March 29, 2017 nº 1,853 - Vol. 14

"When everything is easy one quickly gets stupid."

Maxim Gorky

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

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  • Top News

 Trump scraps Obama climate policies

Trump has signed an executive order rolling back Obama-era rules aimed at curbing climate change. The president said this would put an end to the "war on coal" and "job-killing regulations". The Energy Independence Executive Order suspends more than half a dozen measures enacted by his predecessor, and boosts fossil fuels. This order is both a practical and a philosophical attempt to change the US narrative on climate change. Business groups have praised the Trump administration's move but environmental campaigners have condemned it. Outside the White House, a few hundred protesters gathered to vent their displeasure at the executive order. (Click here)

Article 50: May signs letter that will trigger Brexit

Theresa May has signed the letter that will formally begin the UK's departure from the European Union. Giving official notice under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, it will be delivered to European Council president Donald Tusk later. In a statement in the Commons, the prime minister will then tell MPs this marks "the moment for the country to come together". It follows June's referendum which resulted in a vote to leave the EU. (Click here)

Supreme Court declines to hear Visa and MasterCard antitrust case

The US Supreme Court on Monday denied a petition to revive a $7.25 billion antitrust settlement with Visa and Mastercard over claims the corporations illegally filed debit and credit card fees. The court left in place a decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to throw out a settlement because some retailers stood to receive no payments or derive any benefit from the settlement. The retailers reached the settlement after claiming Visa and MasterCard were overcharging on "swipe fees," which charged retailers an average of 2 percent of the transaction when the purchaser used a card, and barred the retailers from directing purchasers toward alternative payment methods. The settlement would have been the largest antitrust settlement in US history.

  • Crumbs

1 - Tesco's UK arm to pay £129m fine over accounting scandal - click here.

2 - UK minister says encryption on messaging services is unacceptable - click here.

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  • MiMIC Journal

China's Tencent buys 5% stake in Tesla

Chinese tech giant Tencent has spent $1.78bn on buying a 5% stake in electric carmaker Tesla. Tencent, best known for its WeChat mobile app, has been investing in a number of sectors, including gaming, entertainment, cloud computing and online financing. Tesla said the stake was passive, meaning Tencent would not get a say in how the US firm was run. Shares in Tesla rose 2.3% in early trading following the announcement. (Click here)

American Airlines ties up partnership with China Southern

American Airlines and China's biggest carrier by passengers, China Southern, have agreed a strategic partnership. The US airline will buy $200m worth of shares in the Chinese firm and the two will "seek to increase cooperation". China Southern is the latest of China's top airlines to bring in an investor from outside the mainland. The deal should offer American Airlines more possibilities to tap into China's growing aviation market.

China court rules for Apple in patent case

The Beijing IP Court ruled on Monday that Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus do not infringe on patents held by the Shenzhen Baili Marketing Services Co., a Chinese manufacturer which is now "defunct." Baili alleged that Apple had copied their exterior designs. The court held that the designs were not "exclusive" and that the two designs were easily differentiated. Baili plans on appealing the decision. If Apple loses on appeal, the loss will only cover older iPhone models, but it may inspire more litigation against the company. (Click here)

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  • Historia Verdadera

Impagos

La multinacional Schlumberger acusa a Ecuador de incumplimiento de contrato. Sostiene que registra problemas para cobrar US$ 1.100 mlls. a la petrolera estatal ecuatoriana Petroamazonas. (Presione aquí)

Importaciones

General Motors Mercosur, una unidad de la mayor automotriz de Estados Unidos, llegó a un acuerdo para empezar a importar vehículos a Argentina a través de un puerto operado por Terminal Puerto Rosario. La filial de General Motors Co, en comunicado, dijo que la primera fase del acuerdo prevé la importación de vehículos fabricados en Corea del Sur y que las primeras unidades ya están en el puerto argentino, que forma parte del inmenso polo agroexportador del país sudamericano. General Motors Mercosur fue conformada este año a partir de la unión de las filiales de la empresa en Argentina y Brasil.

Banca

Qatar Holdings LLC puso a la venta hasta 80 millones de unidades de Banco Santander Brasil, una mezcla de acciones comunes y preferentes, en una liquidación de un 40% de sus tenencias después de que los títulos más que duplicaran su valor en el último año. Santander Brasil, el tercer banco privado más grande del país, afirmó que la oferta de unidades será suscrita por su unidad de banca de inversión, así como también por Bank of America Corp y Credit Suisse Group AG.

  • Brief News

Anger as US internet privacy law scrapped

US internet service providers will soon no longer need consent from users to share browsing history with marketers and other third parties. On Tuesday the House of Representatives voted to repeal an Obama-era law that demanded ISPs have permission to share personal information - including location data. Supporters of the move said it would increase competition, but critics said it would have a "chilling effect" on online privacy. Trump is expected to sign the order soon. The repeal was strongly backed by major providers such as Verizon, AT&T and Comcast, who argued that ISPs were being subject to stricter privacy laws than companies like Google or Facebook. The law, passed last October days before President Trump was elected, and due to take effect by the end of this year, would have forced ISPs to get clear permission from users to share personal data such as "precise geo-location, financial information, health information, children's information, social security numbers, web browsing history, app usage history and the content of communications”.

Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank upgraded by S&P on German law change

Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG were both upgraded by S&P Ratings, which said a retroactive change to German law will make it safer for senior creditors in the nation's largest banks. Deutsche Bank, the nation's largest lender, was raised one notch to A- from BBB+, as was Commerzbank, according to a statement late Tuesday from S&P. The ratings company also upgraded UniCredit SpA's German arm and Deutsche Pfandbriefbank AG. S&P said a law passed Jan. 1 "retroactively turned certain long-term standard senior unsecured bonds into subordinated instruments in a resolution and liquidation." The changes significantly improved buffers protecting senior creditors, based on the rating company's understanding of guidelines from BaFin, the German regulator, S&P said. While the overall ratings of the firms were upgraded, S&P downgraded 333 of the four banks' bonds that were reclassified as senior subordinated debt. It raised or affirmed the ratings on 91 issuances that will keep being treated as senior unsecured debt.

Turkey 'spied' on pro-Gulen opponents in Germany

German Interior Minister Thomas De Maiziere has said Turkey will not be allowed to spy on Turks living in Germany. Reports say the head of Turkey's intelligence service handed a list of people suspected of opposition sympathies to his German counterpart. The list is said to include surveillance photos and personal data. Germany and other EU states have banned local rallies in support of Erdogan. Turkish ministers have been seeking to campaign among ethnic Turks in a referendum on 16 April on increasing his powers.

Wells Fargo agrees $110m lawsuit settlement

US bank Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $110m to settle a lawsuit brought by customers who had accounts opened in their name without their permission. The agreement comes after America's biggest bank was fined $185m in September last year for illegally opening about two million accounts. Chief executive John Stumpf resigned in the wake of a scandal. Tuesday's settlement has still to be approved by the court. The class action lawsuit was filed in May 2015 by Shahriar Jabbari and Kaylee Heffelfinger at the district court in Northern District of California. In a statement, Wells Fargo said the agreement would "consist of all persons who claim that Wells Fargo opened an account in their name without consent, enrolled them in a product or service without consent, or submitted an application for a product or service in their name without consent". New president and chief executive Tim Sloan said: "This agreement is another step in our journey to make things right with customers and rebuild trust." (Click here)

Uber to pull out of Denmark

Uber will withdraw from Denmark in April because of new taxi laws that require drivers to have fare meters and seat sensors. Local taxi driver unions and politicians have complained that Uber poses unfair competition by not meeting legal standards required for established taxi firms. According to Uber, 300,000 riders use its app in Denmark and it has around 2,000 drivers. The service will shut down on 18 April. In a statement the firm said: "For us to operate in Denmark again the proposed regulations need to change. We will continue to work with the government in the hope that they will update their proposed regulations and enable Danes to enjoy the benefits of modern technologies like Uber." Uber has been operating in Denmark for less than three years.

Colombia government overrules Cajamarca mining ban referendum

The Colombian government says it will overrule the result of a referendum held in the town of Cajamarca, where 98% of residents voted against a major gold mining project. Locals fear it will damage the environment and pollute their water sources. Mining Minister Germán Arce said the referendum was not legally binding.

US parents sue to call baby girl Allah

A couple in the US state of Georgia who were banned from naming their daughter Allah are taking legal action. The state Department of Public Health has refused to issue the 22-month-old with a birth certificate. Elizabeth Handy and Bilal Walk say it is unacceptable that their child, ZalyKha Graceful Lorraina Allah, has officially been left nameless. But state officials say the child's surname should either be Handy, Walk or a combination of the two, not Allah. Allah is the Arabic word for God.

Deportation fears prompt immigrants to cancel food stamps

Groups that help low-income families get food aid report a big drop in the number of immigrants seeking help. Some are canceling government benefits for fear it will affect their immigration status.

EU top court upholds economic sanctions against Russia

The European Court of Justice on Tuesday ruled that the bloc's economic sanctions placed on Russia were valid. The measures include travel restrictions and a freeze on the assets of certain natural and legal persons. Certain measures also pertain to areas of access to capital markets, defense, dual-use goods, and sensitive technologies, including the energy sector. The stated purpose of the sanctions was to increase the costs of the action of the Russian Federation taken to undermine Ukraine's territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence, and to promote a peaceful settlement of the crisis. Rosneft, a Russian company specializing in the oil and gas sectors, challenged these restrictions as being invalid before the England and Wales High Court of Justice. The High Court of Justice referred the case to the ECJ for a preliminary ruling as to whether the restrictions were valid. Rosneft issued a press release following the ruling calling the decision illegal, groundless and politicized.

First Amendment attorneys sue DHS over data obtained in border crossings

The Columbia University Knight First Amendment Institute on Monday filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Columbia against the Trump administration seeking release of data on how often US citizens and others had electronic devices searched at border crossings. The lawsuit, filed under the Freedom of Information Act, is aimed at requiring the US Department of Homeland Security to reveal when it has searched US citizens and other travelers. The Knight Institute filed a FOIA request, and DHS has failed to respond up to this point. The lawsuit notes that news reports have claimed border officials seem to have targeted Muslims for electronic searches, and argues that searches have increased dramatically since President Donald Trump took office.

Evidence that robots are winning the race for American jobs

Researchers are surprised to see very little employment increase in other occupations to offset the job losses in manufacturing.

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