October 19, 2009  Nº 831 - Vol. 7


"I think God's going to come down and pull civilization over for speeding."

Steven Wright

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

Software pirates in China beat Microsoft to the punch

At shops in the bustling Xinyang market in Shanghai, bootleg copies of Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system are already available, a week before it officially was to go on sale. Windows 7's "early release" in China underscores the challenge major software makers face in trying to make money in China, the world's second-largest PC market, after the United States. About 80 percent of software sold in China last year was pirated. While that figure is falling, it is still double the global average and about four times the average in developed markets like the United States and Japan. "The big issue that is driving piracy in China today is price. If you're trying to sell a program that costs 2,000 yuan to a student living on 400 yuan a month, that's simply not going to work out for most consumers." In a nod to such pressures, Microsoft cut the price of its Office 2007 Home and Student Edition to 199 yuan last year from 699 yuan. And Microsoft will sell its low-end Windows 7 Home Basic version for 399 yuan, a modest price by Western standards but still 15 times as much as is charged for pirated copies. Violation of intellectual property rights has been a sore spot in China's relations with its major trading partners, even as it has cracked down on rampant piracy of everything from Gucci bags to software. Most experts agree that piracy in China is a long-term issue, but many say that conditions should improve as software makers cut prices, users become more educated and living standards rise. Customer education is also improving in mainland China as many realize the dangers of installing pirated software, which sometimes comes with viruses and spyware.

Czech leader resigned to treaty

Czech President Vaclav Klaus has compared the Lisbon Treaty on EU reform to an unstoppable speeding train, suggesting he may have to sign it. A staunch opponent to the treaty, he said even if it did come into force, it would not be "the end of history".

A U.K. Court without the wigs

This month, the U.K. replaced its Law Lords -- a committee of noblemen that served as the highest tribunal for much of Britain -- with the new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. It isn't just the name that echoes the top American court. For the first time, the U.K.'s highest court is fully separated, American-style, from Parliament and its legislative function. The new U.K. court is meant to be a modern upgrade, with a simpler structure, televised hearings and easier to access for the public. Nicholas Phillips, president of the new court, says a key benefit is making the whole process "more transparent." That wasn't always the case. "One thing to be said against our old system was no one understood how it worked," said Harry Woolf, a former lord chief justice and former law lord. On paper, the Supreme Court doesn't assume any official new powers. The new U.K. court, like the Law Lords before it, will have the final word on all kinds of cases other than criminal matters in Scotland, which remain under the Scottish legal system's High Court of Justiciary. But the court's creation has drawn criticism here. One reason is the hasty way in which the overhaul was first introduced. Another concern: Many legal specialists believe it will inevitably lead to greater confrontation between judges and the government. As an example of how powerful U.S. judges have grown, some critics point to the 2000 election dispute that resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court's effectively awarding the presidency to George W. Bush. "The danger is that you muck around with a constitution like the British Constitution at your peril, because you do not know what the consequences of any change will be," said former law lord David Neuberger in a recent interview with the British Broadcasting Corp. Lord Neuberger, who was recently appointed master of the rolls, one of the most senior judges in the U.K., declined to be interviewed. A point of particular sensitivity is the prospect that the new top court will trump the role of legislators -- an accusation frequently made in the U.S. when courts wade into issues like abortion. The U.S. court's authority grew from a bare outline in the 1789 Constitution. Its role in vetting the laws of the land was asserted famously by Chief Justice John Marshall in his 1803 Marbury v. Madison opinion, and accepted only grudgingly by the executive and legislative branches in succeeding decades. Peter Goldsmith, a former U.K. attorney general and currently a London-based partner at U.S. law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, is among those who believe that judges of the U.K. Supreme Court could take on an American-style assertiveness. That has "important constitutional implications," Lord Goldsmith says. "There are some decisions that should be taken at the ballot box and some at the bench, but you should be careful which are which."

