February 26, 2007 no. 458 - Vol. 5

"No man dies for what he knows to be true. Men die for what they want to be true, for what some terror in their hearts tells them is not true."

Oscar Wilde

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  • Top News

Court in landmark genocide ruling

The UN's highest court is set to make a landmark ruling in the first case of a state charged with genocide. The International Court of Justice in The Hague will decide whether Serbia is accountable for atrocities in Bosnia during the war of the early 1990s.

If the Bosnian suit is successful, it will be the first time a state, rather than an individual or group, has been held responsible for genocide.

Canada court rejects terror law

Canada's Supreme Court has struck down a controversial system that allowed the government to detain and deport foreign-born terror suspects. The nine judges ruled that the security certificate system - in place since 1978 - violated Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The system allowed a suspect to be held indefinitely or deported on the basis of evidence presented in secret.

The case was brought by three men who deny accusations of links to al-Qaeda. The Supreme Court has given parliament one year to rewrite the section of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act - under which the certificates are issued - to comply with the constitution.

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  • Brief News

Clarity sought in Argentina arrest

India's Supreme Court has sought an explanation from the government about the arrest of an Italian businessman named in a major bribery case. The court asked why it was not informed of the detention of Ottavio Quattrocchi in Argentina on 6 February when it heard the case six days later. The Bofors corruption case is one of the highest-profile and longest-running in India, lasting nearly 15 years. Authorities say Mr Quattrocchi took $7m in bribes in the deal, which he denies. The businessman says he is the victim of a political vendetta in India.

Colombia head 'ready for talks'

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has expressed willingness to reopen "direct contact" with left-wing Farc rebels. In a statement, he also authorized relatives of people abducted by Farc guerrillas to meet the rebels and work towards a prisoner exchange. Farc, the country's largest rebel group, currently holds hundreds of prisoners and political hostages.

Brazil finance minister was held hostage

Brazil's finance minister was taken hostage for hours this week by armed assailants who invaded and robbed a country retreat he was visiting for a barbecue during carnival. The criminals spent hours Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning robbing about 20 people before leaving with jewelry and about $9,500 in cash. When the suspects left, they forced a businessman at the party to drive away with them and make withdrawals from automatic teller machines. He was later released unharmed.

Patent row could hit MP3 industry

News that Microsoft has been fined for violating MP3 patents belonging to Alcatel-Lucent could have widespread fallout for the industry. Experts now suggest the US ruling could lead to hundreds of firms - including Apple and RealNetworks - being pursued for payments relating to the format. "Any of the companies that have licensed and implemented that technology have to have great concern about this verdict," said Microsoft. At the heart of the case is the question whether Alcatel-Lucent should be paid for technology developed by experts at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute and Bell Laboratories - which Alcatel now owns. Microsoft says it should not have to pay fees to Alcatel as it paid $16m to license the MP3 technology from the Fraunhofer Institute. But Alcatel claims that as it now owns Bell, and has done since 2003, Microsoft should have been paying it for its share of the patent.

US rejects hedge funds controls

The US government has rejected tighter controls over the hedge fund industry.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said increased vigilance rather than laws were the best guarantee of stable hedge fund performance. Paulson chairs the President's Working Group, which reviews risk in the financial markets. His report has drawn criticism from politicians concerned at a lack of formal protection for investors in the 9,000 US hedge funds. US hedge funds are estimated to control $1.5 trillion of assets.

Bayou holders can sue others who cashed out before collapse

Investors who lost money in Bayou Management LLC, a failed Connecticut hedge fund, got a boost from a federal bankruptcy judge who ruled Friday that they could sue investors who cashed out before the fund collapsed in 2005. The case is being watched closely by investors in other hedge funds. Some $1 trillion is now invested in these lightly regulated funds for institutions and wealthy individuals -- and investors often pull their money out if they see warning signs that a fund may be in danger. If investors are forced to give money back after getting out, it would increase the risks of investing in hedge funds.

Mexican anger over US 'trespass'

Mexico's Congress has condemned what it says is a border violation by US workers building a controversial barrier between the two countries. Legislators say workers and equipment building a section of the barrier have gone 10 metres (yards) into Mexico.

