June 27, 2007 nº 507 - Vol. 5

"We should have a great fewer disputes in the world if words were taken for what they are, the signs of our ideas only, and not for things themselves."

John Locke

A Wednesday without Grammatigalhas is like a day without sunshine! We are sorry we cannot produce the column this week. Reason: travel complications. We will return next week.

  • Top News

China legislature considers legal practice reforms

China's National People's Congress Sunday began considering measures to codify legal ethics, improve criminal suspects' access to defense lawyers and evidence, and allowed experienced lawyers to establish individual private law firms. The reforms, which guarantee lawyers the right to meet defendants in all cases with the exception of those involving state secrets, were proposed by the Ministry of Justice and will most likely be approved. The proposals also prohibit the state from conducting surveillance of the defendants meeting their lawyers, and grants defense lawyers legal immunity for statements in court provided that statements do not constitute slander or threaten national security. Lawyers with more than five years experience and no record of license suspension will also be permitted to establish individual private law firms. Legal ethnics prohibiting lawyers from representing clients if they have a personal conflict of interest will also be specifically codified for the first time in China . The proposed reforms to China's Law on Lawyers if approved, will be the first amendments to the law since its implementation in 1997.

UN Council eyes role of natural resources

The Security Council examined the role of natural resources such as diamonds, poppies and oil in driving conflicts and destabilizing nations, angering some countries that accused the U.N.'s most powerful body of trying to undermine their sovereignty. The council, which is charged with maintaining international peace and security, has a responsibility to address the issue because of an "intimate link" between natural resources and conflict. But Qatar, Brazil and China argued that the council was overstepping its mandate, infringing on national sovereignty and on other U.N. bodies.

New EU states attacked over graft

The European Commission is to criticise Bulgaria and Romania for failing to tackle deep-rooted corruption and reform their judiciary. Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU six months ago. A report by the Commission highlights the lack of convictions in high-level corruption cases and voices concern about contract killings in Bulgaria. The report stops short of calling for sanctions. Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU on the strictest terms ever but the report shows that, in the last six months, judicial reforms have had little or no result.

Google urges US government to treat Internet censorship as trade barrier

Google is urging the US government, including the Departments of State and Commerce, the Office of the US Trade Representative, and various House and Senate committees, to fight the rise of global Internet censorship, according to Monday reports. Google's Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs Andrew McLaughlin said in a statement that censorship acts as a non-tariff trade barrier for industries that depend on the free flow of information to deliver their services across borders.

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  • Crumbs!

1 - Court to hear Web cigarette sales fight. (Read More)

2 - Court rules for cleaners in $54 million pants suit. (Read More)

3 - Court backs school on speech curbs. (Read More)

4 - US firms reject Venezuelan deal. (Read More)

5 - Man jailed 2 years sues over Queens prosecutions. (Read More)

6 - Basell buys Huntsman for $5.6 billion. (Read More)

7 - Supreme Court to weigh limits on cases involving medical devices. (Read More)

8 - Immigration bill advances in Senate. (Read More)

9 - Experian to buy Brazil's Serasa. (Read More)

10 - Heineken extends partnership with Femsa in Brazil until 2017. (Read More)

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  • MiMIC Journal

Danone faces Chinese legal threat

China's largest soft drinks maker, Wahaha, has threatened to counter-sue French firm Danone in an escalating dispute between the two firms. Danone is suing Wahaha, accusing it of illegally selling copies of its drinks, and Wahaha has now responded with a threat of its own lawsuit.

Wahaha and Danone have been partners since 1996 but their relationship has deteriorated in recent months.

Tires Are Latest Chinese Recall in U.S.

Another Chinese product in the U.S. is under scrutiny. Federal officials ordered a recall of 450,000 Chinese-made tires. The Chinese maker of tires that are the target of a massive US recall denied Wednesday that it supplied faulty products and accused its American distributor of making the claim to gain an advantage in a commercial dispute. New York Times reporter David Barboza was held in a toy factory last week while covering the Thomas the Tank Engine recall.

Congo and China Forge Economic Partnership

China and Congo are enjoying an era of economic cooperation, swapping cut-rate financing for infrastructure projects with oil and timber. But critics charge is the exchange is unequal.

  • Brief News

Protests at Iran fuel rationing

A petrol station is set on fire in Tehran, after a surprise Iranian government move to ration petrol. Iranians were given only two hours' notice of the move that limits private drivers to 100 litres of fuel a month. Despite its huge energy reserves Iran lacks refining capacity, forcing it to import about 40% of its petrol.

