May 5, 2010 Nº 902 - Vol. 8


"The deepest sin of the human mind is to believe things without evidence"

Thomas Henry Huxley


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  • Top News

Will BP pay the whole price for its oil spill? Definitely maybe

Much has been published during the last 24 hours about the possibility that BP may not have to pay for all the harm it has caused -- and is causing, and will continue to cause for the foreseeable future -- because the 1990 Oil Pollution Act caps the economic liability of an offshore oil rig spill at $75 million, a sum that's orders of magnitude below the losses that will be caused by the failure of the Deepwater Horizon rig. BP will face unlimited damages under the 1990 law if the accident was caused by BP's "gross negligence," or by BP's violations of federal safety, operational or construction regulations. In addition, BP could face liability under state laws because the 1990 federal law specifically doesn't preempt claims at the state or local levels. The cause of the accident is not yet known, and thus no assessment of BP's role in causing it is possible at this point. Congress may remove the cap of $75 million as several U.S. senators proposed on Monday. The Obama administration is backing "significantly" higher limits for damages BP Plc might face for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and won't rule out scaling back plans to expand offshore drilling.

Crisis panel to probe window-dressing at banks

It's an open secret on Wall Street that many big banks routinely — and legally — fudge their quarterly books. But now Washington is taking a hard look at a range of maneuvers that help banks dress up their financial statements, and raising some uncomfortable questions about banks' bookkeeping. The techniques in question, which are normally relegated to the shadows of finance, are expected to be thrust into a public spotlight on Wednesday by the federal committee that is investigating the causes of the financial crisis. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission is expected to focus most sharply on the way banks slim down their balance sheets before reporting their results and on loans they receive from entities like special-purpose vehicles and hedge funds, which are allowed to operate with little public disclosure. The practices that enabled investment banks like Lehman Brothers to mask their deteriorating finances and hide $50 billion during the crisis are still wide open — and still being employed by other banks. It's all perfectly legal. But accounting experts say such transactions, which are kept off the books and thus rarely disclosed publicly, can carry risks that shareholders should know about. Financial trades are different from such deals that are struck between, say, manufacturers. The big question is the extent to which other major banks used, and still use, creative financing techniques, and whether they, like Lehman, broke any rules.

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  • Crumbs

1 - 'Shut the f--- up' on abortion file, counsels Tory senator (Click here)

2 - Prisoner takes IVF fight to court (Click here)

3 -Woman fined for wearing burqa in Novara, Italy (Click here)

4 - Dutch court rules teenager Laura Dekker can't sail around the world solo (Click here)

5 - Lihir Gold agrees to takeover bid by Australian miner (Click here)

6 -Volcano forces new airspace closures in Ireland and UK (Click here)

7 - Safety fears shut Court’s main entry(Click here)

8 - Immigrant's survivors cannot sue federal health officials, Supreme Court rules (Click here)

9 -Norsk Hydro buys Vale's aluminium business (Click here)

10 - German Euro MP Koch-Mehrin urges EU burka ban(Click here)

11 -Why doctors are being urged to hand out yogurt (Click here)

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MiMIC Journal

China still building golf courses after government ban

A Chinese government ban has failed to stop construction of golf courses, the China Daily reported, citing Li Jianqin, head of the law enforcement and supervision department with the Ministry of Land and Resources.

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  • Historia Verdadeira

Seguros

La aseguradora de vida MetLife analiza nuevas adquisiciones para mantener activo su plan de fortalecimiento global, y en América Latina mira con atención al creciente mercado de Brasil, según dijo el vicepresidente ejecutivo para la región, Oscar Schmidt. (Presione aquí)

Adjudicaciones

La española Abengoa ganó la licitación para la construcción y operación durante 30 años de una línea de transmisión eléctrica en Perú con una inversión estimada en US$ 364,8 mlls. - 280 millones de euros-.

Petrobras

La petrolera brasileña Petrobras acordó una alianza estratégica con la francesa Tereos para invertir US$ 918 mlls., en varias etapas para alcanzar una participación de 45,7% en la subsidiaria local de la firma europea, Açúcar Guarani, en los próximos cinco años. Con la acción la petrolera busca acelerar su crecimiento en la industria del etanol. (Presione aquí)

Minera

La minera canadiense Mandalay Resources Corporation llegó a un acuerdo por la compra del 100% de la Compañía Minera Cerro Bayo Ltda. La mina con activos valiosos en plata y oro está ubicada en la Patagonia chilena y era filial de la norteamericana Coer d'Alene Mines. La nueva administración reanudaría las faenas el primer semestre de 2011, para lo que se invertirían US$ 11 mlls., este año y US$ 10 mlls., en 2011.

