February 12, 2007 no. 454 - Vol. 5

"If you want things to stay as they are, things will have to change"

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
Italian Writer, 1896-1957)

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

  • Top News

Target Tehran: Washington sets stage for a new confrontation

The US is moving closer to war with Iran by accusing the "highest levels" of the Iranian government of supplying sophisticated roadside bombs that have killed 170 US troops and wounded 620. The allegations against Iran are similar in tone and credibility to those made four years ago by the US government about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction in order to justify the invasion of 2003. US claims the bombs were smuggled from Iran cannot be independently verified. The Bush administration denies it is planning to invade Iran but has indicated it is willing to use military force to deal with any Iranian interference inside Iraq.

Portugal will legalize abortion

Prime Minister Jose Socrates has said abortion will be legalized in Portugal despite the turnout for a referendum being too low to be legally binding. Turnout was about 40%, far less than the 50% required, but of those who did vote, 59.3% backed a proposed change to the current law. The proposal allows all women abortion until the 10th week of pregnancy.

Nine killed in Rio slum shoot-out

Nine people have been shot dead in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, in a continuing struggle for control of the "favelas" or shantytowns. Such shoot-outs are becoming a regular feature of life in Rio as militia and traffickers battle for control of communities which are lucrative to both. In recent months some favelas have been taken over by militias - consisting of retired and off-duty police officers. They offer to rid communities of drug gangs in return for protection money. The new state governor, Sergio Cabral, says he won't tolerate the involvement of serving police officers in parallel security forces.

Internet's Ubiquity Multiplies Venues To Try Web Crimes

Unlike many crimes with relatively limited geographic scope, Internet abuses cross every border, giving the government enormous leeway these days to pick jurisdictions where it brings cases. The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution holds that federal criminal cases should be tried in the state and district in which an offense was committed. And venues count: Pittsburgh and St. Louis, for example, are viewed by lawyers as much more legally conservative than, say, Boston and San Francisco. To some critics, the process smacks of "forum shopping," a once-common practice by plaintiffs' attorneys seeking the most hospitable venues to bring civil suits. The government denies it is seeking a home-court advantage. Prosecutors may pick venues based on the locale of the Federal Bureau of Investigation office that initiates a case, says bureau spokesman Paul Bresson. "In situations where a Buffalo agent is talking to a subject in Florida," he says, the case would likely be brought in Buffalo.

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  • MiMIC Journal

G7 ministers up pressure on China

Finance ministers and bankers from the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrial nations have renewed pressure on China to relax controls over its currency.


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  • Brief News

Harvard names first female head

Harvard University has selected its first female president, Drew Gilpin Faust, 59, a prominent historian of the American South. She takes office as the university undergoes major curriculum changes and an expensive campus expansion. The previous president, Lawrence Summers, resigned last year after a turbulent five-year term. He provoked outrage when he said women had less "intrinsic aptitude" than men for science.

Venezuelan state buys power firm

The Venezuelan government has bought the country's leading privately-owned power provider, marking a new phase in its nationalization program. The state is to pay $740m for the 82% stake in Electricidad de Caracas owned by US company AES Corp. In private hands since 1885, the firm provides power to the capital, Caracas. Key resources such as power and oil are being brought under state control to fulfil President Hugo Chavez's vision of a "socialist economy".

Sanofi-Aventis Loses Court Case Over Generic Versions of Lovenox

French drug maker Sanofi-Aventis SA said Friday it lost a court case against two generic drug makers that have been attempting to sell cheaper copies of Lovenox, its top-selling drug. Although the patent protecting Lovenox doesn't expire until 2012, Amphastar Pharmaceuticals and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. have been planning to launch generic copies of the drug in the U.S. The trial was to determine whether Sanofi-Aventis engaged in so-called inequitable conduct when it initially filed the Lovenox patent. Sanofi-Aventis said it is currently evaluating its options for further legal recourse. Lovenox, a blood thinner, is the company's best-selling drug, with sales totaling €2.15 billion ($2.8 billion) in 2005. Proving inequitable conduct, which may include the submission of incomplete documents when applying for a patent, could invalidate the entire patent.

How Sweden tackles prostitution

In 1999, the Swedish government brought in legislation to criminalize the buying of sex, while decriminalizing its sale. The idea behind the move was that prostitution should be regarded as an aspect of male violence against women and children and therefore tackled.

