September 22, 2014 nº 1,546 - Vol. 12

"Cynicism is humor in ill health."

H. G. Wells

Insider's view: see how local concerns shape up the global world. Read the daily press review in Migalhas International

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  • Top News

Lew says Treasury completing work on limiting inversions benefit

US Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said the department is finishing work to limit the benefits companies gain from moving their addresses overseas even if his action won't be enough to stop the practice known as inversion. Lew reiterated that while the Obama administration wants to revamp the broader US corporate tax code, "there is one loophole that should be shut down immediately -- inversions." "With the pace of these deals on the rise and no clear sign of when Congress will have legislation in place, Treasury is completing its work on administrative action to use our existing authority to limit the economic benefits of inversion," Lew said. "Administrative action cannot shut the door completely, and Congress will still need to act." In an inversion, US companies reduce taxes by moving their addresses abroad. Businesses including Medtronic Inc. and AbbVie Inc. have sought foreign addresses through mergers, though their executives and operations would change little if at all.

Bitcoin Ponzi scheme ruled securities fraud in SEC win

A Bitcoin Ponzi scheme amounted to securities fraud that can be challenged by federal regulators, a judge ruled as he fined a Texas man $40.6 million and blocked him from further illegal trading of the virtual currency. The case was the first to determine whether the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which filed the lawsuit, has the authority to regulate transactions in virtual currency, according to a lawyer for the defendant, Trendon Shavers. US Magistrate Judge Amos L. Mazzant in Sherman, Texas, agreed with the SEC that Bitcoin Savings and Trust, operated by Shavers from his home in McKinney, Texas, was a Ponzi scheme.

Judiciary to restore online access to case archives

The federal judiciary said Friday that it would restore online access to vast archives of federal case filings that had been stripped from its electronic records system. The removal of records would "severely limit access to information not only for legal practitioners, but also for legal scholars, historians, journalists, and private litigants for whom PACER has become the go-to source for most court filings," Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahysaid, according to a Washington Post report. Digital-liberties advocates also expressed alarm, calling it a "blow to access to democracy." The judiciary at first didn't explain why the files were lost. Karen Redmond, a spokeswoman for the administrative office, later said that the documents had fallen victim to compatibility issues caused by a switch to a new electronic case file system.

Rural properties

In a new article, Luis Gustavo Miranda, Paulo Teixeira Fernandes and Júlia Melo Carvalho Ribeiro, lawyers of Rolim, Viotti & Leite Campos Advogados, discuss the lease of rural properties in Brazil by foreigners. (Click here)

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  • MiMIC Journal

China IPO easing

China will ease restrictions on initial public offerings by brokerages to aid them in their expansion plans as the government seeks to make domestic players more globally competitive. The China Securities Regulatory Commission will scrap requirements that only brokerages with "good growth potential" and "relatively strong competitiveness" will be allowed to sell shares to the public, the watchdog said Sept. 19 on its official microblog. The regulator will also ease requirements on long-term investors in securities companies.

Glaxo's China fine signals no immunity for multinationals

China's decision to impose a record fine on GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) signals that even the largest multinationals may not get off lightly in government investigations in Asia's largest economy. China on Sept. 19 fined Glaxo almost $500 million after a bribery investigation that had lasted almost 15 months and fueled declines in the pharmaceutical company's local sales. Foreign companies are still unlikely to be deterred from investing and will focus on the potential to make profits in China when making their decisions.

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  • Brief News
Courts nix more software patents

Federal courts have rejected more software patents since a US Supreme Court ruling in June tackled the question of whether—and when—computer programs can qualify for intellectual-property protection.

A soaring debut for Alibaba

The long-awaited public market debut of the Alibaba Group, the Chinese Internet titan, did not disappoint on Friday, eclipsing every other company that has started to sell stock so far this year. After pricing at $68 a share on Thursday night, Alibaba's shares opened sharply higher on Friday and finished the day up 38 percent, at $93.89. Yet even Alibaba's blockbuster stock sale appears unlikely to dampen a yearlong enthusiasm for initial public offerings as start-ups and private companies continue to flock to the stock markets. The Chinese Internet giant, which raised $21.8 billion in its stock sale, instantly became one of the biggest publicly traded technology companies in the world.

White House announces campaign against campus sexual assault

In unveiling the "It's On Us" campaign aimed at preventing attacks on college campuses, President Obama said such violence is "an affront to our basic humanity."

Moscow rally against Ukraine crisis

Tens of thousands of Russians march in Moscow to protest against Russia's involvement in the Ukraine crisis. People carrying Russian and Ukrainian flags chanted "No to war!" and "Stop lying!" Similar rallies took place in St Petersburg and other Russian cities. It is Russia's first major anti-war rally since the fighting began five months ago in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Ukraine accuses Russia of arming rebels in the east and sending Russian troops across the border. Moscow denies this. More than 3,000 people have died in fighting since April.

Climate change summit: Global rallies demand action

Street protests demanding urgent action on climate change have attracted hundreds of thousands of marchers in more than 2,000 locations worldwide. The People's Climate March is campaigning for curbs on carbon emissions, ahead of the UN climate summit in New York next week. In Manhattan, organisers said some 310,000 people joined a march that was also attended by UN chief Ban Ki-moon. Earlier, huge demonstrations took place in Australia and Europe. "This is the planet where our subsequent generations will live," Mr Ban told reporters. "There is no 'Plan B' because we do not have 'Planet B'."

