June 19, 2017 nº 1,876 - Vol. 14

"Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you."

 Roger Ebert

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

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  • Top News

State attorneys general announce joint investigation into opioid manufacturer practices

A bipartisan group of state attorneys general from Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Texas on Thursday announced joint investigations into the marketing and sales practices of the manufacturers of opioid painkillers. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey stated: "The opioid epidemic is a public health crisis that is claiming lives in our state and across the country, and we want to assure our residents that we are doing all that we can to combat it." In Massachusetts the crisis claims more than five lives a day. The coalition of attorneys have not released the identities of the specific targets of the investigation at this point, but have begun issuing subpoenas for documents and gathering testimonial evidence. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan stated: "I want to know whether drug companies, seeking higher profits, have recklessly and unlawfully pushed addictive opioids." Madigan has experience going after opioid manufacturers. In 2016 she filed suit against Insys Therapeutics for deceptively marketing an addictive opioid in an attempt to increase profits. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton added: "This is a public safety and public health issue. Opioid painkiller abuse and related overdoses are devastating families here in Texas and throughout the country. (Click here)

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  • MiMIC Journal

US rethinks Chinese investment in AI start-ups'

The Pentagon has raised concerns about China's access to artificial-intelligence-based technology developed in the US. A leaked report proposes that export controls be updated to stop Chinese organizations being able to invest in some start-ups. It suggests the move is needed to prevent their advanced algorithms being repurposed for the military by Beijing. One expert said the report sounded credible.

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  • Brief News

Twitter accounts suspended in Venezuela

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has condemned Twitter as an expression of fascism and has accused the US company of persecuting his followers. Maduro made his comments after some pro-government accounts were suspended. Among them was that of Radio Miraflores - a station set up by Maduro that broadcasts a weekly salsa show presented by the president. Maduro called on his followers to publish pictures of Twitter's head in Venezuela. "Let the people know who is responsible for this manipulation," he said. It is not clear if Twitter has any employees in Venezuela. The company has so far made no response. Neither is it clear why the accounts were suspended, or how many have been affected. (Click here)

More courts allowing 3 parents of 1 child

American courts have for decades granted some rights to grandparents, stepparents and others in children's lives, but parents have uniquely broad rights and responsibilities. Advocates say acknowledging a third parent — whether on a birth certificate, by adoption, or in a custody or child support ruling — reflects the modern realities of some families: gay couples who set out to have a child with a friend of the opposite gender, men seeking to retain paternal roles after DNA shows someone else is a biological father, and other situations. The landscape is only getting more complex. For instance, new techniques designed to avoid some rare diseases now allow for a child to be born with a small amount of DNA from a third person.

Business bodies come together in call for softer Brexit

Five major UK business bodies have come together to call for continued access to the European single market until a final Brexit deal is made with the EU. They ask the government to "put the economy first". Formal Brexit negotiations between the EU and the UK begin on Monday.

Cuba denounces Trump's policy rollback

Cuba's government has denounced US President Donald Trump's decision to roll back on policy changes towards the island nation. However, it says it will still co-operate with its larger neighbor. Trump said he was re-imposing certain travel and trade restrictions eased by the Obama administration, condemning a "completely one-sided deal". But he is not reversing key diplomatic and commercial ties.

Judge declares mistrial after jury deadlock in Bill Cosby case

A US judge has declared a mistrial in the Bill Cosby sex assault case after the jury remained deadlocked for days. The seven men and five women were unable to reach a unanimous decision after some 53 hours of deliberations in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Cosby, 79, is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. His lawyers had argued the sex was consensual. The US comedian could now face new proceedings. He walks away from court a free man, but the prosecution has already said they are pursuing a fresh trial.

Eurozone ministers strike deal to release funds to Greece

Eurozone ministers have struck a deal to unlock the latest tranche of Greece's bailout cash. The bailout fund will disburse 8.5bn euros (£7.4bn) to Greece, eurozone ministers said in a statement. The latest tranche of the international bailout will help avert a fresh debt crisis in July when the next 7bn euro repayment of loans becomes due. The payment is still subject to parliamentary approvals in some countries. International Monetary Fund director Christine Lagarde said she would propose an approval in principle to her executive board. The IMF wants clarity on longer-term debt relief for Greece once the current funding scheme, worth up to 86bn euros, runs out next year.

Takata shares suspended ahead of expected bankruptcy

Japanese car parts maker Takata is reported to be preparing to file for bankruptcy after its faulty airbags led to the biggest safety recall in automotive industry. The filing could come next week in both Japan and the US, where it has a subsidiary and is seeking a buyer. Shares of Takata were temporarily suspended on the Tokyo stock exchange because of the news. Takata faces billions of dollars in liabilities over the recall. So far about 100 million Takata airbags, which can rupture with deadly force and spray shrapnel at passengers, have been recalled globally.

Trump signs executive order reducing federal government role in apprenticeship programs

Trump signed an executive order on Thursday, titled "Expanding Apprenticeships in America," shifting the federal government's responsibility of creating and monitoring apprenticeship programs to third party private entities such as businesses, nonprofit organizations, and unions. (Click here)

Japan parliament approves controversial counterterrorism law

Japan's parliament, the National Diet, passed a controversial "anti-conspiracy" bill on Thursday aimed at improving security and combating terrorism. Critics of the new bill, including the Japanese Bar Association and aUN Special Rapporteur, worry it will be used to curb civil liberties and infringe on privacy rights. (Click here)

The car was repossessed, but the debt remains

For millions of Americans like Ms. Harris who have shaky credit and had to turn to subprime auto loans with high interest rates and hefty fees to buy a car, there is no getting out. Many of these auto loans, it turns out, have a habit of haunting people long after their cars have been repossessed. The reason: Unable to recover the balance of the loans by repossessing and reselling the cars, some subprime lenders are aggressively suing borrowers to collect what remains. Subprime lenders are willing to take a chance on these risky borrowers because when they default, the lenders can repossess their cars and persuade judges in 46 states to give them the power to seize borrowers’ paychecks to cover the balance of the car loan. Now, with defaults rising, federal banking regulators and economists are worried how the strain of these loans will spill over into the broader economy. With mortgages, people could turn in the keys to their house and walk away. But with auto debt, there is increasingly no exit. Repossession, rather than being the end, is just the beginning. For low-income Americans, the fallout could, in some ways, be worse than the mortgage crisis.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Time
Uber Fail: Upheaval at the World's Most Valuable Startup

Newsweek
Mike Pence's private emails cost Indiana $100,000

Business Week
Pain or Promise: Where Brexit Matters Most

The Economist
Emmanuel Macron; Europe's savior?

Der Spiegel
Haputstadt Hamburg

L'Espresso
Tiro alla fine

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