October 8, 2010 Nº 966 - Vol. 8


"Life is the art of drawing without an eraser."

John W. Gardner


In today´s Law Firm Marketing, Why prospects don´t want your legal services.

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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

Nations unveil draft of international anti-counterfeiting pact

The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) and other participating countries on Wednesday released a draft of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), an international pact to defend intellectual property rights from counterfeit and piracy. The draft was released after three years and 10 rounds of negotiations among the ACTA parties, which include the EU, Japan, Canada, Australia, Mexico and Korea, representing more than 50 percent of world trade. The agreement would establish a framework for combating counterfeiting and piracy of commercial goods that encourages international cooperation as well as strong enforcement practices. The draft agreement lays out provisions regarding both civil and criminal remedies such as imprisonment, administrative penalties, injunctions and payment of damages. The draft also contains provisions relating to border control, which include giving customs authorities the right to suspend shipments of suspect goods and destroy counterfeit goods. The agreement would ensure that the framework regarding infringement protection and enforcement is also applicable to trade in the digital environment. US Trade Representative Ron Kirk applauded the agreement as "a significant victory": "This text reflects tremendous progress in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy - a global crime wave that robs workers in the United States and around the world of good-paying jobs and exposes consumers to dangerous products. The leadership shown by our ACTA partners ... should send a strong message to pirates and counterfeiters that they have no place in the channels of legitimate trade."

Nato issues new guidelines for Afghanistan contracts

The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan has issued new guidelines for awarding contracts in a bid to stem corruption. The rules are designed to streamline and increase oversight for billions of dollars worth of contracts for services ranging from transport to food. Lead contractors will have to provide a list of all their subcontractors on the project, as well as provide licensing, personnel and banking details. Every contract worth more than $100,000 must now be formally vetted and entered into a database to ensure quality and help prevent fraud. Commanders said that without the extra oversight there was a risk of fuelling corruption and financing insurgents. "Excessive subcontracting tiers provide opportunities for criminal networks and insurgents to divert contract money from its intended purpose," Gen Petraeus warned. It is thought about $14bn a year is currently being paid to contractors. Earlier this year, Afghanistan´s finance ministry said billions of dollars in cash had flowed out of the country via Kabul´s airport. President Hamid Karzai blamed private contractors for the loss, saying the money had never passed through government hands.

Gulf oil spill commission criticises White House

A commission investigating the response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has strongly criticized the White House in a number of areas. The Obama administration blocked government scientists´ efforts to inform the public of worst case scenarios, a draft report said. The report by the National Oil Spill Commission says the White House was directly involved in controlling information from the spill that began after an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on 20 April. Officials were said to have been too optimistic about handling the disaster, one of the worst in US history. The White House disputes this, saying officials "were clear with the public". The accusations will embarrass the White House, coming as they do from a commission appointed by Obama.

Afghanistan, 9 years since war on terror started

In spite of ups and downs in the U.S.- led war on terror in Afghanistan and failure to curb Taliban-led militancy, the post-Taliban Afghanistan has made progress and secured its position in the comity of nation.

Law enforcement´s limits in wiretapping the Internet

Wiretapping the Internet is nothing new. Law enforcement agencies for years have been able to seize information from communications providers, as long as they obtain a court order. But new technologies have hampered law enforcement officials´ ability to quickly retrieve information that a judge has determined they are entitled to. Some problems appear to have relatively easy fixes. For example, some e-mail services are not subject to the wiretap law because their parent companies are classified as information services and not as communications providers. A change in the statute to include all e-mail -- regardless of the classification of the parent company -- should bring such products into the fold. The tougher choices involve products such as Research in Motion´s BlackBerrys, which are attractive to consumers precisely because they provide highly secure means of communication. The FBI is drafting a proposal that would require the retrofit of such products to allow for quicker and easier access to targeted communications. The proposal , which likely would not be introduced as legislation until early 2011, would also require new products to have these capacities built in. Manufacturers would decide how to achieve the desired result and would be responsible for retrieving the information. The FBI would simply get the results after a judge´s approval. Some privacy advocates and technology experts have sounded alarms, arguing that such changes would make programs more vulnerable to hackers. Some argue that because the vast majority of users are law-abiding citizens, the government must accept the risk that a few criminals or terrorists may rely on the same secure networks.

