December 17, 2010  No. 992 -  Vol. 8

"Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend."

Ludwig van Beethoven

Holiday Cheer

"The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate."


The editor and the whole team at Migalhas International wish its readers Happy Holidays and all the best for the coming New Year.

We will return on January 10, 2011.

In today's Law Firm Marketing, time to celebrate!


Read Migalhas LatinoAmérica in Spanish every Tuesday and Thursday. Visit the website at


  • Top News

Rights court rules Brazil amnesty law invalid

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has ruled that a 1979 Brazilian amnesty law is invalid and that Brazil is responsible for the disappearance of 61 people during its during its 1964-1985 military dictatorship. In a decision announced Tuesday, the court found that the law, which shielded military officials from prosecution, was incompatible with the American Convention on Human Rights. The court ordered the Brazilian government to conduct a criminal investigation into an anti-guerrilla military operation in the Araguaia region between 1972 and 1974. The court also ruled that 42 direct relatives of the victims should receive USD $45,000 each in compensation for their suffering and that 28 indirect relatives should receive $15,000 each. The ruled that all 70 relatives should also receive $3,000 each for medical and psychological treatment. Brazil's president-elect Dilma Rousseff, who takes office on January 1, has pledged to bring human rights violators to justice and will be responsible for implementing the court's decision.

UN Security Council ends Iraq sanctions

The UN Security Council on Wednesday voted to remove sanctions imposed on Iraq between 1991 and 2003 during the country's wars under former Iraqi dictator Suddam Hussein. The Security Council approved three resolutions that eliminated the Development Fund for Iraq, lifted sanctions prohibiting civil nuclear projects and ended the controversial Oil-for-Food program. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised the decision as a "milestone" and said that the Council "recognize[d] how far the country has come in key aspects of its journey to normalize its status in the community of nations," particularly Iraq's participation in international anti-nuclear proliferation treaties. US Vice President Joe Biden chaired the meeting and commended the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) for its work in providing relief to the Iraqi people, a job that will likely continue as the US plans to withdraw troops from the country. The US will hold the Security Council presidency for the month of December.

Before you open the door to the boardroom, peek through the keyhole!

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  • Crumbs

1 - Google may have broken competition law: French watchdog (Click here)

2 - $94m awarded in 'free smokes to kids' case (Click here)

3 - UK court backs decision to bail WikiLeaks' Assange (Click here)

4 - House passes 'don't ask, don't tell' repeal (Click here)

5 - Ex-minister Bob Ainsworth: Make drugs legally available (Click here)


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  • Law Firm Marketing

Ken's Korner: time to celebrate

By Ken and Sally Kasner, Positive Options (Click here)

It's that time of year again, the time when we traditionally give thanks and celebrate our good fortunes.  And for some, this year will present more challenges than we have experienced for some time.  The media paints the dire picture.  People are out of work.  Many lost their retirement.  The economy is in the toilet.  What is there to celebrate?

True, most of us have had a year in which we have seen some of what we thought to be essential to happiness evaporate from our lives.  It has definitely been a time when we have stepped back to lick our wounds and reevaluate.  Plans have had to change.  Expectations have shifted.  And, for some of us, getting into recovery mode has been difficult.  But most of us have picked ourselves back up, dusted ourselves off, and begun to rearrange the pieces.  Why do we do this?  Because most of us believe in possibility.  We also know if it is to be, it is up to us as individuals to make it happen in our lives.

In the last several years many have written and spoken about something called the Law of Attraction.  Basically, what this law says is that what we focus on expands in our lives.  We have all had this law demonstrated to us many times throughout our lives.  For example, if I go out and buy a new bright blue Volkswagen convertible, I will begin to see them everywhere despite the fact that I never noticed them before.  Likewise, in our personal relationships, if we like to gripe and complain, we will soon have a friendship network of gripers and complainers.  If we feel poor, we will surround ourselves with poor people.  If we feel and act wealthy, we will have wealthy people around us.  Like attracts like.

The Law of Attraction is a simple fact of life.  If it is so simple, why don't we have more of what we say we want in our lives?  Because most of what we think and do is done unconsciously.  We aren't even aware of the repeating patterns of thought, feeling and action that keep us where we are.  The only way out of this self perpetuating cycle is to begin to intentionally focus on what we do want to experience and consciously take charge of our thoughts, emotions and behavior.

