January 21, 2008 N°. 584 - Vol. 6

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”

Martin Luther King

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

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  • Top News

Europe plans revamp of carbon trade

European Union officials will propose this week a major overhaul of the bloc's sometimes dysfunctional carbon emissions trading system, aiming to reduce corporate influence and make polluting more expensive. The new system would oblige more factories in Europe to pay for pollution and aims to reduce the oversupply of permits. That, in turn, could push up their cost. It also would be governed centrally in Brussels, rather than partly by member countries, as is now done, with the aim of reducing the ability of companies to profit by lobbying pliant governments for more pollution permits than they need.

City takes aim at Merrill over subprime losses

In November, officials in Springfield, Mass., got a rude surprise. One of their main investments had plunged in value by more than 90%. The even bigger shock: This fund was stuffed with risky securities backed by subprime mortgages. The investment's collapse is now at the heart of a bitter dispute between the city's financial adviser, Merrill Lynch & Co., and Springfield officials who say Merrill violated state law by not properly informing the city what it was buying. Springfield's losses, because of the collapse in subprime-related debt, follow other hits taken by government-run funds around the country, from Florida to Montana. They underscore how cities and states are emerging as the most recent -- and some of the hardest-hit -- victims of the subprime-mortgage crisis.

Brazil has nearly 1 mln homicide victims in 30 years

Brazil will reach the 1 million victims of homicide mark in 30 years from 1979 to 2008. “The social problems are not the only target of blame. We also need a penal system that works," said Daniel Cerqueira, an economist at the Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA). Cerqueira emphasized some worrying trends in the area of public security, one of which is related to the lack of interest of politicians in the medium and long term. Another worrisome aspect is the delay in the criminal courts, a problem that has been around since the 1960's.

Foreign investors buy U.S. holdings at a record pace

Investors are buying aggressively, taking advantage of American duress and a weak dollar. Last year, foreign investors poured a record $414 billion into securing stakes in American companies, factories and other properties through private deals and purchases of publicly traded stock. That was up 90 percent from the previous year and more than double the average for the last decade. The surge of foreign money has injected fresh tension into a running debate about America's place in the global economy. It has supplied state governors with a new development strategy — attracting foreign money. And it has reinvigorated sometimes jingoistic worries about foreigners securing control of America's fortunes, a narrative last heard in the 1980s as Americans bought up Hondas and Rockefeller Center landed in Japanese hands.

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  • MiMIC Journal

LSE opens its office in Beijing

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) has opened an office in Beijing, joining US markets in trying to attract listings by Chinese companies. LSE boss Clara Furse said the bourse offered the firms access to European capital and lower costs than US rivals. Chinese firms raised $118bn in 2007 on stock markets worldwide, trailing only US companies.

China company sues Microsoft for alleged patent violation 

Chinese company Zhongyi Electronic  sued Microsoft  Friday in Beijing No.1 Intermediate People's Court claiming that Microsoft has been using a technology that converts Roman characters to Chinese characters without paying Zhongyi a license fee for the program. Microsoft has denied the allegations, saying Friday that it has fully performed its obligations and complied with its license agreements with Zhongyi. The new lawsuit against Microsoft comes just days after the European Commission announced that it was investigating two new allegations  that Microsoft abused its dominant market position regarding a range of Internet and operating system software.

  • Brief News

Gaza economy crushed by embargo

Last week, Israel announced that it was closing all the border crossings into Gaza. Israeli officials say this was in response to the almost continuous rocket fire from the territory onto neighboring Israeli towns and villages. UN agencies are warning that the humanitarian situation in the territory will worsen. Palestinian business leaders and politicians also warn that the damage to the economy because of the embargo is now irreparable.

Fujimori accused of kidnap plot

Peru's Prime Minister Jorge del Castillo has accused ex-President Alberto Fujimori of kidnapping and attempted assassination.

FCC to Begin Auction of Part of Wireless Spectrum

Television will be all digital by February 2009, meaning part of the wireless spectrum is up for grabs. The FCC will begin auctioning off the 700 megahertz band of the spectrum this week.

