May 19, 2010  Nº 908 -  Vol. 8

“The function of the press in society is to inform, but its role in society is to make money.”

A. J. Liebling

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Read Migalhas LatinoAmérica in Spanish every Tuesday and Thursday. Visit the website at www.migalhas.com/latinoamerica

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  • Top News

Obama signs bill aimed at improving worldwide press freedom 

Obama on Monday signed into law the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act, aimed at promoting worldwide press freedom and drawing attention to countries where journalists are threatened, harmed, or censored. The law requires the secretary of state to submit an annual report to Congress detailing a description of the freedom of the press in each country, identifying countries where there have been violations of press freedom, and how the governments of the countries violating press freedom are responding to the violations. The law also establishes a grant program aimed at promoting press freedom. Critics of the law claim it takes no tangible steps toward promoting press freedom, but the co-sponsors of the bill indicated the law is a good first step, stating: “We hope this legislation will help the United States work with other nations to better protect serving on the frontlines in the fight for greater accountability and transparency. Freedom of expression cannot exist where journalists are not safe from persecution and attack. Our government must promote freedom of the press by putting on center stage those countries in which journalists are killed, imprisoned, kidnapped, threatened, or censored.” The legislation is named after Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl who was murdered after being abducted in Pakistan in 2002 while reporting on events following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US. (Click here)

UN official stresses need for international efforts in fighting organized crime 

Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Antonio Maria Costa on Monday opened a UN conference on international crime prevention by warning of the inadequacies of the current international crime control system. Costa indicated that organized crime is gaining economic strength and that countries must find ways to disrupt the international criminal market. In particular, Costa warned about the inadequacies of dealing with new threats against the environment, identity theft, and Internet crimes as well as the traditional threats of piracy, kidnapping, and slavery. Members of the conference were also urged to utilize the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime protocol adopted in 2000 as an important mechanism in crime prevention.

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  • Crumbs

1 - Reluctant Russia, China have agreed on Iran sanctions, Clinton says (Click here)

2 - Banning mentally ill passengers from flying 'illegal, unworkable' (Click here)

3- Lula's Iranian diplomatic coup may be linked to shot at UN post (Click here)

4 - "I have no problem in recognizing Lula da Silva's regional leadership" - Felipe Calderón (Click here)

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China court convicts billionare of insider trading 

A Chinese court on Tuesday convicted Huang Guangyu, formerly China's richest man, of illegal business dealings, insider trading, and corporate bribery. Huang was previously the chairman of Pengrun Investments and founder of subsidiary GOME Electrical Appliances, both publicly traded on the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges. The court sentenced Huang to 14 years in prison, fined him 600 million yuan (88.23 million USD), and ordered him to turn over valuable assets. Huang was charged in February by the Supreme People's Procuratorate, almost 15 months after he was initially placed under detention. His case has been the subject of intense media coverage in China involving allegations of bribery to high-level Shanghai police among others.

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  • Historia Verdadeira

YPF - Repsol

La argentina YPF, donde la mayor accionista es la española Repsol, tiene  planeado hacer importantes inversiones en Brasil y Perú. Dice que en diez años quiere tener el 50% de sus negocios en el exterior. (Presione aquí)

Dólar paralelo

El mercado paralelo de divisas en Venezuela permanecerá cerrado hasta que las autoridades implementen la plataforma que fijará una banda de precios para el dólar no oficial, operada por el Banco Central. Las autoridades excluyeron además a los intermediarios bursátiles de las operaciones con divisas.

UE – Banano;

La Unión Europea y los países de Centroamérica alcanzaron un acuerdo para liberalizar el comercio y recortar los aranceles de importación, dando un acceso total de mercado a los productos industriales de ambas partes.

Colombia - UE

Empresarios colombianos saludan acuerdos que se dieron en el marco de la reciente Cumbre de América Latina, el Caribe y la UE, donde suscribieron un acuerdo que les permite tener acceso preferente a un mercado de 500 millones de habitantes.

  • Brief News

'Strong' new Iran sanctions UN resolution being tabled

Plans for a fourth set of UN sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme are being circulated among all 15 members of the Security Council. The measures foresee cargo ship inspections and new banking controls. They come despite a recent deal in which Iran agreed to send low-enriched uranium to Turkey in return for enriched fuel for a research reactor. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested Iran had been trying to deflect pressure. Brazil's UN envoy said his country was not "engaging in any discussion on a draft at this point because we feel that there is a new situation".

