September 16, 2009 Nº 818 - Vol. 7


"I want to know God's thoughts; the rest are details"

Albert Einstein

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Read Migalhas LatinoAmérica in Spanish every Tuesday and Thursday. Visit the website at www.migalhas.com/latinoamerica

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  • Top News

Recession is 'over' says Bernanke

The US recession is probably over but the economy will remain weak for some time due to unemployment, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has said. "From a technical perspective, the recession is very likely over," he told a Washington think tank. He said the consensus is the economy is growing. But he added that the economy would still feel "very weak" to Americans concerned about job security. Stocks on Wall Street fell marginally lower following his comments. Bernanke also said that he felt "quite confident" that Congress would approve comprehensive reform of US financial regulation.

The bailout and fallout: adding up the costs

The total cost of rescuing the financial system could run taxpayers about $600 billion.

Obama issues warning to bankers

Obama has warned bankers against complacency, saying that some in the industry are ignoring the lessons of the financial crisis. "We will not go back to the days of reckless behavior and unchecked excess at the heart of this crisis," he said. He called on Wall Street to support "the most ambitious overhaul of the financial system since the Great Depression". The financial system was returning to normal but had not recovered, he added. Obama wants to tighten the rules governing the banking system, but his reforms could face opposition on Wall Street, and when bankers complain, lawmakers listen.

French 'pass' piracy legislation

The French National Assembly has passed a draft law that would allow illegal downloaders to be thrown off the net. The law was narrowly passed by 285 votes to 225. The French hard-line policy on piracy has drawn worldwide attention as nations around the globe grapple with the issue of piracy. An earlier version of the bill was ruled unconstitutional and a compromise version was hammered out. The Constitutional Court insisted that a judge rather than a high authority had to rule on the issue of whether to disconnect users. The proposed legislation operates under a "three strikes" system. A new state agency would first send illegal file-sharers a warning e-mail, then a letter and finally cut off their connection if they were caught a third time. While it is backed by the film and record industries, consumer groups have warned that innocent people may get punished. The European Parliament is currently considering whether cutting off internet access is a breach of human rights.

ICJ begins hearings in Argentina-Uruguay paper mill dispute

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) began hearings Monday in a treaty dispute between Argentina and Uruguay. Argentina argues that a pulp mill built on the Uruguay side of the Uruguay river, which divides the two countries, violates the 1975 Statute of the River Uruguay, a treaty calling for consultation and agreement between the two countries regarding activities that affect the river. Argentina claims that pollutants from the plant are causing extreme harm to the river and surrounding environment and that Uruguay failed to obtain Argentina's approval before starting the project. Transcripts of oral arguments, which conclude October 2, will be posted to the ICJ website daily. The ICJ is not expected to issue a ruling until 2010. In 2007, the ICJ refused to order Argentina to prevent demonstrators protesting the plant from blocking traffic on roads and bridges into the country from Uruguay. In 2006, the ICJ denied Argentina's request that Uruguay be ordered to stop construction on the plants.

Federal judge rejects SEC-Bank of America settlement, orders trial

A judge in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on Monday rejected a $33 million settlement agreement between the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Bank of America (BOA). The SEC had charged BOA with misleading investors regarding billions of dollars paid to Merrill Lynch executives during the acquisition of the firm. Judge Jed Rakoff rejected the settlement agreement and ordered a trial on the SEC's allegations, finding that it was unfair to shareholders: "It is not fair, first and foremost, because it does not comport with the most elementary notions of justice and morality, in that it proposes that the shareholders who were the victims of the Bank's alleged misconduct now pay the penalty for that misconduct. The SEC admits that the corporate penalties it here proposes will be "indirectly borne by shareholders." But the SEC argues that this is justified because "[a] corporate penalty ... sends a strong signal to shareholders that unsatisfactory corporate conduct has occurred and allows shareholders to better assess the quality and performance of management." This hypothesis, however, makes no sense when applied to the facts here: for the notion that Bank of America shareholders, having been lied to blatantly in connection with the multi-billion-dollar purchase of a huge, nearly-bankrupt company, need to lose another $33 million of their money in order to "better assess the quality and performance of management" is absurd."

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  • Crumbs!

1- FBI report shows decrease in US violent crime for second straight year (click here)

2- Federal judge rejects SEC-Bank of America settlement, orders trial (click here)

3- South Korea court again rules against Microsoft in antirust suit (click here)

4- Argentina president introduces bill to decriminalize libel and slander (click here)

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  • MiMIC Journal

China allays US trade war fears

China has said it does not think its trade disputes with the US will hurt ties between the two countries, playing down the threat of a trade war. The US imposed tariffs on Chinese tyre imports on Friday. China then requested talks, under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, over the issue. China has called America's move on tyres "protectionist". Under WTO rules, Beijing and Washington will try to solve the dispute over the next 60 days through negotiations. If that fails, China can ask for a WTO panel to make a ruling on tyre imports.