Banned From Church

Some conservative Protestant pastors are bringing back an ancient practice in which suspected sinners are excommunicated if they refuse to repent. Congregants are suing pastors but the courts have refused to hear such cases.

New York expands inquiry into U.S. study-abroad programs

An investigation of U.S. college study-abroad programs by the New York attorney general's office has expanded to include 15 colleges and universities, among them Harvard, Brown and Columbia, a senior lawyer in the office says. Investigators for Attorney General Andrew Cuomo are asking about who at each college is responsible for approving contracts related to study abroad, how each institution selects the programs it approves and whether it has received anything of value from a study-abroad provider, among other issues, according to the lawyer and to representatives of some of the colleges that received the subpoenas and requests. Questions about study-abroad programs were raised in an article in The New York Times last summer that described how some program providers offer colleges rebates, free and subsidized travel, unpaid seats on advisory boards, help with back-office services, marketing stipends and other benefits. Critics say the arrangements, which are seldom disclosed, can limit students' options and result in higher prices for those seeking international experience.

Obama takes Bill Clinton to task

US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama accuses Bill Clinton of making false statements about his record of opposition to the war in Iraq or his approach to organizing in Las Vegas. Obama said Clinton had taken his support for his wife, Hillary - Obama's main rival for the nomination - to a level that was "troubling". Obama said his campaign team would have to directly confront the former president in future.

Cubans vote for new parliament 

Cubans have voted for a new parliament with one person standing per seat, including ailing leader Fidel Castro.

Zimbabwe bank to issue $10m bill

Zimbabwe's central bank is to introduce new higher-denomination banknotes in an effort to ease the critical shortage of cash in the country. The highest value note that will go into circulation on Friday is worth 10m Zimbabwean dollars. But that is worth less than US$3.90 (2.60 euros) on the black market. Zimbabwe has been in economic decline for the past eight years, with annual inflation widely thought to be in excess of 50,000%.

Britain, a destination for "libel tourism"

You're an investment bank in Iceland with a complaint about a tabloid newspaper in Denmark that published critical articles in Danish. Whom do you call? A pricey London libel lawyer. That is called libel tourism by lawyers in the media trade. And Britain remains a comfortable destination for the rich in search of friendly courts, which have already weighed complaints from people who consider themselves unfairly tarred with labels like tax dodger, terrorist financier or murky Qaeda operative. But lately, there has been a backlash against the bustling libel capital of the world and its cottage industry of boutique law firms that specialize in "brand reputation" legal work for the wealthy.

Turkish court reimposes YouTube ban for offensive content 

A Turkish court has reordered telecom providers in the country to block access to popular video-sharing website YouTube . Reports surfacing in the Turkish media on Sunday suggest that the ban, originally reimposed Thursday, was a response to video clips insulting the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk . Users trying to access YouTube from Turkey in recent days have encountered the following notice: “Access to this web site has been suspended in accordance with decision no: 2008/55 of T.R. Ankara 12th Criminal Court of Peace.” A Turkish court issued a similar order  in March 2007 in response to a “virtual war” on YouTube between Turkey and Greece, in which citizens of both countries have been creating videos to mock the other. In Turkey, insulting Ataturk is an imprisonable offense. Similarly, "insulting the Turkish identity" is also a serious crime under the controversial Article 301  of Turkey's penal code .

Canada to remove US from list of states where prisoners risk torture 

Canadian Foreign Minster Maxime Bernier  said Saturday that the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade will remove the US from an internal document that lists countries that employ interrogation methods that amount to torture  and where prisoners risk being tortured. The document was part of a manual given to Canadian diplomats in a training course on torture awareness.

US drugs official accuses Chavez

A top US anti-drugs official has accused Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of being a "major facilitator" of the trade in cocaine manufactured in neighboring Colombia. Venezuela rejects the charges, saying it is the victim of traffickers. But Walters said failure to deal with the problem amounted to complicity.