Foes of health-care law lose key court ruling

A federal judge in Michigan ruled Thursday that the new health-care law is constitutional, rejecting an argument that Congress lacked the power to require the legislation´s "individual mandate," which orders virtually all Americans to purchase health insurance. The case is one of 15 to 20 lawsuits challenging some aspect of the health-care law. Among the most prominent are a suit filed by 20 states, including Washington, in a Florida federal court, and a similar federal suit filed by Virginia. Other federal courts have dismissed some challenges on technical grounds — ruling, for instance, that plaintiffs lacked standing. The central question, which ultimately may fall to the U.S. Supreme Court, is whether the commerce clause of the Constitution gives Congress the authority to require citizens to obtain a commercial product, namely health insurance.

Cost of E.U. rises, even as countries make cuts

Amid an austerity drive unparalleled in modern Europe, the bureaucracy that runs the bloc is haggling over how much to increase next year´s budget.

Petrobras to raise $60 billion in debt markets following record share sale

Petrobras, which sold $70 billion of stock last month in the world´s largest offering, plans to now turn to debt markets to raise $60 billion in the next five years to finance investments. The state-run oil producer doesn´t plan other stock sales to fund its $224 billion investment plan. The company is reviewing its spending program and expects to have a new one by the end of the first quarter. "It´s an absolute certainty" that Petrobras will have to increase its investment plan."

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 - French rogue trader´s bank won´t demand billions in damages (Click here)

2 - Zurich will pay $455 million in farmers class action settlement (Click here)

3 - Motorola sues Apple over 18 patents (Click here)

4 - Drug maker from China pleads guilty (Click here)

5 - Lily Allen accepts damages over magazine claims (Click here)

6 - Perth magistrate accepts naked man with replica gun was not a threat (Click here)

7 - US military funeral protest case opens in supreme court (Click here)

8 - Kerobokan Prison boss to testify for Australians from Bali Nine group currently on death row (Click here)

9 - Almost 100 Puerto Rican law officers arrested (Click here)

10 - CFTC gets tough on fraud (Click here)

11 - Immigrant advocates issue report card on ICE reform efforts (Click here)

12 - Greek civil servants strike to protest against austerity measures (Click here)

13 - Judge bars major witness from terrorism trial (Click here)

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  • MiMIC Journal

China introduces mine safety rule

New regulations have come into force in China that require managers of mines to accompany workers down the shafts. Chinese mines are notorious for fatal accidents. More than 2,500 miners were killed in China last year. The authorities hope that putting officials in the mines alongside their workers will act as a strong incentive to improve safety conditions.

  • Law Firm Marketing

Why prospects don´t want your legal services

by Tom Trush

What you´re about to read is a little harsh.

There´s a possibility you´ll get upset when you see the statements below. In fact, if you have difficulty taking criticism, then you may want to stop reading right now.

However, if you´re eager for insight that could dramatically increase responses on your marketing materials, then please continue.

Okay?

Here we go ...

Regardless of the service you provide, your prospects do not want it. You may think they do. You may even think what you offer would benefit them ... but you´re wrong.

What´s more, you´re making a huge mistake if you´re specifically marketing your service right now.

Yes, I know this sounds senseless, especially from someone who preaches the importance of marketing during these challenging economic times. But the key to remember here is not the action of marketing, but rather what you´re marketing.

You see, prospects are concerned only with the end result your service provides -- not the actual service.

Let me give you an example ...

I guarantee few people want a pool in their backyards.

Pools are expensive and time-consuming to build ... pricey to maintain ... they take up a lot of space ... and are dangerous for kids. Who wants these hassles?

What people want is the refreshment a pool offers on hot days ... the beauty it adds to their landscape ... the status it affords them ... and the entertainment it provides for friends and family.

