February 8, 2017 nº 1,836 - Vol. 14

"Great feelings will often take the aspect of error, and great faith the aspect of illusion."

  Robert Burton

Read Migalhas LatinoAmérica in Spanish every Tuesday and Thursday. Visit the website at www.migalhas.com/latinoamerica

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  • Top News

Tough questions in US appeals court over Trump travel ban

A US appeals court has posed tough questions at those challenging and defending Trump's controversial travel ban. The order banned entry for all refugees and visitors from seven mainly Muslim nations, until it was halted last week. The three-judge panel raised questions over the limits on the president's power and Trump's evidence to link the seven countries to terrorism. But it also asked whether the measure could be considered anti-Muslim. A decision from the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, in San Francisco, is expected later this week. Whatever it decides, the case will probably end up in the Supreme Court.

US House approves update of e-mail privacy laws

The US House of Representatives on Monday approved HR 387, a bipartisan bill that updates US privacy laws in regards to e-mail and cloud storage. Most importantly, the bill will require law enforcement to obtain a warrant before searching US citizens' data that has been stored with third-party service providers. The previous law, adopted in 1986, allowed searches without warrants for data stored for more than 180 days as if that data had been abandoned. Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS), the sponsor of the bill, said it was necessary to reflect the fact that "232 million Americans send an email at least once per month." (Click here)

Israel parliament retroactively legalizes West Bank settlements

Israel's Knesset on Monday voted 60-52 in favor of a bill that retroactively legalizes the thousands of Jewish settlement homes currently located in the Palestinian West Bank territory. The new legislation allows the government to seize private Palestinian lands and turn them over to the Jewish settlers currently residing there. Compensation will be provided to land owners in the form of money or alternative land plots. The bill was initially approved by the Knesset last December and required further votes before becoming official law.

Uber offers French drivers revenue insurance, avoiding wage law

Uber Technologies Inc. offered to guarantee revenue for its most financially strained French drivers, temporarily averting a new law that would force a minimum wage for all chauffeurs. The company proposed a $22.50 per hour minimum gross revenue for cabbies working at least 40 hours a week. While the offer hasn’t won over drivers at this point, it’s enough to avoid new wage legislation. "Drivers unions want higher prices and a smaller cut for Uber -- the company is absolutely not ready to satisfy those demands." It’s up to the platforms, not chauffeurs to set their own prices and define their own commercial strategies. France appointed a mediator last year to coordinate negotiations between Uber and drivers threatening to block the roads of Paris if they didn’t get paid more. Drivers are independent contractors, not employees, so they’re not entitled to minimum wage and other regulated items of remuneration. Whether law should be tweaked to include new business models like Uber’s is a debate that’s fueling legal disputes in countries from the US to the UK. (Click here)

Dodd-Frank rollback may fall short of G.O.P. hopes

A White House directive asks only for a review, and Congress would have to make any major changes. Alternatives may not please bankers or their critics.

  • Crumbs

1 - French ex-President Sarkozy 'to face trial' over campaign finance case - click here.

2 - Melania Trump refiles $150m libel lawsuit against Daily Mail site publisher - click here.

3 - Brazilian healthcare insurer Intermédica hires banks for IPO - click here.

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  • MiMIC Journal

Vatican defends China invite to organ trafficking summit

The Vatican has defended its decision to invite China to a conference on organ trafficking despite its record of using executed inmates as organ donors. The head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) admitted he did not know whether the practice was continuing but said he hoped to encourage change. Human rights groups say China is still using executed prisoners as a source of organ transplants. Beijing says forced organ harvesting ended in 2015.

Disney warns China trade war would be damaging

Walt Disney's chief executive has warned that a trade war between the US and China would be bad for business. China is increasingly important for the firm's movie and merchandise sales. And it says Disneyland Shanghai - its first theme park in mainland China - was one of its "biggest success stories in 2016." But there are fears protectionist policies being pursued by US President Donald Trump could set off a trade war between the two countries.

