August12, 2005 n° 244 - Vol. 3

"To avoid situations in which you might make mistakes may be the biggest mistake of all"

Peter McWilliams

  • Top News

Bush: Leaving Iraq Now Would Be 'Mistake'

President Bush acknowledges the pain and public impatience caused by continued violence in Iraq, but he says "it would be a mistake" to hasten the withdrawal of U.S. forces. Bush said he feels sympathy for those who have lost loved ones in Iraq.

Brazil scandal heats up again over Lula's publicist

Brazil's political scandal heated up on Thursday with calls on Lula to explain how his publicist received undeclared political funding from abroad. Duda Mendonca, architect of Lula's 2002 campaign victory, told a congressional probe he had received undeclared money from the alleged middleman in the illegal funding and bribery scandal, entrepreneur Marcos Valerio, through his Bahamian account. Many legislators said Lula could be implicated and had to explain himself as the scandal went beyond irregular campaign funding, already acknowledged by the party, into the sphere of financial crimes involving foreign accounts.

Lula aide in impeachment hearing

Brazil's Congress has begun impeachment proceedings against Jose Dirceu, who quit as his chief-of-staff in June. He has said he is innocent of the charges and has refused to resign his seat in Congress - a move that would have spared him from the impeachment proceedings and a possible eight-year ban. Impeachment hearings also began against two other deputies, Sandro Mabel of the Brazilian Liberal Party and Romeu Queiroz of the Labour Party. Some 18 lawmakers named in the scandal could eventually face impeachment.

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  • MiMIC Journal

US 'hoping for China trade deal'

The US hopes to agree a long-term deal on textile trade with China during talks next week, the US trade representative's office has said. Chinese clothing imports are currently limited under special WTO rules amid claims they are damaging US textile trade. US manufacturers have been demanding measures to protect them when the current special limits end in 2008. US figures show Chinese textile imports to the US have surged 54% year-on-year.

Yahoo in $1bn Chinese online deal

Web search giant Yahoo has paid $1bn for a stake in China's biggest e-commerce firm, Alibaba.com. The US company will now hold a 40% stake - and 35% of the votes - in the Chinese firm, which runs the country's biggest auction and trading sites. The investment positions Yahoo to compete with world auction leader eBay in a key market. Chinese internet firms are in demand after the rip-roaring flotation of search engine Baidu.com a week ago.

China's Corporate Buyers Go Shopping Closer To Home

Chinese companies do most of their buying closer to home than recent headlines would suggest. Asian companies are the most popular international targets for Chinese acquirers, with 77% of China's outbound companies considering investments in the neighboring region compared with 56% considering North America and 44% interested in Europe. While only 5% of the 80 Chinese business executives polled said their companies had already established operations overseas, 78% said they planned to do so in the near future. Chinese companies are only just starting to think seriously about going overseas, and there is no lack of ambition.

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  • Brief News

Peru president sacks government

Peru's President Alejandro Toledo has demanded all his ministers step down following the resignation of Prime Minister Carlos Ferrero. Ferrero quit after the president named as foreign minister an ally who has backed moves to make growing coca leaf legal in some areas. Toledo said he would evaluate which of his ministers would keep their jobs.

The newly appointed Fernando Olivera, criticized as a divisive figure, is among those who will have to step down.

Thousands rally against Gaza plan

Tens of thousands of Israelis have staged a rally in Tel Aviv in protest at plans to pull out of Gaza, six days before the withdrawal is due to begin. Demonstrators clad in the symbolic orange color of the protest movement filled Rabin Square, where successive speakers denounced the evacuation. Opponents of the plan have stepped up their protests in recent days, vowing to sabotage the withdrawal operation.

Dilemna: Judges urged to consider security

A new law to force judges to take into account issues of national security when assessing the deportation of terror suspects is being considered in the UK. The Lord Chancellor admits deportations to states with poor human rights records could falter because of the Human Rights Act. The act says people cannot be deported to places where they risk torture. A new bill could guide judges to place equal weight on state security and the suspect's human rights, he says.

Iran leader to be granted US visa

Bush said the US had separate obligations to other nations and the UN to allow Iran's president to attend a UN meeting in New York next month. There was speculation Ahmadinejad may be refused a visa because of claims he was involved in the 1979 takeover of the US embassy in Iran. US officials are still investigating Ahmadinejad's alleged involvement.

Former WorldCom Finance Chief Gets Five Years

Former WorldCom finance chief Scott Sullivan is sentenced to five years in prison for his role in crafting the biggest accounting fraud in American history. The former chief financial officer had pleaded guilty to conspiracy, securities fraud and making false financial filings in exchange for testifying against his boss, Bernie Ebbers.

Bail granted to Pinochet's wife

The wife of Chilean ex-President Augusto Pinochet has been granted bail a day after she and the couple's son were charged over tax fraud. Lucia Pinochet, 82, was released because of her ill-health and her advanced age, court officials said. But bail was denied to her youngest son Marco Antonio Pinochet on the grounds he was a "danger to society".

US gas shortage fuels hike

Supply bottlenecks and security fears are keeping up the pressure on oil prices, pushing the cost of a barrel above $66 for the first time on record. US refinery outages mean stocks are tight at a time of high seasonal demand for gasoline.

Brazil real slides as central bank auctions reals for dollars

The Brazilian currency, the real, was sharply lower in early afternoon trade as the central bank held its first auction of reals for dollars in five months. In the afternoon, the real was down trading at 2.2970 per dollar. The official purpose of the auction was to rebuild the international reserves of the central bank, but it had the effect of reversing the current trend which has seen the real appreciating against the dollar, breaking the 2.30 threshold and potentially putting the competitiveness of Brazilian exports at risk.

