September 19, 2007  nº 542  -  Vol. 5  
 

"The things most people want to know about are usually none of their business."

 George Bernard Shaw

In today'sGrammatigalhas:a primer customs law.

  • Top News

Europe reconsiders plan to relax consumer product safety rules

Not long ago, the European Union was planning to relax its monitoring of product safety, taking it away from consumer protection authorities and assigning it to a weaker surveillance system aimed at work equipment. But with the recalls of toys by Mattel and others, along with other evidence of health and safety risks from Chinese products, officials at the European Commission, the union’s executive arm, are taking a second look at whether the bloc's safety regulations are adequate for both companies and the bodies that regulate them. The European consumer affairs commissioner, and a vocal group of consumer advocates from the European Parliament are not only lobbying against limiting her purview, but are also challenging the argument of toy manufacturers that the largely self-regulating system governing product safety is adequate for the 27 nations and 490 million people who live in the countries of the European Union. The high-profile toy recall has exposed gaping holes in the European system of authorizing imports, which relies on manufacturers to police themselves by testing their own products to ensure they comply with union safety measures. The union has an established mechanism that allows national authorities to share information routinely about safety breaches. But as in the Mattel case in the United States, the onus is often on European manufacturers to expose product defects. Critics of the current system also argue that the attraction of low-cost production in China has encouraged some foreign manufacturers to cut corners.

Brazil sees middle class emerging

The Economist magazine recently identified what it described as a new lower middle class "emerging almost overnight" in Brazil and Latin America - millions of people who are "the main beneficiaries of the region's hard-won economic stability". In 2003, 64 million people had an income that was less than half of the minimum wage, and while this had fallen in 2005 by around 7%, it represented more than 30% of the population, or 53.9 million people. While the number of people living in extreme poverty (less than 25% of the minimum wage) reduced between 2003 and 2005, from 16% of the population to around 11%, this amounted to more than 20m people. More recent data from the Brazilian National Statistics Institute (IBGE) brings encouraging news, with average incomes rising by 7.2% in 2006. The increase was biggest among the less well off, and in the north east. Altogether, the situation is getting better, but some argue it is not so strong. The picture is not consistent, and what may be a promising story in one favela is not true in all of them, or in some of the impoverished areas of the north-east of the country, currently battling a crisis in health services.

Goldman Sachs To Up Brazil Investment

Goldman Sachs intends to increase strategic investment and work with local banks and investors on the securitization of local mortgages. Strategic investments are already being evaluated by a local team. One of the key areas of interest is infrastructure, including highway concessions. Goldman Sachs has recently taken an interest in local airline BRA and ethanol project Brenco. In the mortgage market, Goldman Sachs intends to work with retail banks and investors in packaging debt. The bank is accustomed to originating and packaging mortgage debt and offering those to investors. business for us," he said. Earlier in the year, Goldman Sachs announced the expansion of its banking operations in Brazil.

Lula seeks Spanish investment

Lula urged Spanish business leaders Monday to take part in a 150 billion euro ($210 billion) development plan for his country. He said Spanish companies should team up with Brazilian firms or bid on their own to take part in the plan, which calls for hefty investment in 2007-2010 Brazil's infrastructure, energy and urban development. The development initiative "will change the face of Brazil a bit," Lula told executives from Spain's most powerful companies, including telecommunications giant Telefonica and energy conglomerate Repsol-YPF. Spain is already the No. 2 foreign investor in Brazil after the United States, with an estimated 35 billion euros ($40 billion) invested in South America's largest economy.

Jury hears closing arguments in trial of Muslim charity accused of funding terrorism 

Closing arguments began Monday in the case against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development , a Muslim foundation charged with financing international terrorism by supporting the Palestinian group Hamas . Once the largest Muslim charity in the United States, federal prosecutors shut down the Holy Land Foundation in 2001 and subsequently charged the organization and five of its leaders  in 2004 on 42 counts of conspiracy, providing support to a foreign terrorist organization, conspiracy to deal in the property of a terrorist, dealing in the property of a specially designated terrorist, money laundering, conspiracy to impede an investigation by the IRS, and filing false tax returns. The defense argued that the charity's funds were used only to help Palestinians in need. The prosecution argued the charity was in place only to funnel money through Palestinian schools and charities used to support Hamas. If the defendants are found guilty, they could face up to life in prison.

