August 27, 2007  nº 533  -  Vol. 5  

"It's the price of leadership to do the thing you believe has to be done at the time it must be done."

Lyndon B. Johnson

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  • Top News

Iraqi leaders sign unity accord

Senior leaders from Iraq's dominant Shia, Sunni and Kurdish factions emerge from a special meeting saying that they are newly committed to sharing power in a collective government. The accord was the second step towards rebuilding Iraq's political process,  Maliki said, after four Kurdish and Shia parties formed a new alliance. Issues under discussion between Iraqi politicians include holding provincial elections and easing a ban on former Baath party members in the civil service and military.


The combined risk of mortgage defaults and heavy debt has overtaken terrorism as the biggest short-term threat to the U.S. economy, a survey of business economists says.

Patent system overhaul

A bipartisan effort in Congress to overhaul the patent system -- a priority for some of the US biggest technology companies -- is hitting resistance because of concerns the U.S. might be exposed to greater foreign competition. The sweeping patent initiative -- backed by a business coalition dominated by technology companies such as Cisco Systems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. -- would indeed shift the balance of power of the U.S. patent system. It would make it a bit harder for holders to protect patents. Advocates of the legislation contend the current system encourages patent litigation and costly judgments against infringers -- and stifles innovation. They say the proposals are designed to bring patent rules in line with the rapidly changing U.S. economy, where inventions often reflect hundreds of potentially patentable ideas. Opponents of the legislation argue that it would make it easier for foreign competitors to legally copy patented methods and products. The maneuvering dramatizes how fears about global integration are spreading across many issues.

Firm Globalization

The merger agreement between Dewey Ballantine and LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae, while instantly creating one of the biggest firms in New York, speaks as much to the U.S. legal industry's increasing emphasis on accelerating international growth.

China legislature weighs giving criminal suspects more access to lawyers 

A Chinese draft law on criminal suspects' rights to meet with defense lawyers after questioning has been broadened to include cases involving state secrets, according to Chinese state media. A set of reforms to China's Law on Lawyers  was initially presented  to Chinese legislators in June, but at that time it included a provision that "Apart from cases related to state secrets, criminal lawyers can meet clients after judicial organs conduct the initial interrogation or other coercive measures." The proviso was dropped in the new version of the law sent to the 29th session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC)  on Friday. A spokesman for the NPC Law Committee said that the change had been motivated by human rights concerns. Beijing has been especially sensitive to actual and potential rights-related criticism in the run-up to the scheduled 2008 Beijing Olympics. The draft legal practice law, the first amendment to the Law on Lawyers since its implementation in 1997, also gives lawyers more power to collect evidence by themselves, and to ask courts to force witnesses to testify. Lawyers are specifically protected by a provision giving them immunity from prosecution for opinions expressed or remarks made in court.

Telecom companies participated in warrantless wiretapping program

US Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell  has confirmed that telecommunications companies have provided vital cooperation to the warrantless domestic wiretapping program. In an interview, he called for Congress to grant immunity from prosecution to the companies that helped in the program, which allowed the US government to monitor the international communications of Americans suspected of terror links without first obtaining a warrant.

McConnell said that legislation was needed to protect private partners from lawsuits, such as the one spearheaded by Electronic Frontier Foundation  against AT&T.

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  • MiMIC Journal

Merkel presses China on climate

German Chancellor Merkel has urged China to address the issue of climate change, as she starts a three-day visit to the country. As an economic powerhouse, China has been much criticised for a sharp rise in pollution, contributing to climate change. But China said that it was still catching up economically, making it harder to reduce emissions. Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said developed nations have contributed more to climate change because they have been growing fast for 200 years.

SABMiller buys China beer firms

SABMiller is increasing its stake in China's fast-growing beer market by agreeing to buy four brewers in the country for $79m. The firm behind Peroni and Hansa Pilsner said it was making the mainly cash purchases through its 49% stake in China Resources Snow Breweries. SABMiller said it became the biggest Chinese brewer by sales last year.

  • Brief News

Report to show Afghan opium rise

The amount of opium produced in Afghanistan has broken records again. Millions of dollars of aid money has been allocated for anti-drugs efforts in the war-torn country. However the UN report paints a dismal picture of the efforts led by the Western governments to tackle the problem. The fighting and insecurity in southern Afghanistan is blamed for the increase, along with a failing justice system unable to prosecute drug barons and corrupt government officials. The lack of incentives for farmers to grow anything else has also been identified as a factor.

Wing and a prayer? 

The chartered flight service being launched by a Vatican-linked travel organization along with an Italian airline has both lofty and more mundane goals. It aims to provide a journey of faith for pilgrims as well as turning a profit.

Noriega fails to stop extradition

A US judge has refused to block the extradition of ex-Panama leader Manuel Noriega to France, where he faces 10 years in prison for money laundering. A federal judge rejected arguments by Noriega's lawyers that his status as a US prisoner of war negated the request.