  • Brief News

Brazil criticises US immigration law

Brazil on Tuesday voiced sharp criticism of the controversial immigration law in the US state of Arizona, as South American nations gathered for a summit expected to also condemn the legislation. The law "sacrifices the human rights of migrants" by criminalizing those in the state without documentation, the foreign ministry said in a statement. Brazil hoped the law would be revised "to avoid violating the rights of millions of foreigners who peacefully live and work in the United States," it said. Arizona's law is due to take effect in three months, after being tweaked to allay some contentious language giving rise to fears of racial profiling and overreaching police powers. The measure requires police to detain, based on "reasonable doubt," any person they suspect of being an illegal immigrants in Arizona, a state believed to be hosting 460,000 undocumented inhabitants. Mexico has already called the law "racial discrimination" and warned its citizens about travelling to Arizona. Brazil, a temporary member of the UN Security Council, has more than a million nationals living in the United States, according to estimates.

Goldman Sachs faces shareholder lawsuits

Goldman Sachs has revealed that shareholders have filed a series of lawsuits against the bank, accusing it of various forms of mismanagement. The shareholders want the bank to pay out compensation and called for corporate governance reforms. Goldman has already been charged with fraud by the US financial regulator and reports suggest it is also under criminal investigation.

IPOs battered as Douglas Dynamics cuts offer, GSW Immobilien shelves sale

Douglas Dynamics Inc. cut the price of its initial public offering, while China's New Century Shipbuilding Ltd. and Germany's GSW Immobilien AG shelved sales as a widening government-debt crisis roiled the IPO market.

U.K. loses Guantanamo ruling

A British court said the government won't be allowed to keep evidence secret from former Guantanamo prisoners who are suing the U.K. over its alleged complicity in their detention. The three-judge panel said secret evidence violated the principle of open justice.

Lawmakers draft web-ad privacy safeguards

US advertisers and Internet companies have been scrambling to head off regulation they say will hamper growth of online advertising. The pressure is expected to build Tuesday as lawmakers prepare to announce proposed privacy legislation. More than a year in the making, the draft legislation proposes regulating Internet companies' tactics for collecting information about Web visitors and the use of that data for ad targeting. It also could apply to the practices for collecting consumers' information in the offline world.

Obama renews US Syria sanctions

Obama has renewed sanctions against Syria, saying it supported terrorist groups and was pursuing weapons of mass destruction. In a statement, he said Syria "continues to pose... an extraordinary threat" to US security and policy. The US has tried to engage with Syria but recently accused Damascus of arming Lebanese militant group Hezbollah with sophisticated missiles. (Click here)

Argentina's Videla faces new murder charges

The former Argentine military leader, Jorge Rafael Videla, has been charged with an additional 49 cases of kidnapping, torture and murder. Videla, who ruled from 1976 to 1981, is already serving a life sentence for human rights abuses committed during Argentina's so-called Dirty War. The case against him was widened after new forensic evidence came to light.

Groups to form Brazil's 'biggest' homebuilder

PDG Realty, a company with much of its business in Brazil's fast-moving lower income sector, will issue new shares and swap them for shares in Agre, which is strongest in the mid-market sector and in Brazil's poor but quickly developing north-east region.The deal is worth 2.49 billion Brazilian reals ($1.44 billion). PDG said it will for pay the acquisition through an issue of 148 million shares. The combined company will result in "arguably the largest company in the sector."

Lawyers using law firms as launching pads, study shows

As studies show that turnover rates in the legal profession continue to grow, many young attorneys are using large firms as classrooms to gain experience and judgment that will be valued in future jobs, notably as in-house counsel. A recent study, "After the JD -- The First 10 Years," confirmed high turnover rates in the career paths of young attorneys, with associate attorneys leaving firms to work in business, government or public interest law. While some lawyers get stuck on "the billable hour treadmill," most of them "can find different niches in the profession in which they make good use of their training."

Honduras truth commission begins investigating 2009 coup

A Honduran truth and reconciliation commission on Tuesday began investigating the June 2009 coup that removed Manuel Zelaya from power. The commission is tasked with understanding what happened before, during, and after the coup and making recommendations for the future. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has praised the creation of the commission as "an important first step toward reconciliation" in Honduras. The commission is also supported by the US government and the Organization of American States (OAS), which initially called for Zelaya's reinstatement. Zelaya supporters, however, have rejected the commission as a farce, pledging not to cooperate with investigators. Chair of the five-member commission, former Guatemalan vice president Eduardo Stein, said he hopes to deliver a final report by January 2011.

  • Daily Press Review

US suspect 'admits' to NY bomb plot
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Abbas: Mosque Fire Endangers Renewed Peace Efforts
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

Abdullah outlines UAE policy at NPT meet
Gulf News, Independent daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Israel: Palestinians stalling kickoff of proximity peace talks
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Jerusalem Divided Between Hats and Hearts
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

PA blames settlers for torching W. Bank mosque
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

RTA not to insist on ID card for now
Khaleej Times, English-language daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Expos to boost UAE-Greece cultural ties
Middle East North African Network, Online financial portal, Amman, Jordan

New York Pakistani-American Bomber Charged with Terrorism
Nahamet, Online news portal, Beirut, Lebanon

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

Israel: Hizbullah missile buildup accelerating
The Daily Star, Independent daily, Beirut, Lebanon