China watched for leadership sign

China's Communist Party has opened a key annual meeting which might indicate leadership succession plans. The four-day session is widely expected to promote Vice President Xi Jinping to the powerful military commission. This would make him a clear front-runner to succeed Hu Jintao as party leader in 2012, and president in 2013.

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  • Historia Verdadera

Democracia - Honduras

El Presidente interino de Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, afirmó que sólo con una "invasión" Estados Unidos podría sacarlo del poder, al minimizar las presiones de Washington para que sea restituido en el poder el depuesto mandatario, Manuel Zelaya. A inicio de semana el gobierno de estadounidense informó de su decisión de suspender la visa a Micheletti y a otras 15 personas entre ellas al pleno de magistrados de la CSJ.

España - Bolivia

El presidente de Bolivia, Evo Morales, cerró ayer una visita oficial de tres días a España con la firma de un acuerdo con su par español, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, de condonación de una deuda de 77 millones de euros, y el compromiso de Repsol YPF de "acelerar" sus inversiones en el país sudamericano. Por el acuerdo entre ambos mandatarios, quedó condonada 60% de la deuda boliviana con España, equivalente a unos 110 millones de dólares, mientras La Paz se comprometió a invertir en educación el 40%. restante.

Negocios

La constructora española FCC se adjudicó un contrato para la realización de una presa en el estado mexicano de Jalisco por importe de 128 millones de euros --US$ 185,6 mlls--. La obra consistirá en la construcción de una presa con una altura sobre cimientos de 132 metros y el embalse tendrá una capacidad de 910 hectómetros cúbicos.

  • Brief News

Obama renews Cuba trade embargo

Obama has extended the 47-year-old trade embargo against Cuba for another year. In a statement, Mr Obama said that it was in the US national interest to extend the Trading With The Enemy Act which covers the trade embargo. It is largely a symbolic step because the final decision rests with Congress. Under legislation from 1996, the Helms-Burton Act, the embargo can only be lifted when Cuba is deemed to have begun a democratic transition. Cuba has been under a financial, trade and travel ban since 1962 - one of the last surviving remnants of the Cold War. Critics see it as a missed opportunity to signal a further willingness to ease relations between the two countries.

Mafia 'sank nuclear waste ship'

A shipwreck that could contain nuclear waste is being investigated by authorities in Italy amid claims that it was deliberately sunk by the mafia. An informant told a judge the ship was one of a number he blew up as part of an illegal operation to bypass rules on the disposal of toxic waste. The sunken vessel has been found 30km (18 miles) off the south-west of Italy. The informant said the mafia had muscled in on the lucrative business of nuclear waste disposal.

Vein problem delays US execution

The execution of a prisoner in the US state of Ohio has been delayed for a week after jail officials had problems finding the condemned man's veins. The execution team struggled for two hours to locate veins of convicted murderer and rapist Romell Broom to inject lethal chemicals via IV tubes. Broom's lawyer demanded the procedure be stopped, describing it as "cruel".

US House rebukes heckler lawmaker

The US House of Representatives has voted to rebuke Joe Wilson, the Republican lawmaker who heckled Obama during a speech. Wilson shouted out "You lie" while Mr Obama was delivering an address on healthcare to a joint session of both houses of Congress last week. The House resolution of disapproval described it as "a breach of decorum".

Google turns page on news content

Google has unveiled a service called Fast Flip to let users consume news more quickly and to boost the flagging fortunes of the news industry. The product is designed to mirror the way readers flick through magazines and newspapers. Google has teamed up with more than 30 providers to provide what it calls a new reading experience. The search giant was recently called a parasite for making money aggregating content it did not create. Earlier this year, Wall Street Journal chief Robert Thomson called the search company and other aggregators such as Yahoo "parasites or tech tapeworms in the intestines of the internet". The news industry has been struggling with how to broaden the size of its online audience and how to make money from content it has long given away free.

Analyst suspended over Nazi hobby

A human rights group has suspended its senior military analyst after revelations that he collects Nazi memorabilia. Garlasco's hobby was revealed by Mere Rhetoric, a pro-Israeli blog which said the activities reflected "an anti-Israeli bias". Human Rights Watch said it had no evidence that Mr Garlasco's hobby affected his analysis, and said he had "never expressed any anti-Semitic or neo-Nazi statements".