Paedophilia

In a new the article on "Paedophilia", authors Stanley Frasão Martins and Fernanda Veloso Campolina of Homero Costa Advogados, argue about a constitutional amendment, still pending in Congress, with the effect, if passed, of making pedophilia an inalienable and non-bailable crime. To read it, click here.

Before you open the door to the boardroom, peek through the keyhole!

Michael Page specializes in the placement of candidates in permanent, contract, temporary and interim positions within client companies around the world. Have a look at the new section of the Migalhas website and discover the professional development opportunities with large corporations, in legal and business fields, presented by Michael Page International. Click here to peep through the hole!

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  • MiMIC Journal

Faster economic growth raises China's concerns of industrial overcapacity

Faster economic growth in China, fueled by the government's $586 billion stimulus package and record bank lending, is raising concerns about industrial overcapacity, a government official said today.

China deploys 6,000 police on manhunt after prison break from Hohhot jail

China's police deployed 6,000 officers in one of the country's biggest manhunts after four convicts broke out of the Hohhot prison in Inner Mongolia province, Chinese media reported.

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  • Brief News

Germany defends Opel deal

Germany says EU concerns about the sale of carmaker Opel to Canada's Magna do not put the deal at risk. Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said the deal was "on track" and ministers could address EU doubts. The European Commission warned on Friday that planned state aid for Opel might breach competition rules. Brussels said there were "significant indications" Berlin pledged the 4.5bn euro ($6.7bn) aid only if its preferred buyer for Opel was chosen.

Federal judge rules against releasing Guantanamo interrogation documents

A judge in the US District Court for the District of Columbia refused Friday to force the Department of Defense (DOD) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to release non-redacted versions of documents that allegedly describe the torture and abuse of 14 Guantanamo Bay detainees. Judge Royce Lamberth denied a request made by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), ruling that the documents fell under two exemptions of the FOIA allowing government agencies to keep information classified if allowed by executive order or by statute. Although the court originally ruled that the government did not have to release the documents last October, it agreed to rehear the case in light of several subsequent developments, including President Barack Obama's executive orders to end the use of certain enhanced interrogation techniques and close Guantanamo Bay, as well as the government's decision to declassify Bush-administration memos outlining the use of enhanced interrogation techniques. In June, the CIA released redacted versions of the documents, but the ACLU maintained its demand that the agency release non-redacted versions. The ACLU announced that it plans to appeal the ruling.

Hacker's extradition put on hold

A Briton accused of hacking into secret military and Nasa computers has had his extradition to the US put on hold as new psychiatric evidence is considered. He had 14 days to appeal to the European Court, but the Home Office has agreed to consider new evidence and has put that 14-day deadline on hold. McKinnon, who has Asperger's syndrome, could face decades in jail. He says he acted out of curiosity, not malice.

Honduras coup dialogue suspended

Ousted Hondurian President Manual Zelaya has suspended dialogue with the interim government. Speaking from the Brazilian embassy in Honduras, Zelaya said the proposal to allow legislators to vote on his future was "disrespectful". But negotiators for interim President Roberto Micheletti said talks would continue regardless. Zelaya is insisting he be allowed to serve out his remaining weeks in office before elections on 29 November. The interim government, which seized power in a coup in June, says the Supreme Court must decide.

Six face insider trading charges

A leading US hedge fund boss and five other people have been arrested on charges linked to insider trading. Raj Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon Group, and the other defendants, are alleged to have pocketed about $20m in illegal profits. They are said to have secured inside information regarding firms including Google, AMD, and Hilton Hotels. Forbes magazine has featured Rajaratnam on one of its rich lists and estimated that he was worth $1.3bn. Prosecutors claimed the insider trading also took place at the New Castle hedge fund and Intel Capital, the investment arm of microchip giant Intel.

