May 26, 2010  Nº 911 -  Vol. 8

"Searching is half the fun: life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party."

Jimmy Buffett


Read Migalhas LatinoAmérica in Spanish every Tuesday and Thursday. Visit the website at


  • Top News

U.S. communications law to be reviewed

Two top Democratic legislators said Monday that they would begin a process to modernize telecommunications laws that were last overhauled in 1996 but barely mention the Internet. The issue came into focus in April when a federal appeals court ruled that the F.C.C. had overstepped its authority in applying a portion of the Communications Act to an Internet service provider. In response, the F.C.C. announced a plan this month to reclassify broadband Internet service, which is now lightly regulated as an information service. Under the change, it would be classified as a telecommunications service, similar to basic telephone service, and would therefore come under more scrutiny by the agency. The reclassification would give the commission the authority to implement portions of its recently released National Broadband Plan, as well as to enforce net neutrality, the concept that Internet service providers must provide consumers with equal access to all types of content and applications. Internet service providers have generally opposed the proposed reclassification, arguing that the F.C.C. has the authority it needs to ensure fair competition among Internet service providers. They also are wary because the reclassification could give the F.C.C. the authority to regulate rates charged to customers. Telecommunications firms also argue that a lack of legislation has not stifled competition among Internet companies. (Click here)

Italy joins euro austerity drive

Reductions in spending measures have already been announced by Greece, Spain and Portugal, UK and Danemark. Now, the Italian government has approved austerity measures worth 24 billion euros ($29bn) for the years 2011-2012 in an effort to reduce the gap between spending and earnings. Some Italian workers have already been out protesting.

Bernanke warning on interference

Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the US Federal Reserve, has said it and other central banks must be able to make key decisions free from political meddling. He stressed the importance of the Fed and central banks in other nations keeping their independence over setting interest rates. Restricting banks' ability to execute monetary policy would lead to economic instability and "boom-bust cycles". It comes as governments around the world discuss ways to regulate banks.

The rebound of global M&A

Due to unprecedented success, this Open Lecture on market trends in Mergers & Acquisitions, organized by Georgetown Law & Lex Mercator, will be offered for a second time. It will take place on Thursday, May 27 at 5 p.m. Washington, D.C. time and will last about an hour. Professor Andrew Sherman, J.D., a partner at Jones Day, an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law and Business Schools, and author of Mergers & Acquisitions: From A to Z, will give the lecture. Since the event is live in real-time, space is limited, but you can reserve a spot here. Of course, it is free of charge to you and your firm. 

Before you open the door to the boardroom, peek through the keyhole!

Michael Page specializes in the placement of candidates in permanent, contract, temporary and interim positions within client companies around the world. Have a look at the new section of the Migalhas website and discover the professional development opportunities with large corporations, in legal and business fields, presented by Michael Page International. Click here to peep through the hole!

  • Crumbs

1 - Ten-year-old schoolboys convicted of attempted rape (Click here)

2 - Supreme Court says bias case over firefighter hiring can move forward (Click here)

3 - G8/G20 security costs could reach $900-million (Click here)

4 - Chavez and the opposition battle over control of the Internet (Click here)

5 - China 'mispricing' to correct, Morgan Stanley says (Click here)

6 - Allow gay men to donate blood, researchers say (Click here)

7 - Green law pushes up power price (Click here)

8 - Iran deal seen as spot on Brazilian leader's legacy (Click here)

9 - Former Toyota lawyer awaits key ruling (Click here)

10 - Supreme Court won't hear jailed L.A. lawyer's contempt of court case (Click here)

11 - IMF recommends radical changes to Spanish economy (Click here)

12 - Synthetic life patents 'damaging' (Click here)

13 - Euro worries prompt global stock market falls (Click here)


100% Migalhas:


MiMIC Journal

Law departments of private Chinese companies reported to have little respect

Baidu, the Internet colossus of China, boasts a team of 16 corporate lawyers, including two in Japan, who counsel the $625 million company. An article includes these facts in its profile of Victor Liang, the company's general counsel. What struck me, however, was that the reporter commented generally on the role of legal departments in China.


