November7, 2005 n° 278 - Vol. 3

"Never promise more than you can perform."

Publilius Syrus

Insider's view: see how local concerns shape up the global world. Read the daily press review in MigalhasInternational 

  • Top News

Bush in Brazil subsidies promise

Bush has told Lula that the US will work towards eliminating its agricultural subsidies. This, he said, was fundamental to move towards free trade around the world. However, the move would depend on European willingness to do the same thing, Bush said. 

Bush urges Latin America to hold fast to democracy

Bush's only speech of the president's three-nation tour of Central and South America focused on the importance of safeguarding democratic ideals in the region. He said the people of Latin America have defied dictators to win their liberty, and he warned there are some who want to set back the clock. Bush said they must now choose between two competing visions. "One offers a vision of hope that is founded on representative government, integration into the world community, and a faith in the transformative power of freedom in individual lives," said the president. "The other seeks to roll back the democratic progress of the past two decades by playing to fear, pitting neighbor against neighbor, and blaming others for their own failures to provide for their people." The president named no names. But the comments were apparently a reference to either Castro or Chavez. , a fiery critic of the Bush administration. "Some today suggest that democracy has outlived its usefulness," said Mr. Bush. "They have misread history." In the address, Bush also praised Brazil's role in helping other countries seeking freedom and social justice. And he promised to work with President Lula to ease differences on trade.

Failed Summit Casts Shadow On Global Trade Talks

Leaders of 34 nations from across the Americas have failed to find a compromise on a regional free trade zone at their summit in Argentina. Talks continued beyond the scheduled end of the gathering, as supporters of a US-led proposal sought to set a date to begin detailed negotiations.

The US faced opposition from five Latin American countries, which said the plan could damage their economies. The final document contained an appendix with the two rival statements. With most leaders - including Bush - already gone from the two-day talks, their representatives signed an annex to the summit's final declaration with rival viewpoints on the initiative. the meeting was so wracked by division that diplomats drafting the final communiquÈ failed to reach agreement even on when to resume talks on the free-trade zone. 

Watchdog urges 'CIA jails' probe

The Council of Europe has demanded an investigation into claims the US ran secret jails for terror suspects. The human rights watchdog called the claims "extremely worrying" and said such prisons would constitute a serious human rights violation and further proof of the crisis of values that the use of certain methods in the fight against terrorism is proving. All the 'black sites' had now been closed. The CIA has refused to comment. Those with close links to the intelligence agencies say the US government keeps suspected al-Qaeda operatives secretly incarcerated on foreign soil so that they are not able to contest their detention in US courts and can be interrogated over a long period.

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Caldas Law Studies Center and IASP are offering a new course on the bankruptcy laws recently adopted in Brazil and the US. This course features the participation of invited speakers: Dr. Cl·udio Mendes (IBEMEC) Dr. Raul Rosenthal (Parmalat), Dr. Alexandre Duarte (CRA), Dr. SÈrgio Werther (Valormax) e Dr. Alexandre Lazzarini (1rst Bankruptcy Court). The first session will take place on November 7, 8, 9 and 10 de novembro, from 18h30 to 21:00; the second session on November 21, 22, 23 and 24 from 18:30to 21:00. Migalhas International readers qualify for the free course draw. Call the registrar's office: Caldas Law Studies Center at (11) 3107-8050 for information or click here to check the brochure.

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  • MiMIC Journal

Six million birds culled in China

Six million poultry have been killed in a mass cull in a Chinese province hit by bird flu. Farmers in north-eastern Liaoning province had co-operated with Sunday's slaughter, and would be compensated. China has reported no human cases during its four recent outbreaks. But it says it cannot rule out bird flu as the cause of a recent death of a girl. Meanwhile, a major conference on bird flu is due to open in Geneva on Monday.

US holds four China spy suspects

FBI agents in Los Angeles have arrested four people for allegedly trying to smuggle US military secrets to China. An FBI affidavit said they were charged with theft of government property, conspiracy and transportation of stolen goods, Reuters news agency reported. The affidavit said one suspect, Mr Chi, worked for a California defense contractor and was a lead engineer on a research project that involves Quiet Electric Drive technology for US Navy ships.

