March 20, 2017 nº 1,850 - Vol. 14

"Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice: It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved."

William Jennings Bryan

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1 - Uber president resigns over corporate culture differences - click here.


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  • MiMIC Journal

China accused by Taiwan of stepping up spy operations

China is accused of increasing its secret operations in Taiwan, after the island elected the independence-leaning Tsai Ing-wen as president last year. Wang Ting-yu, chairman of the defense committee in Taiwan´s parliament, said Chinese spies were masquerading as academics or business people. He claimed Beijing was trying to sow chaos within Taiwanese society. China considers the self-ruling island territory that must be reunited with the mainland - by force if necessary.


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  • Brief News

Merkel comes to Washington: ´Awkward few moments´

The US president and the German chancellor were standing on the same stage, but it often seemed they inhabited different political universes. Trump, once again, focused on the issues that he campaigned on - issues, he is quick to remind reporters, that won him the presidency. He was quick to talk about "fair" trade, immigration control, military strength and manufacturing jobs. Merkel, on the other hand, focused on the benefits of globalism, openness to refugees and the need to negotiate a "safe and secure solution for Ukraine". Leaders find their way into politics "on different pathways", as Merkel pointed out, and that was clearly the case at the White House on Friday afternoon. The fast-talking Merkel, steeped in policy details, stood in stark contrast to the staccato Trump, who once again railed against unfair treatment at the hands of foreign trade negotiators and the domestic media. Somehow these two very different individuals will have to find a way to work together on issues of global importance. This face-to-face meeting - complete with non-handshake and awkward body language - will likely prove to be only a tentative first step. The two leaders certainly have hugely contrasting ideas and leadership styles.

Federal judge approves class action settlement with Lyft drivers

A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Thursday approved a $27 million settlement in a class action lawsuit between Lyft Inc. and its drivers. The suit challenged Lyft´s characterization of the drivers as independent contractors. Drivers for the company asserted they should be identified as employees, which would entitle them to reimbursement for their driving expenses, such as gas and maintenance. The settlement keeps the drivers classified as independent contractors but provides monetary relief to drivers who logged the most miles and provides them with benefits. (Click here)

Brazil meat scandal: Temer tries to reassure partners

Brazil´s President Michel Temer has sought to reassure foreign trade partners that the corruption scandal engulfing the country´s meat industry does not mean its products are unsafe. Top meat-packers have been accused of selling rotten produce for years. Brazil is the world´s biggest red meat exporter. "The Brazilian government reiterates its confidence in the quality of a national product that has won over consumers and obtained the approval of the most rigorous markets," said Temer. On Friday, federal police raided meat-producing plants and arrested more than 30 people. The government suspended more than 30 senior civil servants who should have spotted the unhygienic and illegal practices. They are being investigated for corruption. Three meat-packing plants have been closed and another 21 are being investigated. "Only 21 units out of 4,837 in Brazil subject to government inspection are facing allegations of irregularities. And only six of them have exported in the past 60 days," said Temer. The Brazilian government is worried that the US, China and the EU may ban meat imports from Brazil, worth $12bn a year.

G20 finance ministers drop anti-protectionist pledge

Finance ministers from the world´s biggest economies have dropped an anti-protectionist commitment after opposition from the US. G20 ministers left the two-day meeting without renewing their long-standing pledge to bolster free trade. Last year, the group of the world´s 20 largest economies vowed to "resist all forms of protectionism". But since then, Trump has taken office, and is aggressively pursuing an "America First" policy. His policies include penalties for companies which manufacture their products abroad. (Click here)

Customs and Border Protection outlines border wall requirements

Customs and Border Protection is asking for designs and prototypes from contractors to build Trump´s proposed wall. Some requirements: It has to be at least 18 feet tall and "physically imposing."

Trump Administration files motion aimed at controlling Consumer Protection Agency

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is in the executive branch, but the president doesn´t control it, which he says is unconstitutional. Agency supporters say independence is its strength.

Philippine President not intimidated by potential ICC trial over drug war

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said Sunday he would not be intimidated by a potential criminal trial at the hands of the International Criminal Court, vowing that the country´s war on drugs would continue. Speaking to reporters before he departed for Myanmar, the President was adamant in his defense of the country´s stance on drugs. The president said "I will not be intimidated and I shall not be stopped just by what? International Criminal Court? Impeachment? If that is part of my destiny, it is my destiny to go." Duterte has not backed down from the numerous international organizations condemning the extrajudicial killing of drug dealers and users. Duterte has also condemned such actions saying he´d never "condone the killing of a criminal person arrested with outstretched arms, begging for his life, or what is popularly known as extrajudicial killings." This comes as a former member of an alleged "death squad" is expected to file a case against Duterte with the ICC.

US appeals court rejects emergency request to stop oil from flowing through Dakota Access pipeline

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Saturday rejected an emergency request from two native American tribes attempting to stop oil from flowing through the Dakota Access pipeline. As a result of this rejection, the Dakota Access pipeline could begin could begin operating as soon as tomorrow. The three judge panel rejected the request because the native American tribes "have not satisfied the stringent requirements for issuance of an injunction pending appeal."

Japan court finds government and TEPCO liable for Fukushima nuclear disaster

The Maebashi District Court ruled that the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company are liable for professional negligence in their security maintenance at the Fukushima nuclear plant. The two parties have been ordered to pay a total of USD $341,000 to 62 out of 137 evacuees who sought damages for emotional distress. The court concluded that in order to ensure safety at the plant, the plant´s generators should have been moved to a higher floor. The suit, which was filed in 2013, is one of 30 similar suits still pending in the Japanese court system.

It´s good to be a CEO, again: stocks rise, and so does pay

Pay raises are back in style in the corner office, erasing cuts from a year earlier and pushing CEO compensation to new highs. Twice as many top American companies increased their chiefs´ pay in fiscal 2016 as cut it. Median pay for the chief executives of 104 of the biggest American companies rose 6.8% for fiscal 2016 to $11.5 million, on track to set a post recession record.

New Jersey legislature passes bill requiring presidential disclosure of federal tax return

The New Jersey Legislature passed S3048 on Thursday which would require presidential and vice-presidential candidates to reveal their federal income tax return before being listed on the state´s ballot. The bill, which was passed by a democratic-led state legislature and awaits Governor Chris Christie´s signature, was inspired by President Donald Trump´s refusal to release his own tax-returns.

Bitcoin price plunges on fears of a currency split

Bitcoin shed about a fifth of its value over the weekend as an increasingly bitter split in the developer community behind the virtual currency threatened to literally break it in two.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Beyond ´He´ or ´She´: The Changing Meaning of Gender and Sexuality

Merkel, Abe Endorse Free Trade With Jabs At Trump Rhetoric

Business Week
The Resurrection of Domino´s

The Economist
The world economy: on the rise

Der Spiegel
So schmeckt die Zukunft

Cosi finisce l´Europa


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