Bush formally nominates Mukasey as US attorney general, resurrects Keisler as interim 

US President George W. Bush Monday nominated  retired federal judge Michael B. Mukasey  to serve as the next attorney general of the United States. Mukasey, 66, retired from the US District Court for the Southern District of New York in 2006 after 18 years - the last six of them as chief judge. He recently rejoined  his former firm of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler  in Manhattan. While on the federal bench, Mukasey presided over a variety of high-profile cases, including the terrorism trial of Omar Abdel-Rahman  for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Although generally regarded as strict in national security matters, Mukasey ruled  in March of 2003 that US citizen Jose Padilla  had to be allowed to meet with counsel despite being classified as an "enemy combatant" 

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  • Crumbs!

1 - Northern Rock: Bank shares rally after Government lifeline. (Read more)

2 - Why inheritance tax is an unjust burden. (Read more)

3 - In-house lawyers disappointed with dawn raids decision. (Read more)

4 - Democrats use confirmation to press Bush. (Read more)

5 - Huhne plans zero-carbon Britain. (Read more)

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  • MiMIC Journal

China opens coffers for minerals

China has signed a deal to loan the Democratic Republic of Congo $5bn to develop infrastructure and mining. Infrastructure Minister Pierre Lumbi said the money will be spent on building roads, hospitals, health centers, housing and universities. In exchange, China will get rights to DR Congo's extensive natural resources, including timber, cobalt and copper. This is the largest single loan to any African country of the $20bn that China has pledged to finance trade and investment in the continent over the next few years.

China bank attracts record funds

China Construction Bank has attracted a record 2.26 trillion yuan ($300bn) in subscriptions for its share flotation in Shanghai. The rush means many investors are going to be disappointed because China's second biggest bank is only trying to raise up to £3.9bn with its listing. Beijing has encouraged big flotations to soak up cash in the market.

  • Grammatigalhas

Legal Meaning Is Not Everyday Meaning

Most-favored-nation (MFN)

Under the WTO agreements, countries cannot normally discriminate between their trading partners. Grant someone a special favor (such as a lower customs duty rate for one of their products) and you have to do the same for all other WTO members.

This principle is known as most-favored-nation (MFN) treatment. It is so important that it is the first article of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which governs trade in goods. MFN is also a priority in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) (Article 2) and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) (Article 4), although in each agreement the principle is handled slightly differently. Together, those three agreements cover all three main areas of trade handled by the WTO.

Tariff 

1. Tax on imports or exports, most often calculated as a percent of the price charged for the good by the foreign supplier. The money collected is duty. A tariff may be imposed as a source of revenue for the government. A more common purpose of tariffs is protection against foreign competition. By raising prices of imported goods relative to the prices of domestic goods, tariffs encourage consumers to buy domestic rather than foreign products.

2. A schedule of rates or fares in the transportation industry.

3. A schedule of prices or fees.

Ad Valorem

Latin term meaning "according to value" and referring to a way of assessing duties or taxes on goods or property. As one example, ad valorem Duty assessment is based on the value of the imported item rather than on its weight or quantity. As another example, the city of Englewood, New Jersey, levies an ad valorem property tax based on the assessed value of property rather than its size.

Dumping

1. In international trade, practice of selling goods abroad below cost or at a price below that charged in the domestic market in order to eliminate a surplus or to gain an edge on foreign competition, or when goods are unacceptable for the domestic market.

2. In securities, offering large amounts of stock with little or no concern for price or market effect.

Everyday “Legal” Jargon

Customs law

As international trade has increases, customs law become increasingly more internationalized, important and complex. To give you an idea, just consider that over one billion people and one trillion dollars in merchandise cross U.S. borders each year.

