October 29, 2010 Nº 974 - Vol. 8

"Life is not fair; get used to it."

Bill Gates

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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

EU leaders frames eurozone crisis rules

Tough rules for the eurozone, aimed at averting another financial crisis, have been agreed at an EU leaders' summit. The leaders agreed to a permanent fund to help the euro in times of crisis, and to laws giving the EU the power to check national budgets. EU officials said the eurozone had almost collapsed earlier this year because it lacked such a mechanism. Under the new rules, EU officials will warn governments about property and speculative bubbles, and will be able to impose stringent fines on countries that borrow and spend too much. There would be progressive sanctions on countries which overshot the maximum debt level allowed under the EU's Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), which is 60% of GDP. Sanctions would kick in earlier than is the case under the current SGP, enabling the EU to take preventive action, for example against a country with an unsustainable housing bubble, or with unsustainable debt that undermines its competitiveness. A new Euro-row is escalating over a Franco-German plan to rewrite part of the EU's Lisbon Treaty. EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said talk of treaty change was "irresponsible". The change would tighten the EU rules on national debt. The treaty amendments would have to spell out exactly how the crisis mechanism would work and who would fund it. The idea of suspending a country's voting rights at EU ministerial meetings is "politically dangerous." It could be interpreted as a transfer of power to Brussels, in which case some countries, such as Ireland, might want to hold a referendum.

US not tracking spending on Afghan projects

The US government has spent about $55bn on rebuilding in Afghanistan since 2001 but cannot easily show how the money was spent. The special inspector general's office for Afghanistan reconstruction talked of a "confusing labyrinth" of spending. It said some 7,000 contractors received $17.7bn from 2007-09 but data prior to 2007 was too poor to be analyzed. It is the first comprehensive audit of US spending in Afghanistan since US-led troops ousted the Taliban in 2001. According to the report, US government agencies are not tracking Afghan contracts in a shared database and cannot easily show where the money went.

New S.E.C. powers in Dodd-Frank Act

As the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul bill moved through Congress this summer, the Securities and Exchange Commission — virtually unnoticed — gained a powerful new weapon that could significantly increase the agency's force and reach. A provision deep in the 2,323-page law empowers the S.E.C. to bring many more cases for monetary penalties in administrative courts, where the rules are more favorable to the government than in federal court. Several constitutional and other due-process protections that are available to defendants in federal court — from the right to demand a jury trial to broad discovery rights — do not exist in administrative courts, which are part of the agency itself.

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 - Internet predator statute blocked(Click here)

2 - Cell Phone Liability Lawsuits Pre-empted by FCC, 3rd Circuit Rules (Click here)

3 - Dutch supermodel Lara Stone wins damages from French Playboy (Click here)

4 - More lawyers behaving badly (Click here)

5 - Justices not convinced by arguments to delay execution (Click here)

6 - Sanctuary in custody fight over elephant (Click here)

7 - Greenwich Village woman gets to keep backyard treehouse (Click here)

8 - JPMorgan, HSBC accused of manipulating silver futures (Click here)

9 - Lawyer arrested for allegedly making threatening, racist phone calls (Click here)

10 - The Hobbit will be made in New Zealand, PM confirms (Click here)

11 - The 25 Most Influential People in IP (Click here)

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MiMIC Journal

China boosts maritime watch fleet

China expands its fleet of maritime surveillance ships amid territorial disputes with a number of neighbors. China needed the ships to better protect its maritime rights, an official said.

  • Law Firm Marketing

Powerful prospect interviews begin with listening

by Trey Ryder

Listening skills identify the real problem to be addressed. Yet most people are great talkers but terrible listeners.

The greatest gift you can give another person is your attention. All of us want people to listen to what we have to say. Yet, rather than listening, many of us can't wait to jump in and solve the other person's problem. While the other person is talking, we often think, "I wish you'd hurry up and get done talking so I can tell you what to do."

Sound familiar?

Whether a prospect decides to hire your services often depends on whether he feels you understand and care about him. This usually comes down to whether you've taken time to listen to his pain, understand what he feels, and focus on the problem he wants to solve.

If you practice in one area of the law, you probably recommend similar solutions to many prospects. Yet, while your solutions may include many of the same elements or methods, each prospect thinks his problem is unique.

While you are thinking, "This problem is just like all the others I've seen this week," your prospect is thinking, "I'll bet this lawyer has never heard of a problem like mine."

