May 2, 2012 nº 1,172 - Vol. 10

"What I am looking for is a blessing not in disguise."

Jerome K. Jerome


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  • Top News

Supreme Court to rule on ineffective assistance of counsel

The US Supreme Court granted certiorari Monday in Chaidez v. United States to rule on an ineffective assistance of counsel claim. In 2010, the court held in Padilla v. Kentucky that the Sixth Amendment guarantee of effective assistance of counsel requires a criminal defense lawyer to advise a non-citizen client that pleading guilty to an aggravated felony will trigger mandatory, automatic deportation. The question presented in Chaidez is whether Padilla applies to persons whose convictions became final before its announcement. The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that Padilla is not retroactive, creating a circuit split.

Dewey & LeBoeuf email encourages partners to seek new jobs

The April 30 memo said that members of the firm's executive committee and office of the chairman had decided to remain members of those bodies while seeking other opportunities.

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Migalhas International brings the best career and professional development opportunities to its readers. We call this service the "Magic Eye". Michael Page specializes in the placement of candidates in permanent, contract, temporary and interim executive positions within client companies around the world, particularly in the legal area. Have a look at the new section of the Migalhas website and discover the professional development opportunities with large corporations, in legal and business fields, presented by Michael Page International. So, before you open the door to the boardroom, click here and peek through the keyhole!

  • Crumbs

1 - Judge denies Strauss-Kahn immunity claim - click here.

2 - 3 Secret Service agents refuse polygraph in prostitution scandal - click here.


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  • MiMIC Journal

Cracks in China's great firewall

Google may have rolled out its cloud-storage Google Drive last week, but some 500 million internet users may never have a chance to try it out - those in China. Having hit the country's so-called Great Firewall, Google Drive has joined a host of other services banned in the communist nation, such as YouTube, Google+, Twitter, Dropbox, Facebook and Foursquare. When the firm checked for technical issues on its side, it found none; it's an issue to take up with the Chinese authorities. The Chinese government has been notoriously unfriendly towards a number of Western websites and online services, mostly targeting social media networks and video sharing sites that could have a mass impact on "the community. It's a question of control - and the Chinese authorities like to keep close control of web content, preferring to work with local internet content providers, on whom they can rely for self-censorship of content.

China launches Beidou satellites

China has moved a step closer to completing its own navigation and positioning satellite network Beidou with the launch of two more navigation satellites.


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  • Historia Verdadera


El presidente de Bolivia, Evo Morales, anunció la nacionalización de Transportadora de Electricidad, una firma controlada por la española Red Eléctrica. (Presione aquí)


La agencia antimonopolios de México informó que resolvió el recurso de revisión presentado por la gigante de las telecomunicaciones América Móvil, del magnate Carlos Slim, para tratar de evitar una multimillonaria sanción –unos US$ 922 mlls- impuesta hace casi un año por prácticas monopólicas relativas. Sin embargo, explicó que sólo será público el sentido del fallo cuando las partes sean notificadas.


Avon Products reportó una caída en su ganancia neta para el primer trimestre porque volvió a vender menos productos, al tiempo que la cifra de representantes activos bajó un 2%. La ganancia neta de la firma según reporte es de US$ 26,5 mlls., sobre ingresos por US$ 2.580 mlls en el trimestre que cerró el 31 de marzo.

  • Brief News

German jobless unexpectedly up in April as crisis flared

German unemployment unexpectedly rose for the first time in six months in April as the sovereign debt crisis damped economic growth.

Bolivia nationalizes Spanish-owned electricity firm

Bolivian President Morales has nationalized a Spanish-owned electric power company REE, which owns and runs around three-quarters of Bolivia's power grid. He said he had ordered the move in honor of the Bolivian people fighting to regain control of their natural resources. Spanish power company REE bought 99.94% of shares in TDE in 2002. The remaining 0.06% are in the hands of the Bolivian employees of TDE. Morales said he was expropriating the company because it had failed to invest sufficiently in Bolivia. He did not say how the Spanish company would be compensated, but in his decree he stipulated that the state would negotiate a payout with REE. TDE's nationalization is the latest in a series of expropriations decreed by Morales.

