December 14, 2009  Nº 852 - Vol. 7

"Experience is a good school, but the fees are high."

Heinrich Heine

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

US House of Representatives backs financial reform bill

The US House of Representatives has approved the most sweeping changes to the country's financial sector since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The 223 to 202 vote is a victory for Obama who has made financial reform one of his main goals. The bill aims to create a new agency to monitor consumer banking transactions and give the government powers to break up companies that threaten the economy. The US Senate will have to pass the bill before the president can sign it. The legislation would give regulators the power to dismantle the companies in a way which ensures shareholders and unsecured creditors, not taxpayers, bear the losses. It also hopes to strengthen the powers of the Securities and Exchange Commission to detect irregularities that could provide an early warning of fraudulent investment schemes. Plans to regulate the vast $600 trillion market in products called derivatives are also included. The Federal Reserve would be given powers to oversee large firms at risk of collapse. The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of the US Congress, would also be given more power over the Federal Reserve.

US and Japan agree on open skies deal

The United States and Japan have agreed to a new "open skies" deal cutting restrictions on flights between the two countries. The agreement will allow airlines from both countries to have a wider range of destinations and routes to choose from. The agreement, which has yet to be formalized, includes both passenger planes and cargo services. However the Japanese government said the US would first need to consider waiving certain antitrust rules.

Developing countries say `no money, no deal'

Four days before 110 world leaders fly to Copenhagen to complete a deal to curb global warming, negotiators are far apart on aid to poorer countries and how to verify nations fulfill their pledges to reduce greenhouse gases.

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  • MiMIC Journal

London to 'lose out' to Shanghai

London could lose its financial position behind New York and be pushed into third place as a global financial centre by Shanghai in the next decade. The survey, carried out by law firm Eversheds, suggests business leaders think the West is facing accelerated competition from the East. "More established economic centres are still digesting the extent of the crisis. Confidence levels in the East are in stark contrast to the traditional economic powerhouses."


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  • Brief News

Apple and Nokia's battle hots up

The legal battle between Finland's Nokia and its US rival Apple has taken a new turn, with Apple countersuing Nokia over alleged patent violations. The move follows a Nokia lawsuit filed in October accusing iPhone maker Apple of 10 Nokia patent infringements. Now Apple, in turn, is claiming that the Finnish phone firm is infringing 13 of its technology patents. "Other companies must compete with us by inventing their own technologies, not just by stealing ours," Apple said.

Brazil: the new spam king

China has long been the scapegoat of the cybersecurity world. But when it comes to junk e-mail, a new emerging market has taken the title of the world's most prolific spammer: Brazil. According to a report released Tuesday from the security division of Cisco, Brazil was responsible for 7.7 trillion spam e-mail messages in the year through November, nearly triple its spam output in 2008. That puts it well ahead of the U.S., which sent 6.6 trillion spam messages in the same period this year, down from 8.3 trillion in 2008. Brazil isn't the only big source of spam in the fast-rising developing world. India, which has long produced relatively few junk messages in comparison to the size of its economy, was responsible for 3.6 trillion messages by Cisco's count, well over double its output last year. Neither Brazil nor India is directly responsible for the flood of spam that has emanated from the two countries as their digital economies come online. Both nations are likely being exploited by global cybercriminals who see cheap domains and large numbers of unprotected PCs as an opportunity to funnel junk mail around the world. Countries' spam output correlates loosely with the number of computers infected with malicious software.

Senate says martial law unconstitutional

Majority of senators on Monday signed a resolution declaring as unconstitutional President Arroyo's proclamation of martial law in Maguindanao, Philippines. The resolution sends a clear message to Malacañang that the Senate considers the martial law declaration as without factual and legal basis. "For the Senate, the lifting does not render the issue moot and academic, and the resolution is a definitive finding by the upper chamber that the declaration is contrary to the constitution," Sen. Francis Pangilinan said in a statement. On Saturday, Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recalled Proclamation 1959, lifting the declaration of martial law and reinstating habeas corpus in the province of Maguindanao.

Pinera wins first round of Chile presidential election

Centre-right candidate Sebastian Pinera has won the first round of Chile's presidential election, but without the majority needed to avoid a run-off. The billionaire businessman has 44% of votes, with the count almost complete, below the 50% required for victory. He will now face centre-left candidate Eduardo Frei, a former president himself, in a second round in January. Frei, 67, is seeking his second term as president after an absence of 10 years.