US firms reject Venezuelan deal

Two major US companies have rejected a deal that would keep them working in Venezuela's most important oil field, according to state oil firm PDVSA. The government is taking over majority control of operations in the Orinoco Belt, as it extends state control. PDVSA said four firms - BP, Chevron, Total and Norway's Statoil - had signed deals to take minority stakes, but Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips had not. Chavez set Tuesday as a deadline for foreign firms to agree.

Bolivia reclaims oil refineries

Bolivia has taken full control of two oil refineries from the Brazilian state-owned energy company, Petrobras, after a compensation deal last month. The head of the state energy company, YPFB, said Bolivia had taken back "what we never should have lost". The $112m buy-back is part of Morales' wider energy nationalization, giving the state more control and a larger slice of profits. Bolivia has South America's biggest natural gas reserves after Venezuela.

Court eases TV ad election curbs

The US Supreme Court has eased campaign finance restrictions in a ruling that will allow issues-led groups to run TV adverts right up until elections.

Mobile phone firms lose tax case

Mobile phone firms have lost a legal battle to reclaim tax they said they paid for expensive licenses in the UK. The auction of 3G spectrum - enabling firms to offer video and internet services through handsets - raised more than £22bn for the British government. The plaintiffs, which also included O2 and T-Mobile, argued that they were entitled to recover tax since their customers were the ultimate beneficiaries of the deal. But the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the award of licenses, in itself, did not constitute an economic activity on which tax was paid.

CIA Papers Detail Assasination Plots, LSD Testing

Details of a CIA plot to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro and of the spy agency's wiretapping campaign against U.S. journalists, civil rights activists and anti-Vietnam war protesters were among hundreds of pages of internal reports released Tuesday.

CAR children 'seized for ransom'

Armed gangs are seizing children for ransom in the Central African Republic, Amnesty International says.

Germany imposes ban on Tom Cruise

Germany has banned the makers of Tom Cruise's new movie from filming at military sites in the country because the actor is a Scientologist. The German defense ministry said Cruise has "publicly professed to being a member of the Scientology cult". Scientology masquerades as a religion to make money, Germany said, but leaders of the church reject this.

Wealthy Gay Donors a New Force in Politics

A new force is emerging in American politics: wealthy, gay political donors who target state-level races. Last year, they funneled millions of dollars into dozens of carefully selected campaigns. Their goal: to elect gay-friendly governors and lawmakers.

Mexico's Police Corruption Investigation

On Monday, the Mexican government temporarily replaced all 284 of its top federal police officers pending investigations into corruption. What's behind President Felipe Calderon's purge of his federal police force?

Judge Rebuffs Google's Request To Extend Oversight of Microsoft

A US District Court judge yesterday declined to address a petition by Google that asked the government to extend its antitrust oversight of Microsoft.

Chirac to face corruption inquiry

French ex-President Jacques Chirac is to be questioned over claims of corruption while he was Paris mayor.

Brazil offers morning-after pill to poor

Brazil's government has added "morning after" pills to its newly expanded birth control program in hopes of helping poor people reduce unwanted pregnancies and dangerous illegal abortions. Lula said the government would provide cheap birth control pills at 10,000 drug stores across the country.

Cosan files for Wall Street listing

Cosan, Brazil’s biggest sugar and ethanol producer, is to raise up to $2bn on the New York Stock Exchange in a further demonstration of the rapid growth of the industry in Brazil. Last Friday the Wall Street Journal carried an interview with a senior executive of Archer Daniels Midland, the agribusiness group, who said the company had not ruled out trying to buy Cosan.

Gerdau group wants to enter Chinese market and sets up partnership with Indian company

Brazilian group Gerdau is interested in setting up a steelworks in China, with a capacity of 1 million tons per year in partnership with a Chinese state company.

Gol to rebrand Varig for business

Gol, the Brazilian low-cost airline, plans to relaunch the Varig brand as a dedicated business carrier serving domestic routes alongside its existing no-frills service. The highly unusual move marks the first time a low-cost carrier has set up a dedicated subsidiary for premium traffic. Legacy airlines around the world – ranging from United and Lufthansa to All Nippon Airways – have created their own subsidiaries in recent years to stem the erosion of passengers to low-fare rivals.

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  • Historia Verdadera

Ferrocarriles

La corporación estadounidense Genesee & Wyoming Inc., anunció el cierre de sus operaciones en la administración de Ferrocarriles Chiapas-Mayab SA de CV de México. La empresa sostuvo que sus inversiones fueron afectadas por el huracán Stan.

Alianza

La Procuraduría General de México suscribió un pacto de alianza con las procuradurias generales de Justicia Militar, de los 32 estados, para diseñar y ejecutar estrategias de lucha contra la delincuencia.

Petroleras

Las multinacionales petroleras ConocoPhilips y ExxonMobil que operán en Venezuela se rehúsan firmar la propuesta del presidente Hugo Chávez de ceder parte sus acciones a la estatal petrolera, que según Decreto de Nacionalización debe contrar con el 60 % de la administración de los campos.

