August 11, 2014 nº 1,529 - Vol. 12

"The late Mr. Vinizelos observed that in all wars England - he should have said Britain, of course - always wins one battle: the last."

Winston Churchill (*)

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  • Top News


'A Bela Viagem' by Synésio Sampio Goes Filho, published by Editora Migalhas, invites us to wonder about love, work, friendship, beliefs and disbeliefs man ever; and many other topics that get forgotten in the whirlwind of life. Drawing on his tremendous cultural baggage, packed around the world, Goes Filho presents a collection of indispensable quotes by Shakespeare, Millôr Fernandes, Drummond, Montaigne, Pascal, Nietzsche, Fernando Pessoa ... , and also de Gaulle, Churchill and Pope Benedict XVI, along with his unique insight, humor and gentleness of spirit. This diary of sentences, phrases and aphorisms is surely to make you think and feel, maybe even cry and laugh! Migalhas, the editor, is launching the book on August 11 at 11AM at the Circolo Italiano, Sao Paolo in Brazil. (Click here)

* quoted in 'A Bela Viagem' by Synésio Sampio Goes Filho, Editora Migalhas, 2014

Global antibribery fight hardens

Across the globe, efforts to crack down on bribery have generally gone more slowly than they have in the US, where stepped-up enforcement of a 1977 law has in recent years led to more prosecutions and tens of billions of dollars in fines. But the gap between the US and the rest of the world may soon start to shrink. The UK, China, Brazil and Canada, seeing the money the US has collected going after companies with antibribery investigations and prosecutions, have all enacted their own antibribery laws within the past few years. Now the nations are starting to get their own investigations under way, say lawyers and antibribery experts. "We haven't seen many enforcement examples yet...but they are certainly what's next, and that's what financial institutions should be worried about," said Kelly Kramer, a partner at Mayer Brown. In creating their anticorruption statutes, several countries looked to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The US law, passed 37 years ago, makes it illegal to offer money or a gift to foreign-government officials or employees to gain a business advantage. Of specific importance to companies considering cross-border mergers: provisions that allow for prosecutions against companies that make bribes anywhere in the world if they do business in the country that passed the law. The rule, incorporated into the laws of the UK and Canada, requires companies considering tie-ups to conduct exhaustive due diligence

Italian Senate votes to slash its size and powers

Senators in Italy have voted in favor of sweeping reforms that could lead to a dramatic reduction in the size and power of the upper house of parliament. The reforms have been spearheaded by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi as part of a plan to lift Italy out of recession. They aim to make the Senate an unelected body, less able to challenge laws proposed in the lower house. However, the reforms will require more debate - and a possible referendum - before being passed into law. Friday's move has been preceded by a lengthy battle in parliament. The run-up to the vote saw nearly 8,000 amendments tabled by opposition parties, amid furious shouting matches. The debate over the reforms has diverted the government's attention, correspondents say, amid a prolonged economic crisis.

Argentina sues US in international tribunal over debt

Argentina initiated legal proceedings against the US Thursday in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over US interference in the restructuring of Argentina's foreign debt. Argentina contends that the US violated its sovereignty and immunities as a result of judicial decisions adopted by US tribunals concerning the restructuring of the Argentine public debt. No action can be taken in the proceedings unless the US consents to the ICJ's jurisdiction in the case. Last week the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) announced that Argentina officially defaulted on its loans.

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  • MiMIC Journal

Territorial disputes

Media and experts criticize Washington for interfering in China's territorial matters as the US calls for a "freeze" on "provocative actions" in the South China Sea. US Secretary of State John Kerry has urged China and other South East Asian to ensure maritime safety in the contested waters. The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan all have overlapping claims with China in the South China Sea. China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi has dismissed his proposal, restating Beijing's position on protecting its sovereignty in the disputed waters.

