March 29, 2010  Nº 888 - Vol. 8

"Capital isn't scarce; vision is."

Sam Walton

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

Should law firms store client data on the net?

Interest in "cloud computing" is picking up steam among lawyers for several good reasons. Proponents say its advantages center on economy, simplicity and accessibility. Cloud computing—also known as software as a service, or SaaS—is, in essence, a sophisticated form of remote electronic data storage on the Internet. Unlike traditional methods that maintain data on a computer or server at a law office or other place of business, data stored "in the cloud" is kept on large servers located elsewhere and maintained by a vendor. That means the vendor—not the firm—purchases, maintains and updates hardware and software, and the firm generally pays a monthly fee to the vendor for its services. More over, data stored in the cloud can be accessed more easily than information maintained on a local network, as long as there is a handy Internet connection. But some of the advantages of cloud computing also are reasons for lawyers to be cautious about its use. In particular, the fact that client data and work product are stored somewhere outside the direct control of the law firm raises potential ethics concerns about whether the confidentiality and security of the information is adequately protected within the mandates of professional conduct rules for lawyers.

Health care mandate at court steps

The same Supreme Court justices whom President Obama blasted during his State of the Union address this year may ultimately decide the fate of his crowning achievement as more than a dozen states have called on the courts to strike down the health insurance mandate of Democrats' health care overhaul - a move that would threaten the entire law. Two major constitutional challenges have been levied against the new law, one by the state of Virginia, which enacted a law exempting its citizens from the federal health insurance mandate, and another by Florida and 12 other states. Legal scholars are divided on the merits of the cases, and even Congress - through its research service and its budget scorekeeper - has said it's an open question whether the provision could pass constitutional muster. At issue is the scope of the federal government's power over states and individuals. Critics of the law say the requirement that all Americans buy insurance or pay a fine, if allowed, would mean that Congress has virtually boundless authority to compel actions. Proponents argue that legal precedents support an expansive reading of the legislative branch's license to regulate such activity.

US judge urges skepticism on forensic evidence

"CSI" may make for gripping television, but US District Court Judge Nancy Gertner says forensic evidence isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. In a move that some legal scholars said may be the first by a federal judge, Gertner has ordered defense lawyers and prosecutors not to assume that evidence routinely accepted in the courts for decades is reliable. Defense lawyers, she wrote, should vigorously challenge fingerprints, bullet identification, handwriting, and other trace evidence, and prosecutors should be prepared to show it is valid. "In the past, the admissibility of this kind of evidence was effectively presumed, largely because of its pedigree — the fact that it had been admitted for decades," Gertner wrote in a March 8 order. "As such, counsel rarely challenged it, and if it were challenged, it was rarely excluded or limited." That needs to change, she said. A critique last year by the National Academy of Sciences, she noted, concluded that forensic evidence used to convict thousands of defendants for nearly a century is hardly the infallible proof of police procedurals on television. Too often, the study found, it is the product of sloppy practices that should be improved and standardized.

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China sentences Rio Tinto executive to ten years

A Shanghai court found an Australian executive at mining giant Rio Tinto guilty of charges he accepted bribes and stole commercial secrets and sentenced him to a combined 10 years in prison, the dramatic conclusion to a politically charged trial that carries ramifications for multinational corporations in China. Each of the four executives on trial has conceded key aspects of the prosecution's allegations they accepted cash from steelmakers, lawyers said.

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  • Brief News

Obama presses Karzai in Kabul visit

Obama made a surprise visit Sunday to Afghanistan to prod Kabul to make good on promises to improve internal security and crack down on corruption.

Brazil to spend R$1,000bn on infrastructure

The Brazilian government will announce on Monday a program of up to R$1,000bn ($550bn) in infrastructure investment in what will be widely seen as the first offensive in the battle between the main contenders in Brazil's presidential election in October. Known as the PAC II – the Portuguese acronym for accelerated growth program, part two – the program will lay out spending plans for 2011 to 2014, the period of the next government beginning on January 1 next year. The program includes public and private investment, including public-sector companies and the federal, state and municipal branches of government.

U.K. accounting negligence suits reached 5-year high last year

U.K. lawsuits over accounting negligence seeking at least 1 million pounds last year totaled more than all such cases during the previous five years combined, according to law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP.

Washington Mutual files reorganization plan, supported by JPMorgan Chase

Washington Mutual Inc., the former parent of the biggest bank to fail, filed a bankruptcy reorganization plan and disclosure statement supported by creditors and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The future of law in 6-minute increments

What would a legal technology conference look like if speakers had only six minutes to make their points, with PowerPoint slides flashing behind them at 18-second intervals? The answer: Ignite Law, an alternative to the traditional panel presentation model. Kicking off ABA Techshow last week, 16 Ignite Law speakers made the cut to present their vision for the future of the legal profession. Topics ranged from the ethics of Web 2.0 legal marketing and the need for better law practice management education so no lawyer is left behind practice management associations in each state, to how firms should use technology to give clients access to lawyers no matter where they are.