Brazil vows to toughen security

Brazil says security will not be a problem at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Rio state security authorities made the assurance after gang-related violence sparked chaos in the city on Saturday. Rio won its bid to host the Olympics just two weeks ago. A battle between rival gangs in the city's slums killed at least 12 people and injured six others. Police said they killed two suspected drug traffickers in overnight clashes near the slum. A police helicopter was shot down and eight buses set ablaze. Peace is said to be restored after 2-thousand officers are put on patrol.

Wilmington's catholic diocese seeks bankruptcy ahead of sexual abuse trial

Delaware's Catholic Diocese of Wilmington filed for bankruptcy protection to deal with more than 100 lawsuits filed by alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests as one of those cases was set to be tried.

Spain protesters oppose relaxation of abortion law

Spanish protesters rallied in Madrid on Saturday in opposition to a law that would relax restrictions on abortions. Protesters adopted the slogan "Every life matters" and former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar spoke in support of the protesters. Estimates claim that between 250,000 and two million protesters attended, but no objective count was made. The new bill would permit a girl 16 years or older to terminate a pregnancy without the permission of her parents and would ease current abortion laws, which require a woman to prove that her mental or physical health is in danger before receiving an abortion.

Spain parliament passes law limiting reach of universal jurisdiction statute

The Spanish Congress of Deputies to a law limiting use of the country's universal jurisdiction statute to those offenses committed by or against Spaniards, or where the perpetrators are in Spain. The measure, which was approved by a vote of 319-5 with three abstentions, enjoyed support from the opposition Popular Party (PP) as well as the ruling Socialist Party (PSOE), echoing a non-binding resolution passed by the Congress in May. The legislation was approved by the lower house in June and then amended in the Senate. The new law, which will take effect the day after it is published in the official gazette, will only apply prospectively, allowing cases currently being heard under universal jurisdiction to proceed, including investigations of Israeli actions in Gaza in 2002, detainee abuse at Guantanamo Bay and allegations of war crimes and genocide in Rwanda, Tibet, Guatemala, and China.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Time

What Women Want Now. The Ancient question has a new twist; in the fallout of the Great Recession, what unites men and women matters more than what divides them, as old gender battles fade away.

Newsweek

Why college should take only three years. The Three-Year Solution. How the reinvention of higher education benefits parents, students, and schools.

Business Week

The Hard Sell for Retailers. How retailers are fighting for the hearts and minds of the new consumer

The Economist

Obama's war. The war in Afghanistan deserves more resources, commitment and political will.

Le Nouvel Observateur

Le palmares des cumulards.

Der Spiegel

Gespräch mit Michael Schumacher. "Was bringen mir ein paar Siege mehr.”

  • Daily Press Review

Middle East

Fatah Considering Elections Without Hamas Approval
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England.

Iran nuclear agency defiant over uranium enrichment
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel.

IRAQ: U.S. Diplomatic Adviser's Troubling Role in Oil Politics
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy.

Hamas TV program: English is enemy's language
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel.

Global IT Firms Display Their Wares at Gitex
Khaleej Times, English-language daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Iraq- Pure water tank constructed for ID64b
Middle East North African Network, Online financial portal, Amman, Jordan.

Pakistan Army: 60 Militants Killed in Offensive on Militants
Nahamet, Online news portal, Beirut, Lebanon.

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

Egypt criticizes Hamas over unity deal delay
The Daily Star, Independent daily, Beirut, Lebanon.

Death toll in Iran attack rises to 42
Times of Oman, English-language daily, Muscat, Oman.

Europe

PM warns of climate 'catastrophe'
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England.

Retailers seek pre-budget cut in VAT and excise
BreakingNews.ie, Online news portal, Cork, Ireland.

Grieving mum denies claim Niamh pulled friend to her death
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England.

Eight days after a 999 call, police went to Maria Stubbings' home... to be turned away by her killer
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England.

Tandberg shareholders call for higher price from Cisco
DMeurope, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Liverpool crane collapse driver will never walk again
icLiverpool, Online news portal, Liverpool, England.

