October 26, 2009  Nº 834 - Vol. 7
 

"More gold has been mined from the thoughts of men than has been taken from the earth."

Napoleon Hill

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

Karadzic absent as trial starts

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has not appeared at his trial on 11 charges including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Karadzic, who is defending himself, had warned that he would boycott the hearing because he needed more time. Judges began the trial at The Hague on schedule on Monday, with the prosecution present. It is unclear how they will proceed if Karadzic does not appear in the dock. The options include suspending the trial, imposing counsel to represent him, starting without him, or forcing him to attend.

Argentina launches new debt deal

Argentina plans to launch a new debt swap, which it hopes will end a long-running saga that started from a massive default eight years ago. Latin America's third-largest economy is trying to rebuild its reputation with international investors and sell bonds to raise money. It wants to buy $20bn in outstanding defaulted bonds held by investors who refused a previous offer in 2005. Argentina defaulted on $95bn of bonds in 2001, a record amount at the time. Since the 2001-2002 economic crisis, Argentines have seen a president chased through the streets by rioting mobs and seven subsequent presidents come and go. But Argentina's economy has recovered relatively strongly. The country wants to raise at least $1bn in fresh capital.

U.S. considers reining in 'too big to fail' institutions

Congress and the Obama administration are about to take up one of the most fundamental issues stemming from the near collapse of the financial system last year — how to deal with institutions that are so big that the government has no choice but to rescue them when they get in trouble. The measure would make it easier for the government to seize control of troubled financial institutions, throw out management, wipe out the shareholders and change the terms of existing loans held by the institution. The White House plan as outlined so far would already make it much more costly to be a large financial company whose failure would put the financial system and the economy at risk. It would force such institutions to hold more money in reserve and make it harder for them to borrow too heavily against their assets. Setting up the equivalent of living wills for corporations, that plan would require that they come up with their own procedure to be disentangled in the event of a crisis, a plan that administration officials say ought to be made public in advance.

Czech president says EU proposal satisfies demands for Lisbon Treaty opt-out clause

The office of Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus issued a brief statement Friday indicating that a proposal from the Swedish presidency of the EU satisfies demands Klaus has made for an opt-out on the bloc's Treaty of Lisbon. Klaus is seeking an opt-out clause that would shield his country from property claims by ethnic Germans who were expelled from Czechoslovakia after World War II. The two-sentence statement provides no details about what the EU has proposed. President of the European Council, Swedish Prime Minster Fredrik Reinfeldt indicated details of the opt-out clause will be finalized during an EU summit next week in Brussels, saying, "I welcome the statement by President Klaus. The Presidency will continue to work with this in view of next week's European.”

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  • Brief News

Schumer: Credit card law should take effect sooner

Federal credit card legislation set to become law in 2010 should be enacted earlier to halt credit card companies' practice of raising interest rates before the new rules take effect, Sen. Charles Schumer said Sunday. Credit card interest rates rose 20 percent in the first six months of 2009 while federal interest rates dropped. He accused credit card companies of gouging consumers before the law changes to ban a host of prohibitions including interest rate hikes on existing balances and fees for paying bills on time.

ING to divide and repay state aid

ING has announced that it will divide itself into separate companies, splitting its banking and insurance businesses. Once it has been separated, ING plans to sell the insurance division. It is also going to sell shares to existing investors so that it can repay half of its 10bn-euro ($15bn) aid from the Dutch government early. In order to get European Commission approval for its restructuring program, ING said it would need to sell its US internet banking arm ING Direct USA by 2013. It is the latest step in ING's "Back to Basics" program, which has resulted in 10,800 job cuts so far this year.

US declares swine flu 'emergency'

Obama signed the proclamation concerning the 2009 H1N1 outbreak on Friday evening. It allows authorities to bypass certain federal requirements in order to deal more effectively with emergencies. It increases the ability of treatment facilities to handle a surge in H1N1 patients by easing the implementation of emergency plans.

Rio police transfer 'drug barons'

Brazilian police have moved 10 men seen as leading drug traffickers from a jail in Rio de Janeiro to a high security prison in another part of the country. The authorities reportedly believe orders for attacks are coming from gang leaders who have already been jailed. It is commonplace for gang leaders in Brazil to continue to direct criminal activity from inside jail using mobile phones. It seems the authorities hope that by moving the prisoners, it will help to bring the latest outbreak of violence in the city under control. The ten men were moved amid tight security from a jail in the west of Rio de Janeiro to a maximum security prison in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul where, initially at least, they will be held in isolation.