China executive permitted to sue Google over autocomplete search terms

A Hong Kong court has ruled that Chinese businessman Dr. Albert Yeung Sau Shing, chairman of the Emperor Group conglomerate, may continue his defamation suit against Google over the autocomplete function of the company's search engine which suggests links connecting Yeung to organized crime groups in China. Yeung originally filed a lawsuit against Google in August 2012 because the company refused to take down search terms linking Yeung to the Triad gang. Counsel for Yeung argued the autocomplete words are a result of recombinations, aggregations and a synthesis of previous search activity by Google Search algorithms designed by Google Inc. Google argues they are not responsible for publishing the autocomplete search suggestions, but the company serves as a passive facilitator and the autocomplete suggestions are done without human intervention.

Deutsche Bank sues former China head Lee for $6.3 million

Lee Zhang, a former China head of Deutsche Bank AG, was sued in Hong Kong by the firm over the 2001 transfer of $3.99 million to the account of a company with a bank in Shenzhen.


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  • Brief News
Confusion over Iraqi court ruling

An Iraqi court has denied TV reports that it has named PM Nouri Maliki's bloc as the largest in parliament. Such a decision would serve as a boost to Maliki's bid to stay on for a third term, forcing the president to ask him to remain in his post. Pro-Maliki security forces took to the streets of Baghdad on Sunday night after the PM made a speech criticizing the president. Maliki faces calls to step down amid a jihadist insurgency in the north. Critics say Maliki, a Shia, has precipitated the current crisis through sectarian policies. Sunnis, Kurds and even fellow Shia have urged him to go.

Judge threatens Argentina with contempt over its statements

Judge Thomas P. Griesa of the Federal District Court in Manhattan, told Argentina to cease making "false and misleading" statements that it did not default on July 30, even threatening to hold the nation in contempt of court if the assertions continued.

'Army of Counterfeiters'

A lawsuit filed and then withdrawn last month against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. by several of the world's leading luxury brands provides extensive details about the issue of allegedly counterfeit goods on the Chinese Internet company's shopping platforms. The 147-page complaint, filed in the US by Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and other brands under Kering SA, alleged that Alibaba's shopping, marketing and payment platforms "knowingly make it possible for an army of counterfeiters to sell their illegal wares throughout the world, including the US, and are compensated by the counterfeiters." The federal lawsuit also named as defendants more than a dozen sellers on Alibaba's platforms. Counterfeiting on Alibaba's shopping platforms is a thorny problem for the Internet company as it prepares for a US public offering. Alibaba has said it spends more than $16.1 million a year to fight counterfeits. Kering and Alibaba in their statement said they "agreed to work together in good faith through the normal business process on ways to enhance intellectual property protection in a manner that can further reduce counterfeiting of Kering brands and ensures a healthy and vibrant e-commerce ecosystem for consumers, merchants, and brand-owners alike."

Federal judge rules New Mexico city hall must remove Ten Commandments monument

A judge for the US District Court for the District of New Mexico ruled Thursday that a New Mexico city must remove a Ten Commandments monument placed outside of Bloomfield city hall. The lawsuit was initially filed in 2012 against the city of Bloomfield by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of two residents who are members of the Wiccan religion. Judge James Parker's ruling stated that the monument was a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and had the main purpose of endorsing religion. Executive Director for the ACLU of New Mexico Peter Simonson stated in regards to the ruling, "We firmly support the right of individuals, religious groups, and community associations to publicly display religious monuments, but the government should not be in the business of picking which sets of religious beliefs belong at City Hall." The city of Bloomfield has 30 days to appeal the ruling.

Three-day ceasefire holds in Gaza

A three-day ceasefire agreed between Israel and Palestinian faction Hamas in Gaza was holding on Monday. The agreement, which began at midnight (21:00 GMT Sunday), came after days of intense mediation by Egypt. If the truce continues to hold, Israel will send negotiators to Cairo on Monday for talks on a longer-term deal.

