October 29, 2014 nº 1,561 - Vol. 12

"In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane."

Oscar Wilde

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  • Top News

FTC sues AT&T over 'unlimited' data plans

The Federal Trade Commission sued AT&T Inc., alleging that the company misled millions of cellphone subscribers by selling them unlimited data plans and then effectively capping those plans. Tuesday's move, which follows a warning to Verizon Communications Inc. by the Federal Communications Commission, shows growing regulatory unease with what the carriers have described as network-management practices, but which some critics suspect have commercial motives. The FTC claims AT&T failed to adequately inform customers that data speeds on their smartphones would be slowed by as much as 80% to 90% once they reached a certain usage threshold during a billing cycle. Since October 2011, the FTC said, AT&T has throttled data speeds a total of more than 25 million times for at least 3.5 million customers. These bottlenecks made it difficult for customers to use common mobile-phone applications such as GPS navigation and streaming video, the agency said. The FTC's lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Francisco, seeks to bar AT&T from misleading consumers and asks for monetary relief for the alleged harm to the company's customers. "We hope to put money back in their pockets," said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. (Click here)

Whisper and the meaning of anonymity

Once upon a time, few people cared about online anonymity beyond privacy activists and hardcore security types. Now it's anyone who uses an app that promises to keep their secrets. Programs like Whisper, Snapchat, Secret, and Yik Yak let users post messages that purportedly contain no identifying information. These apps encourage people vent things they wouldn't otherwise say in public, confident that their private expressions can't be traced to them. But if anonymity is having its moment, there has never been more confusion about what the term means. Does it mean a company never knows the identity of its users, or is it enough for users to be anonymous to one another? Does it mean a company erases posts immediately after they appear or stores them internally? These questions came to a head recently when Whisper was reported to have secretly tracked the locations of its users. Whisper claimed to be a haven of anonymity: "the safest place on the Internet." The company has denied the charges, but doubts linger. Companies that connect to users through the Internet inevitably know identifying details about their customers. However, they can do things to make it harder for those details to be a sole source of identification. These things include separating transaction and identity data, truncating numbers such as device IDs and IP addresses that serve as unique identifiers, and blurring location data, as Whisper claims to do.

IBA conference in Tokyo

The IBA Annual Conference held in Tokyo has been a magnificent event. Almost 7.000 lawyers from all over the world attended the Conference. The presence of the Emperor of Japan Hiroito and his wife Emperess Mashido in the Opening Cerimony had an enormous impact and this was really unique in Japan. Moreover the speech of Prime Minister Abe was highly appreciated by everybody. Lawyer Carlos Roberto Siqueira Castro, from Siqueira Castro Advogados, represented the Federal Council of the Bar Association of Brazil in IBA's Annual Conference. For him, "it has been a great honor to represent the National Bar Association of Brazil and the Brazilian Lawyers at this most important Meeting of Lawyers in the world. I am glad that I had the chance to contribute for the high standard discussions before the Bar Issue Commission in my capacity as member of this prestigious Commission. I also participated in the Council Meeting held yesterday where I had the great opportunity to vote for my dear colleague and friend Horácio Bernardes Neto who was elected the new General Secretary of IBA. This is the first time in IBA history that a Brazilian lawyer takes office at the IBA Board. I’m sure Horácio, for his great capacity to make the right decisions and to move forward, besides his notable background of experiences in IBA affairs, will do a great job for all of us as the new General Secretary of IBA. Briefly, the IBA Tokyo Conference has been a fantastic experience for all lawyers that attended it and certainly it outlined the new drivings, the new tendencies and the new landscapes for the the legal profession and for the legal practicing as well and this challenging and changing world".

China and the environment

Criticized in the global media as one of the most polluted countries in the world, the Chinese government is taking some steps to improve the situation. Take a look at the analysis of Jayme Vita Roso, from Auditoria Jurídica. (Click here)

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  • Crumbs

1 - Australia prompts outrage by becoming first Western country to ban visitors from Ebola-hit areas of Africa - click here.

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  • MiMIC Journal

China 'to protect whistle-blowers'

China's top prosecuting body lays out rights for whistle-blowers for the first time, amid an ongoing crackdown on corruption. It said it has, for the first time, laid out rights for those exposing malpractice. It urged citizens to file reports in a "lawful manner" via official channels and promised a quick response.