Brazil may change new tax if it's ineffective, Lula says

Lula said his government is ready to change and may even drop a newly imposed tax on foreign purchases of fixed-income securities and stocks if the levy fails to curb the Brazilian currency's gain. He also said his government will stick to a plan to tax savings accounts over 50,000 reais ($28,815). Brazil may consider different options within the plan to tax savings.

Rich Germans demand higher taxes

A group of rich Germans has launched a petition calling for the government to make wealthy people pay higher taxes. The group say they have more money than they need, and the extra revenue could fund economic and social programs to aid Germany's economic recovery. Germany could raise 100bn euros ($150bn) if the richest people paid a 5% wealth tax for two years, they say. The man behind the petition, Dieter Lehmkuhl, told Berlin's Tagesspiegel that there were 2.2 million people in Germany with a fortune of more than 500,000 euros. If they all paid the tax for two years, Germany could raise 100bn euros to fund ecological programs, education and social projects.

Does the hate crimes bill have 14th amendment problems?

A current bill proposing to expand the list of hate crimes - which originally focused on attacks based on the victims' race, color, religion or national origin - to include those targeted because of their gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability, is close to passing. But will it pass constitutional muster? The law got broad support from law-enforcement groups. But it'll be interesting to see if the bill makes a real difference in combating crime. The bill leaves the prosecution of hate crimes mostly in the hands of the states, 45 of which have their own hate-crimes legislation to begin with. The bill simply provides money to help state and local officials with the costs of prosecuting hate crimes and provides that the federal government can step in after the Justice Department certifies that a state does not have jurisdiction or is unable to carry out justice. Some argue it violates the 14th Amendment's equal protection under the laws for individual Americans by setting up a special collective class of victims whose assailants, when convicted, will be given extra punishment for crimes perceived to be based on gender identity, sexual orientation or disability, among other biases. Those who attack the elderly, police or those of the poor who are not among the "protected classes" would not get lengthier "hate" sentences than the law provides for the act itself. Doesn't this make lesser citizens of their victims?

Major French smear trial closes

The trial of former French PM Dominique de Villepin, accused of conspiring to damage Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 presidential bid, has ended. Defense lawyers in Paris made their final arguments in the highly-charged case on Friday, and a verdict is due on 28 January. Villepin has denied orchestrating any plot, saying the case is part of a vendetta against him. Prosecutors have called for him to receive an 18-month suspended sentence. They have also asked judges to impose a fine of 45,000 euros ($67,000).

Germany constitutional court rules same-sex partners have pension rights

Germany's constitutional court on Thursday ruled that surviving partners in a registered civil partnership have a right to collect under the occupational pension scheme for civil service employees. The court found that affording such payments to surviving spouses in a marriage but excluding civil partners violated the equal treatment provision in Article 3.1 of Germany's Basic Law. The complaint was brought by a civil servant in a registered partnership who was denied placement in a tax class for married employees by a public insurer, resulting in a 74 euros a month difference in pension payments and excluding his partner the right to collect on the pension in the result of his death. The court reasoned that such unequal treatment required justification because of the effect it had on same-sex partnerships.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Time

The End of California? Dream On! The Golden State has fought the status quo since its birth 160 years ago. It celebrates failure. It is a magnet for innovation. Its obituary has been posted time and again. But even amid a particularly rough chapter in the state's history, the nation's future is being written in California.

Newsweek

Yes he can! Hope Springs Eternal. Assessing a young presidency.

Business Week

Inside the App Economy. Beyond the goofy games is a world of useful programs that's making fortunes and changing the rules of business.

The Economist

The odd couple. America should be much more confident in its dealings with its closest rival (China).

Le Nouvel Observateur

Comment les français vivaient l'occupation. Soixante-dix ans après, c'est une vision inédite de cette période troublée de notre histoire que donne «Paroles de l'ombre», livre- document nourri des archives privées de nos lecteurs.

Der Spiegel

Vorsicht, Schwarz-Gelb. Der abenteuerliche Fehlstart der neuen Koalition.

