February 5, 2007 no. 451 - Vol. 5

"Any man whose errors take ten years to correct is quite a man."

J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904 - 1967)

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

  • Top News

EU lawmakers want worldwide ban on death penalty

Ratcheting up European Union efforts to ban the death penalty worldwide, EU lawmakers on February 1 called for immediate action to secure international support for the bid. A universal moratorium aimed at abolishing the death penalty worldwide should be established “immediately and unconditionally,” Euro MPs said in a resolution. The EU said the day before that it would continue to oppose capital punishment “in all cases and under all circumstances because it considers the death penalty to be a cruel and inhuman punishment.” Some 94 per cent of all known executions took place in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States. China is leading the list with 1,770 executions, according to Amnesty. Iran executed at least 94 people, Saudi Arabia at least 86 and the US 60 people.

Brazil, U.S. to forge ethanol alliance

In the coming months, Washington will roll out a strategic partnership with Brazil to expand ethanol and other biofuels usage in the hemisphere, hoping not only to bolster energy security and generate more rural jobs for poor countries but foster goodwill toward the United States. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Organization of American States are also expected to participate. Brazil would like to send more ethanol to the United States, but above all, it wants more countries using the fuel, turning it into more of a tradeable commodity like oil is today. The United States can help it achieve that goal, The alliance between the two ethanol giant producing countries will be trumpeted as a major achievement by an administration that critics have long accused of allowing U.S.-Latin American relations to fall in a rut by focusing on a narrow range of difficult issues like free trade and drug trafficking. Ethanol produced in Brazil is taxed to discourage its entry into the United States, although some Brazilian ethanol refined in countries such as Costa Rica and Jamaica -- that have trade arrangements with the United States -- are allowed in duty-free.

Iran strike 'would be disastrous'

A coalition of organizations has warned any military action against Iran would be disastrous. The coalition accuses Tony Blair of using the prospect of military action as a negotiating tool. Washington has so far refused to rule out military action if Iran does not halt its nuclear activities. The US and its Western allies suspect Iran of using its nuclear program as a cover to produce nuclear weapons, a claim denied by Tehran. Recent criticism by Bush of alleged Iranian support for insurgency in Iraq has increased concerns that his administration is contemplating an attack. Three former high-ranking American military officers have warned against any military attack on Iran.

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  • MiMIC Journal

US tackles China subsidies at WTO

The United States has begun legal action at the World Trade Organization, accusing China of using subsidies to harm US firms. China uses tax legislation to "encourage exports and discriminate against imports", and called for a "level playing field". Washington tried to resolve the dispute bilaterally but failed. US trade deficit with China is at a record high.

Chinese activist reportedly blocked from visiting US

An elderly doctor who embarrassed China's government by exposing blood-selling schemes that infected thousands with HIV has been stopped from going to Washington to be honored by a charity supported by Hillary Clinton. Retired physician Gao Yaojie, in her 80s, is among China's most prominent and tenacious AIDS activists. She received numerous awards for efforts a decade ago to alert people in her home province of Henan, in eastern China, to an AIDS outbreak being spread by tainted blood transfusions.

China official pushes judicial reform guided by Communist party

Judicial reform in China should be managed by the Chinese Communist Party rather than by reformers and non-governmental organizations, according to an article published Thursday by China's top law enforcement official. Luo Gan , a member of the ruling Politburo Standing Committee, wrote the article in the party's Qiushi (Seeking Truth) Journal, referring to those who seek to reform the judiciary as "hostile forces." "All law enforcement activities should be led by the party," continued Luo. "All reform measures should be conducive to the socialist system and the strengthening of the party leadership." Last month, the party announced plans to intensify its anti-corruption campaign, following complaints by China's chief justice of court corruption and systemic failures to implement court orders. Luo also addressed criticisms of judicial corruption, writing that the judiciary should "safeguard social justice and fairness" and advocating "harsh punishments" for those convicted of crimes committed in the sale of land and the reform of state enterprises. The article encouraged labor sentences, however, a policy that human rights groups have condemned for targeting political opponents and minor offenders. While Luo urged the government to heed the international community's reaction to its policies, it also stated that NGOs should be "closely monitored."


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  • Brief News

Calderon and Chavez Trade Barbs over Economics

Two of Latin America's most influential leaders — Mexico's Felipe Calderon and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez — had a public spat this week. Calderon's presidency faces major challenges, including price increases for basic foods. Chavez, however, is steadily consolidating power in pursuit of 21st Century socialism.

Woman guilty of Coke secrets plot

A former secretary at Coca-Cola has been found guilty of plotting to steal the company's secrets and sell them to its rival Pepsi. Joya Williams could face up to 10 years in prison when sentencing takes place at a later date. The court heard that Williams stole confidential documents and samples of new products, passing them to two men to sell to Pepsi for at least $1.5m. The men - Ibrahim Dimson and Edmund Duhaney - have already pleaded guilty. After the offer was made, PepsiCo contacted Coca-Cola and co-operated with FBI officials who held undercover meetings with Dimson. Investigators arranged a fake sale of the material for $1.5m and caught Ms Williams on camera putting papers and samples in her bag, the prosecution said. Coca-Cola's recipe has been a trade secret for 120 years

YouTube asked to 'remove' videos

Viacom, the parent firm of cable networks MTV and Nickelodeon, has told popular video sharing site YouTube to remove 100,000 "unauthorized" clips. The firm said after talks over several months YouTube seemed "unwilling to come to a fair market agreement" to let readers access Viacom content. YouTube has said it will comply with Viacom's request.