Honduras ex-head Zelaya's meeting with Lobo is delayed

A meeting due to take place on Monday between Zelaya and his elected successor Porfirio Lobo has been postponed. The meeting had been arranged by President Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic. But Honduras's interim government refused to allow Zelaya to travel without fear of arrest. Earlier this week the government blocked a plan for the ousted president to fly to Mexico, saying he could only leave the country if he was offered formal asylum elsewhere.

Google faces a different world in Italy

Along with three other Google executives, Peter Fleischer, global privacy counsel for Google, faces criminal charges of defamation and privacy violations in a case involving online videos of an autistic boy being taunted that could have far-reaching implications for Google — and, the company argues, a potentially chilling effect on other Internet companies operating in Italy and elsewhere in Europe. The Google executives are scheduled to present their defense this week, after prosecutors pressed their case last month, seeking one-year prison sentences for Mr. Fleischer and David Drummond, senior vice president and chief legal officer, and George Reyes, a former chief financial officer. Arvind Desikan, a marketing executive, faces a six-month sentence. The executives deny the charges, saying they had nothing to do with the videos. If found guilty, none of the four would serve jail time because sentences of less than three years are commuted in Italy for people without criminal records. Still, the stakes are high for the executives — who have been charged because Italian law holds individuals responsible for corporate actions — as well as for Google. Google says that under European Union rules on electronic commerce, adopted into law by member states, forums for user generated media like Google Video and YouTube are not responsible for filtering those contents in advance; instead, such sites rely on users to flag objectionable items, which are removed if Google decides they violate the service's terms of use. But the so-called e-commerce directive dates to 2000, when concepts like Web 2.0 and user-generated content may not have featured prominently on regulators' radar screens. At the time, the intention was to insulate technical intermediaries like Internet service providers and Web hosting services. Because Google generates the vast majority of its revenue from advertising and serves as a conduit to online content, it is more like a media company than a technical intermediary, publishers and other critics say.

Clinton warns Latin America off close Iran ties

Hillary Clinton has called on Latin American countries not to get too close to Iran. She said countries such as Venezuela and Bolivia should "think twice" about the consequences of their ties with the Islamic Republic. Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last month visited Brazil, Venezuela and Bolivia which voiced support for Iran's right to a nuclear program. "Consequences" do not refer necessarily to specific actions but rather referred to the possible effect on US relations. Lula said Brazil recognized Iran's right to develop a peaceful nuclear program, but also urged Iran to engage with the West.

US federal agents arrest 286 'immigrant criminals'

Nearly 300 suspected illegal immigrants with criminal records have been arrested in California. More than 400 agents and local law enforcement officers were involved in the three-day search. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) agency described the operation as the biggest of its kind targeting "criminal aliens". More than 100 of those caught in the sweep have already been deported, with many others facing proceedings.

Lawsuit to go to trial over L'Oréal heiress

A lawsuit over L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt's gifts of €1 billion ($1.5 billion) to a photographer friend will go to trial mid-April, a French judge decided, a move that promises to throw personal details of one of France's most private families into the open.The lawsuit was filed two years ago by Ms. Bettencourt's only daughter, Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers, who accuses the photographer, François-Marie Banier, 62, of exploiting her mother's mental weakness. Over the course of several years, Ms. Bettencourt, 87, lavished Banier with gifts, including life insurance policies and paintings by artists such as Picasso and Matisse.

As law firms respond to crisis, 21% of law students regret choice

It’s not surprising that law students are a discontented lot. A new survey by LexisNexis found that, based on the changing legal marketplace, 21 percent of law students regret attending law school. Thirty-five percent said they don’t feel adequately prepared to succeed in the new marketplace, and 65 percent said law schools don’t teach the practical business skills needed in today’s economy.

  • Weekly Magazine Review


A Window on Momentous Events. Our annual Year in Pictures issue returns, capturing a turbulent time in a series of unforgettable moments.


Why we can’t look away. The Greatest Show on Earth. In defense of our Brangelina-loving, Jon and Kate–hating, Tiger-taunting, tawdry tabloid culture.

Business Week

Old dogs, new tricks. Can KKR Make Like Berkshire Hathaway? Henry Kravis and George Roberts built their private equity giant on swashbuckling deals. Now they want a more diversified firm that can finance its own—the way Warren Buffett does.

The Economist

Toyota slips up. What the world's biggest carmaker can learn from other corporate turnarounds.

Le Nouvel Observateur

Jusqu'où ira besson. Du PS au ministère de l'Identité nationale. Sans états dame, il applique la stratégie populiste voulue par Sarkozy. Son zèle de converti inquiète même à droite.

Der Spiegel

Der Entzauberte - Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg.

