September 15, 2014 nº 1,543 - Vol. 12

"Concentrate your energies, your thoughts and your capital.... The wise man puts all his eggs in one basket and watches the basket."

Andrew Carnegie

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  • Top News

Germany passes bill banning support of Islamic State

Germany passed a bill banning on all images and activities in support of the Islamic State (IS) [JURIST news archive] Friday, effectively outlawing support for the group. The ban takes immediate effect [AFP report] and covers the recruitment of jihadist fighters, the use of IS symbols and social media propaganda. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere commented that IS poses a threat to Germany, as well as in Syria and Iraq, where the group operates. De Maiziere estimates that approximately 400 Germans have traveled to Iraq and Syria to fight on the side of IS. The German government had been working to implement a ban following an IS-led attack on a group of Yazidis in the western German town of Herford last month.

Companies curb use of outside law firms

Law firms have some new competition these days: their own clients. Instead of calling an outside lawyer to work on midlevel deals or contracts, many companies now handle that work in-house with growing teams of staff attorneys who don't bill by the hour. This year corporations are shifting an estimated $1.1 billion that they used to spend on outside lawyers to their own internal legal budgets. That migration cements a trend that took off during the recession, when general counsels were under pressure to rein in costs, and spiked in 2012, when companies redirected $5.8 billion in legal spending in-house. About 58% of larger companies are sending more legal work to their own law departments this year, compared with 50% in 2013. It is cheaper, some general counsels say—and often more efficient. Many law firms are struggling to boost revenue and profits amid relatively slack demand for legal services. Some big law firms, which tend to offer more specialized services that are harder to replicate in-house, say they aren't feeling the pinch just yet. But others have had to make adjustments.

Secret law is no law

One of the many ways that the NSA's mass surveillance violates the human rights of both Americans and others around the world is that it teeters on a huge pile of secret law. Let's be clear. Under international human rights law, secret "law" doesn't even qualify as "law" at all. The Human Rights Committee confirms that law is only law if people know it exists and can act based on that knowledge. Article 19 of the ICCPR, protecting the freedoms of opinion and expression, requires that "to be characterized as a "law," a law must be formulated with sufficient precision to enable an individual to regulate his or her conduct accordingly and it must be made accessible to the public. This includes not just the law itself, but the judicial and executive interpretations of written laws because both of those are necessary to ensure that people have clear notice of what will trigger surveillance. This is a basic and old legal requirement: it can be found in all of the founding human rights documents. It allows people the fundamental fairness of understanding when they can expect privacy from the government and when they cannot. It avoids the Kafkaesque situations in which people, like Joseph K in The Trial and the thousands of people on the secret No Fly Lists, cannot figure out what they did that resulted in government scrutiny, much less clear their names. And it ensures that government officials have actual limits to their discretion and that when those limits are crossed, redress is possible.

Data

Authors Leonardo A. F. Palhares and Caio Iadocico de Faria Lima of Almeida Advogados explain, in this article, the details of data protection in Brazil by the Consumer Protection Department. (Click here)

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1 - Cargill sues Syngenta over sale of GMO corn banned by China - click here.

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  • MiMIC Journal

China lawyers boycott trial of activist

The legal defense team representing prominent Chinese human rights activist Guo Feixiong [CHRD profile], decided to boycott the start of Guo's pending trial over procedural irregularities, which resulted in adjournment of the proceedings at the Guangzhou People's Court in Southern China. All four lawyers boycotted the trial [Reuters report] because authorities failed to grant the legal staff at least three days advance notice to prepare for the trial and the lawyers were denied access to a laptop computer in the courtroom.

Death penalties for Kunming attack

Three people have been sentenced to death for a deadly mass knife attack in Kunming, with a fourth jailed for life. The group were accused of organizing the 1 March attack at a Kunming station that killed 31 people and injured 141. The Chinese government blamed Islamic extremists from the western region of Xinjiang for the assault.

Beijing stages first Formula E race

A Brazilian driver, Lucas di Grassi, wins the first Formula E, a new electric motor racing championship backed by some of the sport's biggest brands, in Beijing.

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  • Brief News
U.S. says allies in Middle East and elsewhere want to help fight ISIS

On a weekend that saw extremist group the Islamic State release a video showing the murder of a Western hostage, support for a coalition to fight the group is building. Several Arab states are reportedly willing to participate in strikes on the group, and Australia has offered to send hundreds of troops to help. Secretary of State John Kerry has been visiting countries in the Middle East to build support for Obama's plan to fight the group, ahead of a conference about the crisis that'll begin in Paris Monday.