When goods are imported into the customs territory of the United States. e.g., they are subject to certain formalities involving the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In almost all cases, the goods are required to be “entered,” that is, declared to the CBP, and are subject to detention and examination by CBP officers to insure compliance with all laws and regulations enforced and administered by the CBP.  

The required entry process may take the form of a simple “baggage declaration” (for individuals), or one of the many types of customs “entries,” for consumption, warehousing, or transit. Low value importations may be subject to simplified or informal customs clearance procedures. For example, certain low value mail importations may be declared on a sticker obtainable at post offices whereas importations by individuals that do not exceed their duty free personal exemptions may often be made by an oral declaration to a CBP officer. 

On the other hand, in most cases involving commercial goods, and some involving non-commercial importations, the importer or his agent must “enter” the goods by filing an electronic or paper “entry” to obtain release of the goods followed by an electronic or paper “entry summary.” 

As part of the entry process, goods must be “classified” in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States ("HTSUS") and their customs value must be determined.  

Prior to enactment into law of the Customs Modernization Act, on December 8, 1993, an importer was required to describe accurately the merchandise and tell CBP how much it cost.  It was the CBP’s responsibility to “classify” the goods and determine their “value” (appraise them to allow the correct duty to be applied).  

Pursuant to the Customs Modernization Act, it is now the responsibility of the importer of record to use “reasonable care” to “enter,”  “classify” and “value” the goods and provide any other information necessary to enable the CBP to assess the correct duties, collect accurate statistics, and determine whether all other applicable legal requirements are met.  

Classifying goods is important not only for duty purposes, but also to determine whether the goods are subject to quotas, restraints, embargoes or other restrictions. The act of classifying goods requires an importer to be familiar with the HTSUS (and the instrument upon which it is based, the international Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System).  

To assist in meeting the reasonable care requirement, importers may request binding administrative rulings from the CBP, or may use the services of an expert in customs law and procedures to assist them.  The CBP is responsible for fixing the final classification and valuation of the goods.  The CBP performs this in a process called “liquidation of the entry.” 

Harmonized commodity description and coding system (harmonized system) 

Merchandise imported into a country is classified under a tariff system for such purposes as tariff (or duty) assessment and import restrictions.  

The movement of merchandise in international trade, however, would be very slow and costly if the merchandise had to be classified under differing tariff systems of various countries.  

Therefore, in the late 1960s, the major trading countries of the world decided that a modern and internationally recognized product or tariff classification system was needed in order to facilitate the international trade of merchandise.  This new system was intended to be a single modern structure for product classification that would also be used for customs tariff-related statistical and transport-documentation purposes (i.e., to collect statistics on trade and for exportation purposes).  

Work on this new system began in the early 1970s (with participation by the United States) under the auspices of an international organization known as the “Customs Cooperation Council” (now informally known as the “World Customs Organization” or simply the “WCO”) which is based in Brussels, Belgium.1  This work resulted in the “Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System” (“Harmonized System” or simply the “HS”).2  It went into effect internationally on January 1, 1988, with the entry into force of the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (“Harmonized System Convention”) to which the Harmonized System is appended as an annex. 

The Harmonized System is a complete product classification system (i.e., it covers all imported merchandise).  It was designed as a “core” system so that countries adopting it could make further subdivisions according to their particular tariff and statistical needs.  

At the international level, the Harmonized System consists of approximately 5,000 article descriptions which appear as headings and subheadings.  These descriptions are arranged into 97 chapters grouped into 21 sections.  Chapter 77 is reserved for future use.  Two final chapters, 98 and 99, are reserved for national use by individual countries in the coding of provisions other than according to the terms of the Harmonized System nomenclature (e.g., special tariff programs and temporary duty suspensions or increases).  