A top Chinese judge is calling Trump a 'bully' and schooling him on what the law is about

Donald Trump's attack on the US judiciary is too much for many—even in authoritarian China, it seems. The US president is an "enemy of the rule of law," according to a top Chinese judge, reacting to Trump's verbal attacks on an American judge who blocked his controversial travel ban last week.

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  • Historia Verdadera

Repsol

El Tribunal Supremo de Justicia de España ordenó la indemnización de 109,5 mlls. de euros a la petrolera Repsol por concepto de responsabilidad patrimonial por los daños causados a la empresa al obligarla a vender butano a pérdida. (Presione aquí)

Panamá Paper's

El estudio jurídico panameño Mossack Fonseca aparece involucrado en el caso Odebrecht en Perú, según la prensa local el bufete fue usado para viabilizar las coimas pagadas al ex presidente Alejandro Toledo. (Presione aquí)

  • Brief News

Brexit bill set for final vote in House of Commons

The bill empowering the government to begin the formal process of leaving the European Union is due to reach its final stages in the Commons later. MPs will debate further amendments to the Brexit bill - allowing Article 50 to be triggered - for up to seven hours before a final vote due at 20:00 GMT. The vote could cause more Labour rifts - with its MPs told to back the bill. On Tuesday night, the government saw off attempts to add conditions to the bill as a Tory rebellion was avoided. The vote means the government has now cleared two days of debate in the Commons without the bill being amended.

EU states must issue entry visas to people at risk

EU states must issue entry visas to people at risk of torture or inhuman treatment, including Syrians, the European Court of Justice's top adviser has said. If the court accepts the finding, critics say it could open up a new path for migrants to reach Europe. But Belgium's immigration minister has pointed out the advice is not binding. Theo Francken said member states and the European Commission were "aware of the great precedent value" such a ruling would set. In a similar recent case, he vowed not to open the door to "asylum chaos".

Brazil's President Temer nominates ally to Supreme Court

Brazil's President Michel Temer has nominated his justice minister to the Supreme Court as it prepares to rule on one the biggest corruption scandals in the country's history. The minister, Alexandre de Moraes, is one of Temer's closest allies. He replaces Judge Teori Zavascki, who died in a plane crash last month. There have been calls for a less politically sensitive nomination, as many senior politicians are facing charges in the corruption scandal. Temer said he had chosen Moraes for his "solid academic credentials". The 49-year-old lawyer is a member of the PSDB party, which is part of Temer's governing coalition. (Click here)

Dakota Access Pipeline to win US Army permit for completion

The US Army has informed Congress that it will grant permission to complete the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline near tribal territory. The notice comes after Donald Trump formally backed the project last month in one of his first acts as US president. Thousands of predominantly Native American protesters have boycotted the $3.8bn pipeline's construction in the state of North Dakota. The Standing Rock Tribe vowed to fight the decision in court.

Sarkozy ordered to stand trial

A French judge has ordered ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy to stand trial in an illegal campaign finance case. Sarkozy faces accusations that his party falsified accounts in order to hide 18m euros ($20m) of campaign spending in 2012. Sarkozy denies he was aware of the overspending, and will appeal against the order to stand trial. He lost the 2012 race, and failed in his bid to run again in this year's upcoming presidential election.

Education nominee Betsy DeVos wins Senate confirmation vote

The US Senate has confirmed President Donald Trump's controversial nominee for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, by the slenderest possible margin. US Vice-President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote to secure her cabinet role, splitting the chamber 50-50. It was the first time ever that a vice-president has interceded in such a way for a cabinet secretary. DeVos, a billionaire who has no experience with public schools, faced a rocky confirmation hearing last month.

