September 29, 2010 Nº 962 - Vol. 8


"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently."

Warren Buffett


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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

India's surveillance plan said to deter business

In the United States, law enforcement and security agencies have raised privacy concerns with a new proposal for electronic eavesdropping powers to track terrorists and criminals and unscramble their encrypted messages. But in India, government authorities are well beyond the proposal stage. Prompted by fears of digital-era plotters, officials are already demanding that network operators give them the ability to monitor and decrypt digital messages, whenever the Home Ministry deems the eavesdropping to be vital to national security. Critics, though, say India's campaign to monitor data transmission within its borders will hurt other important national goals: attracting global businesses and becoming a hub for technology innovation. The most inflammatory part of the effort has been India's threat to block encrypted BlackBerry services, widely used by corporations, unless phone companies provide access to the data in a readable format. But Indian officials have also said they will seek greater access to encrypted data sent over popular Internet services like Gmail, Skype and virtual private networks that enable users to bypass traditional telephone links or log in remotely to corporate computer systems. Critics say such a threat could make foreigners think twice about doing business here. Especially vulnerable could be outsourcing for Western clients, like processing medical records or handling confidential research projects, information that is typically transmitted as encrypted data. "The concern of corporate users and general users of BlackBerry is that if this is allowed, the government will become the single biggest repository of information," said Pavan Duggal, a technology lawyer who practices before India's Supreme Court. "And we have no idea how this information will be used and misused in the future."

US banks and regulators 'fail' to cut money laundering

One of the US's top fraud investigators is warning that America's policing of money laundering is wide open to abuse. Eric Lewis will tell a Congressional hearing on terrorist financing that billions of dollars are slipping through the US banking system. In a testimony ahead of the hearing on Tuesday he says that only international action can stop the laundering. The US Committee on Financial Services is taking evidence on "trends in terrorism financing". Fraud appears to involve the transfer of funds "on a dizzying scale" and raises fundamental concerns about the safeguards that have been put in place to prevent our banking institutions from becoming instruments of terrorist financing or fraud or other financial crimes. Wall Street' s due diligence has been criticized, saying that this "first line of defense" often failed because banks are "heavily incentivized to look the other way" when a large slice of business comes their way.

EU to decide on sanctions to punish budget rebels

Barrosso will outline plans to punish eurozone countries which either borrow too much money or fail to manage their economies properly. Any eurozone country with a national debt consistently above 60% of GDP could be whacked with a fine. The size would vary from country to country but in France's case it would be around 400m euros. It comes as jobs across the public sector fall prey to unprecedented levels of government debt. Greece and Italy racked up huge debts in the good times. No one doubts that Greece consistently "misreported" how much it was borrowing so there will be a drive to make sure EU countries aren't massaging their statistics. Spain never was a debt glutton and actually ran a budget surplus in the years leading up to the crisis. But that didn't stop it being fingered by international investors as a big debt risk. Why? Well quite simply because property prices collapsed, and the construction sector - a huge part of the economy - quickly followed. In other words there was a massive property "bubble". The situation was similar, if not worse, in Ireland. The commission wants sanctions to be automatic but with a possible escape route if a transgressor can persuade other eurozone countries to let it off. But automatic sanctions will be tough to take - with the French pointing out when fines are involved elected politicians should have the ultimate say, not unelected bureaucrats setting rigid rules.

Brazil fifty years on

Chambers, publisher of directories of the legal profession, has released its latest edition of the Latin America Awards for Excellence 2010 as well as an article by Aldo de Cresci, founding partner of Fleury Malheiros, Gasparini, de Cresci e Nogueira de Lima Advogados, comparing Brazil’s current political, economic and social situation with one published by Time Magazine in 1960. To read the whole article, click here.

