December 3, 2007  nº 571  -  Vol. 5  

“You probably wouldn't worry about what people think of you if you knew how seldom they do."

Olin Miller

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  • Top News

Chavez Loses Constitutional Vote

Chavez suffered a stinging defeat in a vote on constitutional changes that would have let him run for re-election indefinitely. He insisted that he would "continue in the battle to build socialism".

Putin party closes on big victory 

President Vladimir Putin's party wins more than 60% of votes in Russia's general election, partial results show. Election watchers from independent monitoring group Golos report what they call widespread incidents of vote-buying, pressure and other illegal tactics in favor of United Russia, and they cite significantly more serious violations than in previous campaigns. Opposition groups say representatives were denied access to polling stations and were sometimes detained by police.

Pakistan lawyers urge election boycott 

Two major Pakistani lawyers' groups are pressing efforts to encourage a boycott of the country's January 8 general elections, Pakistan's Post daily reported  Saturday. Joining ousted Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry's call for opposition political parties to boycott the elections, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SBCA) and the Lahore Bar Association (LBA) lauded Friday's announcement  by the ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the All Democratic Parties Movement  to do so, and are planning to have representatives meet with Pakistan People's Party chairperson and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto  to urge her to do the same. Echoing Chaudhry's call, SCBA vice president Ghulam Nabi Bhatti said that transparent and fair elections were impossible given the state of emergency rule  imposed by President Pervez Musharraf in early November.

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  • MiMIC Journal

Warning over China spy threat

Companies worldwide are the target of attempts to gain technical and commercially sensitive information. Experts say there have been unprecedented waves of attacks on computer systems worldwide in the last year. A number of countries have accused China of trying to hack into their systems. It is believed many major developed nations engage in very similar behavior. China's highly sophisticated technologies make it a world leader in computing. Earlier this week, China said that it too had been attacked by computer hackers. Meanwhile, other experts say that hackers outside of China may be using the country's many insecure computers and networks to disguise their locations.

China tycoon jailed for 16 years

A Chinese property tycoon has been jailed for 16 years on corruption charges, including bribery and forging tax receipts, state media has reported. Zhou Zhengyi was once named China's 11th richest man with an estimated fortune of more than $320m. He had been released from prison in May last year after serving a three-year sentence for manipulating the stock market and fraud.

  • Brief News

France plays down Chad war claim

Sarkozy has said a declaration of war against foreign troops by rebels will not jeopardise an EU mission to Chad. Anti-government rebels have declared "a state of belligerence against the French army or any other foreign forces on national territory". They have accused French military planes of passing intelligence to the Chadian government. Austria has also said the rebel declaration will not stop the mission. The EU force, about half of which will be made up of French troops, is to be sent to the troubled area near the border with Sudan's Darfur region to protect refugees and aid workers.

Google sets sights on US airwaves

Google has announced it is in the running for a slice of the US airwaves that would allow it to launch a nationwide wireless internet network.

Part of the spectrum, called the C Block, is being sold by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in an auction starting at $4.6bn. Google hopes that the new network capacity will allow it to compete directly with existing mobile communications companies.

High Court Revisits Guantanamo Detainee Rights

This week, the Supreme Court takes up the case of whether the Guantanamo detainees have the right of habeas corpus, the right to challenge their detention in court. The first two times the high court examined the issue, it ruled against the Bush administration.

Brazil launches digital TV, president offers credits to help transition

"Television cannot be expensive or inaccessible," Lula said. The price of the decoders has been a major obstacle to digital TV. Brazil's National Economic and Social Development Bank would offer $560 million in credits to help lower the cost. Much of the high cost can be blamed on the adoption of the Japanese standard instead of cheaper systems from Europe and United States, experts say. Critics say expected investment from Japanese technology companies has not materialized. Brazil is the only country in South America to have adopted the standard, isolating it technologically from the rest of the continent.