In the mid-1980s, I had the good fortune to meet Cavett Robert. Cavett is a retired trial attorney and founder of the National Speakers' Association based in Phoenix. He learned I was in marketing and invited me to lunch. I was flattered that this man of uncommon depth and experience wanted to spend time with me. I decided to make sure I used our time together wisely. I thought, if I am a good listener, no telling how much I might learn.

The hostess showed us to our table. We sat down. Cavett looked at me, calmly put down his menu, focused his total attention on me, and said, "Trey, tell me about yourself."

I thought, I'll give this man a brief overview. Then I'll learn everything I can about him and his experiences.

I started talking. Five minutes later, taking only time to breathe, I was still talking 90 miles per hour. In fact, I grew tired listening to myself talk That's when I thought, what's wrong with this picture? I came here to listen and learn, yet the only person at this table talking is me. (!) I quickly brought my unabridged autobiography to a close, asked Cavett about himself, and turned from a talker into a listener.

To this day, I remember his words: "Tell me about yourself." When lawyers tell me they occasionally feel awkward when meeting with a prospect, I suggest they begin their prospect interview with Cavett's four magic words.

"Tell me about yourself" puts your prospect at ease and gets him to open up. Also, it takes the focus off you and allows you to sit back and listen.

True, your prospect came to your office to learn what you can do for him. But your prospect also came to your office with the hope that you would listen to him explain his problem. Your odds of winning a new client increase dramatically when you give your prospect the opportunity to say what's on his mind and explain things from his point of view.

God gave us two ears and one mouth. We do our best when we use them in that proportion.

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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

Chevron

El Consejo de la Judicatura destituyó al juez Juan Núñez. Él fue involucrado en un supuesto caso de soborno en el juicio que indígenas impulsan contra la empresa petrolera estadounidense Chevron-Texaco por daños ambientales. El juez Núñez tramitaba ese juicio en el 2009.

Odebrecht

Con la más que probable adjudicación del Metro, la cartera de proyectos en los que participa la constructora Odebrecht superará los $2,460 millones, una cifra forjada en los últimos cuatro años, con dos administraciones distintas. Las dos fases de la cinta costera, la autopista Panamá-Colón y el saneamiento de la bahía, son algunos de los proyectos que lidera la firma.

Repsol

El mexicano Grupo Kuo y la española Repsol acordaron la creación de una empresa conjunta en partes iguales, denominada Kuosol, constituida en México dedicada al desarrollo de bioenergía. La inversión inicial será de US$ 15 mlls., y tendrá una inversión estimada de US$ 80 mlls. al 2014.

  • Brief News

Argentines mourn former President Nestor Kirchner

Thousands have converged on Argentina's government palace to pay their respects to ex-President Nestor Kirchner, who died on Wednesday at 60. His wife Cristina Fernandez and their children have been attending the wake. Kirchner, succeeded by his wife as president, was expected to run in the 2011 election. Kirchner came to power as Argentina was emerging from a profound political and economic crisis, and he oversaw the country's return to relative stability and prosperity. He also supported the prosecution of those responsible for human rights abuses under military rule in the 1970s and 1980s.

Labor law is broken, economist says

Richard B. Freeman, a labor economist at Harvard, said he had some "harsh and impolitic" news for the National Labor Relations Act on its 75th anniversary. He declared that the law "has become an anachronism irrelevant for most workers and firms." The New Deal law – often known as the Wagner Act –was passed to replace the costly unionization fights of yesteryear – often involving strikes, lockouts, violent confrontations — with "a 'laboratory conditions' elections process for ascertaining workers' attitudes toward union representation that would be free from employer pressures or dishonest statements by employers or unions." He said unionization elections in the private sector "have turned into massive employer campaigns against unions." That, he wrote, is a major reason the percentage of private-sector workers in unions has fallen to 7 percent, down from nearly 40 percent in the 1950s. He argued that the penalties in the National Labor Relations Act were weak and "have failed to deter firms from illegal actions to prevent unionization."

Oklahoma voters face question on Islamic law

Oklahoma voters are considering an unusual question that will appear on their ballots this Tuesday: whether Islamic law can be used in considering cases in state court. The question is the doing of State Rep. Rex Duncan. The Republican is the main author of State Question 755, also known as the "Save our State" constitutional amendment, one of 11 questions on the state ballot. The question might seem a befuddling one for a ballot in the heartland, but it stems from a New Jersey legal case in which a Muslim woman went to a family court asking for a restraining order against her spouse claiming he had raped her repeatedly. The judge ruled against her, saying that her husband was abiding by his Muslim beliefs regarding spousal duties. The decision was later overruled by an appellate court, but the case sparked a firestorm. Duncan secured support for the proposal on the state's Senate side from fellow Republican Anthony Sykes, who co-authored the measure. "The fact that Sharia law was even considered anywhere in the United States is enough for me" to sign on, Sykes said. "It should scare anyone that any judge in America would consider using that as precedent."

