May 14, 2007 no. 489 - Vol. 5
 

“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.”

 Paulo Coelho

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

  • Top News

Japan approves constitution steps

Japan's parliament has passed a bill that sets out steps for holding a referendum on revising the country's pacifist constitution. The legislation was passed by the parliament's upper house, having cleared the lower house last month. Drawn up by the US occupation authorities after WWII, it bans military force in settling international disputes and prohibits maintaining a military for warfare.

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  • MiMIC Journal

China launches Nigerian satellite

China launches a satellite for Nigeria that is expected to boost broadband internet services in Africa.

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  • Brief News

Cerberus to buy Chrysler majority

US private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management is to buy a majority stake in car firm DaimlerChrysler's ailing US Chrysler arm. The group is to buy 80.1% of the firm for 5.5bn euros ($7.41bn) DaimlerChrysler announced on Monday. News of the deal drove DaimlerChrysler shares 7% higher on the German market.

Under the deal - which will see the German-American firm retain a 19.9% stake - Chrysler will have to meet pension and healthcare costs.

Pope condemns LatAm 'autocrats'

Pope Benedict XVI criticizes "authoritarian governments", in a speech at the end of his trip to Brazil. He condemned the growing gap between rich and poor, blaming both Marxism and capitalism for the region's problems. Of great concern to the church is the defection of large numbers of Catholics to evangelical Protestant religions.

Reuters trust 'backs Thomson bid'

The Reuters Founders Share Company will give its backing to a proposed takeover by Canadian Data Provider Thomson later this week, reports say. The trust is satisfied the £8.8bn ($17.5bn) deal will not jeopardize Reuters' journalistic independence, the Independent on Sunday said. Backing from the trust, which has a "golden share" that could block any takeover, is vital to the deal.

Million-Strong Rally Demands Turkey Remain Secular 

More than a million demonstrators took to the streets in Turkey today demanding their country remain a secular republic. The protesters say they feel the pro-Islamic ruling party threatens the nation's modern foundations. The weekend rally came just six weeks before Turkey's national election.

Governor Seeks Vast DNA Base for New York

Gov. Eliot Spitzer is proposing a major expansion of New York’s database of DNA samples to include people convicted of any crime, while making it easier for prisoners to use DNA to try to establish their innocence.

Federal Ethics Watchdog

Government workers who are caught misbehaving often are suspended, fired or prosecuted for their misdeeds. Then, when all that is done, they face one last humiliation -- a virtual dressing down at the hands of Pentagon lawyer Stephen Epstein, who keeps an online catalog of abuses.

Brazil trial over US nun's death

A Brazilian rancher is to go on trial in the north-eastern city of Belem for the killing of US-born nun and environmental activist Dorothy Stang. Vitalmiro Bastos Moura is accused of paying gunmen to shoot the 73-year-old missionary dead in 2005. Sister Dorothy campaigned for poor farmers' rights and to preserve the rainforest from loggers and developers. Her murder followed a dispute with ranchers over land they wanted to clear for pasture and she wanted to protect.

Sweetener Makers Settle Suit Over Splenda Ads

The makers of artificial sweeteners Splenda and Equal settled a lawsuit over Splenda's disputed advertising slogan: "Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar." The settlement came after a U.S. District Court jury announced it had reached a verdict. A spokeswoman for McNeil Nutritionals LLC, the consumer-products unit of health-care conglomerate Johnson & Johnson that markets Splenda, said the amount of the settlement wouldn't be announced. Merisant Co., which makes Equal and NutraSweet, accused McNeil of confusing consumers and making them think Splenda was more healthful and more natural than other artificial sweeteners. McNeil countered that it simply has a better product backed by superior advertising.

Russia court rejects tsar exoneration bid

Moscow City Court has rejected a bid by a surviving member of the Russian Romanov imperial dynasty to declare Tsar Nicholas II  exonerated of the Soviet-era criminal charge against him and declare his 1918 murder at the hands of revolutionary Bolsheviks a political killing. A lower court had ruled similarly, and the Moscow City Court Friday supported its decision to remand the case to the Russian Prosecutor General's office, which has said it has insufficient evidence to proceed. The court also said any exoneration should be made in the course of criminal, not civil proceedings. Grand Duchess Maria Romanov , currently living in Spain, brought the case on behalf of her branch of the family. Nicholas II, the Tsarina Alexandra, their five children and several household servants were executed without trial  near Yekaterinburg in 1918. Nicholas' remains were reburied with honors at St. Petersburg in 1998.

Europe rights laws must be 'modernized' to protect security

Outgoing UK Home Secretary John Reid  told a meeting of ministers from major EU states Saturday that European human rights laws needed to be "modernized" to provide better protection from new terrorism threats. Addressing a conference of EU home affairs and interior ministers in Venice, Reid said more attention had to be paid to the fundamental right of security on which he said all other rights were based, and that politicians who adhered to existing rights laws "to the letter" were not protecting their citizens: “We need to work to modernize the law - still protecting human rights and still providing equity and justice - but reflecting the reality of the conflicts and struggles we now face. We need leadership to do this. It can't be left solely to the lawyers. Politicians must expose these issues and set a lead, so that we can protect the rights of all our citizens, including all those threatened by terrorism.” In recent months senior members of the British government have repeatedly castigated UK judges and lawyers for strict adherence to rights laws. In January Charles Clarke, Reid's predecessor as Home Secretary, told a parliamentary committee that judges in particular were unable to see the national security implications of their rulings  and had turned UK anti-terrorist laws into a "legal and parliamentary circus."