European court allows library to digitize but not disseminate works

The European Court of Justice (EJC) [official website] ruled [judgement] on Thursday that EU member states may authorize public libraries to digitize works contained in their collections without the consent of the rights holders. The ruling [press release, PDF]comes after the Technical University of Darmstadt [official website, in English] in Germany brought a lawsuit against Eugene Ulmer KG (Ulmer) [official website, in German], a German publishing house. The library had digitized a textbook published by Ulmer and refused its offer to purchase the rights to the book so the library could make it available to its users electronically. The presiding court, the Federal Court of Justice of Germany [official website, in English], asked the EJC to advise it of its options under the EU Copyright Directive [text]. The EJC stated that under the directive, authors have the right to prohibit the reproduction and communication of their works to the public. The court, however, clarified an exception to this right that permits public libraries, for the purpose of research or private study, to make an author's work electronically accessible to library users at electronic reading points within the libraries. The EJC said that a library would be unable to "reali[z]e its core mission or promote the public interest in promoting research and private study without being able to do this." However, the court emphasized that printing or electronically transferring an author's work is an act of reproduction, which, if allowed, would require fair compensation to the rights holder.

Scottish lawyers see chance in yes vote

More than 300 years ago, when the Act of Union between England and Scotland created Great Britain, most of their public and political powers were merged. Their legal systems, however, remained distinct. Three centuries later, Scottish lawyers see an opportunity to take their rule of law to the world, transforming a distinctly local market into an international one should the country vote to secede on Sept. 18. An independent country would mean more work in cross-border trade, commercial arbitration, and the oil and gas industry, lawyers say. "At the moment we have a regional market in Scotland," Brandon Malone, an Edinburgh lawyer on the steering committee of Lawyers for Yes, which supports independence, said in an interview. "We don't have international government here so people don't have to deal directly with Scotland. So if there is a 'Yes' vote you would immediately have international government in Scotland, and that changes your regional legal market into an international legal market." The legal industry is worth more than 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) a year to the Scottish economy, according to the Law Society for Scotland. In the event of a 'Yes' vote, lawyers will be heavily involved in the short term in the creation of a new constitution, negotiations with the British government over currency, tax and corporate structures, and the redrawing of around 13,000 international treaties.

Queen Elizabeth says Scotland should 'think very carefully' ahead of independence vote

Queen Elizabeth II has made her first comments about this week's Scottish independence vote, urging Scots to "think very carefully about the future." But the popular British monarch didn't indicate a preference on how Scots should vote, carefully maintaining the neutrality that is her constitutional obligation.

US and UK spy agencies 'have access to German telecoms'

US and British intelligence services are able to secretly access information from German telecoms operators. A program called Treasure Map gives the NSA and its UK counterpart, GCHQ, data from operators including Deutsche Telekom. The data is said to include information from networks as well as from individual computers and smart-phones. German parliamentary investigators plan to question executives of telecommunications operators about the reports.

Brazilian baby registered with three parents

For the first time in Brazil, a judge in southern Rio Grande do Sul state has permitted a baby to be registered with two mothers and a father. The judge said the baby's biological parents and the mother's female partner had requested the baby's birth certificate be changed. The women married two months ago and the father was a male friend. The judge, Rafael Pagnon Cunha, said his decision would open up legal precedents all over Brazil.

DOJ releases report on police body-worn cameras

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Friday released a report [PDF] detailing recommendations and warnings regarding the use of body-worn cameras by police. The report, authored by the DOJ's Community Oriented Policing Services [official website] office, consisted of a survey of 254 law enforcement agencies and how they implement the technology into everyday encounters with the public. One significant conclusion that the report reached was that there is a correlation between the use of body-worn cameras and the reduction of excessive use of force complaints. The report states: “The use of body-worn video by frontline officers has real potential to reduce complaints of incivility and use of force by officers. The footage can also exonerate officers from vexatious and malicious complaints. In addition, I feel there are benefits to the criminal justice system in terms of more guilty pleas, reduced costs at court, and a reduction in the number of civil cases brought against the police service for unlawful arrest/excessive force. We already have good examples of body worn video footage exonerating officers from malicious complaints.” Although reporting positive results with the implementation of body-worn cameras, the DOJ warned that police departments should think carefully before committing, because it will be difficult to change public expectation of the availability of video records once such equipment has become a practice for the area.

Turkish president approves law tightening Internet control

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan [BBC profile] approved a law on Thursday that tightens the government control of the internet and expands the powers of the telecoms authority. Parliament passed the law on Monday. The new law comes after legislation was passed [JURIST report] in February that made it easier for authorities to block access to webpages without a court order. The new law furthers those powers, allowing Turkey's Telecommunications Directorate to block sites if deemed necessary for matters of "national security, the restoration of public order and the prevention of crimes." The main opposition Republican People's Party [party website] said that it would appeal to the constitutional court to overturn the new law. Signing the law was one of Erdogan's first acts as president since becoming the head of state last month.

Alaska Supreme Court upholds dismissal of climate change challenge

The Supreme Court of Alaska [official website] on Friday ruled [opinion, PDF] that a lawsuit claiming that officials have failed in their obligations to address climate change was rightfully dismissed in 2012, but not for the reasons cited by the lower court. The plaintiffs in the case were six children who originally filed the law suit in 2011, claiming that the state had violated its duties under the Alaska Constitution and the public trust doctrine [text, PDF] by not taking steps to protect the atmosphere. In 2012 the Superior Court of Alaska denied their claims, holding that they were political questions best suited to be addressed by other branches of state government. On appeal, the state Supreme Court affirmed the lower court's judgment but stated it erred in its interpretation of the public trust doctrine. One of the attorneys for the children stated [Alaska Dispatch News report] in regards to the holding, "[t]he Court did some really good things in this decision today by ruling that people have the right to be in court because of harms from climate disruption and by underscoring the importance of the constitutional public trust doctrine." Despite the holding the children involved in the case plan to continue to find ways to persuade the state of Alaska to limit emissions in the state.