Israel asks Egypt to rethink pressure on atom pact
Times of Oman, English-language daily, Muscat, Oman

Reports of blast in Abyan stadium denied
Yemen Observer, Sana'a, Republic of Yemen

Reading the body gestures of Yemenis
Yemen Times, (Independent weekly), Sana'a, Republic of Yemen

Tories chase votes through night
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Fighting Irish go down to England
BreakingNews.ie, Online news portal, Cork, Ireland

Plea to media to push good values
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

General Election 2010: Labour in chaos on tactical voting... and Brown hints he'll go quickly in the event of defeat
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

France Telecom, Mabrouk launch Orange Tunisia
DMeurope, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

USA: Times Square suspect said to admit plot, charged with terrorism
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Mongolian activists pressure gov't to fulfill election promises
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Kristen Stewart's Sophisticated New Look
Look Magazine, London, England

Cameron in Carlisle
News & Star, Independent daily, Carlisle, England

Ahmadinejad: Sanctions Won't Stop Iran
Radio Free Europe, Prague, Czech Republic

Leaders Make Final Push Before The Polls
Sky News, Independent newscaster, Middlesex, England

Picture This: High Water
Spiegel International, Liberal newsmagazine, Hamburg, Germany

Blair: don't vote tactically, back party you believe in
The Guardian, Liberal daily, London, England

Berlusconi ally quits over apartment allegations
The Independent, London, England

Increased ash levels to close Irish airports today
The Irish Times, Centrist daily, Dublin, Ireland

U.S. Oil Spill Sets Off Alarm Bells in Russia
The Moscow Times, Independent daily, Moscow, Russia

Simon Cowell's vision for a New Britain
The Sun, London, England

Corey Haim died from pneumonia, coroner finds
The Telegraph, London, England

Global shares tumble on Greece debt fears
The Telegraph, Conservative daily, London, England

FBI 'lost' Times Square suspect Faisal Shahzad before flight
Times Online, Conservative daily, London, England

Soldier stabbed to death in Makassar
Antara News, News agency, Jakarta, Indonesia

Thai protesters 'welcome' Abhisit's offer
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

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

Pakistan arrests relatives of NY bomb suspect
Dawn, English-language daily, Karachi, Pakistan

Kazakhstan reduced volumes of burnt passing gas by one and a half time
Gazeta.kz, Official online newspaper, Kazakhstan

Now a car with inbuilt electric scooter
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

SC declares narco-analysis, brain-mapping illegal
India Express, News portal, Mumbai, India

Bangalore sitting on radiation keg?
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Sony ups sound for 3-D TV sets; iPad gets a challenger
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

College fined RM15,000 for running non-approved courses
Malaysian Star, Online news portal, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Comedian cleared over mother-in-law jokes
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

Commander surrenders
Pajhwok Afghan News, (Independent news agency), Kabul, Afghanistan

Brazilian gas giant Petrobras to produce biodiesel in Portugal
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

1.5 mn Facebook profiles put up for sale
Sify News, Chennai, India

It's not 24, but 53's not bad
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

China's CITIC, Credit Agricole in partnership talks
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Selflessness of Time magazine 'hero' shines
Taiwan Today, Government Information Office, Taipei, Taiwan

Secret behind 100-year-old Mr Binge's long life: a glass of whisky every day!
Thaindian News, Bangkok, Thailand

Government not for caste census
The Hindu, Left-leaning daily, Chennai, India

Bank of Montreal alleges huge mortgage fraud
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Court battles threatened in Electoral Commission storm
Caribbean360, Online news portal, St. Michael, Barbados

Doctors, dentists support cancer programme
Cayman Net News, Online news portal, George Town, Cayman Islands

Dominican Civil Aviation chief admits shortcomings
Dominican Today, Independent daily, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Pope Rewrites Epitaph for Legion of Christ Founder
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Kern stands still
Jamaica Gleaner, Independent daily, Kingston, Jamaica

Colombia, Japan and Brazil interested in investing in Peru
Living in Peru, News portal, Lima, Peru

Lakers grind out win over Jazz
The Globe and Mail, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Residents unaware of roof blaze
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Keui Tung sold out PNM
Trinidad Guardian, Independent daily, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad

Bribes cost Ivory Coast '$300m'
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

54 FDLR Rebels Relocated from North Kivu to Katanga
CongoPlanet.com, Independent online news aggregator

GIA in Trouble?
GhanaWeb, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Brown to take the fall
iafrica, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Lolly's confidante turned on him
Independent Online, News portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Ethiopian Urga Negewo wins Belfast Marathon
Jimma Times, Online news portal, Jimma, Ethiopia

Lesbian soccer team fight for rights in SA
Mail & Guardian Online, Liberal, Johannesburg, South Africa

Lolly killed by own 'muscle' man?
News24.com, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

'El-Rufai's trial, test case for anti-graft crusade'
Vanguard, Independent daily, Lagos, Nigeria
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