In addition, the Harmonized System also contains interpretative rules and section, chapter and subheading notes for use in the classification of merchandise.  Goods in trade generally appear in the Harmonized System in categories or product headings beginning with crude and natural products and continuing in further degrees of complexity through advanced manufactured goods.  This progression is found within chapters and among chapters (e.g., live animals are classified in chapter 1, animals hides and skins in chapter 41 and leather footwear in chapter 64).  These product headings are designed at the broadest coverage levels with 4-digit numerical codes (or headings) and, where deemed appropriate, are further subdivided into narrower categories assigned two additional digits (which comprise 6-digit numerical codes or subheadings).  The first two digits of a 4-digit heading indicate the chapter in which the heading is found (e.g., heading 2106 is in chapter 21).3  

At the essence of the Harmonized System are the headings and subheadings and their related numerical codes; the section, chapter and subheading notes; and the General Rules of Interpretation (for use in the interpretation of the Harmonized System).  The basic obligation undertaken by the contracting parties to the Harmonized System Convention is that their customs tariff and foreign-trade statistical nomenclatures be in conformity with the Harmonized System.

Moreover, the contracting parties are obligated to use all the headings and subheadings without addition or modification together with their related numerical codes.  Further, the parties are required to apply the General Rules of Interpretation and all section, chapter and subheading notes without modification to the scope of the sections, chapters, headings or subheadings of the Harmonized System.  

Each contracting party, however, is permitted to adopt in its national tariff system further detailed subdivisions for classifying goods (that is, for tariff, quota or statistical purposes) so long as any such subdivision is added and coded at a level beyond the 6-digit numerical code provided in the Harmonized System.  Coding beyond the 6-digit level is usually at the 8-digit level and is generally referred to as the “national level.”  It should be noted that many countries use the Harmonized System as the basis of their tariff systems who are not contracting parties to the Harmonized System Convention.  

The level of numerical coding based on the Harmonized System found in the tariff systems of such countries may vary.  (Attached at the end of this discussion on the Harmonized System is a list of countries, territories or customs or economic unions using the Harmonized System (as of November 2003)).  

When classifying merchandise under the Harmonized System, the language of the General Rules of Interpretation, section, chapter and subheading notes, and the terms of the headings and subheadings are to be consulted and applied.  They constitute the “legal text” (also known as the “nomenclature”) of the Harmonized System. The titles of sections, chapters and subchapters are provided for ease of reference only and have no legal significance.

Customs valuation

The Customs value of imported goods is determined mainly for the purposes of applying ad valorem duties. It constitutes the taxable basis for Customs duties. It is also an essential element for compiling trade statistics, for monitoring quantitative restrictions, for applying tariff preferences, and for collecting national taxes.

In the majority of cases, the WTO Valuation Agreement forms the basis for the Customs values declared to Customs administrations. The Agreement establishes a Customs valuation system, which bases the Customs value primarily on the transaction value of imported goods, i.e. the price actually paid or payable for the goods when sold for export to the country of importation with certain adjustments. Five alternative hierarchical valuation methods are also contained in the Agreement and applied in cases where the transaction value of imported goods cannot be established.

The World Customs Organization (WCO) is mandated by the WTO Valuation Committee to administer the technical aspects of the Agreement through its Technical Committee on Customs Valuation while national Customs administrations are responsible for the assessment and collection of Customs duties and, in many cases, internal taxes too.

As the Agreement provides more predictability, stability and transparency for the trading community, it is regarded as a major contributor towards the facilitation of international trade while ensuring compliance with national laws and regulations.

Rules for the valuation of goods at customs 

For importers, the process of estimating the value of a product at customs presents problems that can be just as serious as the actual duty rate charged. The WTO agreement on customs valuation aims for a fair, uniform and neutral system for the valuation of goods for customs purposes — a system that conforms to commercial realities, and which outlaws the use of arbitrary or fictitious customs values. The agreement provides a set of valuation rules, expanding and giving greater precision to the provisions on customs valuation in the original GATT.

A related Uruguay Round ministerial decision gives customs administrations the right to request further information in cases where they have reason to doubt the accuracy of the declared value of imported goods. If the administration maintains a reasonable doubt, despite any additional information, it may be deemed that the customs value of the imported goods cannot be determined on the basis of the declared value.

Rules of origin: made in ... where? 

