August 16, 2010 Nº 945 - Vol. 8


"Two quite opposite qualities equally bias our minds - habits and novelty."

Jean de la Bruyere


Insider's view: see how local concerns shape up the global world. Read the daily press review in Migalhas International.

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  • MiMIC Journal

Book critical of China PM on saleAuthor Yu Jie New

A new book by a Chinese dissident about Premier Wen Jiabao, which challenges his image as a reformist, goes on sale in Hong Kong.

Workers let go by China's banks are putting up a fight

Many of the employees who are losing their jobs as state-run banks restructure are organizing and demanding to be rehired or compensated, but they face a daunting task.

New China search engine will be State-controlled

In an apparent bid to extend its control over the Internet and cash in on the rapid growth of mobile devices, China plans to create a government-controlled search engine. The new venture would compete with Baidu.com, a private company that runs China's dominant search engine. Baidu's market has grown since Google retreated from the mainland earlier this year. The state-owned China Mobile — the world's biggest cellphone carrier — and Xinhua, China's official state-run news agency, signed an agreement on Thursday to create a joint venture called the Search Engine New Media International Communications Company. China already has the world's largest number of Internet users, more than 420 million, and also the largest number of mobile phone subscribers, with more than 800 million.

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  • Brief News

New whistleblower reward program has law firms gearing up

Law firms are wasting little time in alerting potential clients to a program tucked into the recently passed financial regulatory overhaul that rewards individuals for reporting fraud to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Plaintiffs law firms are touting their services to potential whistleblowers while firms that represent corporate interests are making executives aware of the possible consequences. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which President Obama signed into law on July 21, created a bounty program that rewards individuals who provide "original information" to the SEC with up to 30 percent of any successful enforcement action that exceeds $1 million. Given the size of penalties levied against wayward companies -- Germany engineering conglomerate Siemens paid a record-breaking $800 million in 2008 for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act -- the potentially lucrative incentive for employees to report fraud is causing companies to proactively rethink their internal compliance policies. "The way that the act is structured, some employees may perceive that it is in their interest to very quickly report any perceived problems directly to the SEC as opposed to quickly informing their own employers or compliance officials."

Protesters denounce Google plan for 'two-tier internet'

Around 100 people have rallied outside Google's California offices to protest against controversial proposals to alter how data is treated over the web. Google and Verizon suggest treating fixed line services differently to wireless and some specialized content. This would allow net providers to give priority to certain online traffic. Protesters outside the famed Googleplex said this would create a "pay-to-play" service and urged Google to live up to its famous motto "don't be evil".

South American airlines to merge

Two major South American airlines, Brazil's TAM Linhas Aereas and Chile's LAN, plan a merger that will create the biggest carrier in the region.

Changing court procedures won't work

In New Zeeland, the Law Society said the Government must be careful proposed changes to defendants' access to jury details do not breach their rights. "The ability for an accused person to know who the jury panel is and their occupations and generally where they live is a very important right. For instance, it may be that there is some sort of geographical feature of a trial which means local knowledge is important," Law Society spokesperson Jeremy Krebs told One News. The Government is looking at a potential tightening of court procedures after a convicted killer contacted a member of a jury which found him guilty of kidnapping.

Canadian lawyers oppose bill requiring Supreme Court justices to be bilingual

The Canadian Bar Association passed a resolution at its annual meeting Saturday opposing a federal bill that would require Supreme Court of Canada. justices to speak both French and English. The private member's bill recently passed the Canadian House of Commons by a slim majority and is now before the Senate. Proponents of the bill argue that high court judges risk misunderstanding legal arguments by using translators and translation devices. Opponents argue that requiring bilingualism will cause otherwise qualified candidates for Canada's top tribunal to be overlooked and will place more importance on language than expertise and merits. The resolution, introduced by lawyers from mostly English-speaking western Canada, stated that bilingualism is something to consider, but should not prevent an individual from being appointed to the bench.

Judicial spending doubles in last decade

Campaign fundraising for elections to the nation's top state courts has doubled to more than $200 million over the last decade, fueled partly by super-spending individuals and groups investing big money to influence down-ticket races. Between 2000 to 2009, campaign spending for state Supreme Court posts surged to $206.9 million compared with $83.3 million in the previous decade. The report also found 20 of the 22 states with Supreme Court contests had their costliest-ever campaigns. "These corporations and trial lawyers have millions of millions of dollars at stake, and they feel if they can just spend a few million dollars to influence the outcome, it's worth it." "We're sort of playing with fire when you're putting this much money into our courts."