German chancellor presses European constitution ahead of EU summit

German Chancellor Angel Merkel  Saturday urged European Union  members to work together to advance a European constitution , largely stalled since referendum setbacks in France and the Netherlands in 2005. Merkel, whose country currently holds the EU presidency , was speaking at a mini-summit with key European leaders held in Portugal in the lead-up to a major EU leaders meeting scheduled for June 21-22. Germany has made revival of the constitution a key part of its presidency program, but its six month tenure expires at the end of June. Leaders from Portugal and Slovenia, scheduled to follow Germany in the EU presidency, attended the informal meeting along with European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso. Incoming French president Nicolas Sarkozy has called for a simplified, shortened treaty instead of the longer more comprehensive agreement originally foreseen; outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed support for such a "mini-treaty" after meeting with Sarkozy Friday.

London police avoid disciplinary action in subway shooting of Brazilian

Britain's Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said Friday that 11 Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)  officers will not face disciplinary action  for the fatal shooting  of a Brazilian man two weeks after the July 2005 London transit bombings . The IPCC, however, is waiting to determine whether the four most senior officers involved in the shooting incident will face disciplinary action until the conclusion of legal action against Scotland Yard. The Office of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner has pleaded not guilty  to criminal charges under the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act  for "failing to provide for the health, safety and welfare" of the public in causing the death of Jean Charles de Menezes ; the case is scheduled to go to trial in October. British prosecutors have decided not to bring individual charges  against the polices officers involved in the shooting.

  • Daily Press Review

Africa

DailyMonitor has obtained documents detailing how  billions left the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation programme.
Daily Monitor, Independent daily of Kampala, Uganda

D-day as Magarini voters decide
East African Standard, Liberal daily of Nairobi, Kenya

Chiluba judgment registration under way
Times of Zambia, Government-owned daily of Lusaka, Zambia

Americas

Day nurseries open doors to parents
Barbados Advocate, Independent daily of St Michael, Barbados

EU to profile mosques
Buenos Aires Herald, Liberal daily of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Iran vows to retaliate if U.S. strikes
The Globe And Mail, Centrist daily of Toronto, Canada

Police sticking to story - Still waiting on more Woolmer results
Jamaica Gleaner, Centrist daily of Kingston, Jamaica

Pope backs excommunication of Mexico City lawmakers
The Guadalajara Colony Reporter, Independent weekly of Guadalajara, Mexico

Asia Pacific

Govt tackles shortage of rural doctors
Daily Yomiuri, Conservative daily of Tokyo, Japan

African to contain economic 'marginization'
People's Daily Online, Pro-government daily of Beijing, China

PM ties performance to funding
The Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily of Sydney, Australia

Lawmakers Disrupt House Proceedings Yet Again
The Himalayan Times, Independent daily of Kathmandu, Nepal

Day of decision
The Manila Times, Pro-government daily of Manila, Philippines

Don't make it a culture to ask for allowance, Abdullah tells Umno members
The Sun, Independent daily of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Europe

DaimlerChrysler to Sell Chrysler to Cerberus
Deutsche Welle, International broadcaster of Cologne, Germany

Government: Finland does not endorse total ban of cluster weapons
Helsingin Sanomat, Centrist daily of Helsinki, Finland

Suspect in Sberbank bank robbery case detained in Chita
Interfax, Government-owned news agency, Moscow, Russia

Tax liability issue threatens to keep Ahern finances in spotlight
Irish Examiner, Centrist daily of Cork, Ireland

Putin Lands a Deal for Turkmen Gas
The Moscow Times, Independent, English-language daily of Moscow, Russia

Help us, Madeleine's family begs sport fans
The Scotsman, Centrist daily of Edinburgh, Scotland

A million secular messages from 'Infidel' Izmir
Turkish Daily News, Independent daily of Istanbul, Turkey

Middle East

As illusive as ever
Al-Ahram Weekly, Semi-official, English-language weekly of Cairo, Egypt

Foreign Investment Rises 25%: Yamani
Arab News, Pro-government, English-language daily of Jidda, Saudi Arabia

Iran rules out US strike
Gulf News, Independent daily of Dubai, United Arab Emirates

PA Interior Min. quits amid renewed factional clashes
Ha'aretz, Liberal daily of Tel Aviv, Israel

Ahmadinejad: No restriction on expansion of ties with UAE
Islamic Republic News Agency, Government-owned news agency of Tehran, Iran

PA prime minister accepts resignation of interior minister
The Jerusalem Post, Conservative daily of Jerusalem, Israel

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