Colombia warlord loses benefits

A leading Colombian paramilitary leader has been stripped of his preferential prison treatment after he allegedly broke the terms of a peace agreement. The authorities said they had evidence that Carlos Jimenez, also known as Macaco, was continuing to smuggle drugs and run a criminal empire from prison. He has been transferred to Colombia's most secure prison, Combita, and will be tried as an ordinary criminal.

Sikh rights group protests new US airport turban searches 

US Sikh organizations have expressed anger over changes allowing airport security staff to "pat down" turbans. Until now turbans have been searched or removed only to resolve an unexplained alarm from an airport metal detector. But now security will have greater discretion to inspect turbans so that they can be manually checked for objects such as non-metallic weapons. However Sikh groups have responded to the new measures by describing them as outrageous and discriminatory.

EU alarm at Guatemala violence

International election monitors in Guatemala have said they are deeply concerned over the murders of political candidates and activists. The Central American country will hold congressional and presidential elections on 9 September. At least 42 people have been killed in what has been described as election-related violence this year.

Ex-KKK man jailed for 1964 deaths

A former Ku Klux Klansman has been jailed for life over the abduction and killing of two black teenagers in the US state of Mississippi. Seale was first arrested in 1964 but authorities freed him, citing lack of evidence. The FBI has re-opened several cases from the civil-rights era before suspects died. Dozens of black people were killed by whites who wanted to retain racial segregation in the 1950s and 60s. Few of the crimes were solved, partly because some of the perpetrators were protected by state and local officials.

Rio Tinto's Alcan deal approved 

Anglo-Australian mining group Rio Tinto says its bid to buy Canada's Alcan for $38.1bn has been approved in the US.

India steps up fight against piracy

Piracy in India costs foreign businesses millions of dollars in losses every year. Indian industry leaders say that rampant piracy threatens intellectual property rights and scares foreign investors from coming to the country. Indian police are making some efforts to crack down on the crime. But Indian law stipulates that inspectors need to get a tip-off or a request from someone who owns the copyright in question before they can conduct a raid operation. This makes it challenging for law enforcers to arrest those allegedly selling pirated goods. Still, on average, hundreds of undercover raids are conducted every year.

Brazil aviation director quits amid safety crisis

Pressure is growing for an overhaul of Brazilian civil aviation, one year into a crisis that has cost 353 lives in two accidents and caused widespread chaos in the country’s airports. The latest twist led to the resignation on Friday of Denise Abreu, a director of Anac, the civil aviation authority. She went within hours of public prosecutors calling for her suspension during investigations into alleged civil and criminal offences over her handling of the crisis.

Brazil says 'no' to Open Office XML

The bid to fast track Office Open XML as an ISO-certified standard has received a setback, with ISO member Brazil casting a 'No' vote. Microsoft is pushing for the Office Open XML (OOXML) document standard to be fast tracked for ISO accreditation. However, the Brazilian Technical Standards Organization (ABNT), which is one of the 55 members of the ISO committee that decides whether standards should receive accreditation, voted against OOXML. While Germany has given OOXML the thumbs up, India has voted against fast tracking OOXML for ISO certification. The US INCITS standards body has not yet finished its voting process, but is expected to abstain. China has already voted against Microsoft, while Malaysia, Denmark and Switzerland are supporting the software giant.

Bargain hunters put stock in bonds

Amid the recent market volatility, much of Wall Street's energy has been devoted to deciphering the long-term prospects for economic growth and the availability of cash for borrowing. Many investment managers say they remain wary of bargain hunting in stocks, preferring instead to sift through beaten-down corporate-debt issues as they watch for news that could persuade the Fed to cut rates.

Federal bankruptcy judge orders San Diego clergy sex abuse trials 

US Bankruptcy Judge Louise DeCarl Adler ordered 42 clergy sex abuse cases against the Catholic Diocese of San Diego  to go to trial Friday, accepting arguments by plaintiffs lawyers that the move could push pressure on the diocese to settle the claims. The trials were suspended in February - the night before they were scheduled to begin - after the diocese sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The diocese so far has sought to settle with victims for some $94 million, considerably short of the $200 million claimed by plaintiffs attorneys. No trial schedule has yet been set, but the first of the cases could proceed within 60 days.

ICTY prosecutor to become Swiss ambassador to Argentina 

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte will serve as Switzerland's ambassador to Argentina  when her term as ICTY prosecutor expires at the end of the year, the Swiss Foreign Ministry said Thursday. Del Ponte, former Swiss attorney general, has served two four-year terms as the ICTY chief prosecutor. She was initially expected to step-down in September, but in June Del Ponte said she would stay until the end of the year while the UN chooses her replacement. It is expected that Serge Brammertz, a former federal prosecutor in Belgium and former deputy prosecutor for investigations at the International Criminal Court, will serve as the next ICTY chief prosecutor . Brammertz currently heads the UN investigation into the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri; the UN investigation's mandate expires in December.