Cuba silences three foreign journalists

Cuban press authorities will revoke reporting privileges for three foreign correspondents. Journalists from The Chicago Tribune, BBC and Mexico's El Universal are told their visas will not be renewed.

Foreign investments in Brazil rise 63 pct in January

Foreign investments in Brazil reached 2.41 billion U.S. dollars in January, up 63.6 percent from the same period last year, the Brazilian Central Bank said Friday. It was the best result registered for a January since 2000 when foreign investments hit 3.03 billion dollars. Due to the intense influx, the central bank has lifted its investment expectations for 2007 to 20 billion dollars from the previous 18 billion dollars. It attributed the significant growth to more favorable economic conditions.

Record private equity buyout due

Texas Pacific and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts are expected to make an offer worth $44bn for TXU on Monday.

TXU is the top power company in Texas and the deal would break the record for the biggest takeover by private equity. It would be the third time in four months that the record has been broken, most recently with Blackstone's $38.9bn offer for Equity Office Properties. Private equity companies use clients' money and borrowed money to buy whole companies and try to turn them around.

  • Daily Press Review

Africa

State orders DC's to spy on politicians ahead of poll
East African Standard, Liberal daily of Nairobi, Kenya

Finance C'ttee erupts in confusion
Ghanaian Chronicle, Independent, published in Accra, Ghana

ANC papers over cracks in alliance
Mail and Guardian, Liberal daily of Johannesburg, South Africa

15 firms shut for violating labour laws
Times of Zambia, Government-owned daily of Lusaka, Zambia

Americas

Hive of activity at Agrofest
Barbados Advocate, Independent daily of St Michael, Barbados

Rally for Cristina candidacy
Buenos Aires Herald, Liberal daily of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Drought hits Cricket World Cup - Agriculture production below target
Jamaica Gleaner, Centrist daily of Kingston, Jamaica

US firms spend lavishly to combat insecurity in Mexico
The Guadalajara Colony Reporter, Independent weekly of Guadalajara, Mexico

Asia Pacific

Education panel looks at reform bills
Daily Yomiuri, Conservative daily of Tokyo, Japan

Vice Premier urges efficient house supply for low-income families
People's Daily Online, Pro-government daily of Beijing, China

Video News Bulletin
The Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily of Sydney, Australia

MJF Cadre Killed in Clash With Maoists in Bardiya
The Himalayan Times, Independent daily of Kathmandu, Nepal

CGFNS: Ruling is final
The Manila Times, Pro-government daily of Manila, Philippines

RM800,000 spent, but no sign of sports centre works
The Sun, Independent daily of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Europe

UN Court to Give Landmark Genocide Ruling Over Bosnia
Deutsche Welle, International broadcaster of Cologne, Germany

Hamas lays much weight on Russia's position on lifting blockade
Interfax, Government-owned news agency, Moscow, Russia

Teen linked to double death crash 'on way to party'
Irish Examiner, Centrist daily of Cork, Ireland

'Green' Fears Dog Sochi's 2014 Bid
The Moscow Times, Independent, English-language daily of Moscow, Russia

Tensions rise further as defiant Iran claims that it has launched a rocket into space
The Scotsman, Centrist daily of Edinburgh, Scotland

Online bookies up the stakes on Turkish betting
Turkish Daily News, Independent daily of Istanbul, Turkey

Middle East

Rallying for Article 5
Al-Ahram Weekly, Semi-official, English-language weekly of Cairo, Egypt

Riyadh Begins Arab Summit Preparations
Arab News, Pro-government, English-language daily of Jidda, Saudi Arabia

US generals to quit if Iran attack is ordered
Gulf News, Independent daily of Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Missing Israeli man found murdered near Hebron
Ha'aretz, Liberal daily of Tel Aviv, Israel

President: Sustainable peace depends on restoration of rights
Islamic Republic News Agency, Government-owned news agency of Tehran, Iran

Report: Hizbullah building up forces north of Litani river
The Jerusalem Post, Conservative daily of Jerusalem, Israel

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