China may drop 9 crimes from list of death penalty offenses

The move appears to be part of a trend to reduce the use of the death penalty in a country that still executes more people than any other. Legislators are considering striking the use of the death penalty for such offenses as weapons smuggling, counterfeiting, forcing others into prostitution, and spreading rumors to mislead others during wartime, according to the New China News Service. The maximum punishment for those crimes would become life imprisonment, though it was not immediately clear how many people are actually executed for those offenses now. (Click here)

  • Historia Verdadera

Google – Yahoo

La CSJN-Argentina falló a favor de Google y Yahoo! en demanda iniciada por una modelo, que reclamaba porque su nombre aparecía en páginas vínculadas a ofertas de sexo. (Presione aquí)

Acuerdo

México y Estados Unidos alcanzaron un acuerdo para evitar el aumento a los aranceles a la exportación de azúcar mexicana, un tema que provocó un diferendo después de que autoridades estadounidenses propusieron elevarlos hasta en 17.01%. (Presione aquí)

Inversiones 

La compañía de capital chino Huawei, líder en soluciones de Tecnologías de la Información y Comunicaciones, invertirá US$ 1.500 mlls. en México a cinco años, e iniciará en Querétaro con la construcción de cuatro centros especializados en servicios de telecomunicaciones. (Presione aquí)

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  • Brief News

Can the feds slap you in quarantine? Probably, though the law hasn't been updated since 1918

State officials almost certainly can impose whatever quarantine rules they want and the federal government probably can, too, although the law in this area has been largely dormant since widespread quarantines during the 1918 flu epidemic. The US Supreme Court has extensive precedents governing when mentally ill patients can be confined against their will, for example. But the law covering the mentally ill assumes there is evidence patients are a danger to themselves or somebody else. That's not much help with quarantines, since the whole point is to isolate people before they have manifested the signs of the disease and to release them when it is clear they aren't a threat. "The truth is, nobody knows much of anything about this because the modern case law postdates quarantines." Some have questioned whether the federal government can interfere with state efforts to quarantine potential Ebola carriers. New York, New Jersey and Illinois have imposed 21-day quarantines on people who have had direct contact with Ebola patients in West Africa, leading the Obama administration to complain that the rules may discourage US aid workers from helping fight the epidemic in Africa.

US warns Russia on Ukraine rebel vote

US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned Russia that it will break international agreements if it recognizes an election planned by separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. The self-declared republics of Donetsk and Luhansk plan to elect regional leaders and parliaments on Sunday. Moscow has already said it intends to recognize the result of the ballot. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko argues that the polls threaten the peace process with Kiev. "The United States along with the rest of international community will not recognize so called separatist elections unless they happen within the framework of the special status law passed by Ukraine's parliament and signed by President Poroshenko."

US steps up security over terror fears

The US has increased security at government buildings across the nation in the wake of an attack on the Canadian parliament. Homeland Security said the Federal Protective Service will enhance its presence at various sites in Washington DC and elsewhere. The action has been described as a precautionary step to safeguard US government personnel and facilities. "The reasons for this action are self-evident: the continued public calls by terrorist organizations for attacks on the homeland and elsewhere, including against law enforcement and other government officials, and the acts of violence targeted at government personnel and installations in Canada."

Thai court dismisses defamation case against UK activist

A Thai court has dismissed a criminal defamation case against a British labor activist who criticized conditions in seafood and pineapple export companies in Thailand. A Thai pineapple company brought the case against Andy Hall after a report he wrote which alleged labor abuses by the firm and others. The court said the investigation into the case did not meet certain legal requirements. Andy Hall faces more charges of violating Thailand's computer crimes act.

Ryanair ordered to pay €8.3m by French court

A French court has ruled that Irish low cost airline Ryanair must pay €8.1m (£6.4m) in damages and €200,000 in fines for breaches of French labor laws. An appeal court in Aix-en-Provence found the company guilty of paying workers under Irish contracts to avoid making French social security payments. (Click here)

FBI spoofs news story to send spyware to suspect

How did the FBI get a suspect to click on a link? It created a fake news story about the suspect. When he clicked, spyware glommed on to his computer. "They need something that will convince people to click on that link. And I guess in this case, they went for vanity."

Why does Saudi Arabia Seem so comfortable with falling oil prices?

Normally, the "central banker of oil" would slow production to push up prices. Not so now. Some say it's a geopolitical tactic aimed at Russia and Iran; others say it's just protecting market share. At this time, he Gulf state hasn't made any move to reduce oil production. While that's good for consumers and most businesses in the US, the falling price is bad for oil-exporting countries such as Russia, Venezuela, Iran and Iraq. One popular conspiracy theory is that Saudi Arabia is trying to deprive Russia of valuable oil revenues because of its support of Bashar Assad's regime in Syria. Saudi Arabia is opposed to Assad. Another theory is that Saudi Arabia is manipulating the markets to try to quash competition, especially from new oil producers like those involved with the Canadian oil sands and the shale revolution in the US.

Dutch ask Russia for MH17 'evidence'

Dutch investigators ask Russia to surrender evidence it claims to have showing a Ukrainian fighter jet in the same area as flight MH17 when it was shot down. Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 may have been shot down by a surface-to-air missile or another aircraft, though the former suggestion is more likely. Investigators have been carrying out forensic tests on iron pieces found in the plane's wreckage that might prove it was hit by a surface-to-air missile.