  • Daily Press Review

Iraq: 13 suspects arrested in Baghdad blasts
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

Hamas marks 22 years in Gaza with massive celebrations
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

MIDEAST: Human Rights Deteriorated in 2009, Report Warns
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

PA to renovate torched Yasuf mosque
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

Rain Wreaks Havoc Across the Country
Khaleej Times, English-language daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Jordan- Megaports project to boost nuclear security
Middle East North African Network, Online financial portal, Amman, Jordan

Berlusconi at Hospital after Receiving Punch in the Face
Nahamet, Online news portal, Beirut, Lebanon

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

Supreme leader says Iran?s opposition violates law
The Daily Star, Independent daily, Beirut, Lebanon

127 killed in Iraq blasts
Times of Oman, English-language daily, Muscat, Oman

New effort to tackle Afghan bombs
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Joe crowned X Factor champion, Online news portal, Cork, Ireland

Dubai gets 6bn fund from Abu Dhabi
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

Air strike threat to Christmas holidays as 13,000 BA staff poised to vote on 'suicidal' walkout
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Orascom Telecom plans USD 800 mln rights issue
DMeurope, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Graham Sankey held over attack on Joe Anderson
icLiverpool, Online news portal, Liverpool, England

Corrie star arrested after row with ex-girlfriend
Manchester Online, Independent daily, Manchester, England

Italian PM Bloodied In Attack At Rally
Sky News, Independent newscaster, Middlesex, England

Interview with US Economic Recovery Advisory Board Chair Paul Volcker: America Must 'Reassert Stability and Leadership'
Spiegel International, Liberal newsmagazine, Hamburg, Germany

Key Afghanistan project stalled by Taliban
The Guardian, Liberal daily, London, England

Abu Dhabi gives $10bn rescue to Dubai
The Irish Times, Centrist daily, Dublin, Ireland

Silvio Berlusconi punched in face after Milan rally
The Telegraph, Conservative daily, London, England

Toyota forced to pull 'incestuous' ad
Times Online, Conservative daily, London, England

President: RI must encourage Copenhagen meet to reach consensus
Antara News, News agency, Jakarta, Indonesia

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

No terror charge against six US citizens yet
Dawn, English-language daily, Karachi, Pakistan

President of Kazakhstan arrived in Turkmenistan, Official online newspaper

Telangana impasse: AP assembly adjourns sine die
India Express, News portal, Mumbai, India

Inmates stripped, beaten for deaddiction
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Apapane takes Hanshin Juvenile Fillies
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Parliament: Govt does not decide Astro rates
Malaysian Star, Online news portal, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Obama rates his first year
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

Militants kill 7 police in N Afghanistan
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Privacy rule no teddy bears' picnic for tycoon
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

Rift in Rosaiah Cabinet widens as Ministers stand firm
The Hindu, Left-leaning daily, Chennai, India

HK tipped to bask in capital bonanza
The Standard, Business daily, Hong Kong

Former acting OECS Director General dies
Antigua Sun Online, Independent daily, St. John's, Antigua

Jamaica police ready for Dudus backlash
Caribbean News Portal, Online news aggregator

Jamaican cop ambushed, shot in head
Caribbean360, Online news portal, St. Michael, Barbados

Walkers eyes opportunities in Asia
Cayman Net News, Online news portal, George Town, Cayman Islands

Undersea archaeolgists find new historical shipwreck in Samana
Dominican Today, Independent daily, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Peru: Universitario won the 'Descentralizado 2009' in a disputed match
Living in Peru, News portal, Lima, Peru

The big three
The Globe and Mail, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Canada defended Afghan 'human-rights abuser': memos
Toronto Star, Liberal daily, Toronto, Canada

Executives pay tribute to Dulal-Whiteway
Trinidad Guardian, Independent daily, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad

UN urged to change DRCongo policy
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Mazembe lose at Club World Cup, Independent online news aggregator

Banish culturally sanctioned brutality
Daily Monitor, Independent daily, Kampala, Uganda

NALAG should fulfil development aspirations of the people- Mr Aidoo Mensah
GhanaWeb, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Child ring: woman executed
iafrica, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Second plane crashes from Rand airport
Independent Online, News portal, Cape Town, South Africa

ONLF rebels capture a town in Ogaden - Aid worker
Jimma Times, Online news portal, Jimma, Ethiopia

Taiwan farmers potty-train pigs to curb pollution
Mail & Guardian Online, Liberal, Johannesburg, South Africa

Shootout as hijackers flee, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Nigeria lost N400bn to corruption ó Akanbi
Vanguard, Independent daily, Lagos, Nigeria


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