Spain urged to end detention law

Spain must end the practice of holding suspects incommunicado, without access to lawyers of their choice and without telling their families, activists say. Spain's criminal law allows suspects to be held incommunicado for five days. Amnesty International says it is among the strictest systems in Europe, facilitates torture and breaches international human rights standards. The Spanish government says its system is no more restrictive than in other countries, and is overseen by judges. It has previously defended its program is a necessary counter-terrorism measure. Amnesty says that under the law, detainees cannot:

  • Contact their own lawyer, but can only receive legal assistance from an appointed lawyer

  • Consult any lawyer in private

  • Have their family informed that they have been detained or where they are held, while foreign nationals cannot inform their embassy

  • Choose to be examined by their own doctor, but can only use a state-appointed one

"Incommunicado detention must be relegated to the past. No other European Union country maintains a detention regime with such severe restrictions on the rights of detainees.

EU sick leave ruling criticized

A new legal ruling on sick leave and holidays could allow unscrupulous workers to cheat their bosses, says the CBI employers' group. The European Court of Justice decision means workers taken ill on holiday could claim time back as sick leave. But the CBI said the judgement was "open to abuse" by employees who might see it as an easy way of increasing their holiday entitlement. Lawyers examining the ruling said it could make it possible for workers already on holiday to phone in as unwell - in effect, giving them extra time off. The ruling is binding on the 27 EU member states. If this ruling is to become law, employers should be able to ask for a medical certificate.

Hartmann guilty of contempt

A former official at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague has been convicted of contempt of court. French journalist Florence Hartmann was fined 7,000 euros ($9,800). She was found guilty of disclosing the existence of confidential documents on Serbian government involvement in the Bosnian war of the 1990s. The documents were discussed in a book and article published by Ms Hartmann. The confidential documents in question were only released by Belgrade for the trial of the former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. “It is necessary to discourage the accused or any person from disclosing confidential information in future,” the judge said.

Brazil develops secondary mortgage market, Itau says

Brazil is beginning to develop a secondary mortgage market after the housing industry averted collapse, according to Itau Unibanco Holding SA. Brazil's real estate market reached bottom last year and is recovering. "We are on the verge of seeing a very large increase of securitization of receivables" of residential real estate."

Ernst & Young faces Hong Kong trial over Akai's $1.11 billion bankruptcy

Ernst & Young Hong Kong's trial began today for alleged negligent auditing of Akai Holdings Ltd., the Chinese city's biggest corporate collapse when it declared bankruptcy in 2000, owing creditors about $1.11 billion.

Glaxo executive suggested burying paxil birth-defect studies, lawyer says

An executive of GlaxoSmithKline Plc, the world's second-biggest drugmaker, talked about burying negative studies linking its antidepressant drug Paxil to birth defects, according to a company memo introduced at a trial.

Allen Stanford, unable to pay for a lawyer, appointed a public defender

Allen Stanford, the Texas financier accused of running a $7 billion investor fraud, will be represented by the federal public defender's office in his criminal case because he has no money to hire a lawyer.

Intel says Europe erred in levying $1.4 billion fine

Intel claims that the European Commission did not supply enough proof to back accusations that the chip maker used strong-arm sales tactics to squeeze out a rival.

Billion-dollar pyramid scheme rivets Lebanon

Salah Ezzedine was charged in a billion-dollar pyramid scheme in which "farmers mortgaged their fields and brought in cash; others sold land they had inherited from their parents; teachers gave up all their savings; old people lost everything they had." "It's a disaster, a tsunami," The money disappeared, judicial authorities say, in a billion-dollar pyramid scheme that has riveted this country. Its mastermind, a businessman named Salah Ezzedine, was charged with fraud on Saturday and is being called the "Lebanese Bernie Madoff" in local newspapers. Bankers say it is the biggest fraud of its kind this country has ever seen. But the dollar figures have drawn less attention here than Mr. Ezzedine's close links with Hezbollah, the militant Shiite movement. Many of the investors — mostly Shiites living in Beirut and southern villages like this one — say those party links were the reason they chose to risk their hard-earned savings with a man who offered 40 and 50 percent profits but never showed any paperwork. The scandal has embarrassed the party, which prides itself on a reputation for honesty and selfless piety. It has also illustrated the way many of Lebanon's Shiites, despite their ascent from near feudal poverty just a few decades ago, remain in some ways a nation apart. Their residual distrust of mainstream Lebanese institutions, which helped fuel Hezbollah's rise as a virtual state within a state, also appears to have made them vulnerable to Mr. Ezzedine's schemes.

Bank of America-Parmalat trial opens

Lawyers asked a judge to hold Bank of America liable for allegedly misrepresenting the value of one of Parmalat's subsidiaries.