Ministers to scrap double jeopardy law by next year

The centuries-old law that prevents Scots being tried for the same crime twice will be scrapped in its current format and reformed in a new bill. The move to change the rules on double jeopardy could allow convicts to be brought back to court over notorious crimes. Scottish ministers plan to introduce a bill to change the rule at the end of September and hope that it could become law as soon as next year. Under the proposals, suspects could be tried for a second time only under specific conditions.

UN staff protection treaty coming into force after UK ratification

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Friday praised the United Kingdom's recent ratification of a treaty designed to extend legal safeguards to UN and humanitarian personnel participating in relief efforts. With the UK's formal approval of the instrument last month, the minimum threshold of 22 signatories to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel is met, allowing it to enter into effect. The Protocol is scheduled to become operational August 19, 30 days after ratification by the UK.

Irate law school grads say they were misled about job prospects

As they enter the worst job market in decades, many young would-be lawyers are turning on their alma maters, blaming their quandary on high tuitions, lax accreditation standards and misleading job placement figures. Unless students graduate from schools like Harvard or Yale, they "might as well be busing tables." The angry rants first surfaced last summer on blogs.: "It's really just a big Ponzi scheme." "They're just cranking kids out for $45,000 a year." The outrage stems from graduating with more than $100,000 of debt but meager job prospects. School administrators, who admit to keeping tabs on these so-called "scam blogs," which now number in the dozens, bristle at the charge that they run diploma mills. Not every graduate can land a six-figure job at a big-name law firm — especially during the current downturn — but many still find fulfilling careers in and out of the legal field.

No-fault divorce becomes law in New York

New York was the only state in the country that didn't allow for one side to file for divorce without a finding of fault, such as adultery or abandonment, or if both spouses agreed on a separation and lived apart for a year or more. The new law permits no-fault divorce after a marriage has "irretrievably" broken down for six months or more and after all financial and custody issues are resolved.

Petrobras share sale to replenish capital as debt nears high end of target

Petrobras said its plan to sell as much as $25 billion of new shares next month will replenish capital after debt rose to the upper limits of its target last quarter. Petrobras's debt as a percentage of equity climbed to 34 percent, compared with 32 percent in the previous quarter and 28 percent in the year-earlier period.

U.S. rules bar banks that violate Iran sanctions

The Treasury Department released new regulations on Friday that could bar foreign banks or companies from accessing the financial system in the United States if they did business with entities or people subject to United Nations and United States sanctions. The regulations, which grew out of legislation Congress passed in June, effectively bar foreign banks from doing business in dollars if they engage in transactions with anyone suspected of involvement in Iran's nuclear or missile programs. The entities include Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Time

Great American novelist. Jonathan Franzen offers his take on five novels that inspired him recently.

Newsweek

We're mad as hell. What's behind workers' growing antagonism toward employers?

Business Week

The Popularity Issue. A guide to America's favorite stuff: the food we eat, the sneakers we wear, the churches we visit, the colors of the cars we drive. Not the coolest or best—just the ubiquitous, omnipresent No. 1s.

The Economist

Radical Britain. Britain has embarked on a great gamble. Sooner or later, many other rich-world countries will have to take it too.

L'Express

Omment protégere votre vie privée?

Der Spiegel

Allein gegen Hitler - Wie Winston Churchill die Nazis stoppte.

  • Daily Press Review

Troop deaths top 2000 in Afghan war
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Arab Nations Lobby U.S. on Anti-Israel Vote
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

UN's Iran sanctions: US to hold talks with UAE, Bahrain and Lebanon
Gulf News, Independent daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Court indicts Israeli man suspects of killing his 3 children
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Food Cartels Feast on Ramadan Profits
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

IHH lauds new Hamas Gaza terror group
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

Officials keep tabs on commodity prices
Khaleej Times, English-language daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Minimum taxi fare in Sharjah will be Dh10
Middle East North African Network, Online financial portal, Amman, Jordan

Taliban Call for Joint Probe into Afghan Civilian Deaths
Nahamet, Online news portal, Beirut, Lebanon

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

Hackers siphon $1m from British accounts
The Daily Star, Independent daily, Beirut, Lebanon