SEC unveils trading rules shakeup

The largest US shares face new trading restrictions after regulators have come up with a plan to avoid a repeat of the plunge in values on 6 May. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has proposed so-called "circuit breakers", which would halt trading in a stock for five minutes, if it fell more than 10% in five minutes. The new rules apply to all stocks in the Standard & Poor's 500 index. The circuit breakers will prevent volatility and  would also increase market transparency, bolster investor protection and bring uniformity to decisions regarding trading halts in individual securities.

Germany to ban some short selling

Germany is to ban so-called "naked short-selling" at its 10 most important financial institutions. Short-sellers usually borrow shares, sell them, then buy them back when the stock falls and return them to the lender keeping the difference in price. "Naked" short selling occurs when a trader sells a financial instrument he has not yet borrowed. The German ban will run from 19 May to 31 March 2011, also applying to naked credit default swaps. Credit default swaps are financial derivatives that provide insurance for losses if a borrower goes bankrupt, and have become a lucrative trading market. European leaders have complained that speculators used credit default swaps on Greek government debt to bet the country would default on its borrowings. That raised pressure on the country to the point where it was forced to ask for a bailout.

Bolivia's Morales tells Pope Benedict to scrap celibacy

Bolivian President Evo Morales has handed the Pope a letter urging him to allow priests to marry. Morales also asked the head of the Roman Catholic Church to admit women to the priesthood. Relations between Bolivia's president and the Church had been strained after Morales accused Bolivian bishops of lying to the people.

Ashton begins anti-piracy tour

The EU's top diplomat is to visit East Africa at the start of a tour aimed at curbing piracy off Somalia's coast. Catherine Ashton, has said she wants to encourage a regional approach to the problem. In Nairobi, she will be confronted by Kenyan leaders fed up with carrying what they say has been the burden of responsibility for dealing with piracy. Kenya has agreed to prosecute pirates caught at sea by the EU force - the only nation in the region to do so. It was to have been part of a wider regional effort. But so far no other country has agreed to let suspects into their legal system, and the Kenyans have called a halt to their own prosecutions.Piracy is a symptom of the lawlessness in Somalia, and unless they can find a way to deal with that, it's likely to remain a headache.

Ken Salazar promises oil agency overhaul after oil leak

US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has promised an overhaul of the agency that regulates offshore oil drilling in particular along industry practices, rig safety, regulation and governmental oversight, including the functions of the MMS. For all the sound and fury from the Obama administration, there has been no definite change of heart about deep-sea drilling, no recantation of his move closer towards the Sarah Palin "drill, baby, drill" attitude in January's state of the union. We still have to see whether spill, baby, spill will make a difference.

EU seeks trade breakthrough with Latin America

The EU is to seek to revive stalled trade talks with Latin America at a summit in Madrid. France and some other EU member states fear that a deal with South America's Mercosul trade bloc could hurt their farmers at a time of economic hardship. A senior EU official said many EU and Mercosul products - industrial and agricultural - were so similar that there were big competition issues. Despite difficulties, the EU is Latin America's second biggest trading partner and the biggest investor in the region.

Somali man pleads guilty to seizing US merchant ship

A Somali man has pleaded guilty in New York's court to seizing a US ship and kidnapping its captain last year. Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse now faces a minimum of 27 years in prison. It is said to be the first piracy trial in the US in decades.

Argentina calls to reopen Falklands talks

Argentina has long laid claim to the islands in the South Atlantic, which are known in Spanish as Las Malvinas. Now, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez has urged new UK Prime Minister David Cameron to hold negotiations over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands. The UK said it had "no doubt" about its right to sovereignty. “The principle of self determination as set out in the UN charter applies,”it said. ‘There cannot be negotiation on sovereignty unless and until the Falkland Islanders so wish. The Lisbon Treaty clearly reaffirms the EU position that the Falkland Islands is an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom."

Most gay men in Asia-Pacific region 'denied HIV care'

Some 90% of gay men in the Asia-Pacific region are denied access to HIV/Aids help because of discriminatory laws in many states, a UN-backed report says. Almost half the region's countries criminalise gay male sex and the report says this is worsening a situation in which infection rates are climbing. Repressive laws "often take on the force of vigilantism", it argues. Governments were urged to reform legal systems and policing to ensure an effective response to the crisis.