Father charged with murder of children
Manchester Online, Independent daily, Manchester, England.

A daily diet of history and hindsight
Radio Prague, Online news portal, Prague, Czech Republic.

Brown: 'We Have 50 Days To Save The World'
Sky News, Independent newscaster, Middlesex, England.

Picture This: Pork Roast
Spiegel International, Liberal newsmagazine, Hamburg, Germany.

Families face nuclear tax on power bills
The Guardian, Liberal daily, London, England.

Asian shares near 14-month highs
The Irish Times, Centrist daily, Dublin, Ireland.

New IVF hope for women struggling to have children
The Telegraph, Conservative daily, London, England.

US leaders visit Pakistan as South Waziristan clashes continue
Times Online, Conservative daily, London, England.

Asia

Aussie prime minister to attend Indonesia president`s inauguration
Antara News, News agency, Jakarta, Indonesia.

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

Police avoid checking of armed escorts in civvies
Dawn, English-language daily, Karachi, Pakistan.

India ready to meet any challenge: Antony
India Express, News portal, Mumbai, India.

Delhi: T20 no booster shot for govt
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India.

Four new caps in All Blacks squad
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan.

Keeping people safe more important than cutting deficit: Najib
Malaysian Star, Online news portal, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia.

'Balloon boy' stunt two weeks in the making
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand.

Hamas in contacts with Cairo to deliver response to Palestinian unity proposal
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China.

Balloon boy's father never shy about his stunts
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia.

U.S. welcomes site allocation for nuclear plants
The Hindu, Left-leaning daily, Chennai, India.

New World in retail push
The Standard, Business daily, Hong Kong.

Americas

Three sentenced to jail for sex offences
Antigua Sun Online, Independent daily, St. John's, Antigua.

Two more die from H1N1 in Trinidad and Tobago
Caribbean News Portal, Online news aggregator.

Trinidad advertising boss among swine flu deaths
Caribbean360, Online news portal, St. Michael, Barbados.

Governor alleges 'serious criminality'
Cayman Net News, Online news portal, George Town, Cayman Islands.

Former District Attorney criticizes political parties and IMF accord
Dominican Today, Independent daily, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

MIGRATION-EL SALVADOR: Broken Homes, Broken Families
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy.

Woman time now - Jamaican scientist Patricia Deleon aims to inspire females - Credits island's education sector for award from Obama
Jamaica Gleaner, Independent daily, Kingston, Jamaica.

Kraft Foods starts volunteering programs in Peru
Living in Peru, News portal, Lima, Peru.

Best from the past 24 hours
The Globe and Mail, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada.

Runaway balloon a 'publicity stunt,' sheriff says
Toronto Star, Liberal daily, Toronto, Canada.

Studying in the United States
Trinidad Guardian, Independent daily, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.

Africa

Africa: 'AU Effectively Tackling Economic, Political Problems'
allAfrica, Online news aggregator, Johannesburg, South Africa.

UN man starts Guinea deaths probe
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England.

TP Mazembe reach Champions League final
CongoPlanet.com, Independent online news aggregator.

Police crack unit disbanded
Daily Monitor, Independent daily, Kampala, Uganda.

Ethiopia's rebels disown arms cache
Daily Nation, Independent daily, Nairobi, Kenya.

63 per cent of mining revenue in Ghana in 2008
GhanaWeb, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Hamas stalls unity deal
iafrica, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa.

'DA's challenge threatens Zuma's rights'
Independent Online, News portal, Cape Town, South Africa.

Video: Teddy Afro concert in Dubai 2009
Jimma Times, Online news portal, Jimma, Ethiopia.

Four rookies in All Blacks' squad for Europe
Mail & Guardian Online, Liberal, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Watchdog summons cell players
News24.com, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa.

Abia moves to raise IGR
Vanguard, Independent daily, Lagos, Nigeria.

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