Common-law couples and social security

With all the questions about how the Social Security Administration deals with same-sex marriages and civil unions, it was inevitable that one would surface about common-law marriages. Common-law marriages have their roots in custom and reflect a couple's conduct. They're very uncommon in the US, where only 11 states and the District of Columbia recognize them. Generally speaking, you're in a common-law marriage if you both agree that you are married, live together and present yourselves publicly as husband and wife, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Of the states that acknowledge these largely non-ceremonial unions, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Texas and Utah have specific laws. Alabama, Rhode Island and Oklahoma recognize them by default because there are no statutes outlawing them. As with same-sex marriages, the SSA takes its lead from state law when determining spousal and survivor benefits eligibility, and requires proof of the union.

New Brazil law supports domestic workers' rights

A new law in Brazil has come into force under which employers can be fined if they fail to register their domestic workers. It is part of new measures to provide basic protection for some seven million domestic workers long excluded from Brazil's stringent labor laws. Employers can now be reported and fined several hundred dollars each time they break part of the code. A constitutional amendment limits domestic workers to a 44-hour week. It defined other rights as well - basic entitlements such as an eight-hour working day, the right to the minimum wage, a lunch break, social security and severance pay.

Uganda AG appeals decision against anti-gay law

Ugandan Attorney General Peter Nyomb on Saturday filed an appeal against the recent constitutional court ruling that struck down the nation's Anti-Homosexuality law. Last week Uganda's Constitutional Court ruled that the Anti-Homosexuality law should be voided because it did not properly pass through Parliament. Gay rights supporters organized on Saturday to speak out against the law and urge the decision to be upheld on appeal.

Ukraine shell blast sparks jailbreak

An artillery shell hits a prison in rebel-held Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, sparking a riot in which 106 inmates escape.

Erdogan wins first direct presidential election and hails new era for Turkey

Outgoing PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hailed his victory in Turkey's first direct presidential election as a new era for the country. He told thousands of supporters from the balcony of his AK Party's HQ in Ankara his victory was for all Turks, not just those who had voted for him. Erdogan secured about 52% of the vote, to avoid any run-off. He wants to secure more power for the presidency but his opponents fear increasingly authoritarian rule. Until now the presidency has been largely ceremonial. He will be inaugurated on 28 August.

California debates 'yes means yes' sex-assault law

College students have heard a similar refrain for years in campaigns to stop sexual assault: No means no. Now, as universities that are facing pressure over the handling of rape allegations adopt policies to define consensual sex, California is poised to take it a step further. Lawmakers are considering what would be the nation's first measure requiring all colleges that receive public funds to set a standard for when yes means yes. Defining consensual sex is a growing trend by universities in an effort to do more to protect victims. From the University of California system to Yale, schools have been adopting standards to distinguish when consent was given for a sexual activity and when it was not.

Mexico approves oil sector reforms

Mexico's Congress has approved sweeping changes to the country's energy industry which will see private oil contracts awarded in the country for the first time since 1938. New laws voted in on Wednesday will open the market to foreign oil firms. As a result, state-owned energy group Pemex will lose the monopoly it has held since nationalization. President Enrique Pena Nieto has made energy reform the cornerstone of his administration. He expects the changes will boost production back to 2004 levels by 2025.

US Senator John Walsh drops campaign over plagiarism

Democratic Montana Senator John Walsh is dropping his campaign for office amid allegations he plagiarized part of a university paper he wrote in 2007. Walsh was appointed to the Senate in February to replace now-US Ambassador to China Max Baucus, and was running for election to the seat in November. He has said he will continue to serve until his term ends in January. Republicans only need a net change of six seats in November's election to take control of the Senate.

Stampede of mergers could mean growth, or irrationality, ahead

Cheap credit, lower tax bills and a desire for revenue, more than economic optimism, may be behind this year's surge in corporate acquisitions.