Fraudsters' target list revealed by regulator

The UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) says it has found the biggest ever "suckers" list of potential targets for share fraudsters. The information is bought and sold by "boiler rooms", teams of bogus dealers who try to sell worthless shares. These dealers are usually based in overseas offices. Victims are contacted repeatedly by "loaders", experienced scam merchants looking for repeat sales, and "sloppers" who promise that the lost funds can be retrieved if further payments are made. They generally place a dry run transaction for a small amount of money before the big one. Boiler rooms work outside the law and usually outside the UK. The fraudsters tend to employ young dealers from the UK, often straight out of school, making them work the telephones using the hit lists. They add in information about investors' interests, the cars they drive and any genuine shares they hold, to provide conversational gambits for the future. The trickery is backed up by sophisticated selling techniques gleaned from the world of legal marketing.

Brazil corporate bond issues outpace stock sales as IPOs flop

Brazilian local corporate bond issues are outpacing share sales for the first time since 2007 as a stocks rout that made the Bovespa index the worst performer in the Americas curbed demand for initial public offerings. Companies are turning to the debt market even as the central bank raises interest rates because a planned $25 billion share offering by state-controlled oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA is undermining demand for other stock sales. Five of seven initial offerings this year, including a sale by billionaire Eike Batista, raised less than companies originally sought as the Bovespa sank 11 percent.

Justices restrict life terms for youths

The US Supreme Court ruled juveniles can't be sentenced to life without parole for crimes short of homicide.

Pakistan court challenges president's dual offices 

Pakistan's Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday ordered the principal secretary for President Asif Ali Zardari principle secretary to appear before the court in order to explain how Zardari is able to effectively serve as president while also leading the country's ruling party. The petition was filed by the Pakistan Lawyers Forum, which agreed with the secretary's representation of Zardari due to security reasons. Zardari's control of these two offices does not violate Pakistan's Constitution, but the high court has previously barred officials from holding dual offices.

Portugal president ratifies same-sex marriage law 

Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva on Monday signed a bill that legalizes same-sex marriage but stops short of allowing same-sex couples to adopt. The bill was approved by the Portuguese Parliament in January and found to be constitutional by the Constitutional Court last month. Silva indicated he was unhappy with the manner in which the bill was passed but that he was signing the law so parliament could move on to other matters. He also indicated that he could have chosen to veto the bill. (Click here)

ACLU files lawsuit seeking injunction against Arizona immigration law 

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Monday filed a class action lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Arizona seeking an injunction against the implementation of the recently passed Arizona immigration law. The ACLU is joined in the lawsuit by several other rights groups including the NAACP, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) as well as several individual plaintiffs. The suit is challenging the constitutionality of the law, stating that it violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution as well as the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments.

Justices say treaty trumps parental rights

An order prohibiting the removal of a child from a country without the noncustodial parent's consent is enforceable under an international child abduction treaty, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday. (Click here)

  • Daily Press Review

Thai army enters protest camp
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

EU Awaits Details of Iran's Uranium Swap Deal
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

Car crashes into Sharjah lamp post, one injured
Gulf News, Independent daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

UN Security Council sanctions draft targets Iran's banks, cargo, arms
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

MIDEAST: Dreaming With Their Feet
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

'Syria turned down Peres's peace offer'
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

21 pills for car rental headache
Khaleej Times, English-language daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

OIC intra-trade set to touch $250b by 2015
Middle East North African Network, Online financial portal, Amman, Jordan

'Red Shirt' Leaders Surrender at Thai Police Headquarters
Nahamet, Online news portal, Beirut, Lebanon

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

US seeks to regain Iran initiative with sanctions move
The Daily Star, Independent daily, Beirut, Lebanon

Israel plays wargame assuming Iran has nuclear bomb
Times of Oman, English-language daily, Muscat, Oman

Ethiopian Ambassador reveals the controversial Nile Basin countries' agreement
Yemen Observer, Sana'a, Republic of Yemen

Documenting our small successes
Yemen Times, (Independent weekly), Sana'a, Republic of Yemen

Soldiers storm Bangkok barricades
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

McGinn to miss start of pre-season
BreakingNews.ie, Online news portal, Cork, Ireland