BRIC countries agree food security strategy

Brazil, Russia, India and China agreed to combat hunger and boost efforts to promote food security, according to a strategy signed by the countries' agriculture ministers in Moscow on Friday. "In order to promote food security, it is necessary to have a well-functioning, worldwide food market and a trade system based on the principles of justice and freedom from discrimination," the declaration said. "Therefore speeding up the accomplishment of the WTO Doha round of talks is a primary task."

Firms snared in Muni market probe

More than a dozen Wall Street banks and investment firms are suspected of being involved in alleged price-fixing in the municipal-bond market.

US offers legal justification for drone strikes for the first time

The US government for the first time has offered a legal justification of its drone strikes against al Qaeda and Taliban militants, citing the right to "self-defence" under international law. State Department legal adviser Harold Koh laid out the legal argument for the strikes in a speech on Thursday, referring to "targeting" of al Qaeda and Taliban without mentioning Pakistan or where the raids are carried out. Koh said the US was in "an armed conflict" with al Qaeda, the Taliban and its affiliates as a result of the September 11 attacks "and may use force consistent with its inherent right to self-defence under international law". "With respect to the subject of targeting, which has been much commented upon in the media and international legal circles, there are obviously limits to what I can say publicly," he said.

Telecom industry ripe for consolidation

The global industry of mobile operators is about to enter a turbulent period of Darwinian struggle. With global markets on the upswing, experts say that the wireless industry is poised for a wave of mergers that could reshape it. The value of global transactions in the telecommunications sector fell to $80.4 billion last year from a peak of $284.7 billion in 2005. But already this year, deal making has picked up and the market is on track to grow by 50 percent.

French anti-piracy law actually increases piracy

Don't pirate content in France: That's the mantra of the country's High Authority for Copyright Protection and Dissemination of Works on the Internet law (HADOPI 2), but it's not clear that its intended audience has received the message loud and clear. The three-strikes-and-you're-banned law is designed to sever copyright infringers from the ability to purchase service from any French ISP if they're found guilty of pirating online material. That's after a series of two warning letters and some face-time in front of a French judge, who has the capacity to assign fines of up to €300,000, as well as jail time. However, new research is indicating that HADOPI's effect on filesharing might not be as pronounced as lawmakers might have hoped, even given the law's tough stance toward online piracy. Researchers have found a three-percent increase for online copyright infringement since HADOPI's inception. HADOPI's punishments aren't currently being enforced.

Japan ICC judge urges more Asian participation to balance court

A top Japanese judge on the International Criminal Court (ICC) Sunday called on more Asian governments to participate in the tribunal so its regional representation would be more balanced. Judge Kuniko Ozaki, who was elected to the ICC in January, said that both Asia and the Middle East are underrepresented on the court. Of the body's 18 judges only two are Asian: Ozaki and current ICC president judge Song Sang-Hyun. Ozaki's comments echo statements made by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton which encouraged other Asian countries to join the ICC following the ratification of the the Rome Statute by Bangladesh earlier this week.

Russia prosecutors ban 'Mein Kampf' for violating extremism law

The Russian Prosecutor General's Office on Friday banned Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf, finding it in violation of laws against extremism. The step was taken pursuant to Article I of Russia's Law to Combat Extremist Activities. According to the statement from the Prosecutor General's Office, "[t]he autobiographical book contains the ideas of Hitler's National Socialism, presenting the militaristic outlook that justifies discrimination and destruction of non-Aryan races that led to the start of World War II." Mein Kempf is readily available on Russian websites and also in bookshops throughout the country, but now people caught distributing or selling the book could be fined. Some political commentators believe this step could contribute to a decrease of hate crimes in Russia, but others remain skeptical, saying it will be too difficult to stifle distribution, particularly via the Internet. Mein Kampf has also been banned in Austria, China and Germany, and its access is limited is several other countries.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Time

What healthcare means for you. The Five Keys to Health Reform's Success or Failure. Passing the bill was just a start. It's what happens next that will determine what health care costs, whom it helps and how much changes.

Newsweek

What’s so great about the iPad. Think Really Different. The iPad will change the way you use computers, read books, and watch TV—as long as you're willing to do it the Steve Jobs way.

Business Week

The new protectionism. China: Closing for Business? Western companies are finding themselves shut out as Beijing promotes homegrown rivals.

The Economist

Out of the ruins. Now what? Barack Obama needs to use a bruising victory to unleash the promise of his presidency.

Le Nouvel Observateur

2012 : Qui peut battre Sarko ? Après la victoire de la gauche aux régionales, plus de 1 000 lecteurs du «Nouvel Obs» nous ont fait part de leurs choix pour 2012 et une soixantaine de personnalités nous ont confié les raisons de leurs préférences. Entre Dominique Strauss-Kahn, jugé le plus compétent, Martine Aubry considérée comme la plus apte à réduire les inégalités sociales, ou Ségolène Royal, l'une des plus proches des Français, leur coeur balance. Et vous ?

Der Spiegel

Kalter Krieg im Internet - Google gegen China: Der Kampf um die Freiheit im Netz.