  • Daily Press Review

Mortars hit Baghdad Green Zone during Biden visit
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

Al Khan 2 February 2009
Daily News, Independent daily, Cairo, Egypt

Hatoyama elected new Japan prime minister
Gulf News, Independent daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

'UN report accusing Israel of war crimes is prize for terror'
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

POLITICS: U.N. Team on War Crimes Condemns Israel, Hamas
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Activists to protest for release of Egyptian dissident
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

Dubai's hotel industry sees rebound in Q4
Middle East North African Network, Online financial portal, Amman, Jordan

U.S Approves Swine Flu Vaccine and Begins a Mass Vaccination Campaign
Nahamet, Online news portal, Beirut, Lebanon

Panel formed on Lebanon poll law
Saudi Gazette, English-language daily, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Iraqi, Syrian officials meet in Turkey to discuss tensions
The Daily Star, Independent daily, Beirut, Lebanon

Ahmadinejad brushes off petrol sanction threat
Times of Oman, English-language daily, Muscat, Oman

Houthis accuse army of airstrikes on villages
Yemen Times, Independent weekly, Sana'a, Yemen

Benefits plan to 'make work pay'
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

No City-style spending in Reds' future
BreakingNews.ie, Online news portal, Cork, Ireland

Hatoyama elected as Japan's PM
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

Post strike agony grows: Misery as bills, card payments and cheques are trapped in mail backlog
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

O2 enters fixed-line phone market through BT Wholesale deal
DMeurope, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Boy, 18, stabbed to death in Kirkdale
icLiverpool, Online news portal, Liverpool, England

Tributes to 16-year-old girls killed in crash
Manchester Online, Independent daily, Manchester, England

Analyst: Move against early elections will demolish Czech Republic'sreputation
Radio Prague, Online news portal, Prague, Czech Republic

Tories Unveil 'Watershed' Welfare Reforms
Sky News, Independent newscaster, Middlesex, England

Multimedia Special: Times of Crisis
Spiegel International, Liberal newsmagazine, Hamburg, Germany

US rift with Europe over climate change deal
The Guardian, Liberal daily, London, England

Adobe to buy business software firm
The Irish Times, Centrist daily, Dublin, Ireland

Owners of uninsured cars face new fines under new Government curbs
The Telegraph, Conservative daily, London, England

Allen Stanford claims he cannot afford a lawyer
Times Online, Conservative daily, London, England

Indonesian navy to prioritize swift patrol boats
Antara News, News agency, Jakarta, Indonesia

10th Seoul International Financial Forum Kicks Off
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

The road to corruption?
Dawn, English-language daily, Karachi, Pakistan

Victorian Police launches probe into racial attack on Indians
India Express, News portal, Mumbai, India

Woman dies of swine flu in Pune, toll 44
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Apple polishes up its gadget arsenal
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

‘Malay Prophet' nabbed for deviant teachings
Malaysian Star, Online news portal, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Burglar killed with samurai sword
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

Wall Street doesn't feel guilty one year after financial crisis
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Old Macdonald has a sexist farm, report reveals
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

CJI summoned Justice Dinakaran to Delhi
The Hindu, Left-leaning daily, Chennai, India

Banking sector steps up pressure to reduce buying time
The Standard, Business daily, Hong Kong

HUNT FOR MILLION$......Over 200 Antiguans and Barbudans ready to fight British American
Antigua Sun Online, Independent daily, St. John's, Antigua

Buju Banton concerts cancelled in the United States
Caribbean News Portal, Online news aggregator

Bernard Coard tells of torture and remorse behind prison bars
Caribbean360, Online news portal, St. Michael, Barbados

Tourism execs: Cayman still safe
Cayman Net News, Online news portal, George Town, Cayman Islands

Judiciary contradicts the military on Dominican officers sought by the U.S.
Dominican Today, Independent daily, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

SPAIN: Debt Write-Off, Development Funds for Bolivia
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

I'm back! Bolt welcomed home in low-key but heartfelt affair
Jamaica Gleaner, Independent daily, Kingston, Jamaica

Southern Peru Corp. seeking for local communities' approval of Tia Maria's project
Living in Peru, News portal, Lima, Peru

Technician detained in Yale grad student slaying
The Globe and Mail, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Bloc throws support to Tories
Toronto Star, Liberal daily, Toronto, Canada

Red Cross prepares for next swine flu wave
Trinidad Guardian, Independent daily, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad

Nigeria rebels extend ceasefire
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

DR Congo face Gabon test for CHAN
CongoPlanet.com, Independent online news aggregator

Museveni moves to isolate Kabaka
Daily Monitor, Independent daily, Kampala, Uganda

Ex-teacher crafts money through works
Daily Nation, Independent daily, Nairobi, Kenya

Vodafone to reduce its 48 exchanges to two
GhanaWeb, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Japan gets new PM
iafrica, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

'I want my dead babies'
Independent Online, News portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Ethiopian children exploited by US adoption agencies
Jimma Times, Online news portal, Jimma, Ethiopia

Five changes for the All Blacks
Mail & Guardian Online, Liberal, Johannesburg, South Africa

'Humiliated' Caster shattered
News24.com, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Clark appeals to Yar'Adua on implementation of S-South Elders' recommendations
Vanguard, Independent daily, Lagos, Nigeria

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