Judges Crack Down on Law Firm ‘Foreclosure Mills’

Judges across the company are noticing deficiencies in foreclosure suits, some of them filed by law firms that handle thousands of cases a year. Such high-volume “foreclosure mills” typically receive a set amount for each case; the pay in Ohio, for example, is $1,000 a case. "In general, most of the firms that practice this kind of law do a very good job," Cleveland-area lawyer Peter Mehler told. But some firms "have cut corners." Judges are cracking down on firms that file foreclosures suits without proof that the plaintiff holds the mortgage. The needed documents can be difficult to locate when mortgages are transferred multiple times or when ownership documents are held at a document repository company for trustees of mortgage-backed securities.

Standoff at Clinton Office Ends with Man's Arrest

Police arrested a man Friday evening suspected of taking hostages at a Hillary Clinton campaign office in Rochester, N.H. The man entered a Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign office early Friday afternoon wearing what appeared to be a bomb strapped to his chest.

EU lawmakers seek tougher gun control rules 

EU  lawmakers adopted a legislative report  Thursday to tighten gun control laws and establish an extensive firearms database. The new rules are the result of 18 months of negotiations between the European Parliament, national governments and gun advocates. The rules would prohibit anyone under 18 from buying a gun with the exception of minors involved in hunting or target shooting. Those over 18 will be barred from purchasing guns only if they are deemed a threat to public safety. The rules require that each member state set up a computerized database by 2014 to ensure that all firearms are traceable to their owners. This data will be stored for 20 years and be accessible by police and judicial officials.

Federal appeals court upholds DNA database for nonviolent felons 

All convicted federal felons must provide DNA samples to a federal database available to police departments throughout the country, a divided panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled  Thursday. Judge Margaret McKeown, writing for the majority, upheld a 2004 amendment to the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act (DNA Act) , requiring any felon in custody, or on probation, parole, or supervised release to submit DNA samples to the FBI's Combined DNA Indexing System (CODIS) . The original act, passed in 2000, only required DNA samples from convicted felons of qualifying offenses, relating mostly to violent and sexual crimes.

SEC's anti-investor vote a disservice to shareholders

In recent months, owners of many financial stocks have lost billions because the directors who represent them were clueless about risky mortgage operations or toxic loans held by their companies. Then last week, shareholders lost the only shot they had at firing incompetent directors when the Securities and Exchange Commission voted to prevent investors from nominating their own board candidates. After the SEC's vote, shareholders of Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, E*Trade Financial and others will have the same directors at the wheel who drove them off the cliff this year. Arthur Levitt, former SEC chairman, said: "It's a sad day when the SEC, the investor's advocate, chooses to gag the voices of those they are charged to protect. Not only do shareholders deserve a say in who runs the companies they own, but free and fair markets depend on this oversight. Fortunately I believe that it is only a matter of time before investors are given the shareholder access they deserve."

Countries pledge to increase efforts to protect journalists in armed conflicts 

Seven countries on Friday committed to new efforts to protect journalists and their crews in armed conflicts following the conclusion of a meeting in Switzerland of the 194 signatories of the Geneva Conventions. The 30th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement focused in part on the role of international humanitarian law in protecting journalists during ongoing international hostilities. In addition to adopting a non-binding resolution reaffirming a commitment to international humanitarian law, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Australia, Canada, and Denmark pledged to take extra steps to ensure the rights afforded to journalists under Article 79 of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 . That provision specifically designates journalists as civilians and guarantees their rights under Article III of the Geneva Conventions, including protections against murder, torture, the taking of hostages, and guarantee access to humanitarian and medical assistance.

Ken Lay widow rejects US claim to Enron founder's estate

Linda Lay, widow of former Enron chairman Ken Lay, formally rejected a US government claim to his assets in court papers filed Friday. In an answer to the government's civil suit against the Enron founder's estate, Linda Lay maintained her husband did not commit any crimes and that none of the $12.7 million the government is seeking arose from any criminal activity.


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  • Weekly Magazine Review


The Contender. Has Obama Changed Politics, or Has It Changed Him?


