November 19, 2014 nº 1,570 - Vol. 12

“Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.”

Tom Peters

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  • Top News

Bill limiting NSA surveillance practices fails in Senate

The USA Freedom Act, a bid to reform the National Security Agency (NSA), failed late Tuesday after it didn't receive enough votes to cut off debate. After a 58-42 vote, the measure had the support of the majority – but it didn't get the 60 votes necessary to break a Republican filibuster. It was something of an odd end for a bill that had been approved by the Republican-controlled House back in May. The USA Freedom Act sought to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, to rein in the dragnet collection of data by the NSA and other government agencies, increase transparency of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The defeat of the legislation to stop the government's bulk data collection program will put off legislation responding to Edward Snowden's leaks about the controversial programs until next year.

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  • Crumbs

1 - Netflix Said Sticking With Cosby Special Amid Allegations - click here.

2 - Apple Told to Pay $23.6 Million Over Pager Technology - click here.

3 - YouTube signs with indie labels for music streaming service - click here.

4 - Alibaba Wants To Help Apple Pay Get Off The Ground In China -click here.

5- Actavis to buy Botox-maker Allergan $66bn - click here.

6 - Snapchat launches Snapcash payment feature with Square  - click here.

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  • MiMIC Journal

China steps up internet censorship

Chinese authorities stepped up their censorship of the Internet by blocking websites using Verizon Communication’s cloud service, a show of power just as the country is poised to host a global Internet conference. Filtering of sites on the EdgeCast content delivery network escalated this week. Methods typically targeting politically sensitive websites such as Freeweibo.com have this time also affected commercial sites, including that of Sony Mobile.

VW to raise chinese capacity to more than 4 million cars

Volkswagen AG will expand car making in China more than planned as the German manufacturer tries to keep pace with growth in its largest market. Volkswagen will raise its Chinese plant capacity to more than the previously targeted 4 million autos a year by 2018. China is a crucial part of Wolfsburg-based Volkswagen's plan to surpass Toyota Motor as the world's largest auto manufacturer by 2018.

Cnooc sanctions lawyer over conflicts of interest

Cnooc sanctioned one of its top lawyers for conflicts of interest with Baker & McKenzie, a US law firm that has often represented the Chinese oil company and that in Beijing is led by the woman's husband.

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  • Historia verdadera

Acuerdo

La española Sacyr firmó un acuerdo de colaboración con la compañía estadounidense Manhattan Construction Group para participar conjuntamente proyectos de infraestructuras, concesiones, industrial - oil & gas, agua, energía - y medioambiente –como tratamiento de residuos - en Estados Unidos. (Presione aquí)

Brasil x OMC

Brasil rechazó la solicitud de la Comisión Europea de establecer un panel de expertos en el marco del Órgano de Solución de Controversias de la Organización Mundial del Comercio en relación con las medidas fiscales impuestas por el país sudamericano a productos importados. (Presione aquí)

Bono

México colocó un bono a 10 años por US$ 2,000 mlls. y se convirtió en el primer país de América Latina en utilizar una nueva cláusula que dificulta a los acreedores oponerse a las reestructuraciones de deuda. Goldman Sachs y JP Morgan encabezaron la colocación de la deuda de México, que cuenta con calificación A3/BBB+/BBB+.

  • Brief News

S.E.C.'s delay on crowdfunding may just save it

While the Securities and Exchange Commission dawdles, states are rushing to adopt their own crowdfunding rules. Ironically, it may just be the thing that rescues crowdfunding from a regulatory death grip. In 2012, President Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Start-ups Act, otherwise known as the JOBS Act. It purported to open up the capital markets and create jobs by loosening regulations on initial public offerings and allowing for crowdfunding. Yet there was little evidence to support that watering down of any of these regulations would create jobs. Instead, the bill mainly appeared to be catering to special interests and was intended to show that Congress was doing something, anything, to create jobs. Crowdfunding in particular was pushed by a number of special interests that — you guessed it — wanted to start crowdfunding sites. Crowdfunding was also the most controversial part of the bill. The S.E.C., led by Mary Schapiro at the time, submitted a letter in opposition. The reason was basically fraud. Let's face it, in a world where a potato salad party can raise more than $50,000 on Kickstarter, people may not be investigating their investments particularly well. The S.E.C. feared that crowdfunding would instead serve as an easy vehicle to defraud people. Congress gave the S.E.C. a deadline of December 2012 to enact the new rules. Its only action thus far was to issue proposed rules about a year ago. Hundreds of comments later, and nothing has happened. Now, 13 states have so far enacted crowdfunding rules. As might be expected, these states have different approaches.