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  • Crumbs

1 - Hostilities escalate to hidden currency war (Click here)

2 - Literacy test dims clown's bid for Brazil congress (Click here)

3 - Brazil's education challenge in bid to be world player (Click here)

4 - Senators introduce law to ban 'crush' videos of animal cruelty (Click here)

5 - Kosovo president resigns after losing constitutional court case (Click here)

6 - The Lawyers of the 'Forbes' 400 (Click here)

7 - More lawsuits target for-profit colleges (Click here)

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  • MiMIC Journal

China sentences two child traffickers to death

A court in China has sentenced two men to death for abducting and trafficking more than 40 baby boys. The men were members of a gang that stole dozens of infants from their parents in the country's south-west, and sold them for thousands of dollars to villagers in the eastern province of Fujian.

China police investigate 'black jails' for protesters

Chinese police are investigating claims that a security firm colluded with officials to detain protesters in secret prisons, known as "black jails". State media said police had arrested the chairman and general manager of the company, Anyuanding Security Services. It is alleged they took money from local governments to abduct and imprison people who travelled to the capital, Beijing, to complain about local injustices. The company denies this.

China Airlines agrees to pay $40m US price-fixing fine

China Airlines is to plead guilty and pay a $40m (£25m) fine for its role in fixing air-cargo prices, the US Department of Justice has said.

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  • Historia Verdadera

Huelga (greve)

Metalúrgicos, fabriles, transportistas, salubristas y artistas pararon este miércoles la cinta de la producción de la España del 2010. En el país ibérico se cumple la más contundente huelga laboral de los últimos tiempos, la medida rechaza a la reforma laboral y del sistema de pensiones, el masivo desempleo y un los ajustes económicos asumidos por la administración de José Luis Zapatero. (Presione aquí)

Banca 

El Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica (BCIE) anunció un crédito de US$ 280 mlls., para el gobierno de Honduras, con el objetivo de promover la estabilidad fiscal y paliar la pobreza. Asimismo, los fondos se utilizarán para brindar medicinas, servicios médicos y planes de entrega de leche a niños de bajos recursos.

Itaú - China

El banco brasileño Itaú Unibanco firmó un acuerdo de negocios y cooperación con China Unionpay, así como también su controlada Redecard.  De esta manera, los clientes que poseen los 2.200 millones de tarjetas de crédito y débito de la firma asiática podrán retirar dinero en más de 30.000 cajeros automáticos de Itaú. (Presione aquí)

Minería

La minera canadiense Gold Reserve exigirá como mínimo US$ 1.928 mlls., al gobierno venezolano por la nacionalización de su interés en los proyectos auríferos Brisas y Chocó 5, en concepto de pérdidas registradas al 24 de septiembre y las inversiones realizadas hasta el momento.

  • Brief News

Currency 'war' warning from Brazil

An "international currency war" is underway, Brazil's finance minister, Guido Mantega, has warned. His comments follow a series of interventions by governments to weaken their currencies and boost export competitiveness. Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan are among those that have recently tried to cut the value of their currencies. "The advanced countries are seeking to devalue their currencies. This threatens us because it takes away our competitiveness.” The currency is at a 10-month high against the dollar, and has been described by analysts at Goldman Sachs as the world's most overvalued major currency.

Bank regulators delay 'Too Big to Fail' reform

Banking regulators on Monday put off proposing how the government would use its new authority to dismantle large, collapsing financial companies, saying they need more time for industry and other regulators to weigh in, Reuters said. The board of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation had tentatively planned to vote on Monday on issuing an interim final rule that would have put in place some aspects of how the agency would handle the winding down of large financial firms previously considered too big to fail.

US Court: stem cell funds can continue for now

The ruling makes permanent, pending an appeal, the overturning of an injunction imposed last month by a lower court judge. The judge ordered a halt to embryonic stem cell research while he considered a lawsuit filed by two scientists. The Obama administration said even a temporary halt to the research could set back promising science.

Law file-sharing lists expose thousands more

The personal details of a further 8,000 people alleged to have shared music or films illegally have appeared online. The lists surfaced following a security breach of legal firm ACS:Law. The UK's Information Commissioner said ACS:Law could be fined up to half a million pounds for the breaches. The new lists, produced by ACS:Law, contain the names, addresses and Internet addresses (IP addresses) of users suspected of illegally sharing music. In addition, they contain details of how much compensation infringers paid ACS:Law, along with internal case notes.

