January 19, 2007 no. 444 - Vol. 5

"Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties."

Abraham Lincoln

In today's Law Firm Marketing column: Six newsletter mistakes lawyers make.

  • Top News

German leader urges EU constitution ratification by 2009

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the European Parliament at a session in Strasbourg Wednesday that EU member nations should ratify the European constitution before the next round of European Parliament elections scheduled for June 2009, saying "failure would be a historic mistake." Merkel emphasized the advantages of the proposed constitution, including the clear demarcation of the powers of the Union and member states and efficient transnational government. Merkel attended the Strasbourg meeting to present Germany's Presidency Work Program , the product of joint Germany, Portugal, and Slovenia efforts to coordinate the next eighteen months of European economic policy. Also speaking at the Strasbourg parliamentary meeting, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called on member states to sign the pending Berlin Declaration, which he described as a roadmap, "which should create the momentum to settle the institutional question." Merkel promised to put the constitution back on the EU agenda upon assuming the six-month Presidency on January 1, 2007. She announced her intent to set a timetable for constitutional ratification in October, though responses have been lukewarm in some quarters, especially from aspirants in the upcoming French presidential elections.

US congressmen seek Iran block

A bipartisan group of US congressmen have put forward legislation to prevent the president attacking Iran without the authorization of Congress. The move comes amid concern at Bush's attitude towards Iran. He has recently decided to ratchet up the pressure on Tehran over what he calls unhelpful behavior in Iraq. A second navy task force has recently been sent to the Persian Gulf and last week US forces arrested Iranian officials in northern Iraq. Democrats have already expressed concern about Bush's decision to confront Iran rather than to engage it diplomatically. Recent events have only heightened fears about his intentions.

New US rules on terror detainees

The US defense department has outlined new rules that could allow terror suspects to be imprisoned on the basis of hearsay or coerced testimony. The Pentagon has sent the draft of a new manual for trying detainees at Guantanamo Bay to Congress. Judges would have wide latitude to decide what evidence may be presented.

New military commissions manual allows convictions on hearsay, coerced evidence

Terror detainees may be convicted solely on hearsay or coerced evidence and defendants may not present classified evidence unless the government approves its use, according to the Manual for Military Commissions , released by the US Defense Department Thursday. The manual describes the procedures to govern upcoming detainee trials under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA). Bush signed the Military Commissions Act in October after the US Congress approved the bill in late September. The law became necessary after the US Supreme Court ruled last June that the commissions, as initially constituted by the president, lacked proper legal authorization . The law provides statutory authorization for military commission trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees, and US Air Force Colonel Moe Davis, chief prosecutor for the trials, said earlier this month that he expects revised charges to be filed by February. Under the MCA, the president is authorized to establish military commissions to try unlawful enemy combatants. The commissions are authorized to sentence defendants to death, and defendants are precluded from invoking the Geneva Conventions as a source of rights during commission proceedings. The law also allows hearsay evidence to be admitted during proceedings, so long as the presiding officer determines it to be reliable.

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  • MiMIC Journal

US condemns China 'space weapon'

The United States, Australia and Canada have criticized China over a weapons test it is said to have carried out in space last week. The Americans say the Chinese sent up a ballistic missile to destroy an ageing weather satellite. They say the test went against the spirit of co-operation both countries aspire to in the area of civil space.

EU stands by China arms embargo

The European Union has not changed its conditions for lifting an arms embargo on China, the EU head of foreign relations has said at bilateral talks. It said lifting the embargo was dependent on conditions such as China ratifying a UN convention on civil and political rights. The embargo was enforced after the Tiananmen Square killings in 1989.

  • Law Firm Marketing

Six newsletter mistakes lawyers make

Mistake #1: Lawyers don't send newsletters often enough. For printed newsletters, monthly is essential. For electronic newsletters, weekly is best.

Mistake #2: Lawyers' newsletters contain too much information. Frequency is far more important than the amount of content. The newsletter’s purpose is to support and reinforce your marketing message. You need to reinforce your message at least monthly; weekly is even better.

Mistake #3: The lawyers' photographs are usually poor. The most powerful marketing photographs are those where the lawyer is looking directly into the camera, showing a warm, engaging smile, with the photo closely cropped for strong eye contact.

Mistake #4: Lawyers' newsletters lack the personal connection. Any lawyer can send cold, impersonal information to clients and prospects. The skill comes in when a lawyer can make a personal connection - can create a relationship - between prospects and himself.