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  • Daily Press Review

CAR children 'seized for ransom'
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

The use of cash in emergency and post-emergency non-food item programs - a case study from the Democratic Republic of Congo
CongoPlanet.com, Independent online news aggegator

More Trouble For Ghana Airways
GhanaWeb, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Sierra Leone: Landmark Convictions for Use of Child Soldiers
Human Rights Watch (Africa), International news press releases

Vacancies for 12 judges, judge-president
iafrica, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Man loses leg during accident
Independent Online, News portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Zim exiles in SA doubt Mbeki will prevail
Mail & Guardian Online, Liberal, Johannesburg, South Africa

1.500 to debate ANC future
News24.com, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Globo TV Unifies Brazil and Often Is Sole Narrow Window Into the World
Brazzil Magagzine, Independent online newsmagazine

Buju Banton disowns Boom Bye Bye
Caribbean News Portal, Online news aggregator

Fidel took Caracas
Granma International, Communist Party weekly, Havana, Cuba

MERCOSUR: Asymmetry Sets the Agenda
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Murió una nena al quedar atrapada en un tiroteo
La Nacion, Conservative, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Peru takes down Uruguay 3-0
Living in Peru, News portal, Lima, Peru

Hunt for elusive Sasquatch continues
The Globe and Mail, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Wrestler killed son, wife, then hanged himself: Police
Toronto Star, Liberal daily, Toronto, Canada

Too early for House to reject defense pact with Singapore
Antara News, News agency, Jakarta, Indonesia

Bangladesh election commission to finalize political reform proposals after consulting political parties
Bangladesh Journal, Independent news portal

We'll review ties with Sena: BJP
India Express, News portal, Mumbai, India

Wanted: Suitable boy for MLA
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Minister says all 22 aboard crashed plane in Cambodia perished
Kyodo News, Online news portal, Tokyo, Japan

Abdullah lauds Saudi Telekom’s purchase of Maxis shares
Malaysian Star, Online news portal, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

UN declares Ecuador's Galapagos Islands in danger
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

British Conservative MP defects to Labor
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Troops rolling into NT today
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

It is betrayal by Shiv Sena: Munde
The Hindu, Left-leaning daily, Chennai, India

Sleep-starved housemates are nod amused
BreakingNews.ie, Online news portal, Cork, Ireland

As rain wreaks havoc, why do we build more houses on flood plains?
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Vijfkamper Hilgeholt in WB-finale
De Telegraaf, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Swisscom to launch smartphone Ogo
DMeurope, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Stanley Dock market is axed
icLiverpool, Online news portal, Liverpool, England

Boy, 10, hurt in race attack
Isle of Wight County Press, Independent daily, Isle of Wight, England

Cancer : les métiers à risques
Le Monde, Liberal daily, Paris, France

Final farewell to Bernard
Manchester Online, Independent daily, Manchester, England

Council cash to help OAPs
North-West Evening Mail, Independent daily, Cumbria, England

Ostrava-born Israeli man thanked for life-long dedication to furthering mutual relations
Radio Prague, Online news portal, Prague, Czech Republic

Lethal Floods Claim Fourth Victim
Sky News, Independent newscaster, Middlesex, England

Blair exits as new era begins with Tory defection
The Guardian, Liberal daily, London, England

Drogheda take their chance to go top
The Irish Times, Centrist daily, Dublin, Ireland

Art held at gunpoint
The Scotsman, Moderate daily, Edinburgh, Scotland

Massive dam burst threat
The Sun, Conservative tabloid, London, England

Finally, Blair exits the stage
The Telegraph, Conservative daily, London, England

Wrestler and family found dead
Times Online, Conservative daily, London, England

Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad Ignore Weapons Prohibition
Arutz Sheva, Online, right-wing, Tel Aviv, Israel

Boy: Taliban Recruited Me to Bomb Troops
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

10 die after cyclone hits Balochistan
Gulf News, Independent daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Russian FM says weapons sales to Syria strictly controlled
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

POLITICS-US: Congress to Curb Bush Enthusiasm for Abbas
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

KM Properties signs landmark agreement with urban planning giant
Middle East North African Network, Online financial portal, Amman, Jordan

Castro: Bush Authorized and Ordered my Death
Nahamet, Online news portal, Beirut, Lebanon

Quartet expected to name Blair - yes, Blair - as Middle East envoy today
The Daily Star, Independent daily, Beirut, Lebanon

Al-Khaiwani still detained, authorities ban visits
Yemen Times, Independent weekly, Sana'a, Yemen

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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.

Transmission of this information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. The information contained on this list may or may not reflect the most current legal development.