July 19, 2017 nº 1.886 - Vol. 14

“Blessed is the man, who having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.”

George Eliot


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


  • Top News

Let Obamacare fail - Trump's new plan

Trump has said the new Republican healthcare policy should be to allow the current law to collapse. "I'm not going to own it," Trump told reporters of Obamacare, "I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it." Support for the Republican Senate bill fell apart on Monday when two more senators said they could not back it. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer saidTrump was "playing a dangerous game" with the US healthcare system. "He is actively, actively trying to undermine the healthcare system in this country using millions of Americans as political pawns in a cynical game", Schumer said. The Senate should vote early next week on a motion for repealing Obamacare only. But with at least three Republicans against the plan B, it is probably doomed, too.


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  • MiMIC Journal

Is WhatsApp being censored in China?

Users of the encrypted messaging service WhatsApp have reported disruptions in China, prompting censorship claims. Many reported that voice messaging and pictures wouldn't send without a virtual private network (VPN) to circumvent China's censorship filters.
The seemed to be working normally on Wednesday morning, but there have been more interruptions since then. The disruptions come as China clamps down on online platforms.

US and Chinese executives to meet on nations’ economic relations

A meeting of more than 20 business leaders from the United States and China will focus on issues that trouble economic relations between the countries.


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  • Brief News

New law allows identification of suspects by photo as evidence

Legislation that overhauls aspects of how law enforcement conducts eyewitness identification of suspects allows photo arrays at trials in New York state.

Polish president offers courts compromise

Polish President Andrzej Duda has proposed a compromise over contentious court reforms, as thousands of people protested in the capital Warsaw. Parliament recently approved a bill to give MPs the power to select members of the body that nominates judges. Opponents say the move would erode the independence of the judiciary. Duda proposed that nominations to the body would need more than a simple majority in parliament.

US imposes fresh sanctions on Iran over missile tests

The US has announced fresh sanctions against Iran over its ballistic missile programme and what it says is Iran's support for terror organizations. The US state department said 18 entities or individuals would be affected by the new measures. It said all 18 had supported Iran's ballistic missile program or the elite Republican Guards Corps. The statement also criticized Iran's support for the Syrian government and groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas. "The United States remains deeply concerned about Iran's malign activities across the Middle East, which undermine regional stability, security and prosperity," it added. Iran has vowed to retaliate against the new sanctions.

Venezuela denounces 'imperialist' US sanctions threat

The Venezuelan government says it will hold elections for a controversial constituent assembly despite the threat of US sanctions. The assembly would have the power to rewrite the constitution and to bypass the opposition-controlled legislature. On Monday, Trump said he would take "economic actions" if the constituent assembly went ahead. Trump also called President Maduro "a bad leader who dreams of becoming a dictator". Venezuelan Foreign Minister Samuel Moncada denounced Trump's words as an "insolent threat".

Federal appeals court upholds gag order on FBI surveillance requests

A US appeals court ruled on Monday that a nondisclosure requirement in the National Security Letters (NSL) law does not conflict with the First Amendment. Therefore the court also concluded that private companies that are issued an NSL by the FBI must also follow the nondisclosure requirement if the letter contains it in that case. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard the case with Judge Sandra Ikuta delivering the unanimous opinion. The court held that the nondisclosure requirement is a content-based restriction therefore subject to strict scrutiny, but it also survives that scrutiny. "We therefore conclude that the 2015 NSL law is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest, both as to inclusiveness and duration. Accordingly, we hold that the nondisclosure requirement in § 2709(c) survives strict scrutiny." There has been no decision by the plaintiff parties in this case on if they plan to appeal to the US Supreme Court.

Arbitration provision emerges as flashpoint in Nafta overhaul

A day after the Trump administration unveiled its objectives for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, representatives of US businesses and labor sparred over the merits of the arbitration system contained in the pact.

US calls for smaller deficits in new NAFTA talks

The US government says trade deficits and market access will top the agenda as it renegotiated trade terms with Mexico and Canada. Trump has described the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as a "disaster" and ordered fresh talks earlier this year. The objectives have been released in advance of the start of meetings with Canada and Mexico next month. Economists have warned that reaching the goals might be difficult.

Philippines president asks congress to extend martial law until end of year

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte asked Congress on Tuesday to extend his order of martial law for the lower third of the country. Duterte declared martial law on the island of Mindanao in May when heavily armed militants linked to the Islamic State took over large parts of Marawi City, a provincial capital in the predominantly Roman Catholic country. More than 500 people have been killed in the fighting that has taken place since the take-over. The 60-day proclamation is due to expire on July 22 but Duterte contends that the rebellion that justified the declaration will not be quelled by then. Duterte requested that Congress, which is scheduled to reconvene for its regular session July 24, hold a special session to discuss the proposed extension. Opposition lawmakers question Duterte's motivation behind the extension and feel that the move is unjustified calling it a "whimsical proposal that has no substantive grounds."

Russia Supreme Court upholds ban on Jehovah's Witnesses

The Russian Supreme Court on Monday upheld its ruling ordering the disbanding of the Jehovah's Witnesses. In denying an appeal by the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Supreme Court affirmed that their previous ruling will remain in place and unchanged.

Venezuelans vote to reject plan for constitutional rewrite

Millions of Venezuelans voted on Sunday to reject President Nicolás Maduro's plan to rewrite the nation's constitution. The non-binding referendum was organized by the country's opposition activists. More than 7 million individuals, roughly one-third of Venezuela's registered voters, took part with over 98 percent rejecting Maduro's plan. Many have accused the efforts for a constitutional rewrite to be undemocratic and a way to suppress the months of anti-government protests against Maduro's presidency.

Election law experts divided over Trump Jr. meeting was illegal

Did Donald Trump Jr. violate federal law when he accepted a meeting with Russian individuals under the pretense of obtaining from them opposition research on Hillary Clinton compiled by the Kremlin? His father, President Trump, certainly doesn't think so, and has argued that a presidential campaign in a similar position would have taken the meeting, which occurred in June 2016, as he was preparing to formally accept the GOP nomination. At least one prominent Republican election lawyer in Washington, Charlie Spies, agrees with the president on the issue of whether Donald Trump Jr. broke the law or ran afoul of Federal Election Commission regulations.

US, Russia remain at odds over seized compounds

US and Russian diplomats failed to come to an agreement over the return of Russian Embassy compounds that were seized by the Obama administration in late December as punishment for Moscow’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.


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