Mega-mergers popular again on Wall Street

A pair of deals announced on Monday, worth $100 billion, brought the year's total for American companies to $1.5 trillion, the highest since 2000.

With cash and cachet, the Islamic State expands its empire

The Sunni extremist group primarily operates in the chaos of Iraq and Syria but is using chameleon-like branding and the draw of cash to get militants who focused on local issues to join their brutal empire. "ISIS is a brand name," says Samer Shehata, an associate professor of Middle Eastern politics at the University of Oklahoma. "It has widespread recognition, and in the eyes of many adherents, it's successful." It's conquered large swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq; it's looted banks and has access to oil revenue. Broadly speaking, the small militant groups that have pledged allegiance to ISIS from outside Syria and Iraq also use violence and adhere to extremist Islamist ideology. But they don't have the same goals. "They're really focused primarily on local struggles against the regimes that they find themselves in that are often — in fact always — authoritarian, repressive regimes that they consider un- or even anti-Islamic," Shehata says. By joining ISIS, they go from being little-known militant groups to household names. And they have access to better resources through this network to focus on local struggles. In return, ISIS gets to bolster its reputation as the fiercest jihadi group around, claim attacks well beyond its reach in Syria and Iraq, and increase recruitment. But Shehata warns against calling these groups ISIS franchises. The lack of common goals may create fissures down the road. "The allegiance only goes so far, and, in fact, there could be in the future issues they differ on," Shehata says.

US regulators extend airbag recall

US safety authorities demand that a recall of Takata airbags which can explode with dangerous force be expanded to the whole country. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says it will use legal powers to force a recall if the firms do not respond quickly to its demand. The problem affects driver's side airbags that can explode with too much force and propel shrapnel into the car. (Click here)

Shell wins tax battle against Indian authorities

Royal Dutch Shell has won a long-running court battle against Indian authorities over a tax dispute involving billions of dollars. The Bombay High Court ruled in favor of Shell's Indian unit, which was accused of underpricing shares transferred to its parent firm by $2.5bn in February 2013. Officials wanted tax on the interest that the firm would have earned. But the Indian court ruled that the stock transfers were not taxable. (Click here)

Why did so many people flunk the bar exam this year?

The most recent bar exam test results are in, and they are ugly. In several states, people who took the bar in July were more likely to fail than those who took it last year, and scores on one portion of the test dropped to their lowest point in 10 years. It's technically true that this year's crop of grads was "less able" than before, if you use their pre-law-school test scores as a proxy for their smarts. The median LSAT score among students at American law schools has declined every year from 2010 to 2013. Law schools admitted 50 percent more students with low LSAT scores than they did three years ago. Those numbers suggest that students might have been less prepared, but the figures may not be dramatic enough to explain this year's bar results. A software glitch may that affected test-takers for hours in July may be another culprit. At the end of the first day of testing, people who took the test in one of 43 states in which test company Examsoft administers the bar exam were unable to upload their answers for hours, stretching into late evening. The error eventually led states to extend the upload deadline; students went back to work on the test the following day. Examsoft said no answers were lost, but many feel that the time spent contending with software issues and the anxiety that resulted may have hurt students' performance on the rest of the test.

UN calls for N Korea rights probe

A UN committee adopts a motion urging the Security Council to refer North Korea over its human rights record to the International Criminal Court.