“Rules of origin” are the criteria used to define where a product was made. They are an essential part of trade rules because a number of policies discriminate between exporting countries: quotas, preferential tariffs, anti-dumping actions, countervailing duty (charged to counter export subsidies), and more. Rules of origin are also used to compile trade statistics, and for “made in ...” labels that are attached to products. This is complicated by globalization and the way a product can be processed in several countries before it is ready for the market.

The Rules of Origin Agreement requires WTO members to ensure that their rules of origin are transparent; that they do not have restricting, distorting or disruptive effects on international trade; that they are administered in a consistent, uniform, impartial and reasonable manner; and that they are based on a positive standard (in other words, they should state what does confer origin rather than what does not).

For the longer term, the agreement aims for common (“harmonized”) rules of origin among all WTO members, except in some kinds of preferential trade — for example, countries setting up a free trade area are allowed to use different rules of origin for products traded under their free trade agreement. The agreement establishes a harmonization work program, based upon a set of principles, including making rules of origin objective, understandable and predictable. The work was due to end in July 1998, but several deadlines have been missed. The outcome will be a single set of rules of origin to be applied under non-preferential trading conditions by all WTO members in all circumstances.

An annex to the agreement sets out a “common declaration” dealing with the operation of rules of origin on goods, which qualify for preferential treatment.

Import licensing

Although less widely used now than in the past, import licensing systems are subject to disciplines in the WTO. The Agreement on Import Licensing Procedures says import licensing should be simple, transparent and predictable. For example, the agreement requires governments to publish sufficient information for traders to know how and why the licenses are granted. It also describes how countries should notify the WTO when they introduce new import licensing procedures or change existing procedures. The agreement offers guidance on how governments should assess applications for licenses.

Some licenses are issued automatically if certain conditions are met. The agreement sets criteria for automatic licensing so that the procedures used do not restrict trade.

Other licenses are not issued automatically. Here, the agreement tries to minimize the importers’ burden in applying for licenses, so that the administrative work does not in itself restrict or distort imports. The agreement says the agencies handling licensing should not normally take more than 30 days to deal with an application — 60 days when all applications are considered at the same time.

Investment measures

The Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) Agreement applies only to measures that affect trade in goods. It recognizes that certain measures can restrict and distort trade, and states that no member shall apply any measure that discriminates against foreigners or foreign products (i.e. violates “national treatment” principles in GATT). It also outlaws investment measures that lead to restrictions in quantities (violating another principle in GATT). An illustrative list of TRIMs agreed to be inconsistent with these GATT articles is appended to the agreement. The list includes measures which require particular levels of local procurement by an enterprise (“local content requirements”). It also discourages measures which limit a company’s imports or set targets for the company to export (“trade balancing requirements”).

Under the agreement, countries must inform fellow-members through the WTO of all investment measures that do not conform with the agreement. Developed countries had to eliminate these in two years (by the end of 1996); developing countries had five years (to the end of 1999); and least-developed countries seven. In July 2001, the Goods Council agreed to extend this transition period for a number of requesting developing countries.

The agreement establishes a Committee on TRIMs to monitor the implementation of these commitments. The agreement also says that WTO members should consider, by 1 January 2000, whether there should also be provisions on investment policy and competition policy. This discussion is now part of the Doha Development Agenda.

As If Your Life Depended On It…or How to get to Carnegie Hall? - Practice, practice

Break the ice

Get through the initial coldness or restraint at a meeting. Not from taking the plunge but from taking a necessary step to draw water from a frozen source, such as a well. The expression is from early rural life, though there is an alternative explanation of 

‘break the ice’ in seamanship: it was sometimes necessary to break the ice on rivers, lakes, etc. to make a passage for boats. This practice has given rise to cut no ice (make no impression on a person).

Somewhat (of a) / Something of a

This error is the result of confusing two perfectly good usages: “She is somewhat awkward,” and “He is something of a klutz.” Use one or the other instead.

Vintage point / Vantage point

The spot from which you have a good view is a vantage point.