Gonzales praises Brazil's anti-piracy efforts

Brazil has made strides in fighting piracy of everything from computers to DVDs, but must do more to prevent companies from losing billions of dollars per year, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Friday. After praising Brazil's "dedication in combating intellectual property crime," Gonzales told business leaders in Rio de Janeiro: "Improving enforcement, raising awareness, and changing public perception and behaviors all take time and perseverance. There is much work to be done, but I am heartened by the progress that has been made so far."

Media Firms Say Google Benefited From Film Piracy

Google has been accused by a group of major media companies of benefiting from the sale of pirated movies and providing business support to Web sites suspected of offering access to illegal film downloads. At the core of the media companies' dispute with Google, which isn't a defendant in the piracy case, is their claim that Google deliberately directed traffic to Web sites that were engaged in fostering piracy. Although people familiar with the situation say the incident doesn't involve large sums of money, several media executives say it has led them to question Google's internal controls.

Paternity row over model's baby

Three men who claim to have fathered Anna Nicole Smith's five-month-old daughter are threatening legal action. Her partner and lawyer, Howard K Stern; ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead; and Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband, Prince Frederick von Anhalt, say they may be the father. The child could inherit millions in the long-running court battle over her mother's former billionaire husband. An initial post-mortem examination has failed to find what caused the former top model's death on Thursday.

  • Daily Press Review


President skips corruption *Anti corruption campaigners disappointed
Ghanaian Chronicle, Independent, published in Accra, Ghana

IRAQ: Children lured into drugs and prostitution
Integrated Regional Information Networks (United Nations), Nairobi, Kenya

Mozambique on red alert after flooding
Mail and Guardian, Liberal daily of Johannesburg, South Africa

Baby girl, 2, is stolen by child minder
The Sowetan, Liberal daily of Johannesburg, South Africa

DR Congo fuel tanker looted
Times of Zambia, Government-owned daily of Lusaka, Zambia


Barbados Advocate, Independent daily of St Michael, Barbados

Grammy for Ziggy - Reggae star wins fourth award
Jamaica Gleaner, Centrist daily of Kingston, Jamaica

Domestic violence law has bite but lacks teeth
The Guadalajara Colony Reporter, Independent weekly of Guadalajara, Mexico

Asia Pacific

Rinnai water heaters tied to 3 CO deaths / Lack of safety devices also led to 12 injuries
Daily Yomiuri, Conservative daily of Tokyo, Japan

President Hu's African tour successful in promoting ties
People's Daily Online, Pro-government daily of Beijing, China

Search for kayaker called off
The Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily of Sydney, Australia

New Investors to Enter PNM
Tempo, Independent weekly of Jakarta, Indonesia

UNO adopts Villar, Kiko
The Manila Times, Pro-government daily of Manila, Philippines

NGOs meet PM on religious issues
The Sun, Independent daily of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


EU Foreign Ministers to Quiz UN Envoy on Kosovo's Future
Deutsche Welle, International broadcaster of Cologne, Germany

Current stage in North Korea talks could finish Tuesday - source
Interfax, Government-owned news agency, Moscow, Russia

Garda injured in halting site violence after man dies in crash
Irish Examiner, Centrist daily of Cork, Ireland

Putin Castigates U.S. Foreign Policy
The Moscow Times, Independent, English-language daily of Moscow, Russia

Under-pressure Royal finally sets out her stall
The Scotsman, Centrist daily of Edinburgh, Scotland

Demirel: Deep state is the military
Turkish Daily News, Independent daily of Istanbul, Turkey

Middle East

One hurdle less
Al-Ahram Weekly, Semi-official, English-language weekly of Cairo, Egypt

Saudi Women May Soon Take Up Diplomatic Work
Arab News, Pro-government, English-language daily of Jidda, Saudi Arabia

Supreme Court Rules on Fate of 43 Families in Heart of Israel
Arutz Sheva, Pro-settler publication of Israel

Iran 'behind deaths in Iraq'
Gulf News, Independent daily of Dubai, United Arab Emirates

J'lem Mayor postpones Temple Mt. construction
Ha`aretz, Liberal daily of Tel Aviv, Israel

Iran supports efforts to bring stability to Iraq: Mottaki
Islamic Republic News Agency, Government-owned news agency of Tehran, Iran

New Mughrabi Gate plans ordered, but work to go on
The Jerusalem Post, Conservative daily of Jerusalem, Israel


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