Greek minister says "superhuman" efforts have been made to comply with austerity demands. Finance ministers had not received assurances from leaders of Greek political parties on a program of proposed cuts.

Wall St fights back vs expert witness in lawsuits

For years, Craig McCann played a prominent role as a top expert witness, his testimony helping to win millions of dollars for investors who sued financial companies. As those victories piled up, brokerages went to war on his credentials, and more recently, his credibility. The effort provides a window into how critical expert witnesses have been to investor cases, and how intent brokerage firms are on weakening their influence. McCann, a former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission economist, is accustomed to financial companies challenging his qualifications during arbitration cases. But their efforts have become unrelenting since last October, with a number of brokerages trying to prevent him from testifying at all. The shift to all-out war against McCann came after a federal judge issued a controversial ruling that McCann gave fraudulent testimony in a case against brokerage Morgan Keegan & Co Inc. The fact that McCann disclosed the discrepancy ahead of time and that the new testimony would have done nothing to change the outcome of the case has not stopped lawyers from using the ruling to attack McCann's integrity.

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  • Crumbs

1 - OPEN: Online protection & enforcement of digital trade act - click here.

2 - Obama new taxes on rich: Budget would raise levies on some dividends - click here.

3 - Foreign bribe case at Avon presented to grand jury - click here.

4 - Israel rejects Palestinian hunger-striker's appeal - click here.

5 - German police use Facebook pictures to nab crooks - click here.

6 - Pakistan's PM, Yousuf Raza Gilani, charged with contempt - click here.

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  • MiMIC Journal

China Premier vows to help on eurozone debt

China's Premier Wen Jiabao has promised to help resolve the eurozone's debt crisis, after talks with EU leaders in Beijing. He offered co-operation to help stabilize debt-ridden EU nations, but made no specific promise to invest in a European bailout fund. EU leaders have been seeking Chinese money to help bolster a planned fund of about 500bn euros ($665bn).

Apple iPad China sales and shipments threat in name row

A Chinese company is to ask customs officials to block shipments of Apple's iPad both into and out of the country. If the request succeeds, it could affect global sales as China is a key manufacturing base for the company. The move follows a long-running dispute between Apple and electronics firm Proview over ownership of the iPad name. Last year Proview won an initial judgement in a mainland Chinese court, which Apple has appealed against. Proview said it is contacting officials across China with a view to blocking sales of the product.

China court to review Wu sentence

China's Supreme Court says it will review a controversial death sentence handed down on fraud charges "with caution", after a public outcry.

Brazil seeks more access to China to balance trade

Brazil has asked China to allow more of its manufactured goods in to the Chinese market as it seeks to tap into the country's growing economy. The call comes as Brazil's trade surplus with China has been rising, hitting $11.5bn last year. Brazil has also asked China to reduce its exports amid concerns that the influx of low-cost Chinese goods was hurting its manufacturing sector. China is Brazil's biggest trading partner.

China court indicts top fugitive on bribery charges

A local Chinese court in Xiamen on Monday indicted Lai Changxing on charges of bribing Chinese government officials and running a Xiamen-based network that smuggled large quantities of goods during the 1990s. As chairman of the Yuanhua Group in Xiamen, Lai allegedly smuggled billions of dollars worth of various goods including cigarettes and cars, as well as oil and other chemicals. In order to smuggle the goods through Chinese customs, Lai allegedly bribed government officials with significant amounts of money. More than 200 senior government officials have been implicated in the smuggling ring. The date of trial is still unknown, but if Lai is convicted the Chinese government has indicated that he will face life imprisonment rather than the death penalty. According to state-run media reports, Lai has confessed to all charges against him.

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  • Historia Verdadera

Sanciones

El ente antimonopolios de México impuso a la cementera Cemex una multa de US$ 800,500 dólares -10.2 millones de pesos mexicanos- por prácticas monopólicas relativas al impedir a un grupo de empresarios importar cemento ruso al país.(Presione aquí)

Negocios

La empresa de alimentos Brasil Foods, BRF, formó una sociedad a partes iguales con la china DCH - Dah Chong Hong para tener acceso al mercado chino para su marca Sadia y entrar en los canales minoristas y de servicios de alimentación.