If a bucket of water offered an identical experience, most people would settle for that.

Unfortunately, you rarely see pool companies promote the end result in their marketing materials. Instead, they usually show pictures of vacant pools, so prospects are left to create their own conclusions (which is always a risky move).

When you´re marketing your legal services, are you limiting the appeal of your promotional pieces by telling prospects about your courtroom experience .. your expert legal team ... your awards ... your peer ratings ... or your "principles of excellence"?

Sure, there´s a place for this information. But as the primary focus of your marketing materials, these self-serving features do little to help your prospects imagine a change in their situations after using your services.

Remember, our minds are programmed for pictures, so you must use your text to create a positive visual experience for your prospects.

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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 Verdadera

Arbitraje

Argentina dijo ayer que hoy presentará una queja ante el Centro Internacional de Arreglo de Diferencias Relativas a Inversiones por el accionar de un comité de anulación de ese tribunal del Banco Mundial que falló en contra del país en un pleito con la francesa Vivendi. (Presione aquí)

Televisa

El grupo de medios mexicano Televisa informó en un comunicado que invertirá 1.200 millones en la adquisición de hasta un 40% de las acciones de la cadena de televisión en español estadounidense Univisión, para fortalecer su balance y ampliar su flexibilidad financiera.

Lagunas

La mexicana Consorcio Ara estableció una asociación estratégica con Crystal Lagoons "para construir lagunas artificiales de agua cristalina con extensión de dos a seis hectáreas, en ciertos conjuntos habitacionales diseñados, edificados y comercializados" por la compañía.

  • Brief News

Obama vetoes foreclosure bill as anger grows

Obama stepped into a growing political furor over the nation´s troubled foreclosure system Thursday by vetoing a little-known bill that critics say would have made it easier to evict homeowners who missed their payments. The decision to block the measure, which Congress passed without debate, came as members of the president´s own party have urged the administration and federal regulators to more actively address the crisis over flawed foreclosures. Meanwhile, attorneys general from about 40 states vowed to band together to investigate reports of fraudulent documents and of banks seizing property without having clear ownership of the mortgages.

Bolivian newspapers protest against planned racism law

Several major newspapers in Bolivia have made a joint protest against a proposed anti-racism law, which they say threatens press freedom. Their front pages were blank but for the slogan: "There is no democracy without freedom of expression." The law would give the government the power to shut down media outlets it finds guilty of racism. Evo Morales says it will help reverse centuries of discrimination against Bolivia´s indigenous majority. The papers are not opposed to the racism law in its entirety.

Migration to rich countries slows down sharply

Migration from poorer to richer countries has slowed down sharply as a result of the international recession. A new study says migrants tend to be among the hardest-hit communities in an economic downturn. But it adds that the hundreds of billions of dollars they send home to their families every year remains relatively steady. Migration to richer countries has been on the increase for the last 30 years. The percentage of immigrants in rich country populations doubled from 5% to 10% between 1980 and 2010, according to the United Nations. The global recession has hit the immigrants hard, and this rapid growth in foreign-born communities has now virtually stopped.

Japan to push $60bn into flagging economy

The Japanese cabinet has approved a plan to pump more than $60bn (£38bn) into the country´s struggling economy. The aim of the plan - which still needs approval from parliament - is to boost growth, jobs and spending. The Japanese economy is suffering from deflation and a strong currency; prices keep falling, but consumers hold off spending in hope of lower prices. Analysts said the key problem is that the yen is at a 15-year high, making exports more expensive.

Film studio MGM bankruptcy plan announced

Hollywood film studio Metro Goldwyn Mayer has begun plans to file for bankruptcy protection in an effort to rid itself of $4bn of debts. The studio is asking more than 100 of its creditors to approve a plan that will see it enter chapter 11 bankruptcy while it restructures. Creditors will get a 95% stake in the company as part of the deal. MGM said it would continue to operate as normal during the bankruptcy procedures. The plans follow months of speculation over the future of MGM, which has struggled with large debts, a lack of blockbuster film releases, and a downturn in DVD sales. Earlier this year, the studio put itself up for sale, but failed to find suitable bidders.