Brazil Arrests Two Men Linked to Central Bank Heist

Brazil's police arrested two men in connection with the theft of 164.8 million reais ($69.7 million) from a central bank office. Police detained Francisco Rogerio Maciel de Souza and Charles Machado de Moraes, who were driving a truck carrying 11 cars bought with money from the theft. The two men were arrested in Sete Lagoas, Brazil, about 2,500 kilometers (1,554 miles) south of Fortaleza.

Brazil Senate OKs minimum wage hike

In a big defeat for Lula, Brazil's Senate in a 30-27 vote passed a bill to raise Brazil's minimum monthly wage 48 percent, possibly costing the government an additional 11.1 reais ($4.85 billion) in 2005. Lula will probably veto the bill if it is approved by Brazil's lower house of Congress, but analysts said he will be forced to spend precious political capital trying to convince congressmen to reject the measure. The wage hike passed the Senate late Wednesday night in a vote characterized by analysts as a meltdown of Lula's delicate governing coalition. Investors in Brazil, who are long on the real, would be affected. The measure would potentially have fiscal and inflationary consequences and would deteriorate the credit fundamentals.

Pedestrian toll tops vehicle deaths in Sao Paulo

The number of pedestrians in Sao Paulo killed by vehicles has topped the number of driver and passenger fatalities for the first time. In the first half of this year, 370 pedestrians died from being struck by vehicles compared with 344 drivers and passengers killed in car accidents. Mayor Jose Serra has pledged to spend $7.4 million to improve signs and paint crosswalks to make the city's chaotic streets safer.

Super profits

Petrobras should post a more than 50 percent increase in second-quarter profit due to a steep rise in oil output, tax benefits and a stronger local currency. Brazil, where Petrobras accounts for nearly all crude production, is still a net oil importer, but it is on track to reach self-sufficiency next year. AmBev said second-quarter earnings rose 15 percent, led by strong volume growth in Brazil and market share gains in Venezuela. Earnings per American Depositary Share slipped to $1.88 from $1.97 a year earlier, when it had fewer shares outstanding.

Brazil Hits CVRD, Iron-Ore Titan, In Antitrust Case

Brazilian antitrust regulators have imposed substantial restrictions on recent acquisitions by the world's top iron-ore producer, CVRD. The decision, which some observers regard as Brazil's most important antitrust ruling to date, came months after the company pushed through a 71.5% price increase in global iron-ore prices. CADE, approved CVRD's acquisition of four competing companies in recent years while imposing restrictions the company had fought tooth-and-nail to avoid: Regulators ordered CVRD to choose between selling off a company it had acquired or changing what were deemed anticompetitive business relationships and easing the company's grip on strategic transport sectors. The decision caps months of intense and bitter argument between CVRD and Brazil's steelmakers, which feel cornered by the mining behemoth's dominant market position in iron ore and strategic railways.

  • Daily Press Review

Africa

Kibaki and Raila on spot over road funds
East African Standard, Liberal daily of Nairobi, Kenya 

Zimbabwe loan: Who will blink first?
Mail and Guardian, Liberal daily of Johannesburg, South Africa 

Canada donates millions to hunger-stricken Sahel
Panapress, Pan-African news agency of Dakar, Senegal

FG Expects $11.6bn From Excess Crude Sale
This Day, Independent daily of Lagos, Nigeria

Americas

Bush ducks mother of dead soldier
The Globe And Mail, Centrist daily of Toronto, Canada 

Penguin News Update
MercoPress, News Agency of Montevideo, Uruguay

Middle East

Seoul Backs N.Korea's Peaceful Nuclear Plans
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily of Seoul, South Korea 

Aziz denies Pakistani link to blasts
The News, Left-wing daily of Karachi, Pakistan 

Heroin in Hong Kong: Aussies to stand trial
The Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily of Sydney, Australia 

Minister Awaluddin to Sign Peace Agreement with GAM
Tempo, Independent weekly of Jakarta, Indonesia 

Mumbai monsoon fury is national calamity
The Times Of India, Conservative daily of New Delhi

Europe

BA halts Heathrow flights
The Daily Telegraph, Conservative daily of London, England 

Italians Outraged by Ex-Nazi's Vacation
Deutsche Welle, International broadcaster of Cologne, Germany 

Deportation spat looms in courts
The Guardian, Liberal daily of London, England 

Naftogaz Ukrainy offices being searched
Interfax, Government-owned news agency, Moscow, Russia 

Skeptical Cabinet Approves Amnesty
The Moscow Times, Independent, English-language daily of Moscow, Russia 

Russia to acquire two Scorpio submersible vessels after the mini-sub accident
Pravda, Liberal daily of Moscow, Russia 

We want extradition, say three Kriss suspects
The Scotsman, Centrist daily of Edinburgh, Scotland

Middle East

Palestinian panel to supervise pullout
Aljazeera.net, English-language Web site of Doha, Qatar 

'Khamis Mushayt Girl' Faces Execution
Arab News, Pro-government, English-language daily of Jidda, Saudi Arabia 

IDF Admits Failure in Closing Gush Katif
Arutz Sheva, Pro-settler publication of Israel 

Tens of thousands gather in bid to stop Gaza pullout
The Daily Star, Independent, English-language daily of Beirut, Lebanon 

Gush Katif farmers sign deal on hothouses
Ha`aretz, Liberal daily of Tel Aviv, Israel 

Fire devours 100 cars in southern Tehran
Islamic Republic News Agency, Government-owned news agency of Tehran, Iran 

Police considering sealing off entire southern Israel
The Jerusalem Post, Conservative daily of Jerusalem, Israel

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