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  • Brief News

French police shot by rioting mob

On the 11th consecutive night of urban unrest that started in Paris' immigrant-populated suburbs, the violence spreads to other French cities. For the first time Saturday night, the rioting reaches central Paris, where scores of cars were burned. And police are hard-pressed to control the attacks. About 30 policemen have been injured by shots and stones in a Paris suburb. They were attacked by some 200 rioters. Police reported at least 839 vehicles burnt and 186 arrests on Sunday night. Unrest has gripped areas with large African and Arab communities since the deaths of two youths in the rundown Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, who were accidentally electrocuted at an electricity sub-station after reportedly fleeing police. "The law must have the last word," Chirac told reporters.

Bradesco almost doubles Q3 profit

Banco Bradesco, Brazil's largest private-sector bank, on Monday posted a net profit of 1.43 billion reais ($647 million), up from 752 million reais in the year-earlier period

UK Government seeks terror plan deal

The UK government is set to meet opposition parties to try to reach a deal on the length of time terror suspects can be held without charge. The government proposed 90 days, but the Tories want 28 and the Liberal-Democrats 14.

US Senate rejects Alaska oil ban

The US Senate has voted down an attempt to ban oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Senators narrowly rejected a Democratic attempt to halt the plan, which Bush supports. Supporters of the drilling say access to the estimated 10bn-plus barrels of crude oil would cut US reliance on imports, create jobs and raise revenue. But opponents say it would threaten a key habitat for migratory birds, polar bears, caribou and other animals.

Irish Subsidiary Lets Microsoft Slash Taxes in U.S. and Europe

A law firm's office on a quiet downtown street here houses an obscure subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. that helps the computer giant shave at least $500 million from its annual tax bill. The four-year-old subsidiary, Round Island One Ltd., has a thin roster of employees but controls more than $16 billion in Microsoft assets. Virtually unknown in Ireland, on paper it has quickly become one of the country's biggest companies, with gross profits of nearly $9 billion in 2004. Ireland's citizens may not have heard of Round Island One, but they benefit greatly from its presence. Last year the unit handed the government of this small country of four million citizens more than $300 million in taxes. The citizens of other nations where Microsoft sells its products are less fortunate. Round Island One provides a structure for Microsoft to radically reduce its corporate taxes in much of Europe, and similarly shields billions of dollars from U.S. taxation. Giant U.S. companies whose products are heavily based on their innovations, such as technology and pharmaceutical firms, increasingly are setting up units in Ireland that route intellectual property and its financial fruits to the low-tax haven -- at the expense of the U.S. Treasury.

Parmalat back from the brink

Parmalat boss Enrico Bondi will be feted this week at a meeting of shareholders which will pick a new board of directors following the company's return to the Milan stock market. Bondi has spent the last two years pulling the Italian dairy giant back from the brink, spearheading a government-backed rescue operation aimed at preventing Europe's largest corporate accounting scandal ($18bn) from bringing down the firm. Yet for many years the accounts were largely works of fiction. Most of the Parmalat empire, it seems, always ran at a loss. The financial mirage was maintained by burying losses in offshore bank accounts and constantly raising cash to plug the gaps by issuing new bonds. The company kept its Italian operations going in early 2004. To function the company had to square the often conflicting interests of investors who had lost billions of dollars, trade unions worried about jobs, suppliers owed large sums of money and the Italian government, which rewrote the country's bankruptcy laws to help Parmalat. The bankrupt company kept going mainly because all the various players in the drama had so much to lose from it going under. In Italy, Parmalat's main businesses are selling long-life milk, yogurts and fruit juices. The company's major plant in Collechio is one of the largest of its type in Europe. The main issue was getting suppliers to maintain milk deliveries. This problem was solved by giving Parmalat's lorry drivers large wads of cash so they could pay farmers and wholesalers on the spot for their products. Few of Parmalat's Italian workforce lost their jobs, but the business was streamlined. The axe fell much harder in the overseas operations but the company still remains a significant global player in the food industry. Parmalat is now out of bankruptcy after its bondholders accepted a deal that turns their debts into shares in the reformed group.

Gay bishop attacks Catholic stand

The first openly gay Anglican bishop, Gene Robinson, has called for the Roman Catholic church's attitude to homosexuals to be confronted. The Bishop said the Vatican's ban on ordaining gay men was "vile". He continued: "I find it so vile that they think they are going to end the child abuse scandal by throwing out homosexuals from seminaries.

Would they or wouldn't they?

Brazil came to a virtual standstill on Friday night to find out the answer to the question that had obsessed the country: Would the soap opera America deliver the country's first televised homosexual kiss? In the event, it did not. But in the wake of a TV program that reportedly drew a larger audience than the last World Cup final, no-one is willing to take the blame for disappointing viewers.