'Terror' wi-fi signal leaves LA-London flight grounded

A wi-fi signal named "Al-Quida Free Terror Nettwork" (sic) has resulted in a long delay for passengers on a plane at Los Angeles airport. A passenger alerted American Airlines cabin crew when his smartphone identified the network as one available nearby and police were notified. After an investigation lasting several hours, police at the airport said no crime had been committed.

European Commission to approve France and Italy budgets

The European Commission has said it is likely to approve France and Italy's 2015 budgets after both countries made adjustments to their first proposals, submitted earlier this month. France had initially disregarded the Commission's calls for further budgetary cuts. Since the financial crisis, the Commission has gained greater powers to ensure members meet deficit targets. France's original budget forecast a deficit of 4.3%, above the 3% target. The budget deficit is the amount a government spends over and above its annual income, expressed as a percentage of total economic output, or GDP.

Venezuela announces police 'purge'

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says he will "purge" the police force after alleging officers were involved in the murder of lawmaker Robert Serra.

Chiquita Fruit Company Is Bought By Two Brazilian Firms

Chiquita Brands International, the banana and produce firm whose trademark blue stickers have been ubiquitous in American kitchens for decades, is being sold to two Brazilian companies in a deal valued at around $1.3 billion. The Charlotte-based company traces its roots to the 1870s, when American entrepreneurs brought bananas to US consumers from the Caribbean. The two Brazilian firms are produce and juice company Cutrale Group and the global investment conglomerate Safra Group. Chiquita's board voted to approve the deal days after its shareholders rejected a merger with a different company.

Saudi Arabia court sentences 3 lawyers for criticizing judiciary

A court in Saudi Arabia on Monday sentenced three lawyers to between five and eight years in prison for criticizing the justice system on the social networking website Twitter by accusing authorities of carrying out arbitrary detentions. The Saudi Press Agency reported that the lawyers were each convicted of different crimes, including using the social media outlet to propagate against the Saudi judiciary, criticize Islamic Sharia law and interfere in the independence of the judiciary. The lawyers are also banned from using social media and traveling. The court also warned other social media users that they could face similar punishment for similar offenses and that they were being monitored.

HRW to Iran: stop harassing human rights lawyer

Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged Iran Tuesday to stop detaining and harassing human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. HRW also urged Iranian officials to end interference in the internal affairs of Iran's bar association.

UK's 'naked rambler' loses bid to make nudity a human right

A UK man, known as the naked rambler, failed to convince a European court that his human rights were violated following his repeated arrests because of public nudity.

Former S.E.C. chairman to advise two prominent Bitcoin companies

Arthur Levitt Jr., who will serve as an adviser to BitPay, the Bitcoin payment processor, and Vaurum, an exchange for institutional investors, said he was intrigued by the challenge of defining virtual currency.

  • Daily Press Review

Iraqi Peshmerga set to join Kobane battle
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Latest updates / Obama to give Ebola speech
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Disasters group launches Ebola appeal
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Dying woman completes bucket list
CNN International, London, England

Katie Price 'receives Twitter messages from Oscar Pistorius thanking her for the support'
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Volvo spotted at Heathrow Airport with rather eye-catching number plate E8 OLA
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Further Forensic results due following death of French protester
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

France, UK trade blame over Calais migrant crisis
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Bozcaada to host maiden ecological documentary festival
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Manuel Noriega fails in bid to sue Call of Duty makers for using his likeness in video game
Independent The, London, England

Zambia president Michael Sata dies in London
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

Batman vs Superman: news, rumours & spoilers
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

Wei Ying-chiao resigns from Taipei 101
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

N.Korea Hacks 20,000 S.Korean Smartphones
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Lava stream creeps closer to Hawaii homes
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

7-year-old gets rid of 202 'teeth'
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Canadian journalist tests negative for Ebola but remains hospitalized
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Obama in Wisconsin stumps for governor candidate
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

Ukraine President cancels trip over protests in eastern Ukraine
Straits Times, Pro-government, Singapore

Zuck forgets the P-word
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

Panasonic to Commence Licensing Unified IP Core for HD-PLC
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

China needs reform, not growth targets: World Bank
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

NASA's Antares rocket explodes shortly after launch
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Harper's China visit still on the table, could be as early as next week
Globe and Mail The, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Liberty Reserve Brought Down By 'Joe Bogus': How The Feds Arrested Arthur Budovsky
International Business Times, Business news organization, New York, U.S

Yeil - The New Energy Buzzword in Argentina
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

The equity cult alive and kicking, despite deflation threat
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

Iraqi peshmerga fighters head for Syria to fight Islamic State
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

Doug Ford considering a run for Progressive Conservative leadership
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

US hails West Africa Ebola progress
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

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