October 01, 2014 nº 1,550 - Vol. 12

"My dear, old age is like an airplane flying in a storm. Once you're in it there's nothing you can do. You can't stop a plane, you can't stop a storm, you can't stop time. So you might as well take it easy, with wisdom."

Golda Meir

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  • Top News

Apple vs. the Law

The director of the F.B.I., James Comey, recently criticized Apple and Google for encrypting new smartphones' data and rendering it inaccessible to law enforcement, even with a court order. "What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to hold themselves beyond the law," Mr. Comey said. But shouldn't companies put their costumers' security and privacy concerns first? How much should tech companies cooperate with the government on data access? Apple's new encryption policy is a victory for privacy, security and free speech. We should encourage other companies to safeguard their customer's data in the same way. In an era of cyber insecurity, strong encryption is more critical than ever. Requiring the tech companies to build backdoors will not make it any easier to capture sophisticated criminals. Those criminals already have access to a wide array of encryption technologies that don't rely on intermediaries like Apple. There's a deeper flaw in the F.B.I.'s criticism. The bureau appears to believe that, with a warrant, it should have access to whatever information it likes. But the government has never had access to everything, and it shouldn't. We have always been free to burn our letters, to shred our files, and to delete our emails.

Doctors pull in $3.5 billion in 5 months from drug and device companies

US doctors and teaching hospitals were paid $3.5 billion by drug and device makers over five months in 2013, according to the first comprehensive disclosure of the companies' financial ties to the medical professionals that prescribe and use their products. Olivia Sterns reports on "Bottom Line." US doctors and teaching hospitals were paid $3.5 billion by drug and device makers over five months in 2013, according to the first comprehensive disclosure of the companies' financial ties to the medical professionals that prescribe and use their products. The payments, released yesterday by the US government, are listed in two categories: money to fund research and payments to doctors for consulting and other non-research services. They cover everything from the royalties paid to hospitals to help develop products to fees provided to medical opinion leaders to speak at a dinner with colleagues. The pay has "an insidious corrupting influence on the practice of medicine, research, the development of clinical guidelines and clinical practice," said Michael Carome of Public Citizen, a Washington-based nonprofit watchdog group. "The reason companies pay physicians honoraria and give them gifts and consulting fees is ultimately to influence the prescribing practices."

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  • Crumbs

1 - Secret Service Director Julia Pierson: White House Intrusion 'Unacceptable' - click here.

2 - Spanish court suspends Catalonia independence vote - click here.

3 - US judge declares Argentina in contempt of court, monetary fine decision postponed - click here.


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  • MiMIC Journal

Defiant HK protests on National Day

Hong Kong crowds gather for huge pro-democracy rallies, as leader CY Leung urges protesters to work with Beijing. The protesters want Beijing to withdraw plans to vet candidates for the next Hong Kong leadership election in 2017. Activists say they expect the biggest demonstrations yet on the streets to coincide with the holiday. To what extent do demonstrators command the hearts and minds of Hong Kong's citizens? No one really knows because this has turned into a spontaneous expression of people power that is not taking orders from anywhere.

China city seeks blood donations

New regulations in the Shaanxi Province city, due to come into effect next week, "urge" first-year college students and serving soldiers to donate blood at least once a year. Local people who want to apply for a driving license, receive their school graduation certificate, take up their first job or get married in Baoji registry offices "should all give a voluntary donation as a contribution to society."

  • Historia Verdadera


El regulador mexicano de las telecomunicaciones, el IFT, impuso una multa de unos US$ 3,7  mlls. a la telefónica Telmex, del magnate Carlos Slim, por prácticas monopólicas relativas, destinadas a desplazar del mercado a su competidora Axtel. (Presione aquí)

Comercio exterior

Colombia invirtió US$ 169,2 mlls. en el fortalecimiento de las empresas vinculadas al comercio exterior con el objetivo de aumentar su competitividad y promover su desarrollo.


En Chile, este miércoles, entran en vigencia los primeros coletazos de la reforma tributaria, entre los que se encuentran un alza al precio de los cigarrillos y a las bebidas alcohólicas.  