French court passes ban on veil

France´s constitutional court approves the law set to ban wearing the Islamic full veil in public.

Why companies watch your every Facebook, YouTube, Twitter move

Once upon a time companies could afford to be rude. Unhappy customers would grumble to a few friends, withdraw their custom, but there was little else they could do. Today, they still tell their friends, but they do it online, using social media websites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Take the Canadian folk singer, Dave Carroll. After nine months of complaining he had had enough. United Airlines baggage handlers had damaged his $3,500 guitar, but the airline refused to pay compensation and its customer service agents were less than courteous. So he made a music video about the experience and on 6 July 2009 posted it on YouTube. Within three days it had been watched half a million times; by mid-August it had reached five million. United had a massive public relations crisis at its hands, not least as thousands of other unhappy customers now came forward to vent their frustration. These days one witty Tweet, one clever blog post, one devastating video - forwarded to hundreds of friends at the click of a mouse - can snowball and kill a product or damage a company´s share price. It´s a dramatic shift in consumer power. But what if companies could harness this power and turn it to their advantage? Not everybody gets it. Not long ago the communications team of a multinational retailer was taken by surprise when journalists called to ask about huge technical problems in half their UK stores. The team did not monitor Twitter and hadn´t heard about the crisis; the journalists did and had. The boundaries between news and social media are getting more and more fuzzy.

Has President Obama lived up to his Nobel prize?

In the year since Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize, work on the president´s foreign policy agenda has been a hard slog, and many of his signature initiatives are a long way from being fulfilled. When it announced the award, the Norwegian Nobel Committee made clear that it was recognizing the new American president´s "vision," and his efforts to strengthen multilateral diplomacy — the unspoken corollary being that the U.S. was turning away from the unilateral approach of Obama´s predecessor. The message from the Norwegians and many other Europeans was, "Goodbye, George W. Bush. We´re glad you´re gone," says Aaron David Miller, a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. "But the issue is whether this president can achieve a success in foreign policy that convinces the skeptics and doubters that he has done something historic." In the past year at least, analysts cite some policy successes, but they say the president has a long way to go on a variety of peacemaking efforts, ranging from America´s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the Middle East peace process, to reducing the threat from nuclear weapons.

Currency war a ´threat´ warns IMF

Global currency wars pose "a real threat" to economic recovery, the head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, warns. Currency disputes show countries are not co-operating as well as they had during the financial crisis. In recent weeks both the US and Europe have led criticism of China over its undervalued yuan. Meanwhile, Japan has been forced to intervene to curb rises in the yen. Separately, Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday warned that imbalances in the global economy have become "not sustainable". But he urged major economies to shun confrontation to avoid a feared currency war.

Russia to repay Iran for cancelled missile order

Russia will pay back Iran´s down payment on an order for a missile system after refusing to fulfill the contract, a top Russian official says. The Kremlin last month banned the sale of the S-300 air defense system to Iran after it was outlawed by UN sanctions.

US offenders unmonitored as tagging system fails

Thousands of US sex offenders, prisoners on parole and other convicts were left unmonitored after an electronic tagging system shut down because of data overload. BI Incorporated, which runs the system, reached its data threshold - more than two billion records - on Tuesday. This left authorities across 49 states unaware of offenders´ movement for about 12 hours. BI increased its data storage capacity to avoid a repeat of the problem.

Court rejects francophone challenge to Canada census

Canada´s Federal Court has rejected a French-speaking group´s attempts to stop the government scrapping the mandatory long-form census. The Federation of Francophone and Acadian Communities a mandatory census was critical to language rights and a voluntary survey would result in less accurate information. The Canadian government has said it is trying to spare its citizens "intrusive and personal questions" found on the survey. Federal Court said the government was not violating the Official Languages Act because the act does not state how information should be collected.

ACLU Sues S.C. jail over Bible-only policy

The civil liberties group argues the Berkeley County Detention Center in Moncks Corner is violating its inmates´ constitutional rights to free speech and religion by barring them from having any other reading material. The lawsuit seeks unspecified punitive damages and asks a federal judge to order the Bible-only policy halted.