Gory burger posters target young

Gory (covered with blood) images of burger rolls filled with bones and gristle are to appear across the UK to shock children into improving their diets and help fight obesity. The British Heart Foundation's posters show common ingredients found in many burgers, chicken nuggets and hot dogs. The Food4Thought campaign follows a survey by the charity showing 36% of eight to 14-year-olds did not know the main ingredient of chips was potato. The BHF will also take a "policy pizza" to Tony Blair calling for more action. The charity wants to deliver the list of actions it wants taken to boost children's health. It includes calls for the marketing of unhealthy food and drink to be stopped.

Ryanair

Last week budget airline Ryanair announced it was planning to allow its passengers to gamble during flights. The company said the move could eventually do away with the need to charge airfares.

Woman auctions home - and herself

A US woman selling her house in Denver, Colorado over the internet has decided to throw in a little extra - herself. The house is 95 years old. The bride who comes with it is 48. Deborah Hale, a jewellery designer who runs her own business, says she set up her House with Bride website because she "had not met that special someone to share this house with". She is asking $600,000 for the house and furnishings. She herself is "priceless", she says many of her girlfriends advised her.

Bush Orders Ethics Training for White House Aides

Bush has ordered all White House officials to take part in an ethics training program. The classes are to include instructions for handling classified information. Bush's directive comes after top White House aide I. Lewis Libby was indicted on charges of lying to a grand jury about a leak that revealed the name of a CIA operative.

Coke ditches three flavors in US

Global drinks giant Coca-Cola is to end sales of three flavors in the US by the end of 2005. Vanilla Coke, Vanilla Diet Coke and Diet Coke With Lemon are to be replaced by Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Coke and Black Cherry Vanilla Coke in the US. Coke said cherry flavored drinks sales were up, as were low-calorie ones. The firm said Vanilla Coke, introduced in the US in 2002, and Diet Vanilla Coke in 2003, may return in future.

  • Daily Press Review

Africa

High stakes as 'Mafia' gang up against Wako
East African Standard, Liberal daily of Nairobi, Kenya

Rugby boss in 10-year legal spat
Mail and Guardian, Liberal daily of Johannesburg, South Africa

Troops movements on Ethiopia/Eritrea border worry AU
Panapress, Pan-African news agency of Dakar, Senegal

3rdTerm: N/Assembly Panel at Crossroads
This Day, Independent daily of Lagos, Nigeria

Americas

Ontario Premier, tobacco growers courting China
The Globe And Mail, Centrist daily of Toronto, Canada

Rig costs and availability delay Falklands' oil drilling
MercoPress, News Agency of Montevideo, Uruguay

Chirac pledges to punish rioters
Toronto Star, Liberal daily of Toronto, Ontario

Asia Pacific

Korea Seeks Favored Weapons Buyer Status in U.S.
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily of Seoul, South Korea

President Orders Coordinating Minister for the Economy to Overcome Inflation Problem
Tempo, Independent weekly of Jakarta, Indonesia

Europe

Clarke rules out terror fund
The Daily Telegraph, Conservative daily of London, England

Ruling party leading in Azeri election exit polls
Interfax, Government-owned news agency, Moscow, Russia

Putin Praises Unity as Nationalists Rally
The Moscow Times, Independent, English-language daily of Moscow, Russia

Russia sets record with number of lawsuits filed at Strasbourg court
Pravda, Liberal daily of Moscow, Russia

Bitter Blair accepts defeat over plan to hold terrorism suspects for 90 days
The Scotsman, Centrist daily of Edinburgh, Scotland

Middle East

Shots fired at police in France riots
Aljazeera.net, English-language Web site of Doha, Qatar

Sultan Center to Become Gateway of Science & Technology
Arab News, Pro-government, English-language daily of Jidda, Saudi Arabia

Labor Party Abuzz: Was There a Deal or Wasn't There?
Arutz Sheva, Pro-settler publication of Israel

EU holds Gaza-Egypt border talks
The Daily Star, Independent, English-language daily of Beirut, Lebanon

Peretz: Peres-Vilnai pact will save PM, not Labor
Ha`aretz, Liberal daily of Tel Aviv, Israel

FM, Swiss ambassador discuss issues of mutual interest
Islamic Republic News Agency, Government-owned news agency of Tehran, Iran

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