Tell your friends and colleagues you've read it in Migalhas International


  • Historia Verdadeira


La ciudadana estadounidense Lori Berenson, sentenciada por terrorismo en Perú, obtuvo el beneficio de libertad condicional, de acuerdo a la resolución de la titular del Primer Juzgado Supraprovincial, jueza Jessica León Yarango. Berenson cumpliótres cuartas partes de la condena a 20 años de prisión que se le impuso en 1995 por sus nexos con el ilegal Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru (MRTA).


Panamá obtuvo ayer el grado de inversión sobre su deuda por parte de la calificadora Standard & Poor's, que se suma al concedido por Fitch hace dos meses y premia recientes reformas al sistema fiscal y recortes presupuestarios hechos por el país. (Presione aquí)

Chile – Perú

Perú reanudará el viernes en Santiago las reuniones de su ministro de Defensa con su par de Chile, paralizadas tras la presentación hace casi dos años de una demanda en la corte internacional por un diferendo de límites marítimos entre ambos países.


La empresa española Telefónica inicia hoy una ronda de contactos con inversores institucionales de Portugal Telecom en busca de apoyos para su oferta por la operadora de telefonía brasileña Vivo. (Presione aquí)

  • Brief News

BP cites crucial 'mistake' on oil well

According to a memo, BP identified several other mistakes aboard the rig and spokesman said the company had identified "what we believe to be a series of underlying failures" that caused the accident. Although the memo identifies some of the problems that led to these mistakes, it doesn't identify who made the key decisions. Most of the work aboard the rig was performed by employees of Transocean Ltd., the rig's owner and operator, and other contractors, but BP had managers aboard the rig to supervise the work at the time of the accident. A Transocean spokesman said in response to the memo: "A well is constructed and completed the same way a house is built—at the direction of the owner and the architect. And in this case, that's BP." The congressional inquiry by Mr. Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Mr. Stupak, a senior member of the panel, has focused on the actions of the various companies and their workers on the day of the accident. Inquiries by other congressional panels have tended to focus more on the actions of regulators or the general policies of the companies. BP, which is responsible for stopping and cleaning up the giant spill, has said it would pay "all legitimate claims" from the spill. Some Democrats fear that the company might find a way to avoid some liability.

Transocean liability in gulf spill can't be capped under law

Transocean Ltd. can't use a 150-year- old statute to cap its liability against claims arising from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, lawyers for victims of the disaster said at a hearing in federal court in Houston.

Does the False Claims Act work a little too well?

The False Claims Act, originally passed during the Civil War, was amended in 1986 to give prosecutors and plaintiffs a powerful tool to punish those who defraud the U.S. — and to recover money illicitly taken from the government. To a large degree, the incentives have worked: plaintiffs who help the government recover money typically recover a big percentage of the recovery. In recent years, the government has gotten much of its money back — and many plaintiffs have gotten rich. But has the process worked too well? Over the last 15 years, Piacentile, a New Jersey physician, has been a whistle-blower in suits that have returned more than $1 billion to the U.S. Treasury. Unlike most qui tam relators, he doesn't blow the whistle as an employee or business partner of the companies he has sued. Instead he relies on secondhand information collected through his own investigations. . . Defense counsel call him a professional mudslinger; some qui tam lawyers and former government lawyers say that he's a parasitic bully who files vague or questionable complaints and then pushes his way into settlements based on his qui tam savvy and his willingness to litigate. And Piacentile has a criminal history of his own–a 1991 conviction on fraud and tax charges–which some lawyers say can undercut his credibility as a plaintiff.

Note: In common law, a writ of qui tam is a writ whereby a private individual who assists a prosecution can receive all or part of any penalty imposed. Its name is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur, meaning "[he] who sues in this matter for the king as for himself."

Africa groups urge greater cooperation with ICC 

A collection of African civil society organizations on Monday issued a declaration urging greater cooperation between the International Criminal Court (ICC) and African nations during the upcoming ICC review conference. The group of 124 organizations called on African governments to enhance their cooperation with the court and to make greater efforts in the execution of outstanding warrants. The declaration also urged member states to improve their national judicial systems in order to maintain the court's status as one of last resort, and called on states that had not ratified the Rome Statute, the treaty establishing the court, to do so.

Obama to send extra troops to bolster US-Mexico border

Obama will seek $500m in new funding and deploy up to 1,200 extra troops to help secure the US-Mexico border. National Guard troops would be deployed until the US can recruit and train additional agents to serve there. The move follows pressure from US border states for action to help curb illegal immigration and drug violence. Mexico urged the US to use the troops to pursue criminals, not migrants.