Drivers, passengers say Uber app doesn't always yield best routes

People love Uber, but they often complain the Uber app's built-in navigation doesn't give its drivers the best directions. The company says the app helps drivers and passengers travel efficiently.

Judge's credibility in question after domestic abuse arrest

A federal judge in Alabama is facing mounting calls for his resignation. US District Judge Mark Fuller was arrested in August for allegedly beating his wife.

International Criminal Court summons Kenya president Uhuru Kenyatta

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday summoned Kenya president Uhuru Kenyatta to appear in the court on October 8. Kenyatta and the Kenyan government have been charged with holding onto documents requested by prosecutors working on Kenyatta's crimes against humanity trial. If Kenyatta does appear in October it will be the first time that he has appeared at the ICC. He has continued to argue during the ongoing trial that he is required to remain in Kenya to manage state affairs and fight the Shabab group. Kenyatta's lawyers have also continuously argued that the case should be dropped due to lack of evidence, and many African leaders have echoed this as well, accusing the ICC of focusing its investigations into global atrocities on Africa.

Argentina approves law allowing government to intervene in controlling prices

Argentina's congress on Thursday passed a new law that would allow the government to intervene in setting prices and profits in order to ease high inflation rates. Economy Minister Axel Kicillof said the measure would defend consumers against monopoly power. However, local business leaders say the law will likely aggravate shortages and inflation by discouraging people from selling price-controlled goods. The new law gives power to set maximum and minimum prices and control profit margins. Companies that set "artificial or unjustified" prices will be fined. However, most small and medium sized companies will be exempt.

Citibank goes back to judge who blocked Argentina payment

Citibank NA, which told judges this week that Argentina is holding a gun to its head over a $5 million bond interest payment due Sept. 30, faces the possibility the trigger may be pulled as the court threw out its appeal of an order barring it from forwarding the payment.

Europe must 'boost demand' to revive economy, US warns

At a meeting of the G20 group, Jack Lew, the US Treasury Secretary, has urged eurozone countries to "boost demand" in order to reduce unemployment and avoid deflation. "Europe is going to need to solve its problems and resolve differences it has internally," Lew told reporters at the meeting in Australia, "but what's clear from the US experience is that the combination of taking action to boost demand in the short run and make structural changes for the long run is an important combination, and it shouldn't become a choice between the two. You really need to pursue both." Lew also expressed concern about the political tensions between European countries, and the effect this may have on pushing through urgent policies.

Unconstitutional laws remain in law books

Another state law was declared unconstitutional this past week but unless the Legislature specifically takes action to remove it, language allowing Louisiana State Police Col. Mike Edmonson to get a special boost in retirement will remain in law books. A notation at the bottom of that specific section of law will say it's been ruled unconstitutional. This is just one of many pieces of legislation signed into law only to have a court later rule that it is null and void. Law books are littered with unconstitutional provisions but legislators have been reluctant to remove them.

Justice stirs concern urging companies to aid crackdown

The Justice Department recently called for more cooperation from American corporations in cracking down on financial crime. So far, however, lawyers who represent companies in such cases aren't giving the idea rave reviews.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Time
The Tragic Risks of American Football. Sixteen-year-old Chad Stover died playing a game after suffering a traumatic brain injury. Is the game worth it?

Newsweek
The End of the Party. The performance of the Yes campaign in Scotland is just the latest sign of a deep revolution in modern British democracy

Business Week
Tim Cook's Reboot

The Economist
The rise and rise of Xi Jinping. Xi who must be obeyed

Der Spiegel
Ebola. Die entfesselte Seuche

L'Espresso
Il sesso secondo Francesco. Convivenze. Gay. Divorziati. Il papa sfida antichi tabù della Chiesa e convoca un Sinodo. Ma le resistenze sono forti. E cinque cardinali scrivono un libro contro le aperture

  • Daily Press Review

Yemen rivals sign peace agreement
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Australia seeks broad new security powers following anti-terror raid
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Labour would extend child benefit cap
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Emmy-winning actress dies
CNN International, London, England

Stunning model Irina Shayk displays a hint of cleavage in sophisticated little black dress
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Cameron's bid to quell Tory unrest: PM invites 20 senior MPs to Chequers for 'English votes for English laws' summit
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Russia: apartment block blaze in Krasnoyarsk
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

'I had no choice,' says Sarkozy of political comeback
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Turkey's mining capital hit by layoffs, migration
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Where does Isis get its money from? US steps up the battle to find out
Independent The, London, England

Blasts in China's Xinjiang province kill two
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

'Nude photos' of singer Rihanna leaked on internet
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

China says 2 killed, many injured in explosions
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Teenage Korean Shooter Wins 2 Gold Medals at Asiad
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Ghani named next Afghan president signs powersharing deal
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

After mega launch of scheme, DDA revises flat rates
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

New Zealand leader wants flag vote held next year
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

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

Pyne defends taking wife on $30,000 European tour
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

Russia wants to keep Ukraine off UN radar
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Pope Francis says religion can't justify violence
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

ISIS audio urges Muslims everywhere to kill 'unbelievers'
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

U.S. Iraqi war veteran marks five years in sanctuary at East Vancouver church
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

Boosting the Natural Disaster Immunity of Caribbean Hospitals
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Alibaba IPO ranks as world's biggest after additional shares sold
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

Australia seeks broad new security powers after anti-terror raids
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

School shift proposal upsets Parkdale parents
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Sierra Leone Ebola lockdown ends
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

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