Fertility & Diet. How what you eat affects your odds of getting pregnant

Business Week

Can Greed Save Africa? Fearless investing is succeeding where aid often hasn't.

The Economist

The panic about the dollar. A full-blown dollar collapse would be disastrous. Thankfully, it need not happen


Seniors: ou vit-on le mieux en France?

Der Spiegel

Magie des Forschens. Die Neuentdeckung der Naturwissenschaften in der Schule

  • Daily Press Review

Teddy row teacher 'to be freed'
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

The United States Wants Nkunda To Surrender And Go Into Exile, Independent online news aggregator

Let's forge ahead in unity - President Kufuor
GhanaWeb, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

UN: Atrocities Fuel Worsening Crisis in Horn of Africa
Human Rights Watch (Africa), International news press releases

Who spends R108 000 on a meal?
iafrica, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

I won't quit - Mbeki
Independent Online, News portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Taxi passenger paid R50 000 for weight insult
Mail & Guardian Online, Liberal, Johannesburg, South Africa

Diners applaud police arrest, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Venezuela delays initial results of constitutional referendum
Brazil Sun, Independent online news aggregator

Akon charged with injuring fan in Fishkill, New York
Caribbean News Portal, Online news aggregator

Venezuela: Proposed Amendments Threaten Basic Rights
Human Rights Watch (Americas), International news press releases

Climate Change:  Latin America Wants Rich Nations to Foot the Bill
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Ambushed - Montego Bay thugs kill policeman - 20th cop slain since January
Jamaica Gleaner, Independent daily, Kingston, Jamaica

Peru: Photo of the day - Safety Inspections Continue
Living in Peru, News portal, Lima, Peru

Spice Girls: 'Viva Vancouver!'
The Globe and Mail, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Be prepared, Dion tells party
Toronto Star, Liberal daily, Toronto, Canada

Vatican envoy to visit Maluku
Antara News, News agency, Jakarta, Indonesia

SKT on Brink of Clinching Hanaro Takeover
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Terror threat: Delhi put on high alert
India Express, News portal, Mumbai, India

Delhi experiences first winter showers
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Tall Poppy wins after late surge
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Devamany let off the hook
Malaysian Star, Online news portal,  Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Merry Xmas - 16 ton ham heist
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

Two PKK members killed in southeastern Turkey
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Murali snares Warne's world record
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

Chidambaram regrets delay in reforms
The Hindu, Left-leaning daily, Chennai, India

Teddy row teacher to be freed
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Young man dies in road crash in Wexford, Online news portal, Cork, Ireland

Crisis as new bug sweeps Britain
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

Missing canoeist who 'drowned' FIVE years ago stuns family by turning up alive
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Alca-Lu rolls out Bouygues Telecom's 3G/HSPA network
DMeurope, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Council leader faces probe over secret meeting
icLiverpool, Online news portal, Liverpool, England

Putin's party wins decisively in Russia, exit polls say
International Herald Tribune, Independent daily, Paris, France

US urges inquiry into Putin election landslide
The Telegraph, Conservative daily, London, England

Hope is not even an option for the orphans of Robert Mugabe's ruined land
Times Online, Conservative daily, London, England

Livni Talks with Korean Foreign Minister on Iran
Arutz Sheva, Online, right-wing, Tel Aviv, Israel

Israeli premier rejects deadline for peace treaty with Palestinians in nod to hawks
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

Kasparov decries Russian ballot
Gulf News, Independent daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Israel begins release of 429 Palestinian prisoners
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Iraq: Government Fragments Further
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

IDB to launch new unit in January
Middle East North African Network, Online financial portal, Amman, Jordan

Russian Elections' Turnout  Reached 59 Percent
Nahamet, Online news portal, Beirut, Lebanon

Abbas, Olmert part ways again on outcome of Annapolis
The Daily Star, Independent daily, Beirut, Lebanon

Hostile protests coincide with Independence Day celebrations 
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.