Brasil – EUA

Estados Unidos y Brasil están cerca de resolver una disputa comercial de diez años sobre los subsidios al algodón. El gobierno brasileño tiene previsto firmar este miércoles un acuerdo con el representante comercial estadounidense Michael Froman. (Presione aquí)


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  • Brief News
California governor vetoes drone use regulation bill

California Governor Jerry Brown on Sunday vetoed a bill that would have required law enforcement agencies to acquire a warrant before using drones for surveillance. In his veto message Brown expressed his belief that the measure went too far, stating that while there are "undoubtedly circumstances where a warrant is appropriate," the bill's exceptions appeared to be too narrow.

Supreme Court dismisses securities case

The US Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the case of Public Employees' Retirement System of Mississippi v. IndyMac MBS, Inc., a dispute involving the time allowed to file lawsuits claiming false information during the sale of securities. The dismissal means that the decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in favor of the defendants will stand. The defendants consist of banks, notably units of Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Morgan Stanley. Last week attorneys from both sides filed new briefs (brief 1, brief 2, brief 3) that indicated the case should move forward because claims remain against one of the defendants, Goldman Sachs. However, a majority of the defendants not including Goldman Sachs have reached a $340 million settlement, which is awaiting approval by a district court judge in New York.

Ukraine prosecutor opens criminal investigation against Russia law enforcement agency

Ukrainian state prosecutors announced Tuesday that they have opened a criminal investigation against Russian law enforcement agency the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, accusing it of supporting separatist and "terrorist" groups in the east of the country. The investigation follows the announcement of a similar investigation against "unidentified representatives of Ukraine's senior political and military leadership" opened by Russia on Monday. According to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office, the case against Russia's law enforcement agency is connected with that agency's investigation into "banned methods and means of war."

EU to keep Russia sanctions in place

The EU decides to keep sanctions on Russia in place, judging that Ukraine's peace deal is not fully effective. The sanctions target senior Russian officials, as well as Russia's oil industry, defense firms and banks.

UBS warns of 'material' fine risk in foreign exchange probe

UBS has warned it could face "material monetary penalties" over allegations it was involved in rigging foreign exchange rates. The Swiss bank confirmed it was currently in settlement talks with some authorities about the investigation. It said the talks included findings that UBS did not have adequate controls over its foreign exchange business. Authorities globally are investigating the possible manipulation of foreign exchange markets. "The terms proposed include findings that UBS failed to have adequate controls in relation to its foreign exchange business that were adequate to prevent misconduct, and would involve material monetary penalties," UBS said.  

Voice-activated devices pose security threat

Voice-activated smartphones and other devices can be a significant security risk, warn researchers. Some voice-activated systems responded just as well to fake voices as they did to that of the owner. Devices need to do a better job of checking who is talking as clever fraudsters could subvert this to send bogus messages or compromise gadgets in the future. Voice-activated functions on Apple and Android smartphones were also vulnerable to the same attack, he found. In one demonstration, he used the synthesized voice to send a bogus message via an Android smartphone telling everyone in the device's contacts book that a company was going out of business. Children could exploit the flaw and use it to turn off safety features that stop them seeing or using inappropriate content. In the future, when homes and offices are peppered with more and more devices that are controlled via voice, attackers might well be tempted to abuse them.

Catalans rally for independence vote

Thousands of pro-independence campaigners take to the streets of Barcelona after the Catalan government says it remains "determined" to hold the vote.

US and Brazil resolve longstanding cotton dispute

The US and Brazil have reportedly come to an agreement that will put an end to a decade-long dispute over subsidies provided to cotton growers. The South American country had argued that payments made by Washington to US producers were in violation of international trading rules. The deal will see the US pay Brazilian cotton growers $300m in compensation. In response, Brazil will take no further measures against the US.

Parody copyright laws set to come into effect

Changes to UK legislation are to come into force later this week allowing the parody of copyright works. Under current rules, there has been a risk of being sued for breach of copyright if clips of films, TV shows or songs were used without consent. But the new European Copyright Directive will allow the use of the material so long as it is fair and does not compete with the original version. The new law will come into effect on October 1. Owners of the copyrighted works will only be able to sue if the parody conveys a discriminatory message. It would then be down to a judge to decide if the parody is funny.

Argentina defies US over debt payment

Argentina deposits $161m in bond interest payments with the state-controlled Nacion Fideicomisos bank, in an effort to skirt US court rulings. The country had previously kept its funds with US-controlled Bank of New York Mellon. The move comes a day after a US judge ruled Argentina was in "contempt of court". Argentina is attempting to pay its bondholders in a second tranche of debt known as the Par series so as to avoid defaulting once more.