New TV Ads Tout Immigrants' Value to Economy

A series of pro-immigration television ads is beginning to hit the air in the US. The ads, produced by a group called Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together, argue that immigration — even illegal immigration — is necessary for the prosperity of America. Scott Simon talks to Lionel Sosa, the organization's executive director and a longtime Republican strategist.


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  • Weekly Magazine Review

Time Magazine

The science of love. Why We Love. Breeding is easy, but survival requires romance too. How our brains, bodies and senses help us find it


The Party's Over. A dispirited GOP struggles to find its post-Bush path

Business Week

Lipitor. Do Cholesterol Drugs Do Any Good? Research suggests that, except among high-risk heart patients, the benefits of statins such as Lipitor are overstated

The Economist

The invasion of sovereign wealth funds. The biggest worry about rich Arab and Asian states buying up banks is the potential backlash.


Qui est Barack Obama

Der Spiegel

Die Erotik der Macht. Nicolas Sarkozy und Carla Bruni - wie die Vermählung von Sex und Politik auf die Spitze getrieben wird.

  • Daily Press Review

'Janjaweed leader' is Sudan aide
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Nkunda's rebel group spells out demands
CongoPlanet.com, Independent online news aggregator

Mills Suspends  high profile political activity
GhanaWeb, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Turkey: Urge Visiting Sudanese Leader to End Atrocities
Human Rights Watch (Africa), International news press releases

Thousands pay respects to Hillary
iafrica, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Community puzzled by triple murder
Independent Online, News portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Young dancer pirouettes past SA prejudices
Mail & Guardian Online, Liberal, Johannesburg, South Africa

Mom confessed to killing son
News24.com, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Suspected gang members kill seven in Guatemala
Brazil Sun, Independent online news aggregator

AmCham Peru: US Investments $13 Billion in Peru
Living in Peru, News portal, Lima, Peru

Industry feels pinch as numbers of IT grads plummet
The Globe and Mail, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

TTC drivers in crisis
Toronto Star, Liberal daily, Toronto, Canada

Yudhoyono to commission Kutoarjo-Yogyakarta double track railway
Antara News, News agency, Jakarta, Indonesia

New Gov't Welcomes Investors, U.S. Biz Leaders Told
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

'Purification' in temple after foreigner's entry
India Express, News portal, Mumbai, India

Brown conferred doctorate by DU
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Kishu Paper admits false recycling data
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Indonesian jailed for killing his newborn
Malaysian Star, Online news portal,  Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Series of bomb blasts rock Bhutan, one hurt
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

U.S.: man with chain saw injures 4, 2 critically
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Federer back in crushing form
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

Brown hopes India-U.K. trade will increase in coming years
The Hindu, Left-leaning daily, Chennai, India

Darling unveils Rock rescue plan
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Milosevic ally wins first round in Serbia
International Herald Tribune, Independent daily, Paris, France

Sorthern Rock shares soar on government bond plan
The Guardian, Liberal daily, London, England

Ferguson denies 'offensive gesture'
The Irish Times, Centrist daily, Dublin, Ireland

British soldier killed in Afghanistan
The Telegraph, Conservative daily, London, England

Mafia killers arm themselves with degrees
Times Online, Conservative daily, London, England

PA Arrests Eilat Woman in Stolen Car
Arutz Sheva, Online, right-wing, Tel Aviv, Israel

Lebanon Presidential Vote Delayed to Feb 11
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

Bus crash in India kills 38
Gulf News, Independent daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Source: Israel won't free 2/3 of prisoners Hamas wants released
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Challenges 2007-2008: Internal Problems Worry Iranians More
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Brown Calls for Radical World Reforms
Nahamet, Online news portal, Beirut, Lebanon

Iran receives fourth Russian shipment of nuclear fuel
The Daily Star, Independent daily, Beirut, Lebanon

Several news and opinion websites suddenly blocked - Online Freedom of speech suffers setback in Yemen 
Yemen Times, Independent weekly, Sana'a, Yemen


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