Brussels braces for huge anti-austerity protest

Thousands of people from across the EU are expected to march in Brussels to protest against sweeping austerity measures by many national governments. The workers union warns that the financial crisis - which it describes as the worst in Europe since the 1930s - has already made 23m people across the EU jobless. It fears that the austerity measures being implemented by various EU government could "result in even more unemployment". Workers urge governments to guarantee workers stable jobs, strong social protection and better pensions.

EU mulls suing France over Roma expulsions

The European Commission is due to decide whether to take legal action against France over its expulsion of thousands of Romanian and Bulgarian Roma (Gypsy) migrants. A decision to sue France for discrimination under the EU charter of fundamental rights could eventually lead to substantial fines and prove a serious embarrassment to Sarkozy.

Ontario judge overturns Canada anti-prostitution laws

A judge in Ontario has overturned key Canadian anti-prostitution laws, finding they force sex workers into the streets at risk to their safety. She ruled with three prostitutes who had challenged bans on brothels, pimps and solicitation. "The federal government must now take a stand and clarify what is legal and not legal between consenting adults in private," plaintiff said. The ruling applies to Ontario province but could, if upheld on appeal, allow the rest of Canada to follow suit.

Securities ruling limits claims of fraud

The U.S. Supreme Court has given multinational companies a powerful new legal defense against fraud claims made by some of their investors. The weapon for companies grows out of a June ruling that limits fraud claims in U.S. courts by private investors who bought shares on foreign stock exchanges. The Supreme Court decided Australian shareholders who had purchased stock overseas in an Australian bank couldn't bring securities-fraud claims in a U.S. court. In order to avoid "incompatibility with the applicable laws of other countries," U.S. securities laws should govern only domestic stock purchases, the court concluded. The ruling could save millions of dollars for companies such as BP PLC, which faces securities suits over the Gulf oil spill, securities attorneys said. A representative for BP didn't immediately respond to requests for comment about the merits of the claims.

Airbus questions parts orders from grounded Mexicana

Aerospace giant Airbus says it's confused as to why Mexicana continues to order replacement parts even though the Mexican airline hasn't operated flights for the past month.

Reality TV family under investigation for bigamy

The TLC show features Kody Brown of Lehi, Utah, and his four wives, 13 children and three stepchildren. The Browns have said they hoped the cable show's peek into their lives would help broaden the public's understanding of plural families. Although it is rarely prosecuted, bigamy is a third-degree felony in Utah, punishable by a prison term of up to five years.

BP prepares to sell bonds for first time since spill

BP plans to sell bonds for the first time since the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico sent its stock price sinking, and some reports said the company might seek to raise as much as $3.5 billion.

Shut legal firm now, Law Society urges High Court

The Irish Law Society's regulation of practice committee is strongly opposed to a solicitors' firm with a deficit of more than €6.3m being allowed to continue to trade, the High Court heard yesterday. High Court President was told an independent accountant's report revealed that a proposal to repay the money owed was not viable. As a result of that report, conducted by David Rowe, and the other circumstances in the case, the Law Society's committee believes the firm should be shut down and its files distributed to new solicitors. Last month the court suspended the practising certificate of one the firm's partners, Ruairí Ó Ceallaigh, after he admitted losing millions on the stock exchange and on property deals.

Internet wiretapping proposal met with silence

An Obama administration plan to make wire tapping the Internet easier for law enforcement and national security agencies was met with silence by online companies Monday. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and Research in Motion – never shy about issuing press releases – all declined to talk about what would be a major shift in privacy law.

Iran court sentences blogger to 19.5 years

An Iranian blogger known for popularizing blogs in Iran has been sentenced to 19.5 years imprisonment for cooperating with hostile countries, spreading propaganda against the ruling establishment, promoting counterrevolutionary groups and maintaining obscene websites. In addition to serving his prison sentence, Hossein Derakhshan faces a five-year ban from membership in political parties and fines totaling nearly USD $45,000. Derakhshan, who has been in prison since 2008, has dual Canadian-Iranian citizenship and is widely known in Iran as the country's "Blogfather". It was previously reported that Derakhshan was facing the death penalty. "Such a long jail term has never before been imposed on a blogger in Iran and is indicative of a desire to make an example out of Derakhshan," media freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said. "He is the victim of political rivalry within the government and the case against him was fabricated. We urge President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to intercede personally in order to obtain his release without delay."