Mistake #5: Lawyers' newsletters do not invite prospects to interact with the lawyer. You can build all the credibility in the universe, yet if you and your prospects do not interact, they will never do business with you. Interaction is the critical marketing step most lawyers overlook.

Mistake #6: Lawyers' newsletters do not contain calls to action. The call to action is the sentence that tells your prospect exactly the action you want him to take. When prospects don't know the next step, they often do nothing.

© Trey Ryder

FREE LAWYER MARKETING ALERT: If you'd like to receive Trey Ryder's weekly Lawyer Marketing Alert, send an e-mail to trey@treyryder.com. Write "Subscribe LMA" in the subject line and write your name and e-mail address in the body of the message.

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  • Historia Verdadera

Papeleras

Si bien Tabaré Vásquez no quiere saber nada de su colega Kirchner por el conflito de las papeleras e anunció que no habrá encuentros de ninguna naturaleza, se prevé un encuentro frente a frente en la Cumbre de presidentes del Mercosur que ya arrancó en Rio de Janeiro.

Amenazas ?

Los peruanos y colombianos están preocupados por una eventual revisión de las normas laborales del TLC, y propios funcionarios del gobierno estadounidense sugieren que se tomen los recaudos antes que la Casa Blanca pida al Congreso la aprobación de los pactos comerciales.

Narcoherencia ?

La Policía de Cali, Colombia, encontró cerca de 54 millones de dólares en una vivienda, el significativo monto sería de propiedad del narcotraficante Juan Carlos Rramírez prófugo de la justicia.

  • Brief News

Rule by decree passed for Chavez

Venezuela's National Assembly has given initial approval to a bill granting President Hugo Chavez the power to rule by decree for 18 months. Chavez said he wants to approve "revolutionary laws" to enact sweeping political, economic and social changes.

US 'to halve' no-fly watch list

The US is reviewing the list it uses to bar suspected terrorists from traveling on airliners, saying it hopes to halve the number of names. A revised list and new passenger screening system should prevent cases of travelers wrongfully stopped. The number on the list is not known but estimates vary from 50,000 to 350,000. The US will also introduce a complaints system to allow travelers to have wrong information corrected.

Allianz seals 7.5bn-euro buyouts

German financial services giant Allianz is to spend 7.5bn euros ($9.7bn) buying out minority shareholdings in two of its leading European subsidiaries. Allianz is to acquire the 42% stake it does not own in French insurer AGF and the 9% outstanding holding in Allianz Leben, Germany's top life insurer. Allianz said the moves would improve client service and boost profits.

Gonzales Takes Fire on Domestic Eavesdropping

AG Alberto Gonzales testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee, less than 24 hours after he announced that the Bush administration's controversial warrant-less domestic surveillance program would be monitored by an independent court. The new Democratic committee chairman, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, opened the morning with a stark indictment of the Justice Department and the Bush administration. "In the 32 years since I first came to the Senate, during the era of Watergate and Vietnam," Leahy said, "I have never seen a time when our constitution and fundamental rights as Americans were more threatened by their own government." Senators challenged Gonzales on the Bush administration's domestic wiretapping program, demanding more information on the eavesdropping and the orders of a secret court, which gave its okay for the activity. Gonzales declined to discuss operational details.

House Bill Shifts Tax Breaks from Oil to Alternatives

The House passes a measure rescinding tax breaks for the oil and gas industries, and granting new breaks for alternative energy sources. It was the last of six bills the new Democratic majority said it would pass in its first hours in office.

U.S. detains Brazil mega-church founders over cash

Brazilian mega-church leaders Sonia Moraes Hernandes and Estevam Hernandes-Filho spent the last two decades building one of Brazil's largest evangelical empires. The couple was arrested at Miami International Airport last week on charges of currency smuggling and lying to customs officers after U.S. Immigration and Customs agents found they were carrying $56,000, more than the $10,000 they declared. Agents found the first extra bundle of cash, $9,000, tucked into the cover of Sonia's Bible. They found other bundles of money squirreled away in various places, including inside a CD case, in a folded jacket packed in a suitcase and in the backpack of their young son, Gabriel.

Brazil Sees Record Number of Mergers

Brazil saw a record number of mergers and acquisitions in 2006, according to KPMG. There was a total of 473 mergers and acquisitions involving Brazilian companies in 2006, up from 363 in 2006. "Mergers and acquisitions have been on an upward curve during the whole of 2006 and this trend is set to continue in 2007." Cross-border operations represented 61 percent of all operations in 2006. There was a growth in Brazilian companies acquiring foreign assets in 2006. In total, some 118 of these operations occurred, up 96 percent on the year before. The most active sector in terms of mergers and acquisitions was the energy sector with 61 transactions, followed by the information technology sector, with 46 transactions.