Argentina passes law circumventing US court ruling limiting debt repayments

The Chamber of Deputies [official website, in Spanish] of the Argentine National Congress on Thursday approved a bill that was signed into law [press release, in Spanish] later that day by President Cristina Fernandez [official website, in Spanish] to continue making payments on foreign-held bonds outside of US jurisdiction. The law circumvents a US court ruling prohibiting Argentina from paying bond-holders [JURIST report] until Argentina resolves its legal dispute with a group of New York hedge funds over unpaid debt from Argentina's 2002 default. The new law allows creditors to exchange their USD $29 billion in foreign-held bonds for new bonds [Reuters report], encouraging investors to move their Argentine debt from the US to Argentina or France.

Brazil's Batista may face trial within one year

Brazil's criminal case against former billionaire Eike Batista will be a complex one that may take a year to come to trial and as long as 10 years to be fully resolved, lawyers said. Eike Batista was accused of manipulating the share price of his now-bankrupt petroleum company OGX.

Heineken rejects takeover proposal by SABMiller

The takeover of the independent Dutch brewer would have nearly doubled the market value of the London-based SABMiller, helping to insulate the larger company against potential acquisition efforts by ABInBev.

HSBC to Pay $550 Million to End Mortgage-Related Suit

HSBC agreed to settle a lawsuit by the F.H.F.A. over mortgage-backed securities it sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac before the financial crisis.

As investors salivate, Alibaba may raise price of I.P.O.

The Alibaba Group's initial public offering was long expected to be a blockbuster. But a flood of orders for shares in the Chinese e-commerce giant has proved stronger than expected. Only five days into the company's global journey to promote itself to prospective buyers, its underwriters have told their sales staffs that they plan to close orders for the stock sale by Wednesday. Strong demand from investors could push the Chinese e-commerce giant, which has set a fund-raising goal of $21.1 billion, to revalue itself as the biggest initial public offering ever.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Time
Never offline. Apple's watch will make people and computers more intimate. The new device will bring us one step closer to human-machine symbiosis

Newsweek
Exclusive: ISIS Starts Recruiting in Istanbul's Vulnerable Suburbs

Business Week
Best LBO ever. Gold at he Hilton

The Economist
Scottish independence. UK RIP?

Der Spiegel
Einigkeit und Mut und Freiheit. SPIEGEL-Serie über die entscheidenden Tage der Revolution von 1989

L'Espresso
Tu vuo fa l’Americana. Satira Preventiva. Svelato il piano di Marchionne per chiudere anche la Ferrari. Il primo passo sarà abbandonare il rosso fiammante e adottare il colore grigio topo caratteristico di tutte le auto prodotte dal gruppo torinese

  • Daily Press Review

US: Arab states to join air raids on IS group
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Survey: Israel ranks as fourth most-educated country
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Hammond to discuss plans to tackle IS
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

When you're the only white person
CNN International, London, England

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's little girl North is the spitting image of her father wearing a camouflage bandana and army jacket as family leave Sydney
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

The GBP 14billion financial black hole in Alex Salmond's finance plan: Prominent think-tank issues stark warning over the 'huge risks in oil, pensions and tax' for an independent Scotland†
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Brussels Jewish Museum opens after deadly May shooting
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

Air France strike: Half of flights to be scrapped Monday
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

US breeze past Lithuania into final
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Alan Henning: Second British hostage in Isis beheading video named as 'kind and funny' aid worker
Independent The, London, England

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

Man who tried to sell crushed pop tart as cocaine prosecuted for fraud
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin 'to marry within weeks'
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

Wowprime sorry for oil 'misunderstanding'
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

iPhone 6 Racks Up Record Pre-Orders
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Diplomatic push grows against Islamic State group
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Travel agents dupe businessman of Rs 17,500, give him fake tickets
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

US wealth gap putting the squeeze on state revenue
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

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

Apple scalpers' $1000 profit
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

Another injury for RG3; Redskins top Jaguars 41-10
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

UNSC strongly condemns 'heinous' murder of Briton by ISIL
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

'They are not Muslims; they are monsters,' U.K. PM says of ISIS after hostage beheading
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Palestinian children return to war-ravaged schools
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

Salvadoran Farmers Stake Their Bets on Sustainable Development
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Alibaba worried about Facebook IPO as considered Nasdaq versus NYSE
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

Russia to create anti-crisis fund to aid sanctions-hit companies
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

Absent Fords take barbs at hard-hitting mayoralty debate
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Uganda seizes 'al-Shabab explosives'
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

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