ICC names Brazilian judge for Congolese militia leader's war crimes trial

The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced Friday that Judge Sylvia Steiner , a Brazilian, will try Congolese militia leader Thomas Lubanga's war crimes case . The ICC appointed one judge rather than the alternative choice of three to "ensure the proper and efficient functioning of the Chamber." Steiner was previously a judge of Brazil's Federal Court of Appeal. As founder of the militant Union of Patriotic Congolese , Lubanga is accused of enlisting child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo's violence-plagued Ituri district . The ICC ruled earlier this week that Lubanga would go forward to face trial , the first ICC defendant to do so.

Ford Juggles Job Cuts and Manager Bonuses

As Ford Motor Co. reports big losses and slashes thousands of jobs, executives consider paying bonuses to managers who control costs. The move could be another public-relations headache.

UN rights experts call for global ban on racial profiling

The UN Working Group of Experts on People of Africa Descent Friday called for a global ban on racial profiling at the conclusion of its annual 5-day session . The group urged "states to clearly define and adopt explicit legislative provisions banning racial profiling," a practice which European expert Joe Frans described as being "widespread, yet remains little documented and not clearly prohibited under European law." The group found that "systematic and historic targeting" of persons of African descent contributes to the stigmatization and stereotype "of persons of African descent as having a propensity to criminality." The group also noted a greater reliance on racial profiling following the September 11 suicide attacks on the United States. The working group stated that "the explicit targeting of specific groups by law enforcement officials violates a number of provisions" of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) . The group also described racial profiling as "a new term for an old practice institutional racism and discrimination." Civil rights groups in the US have recently been pushing Democratic lawmakers to reconsider a bill banning racial profiling by any US federal, state or local government entity.

  • Daily Press Review


Poll: Kibaki's party options
East African Standard, Liberal daily of Nairobi, Kenya

IRAQ: Southern Iraq in danger of slipping into chaos
Integrated Regional Information Networks (United Nations), Nairobi, Kenya

FNB to go ahead with anti-crime campaign
Mail and Guardian, Liberal daily of Johannesburg, South Africa

The Sowetan, Liberal daily of Johannesburg, South Africa

PF mayors to welcome Levy on official duty
Times of Zambia, Government-owned daily of Lusaka, Zambia


Give more respect, attention to folk music
Barbados Advocate, Independent daily of St Michael, Barbados

Truck bomb kills 135 in Iraq
Buenos Aires Herald, Liberal daily of Buenos Aires, Argentina

World Cup gaffe - Taiwan anthem played at China-financed stadium in Grenada
Jamaica Gleaner, Centrist daily of Kingston, Jamaica

Familiar anti-drug walkthrough vs the politics, economics of drug trafficking
The Guadalajara Colony Reporter, Independent weekly of Guadalajara, Mexico

Asia Pacific

Kanda reelected Aichi gov. / Opposition-backed Kitahashi victorious in Kitakyushu
Daily Yomiuri, Conservative daily of Tokyo, Japan

Hu hails 'all-weather friendship' between China, Zambia
People's Daily Online, Pro-government daily of Beijing, China

Pilot in critical condition
The Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily of Sydney, Australia

Banking Policy Orientation to be Issued April
Tempo, Independent weekly of Jakarta, Indonesia

Top Leaders Discuss Terai Crisis
The Himalayan Times, Independent daily of Kathmandu, Nepal

MNLF men release government party
The Manila Times, Pro-government daily of Manila, Philippines

Robbery-murder case solved in eight hours
The Sun, Independent daily of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Minister Won't Rule Out Deploying Troops to Afghanistan's South
Deutsche Welle, International broadcaster of Cologne, Germany

Abkhazia plans curfew for Gali district
Interfax, Government-owned news agency, Moscow, Russia

O'Malley: Attack on TD recalls fear of Haughey era
Irish Examiner, Centrist daily of Cork, Ireland

Registration Rules Stir Up Confusion
The Moscow Times, Independent, English-language daily of Moscow, Russia

Taleban has '2,000 suicide bombers primed for spring war'
The Scotsman, Centrist daily of Edinburgh, Scotland

E-state fiasco in public and private sector
Turkish Daily News, Independent daily of Istanbul, Turkey

Middle East

A fragile truce
Al-Ahram Weekly, Semi-official, English-language weekly of Cairo, Egypt

College Admissions Up 62%
Arab News, Pro-government, English-language daily of Jidda, Saudi Arabia

Photo Feature: Down on Shai Dromi's Negev Ranch
Arutz Sheva, Pro-settler publication of Israel

Strategic Plan: Dubai is doing the right things
Gulf News, Independent daily of Dubai, United Arab Emirates

PM rejects Peretz plan to evacuate illegal outposts
Ha'aretz, Liberal daily of Tel Aviv, Israel

Rafsanjani says US has planned to commit aggression on Iran
Islamic Republic News Agency, Government-owned news agency of Tehran, Iran

'IDF harming effort to halt Hizbullah arms smuggling'
The Jerusalem Post, Conservative daily of Jerusalem, Israel


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