  • Daily Press Review

No Need for Return of UK Navy Unit- Iraqi Navy Source
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

PA negotiator: Israel to blame for stalled peace talks
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Q&A: "Women Will Benefit From Secularism"
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Saudis issue 'culture clash' guide for travelers abroad
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

Bodies of Plane Crash Victims Repatriated
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

14 Americans Killed in 2 Helicopter Crashes in Afghanistan
Nahamet, Online news portal, Beirut, Lebanon

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

Fatah to hold January polls despite Hamas opposition
The Daily Star, Independent daily, Beirut, Lebanon

Israel too weak to attack Iran nuclear sites
Times of Oman, English-language daily, Muscat, Oman

Karadzic boycotts start of trial
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Titanic site expedition planned
BreakingNews.ie, Online news portal, Cork, Ireland

Hilton's stolen jewels are returned
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

The snooper's census: 2011 survey will ask for the name, sex and birth date of all our 'overnight visitors'
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Icahn resigns from Yahoo! board of directors
DMeurope, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Merseyside recession recovery on track, says new survey
icLiverpool, Online news portal, Liverpool, England

Morrissey in hospital after collapsing on stage
Manchester Online, Independent daily, Manchester, England

There goes the neighbourhood, again
Radio Prague, Online news portal, Prague, Czech Republic

Libyan Leader Says Sorry For WPC's Murder
Sky News, Independent newscaster, Middlesex, England

SPIEGEL Interview with Afghan Candidate Abdullah Abdullah: 'People in Afghanistan Want Change'
Spiegel International, Liberal newsmagazine, Hamburg, Germany

War crimes trial halted as Karadzic boycotts hearing
The Guardian, Liberal daily, London, England

Open Anglo art collection to public - Labour
The Irish Times, Centrist daily, Dublin, Ireland

Radovan Karadzic boycotts genocide trial in The Hague
The Telegraph, Conservative daily, London, England

Fourteen Americans dead as helicopters crash in Afghan raids
Times Online, Conservative daily, London, England

Many 'matuto' paintings found in Kaimana
Antara News, News agency, Jakarta, Indonesia

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

Breakthrough only if 17th amendment removed: Nawaz
Dawn, English-language daily, Karachi, Pakistan

Naxal killings wanton, pre-mediated: Home ministry
India Express, News portal, Mumbai, India

Fugitive NRI woman, son found
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Kodaira bags speed skating treble
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

91yr-old man gives cops a run for the money
Malaysian Star, Online news portal, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

80 life sentences for abuser
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

Governor escapes attack in E Afghanistan
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

The prostitute, the ex-bouncer and the gunman
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

India, China agree not to amplify differences
The Hindu, Left-leaning daily, Chennai, India

PM Spencer: Immigration issue needs to be addressed
Antigua Sun Online, Independent daily, St. John's, Antigua

Machel Montano and Beenie Man - friends for life
Caribbean News Portal, Online news aggregator

Sexual assault case against ex TCI premier dropped
Caribbean360, Online news portal, St. Michael, Barbados

JN Money Transfer thriving
Cayman Net News, Online news portal, George Town, Cayman Islands

Dominicans walk for a good cause
Dominican Today, Independent daily, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

HONDURAS: Negotiators Announce Collapse of Talks
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Hell in Hellshire - Drugs-for-guns trade a mainstay on the St Catherine beach, senior police officer labels it the epicentre of illicit activity
Jamaica Gleaner, Independent daily, Kingston, Jamaica

Peru's Juan Diego Florez learning Quechua to sing duet with Magaly Solier
Living in Peru, News portal, Lima, Peru

At least 4 dead as 3 helicopters crash in Afghanistan
The Globe and Mail, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Albertan is country's favourite dancer
Toronto Star, Liberal daily, Toronto, Canada

Fire destroys Arouca house
Trinidad Guardian, Independent daily, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad

Tunisian president in fifth win
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

DR Congo to host CEEAC summit on peace, integration, environment
CongoPlanet.com, Independent online news aggregator

Egypt's Citadel eyes investments in Kenya, Uganda
Daily Monitor, Independent daily, Kampala, Uganda

OPEC to raise output if oil at $100
Daily Nation, Independent daily, Nairobi, Kenya

Rawlings Faults Support Of Corruption By Development Partners
GhanaWeb, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Iraq: alert after carnage
iafrica, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Reitz 4: 'restorative justice' brought up
Independent Online, News portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Kenya admits to secret police training for Somalia
Jimma Times, Online news portal, Jimma, Ethiopia

Reitz case postponed to 2010
News24.com, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

FRSC decries reckless driving by motorists
Vanguard, Independent daily, Lagos, Nigeria

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