June 11, 2010 Nº 917 - Vol. 8


"The impossible missions are the only ones which succeed."

Jacques Cousteau


In today's Law Firm Marketing, Educational message increases confidence in you, skepticism in competing lawyers

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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

Countries call for return of property seized during Holocaust

Forty-three countries on Wednesday announced their support for a new set of guidelines to ensure a more diligent effort is made to return real property seized by the Nazis during the Holocaust to its rightful owners or heirs. The guidelines, first proposed at last year's Holocaust Era Assets Conference, are legally non-binding, but are described as "morally important." Countries will use the guidelines within the framework of their own laws in order to "bring a measure of justice to Holocaust survivors as well as other victims of these persecutions, and their heirs." The agreement calls for the return of real property to individuals or religious or communal organizations who had their property wrongly seized during the period of 1933 to 1945. The rightful owner would be determined by the last recorded owner before the property was seized, and restitution of the property would result in clear title. The agreement also recognizes the rights of current, good-faith, private property owners indicating they should be properly compensated if their property is taken. Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer called the agreement "a partial step" toward justice, but indicated that countries must continue working to protect the interests of Holocaust survivors.

Little-known law could work in Transocean's favor

Victims of the rig explosion and their families are suing BP and Transocean, the Swiss-based company that owns the drilling rig. But getting a settlement from Transocean, the world's largest offshore drilling company, could be difficult. The company has invoked a 19th century American law to limit its liability to $26.76 million, a fraction of what the plaintiffs are likely to seek. Transocean's pre-emptive strike is part of the legal thicket confronting victims, where a patchwork of arcane and sometimes inconsistent laws will most likely make the ensuing litigation one of the most complex cases in American history. The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig is technically a mobile offshore drilling unit. Under maritime law, it is classified as a seagoing vessel, just like a freighter or passenger ship. Three weeks after the accident, Transocean petitioned a U.S. federal court for protection under the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851.Congress enacted the law to spur investment in shipping and keep the U.S. Merchant Marine fleet competitive with other seafaring nations. To help the American shipping industry, the government limited ship owners' liability to the value of the vessel plus the money the owner would collect for completing its voyage. But now that the Deepwater Horizon is a wreck on the ocean floor, the vessel is worthless, according to Transocean. Transocean says the remaining value of its drilling contract with BP at the time of the April 20 disaster was $26,764,083. That amount, the company argues, is the maximum it is legally required to pay to victims.

Can the U.S. punish BP's shareholders?

The United States Justice Department said on Wednesday that it was considering legal action to block British Petroleum from paying dividends to make sure the company covers all costs related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has said BP would be asked to pay energy companies for losses if they had to lay off workers because of the moratorium on deepwater drilling. BP said it would decide next month whether keep a quarterly dividend of 14 cents a share for the second quarter, a payout of about $2.6 billion. Needless to say, investors in Britain were furious because BP dividends accounted for some 12 percent of all dividends handed out by British companies last year. There are no legal grounds for the Department of Justice to seek an injunction against British Petroleum to prohibit its scheduled dividend. The law offers options to stop dividend payments in the case of bankruptcy, but there is no indication that BP is facing bankruptcy. In the absence of a bankruptcy threat, the company has the authority to issue dividends. There is a chance, slim but not zero, the company will eventually have to pay out damages that exceed its net assets. As any corporate finance expert would tell you, you should immediately start draining any and all cash out of the firm into your own pockets. The best and quickest way to do this, of course, is to pay yourself a very large dividend. This scenario explains why, on Wednesday, the U.S. Justice Department announced that it was "concerned" about BP's plan to pay its shareholders approximately $10 billion in dividends.

Investing in Brazil – How to get started

This article by Lukas Matthias Rhomberg, attorney at De Vivo, Whitaker, Castro e Gonçalves Advogados provides an overview of the main characteristics of the Brazilian limited liability company (Sociedade Empresária Limitada or Limitada) as well as the requirements to incorporate and subsequently capitalize it with foreign funds. (Click here)

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 - Life for Bosnian Serbs over genocide at Srebrenica (Click here)

2 - Petrobras gets Senate approval for oil-for-stock swap (Click here)

3 - Supreme Court confirms publication bans on bail hearings (Click here)

4 - Basis Capital's $1bn Goldman claim (Click here)

5 - 'Prestige' captain faces 12-year jail sentence (Click here)