Gunmen kill 4 Iraqi policemen and burn two bodies
Times of Oman, English-language daily, Muscat, Oman

Job Vacancies
Yemen Observer, Sana'a, Republic of Yemen

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

Mixed-sex wards 'to be scrapped'
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Lohan mentoring rehab patients
BreakingNews.ie, Online news portal, Cork, Ireland

Fireworks factory blast kills two
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

Japan GDP slumps behind China in Q2 economy figures
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Safaricom's M-Pesa customers up 60 percent
DMeurope, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Pakistan: UN chief urges 'generous support' for ravaged Pakistan
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Ukrainian journalist association threatens to call strike
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Julia Roberts' Week Of Style
Look Magazine, London, England

Carlisle couple criticise how 999 call was dealt with
News & Star, Independent daily, Carlisle, England

Reports: Afghan Man, Woman Stoned To Death
Radio Free Europe, Prague, Czech Republic

Obama And The Muslim World
Sky News, Independent newscaster, Middlesex, England

Covering Up the Wildfires: The Kremlin's Smokescreen
Spiegel International, Liberal newsmagazine, Hamburg, Germany

Dirtiest coal power plants win government reprieve
The Guardian, Liberal daily, London, England

Oil field discovered in Afghanistan
The Independent, London, England

Group calls for reform of Leaving Cert
The Irish Times, Centrist daily, Dublin, Ireland

Putin Warns on Bread Prices
The Moscow Times, Independent daily, Moscow, Russia

Dozen it just make you sick
The Sun, London, England

Necklace owned by Jackie Onassis sells for GBP 30,000
The Telegraph, London, England

Thousands of straight-A students could miss out on university
The Telegraph, Conservative daily, London, England

Two foreign ministers discuss Peninsula situation
Antara News, News agency, Jakarta, Indonesia

Pro-independence groups stage anti-ECFA protest
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

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

Donkeys come to the rescue in floods
Dawn, English-language daily, Karachi, Pakistan

Weekly Commodities Review
Gazeta.kz, Official online newspaper, Kazakhstan

Indians in America debate over mosque near 9/11 site
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Scare at Home as dangerous virus stalks ministry computers
India Express, News portal, Mumbai, India

AP cops to brush up skills
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Anti-global warming push also best for the economy
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Poll: Reckless drivers the biggest menace on highways
Malaysian Star, Online news portal, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Gillard launches re-election bid
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

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

Poll shows Australian Labor Party clinging to narrow lead
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Nepal apex court demolishes Sobhraj's marriage claim
Sify News, Chennai, India

Herb's horror is a joke
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

China observes day of mourning for mudslide victims
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Yilan children's folk festival wraps up
Taiwan Today, Government Information Office, Taipei, Taiwan

RJD to project Lalu Prasad as CM candidate
Thaindian News, Bangkok, Thailand

Manmohan: dialogue is the only option
The Hindu, Left-leaning daily, Chennai, India

Tamil died during voyage from Sri Lanka
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Haiti electoral mission begins
Caribbean360, Online news portal, St. Michael, Barbados

Farming to be third leg of economy
Cayman Net News, Online news portal, George Town, Cayman Islands

Dominicans flock to the beaches during long weekend
Dominican Today, Independent daily, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Chile: Salmon Industry Won't Give Up
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

'No to terrorists'
Jamaica Gleaner, Independent daily, Kingston, Jamaica

Peru south remembers third anniversary of Pisco earthquake
Living in Peru, News portal, Lima, Peru

Zsa Zsa Gabor asks for last rites
The Globe and Mail, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Thailand lifts emergency rule in 3 more provinces
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

T&T sweeps Cazova vball crowns.
Trinidad Guardian, Independent daily, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad

South Africa opposition parties to merge
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

African Champs League wins for TP Mazembe and Dynamos
CongoPlanet.com, Independent online news aggregator

Timber loggers cry foul
GhanaWeb, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

'Yes we will' - Oz PM
iafrica, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Mom witnesses son's death
Independent Online, News portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Dr. Merera Gudina says he is "fed up of complaining"
Jimma Times, Online news portal, Jimma, Ethiopia

All eyes on Zim at SADC summit
Mail & Guardian Online, Liberal, Johannesburg, South Africa

Judge: Agliotti affidavit inadmissible
News24.com, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

East-West Road: Stakeholders groan over slow pace of work
Vanguard, Independent daily, Lagos, Nigeria

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