Kenya judges rule Islamic courts unconstitutional 

A Kenyan constitutional court ruled Monday that inclusion of Islamic "Kadhi" courts in the nation's current constitution is illegal and discriminatory. The Kadhi court system, which elevates Islam over the country's other religions, was deemed unconstitutional because it does not coincide with Kenya's secular mandate. The court also held that supporting Kadhi courts with public funds is a form of segregation as it promotes the development of one religion over another. The three-judge panel did not determine whether the Islamic courts should be included in the nation's new constitution, which will be put to a referendum on August 4. Kenyan Attorney General Amos Wako has moved to challenge the court's decision, calling the ruling itself unconstitutional. The Kadhi courts, which were created for the use of Muslims in areas of family law such as inheritance, marriage, divorce, and personal status, have become a contentious issue between political and religious leaders as Kenya's struggle to develop a new constitution reaches its final stages.

Obama administration seeks dismissal of Virginia health care suit 

The Obama administration on Monday filed a brief urging the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by the state of Virginia challenging the constitutionality of the recently enacted health care reform law. The suit filed by Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli challenges the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision of the health care bill, which would require most Americans to purchase some form of health insurance by 2014 and directly contradicts a state law purporting to prevent the enforcement of a federal mandate. In the brief, attorneys representing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius argued that the state lacks standing to challenge the provision because it "alleges no actual or imminent injury to its own interests as a state," and went on to argue: "The Court would ... have to step beyond the proper role of the Judiciary, for Virginia does not satisfy ... standing to sue. The Commonwealth asserts it has standing to vindicate a sovereign interest in its new statute purporting to exempt Virginians from any federal requirement to purchase health insurance. A state cannot, however, manufacture its own standing to challenge a federal law by the simple expedient of passing a statute purporting to nullify it."

Time to reclaim law from legal priesthood

The way in which the people's laws are framed makes them a plaything of the legal classes. Could any normal person understand law texts? Even someone afflicted with a qualification in law? It is not intended to be intelligible to anybody but legal nerds, who have a vested interest in such intelligibility, for it provides them with an income and a status. Why is it then that we go along with the codology of the legal mumbo-jumbo in which our laws are enacted and in which our legal priesthood expresses itself at such enormous length? If the laws are ours and the legal priesthood constitutes the interpreters of the law and the Constitution, how is it that it is OK for the laws and the interpretations of them to turn out to be so inaccessible to the sovereign people? At the heart of this, of course, is a contempt for the populace – the sovereign power – although the formal language defers rhetorically every now and again to the ideal of democracy. The contempt is founded on the presumption that the law actually is the plaything of lawyers. Source: Vincent Browne in irish Times.

Race debate sparked in Brazil

Brazil is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world and many Brazilians pride themselves as having a society without overt evidence of racial tension, and some even deny that racism in their country exists. But a recent move to institute affirmative action for poor blacks and address inequalities in educational opportunities has sparked an unaccustomed debate on race.

Brazil launches international TV station

Brazil has launched an international television station that will broadcast to African nations. Lula  said the aim of the Portuguese-language channel was to represent Brazil to the world. The channel shows Brazil's growing interest in Africa. It will also soon also be available in Latin America, Canada, Europe and the US. Speaking at the launch of TV Brasil Internacional at a ceremony in Brasilia, Lula described it as the realization of a dream. (Click here)

EU says telecoms market 'too fragmented'

Businesses and consumers across the EU are plagued by high prices because of inconsistent application of EU telecoms rules, the European Commission says. Big price differences are hampering efforts to create a single market in EU telecoms.

Trial of alleged Somali pirates opens in Netherlands

The first European trial of alleged Somali pirates has opened in the Netherlands. Five men have denied seeking to hijack a cargo ship registered in the Netherlands Antilles, saying they were on a simple fishing trip. They face up to 12 years in jail. The men's lawyers say they will challenge the jurisdiction of Dutch courts to try the case because the cargo vessel was under the flag of the Netherlands Antilles, which has its own justice system. This trial is expected to last five days, and the judgment is expected to be handed down in the middle of next month.