Brazil cautious about Chávez-proposed banco del sur

Brazil reacted cautiously Thursday before a proposal Chávez made to create a South American bank and defended the use of the financial institutions existing in the region. Brazilian Treasury Minister Guido Mantega branded the Venezuelan initiative as "interesting", claiming it could expand financial funds available for integration projects. However, he believes this a long-term plan. "Our proposal is strengthening joint operations of the (Brazilian) Economic and Social National Development Bank and the Bank of the Argentine Nation, and the Central Bank of Venezuela," he added.

Brazil to harvest record-breaking soy crop

Farmers in Brazil are beginning to harvest the record-breaking soy crop projected for the country this year. The state of Mato Grosso, is now reaping the crop. Producers in the area cultivate the early-maturing variety of soy, as well as the conventional one.

Digital music sales double worldwide in 2006

Sales almost double to around $2 billion, according to the IFPI in its Digital Music Report 2007

  • Daily Press Review

Africa

Pastors in trouble as debate on church and politics rages
East African Standard, Liberal daily of Nairobi, Kenya

EGYPT: 19th case of bird flu detected
Integrated Regional Information Networks (United Nations), Nairobi, Kenya

New arms deal pressure on Mbeki
Mail and Guardian, Liberal daily of Johannesburg, South Africa

You're invited, Mr President
The Sowetan, Liberal daily of Johannesburg, South Africa

Levy calls for more fiscal measures to facilitate economic growth
Times of Zambia, Government-owned daily of Lusaka, Zambia

Africa

CARICOM seeks to allay visa fears
Barbados Advocate, Independent daily of St Michael, Barbados

Country risk lowest ever
Buenos Aires Herald, Liberal daily of Buenos Aires, Argentina

'No to bloody election' - Phillips, Thomas vow to cut murder rate
Jamaica Gleaner, Centrist daily of Kingston, Jamaica

Corn costs fuel price hike fears
The Guadalajara Colony Reporter, Independent weekly of Guadalajara, Mexico

Asia Pacific

Mitsubishi Pharma, Tanabe in merger talks
Daily Yomiuri, Conservative daily of Tokyo, Japan

Hu set for next Africa visit
People's Daily Online, Pro-government daily of Beijing, China

PM defends 'Catch the Fire' DVD
The Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily of Sydney, Australia

18 Infrastructure Policies Canceled
Tempo, Independent weekly of Jakarta, Indonesia

GMA allies condemndisplay of brute force
The Manila Times, Pro-government daily of Manila, Philippines

TI-M: Explain why it's an 'official secret'
The Sun, Independent daily of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Europe

At least 29 Dead After Severe Storm Hits Europe
Deutsche Welle, International broadcaster of Cologne, Germany

Poll: Matti Vanhanen most popular choice for next Prime Minister
Helsingin Sanomat, Centrist daily of Helsinki, Finland

Rosneft seeking low-interest loan to buy Yukos assets
Interfax, Government-owned news agency, Moscow, Russia

Call to close sites as winds cause worker's death
Irish Examiner, Centrist daily of Cork, Ireland

Prosecutors Want Trunov Disbarred
The Moscow Times, Independent, English-language daily of Moscow, Russia

Relax Rose, we've just been voted the second worst movie of all time
The Scotsman, Centrist daily of Edinburgh, Scotland

Test heralds new arms race
The Times, Conservative daily of London, England

Reports: US raids PKK camp in Iraq
Turkish Daily News, Independent daily of Istanbul, Turkey

Middle East

Mission accomplished
Al-Ahram Weekly, Semi-official, English-language weekly of Cairo, Egypt

CMA Halts Trading in Another Firm
Arab News, Pro-government, English-language daily of Jidda, Saudi Arabia

Synagogue Built in Memory of Terror Victim Burned
Arutz Sheva, Pro-settler publication of Israel

Tower fire traps workers
Gulf News, Independent daily of Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Abdullah: Jordan will develop nuclear power
Ha`aretz, Liberal daily of Tel Aviv, Israel

President urges independent states to thwart threats of bullying powers
Islamic Republic News Agency, Government-owned news agency of Tehran, Iran

Report: Iran poised to start assembling 3,000 centrifuges
The Jerusalem Post, Conservative daily of Jerusalem, Israel

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Copyright 2007 - Migalhas International

The messages that appear in this newsletter are for informational purposes only. They are not intended to be and should not be considered legal advice nor substitute for obtaining legal advice from competent, independent, legal counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.

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