6 - What if there's no fix for high unemployment? (Click here)

7 - Stop and search used illegally against thousands (Click here)

8 - Spain's economy "very serious," says World Bank (Click here)

9 - Will oil spill companies be on hook for clean water crimes? (Click here)

10 - Egypt introduces Alexandria smoking ban (Click here)

11 - Court lets city withhold data of surveillance (Click here)

12 - German court rejects euro rescue-fund emergency bid (Click here)

13 - What alternative business structures mean for the legal profession (Click here)

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MiMIC Journal

Chinese judges hurt in acid attack

Two judges and four other court officials have been injured in an acid attack sparked by a loan dispute in southern China. Defendants Chen Hongsheng and Liu Fengjian threw sulphuric acid at officials as they tried to repossess a property in Wuzhou, Guangxi province. The couple were arrested after a two-hour siege - reports said the judges could partially lose their sight. The attack comes a week after three judges were shot dead in Hunan.

China currency stance 'impeding reforms'

US politicians have repeated threats to impose trade sanctions on China if it continues to refuse to revalue its currency, the yuan. Both Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee warned US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner that their patience was wearing thin. Geithner said China's stance was impeding global economic reforms. The US has long complained that Beijing keeps the yuan undervalued against the US dollar to gain a trade advantage. Some analysts argue the yuan is undervalued by as much as 40%. Senator Charles Schumer, a leading Democrat, said he was confident a bill imposing sanctions on China would be passed successfully if needed. "The issue here is not US protectionism but China's flouting of the rules of free trade," he said

  • Law Firm Marketing

Educational message increases confidence in you, skepticism in competing lawyers

by Trey Ryder

When you provide information to prospects -- and other lawyers don't -- prospects immediately have more confidence in you than in them.

Why?

Because the more information you provide, the higher your credibility -- the more comfortable prospects feel with you -- and, subconsciously, the more skepticism prospects feel toward lawyers who have not provided these facts. As a result, information you provide creates positive feelings toward you -- and negative feelings toward other lawyers.

Where information does the most good

Prospects look for cues about whether to hire your services. Initially, those cues relate to your knowledge, skill, judgment and experience.

1. Solution. When you explain the steps you will take to solve your prospect's problem or achieve his goal, your prospect concludes that you have the knowledge and experience to handle his legal matter. Since your prospect does not know whether other lawyers could solve his problem, your explanation pre-empts other lawyers from consideration -- unless he goes to the trouble of seeking out information from other attorneys.

2. Services. When you explain in detail the services you offer, prospects have a clear picture of how you can help them. On the other hand, when other lawyers don't provide a list of services, prospects can't be sure whether those lawyers offer the services they need.

3. Biography. When you give information about your education and experience, prospects feel comfortable because they know something about your background. The more biographical information you provide, the more comfortable your prospects feel with you -- and the more uncertain they grow of other lawyers, since your prospects may know nothing about them at all.

4. Testimonials. When you offer comments from clients, colleagues and other professionals, your prospects conclude that you are respected by all who know you. When other lawyers don't provide this information, prospects can't be sure what their clients and colleagues think about them. (A few jurisdictions do not allow lawyers to use testimonials, so make sure you check your rules of professional conduct.)

5. Reprints. When you provide prospects with copies of articles you've written that have appeared in print -- or articles in which you've been quoted -- they grow to respect you as an authority in your field. When prospects have not received reprints from other lawyers, prospects assume those lawyers have never had articles in print, which reinforces their perception that you're the expert.

6. Fees. When you provide information about fees or fee ranges, prospects have an idea of how deep the well is. Prospects feel better when they have information about fees, even if the fees are higher than the prospects want. And when other lawyers provide no information about fees, prospects often assume their fees are higher than they really are. I encourage you to present fees or fee ranges as part of your marketing message.

7. Photo. Even your photo has pre-emptive value. When prospects know what you look like, they feel more at ease. It's that simple. In most cases, prospects don't care how you look, as long as you fall within their "accepted range" of how a lawyer should look. (If your appearance is extreme, you're still OK if your prospects share your extreme look.) A closely cropped photo with good eye contact and a warm, engaging smile is best.

8. Important Information. When you provide any information that your prospects want, you increase your credibility and overcome prospects' fears and concerns.