News Corp. contrite in wake of scathing report

News Corp. executives Rupert and James Murdoch can give a small sigh of relief, perhaps, that UK lawmakers investigating the tabloid hacking and bribery scandal did not conclude they misled Parliament in earlier testimony. But that may be just about the only relief the Murdochs receive. The scathing report accuses the company and several of its former top British executives of lying to Parliament and of seeking to cover up widespread phone hacking, computer hacking and bribing of government employees. James Murdoch, who stepped down in recent months as chairman of the company's British units, was accused by MPs of "willful blindness" in failing to realize he was authorizing a cover-up by making a huge confidential payment to a hacking victim. Rupert Murdoch, still CEO and chairman, was deemed "not a fit person" to lead a major international corporation.

Psychology of fraud: why good people do bad things

Enron, Worldcom, Bernie Madoff, the subprime mortgage crisis. Over the past decade or so, news stories about unethical behavior have been a regular feature on TV, a long, discouraging parade of misdeeds marching across our screens. And in the face of these scandals, psychologists and economists have been slowly reworking how they think about the cause of unethical behavior. In general, when we think about bad behavior, we think about it being tied to character: Bad people do bad things. But that model, researchers say, is profoundly inadequate. Researchers have concluded that most of us are capable of behaving in profoundly unethical ways. And not only are we capable of it — without realizing it, we do it all the time. There is a common misperception that at moments of challenge, when people face an ethical decision, they clearly understand the choice that they are making. We assume that they can see the ethics and are consciously choosing not to behave ethically. This is the basis of disapproval: They knew. They chose to do wrong. We are frequently blind to the ethics of a situation. Over the past couple of decades, psychologists have documented many different ways that our minds fail to see what is directly in front of us. They've come up with a concept called "bounded ethicality": That's the notion that, cognitively, our ability to behave ethically is seriously limited, because we don't always see the ethical big picture. One small example: the way a decision is framed. "The way that a decision is presented to me, very much changes the way in which I view that decision, and then eventually, the decision it is that I reach." Essentially, certain cognitive frames make us blind to the fact that we are confronting an ethical problem at all. A recent experiment illustrates the problem. Get two groups of people and tell one to think about a business decision. The other group is instructed to think about an ethical decision. Those asked to consider a business decision generated one mental checklist; those asked to think of an ethical decision generated a different mental checklist. Then, have the subjects do an unrelated task to distract them. And present them with an opportunity to cheat. Those cognitively primed to think about business behave radically different from those who are not — no matter who they were, or what their moral upbringing had been. The business frame cognitively activates one set of goals — to be competent, to be successful; the ethics frame triggers other goals. We have to understand that a lot of fraud is unintentional. But fraud spreads although we expect people to protest when they're asked to do wrong. But they don’t! Typically when we hear about large frauds, we assume the perpetrators were driven by financial incentives. But psychologists and economists say financial incentives don't fully explain it. They're interested in another possible explanation: Human beings commit fraud because human beings like each other. We like to help each other, especially people we identify with. And when we are helping people, we really don't see what we are doing as unethical. And so without focusing on the ethics of what they were doing, they even helped out a person who was not focusing on the ethics, either. If we are all capable of behaving profoundly unethically without realizing it, then our workplaces and regulations are poorly organized. They're not designed to take into account the cognitively flawed human beings that we are. They don't attempt to structure things around our weaknesses. Some concrete proposals to do that are on the table. For example, we know that auditors develop relationships with clients after years of working together, and we know that those relationships can corrupt their audits without them even realizing it. So there is a proposal to force businesses to switch auditors every couple of years to address that problem. Another suggestion: A sentence should be placed at the beginning of every business contract that explicitly says that lying on this contract is unethical and illegal, because that kind of statement would get people into the proper cognitive frame. Source: Chana Joffe-Walt and Alix Spiegel.