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  • Historia Verdadera

Casas - México

De los casi 25 millones de inmuebles que hay en México, aproximadamente 15 millones carecen de escrituras, lo que equivale a seis de cada 10 unidades, señaló el presidente del Instituto Mexicano de Estudios Patrimoniales, Oscar Méndez, al sugerir al gobierno se proyecte una medida legal para que estos sean registrardos.

Tribunos – Bolivia

Los ex ministros del Tribunal Constitucional suspendidos y llevados a juicio político por el presidente Evo Morales, tras un durante un duro enfrentamiento entre el Poder Judicial y el Ejecutivo, se negaron a comparecer ante la Cámara de Diputados órgano que ejercer de Ministerio Público. Los ministros Elizabeth Iñiguez, Martha Rojas, Artemio Arias y Wálter Raña presentaron un recurso de incompetencia.

CAN - UE

Aumentar la inversión extranjera es el principal objetivo de Colombia y los países andinos con el Acuerdo de Asociación entre la Comunidad Andina de Naciones (CAN) y la Unión Europea (UE), cuya primera ronda empezó esta semana y ocupa también la expectativa de los empresarios de Ecuador, Perú y Bolivia quienes pretenden mejorar sus nexos comerciales.

Celíaticos

En Argentina crece el movimiento de los enfermos Celíacos que piden al gobierno una Ley que los proteja, que las empresas alimenticias esteen obligadas a indicar si sus productos contienen gluten, elemento que no pueden consumir y que incorporen la enfermedad al Plan médico Obligatorio. En la Argentina hay unas 400 mil personas afectadas.
 

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  • Brief News

Top Khmer Rouge leader detained

Pol Pot's former deputy, Nuon Chea, is detained by officials from a UN-backed genocide tribunal in Cambodia.

Scores ill in Peru 'meteor crash'

Hundreds of people in Peru have needed treatment after an object from space - said to be a meteorite - plummeted to Earth in a remote area, officials say. They say the object left a deep crater after crashing down over the weekend near the town of Carancas in the Andes. People who have visited scene have been complaining of headaches, vomiting and nausea after inhaling gases.

Russia and China 'spying on US'

Russia and China are spying on US facilities at close to Cold War levels, the head of US intelligence has warned. Both were aggressively collecting information on the US. The White House wants to  make eavesdrop on foreign communications permanent, even if the recipient is a person living in the US. But opponents - including civil liberties groups - say an extension could erode privacy rights and give the government unrestricted power to spy on its own citizens.

Fed Makes Bold Cut in Key Rate

The Federal Reserve cuts the federal funds rate by half a point from 5.25% to 4.75%. It's the first reduction in more than four years and it's twice as large a cut as many economists were predicting. 

State loses car climate-link case

A US federal judge has dismissed a case brought by California against six leading carmakers over alleged damage caused by cars' CO2 emissions. The legal action, the first of its kind, demanded millions of dollars in compensation from General Motors, Ford, Honda, Toyota, Chrysler and Nissan. But the judge ruled that the issue of whether carmarkers were accountable was a political, not legal, matter. Officials said they were disappointed, adding they may appeal the ruling.

Rio drugs probe nets 52 officers

Brazilian police have arrested 52 fellow officers suspected of involvement in drug-trafficking in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The officers, from a police district on Rio's outskirts, were detained at home or as they arrived for work. They are accused of taking money from drugs gangs to warn crime bosses about impending raids.

Sarkozy Outlines Plans for Economic Overhaul

Sarkozy's blunt speech to the Senate criticizes provisions in the French pensions system and attacks the 35-hour work week. He seems headed for a confrontation with French unions. He outlined controversial plans to overhaul pension benefits for half-a-million public workers.

EU anti-death penalty day vetoed

Poland has blocked plans to hold a European day against the death penalty. It says Warsaw rejected the idea at a meeting of ministers in Brussels, arguing that any such event should also condemn abortion and euthanasia. The EU, where the capital punishment is outlawed, had planned to mark the anti-death penalty day on 10 October.