How to deliver your information

Once you have good, helpful information, your next challenge is to deliver it to your prospects. The most effective ways to deliver information are ways that your prospects find comfortable and convenient. Comfortable means prospects want to receive information at arm's length, so neither you nor anyone else can apply sales pressure. Convenient means prospects want to receive information with the smallest amount of hassle and effort, and with the least interruption in their schedule.

Comfortable, convenient ways to deliver your marketing message include:

1. Posting your information on your web site.

2. Sending your information by mail or e-mail.

3. Presenting your information at a seminar or roundtable.

4.Featuring your information in a newspaper article or broadcast interview.

5. Including your information in a newspaper or magazine column.

6. Highlighting your information in your firm's newsletter.

The least comfortable and convenient way to deliver information is in person, such as when you require your prospect to come to your office. (Less-sophisticated prospects often fear that you'll try to pressure them into hiring you.) In most cases, the more sophisticated your prospect, the less he feels intimidated by you -- and the less time he has to meet with you. Many prospects want to learn about you and your background before they decide whether to meet you in person.

When you provide an educational message that contains facts your prospects want, you increase your credibility, you overcome prospects' fears, and you gain a major competitive advantage over lawyers who have not provided this information.

Bottom Line: The easiest way to gain a major competitive advantage is to provide information to your prospects. And when you put your information in writing, it's even more persuasive because it's right there in black and white, less likely to be misunderstood and not affected by a lapse in memory.

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© Trey Ryder

FREE LAWYER MARKETING ALERT: If you'd like to receive Trey Ryder's weekly Lawyer Marketing Alert, send an e-mail to Trey@TreyRyder.com. Write "Subscribe LMA" in the subject line and write your name and e-mail address in the body of the message.

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  • Historia Verdadeira

Panamá - UE

La Unión Europea restituyó a Panamá el Sistema de Preferencias Generalizadas Plus (SGP+), para que los productos del país puedan entrar libres de aranceles a Europa, a partir del próximo 1 de julio y hasta el 31 de diciembre de 2011.

Petrobras

El Senado de Brasil aprobó la transferencia de reservas submarinas por hasta 5.000 millones de barriles de crudo a la petrolera estatal brasileña Petrobras a cambio de la entrega de acciones de la firma al gobierno.De esta manera, la compañía se convertirá en el único operador del área "subsal" o "pre-sal", que involucra a las enormes reservas ubicadas bajo el manto de sal en el Océano Atlántico.

Banca

Santander Brasil invertirá US$ 246,8 mll., en la construcción de un centro de tecnología, investigación y procesamiento de datos, "data center", en la ciudad de Campinas, en el estado de São Paulo.El polo tecnológico estaría construido para el primer trimestre de 2012. (Presione aquí)

Farmacias

El gigante farmacéutico inglés GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) compró laboratorio argetnino Phoenix, de la familia Sielecki. La operación se realizó en US$ 253 mlls., y le dará a la compañía con sede en Londres una participación de casi 5% en el atomizado mercado de los medicamentos en el país.

Negocios

Vendieron la española Marsans por US$ 720 mlls. Los problemas de la empresa de viajes comenzaron con la expropiación de Aerolíneas Argentinas y la inasumible deuda de Air Comet, fue comprada por Posibilitum, especializada en reflotar sociedades en dificultades del español Ángel de Cabo, incluidos los pasivos de las compañías adquiridas.

China – Soja

La presidenta Argentina, Cristina Fernández confirmó su viaje a China para el 13 de julio. El objetivo es buscar solución a las restricciones del gigante asiático al aceite de soja, que dejo de comprar al país sudamericano hace dos meses, un negocio que implica más de US$ 2.000 mlls. de pérdidas a las exportaciones. Se conoce que China pide a Brasil cotizaciones para adquirir el producto. (Presione aquí)

  • Brief News

Goldman Sachs' legal problems mount

Goldman Sachs' legal troubles just keep piling up -- and it's becoming a bigger headache for the investment bank and its shareholders. The latest developments and fraud investigations by the SEC are another setback for the once-impervious investment bank. A number of shareholder suits have been filed against Goldman in recent months. There have also been reports it is facing a criminal investigation by federal prosecutors. GS and SEC are in very deep water, but legal observers are confident that neither party has the stomach for an ugly courtroom battle.

Japan PM Naoto Kan warns of 'collapse' under debt pile

Japan is at "risk of collapse" under its huge debt mountain, the country's new prime minister has said. Naoto Kan, in his first major speech since taking over, said Japan needed a financial restructuring to avert a Greece-style crisis.