Carbón

Goldman Sachs lidera una subasta para comprar los activos de carbón en Colombia de la brasileña Vale, en busca de un acceso estratégico a un puerto, mientras que Glencore espera y operadores rivales se abstienen. (Presione aquí)

  • Brief News

BP must face investors' fraud claims spurred by gulf oil spill

BP Plc  must face fraud claims by investors who said the company lied before and after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill about its accident response capability, a federal judge said. US District Judge Keith P. Ellison in Houston yesterday allowed holders of BP American depositary receipts to pursue claims alleging violations of U.S. securities law. He dismissed claims by investors who bought ordinary shares of London-based BP, saying his court has no jurisdiction over them.

UN rights chief again urges referral of Syria to ICC

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, in a speech to the UN General Assembly on Monday, called for the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the ICC - International Criminal Court. Pillay urged an investigation of Syrian government and military officials for possible crimes against humanity. She emphasized that the international community needed to hold Syrian officials accountable for their alleged human rights abuses.

Obama hosts China's heir apparent

Obama presses China's leader-in-waiting, Xi Jinping, on trade and human rights, as he welcomes him to the White House. Washington has been putting pressure on Beijing over what it sees as unfair trade practices, as well as the value of its currency and intellectual property theft. Obama said that China's "extraordinary development" over the last two decades had brought "increased responsibilities". The leaders were expected to discuss foreign policy issues, including Syria and Iran. But Washington also hopes to learn more about the Chinese heir apparent's leadership style.

US approval for Google's Motorola bid

US regulators approve Google's $12.5bn bid for phone maker Motorola Mobility, hours after it wins clearance from European authorities.

Guess loses bid to dismiss Gucci trademark case

A federal judge rejected Guess Inc's bid to dismiss a trademark infringement lawsuit by Italian luxury goods company Gucci. Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan ruled in favor of Guess on Tuesday with regard to infringement claims based on its use of the "Square G" and "Quattro G" designs. She rejected motions to dismiss the case with respect to all other claims. Owned by the French company PPR SA, Gucci had in a lawsuit begun in May 2009 accused Guess of engaging in a "sophisticated and elaborate scheme" to boost sales by copying or mimicking some of its best-known designs.

More shipwreck survivors sue Carnival, Costa

Dozens of additional survivors of the Costa Concordia have joined a Florida lawsuit that accuses the ship's owners of gross negligence and fraud, and asks for at least $528 million in damages.

Tunisia court drops charges against former PM of Libya

A Tunisian court on Tuesday dropped charges against former Libyan prime minister Al Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi for illegally entering the country, but the former figurehead under the regime of Muammar Gaddafi remains in jail until a final decision on his extradition to Libya. The court dismissed the charges after determining that al-Mahmoudi had lawfully crossed into Tunisia from Libya. Al-Mahmoudi's lawyer has indicated that he is attempting to have him released from custody while awaiting the extradition process.

US militia tried in sedition case

Seven members of a US militia have gone on trial accused of plotting to wage war against the US. It is alleged the Hutaree group planned to kill a police officer then attack the funeral, in an attempt to trigger a revolt against the government. Members of the Michigan-based militia are accused of sedition, or rebellion, and weapons offences.

Behind NY's catwalks, legal contracts abound

Behind the scenes of New York Fashion Week, reams of legal contracts bind together designers, models, hair and make-up artists, photographers, stagehands, lighting technicians and even celebrities flaunting their clothes. These days fashion contracts can range from a premium price of up to $65,000 to rent the main runway at Lincoln Center where the top designers tend to show, to a smaller designer's DJ contract including a clause that the DJ must have the right to publicly broadcast the music they pump out during the show.

Striking Brazil police may have executed 30

Current and former police officers may have committed up to 30 murders during the recently ended police strike in Brazil's northeastern state of Bahia, law enforcement officials there said. Up to 30 people were killed execution-style out of the 180 murdered during violence that hit the state during the 12-day strike, said Arthur Gallas, head of the police department's homicide department, during a late Monday briefing for reporters. The victims' bodies were found with their hands cuffed or tied behind their backs, he said. All of them had been shot in the head at close range with heavy caliber weapons such as the rifles Brazil's police carry. "Preliminary investigations and eyewitness reports lead us to believe that these killings were the work of militias," Gallas said.