Dead people got $18 million in stimulus checks

A report by the US Social Security Administration´s inspector general said more than 89,000 stimulus payments totaling millions of dollars went to people who were either dead or in prison. Half of the payments, which were of $250 each, were returned.

Israel gets closer to passing loyalty law

In a move likely to fuel tensions with its minority Arab population, Israel moved a step closer to passing a law that would require new citizens of the country to declare their allegiance to "a Jewish and democratic state."

Don´t reward drivers for obeying the law

In Brisbane, a call to reward speed-compliant motorists with lower registration bills has been dismissed by senior police service figures. Those with consistently clean records on speeding could be given a discount on their car registration bills, the committee suggested. Acting Police Commissioner Ian Stewart today bluntly rejected the need for rewards. "The law is the law. I expect people to obey the law at all times." "The people who need to be addressed are those who habitually don´t obey the law."

´Pay to Play´ scandal gets key guilty plea

The long-running pay-to-play investigation in New York landed a big fish on Thursday when former New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi pleaded guilty to a corruption charge in a probe of the state pension fund.

Former Guantanamo detainee suing US government over torture allegations

A former Guantanamo Bay detainee filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the US military alleging that he was subjected to torture. Abdul Rahim Abdul Razak Al Ginco, a Syrian national who prefers the surname Janko, filed suit in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, the same court that ordered his release last year, claiming that US military officials repeatedly tortured him during his nearly seven-and-a-half years at Guantanamo. The suit names 26 current or former members of the military who are allegedly responsible for the tortuous acts, such as urinating on Janko, slapping him, threatening him with loss of fingernails, sleep deprivation, extreme cold and stress positions. Janko was released in June 2009 when Judge Richard Leon found that he could no longer be classified as an "enemy combatant" and that the government´s argument against him defied common sense. Prior to being detained by the US military, Janko was imprisoned and tortured by al Qaeda for 18 months over suspicions that he was an American spy.

  • Daily Press Review

IMF warns of real threat to economy
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Portal to help public access federal agencies directly
Gulf News, Independent daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

MIDEAST: Arabic Comes to Jewish Schools
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Combating smuggling in al-Mahrah
Yemen Observer, Sana´a, Republic of Yemen

Miliband to select shadow cabinet
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Proton recalls cars after tests
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

LightSquared signs up Qualcomm, Nokia for data devices
DMeurope, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

HUNGARY: Toxic waste spill reaches Danube, officials say
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Georgia: No Link Between Russian Pullout And WTO Vote
Radio Free Europe, Prague, Czech Republic

Experts debate lining as rescue shaft nears miners
The Independent, London, England

Dollar loses ground ahead of G7 meeting
The Irish Times, Centrist daily, Dublin, Ireland

Producing Kilowatts From More Than Oil
The Moscow Times, Independent daily, Moscow, Russia

PM: Yes, my Big Society plan is ambitious but I make no apology for that...
The Sun, London, England

Freeport Indonesia chief delivers general lecture
Antara News, News agency, Jakarta, Indonesia

HTC smartphone maker to focus on Asia market next year
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Margalla Towers tragic reminder of pain, negligence
Dawn, English-language daily, Karachi, Pakistan

China and Italy agree to expand economic and other areas of cooperation
Gazeta.kz, Official online newspaper, Kazakhstan

School suspends 16 for Facebook posts
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Banting murders: Girlfriend of a suspect is remanded
Malaysian Star, Online news portal, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Strong AUD places burden on parts of Australia´s economy: PM
People´s Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Barrister killed lawfully
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

Karnataka crisis will end Saturday, says Parrikar (Lead)
Thaindian News, Bangkok, Thailand

Abolition of the Death Penalty - New ´De Facto´ Millennium Goal
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Lawyers say farewell to Justice Best
Trinidad Guardian, Independent daily, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad

Zimbabwe PM furious at president
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Selebi must pay for his appeal
News24.com, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

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