In some ways I think the losses most of us have experienced in the last year have been a good thing.  They have caused us to stop and think.  What really is important to me?  Are the objects in my life really the reflection of my value as a person?  What have been my greatest blessings this year?  What were the highlights of this year?  When did I feel the most joy?  When was I of most service?  Who did I spend time with that was most inspiring?  What do I want to experience more of this next year?  The answers to these questions tell you what you can most profitably think about, talk about and spend time doing to move your life in the direction that is most rewarding for you.

My life, like everyone else's, has had times of joy and times where I asked myself, how in the world did I get myself into this mess?  At one of those down times a friend told me, "Start being aware of all that you have to be thankful for, make a list."  He said, "Start with the sheets on your bed."  I have never forgotten what he said and many times it has helped me put things in perspective.

What we focus on really does expand in our lives.  The Law of Attraction works.  Regardless of the circumstances, we always have control over where we choose to focus.  Life begins and ends, the ride is up to us.  May you find many things to be thankful for this holiday season and create many more to be thankful for in the future.


© Trey Ryder

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  • Historia Verdadera

Teléfono rojo

Cuba propuso a Estados Unidos la creación de "un canal secreto de comunicaciones" para facilitar a los gobernantes de ambos países la directa negociación de los asuntos más delicados en las relaciones bilaterales, caracterizadas por el enfrentamiento desde el triunfo de la revolución de Fidel Castro, en enero de 1959. (Presione aquí)

Ley habilitante

La ley que otorga poderes especiales a Chávez supera su primera votación. La Asamblea Nacional aprueba el proyecto que permitirá al presidente venezolano legislar un año mediante decretos.- La medida deberá ser ratificada este viernes. (Presione aquí)

  • Brief News

BP shares hit over Gulf of Mexico spill law suit

BP shares have fallen after the US said it was suing the oil giant for alleged violations of federal safety laws over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The lawsuit asks BP and and eight other firms be held liable without limitation for all clean-up and damage costs. BP's shares in London ended Thursday trading down 1.4%. The oil leak became the worst environmental disaster in US history. And BP has set aside $39.9bn to cover the costs stemming from the disaster. If BP were found to be grossly negligent, the costs it faced could rise significantly  and this could potentially add almost $16bn to the penalties BP would have to pay under the US Clean Water Act.

Niemeyer still designing at 103

Celebrated Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer marks his 103rd birthday as both a museum of his work and his latest building open.

4 more arrested as insider-trading probe widens

The arrests of three technology company workers who allegedly sold secrets about Apple Inc., Dell Inc. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. signals the U.S. may be closing in on the hedge funds that paid for their expertise.

Nokia sues Apple for patent infringement in Europe

In the latest salvo of a protracted legal battle, Nokia sued Apple on Thursday in Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, alleging that the U.S. technology company used 13 of its patents, including a basic touch-screen maneuver, without its permission. The lawsuits filed by Nokia are the most recent demands for royalty payments from its archrival Apple, Lawsuits were filed in Germany, the Netherlands and Britain.  A smartphone represents 1,000 or more individual patents. That means that a company, if it chooses, can usually find one or more patents in its portfolio that could be used to cause a competitor trouble. 

Europe rights court rules against Ireland abortion ban

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled Thursday that Ireland failed to provide "effective and accessible procedures" to allow a Lithuanian women to assert her constitutional right to a lawful abortion. Ireland has some of the most conservative abortion laws in Europe, prohibiting abortions except where there is a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother. The case came before the court after three women filed suit alleging their rights were violated when they were forced to travel abroad for an abortion in 2005. Since a 1983 referendum, unborn children are afforded equal constitutional rights as mothers. In 1992, the Ireland Supreme Court ruled that abortion was legal in Ireland when the mother's life was at risk, but the ECHR noted that doctors are loathe to counsel patients on the matter because they run the risk of "criminal conviction and imprisonment" if a doctor's medical opinion is subsequently overruled by another opinion.

Mexico drug war dead above 30,000

More than 30,000 Mexicans have died in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderon took office four years ago, the government says.