SEC Pushes for Hedge-Fund Disclosure

The Securities and Exchange Commission, increasing its scrutiny of hedge funds and insider trading, is asking hedge-fund advisers for information about relationships their investors and employees have with public companies. Since May, the SEC has sent about two dozen letters to registered hedge-fund advisers asking for new information as part of its routine examinations. It has sought lists of public companies where funds' employees, relatives, investors or clients serve as officers or directors. "The questions we are asking help us to assess the risk that hedge fund managers may have access to nonpublic information and to evaluate the controls that advisers have in place to prevent insider trading," SEC said.

Philip Morris Sues Vendors

Philip Morris USA is suing two Internet-based cigarette vendors, alleging their operators are infringing on company trademarks by illegally importing Marlboros and other brands made for foreign markets and selling them in the U.S. Philip Morris USA is asking the court in both cases to ban the Web site operators and affiliates from using Philip Morris trademarks, brands or logos, or advertising or selling imported Marlboros and other cigarettes. The company also is asking for the Web site operators to turn over their profits from the illegal cigarettes, along with punitive damages and attorney's fees.

German court rejects Zundel appeal of Holocaust denial sentence 

The German Federal Court of Justice  said Monday it has dismissed  an appeal made by writer Ernst Zundel  to overturn his February conviction for denying the Holocaust. Earlier this year, Zundel was sentenced to five years in prison after the court found him guilty on 14 counts of incitement, libel and disparaging the dead . Holocaust denial constitutes a crime under Section 130 (3)  of the German Federal Criminal Code.

Russia in new warning on Kosovo

Russia has warned that a unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo could start a chain reaction. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the step - expected on 10 December - would destabilise Europe, and that Russia was therefore against it. Russia has repeatedly said that it will oppose any deal on the future of Kosovo that is not acceptable to Serbia.

Billionaire buys entire auction

A Russian billionaire has paid more than £20m for an art collection owned by late cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, days before it was due to be auctioned. Alisher Usmanov, a mining and metals magnate and Arsenal Football Club investor, said he stepped in to keep the 450 artworks together in Russia. Sotheby's has cancelled its London auction, where the items were due to be sold individually later this week. The buyer paid a "substantially higher" sum than the £20m estimate, it said.

Nintendo demands action on piracy

Nintendo has demanded that South Korean authorities clamp down on illegal copying of its games. Its complaint filed with the Seoul District Prosecutors' Office called for action against people illegally copying and selling its games on websites.

Top Litigator Faces Potential Prison Term

Bill Lerach, perhaps the nation's most influential class-action lawyer, is expected to plead guilty Tuesday to a conspiracy charge. He faces a year or more in prison. Lerach allegedly took part in a scheme that involved illegal payoffs to clients.

France parliament debates stricter immigration measures 

France's National Assembly , the lower house of the French parliament, Tuesday debated  a new immigration bill  proposing tightened requirements for foreigners seeking to join immigrant relatives in France. The bill comes after a campaign promise by French President Nicolas Sarkozy  to toughen the country's immigration policy, a move already begun by the introduction of deportation quotas seeking to expel 25,000 illegal immigrants in 2007. Under the terms of the new bill, applicants over the age of 16 seeking to join immigrant family members already in France would be required to prove French language competency and financial security. If the petition is questioned by immigration officers, applicants would be asked to take voluntary DNA tests to prove their biological relationship to French residents. Despite opposition from civil rights groups and members of his own party, Sarkozy believes the bill will greatly increase the proportion of skilled workers in France. The bill is expected to be passed in the lower house this week, and will be debated in the Senate  next month.