Dubai World debt restructuring agreed

State-owned Dubai World has signed up the last remaining creditor to a $23bn debt restructuring. The last investor - US distressed debt fund Aurelius Capital Management - sold its position to Deutsche Bank, one of the company's main creditors. The holding company said in September that 99% of its creditors had already agreed to the new repayment terms. It means Dubai World can now avoid a lengthy tribunal to complete the deal. Dubai World manages investments for the Emirate of Dubai, including the Dubai ports, foreign investments, and major real estate development such as the famous palm islands.

Google, in Settlement, Changes Ad Rules in France

Google has pledged to overhaul its rules and procedures for blocking certain advertisers from buying "sponsored links" on its search engine. Under the deal with the French Competition Authority, Google agreed to adopt conditions, including a three-month notification period, when it rejected some ads from appearing next to its search results in France. The specific conditions apply only in France, and concern only ads for tools aimed at helping drivers avoid speeding tickets. The settlement stems from a complaint by a company called Navx, which provides online maps pinpointing the location of radar and camera systems the authorities use to crack down on speeding on French roads. The complaint by Navx stems from a decision by Google last November, when it blocked the company from buying search ads, arguing that radar detectors were illegal in France. In June, the French Competition Authority ordered Google to restore Navx as a customer on an interim basis as it investigated. Under the settlement, Google also agreed to apply "the principle of improvements and clarifications made in implementing these commitments" in every country in which it operates AdWords, its keyword advertising system.

FTC ends Google privacy inquiry

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Wednesday announced that it has ended an inquiry into internal policies and procedures at Google that led to the company inadvertently collecting data on unsecured wireless networks while photographing streetscapes for its Street View maps program. In a letter sent to Google's counsel, FTC Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection David Vladeck admonished the company for not knowing about the data collection until responding to a request for information and stated that there was a breakdown in the company's internal review process. Vladeck went on to state that, in light of Google's recent announcement that it was addressing these concerns by appointing new staff and incorporating a formal privacy review process on developing technology and the fact that Google assured the FTC it did not use the data it had accidentally collected, the FTC was ending its inquiry into the matter. (Click here)

Big name firms form alliance to drive cloud standards

Some of the world's biggest companies are using their market clout to demand that computer equipment makers change the way they make their machines. The 70 firms, which includes BMW, Shell and Marriott Hotels, said systems that do not work together are holding back the spread of cloud computing. The companies have formed the Open Data Alliance Centre to push for unified standards for technology. The businesses involved account for more than $50b in IT spending. The old way just won't work anymore. We want to pay for what we need, when we need it." The principal goal of the body is to help businesses cope with an explosion in the number of people that will want to access services and applications online using a plethora of different devices from phones to TVs to tablet computers. Researchers estimate that another one billion users will come online in the next five years. The Alliance's Cloud 2015 vision is aimed at creating a federated cloud where common standards will be laid down for those in the hardware and software arena. Another goal is to ensure all devices are interoperable when accessing services via the cloud.

Serbs offer 10m euros for Mladic

Serbia raises to 10m euros its reward for information leading to the capture of Bosnian war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic.

US foreclosure crisis becomes more widespread

The foreclosure crisis in the US has spread across a wider area of the country, according to RealtyTrac, which monitors repossession activity. The organization said foreclosure notices increased across a majority of large metropolitan areas, including Chicago and Seattle. Previously, these cities had seen relatively low levels of activity. Separately, Wells Fargo said it would re-file documents on 55,000 foreclosures after admitting technical mistakes.

Prison economics helped drive immigration law

The state's new law could send hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to prison. An analysis of fund-raising documents, lobbying records and corporate reports shows that the private prison industry helped draft and pass the measure. "The law could send hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to prison in a way never done before. And it could mean hundreds of millions of dollars in profits to private prison companies responsible for housing them," according to a report.

Typing Errur? Your fingers know even when your brain doesn't

The brain has at least two separate systems for detecting errors we make. One involves looking at the result of our actions. The other monitors what we're doing as we do it.

Brazil air controller convicted over 2006 crash

A military court convicted an air traffic controller for his role in the 2006 collision of a Brazilian airliner and a business jet that killed 154 people. Jomarcelo Fernandes dos Santos was sentenced Tuesday to 14 months in jail for failing to take action when he saw that the Legacy's anti-collision system had been turned off. Four other controllers were acquitted for lack of proof, it said. The five were tried by a military court because air controllers are in the Brazilian air force.