Survey shows law firms discrimination

In a not-yet-released study that shows just how 'powerful' negotiation can be, the numbers show that law firms' corporate clients are not all created equal — if billing rates are any indication: charging clients different rates — for the same work!

Justice attorney backs Vatican's claim of immunity from abuse lawsuit

In one of two cases that seek to draw the Holy See into U.S. courts over liability for sexual abuse by priests, the Obama administration's solicitor general said lower courts were wrong to conclude both that an abuser was acting within "the scope of his employment" and also that as his "employer," the Vatican could be sued. In a brief to the Supreme Court filed May 21, Neal Kumar Katyal, who is acting solicitor general, said the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals erred in finding that the Holy See could be held vicariously liable for sexual abuse committed by a priest because he arguably could be considered an employee of the Vatican. In a second case in Kentucky, plaintiffs want to hold the Vatican liable for actions by bishops in failing to prevent sexual abuse by priests. They argue that the bishops who supervised the abusive priests were employees of the Holy See. The solicitor general's brief picked apart the 9th Circuit's ruling, listing multiple "errors" in how the court concluded that the Holy See was not immune from a legal claim; in how it found that Ronan was arguably acting within the scope of his employment when he allegedly committed sexual abuse; and in how the court used Oregon's employment law to find an exception to the federal Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. The brief noted that the request to the Supreme Court to take the case lacks a usual criteria for consideration -- conflicting judgments of different lower courts. But while the case does not merit review under that standard, the brief said, the high court might wish to take the case, vacate the lower court's judgment and send it back for further consideration.

Law and family in Malaysia

Under Malaysia's hybrid legal system, civil law applies to all citizens but the Shariah courts have limited jurisdiction in enumerated areas such as family law over Muslims—non-Muslims are governed by civil law only. What remains unclear, however, is how interfaith family law disputes should be handled, such as that between Shamala and her estranged husband. The real battle in Malaysia is not between Shariah and civil courts. It is rather between those who believe that religion is something transitive that can be imposed by one person onto another, and those who believe that the wellspring of religious experience is the conscience, the interior mind and soul of a person—even as religion has external, communal expression. But the legal system can only redress interreligious tensions to a certain degree. If Malaysia wants to see its dual Shariah and civil court system peacefully coexist, it will have to examine its conception of conscience and the rightful source of conversion. Parliamentarians, judges and the state may be the best protectors of a public square that is accommodating, if neutral, in religious matters, but they make for poor theologians.

Toyota acceleration suits in California should be coordinated 

Lawsuits in California state court against Toyota Motor Corp. related to sudden acceleration of its vehicles should be coordinated so they can be handled more efficiently, a judge said.

Madoff investors outside U.S. reach $15.5 billion settlement

Banks agreed to pay about $15.5 billion to settle claims by about 720,000 investors outside the U.S. who lost money in Bernard Madoff's fraud, said the chairman of a group of law firms representing victims. (Click here)

Obama introduces legislation seeking wider authority to cut spending 

Obama sent legislation to Congress on Monday that would give the president the ability to force Congress to vote on a repeal of spending provisions once they have been signed into law.

  • Daily Press Review

North Korea cuts ties with South
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Al-Sistani Has Confirmed his Neutrality- Iraqiya List Source
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

New guide stresses best care for animals
Gulf News, Independent daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Israel mounts air strike on Gaza tunnels overnight
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

ISRAEL: Settlement Policy Wrong Say European Jews
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Abbas: Second Intefada a 'huge mistake'
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

CBSE curriculum goes global
Khaleej Times, English-language daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Preparations for GCC single currency need 5 more years
Middle East North African Network, Online financial portal, Amman, Jordan

Clinton from SKorea Warns NKorea to Stop Threats, Provocation
Nahamet, Online news portal, Beirut, Lebanon

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

Tehran urges skeptical powers to accept atom swap offer
The Daily Star, Independent daily, Beirut, Lebanon

West plays down Iran gesture, sticks to sanctions drive
Times of Oman, English-language daily, Muscat, Oman

Southern movement militants surrender arms to government, accept reconciliation
Yemen Observer, Sana'a, Republic of Yemen

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

Academy invitations for schools
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Ten air passengers injured by turbulence, Online news portal, Cork, Ireland

Miracle escape for rail track baby
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