SocGen trader Kerviel slammed for 'stratospheric' risks

Alleged Societe Generale "rogue trader" Jerome Kerviel took "stratospheric" risks that almost brought down the bank, an ex-colleague told a court. Kerviel has always maintained the bank knew about the risky deals; he denies accusations of forgery, breach of trust and unauthorised computer use.

Google accused of criminal intent over StreetView data

Google is "almost certain" to face prosecution for collecting data from unsecured wi-fi networks, according to Privacy International (PI). The search giant has been under scrutiny for collecting wi-fi data as part of its StreetView project. "The independent audit of the Google system shows that the system used for the wi-fi collection intentionally separated out unencrypted content (payload data) of communications and systematically wrote this data to hard drives. This is equivalent to placing a hard tap and a digital recorder onto a phone wire without consent or authorisation," said PI in a statement. (Click here)

Rich countries accused of carbon 'cheating'

Some rich countries are seeking new rules under the UN climate convention that campaigners say would allow them to gain credit for "business as usual". Russia, Australia, Canada and some EU countries are among the accused. The rules relate to land-use change, which can either release or absorb carbon, depending mainly on whether forests are planted or chopped down. Rich countries, apart from the US, could account for about 5% of their annual emissions through this loophole. The US is not involved in these negotiations because the proposals fall under the Kyoto Protocol, of which it - alone among developed countries - is not a part.

EU biofuels 'need to be certified for sustainability'

EU nations are being encouraged to set up certification schemes to ensure biofuels help cut emissions and do not threaten biodiversity. The plans, outlined by the European Commission, would apply to all types of biofuels, including imported fuel. Imports account for more than a quarter of the EU's biofuel use

More workers alleging bias against caregivers

There's no federal law that bans workplace discrimination against parents or people who care for elderly or disabled family members, but that hasn't prevented a surge of lawsuits from employees alleging unfair treatment. It's an increase of 400 percent in the past decade, says the Center for WorkLife Law.

US approves Wall Street share trading rule shake-up

Some US shares face new trading restrictions after regulators approved measures to avoid a repeat of the plunge in share values on 6 May. Then, the market fall quickly spread out of control, so the Securities and Exchange Commission has implemented so-called "circuit breakers". These will halt trading in some stocks for five minutes, if they fall more than 10% in five minutes. The new trading breaks will apply to selected stocks from Friday. It will eventually be rolled out across all those listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

BP spill 'double early estimates'

The BP oil spill may have sent twice as much leaking into the Gulf of Mexico as previously thought, US experts estimate.

US lawyer jailed in Florida for $1bn Ponzi scheme

A US court has sentenced a prominent Florida lawyer to 50 years in prison for running a fraudulent investment scheme worth more than $1bn. Scott Rothstein had admitted selling shares in fabricated legal settlements and using some of the money to pay previous investors in a Ponzi scheme. He was convicted on charges of conspiracy to commit bank transfer fraud, money laundering and criminal conspiracy related to the financial scam, in which new investors' money was used to pay off earlier investors. (Click here)

  • Daily Press Review

BP oil spill estimate doubles
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Security Council Resolution 1929 (2010)
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

Sharjah sets up Protocol and Guesthouse department
Gulf News, Independent daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Witnesses in Olmert bribery, double-billing case take the stand
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

NATO 'Singing Israeli Tunes'
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

W. Bank municipal elections postponed
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

Ajman to install cameras on roads
Khaleej Times, English-language daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Iraq- Pure water tank constructed for ID64b
Middle East North African Network, Online financial portal, Amman, Jordan

Obama Urges Support for Iranian People in Fight for 'Freedom'
Nahamet, Online news portal, Beirut, Lebanon

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

South Africa kicks off month-long World Cup party
The Daily Star, Independent daily, Beirut, Lebanon

UN council to hit defiant Iran with new sanctions
Times of Oman, English-language daily, Muscat, Oman

Yemeni Security authorities arrest al-Qaeda suspect disguising in women clothes in Sana'a
Yemen Observer, Sana'a, Republic of Yemen

The OPEC Fund for International Development Scholarship
Yemen Times, (Independent weekly), Sana'a, Republic of Yemen

BP spill 'double early estimates'
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Dow Jones rises above 10,000 mark
BreakingNews.ie, Online news portal, Cork, Ireland