U.S. ruling in Russia oil case may narrow RICO law

An appeals court dismissed a lawsuit accusing dozens of defendants of scheming to seize much of Russia's oil industry, a ruling that could make it harder to target alleged foreign criminal conduct in U.S. courts. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected allegations by Norex Petroleum Ltd that defendants including a BP Plc (BP.L) joint venture and billionaire Leonard Blavatnik took over its controlling stake in Russia's Yugraneft as part of a racketeering and money laundering scheme. The court said a June ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court left Norex unable to sue under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) because that law "is silent as to any extraterritorial application."

Lawyers fight to save City court

Plans to shut the City of London's own county court as part of a wider program of court closures has met with opposition from City law firms. The Mayor's & City of London Court, one of the oldest local civil courts in England, next to the historic Guildhall, is among the 54 county courts and 103 magistrates' courts that the government has earmarked for closure because they are deemed "underused and inadequate". The county court, deals with around 9,000 claims a year.

Judge refuses to dismiss A.I.G. lawsuit

A judge refused to dismiss a securities fraud lawsuit accusing American International Group of misleading investors about its exposure to subprime mortgages, which led to a liquidity crisis and $182.3 billion of federal bailouts.

Karadzic takes stand as war crimes trial resumes

Former Bosnian Serb president Radovan Karadzic appeared before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) as his trial resumed Monday to defend himself against charges of war crimes. According to news reports, Karadzic did not appear to obstruct the process of the ICTY, despite repeatedly seeking to have his trial delayed. Karadzic is defending himself against 11 counts

  • Daily Press Review

Grace period for unregistered vehicles in Dubai extended
Gulf News, Independent daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

U.S. Jews outraged by Lieberman's UN speech
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Europe Offers Tax Benefits for Illegal Settlements
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Hamas-PA financial dispute holding up Gaza fuel transfers
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

Govt gets strict on discrepancies in salary payment
Khaleej Times, English-language daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

UAE- Can process visa before ban period gets over
Middle East North African Network, Online financial portal, Amman, Jordan

U.S. ambassador to Yemen submits credentials
Yemen Observer, Sana'a, Republic of Yemen

Miliband to announce future plans
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Bronze Age teenager buried at Stonehenge had travelled to visit site from the Mediterranean
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Walter Isaacson: America's Voice Must Be Credible and Must Be Heard
Radio Free Europe, Prague, Czech Republic

Exclusive: New BP Chief Plots Management Shake-Up
Sky News, Independent newscaster, Middlesex, England

Becks to donate liar's 'dirty cash'
The Sun, London, England

Lindsay Lohan 'checks herself into rehab'
The Telegraph, London, England

Nawaz pledges to complete economic agenda
Dawn, English-language daily, Karachi, Pakistan

Strong, deep earthquake hits off northern New Zealand
Gazeta.kz, Official online newspaper, Kazakhstan

Stepfather held for raping 9-yr-old girl
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Former ACP freed of rape charge
Malaysian Star, Online news portal, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Clinton tells Pakistan to make rich pay
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

Serbian president reiterates commitment to Dayton Agreement (2)
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

British parliamentarians visit Taiwan
Taiwan Today, Government Information Office, Taipei, Taiwan

Ayodhya verdict tomorrow
The Hindu, Left-leaning daily, Chennai, India

Director to help with oilsands litigation
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

MEXICO: Freedom of Information Laws a Model; Not So the Practice
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Gunmen kidnap children in Nigeria
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

US President and UN chief discuss wide range of international issues
CongoPlanet.com, Independent online news aggregator

Germany and Switzerland support Ghana's Tax Reforms
GhanaWeb, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

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