MPs win reprieve on expenses as watchdog agrees to hand out cash payments worth GBP 4,000
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

T-Mobile USA CEO Dotson to leave per May 2011
DMeurope, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

KOREAN CRISIS: Clinton in Seoul for crisis talks as tensions escalate
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Uncovering the layers of Istanbul's past, present and future
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Shop Sex And The City Jewellery
Look Magazine, London, England

Carlisle nightclub bouncer used job to scam over GBP 130,000
News & Star, Independent daily, Carlisle, England

Russia Criticizes US Patriot Missile Deployment Near Kaliningrad
Radio Free Europe, Prague, Czech Republic

Snatched Twins Found After Police Operation
Sky News, Independent newscaster, Middlesex, England

Britain's 'New Politics': Queen Announces New Government Austerity Measures
Spiegel International, Liberal newsmagazine, Hamburg, Germany

Violent clashes as police storm Kingston suburb
The Guardian, Liberal daily, London, England

North Korea threatens to cut last link with South
The Independent, London, England

Moores regrets Liverpool sale
The Irish Times, Centrist daily, Dublin, Ireland

Global Fears Gut Stocks As Slump Looms
The Moscow Times, Independent daily, Moscow, Russia

Baby gets 40% burns at beach
The Sun, London, England

Noel Clarke at premiere of his new film
The Telegraph, London, England

German push for treaty could allow Tory power grab, says EU
The Telegraph, Conservative daily, London, England

Oil spill from ship collision in Singapore contained
Times Online, Conservative daily, London, England

Two tankers saved following their collision
Antara News, News agency, Jakarta, Indonesia

Clinton: World must act on South Korean ship sinking
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

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

Hamesh Khan appears before Supreme Court
Dawn, English-language daily, Karachi, Pakistan

Over 1,000 landmines found in Colombia
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Striking AI staff talks peace as 100 flights cancelled
India Express, News portal, Mumbai, India

Biggest deal: 6 acres go for Rs 4000cr
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Dealing with sincere and sesame forms of flattery
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Teen found guilty of raping 14-yr-old schoolmate
Malaysian Star, Online news portal,  Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Train hits pram but baby survives
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

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

Indonesian traditional way of drying fish (7)
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Conmen found selling passes to Russian parliament
Sify News, Chennai, India

Child hit by train: most platforms 'slope towards tracks'
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

U.S. hotel group Carlson Hotels announces big plans for Asia
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

CDC develops rapid enterovirus test kit
Taiwan Today, Government Information Office, Taipei, Taiwan

Asteroid ended the age of dinosaurs
Thaindian News, Bangkok, Thailand

Black box recovered from crash site in Mangalore
The Hindu, Left-leaning daily, Chennai, India

MPs shouldn't fear expenses audit: AG
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Security forces in offensive to take in Dudus
Caribbean360, Online news portal, St. Michael, Barbados

Jamaica unrest
Cayman Net News, Online news portal, George Town, Cayman Islands

Education Minister suspects school breakfast sabotage
Dominican Today, Independent daily, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

More Funds, Less Red Tape, NGOs Tell GEF Assembly
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

All out war - As Tivoli assault deepens, casualties rise
Jamaica Gleaner, Independent daily, Kingston, Jamaica

Peruvian Bond Yields Rise to 11-Month High on Interest-Rate Speculation
Living in Peru, News portal, Lima, Peru

Turbulence injures 10 on flight diverted to Montreal
The Globe and Mail, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Two dead in Markham plane crash
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Property tax 'mash' me up says Regrello
Trinidad Guardian, Independent daily, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad

Ethiopia poll 'falls short' - EU
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Great Lakes regional body calls for free, fair elections in member states, Independent online news aggregator

Ghana bids to break Africa's oil curse
GhanaWeb, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Bizarre steps at Foxconn
iafrica, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Toilets: ANC slammed for 'double standards'
Independent Online, News portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Oromia-Ethiopia: Medrek observers in West Shoa reject flawed election result
Jimma Times, Online news portal, Jimma, Ethiopia

Drug-linked violence shakes Jamaica capital
Mail & Guardian Online, Liberal, Johannesburg, South Africa

Neglected kids bitten by rats, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Search and rescue: NEMA promises swift response
Vanguard, Independent daily, Lagos, Nigeria


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