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  • Weekly magazine review


Mother Teresa's Crisis of Faith. Her secret letters show that she spent almost 50 years without sensing the presence of God in her life. What does her experience teach us about the value of doubt?


Into Thin Air. He's still out there. The hunt for bin Laden.

Business Week

Not So Smart. In an era of easy money, the pros forgot that the party can't last forever

The Economist

The former KGB men who run Russia have the wrong idea about how to make it great.


Sarkozy: pourquoi il fascine.

Der Spiegel

Die gelben Spione
Wie China deutsche Technologie ausspäh.t Prinzip Sandkorn Unternehmen aus der Volksrepublik greifen Hochtechnologie-Produkte aus Deutschland an. "Besoffen vor Glück". "Ergebnis der Profitgier"

  • Daily Press Review

AU envoy urges Darfur peace push
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

The Growing Instability in Central and East Africa, Independent online news aggregator

Effah-Dartey disputes polls ...
GhanaWeb, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Israel: Halt Summary Expulsion of Sudanese Migrants
Human Rights Watch (Africa), International news press releases

Young boy's genitals cut off
iafrica, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Man caught with body parts
Independent Online, News portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Actor still in hospital after freak accident
Mail & Guardian Online, Liberal, Johannesburg, South Africa

Botswana scurrying to trace Manto's records, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Peru quake wipes out 60 percent of seal resting grounds
Brazil Sun, Independent online news aggregator

Chuck Fender beaten in kidnap attempt in Bahamas
Caribbean News Portal, Online news aggregator

Guatemala: Investigate Killing of Activist's Son
Human Rights Watch (Americas), International news press releases

Taiwan on the Prowl for Diplomatic Support
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

'I panicked' - Gay makes Powell pay as Jamaican chokes at Worlds
Jamaica Gleaner, Independent daily, Kingston, Jamaica

Conductor sues some of his musicians
The Globe and Mail, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Fires reach Ancient Olympia
Toronto Star, Liberal daily, Toronto, Canada

Four suspected bird flu patients in Medan test negative for virus
Antara News, News agency, Jakarta, Indonesia

Iraqi Political Factions Agree to Resolve Disputed Issues
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

'Let, Jem may be behind serial blasts'
India Express, News portal, Mumbai, India

2 killed in Mumbai building collapse
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Hope for peace in partition?
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

More parks for KL
Malaysian Star, Online news portal, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Explosions at Dubai chemical depot fire
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

Japan announces new Cabinet lineup, key posts replaced
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

'Jase grabbed him and hoisted him over the cliff'
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

External forces behind Hyderabad blasts
The Hindu, Left-leaning daily, Chennai, India

Six released in Rhys murder case
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Harry Potter musical to open next year, Online news portal, Cork, Ireland

Camilla pulled out of Diana memorial on Queen's advice
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Mobiltel to broadcast live football match
DMeurope, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Fearful Norris Green families impose curfew
icLiverpool, Online news portal, Liverpool, England

Greek fires kill 12 more and threaten antiquities
International Herald Tribune, Independent daily, Paris, France

Second homes boom sends prices soaring
Isle of Wight County Press, Independent daily, Isle of Wight, England

Jackson plea to end killings
Manchester Online, Independent daily, Manchester, England

Read all about it! - The Prague free-newspaper boom
Radio Prague, Online news portal, Prague, Czech Republic

Gang Member: 'Rhys Was Not A Target'
Sky News, Independent newscaster, Middlesex, England

Over 40 Dead:  Vast Fires Scorch Greece
Spiegel International, Liberal newsmagazine, Hamburg, Germany

Poll warning to Brown over October election gamble
The Guardian, Liberal daily, London, England

House buyers remain confident - BoI report
The Irish Times, Centrist daily, Dublin, Ireland

U.S. military regrets blasphemous balls for Afghans
The Scotsman, Moderate daily, Edinburgh, Scotland

Cops quiz 6 over Rhys death
The Sun, Conservative tabloid, London, England

Review: Ricky Gervais proves doubters wrong
The Telegraph, Conservative daily, London, England

42 die in bomb attacks on 'lucky' weekend
Times Online, Conservative daily, London, England

No Injuries in Kassam Attack, Attempted Gaza Bombing
Arutz Sheva, Online, right-wing, Tel Aviv, Israel

Iran Vows to Use 'Smart' Bomb on Enemies
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

Indian police probe blast leads
Gulf News, Independent daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Israel to send firefighters to Greece to help battle fires
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Not Another International Force
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Arabtec denies Meydan project deal - UAE
Middle East North African Network, Online financial portal, Amman, Jordan

India Launches Manhunt for those behind Bombings that Killed 40
Nahamet, Online news portal, Beirut, Lebanon

Iran vows to use 2,000-pound smart bomb against enemies
The Daily Star, Independent daily, Beirut, Lebanon

Sa'ada humanitarian situation remains tense
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.