Netflix reveals $9m payout in privacy legal action

Netflix has paid $9m dollars to settle a privacy-related legal action, a financial filing has revealed. The online streaming firm, which made no admission of wrongdoing, said the settlement related to compliance with the Video Protection Privacy Act. The 1988 US legislation prohibits the disclosure of video rental histories. It is reported that the legal action concerned allegations that Netflix was failing to delete the viewing histories of customers who had left the service.

Washington legalizes same-sex marriage

Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signed legislation Monday legalizing same-sex marriage, making Washington the eighth jurisdiction in the US to offer marriage to same-sex couples. Washington had previously granted expanded domestic partnership rights rather than full marriage or civil union rights to same-sex couples. Gregoire's signature completed a campaign for marriage rights that started in 2006.

NJ Senate votes to approve same-sex marriage

The New Jersey Senate on Monday voted 24-16 to approve the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption Act, a bill which, if enacted, would legalize same-sex marriage in the state. Under the bill, marriage would be defined as the "legally recognized union of two consenting persons in a committed relationship." The legislation would not require any member of the clergy or religious institution to perform same-sex marriages, or provide space for same-sex marriage services. The bill would also effectively end the state's current civil union system, with all partners currently in civil unions being deemed married. The NJ State Assembly is expected to vote on the bill Thursday, and if it is approved the legislation will move to Governor Chris Christie for his signature or veto.

Obama aims tax increase at the highest earners

Obama called for $1.4 trillion in fresh revenue from Americans at the top of the income scale, proposing higher taxes on wages and investments and limiting breaks for retirement savings and health insurance.

  • Daily Press Review

Obama chides China's Xi over Syria vote
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Pakistan releases U.S. man after 'bullets found in baggage'
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

Syria observer chief resigns: Arabs
Egyptian Gazette, English-language, Cairo, Egypt

Thai police arrest Iranian national with suspected links to Bangkok bombing
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Syrian forces attack Hama, ignore int'l pressure
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

Cameron pledge on binge drinking
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Firm tone, diplomacy in Obama-Xi meeting
CNN International, London, England

Greece bailout talks called off
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

Portrait by Francis Bacon sells for GBP 21m at auction
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Cheryl Cole hits back at former protegée Cher Lloyd's autotune comments
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Kosovo Serb vote defiant
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

GREECE: Setback for Greek bailout as EU creditors cancel meeting
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Ankara worries over PKK hunt of Turkish spies
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Users spending more than $3m per day on Zynga's online games
Independent The, London, England

Local brewer to sell beer to Germany
Moscow News The, Independent, Moscow, Russia

Scotland referendum: We need a poetry of the Union to defeat Salmond's freedom shtick
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

Oliver Stone's son converts to Islam in Iran
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

Industry confidence up in January
Bangkok Post, Independent, Bangkok, Thailand

Animal farmers pan gov't US beef efforts
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

The Disgraceful Fate of the N.Korea Human Rights Bill
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Iranian bomber injured in blast, 2 more rock Bangkok
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Contestant named 'dead' in voters'list has his nomination cancelled
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Noda plans first visit to Okinawa
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Polls show Republican shift to Santorum
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

Ratchaburi Holding allocates BTH 8 billion to continue 13 committed project and new investments aboard
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

110-year-old Sudan bookshop struggles on
Straits Times, Pro-government, Singapore

Marion's darkest secret
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

California Governor Jerry Brown's plan to end pensions may not save much money
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

World Bank sees high food prices easing
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

Botox injected by unlicensed practitioners
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Israel and Iran: at war in the shadows
Globe and Mail The, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Sydney, Melbourne in Top 10 List of Most Expensive Cities to Live in
International Business Times, Business news organization, New York, U.S

Latin American Migrants Flee Crisis in Spain
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Shares finish flat in late rally on Greece
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

US captive charged with trying to kill Pakistan's Musharraf
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

Drummond report: 'Controversial' prescription in store for health care
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Uganda minister raids gay meeting
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

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