US sees sharp rise in newborns with opiate withdrawal

The number of babies born in the US showing symptoms of opiate withdrawal increased threefold in the 10 years up to 2009, a medical study has found. The number of pregnant women testing positive for illegal or legal opiates increased fivefold in the same period. The report says abuse of prescription painkillers is partly to blame. The researchers said many pregnant women were legitimately taking pain-relieving opiates on prescription, but warned that more must be done to find ways of protecting unborn babies from powerful drugs. While such opiate medications provide "superior pain control" they have been "overprescribed, diverted and sold illegally, creating a new opiate addiction pathway and a public health burden for maternal and child health". In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that painkiller abuse in the US had reached "epidemic proportions". It said overdoses of pain relievers cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.

Suu Kyi enters Burma parliament

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is sworn in as a member of Burma's parliament, a month after her party's sweeping victory in by-elections. Suu Kyi told reporters after the ceremony that she and her fellow NLD lawmakers would "carry out our duties within the parliament as we have been carrying out our duties outside the parliament for the last 20 or so years". She also said it did not "bother" her to sit with the military despite her long fight for democracy.

Strauss-Kahn loses case challenge

A hotel maid's civil lawsuit alleging sexual assault by Dominique Strauss-Kahn can proceed to trial, a New York judge has said. The judge rejected the former International Monetary Fund (IMF) head's bid to have the case dismissed on the grounds of diplomatic immunity. Bronx Supreme Court Justice Douglas McKeon ruled that Strauss-Kahn's voluntary resignation from his post days after his arrest on criminal charges put an end to any immunity he might have enjoyed. The woman, Nafissatou Diallo, says DSK tried to rape her in his hotel suite in May 2011. He denies it. Prosecutors dropped criminal charges in the case last summer.

Court strikes down personhood ballot initiative

The Supreme Court of Oklahoma on Monday ruled that granting "personhood" rights to human embryos is unconstitutional, thus derailing a proposed ballot initiative to amend the state's constitution by defining a fertilized egg as a person. Finding the initiative "void on its face," Oklahoma's highest court unanimously declared that it must follow the US Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which has already spoken on "[the] issue of the constitutionality of initiative petition.""

UK court rules ISPs must block file sharing website

The UK High Court ruled on Monday that British Internet service providers (ISPs) must block the file sharing website The Pirate Bay. All of the ISPs, except one which requested additional time to consider the ruling, have one week to comply with the ruling. The lobbying group requesting the block stated that the block was necessary to prevent the encouragement of copyright infringement. Critics of the ruling argue that it is pointless however because the block is easy to circumvent and it also represents a dangerous step forward for Internet censorship.

What's on Facebook's mind? Organ donation

Starting today, the social media giant is letting you add organ-donation status to your timeline. And, if you'd like to become an organ donor, Facebook will direct you to a registry to get started.

Mexico approves law to aid victims of ongoing violence

The Mexican Chamber of Deputies on Monday approved a bill that will recognize, protect and provide aid to victims of crimes stemming from the gang-related drug wars that have engulfed the country for nearly the last six years. Known as the General Victims Act, the law was passed by Mexico's lower house of Congress as a means to compensate those persons adversely affected by fighting between gangs and security forces. The law will provide financial, legal and medical aid to those in need, and victims of criminal violence will be eligible for relief of up to 950,000 pesos (USD $73,000).