Federal judge rejects settlement in tech company hiring case

A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Friday rejected a bid by Adobe Systems Inc., Apple, Google, and Intel to settle ongoing antitrust litigation brought by employees in the technology industry. The corporations filed a motion in June requesting the leave of the court to settle the lawsuit for $324.5 million. Judge Lucy Koh rejected the settlement, stating that the strength of the case against the companies and the companies' alleged central role in the conspiracy made the proposed settlement far too low. According to reports, the plaintiffs had planned to request $3 billion in damages at trial, which would have tripled to $9 billion under the Clayton Antitrust Act. The next hearing in the litigation is scheduled for September 10.

Critics blame Airbnb for San Francisco's housing problems

Online rental brokers like Airbnb, VRBO and Flipkey in San Francisco may be finding some success renting to visitors on a nightly basis, but people concerned about a shrinking rental market have turned to legal action and protests. Some have found that renting on a nightly basis brings a lot more money than long-term leases, but people concerned about a shrinking rental market have turned to legal action and protests. Other cities around the world have made definitive choices. Amsterdam and Paris recently passed laws allowing short-term residential rentals. Berlin and Barcelona both banned them. The short-term rental arm of the so-called sharing economy will have to adjust one way or the other as regulations slowly catch up with the supply, the demand and the technology that connect the two.

African Bank splits to isolate loans during rescue

African Bank Investments Ltd. got emergency support from South Africa's central bank in a plan calling for the company to raise 10 billion rand ($938 million) in capital and break off a so-called bad bank for soured loans.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Manopause?! Aging, Insecurity and the $2 Billion Testosterone Industry

Where is the Palestinian Gandhi?

Business Week
Silicon Valley state of mind

The Economist
The Sex Business. Prostitution: A personal choice

Der Spiegel
Liebe auf Rezept. Ewig frisch verliebt: Wie neue Medikamente unsere Gefühle steuern

I terroristi della porta accanto. Erano barbieri a Milano o muratori a Bologna. Ora sparano in Siria e in Libia. Ma alcuni tornano. E si teme possano portarci la guerra in casa.

  • Daily Press Review

Israelis at Cairo talks as Gaza truce holds
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Why the West intervenes in Iraq- but not Syria
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

'Guardian' slams rise in anti-Semitism as Europe anger over Gaza operation grows
JPost, Conservative, Jerusalem, Israel

Iraq thrown into political turmoil
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Feds: Philly doctor tied to terror group
CNN International, London, England

Miley Cyrus gets a pet piglet and names it Bubba Sue
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Chongqing railway in China runs THROUGH block of flats
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Yazidi refugees' dangerous exodus continues
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

Iraq's top court rules in favour of Maliki amid political turmoil
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

I urgently need 7,000 Turkish Liras
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Iraq crisis: US pledges to arm Kurdish forces as international momentum against Isis grows
Independent The, London, England

Major Ukrainian TV provider drops Russian channels
Moscow News The, Independent, Moscow, Russia

Iraq crisis: live
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner in Celebrity Sightings
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

Typhoon Halong leaves up to 10 dead in Japan: reports
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

'Roaring Currents' Set for All-Time Box-Office Triumph
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

No ruling on banning Putin from G20 Abbott
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Lawyer strips woman over dog in Gurgaon
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Thailand building collapse kills 1, traps 10
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

Ukraine President cancels trip over protests in eastern Ukraine
Straits Times, Pro-government, Singapore

Man shot dead on busy Leichhardt street
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

SKF Establishing Global Technical Center in United States to Strengthen Global Network
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Why Americans should know enough about world issues to take a position
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

Iraq conflict: Are Americans isolationist, or just war-weary?
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Militants crush resistance in Syria's east with crucifixions, beheadings
Globe and Mail The, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Liberty Reserve Brought Down By 'Joe Bogus': How The Feds Arrested Arthur Budovsky
International Business Times, Business news organization, New York, U.S

Guido, the Grandson in the DNA of All Argentinians
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Exclusive: RBS preparing to sell international arm of Coutts - sources
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

Israeli negotiators in Cairo for Gaza truce talks
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

Families of two men killed in 2012 Eaton Centre shooting sue alleged shooter, police, Crown
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

CAR gets Muslim prime minister
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England


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