  • Daily Press Review

Constitutional deal in Zimbabwe
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

The Congolese government will not negotiate with Laurent Nkunda
CongoPlanet.com, Independent online news aggregator

Ghana Remains a Trendsetter in Africa
GhanaWeb, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Central African Republic: Government Forces Kill Hundreds
Human Rights Watch (Africa), International news press releases

Climate change on UN meeting agenda
iafrica, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

SABC row: Pahad spared from grilling
Independent Online, News portal, Cape Town, South Africa

SA artists vent fury over airplay payola
Mail & Guardian Online, Liberal, Johannesburg, South Africa

Firefighters battle depot blaze
News24.com, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Anand now sole leader in World Chess Championship
Brazil Sun, Independent online news aggregator

G-Unit leader shot dead at Passa Passa
Caribbean News Portal, Online news aggregator

Brazil: Report on Past Atrocities a Key Step Forward
Human Rights Watch (Americas), International news press releases

US-Latin America:  Next President Must Pursue "Fresh Approach"
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Nightmarealready - Golding responds to Portia's charge
Jamaica Gleaner, Independent daily, Kingston, Jamaica

Peru: Photo of the day - Fight Against Piracy
Living in Peru, News portal, Lima, Peru

Karzai pleads for Canadians to stay in Afghanistan
The Globe and Mail, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Prosecutors charge Simpson
Toronto Star, Liberal daily, Toronto, Canada

TNI now has chance to acquire Black Hawk helicopters
Antara News, News agency, Jakarta, Indonesia

U.S. Central Bank Cuts Key Interest Rate by Bold Half-Percentage Point
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Ponting out of Twenty20 World Cup
India Express, News portal, Mumbai, India

Slaves on lease in Hyderabad
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

'Criminality' at the gates
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Offset RM655m loan with 'missing' water grant, says Johor
Malaysian Star, Online news portal,  Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Russell Crowe purges club of pokies
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

Man videotaped 25 policemen taking bribes in India
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Osama's son loses his six appeal
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

Put it on hold for 6 months, says Karat
The Hindu, Left-leaning daily, Chennai, India

Police chief fears migrant impact
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Iraq travel ban for US diplomats
BreakingNews.ie, Online news portal, Cork, Ireland

McCanns' DNA dossier to demolish Portuguese police's 'pathetic' evidence
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Google unveils interactive ad format
DMeurope, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Tragic Abbie Tinkley: Mum is pregnant again
icLiverpool, Online news portal, Liverpool, England

Sarkozy takes first steps toward curtailing special pension regime
International Herald Tribune, Independent daily, Paris, France

Headteacher's gambling tragedy
Manchester Online, Independent daily, Manchester, England

Appeal to find missing man
News & Star, Independent daily, Carlisle, England

Support growing for elected mayor
North-West Evening Mail, Independent daily, Cumbria, England

One hundred years of Czech at the University of Nebraska
Radio Prague, Online news portal, Prague, Czech Republic

DNA Evidence Can Be Explained, Say Couple
Sky News, Independent newscaster, Middlesex, England

Letter From Berlin:  German Greens Slide Into Turmoil
Spiegel International, Liberal newsmagazine, Hamburg, Germany

The swing against Cameron
The Guardian, Liberal daily, London, England

Dozens ill in Peru 'meteor crash'
The Irish Times, Centrist daily, Dublin, Ireland

Fed action jolts credit markets to life
The Scotsman, Moderate daily, Edinburgh, Scotland

Two in court on terror charges
The Sun, Conservative tabloid, London, England

OJ Simpson charged with kidnapping
The Telegraph, Conservative daily, London, England

Police hunt father after toddler is abandoned
Times Online, Conservative daily, London, England

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Meets with Soldiers
Arutz Sheva, Online, right-wing, Tel Aviv, Israel

Syria, N.Korea Deny Nuclear Cooperation
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

Prosecutors file 8 charges against Simpson
Gulf News, Independent daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Rice: Regional conference to tackle 'critical issues'
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Media-US:  Cockroach Cartoon Crossed the Line, Iranians Say
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Global Asia Real Estate Fund concludes its first acquisition
Middle East North African Network, Online financial portal, Amman, Jordan

Fukuda Makes Confident Steps toward Japan's Premiership
Nahamet, Online news portal, Beirut, Lebanon

Abbas under pressure to stay away from peace conference
The Daily Star, Independent daily, Beirut, Lebanon

Bread prices double during Ramadan
Yemen Times, Independent weekly, Sana'a, Yemen

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