Greece's next government has to show Europe it can reform

Europe's effort to rescue Greece has become all too like an episode of the TV hospital drama "House." If you've seen the show, you know the drill: An unreliable patient with alarming symptoms (Greece) is being treated by a chief doctor who has the bedside manner of a sociopath (the troika of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund). Near deaths and false recoveries ensue. Sunday's parliamentary elections should in theory offer a chance for a cure. Political parties, which since November have taken a back seat to a government of technocrats, now have the opportunity to secure a popular mandate for reform. The prognosis isn't great. That's because the two main parties -- New Democracy and Pasok -- are part of the problem. In the years leading up to the crisis, they spent freely on pensions and health care, and a New Democracy government then lied about the resulting budget deficits. They also failed to reform a bloated and dysfunctional state bureaucracy. Worse, neither party has taken full ownership of the austerity program they had to accept for Greece to get a 130 billion euro ($172 billion) bailout in March. They've spent too much of their election campaigns promising to find ways to ameliorate the deal, and too little explaining to Greeks the hard things they need to do and why.

Facebook on track for I.P.O. roadshow

Despite rumors of delays, Facebook could begin its roadshow as soon as early next week, according to two people briefed on the company's plans.

Buyout kings size up their sector

Inside the financier-filled Beverly Hilton, the Milken Institute Global Conference gathered for for a panel on private equity, The abbreviated version of the 90-minute panel: Europe is a mess, Asia is exciting, emerging markets can be dangerous, the Obama administration has created uncertainty around regulation and taxes, and even though the debt markets are wide open and companies are flush with cash, few big buyouts are likely to happen until after the presidential election. Most of the panel agreed that the appetite for huge, multibillion-dollar leveraged buyouts still had not recovered since the financial crisis. The largest deals are out. They're off the table. But most firms have experienced a pretty steady flow in small-cap deals.

  • Daily Press Review

Chinese activist leaves US embassy in Beijing
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Free Syrian Army acknowledge internal divisions
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

Libya to wind up Gaddafi son investigation soon
Egyptian Gazette, English-language, Cairo, Egypt

At least 6 dead in Kabul attacks following Obama's surprise visit
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Plainclothes attackers kill, injure Cairo protesters
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

Obama pledges end to Afghan war
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Escaped Chinese activist leaves U.S. embassy
CNN International, London, England

China manufacturing 'contraction'
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

Yours sincerely Matanayahu: Stone seal believed to have been used to sign letters 2,700 years ago is discovered in Jerusalem
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Victoria Beckham giggles in embarrassment as she and David pucker up for the KissCam
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Myanmar: Suu Kyi makes parliamentary debut
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

FRENCH ELECTION 2012: Marine Le Pen to cast 'blank vote' in French runoff
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Arbil statement calls for solution to Iraqi political deadlock
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Two Britons fined over Australia penguin theft
Independent The, London, England

Study removes WTO doubts
Moscow News The, Independent, Moscow, Russia

State must pay family carers to look after elderly, say MPs
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

Samantha Brick: 'Mary Beard is too ugly for television'
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

No change to B300 wage plan
Bangkok Post, Independent, Bangkok, Thailand

Taliban attack in Afghan capital kills at least 6
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

What Can Be Done to Stop Illegal Chinese Fishing?
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

All Kabul guesthouse attackers killed: ISAF
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Richard Loitam was murdered, say cops
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Fukushima Prefecture on hiring spree
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

US-NZ agreements to increase intelligence-sharing
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

At least two killed and 24 injured in clashes near Egyptian Defense Ministry
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Greenpeace activist flies into French nuclear plant
Straits Times, Pro-government, Singapore

Avery's bucket list tragedy
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

76ers pull away in 3rd, beat Bulls 109-92
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Japan urges Israel 'patience' on Iran sanctions
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

Obama in Afghanistan sees 'light of a new day'
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Tsunami-swept Harley-Davidson found on B.C. island
Globe and Mail The, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

UBS Q1 Profit Declines 54% On Debt Charges
International Business Times, Business news organization, New York, U.S

Latin American Media Chose Not to Publish Certain WikiLeaks Cables
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Stock index futures signal steady open
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

China denounces U.S. as dissident Chen leaves embassy
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

Hang glider pilot allegedly ate video record of fatal fall
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Six killed at Cairo demonstration
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England


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