Tesco to be probed by regulator

UK retailer Tesco says it has been notified by the Financial Conduct Authority that it is under investigation following its admission that it overstated its half-year profit guidance by £250m.

EBay spins off PayPal into fast-changing world of mobile payments

Commerce and payments are splitting up. Ebay is breaking away from PayPal and its payments operation will turn into a separate, publicly traded company. News of the move, which is expected to be completed in the second half of 2015, sent eBay's shares 7.5% higher. It is a reversal of strategy for the company, which has previously resisted pressure to split. PayPal's revenues are growing at 19% a year, twice as quickly as eBay's.

European activists say they don't want any US 'chlorine chicken'

Most US poultry is bathed in a little chlorine on the way to your plate. But that treatment is banned in Europe. Now "chlorinated chickens" are a sticking point in a trans-Atlantic trade deal. Most US poultry is chilled in antimicrobial baths that can include chlorine to keep salmonella and other bacteria in check. In Europe, chlorine treatment was banned in the 1990s out of fear that it could cause cancer. Europeans have pushed for some of the toughest food-safety standards in the world. The main principle of the European food policy is a farm-to-fork approach, and that is fundamentally different from what's happening outside Europe. 

UN rights expert urges Mexico to investigate extrajudicial killings

The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Christof Heyns urged Mexico to conduct full and impartial investigations into the killings on June 30 in the village of Cuadrilla Nueva, Tlataya, State of Mexico, during a military operation against alleged criminals.

Turkish government weakening rule of law

Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is taking steps to weaken the rule of law, control Internet and media, and suppress critics and protesters, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported Monday. HRW tracked the government's response to recent developments and made recommendations that focus on four areas: improving rights to secure the Kurdish peace process; reforming the criminal justice system; ending impunity for past and present abuses by state officials and for violence against women; and ending restrictions on speech, media and Internet, to protect free expression, association and assembly.

California outlaws 'gay panic' homicide defense

California Governor Jerry Brown on Saturday signed into law a bill, prohibiting the so-called "gay panic" defense that has been used to reduce homicide charges to manslaughter. The defense has been used by defendants who claimed that they were "panicked" into committing a crime due to a homosexual individual making an advance on them. Recently the defense has even been used in cases involving transgender individuals. The bill, which will make California the first state to outright ban the defense, was passed by the California State Assembly by a vote of 50-10. The bill was sponsored by assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, who says that these types of legal defenses make violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people appear to garner a less severe punishment.

  • Daily Press Review

Hong Kong braces for National Day protest
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

First Ebola case diagnosed in U.S., disease agency confirms
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Body found in Alice Gross search
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Best restaurants in NYC are...
CNN International, London, England

Channing Tatum displays his Magic Mike physique with wife Jenna and daughter Everly
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Thousands of teenagers missing out on university because of middle-class 'cold spots' despite earning good grades†
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Pro-democracy protesters plan National Day demos in Hong Kong
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

Hong Kong marks National Day with further protests
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

'One Hundred Years of Love' in Turkish cinema
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Ebola: First case of deadly virus diagnosed in US
Independent The, London, England

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

Hong Kong pro-democracy protests - watch live
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

Fay Ripley: My new drama will show more vaginas than Call the Midwife
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

Hong Kong chief says voting beats watching TV
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Can Korea Respond to Chinese Smartphone Challenge?
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Government confirms first case of Ebola in US
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Triggery-happy UP sharpshooter's trail turns cold
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Ontake search resumes amid volcanic tremors
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Australian Parliament passes counterterror laws
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

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

'Nicki swerved to miss duck'
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

Myanmar awards licenses to 9 foreign banks
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Hong Kong protests: What happens next?
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

Hong Kong leader ignores protesters in speech to mark Chinese holiday
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Turkey may let foreign troops use its bases in Islamic State campaign
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

Cuba's Sugar Industry to Use Bagasse for Bioenergy
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Adidas to buy back shares worth up to 1.5 billion euros
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

Hong Kong democracy protesters and officials mark uneasy National Day
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

Ford hiring 1,000 people for Oakville assembly plant
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Kenya leader ICC delay rejected
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England


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