  • Daily Press Review

Moscow metro blasts kill dozens
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Three killed, at least 11 Wounded in Iraq Bombings
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

UAE rescue team continues search for Shaikh Ahmad in Morocco
Gulf News, Independent daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Is a serious Israel-EU crisis in the works?
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

MIDEAST: Religion Sways Policy, Now in Israel
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

PA purges educators suspected of links to Hamas
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

Windy, Dusty Conditions in Store
Khaleej Times, English-language daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Decision on Mideast peace talks deferred
Middle East North African Network, Online financial portal, Amman, Jordan

Dozens Killed in Two Explosions on Moscow Metro
Nahamet, Online news portal, Beirut, Lebanon

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

Bombs kill five at house tied to Sunni candidate in Iraq
The Daily Star, Independent daily, Beirut, Lebanon

Party official among 6 killed by bombs in western Iraq
Times of Oman, English-language daily, Muscat, Oman

Moscow Metro explosions kill 37
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Kompany confident of City response
BreakingNews.ie, Online news portal, Cork, Ireland

Errol Flynn's son 'remains found'
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

A nation of pill-poppers: Prescriptions soar as we pick up more than 16 EACH every year
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Nokia buys mobile browser service specialist Novarra
DMeurope, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

RUSSIA: Deadly explosions hit Moscow metro stations
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Subway blasts kill 37 in Russian capital
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Cheryl Cole Works The Military Trend
Look Magazine, London, England

Carlisle United fans do their city proud
News & Star, Independent daily, Carlisle, England

The Rundown - March 29
Radio Free Europe, Prague, Czech Republic

Many Dead After Blasts Hit Moscow's Metro
Sky News, Independent newscaster, Middlesex, England

Following in Switzerland's Footsteps: International Right-Wingers Gather for EU-Wide Minaret Ban
Spiegel International, Liberal newsmagazine, Hamburg, Germany

Explosions on Moscow metro kill at least 34
The Guardian, Liberal daily, London, England

US Navy joins search for missing S.Korean sailors
The Independent, London, England

Chinese court to deliver Rio verdict
The Irish Times, Centrist daily, Dublin, Ireland

Medvedev Seethes as Flag Rises In Sochi
The Moscow Times, Independent daily, Moscow, Russia

Gordon Brown 'appalled' by behaviour of some Labour MPs
The Telegraph, Conservative daily, London, England

Natasha Richardson and Liam Neeson reunited in new film
The Telegraph, London, England

Rio Tinto executive sentenced for 12 years in China
Times Online, Conservative daily, London, England

Earthquake jolts Baubau, Southeast Sulawesi
Antara News, News agency, Jakarta, Indonesia

Thai PM, protesters meet again after live TV talks
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

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

Concern over water conveyed to India
Dawn, English-language daily, Karachi, Pakistan

Explosion thundered in Moscow underground
Gazeta.kz, Official online newspaper, Kazakhstan

Twin blasts in Moscow metro kill 37
India Express, News portal, Mumbai, India

Hyderabad tense, to get more forces
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Tokyo beats Omiya
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Man killed by skidding car
Malaysian Star, Online news portal, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Suicide blasts tear through Moscow subway
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

Hatoyama promises to keep explaining funds scandal ahead of aide's trial
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Junk food as addictive as cocaine fix
Sify News, Chennai, India

Mother of all share cons
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

Sevens raises Olympic hopes for Pacific nations
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

February indicators show booming economy
Taiwan Today, Government Information Office, Taipei, Taiwan

Rajya Sabha panel to examine rules to protect women
Thaindian News, Bangkok, Thailand

Gates Foundation to go all out to reduce child deaths in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar
The Hindu, Left-leaning daily, Chennai, India

Allen's trial pushed back to September
Antigua Sun Online, Independent daily, St. John's, Antigua

Ignatieff would freeze corporate tax rate
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Sonia Bush opens new law firm
Cayman Net News, Online news portal, George Town, Cayman Islands

Man linked to Puerto Rican fugitive slain in Dominican prison
Dominican Today, Independent daily, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

HUMAN RIGHTS: UN Complains of Scant Progress by Mexico
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Wolmer's magic!
Jamaica Gleaner, Independent daily, Kingston, Jamaica

Peru: Cusco did join the 'Earth Hour'
Living in Peru, News portal, Lima, Peru

Corrections Canada escapes shackles of fiscal restraint
The Globe and Mail, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Eat, feel and live well
Trinidad Guardian, Independent daily, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad

UN call for new DR Congo strategy
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Congo Could Have Most of Debt Forgiven by June
CongoPlanet.com, Independent online news aggregator

Mayor Escapes Kidnapping Attempt
GhanaWeb, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Suicide bombers hit commuters during rush
Independent Online, News portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Ethiopia: Siye Delivers Fiery speech in Tembien
Jimma Times, Online news portal, Jimma, Ethiopia

Chiefs relishing Pirates Cup showdown
Mail & Guardian Online, Liberal, Johannesburg, South Africa

Suicide bombers detonated blasts
News24.com, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Labour seeks pay rise for Lagos workers
Vanguard, Independent daily, Lagos, Nigeria

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