'Superbug' strains of TB warning
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

Waitrose to introduce 'scratch and sniff' labels for flower bouquets to increase shelf life
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Invitel sells international wholesale unit to Turk Telekom
DMeurope, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

THAILAND: Army smashes into protest zone in deadly assault
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

German households more indebted than Greeks
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Shop Asos's Gorgeous New Range
Look Magazine, London, England

Pipe burst leaves hundreds of west Cumbrian homes without water
News & Star, Independent daily, Carlisle, England

Deadly Clash Reported At U.S. Air Base In Afghanistan
Radio Free Europe, Prague, Czech Republic

Red Shirts 'Surrender' In Deadly Crackdown
Sky News, Independent newscaster, Middlesex, England

Picture This: Scotch and the Sea
Spiegel International, Liberal newsmagazine, Hamburg, Germany

Thailand cracks down on redshirts 
The Guardian, Liberal daily, London, England

Thai army launches Bangkok assault
The Independent, London, England

HP beats expectations
The Irish Times, Centrist daily, Dublin, Ireland

Even Sun Can't Keep Some Russians in Kyrgyzstan
The Moscow Times, Independent daily, Moscow, Russia

Osama Bin Laughin'
The Sun, London, England

Sharon Stone admits: 'my love life is like the barren Mojave desert'
The Telegraph, London, England

Nick Clegg: tell us the laws that you want scrapped
The Telegraph, Conservative daily, London, England

Journalists shot as Thai government troops storm barricades
Times Online, Conservative daily, London, England

Jakarta teams up with China in research
Antara News, News agency, Jakarta, Indonesia

Taiwan leader says China may dismantle missiles
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

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

Pakistani in Chile says innocent, wants US safe
Dawn, English-language daily, Karachi, Pakistan

Kazakhstan May Restrict Corporate Bank Withdrawals
Gazeta.kz, Official online newspaper, Kazakhstan

Times Square bomber arraigned, next hearing June 1
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

US to tell Pak: Shun 'India-centric' policies
India Express, News portal, Mumbai, India

Chennai Central station on alert
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Sony makes the NEX move, Pioneer's iPod docks double as home theaters
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Teoh Beng Hock inquest: Dr Pornthip ready to testify via video conference
Malaysian Star, Online news portal,  Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Tibetan copy shop rules tightened
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

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

Mexican, French presidents discuss environment, kidnapping case
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Onorato wins 4-way Pa. Dem primary for governor
Sify News, Chennai, India

Role model Eagle's dive
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

U.S. Secretary leads trade mission to China
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei mayor sees new cross-strait route soon
Taiwan Today, Government Information Office, Taipei, Taiwan

I never had problem with stripping: Claudia
Thaindian News, Bangkok, Thailand

Arjun Munda set to lead government in Jharkhand
The Hindu, Left-leaning daily, Chennai, India

Armoured vehicles break Thai protest barricade
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Barbadians urged to pray for ailing PM
Caribbean360, Online news portal, St. Michael, Barbados

Threats alarm observers
Cayman Net News, Online news portal, George Town, Cayman Islands

Top Dominican journalist slams bums in government payroll
Dominican Today, Independent daily, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Football Fortunes for Mexican TV
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Arrest Dudus
Jamaica Gleaner, Independent daily, Kingston, Jamaica

Peru to receive US $14 billion in foreign investment for mining projects
Living in Peru, News portal, Lima, Peru

D-Day in Battle of Bangkok
The Globe and Mail, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

How will Kamla fund UNC's promises?
Trinidad Guardian, Independent daily, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad

Somali pleads guilty in US court
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Back from DR Congo, Security Council set to review mandate of UN force
CongoPlanet.com, Independent online news aggregator

Rajevac continues Serbian influence in Ghana
GhanaWeb, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Troops attack Red Shirts
iafrica, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

'Man hid SA wife in freezer for 3 years'
Independent Online, News portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Egypt planning to block Italian finance for Ethiopia's hydro dams
Jimma Times, Online news portal, Jimma, Ethiopia

Baby Kruger's nanny fired
Mail & Guardian Online, Liberal, Johannesburg, South Africa

Thai cops shoot to kill, 5 dead
News24.com, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Police detain 4-yr-old girl, mother over N53,000 debt
Vanguard, Independent daily, Lagos, Nigeria

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