GM to cut $11 billion in debt, pension obligations

General Motors says it will cut its debt and pension obligations by $11 billion. The automaker plans to buy preferred stock from the U.S. government, pay down money it owes a union retiree health care trust fund and pump billions in stock and cash into its pension plan.

The hurdles to suing outside advisers for fraud

When Refco collapsed in October 2005 after serious accounting problems emerged, investors and creditors scrambled to sue those who helped its officers mislead them about losses of nearly $2.4 billion. Despite a legion of lawyers, accountants and investment bankers who seem to have overlooked red flags about Refco's balance sheet, and perhaps even helped structure fraudulent transactions, holding them accountable for damages has proved difficult because the courts limit the liability of professional advisers who did not perpetrate the fraud. In two decisions this year stemming from Refco's collapse, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and most recently the New York State Court of Appeals reaffirmed this limitation, dismissing lawsuits that challenged the protection that outside lawyers and accountants have from claims for damages, regardless of whether they were negligent or even participated in a fraud. The Supreme Court and Congress are unlikely to chip away at this protection any time soon.

EU court reinstates ban on import of seal products

The EU Court of Justice has reinstated a ban on the import of seal products, according to a ruling released Thursday rejecting challenges by Canada's Inuit hunters and fur traders. Regulation (EC) No 1007/2009, which recognizes seals as "sentient beings that can experience pain, distress, fear and other forms of suffering," and bans all imports containing seal products, took effect in August, but the Inuit hunters were temporarily exempted. Judge Marc Jaeger ruled this week that the ban should be fully implemented, holding that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate an imminent financial hardship resulting from the ban to warrant an application for interim relief.

UK intelligence chief defends using secrecy to protect national security

The head of the UK's Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) made a public statement Thursday defending the use of secrecy for protecting national security, but also acknowledging concerns over some of the agency's adopted tactics. SIS Chief John Sawers addressed questions about the value of a secret intelligence effort and whether the public could be confident that the SIS's work is "lawful, ethical, and in their interests." Of the three services forming the UK intelligence community, SIS,also known as MI6, specializes in operations abroad, dealing with threats and gathering intelligence from various sources around the world. In his speech, Sawer outlined the process the agency uses to obtain, report and protect intelligence information. He defended the SIS secrecy practices related to protecting British citizens from al Qaeda terrorist operations, cyber threats and proliferation of nuclear weapons, and emphasized the importance of secrecy in facilitating long-range strategic intelligence and military support and security. The National Security Council and the 1994 Intelligence Services Act set the legal framework for SIS conduct and ensure that the SIS is held accountable for its actions. Sawer formally communicated the SIS's position on torture.

  • Daily Press Review

Nasrallah calls for boycott of Hariri tribunal
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

Former jailer facing prison sentence after smuggling drugs into prison
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

FRANCE: Pension protesters hold firm despite lower turnout
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

EU Summit Clears Way For Treaty Change, Diplomats Say
Radio Free Europe, Prague, Czech Republic

Lover convicted of supplying drugs that killed Playboy model
The Independent, London, England

Indonesia volcano erupts again
The Irish Times, Centrist daily, Dublin, Ireland

MI6 chief Sir John Sawers says secrecy is vital to keep UK safe
The Telegraph, Conservative daily, London, England

President calls for proper coordination of tsunami victims relocation
Antara News, News agency, Jakarta, Indonesia

On CBI's plea, SC reopens Bhopal gas leak case
India Express, News portal, Mumbai, India

Banting murders: Judicial revision postponed to Nov 15
Malaysian Star, Online news portal, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Deaths from Indonesian disasters top 400
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

EU leaders agree on limited treaty changes to handle debt crisis
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Total US intelligence bill tops $80 billion
Sify News, Chennai, India

Omar Khadr apologizes to widow
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Decriminalising marijuana - taking the high ground
Caribbean360, Online news portal, St. Michael, Barbados

Dominican guards halt hundreds of Haitians trying to cross the border
Dominican Today, Independent daily, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

PARAGUAY: Economy Soaring - For the Few
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Following death of Notre Dame student, university pledges to review use of lifts
The Globe and Mail, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

McLeod questioned on claims of job losses
Trinidad Guardian, Independent daily, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad

World Cup bidders await outcome of Fifa meeting
Mail & Guardian Online, Liberal, Johannesburg, South Africa

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