EU appoints 19 international judges to special court in Kosovo

The European Union on Tuesday appointed 19 international judges for a special court in Kosovo that will prosecute war crimes committed between January 1, 1998, and December 31, 2000. Twelve of the judges come from countries within the EU and countries such as the US and Canada. The President of the Specialist Chambers, Dr Ekaterina Trendafilova, expressed satisfaction with those selected saying that she believes that they, "without any doubt—will greatly contribute to our mandate of ensuring fair and efficient justice." She stated that she plans to convene the judges soon so that they can adopt the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.

Facebook in court over refugee selfie fake news stories

Syrian refugee Anas Modamani is suing Facebook after a selfie he took with Chancellor Angela Merkel was used in fake news stories. A court in Wurzburg, Germany, heard opening remarks from lawyers representing both sides. Modamani's photo went viral in August 2015 but was later used to falsely link him to terror attacks. Facebook deleted some of the posts, but lawyers for Modamani claimed that it had still appeared widely. They argued that Facebook could have done more to prevent people from sharing the selfie. (Click here)

Afghanistan Supreme Court attack kills 20

At least 20 people were reported to have been killed and 41 injured on Tuesday following a terrorist attack at the Supreme Court in Kabul, Afghanistan. It is believed that the perpetrator wore a suicide vest and targeted people who were exiting the courthouse. The Taliban is suspected, as they have attacked Afghan courthouses in the past. This attack comes after a recent UN report that civilian casualties in Afghanistan have reached record highs. (Click here)

Decade after crisis, no resolution for Fannie and Freddie

Fannie Mae is now backing single-family home rentals, a sign that the government-sponsored mortgage entities are still alive after being left for dead.

GM's US workers to get $12,000 bonus

Workers paid hourly at General Motors in the US will receive bonuses of $12,000 (£9,700) after the firm made a profit of $12bn in North America. The United Automobile Workers union negotiated a profit sharing deal in 2011. It is worth up to $1,000 per $1bn of profit the company makes in the continent. However, net profit for the whole of GM dropped 2.7% last year to $9.43bn after foreign exchange losses.

Thirty more tech firms oppose Trump ban

Thirty more US technology firms have signed a brief opposing President Trump's immigration ban, bringing the total number involved to 127. The new signatories include Tesla, Adobe, HP and Evernote. They join 97 others who have filed a legal document stating the ban "inflicts significant harm" on their businesses and is unconstitutional. The amicus brief allows parties not directly involved in a case but who feel affected by it, to give a view. It was filed in Washington on Sunday and also includes Apple, Facebook and Microsoft as signatories. Amazon is not part of the amicus brief but it is a witness in the original lawsuit brought by the Washington state Attorney General. (Click here)

Putin signs law decriminalizing domestic violence in Russia

Putin has signed off on a controversial law decriminalizing domestic violence as long as it does not happen more than once a year. The new law makes the first offense of violence against “close persons” such as relatives or children an administrative offense, punishable by a 30,000 ruble fine ($500) or arrest for 15 days. The previous maximum penalty was prison for up to two years. Russia’s lawmakers in the Duma overwhelmingly approved of the bill, which applies to cases of “pain” such as bruising, but does not decriminalize “bodily harm” such as broken bones. (Click here)

Melania Trump lawsuit argues 'once in a lifetime' chance to make millions is lost

Trump's lawyers say defamatory allegations by a newspaper have curtailed her ability to make money off a potentially branded empire of apparel, shoes, jewelry and cosmetics.

Trump jokes, of State Senator, 'We'll destroy his career'

At a gathering at the White House, Trump made a mocking threat toward a Texas state senator who wants to require the police to attain a conviction before seizing an individual's personal property.

VIZIO to pay $2.2 million in settlement over illegal data collection

The Federal Trade Commission on Monday announced a $2.2 million settlement with VIZIO over the alleged collection of viewer data without consent.

Corruption currents: Peru seeks arrest of ex-president in Odebrecht-linked case

Peru's attorney general asked to arrest a former president for his alleged role in a bribery scandal linked to Odebrecht SA. (Click here)

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