Turkey tries army officers over Sledgehammer 'plot'

A trial of nearly 200 retired and serving military officers has begun near Istanbul. They face charges of plotting to bring down the government of the Islamically rooted Justice and Development Party seven years ago. The alleged conspiracy, one of several being investigated, has divided opinion in Turkey. The armed forces say that the plot was no more than a seminar to discuss hypothetical scenarios.

Assange tells of 'smear campaign' 

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange says a "smear campaign" is being mounted against him, and vows to continue disclosing material on his website.

Japan defence review warns of China's military might

Japan has called China's military rise a source of international concern, in a major defence review. The new guidelines also describe North Korea as an urgent and grave factor for instability, and call for a stronger alliance with the US. Japan is changing its defence policy in response to the shifting balance of power in Asia, analysts say.

EU agrees on permanent eurozone rescue fund

EU leaders have agreed to set up a permanent mechanism to bail out any member state whose debt problems threaten the 16-nation eurozone. The eurozone stability mechanism will require a change to the EU's Lisbon Treaty - but the wording has now been agreed, diplomats say. EU President said leaders were ready to do whatever was required to protect the currency. The 27 leaders, meeting in Brussels on Thursday, agreed that in 2013 the permanent mechanism would succeed the eurozone's 750bn-euro ($1tn) temporary bail-out fund, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF).

IMF agrees 22.5bn euro Irish loan

The International Monetary Fund approves a 22.5bn euros three-year loan for the Republic of Ireland.

Federal appeals court rules valid search warrant required for e-mail search

The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled Tuesday that e-mail is entitled to Fourth Amendment protection. The 98-page opinion overturned the prison sentence of Steven Warshak, the founder of Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals Inc., who was convicted on 93 counts of conspiracy, money laundering and fraud in 2008. The court held that government reliance on the Stored Communications Act did not warrant overturning Warshak's conviction, but that the government violated Warshak's Fourth Amendment rights when it ordered his Internet service provider (ISP) to turn over his e-mails. In finding this violation, the court acknowledged that Warshak enjoyed "a reasonable expectation of privacy" in his e-mails by comparing e-mail to more traditional forms of communication, such as telephone conversations, found to be protected in United States v. Katz.

Georgia woman arrested for wearing headscarf in court files lawsuit

The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia (ACLUGA) filed a lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of a Muslim woman who was arrested for refusing to remove her headscarf, or hijab, in court. Lisa Valentine was arrested in December 2008 and ordered to serve 10 days in jail for contempt of court after she refused to remove her headscarf upon entering a security checkpoint in an Atlanta courtroom. Douglasville Municipal Court Judge Keith Rollins found Valentine in contempt for violating a court policy that prohibits wearing headgear in court. Valentine, who also goes by her Islamic name Miedah, was released from jail later in the day after the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the incident, although jail officials did not confirm their reason for letting her go. The ACLUGA claims that the defendants, the city of Douglasville and the arresting officers, violated Valetine's First and Fourth Amendment rights, as well as the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

  • Daily Press Review

Abuse 'widespread' in Kashmir jails
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

WikiLeaks' Assange Vows to Clear Name as Freed on Bail
Nahamet, Online news portal, Beirut, Lebanon

Arabs want resolution against settlements
The Daily Star, Independent daily, Beirut, Lebanon

Tax legislation sent to White House
Daily Express, Conservative tabloid, London, England

Asylum seeker Aso Mohammed Ibrahim who let girl, 12, die can stay in UK
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Nokia files fresh patent complaints against Apple
DMeurope, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

IVORY COAST: Ouattara calls for fresh protests after fatal clashes
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

EU urges measures against Russian officials over Magnitsky case
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

British mother facing Malaysia death penalty
The Independent, London, England

Winona Ryder claims Mel Gibson called her an 'oven-dodger'
The Telegraph, London, England

Tharmendran's appeal to stop jet engine theft trial dismissed (Updated)
Malaysian Star, Online news portal,  Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Lawmakers pact to squash Dominican Republic education push
Dominican Today, Independent daily, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

'Beastly' bust - Jamaican, US lawmen bring down int'l drug ring
Jamaica Gleaner, Independent daily, Kingston, Jamaica


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