Prince Edward and Sophie are turned away at top restaurant
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

Banksy believed to be behind 'Run For Your Lives!!!' mural in Primrose Hill pub
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Fujitsu, Toshiba to merge mobile phone operations - report
DMeurope, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

USA: BP chairman summoned to White House as spill fury grows
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Antalya's Sky Airlines ups number of passenger jets
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Taylor Swift Works Lady-like Glamour With A New Hairstyle
Look Magazine, London, England

Two thousand attend funeral of 'stunning dad' Garry Purdham
News & Star, Independent daily, Carlisle, England

The Rundown - June 11
Radio Free Europe, Prague, Czech Republic

World Cup In South Africa Set For Kick-Off
Sky News, Independent newscaster, Middlesex, England

Picture This: Don't Stroll Around Here
Spiegel International, Liberal newsmagazine, Hamburg, Germany

Bloody Sunday killings to be ruled unlawful, 38 years on
The Guardian, Liberal daily, London, England

Students killed in S. Africa crash are named
The Independent, London, England

Nine killed in Afghan mine blast
The Irish Times, Centrist daily, Dublin, Ireland

Dvorkovich, Chess Robot Go 1-1
The Moscow Times, Independent daily, Moscow, Russia

Fabio Capello's khaki army
The Sun, London, England

Big Brother housemates eat dinner suspended above house
The Telegraph, London, England

South Africa bus crash: tributes to three students who died
The Telegraph, Conservative daily, London, England

Mandela's great granddaughter killed in World Cup car crash
Times Online, Conservative daily, London, England

VP expected to launch MTQN stamp
Antara News, News agency, Jakarta, Indonesia

Ex-president's son, daughter-in-law, aides, get lighter sentences
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

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

SC adjourns Bank of Punjab case hearing till June 16
Dawn, English-language daily, Karachi, Pakistan

Hu's visit to Kazakhstan opens new chapter in bilateral ties
Gazeta.kz, Official online newspaper, Kazakhstan

No restrictions during Headley's interrogation: US
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Output of judiciary not proportionate to sufferings: APJ
India Express, News portal, Mumbai, India

Mickky main accused in Nadia death
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

A school-bullying film as dark as they come
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Syariah Court: Marriage of Bung Mokhtar and Zizie is valid
Malaysian Star, Online news portal, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Missing teen sailor alive and well
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

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

ICC member states still locked on crime of aggression
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

14 killed in new wave of unrest in Kyrgyzstan
Sify News, Chennai, India

Teen sailor found alive
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

China's exports surge 50 percent in May
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

2010 World Tea Expo about to start
Taiwan Today, Government Information Office, Taipei, Taiwan

Next-gen graphene set to revolutionize nanocircuitry
Thaindian News, Bangkok, Thailand

Bhopal GoM to consider Dow proposal
The Hindu, Left-leaning daily, Chennai, India

Oil in gulf may be double initial estimate
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Tivoli Gardens damage assessment underway
Caribbean360, Online news portal, St. Michael, Barbados

White collar crime soars
Cayman Net News, Online news portal, George Town, Cayman Islands

Dominican open water swimmer fords the Red Sea
Dominican Today, Independent daily, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Ecuador and the United States "Make Up"
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

St Ann Dudus link - Thugs flee to rural areas
Jamaica Gleaner, Independent daily, Kingston, Jamaica

Extreme cold kills 30 children in Puno, Peru
Living in Peru, News portal, Lima, Peru

Harper bending to U.S. on sole-source fighter purchase, documents reveal
The Globe and Mail, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

André Marin keeps ombudsman job
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Rowley: Fight with Jack not personal
Trinidad Guardian, Independent daily, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad

Mandela's relative dies in crash
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Adolphe Muzito Withdraws Decrees on new Towns and Municipalities
CongoPlanet.com, Independent online news aggregator

This is IT!
GhanaWeb, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Curfew for Kyrgyzstan
iafrica, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

'Winnie not in fatal car crash'
Independent Online, News portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Zenawi election board rejects re-run
Jimma Times, Online news portal, Jimma, Ethiopia

France plot Springbok downfall amid World Cup hype
Mail & Guardian Online, Liberal, Johannesburg, South Africa

Looking into the crystal ball
News24.com, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Constitution review: Speakers to receive harmonised copy
Vanguard, Independent daily, Lagos, Nigeria

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