March 6, 2017 nº 1,844 - Vol. 14

"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."


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  • Top News

New infrastructure program

In this exclusive article, Paulo Eduardo Penna and Luisa Shinzato de Pinho, of Lobo & Ibeas Advogados, discuss the opportunities in Brazil's new infrastructure program, and what the government needs to do to make it effective PPI. (Click here)

  • Crumbs

1 - Russian MP calls for ban on Beauty and the Beast over 'gay propaganda' - click here.

2 - Johnson & Johnson wins trial in talc product liability lawsuits - click here.

3 - Vauxhall-Opel sold by GM to Peugeot-Citroen - click here.


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  • MiMIC Journal

China cuts growth target to 6.5% this year

The Chinese growth target for this year has been cut to around 6.5%, down from 6.5 to 7% last year, Premier Li Keqiang has announced. He was addressing the country's rubber-stamp parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC), which has gathered in Beijing for its annual session. The Chinese economy expanded at its slowest pace in 26 years in 2016. Li said he would tackle state "zombie enterprises" producing more coal and steel than the market needed. Similar pledges in the past have proved hard to fulfil.


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  • Brief News

Mexico opens legal aid centers to fight US deportations

Mexico has opened legal aid centers at consulates in 50 US cities, in a move designed to protect its citizens from tougher immigration enforcement. Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray reaffirmed concerns about the human rights of Mexicans in the US. But migrant defense centers would not "promote illegality," he said. Mexico is worried about the impact that guidelines issued last month by President Donald Trump will have on the lives of its citizens. Trump ordered federal agents to join local police and immigration officers to enforce deportation procedures.

Deutsche Bank to raise billions with rights issue

Deutsche Bank plans to raise about $8.5bn by issuing new shares. The share sale by the troubled German bank is part of a wider shake-up. The bank will partially float its asset management business and retain Postbank - the retail banking business it had been expected to sell. Deutsche will be reorganized around three divisions: private banking and wealth management; asset management; and corporate and investment banking. Germany's biggest bank is trying to reshape itself after grappling with huge losses and a 15bn euro legal bill imposed by regulators since 2012. In December, Deutsche Bank said it had agreed a $7.2bn payment to US authorities to settle an investigation into mortgage-backed securities.

Facebook agrees to settle class-action privacy suit

Facebook settled a class-action lawsuit levied against it on Wednesday for its prior practice of scanning private messages to aid in ads. A motion was filed on Wednesday, subject to court approval, for declaratory and injunctive relief, though it does not discuss specific monetary awards. In pertinent part, the motion states "[t]he settlement achieves significant business practice changes, and benefits the settlement class now." Facebook had been searching through its members' messages to look for third-party website URLs and used this information to drive a marketing campaign with advertising aimed at individual users' interests, which the plaintiffs alleged to be a violation of the Federal Wiretap Act and California's Invasion of Privacy Act. Facebook contends that it no longer relies upon these practices, although it now informs users that their messages may be scanned to aid in advertising. The settlement would require Facebook to refrain from using this private messaging data, sharing user data with third party companies, and artificially generating "likes" on third-party websites. Though monetary damages are not specifically mentioned in the motion, the two class representatives can both expect to receive awards of $5,000 each.

North Korea fires four ballistic missiles into sea

North Korea has launched four ballistic missiles towards the Sea of Japan. Three of them fell into Japan's exclusive economic zone after flying some 1,000km, in what PM Shinzo Abe called a "new stage of threat". They were fired from the Tongchang-ri region, near the North's border with China, the South Korean military said. The type of missile in unclear but the North is banned from any missile or nuclear tests by the UN. The US military said later it had detected and tracked a launch but had determined that it did not pose a threat to North America.

Erdogan makes Nazi jibe over Germany rally ban

Media captionMr Erdogan made his controversial remarks at a Women's Day rally in Istanbul. Turkey's president has compared German officials to Nazis, in the latest escalation in a war of words. Recep Tayyip Erdogan hit out after German authorities cancelled rallies designed to woo ethnic Turkish voters in Germany ahead of a key referendum. "Your practices are not different from the Nazi practices of the past," Erdogan said. German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said the comments were "absurd, disgraceful and outlandish".

UK court: London minicab drivers must pass English test

A London high court judge ruled on Friday that all drivers applying for a minicab or private hire vehicle license must pass a English reading and writing test that includes a 120-word short essay. The case was taken to court by Uber Technologies, the ride-share app company, which protested the new language test rules of Transport for London, London's transport authority. Uber, representing the drivers, argued that the language requirement would cause 33,000 drivers to lose their livelihoods and have a "disproportionate impact" on drivers from countries where English was not predominantly spoken and thereby amounts to an "indirect discrimination on grounds of race and nationality." Judge John Mitting, acknowledged that the requirement could cause 40,000 drivers to either fail the test or be deterred from applying for a private hire vehicle license over a three-year period.

Federal appeals court orders gray wolves removed from endangered species list

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Friday ruled in favor of the Secretary of the Interior in its efforts to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list. Once nearly extinct, the gray wolf population has made a recovery such that it no longer meets the requirement to be considered endangered in Wyoming.

Trump's international policies could have lasting effects on higher ed

More than a million international students go to college in the United States. But after recent events, and President Trump's policies, recruiters expect numbers to drop.

Israel eases penalty for marijuana users

The Israeli government has taken steps to reduce the penalties for personal marijuana use. It backed plans to issue fines initially, and only resort to criminal charges for repeat offenders. Selling, buying and producing the drug will remain illegal and the move must still be ratified by parliament. According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, almost 9% of Israelis use cannabis, though some experts believe the figure to be higher. The move follows recommendations by a committee set up to study the issue, and moves by a number of US states and European nations to decriminalize use of the drug.

Anger after Polish MEP belittles women

A Polish nationalist member of the European Parliament may be punished after he said women "must earn less than men because they are weaker, smaller and less intelligent". The parliament's president is investigating whether Janusz Korwin-Mikke broke the body's rules with his remarks to fellow MEPs. The rules ban defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or behavior. Penalties for such behavior range from a reprimand to a fine and temporary suspension.

Sri Lanka rejects call for international judges on tribunal

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday rebuffed calls for international judges to participate in the country's war crimes tribunals. The president, who has been suspicious of war crimes allegations raised by the Tamil Tigers, has stated that any war crimes tribunal will be an internal process to bring peace to the country. He said he would not subject his soldiers to international judges who would dishonor them and and their courage. Instead, he argued the army is not yet ready to bring any indictments as the focus is on better training and engagement to bring about peace. He argued international judges would bring about disruption to the nation and suggested any calls for international oversight are politically motivated. (Click here)

Uber said to consider changes to employee stock compensation

Uber is considering ways to make its stock compensation policies more friendly to its workers, said people with knowledge of a meeting where the issue was discussed.


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