Keystone bill fails to pass Senate

The US Senate narrowly fails to pass a bill approving the controversial Canada-to-US Keystone XL oil pipeline. The pipeline project has pitted Republicans and other supporters - who say it will create much-needed jobs - against many Democrats and environmentalists who warn the pipeline will add to carbon emissions and contribute to global warming. Obama is said to take a "dim view" of the legislation, but has not directly threatened a veto in the event of the bill reaching the White House.

Russia seeks Nato pledge on Ukraine

Russia is seeking guarantees from Nato that Ukraine will not be allowed to join and that the alliance will stay away from its borders. Germany's foreign minister said Europe was heading for "confrontation instead of cooperation", amid warnings of a Russian build-up on Ukraine's border. Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that as fighting escalated in east Ukraine he could see "no grounds for optimism". Putin's spokesman Dmitri Peskov countered by accusing Nato of breaking a historic promise by gradually approaching Russia's borders. He said the alliance was "attempting to break the... balance of power". The EU's foreign ministers have agreed to move towards placing more Ukrainian separatists under sanctions but not to increase sanctions on Russia, despite concern over escalating violence. EU governments are deeply divided about taking action against Russia.

Bob Marley cannabis brand launched

The family of the late Jamaican reggae artist Bob Marley launch what they describe as the world's first global cannabis brand. It will be called Marley Natural and be used to sell cannabis-infused lotions, creams and various accessories. The new brand is being developed with Privateer Holdings based in Washington state, stressing the life and legacy of Jamaica's greatest cultural export. It is intended to be sold in the US and possibly worldwide from next year. Cannabis use for recreational purposes is legal in the US states of Colorado and Washington. (Click here)

Uber steps into row with journalists

A row between Uber and the press has escalated after a senior executive at the lift-sharing company suggested it may hire a team to dig dirt on reporters who had written negatively about it. A series of recent articles have raised questions about the way Uber does business. Its practice of charging more at peak times has also been criticized. Emil Michael's comments followed a series of articles questioning the ethics of Uber. The company's rapid expansion in cities across the world has attracted critics. Later, Uber spokeswoman said: "We have not, do not and will not investigate journalists.

Defense lawyer argues Guantanamo detainee immune from war crimes charges

A US military lawyer for a Guantanamo Bay detainee argued Monday that the detainee, who is described as an al Qaeda commander, may be classified as a soldier according to international war rules and thus exempt from prosecution. The lawyer asked a judge to dismiss the charges against Abd al Hadi al-Iraqi, who is accused of commanding attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan, killing civilians and conspiring to assassinate Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf. The lawyer said Article 5 of the Third Geneva Conventions of 1949 might classify the detainee as a "lawful combatant" and grant him immunity from prosecution for acts of war. More evidence is needed to determine his status. In 2006 the Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that al-Qaeda members were not "lawful combatants" exempt from criminal prosecution under Article 5.

Fashion law is becoming a ridiculously profitable industry

Long considered "too fluffy" for serious lawyers, fashion law has emerged in recent years as one of the most lucrative -– and occasionally absurd -– new battlegrounds for the legal profession. With the global luxury market valued at $985 billion - and set to grow to $1.18 trillion by 2020 - the only surprise is that lawyers have taken so long to take a direct interest. Entertainment law and sports law have become accepted terms with their own specialist courses in most law schools. But there are still only five courses in fashion law in the United States, even though the amount of money involved dwarfs that of entertainment. There's no defensible reason except that fashion is perceived as a frivolous subject. Across the globe, that is changing as lawyers recognize the vital role they can play in protecting the fashion sector's fragile illusion of exclusivity from the reality of mass marketing.

  • Daily Press Review

Street battles rage after Jerusalem attack
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Jesus: married with children? New book drops bombshell
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Councils warned over child sex abuse
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

UN slams North Korea on rights
CNN International, London, England

One Direction are taking Zayn Malik to Las Vegas for his stag party
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Is Blair Jnr about to wed divorce lawyer girlfriend?†
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Israeli prime minister and Mahmoud Abbas condemn synagogue killings
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

'Kurdish needs in terms of heavy weapons have not been met'
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Turkish envoy named as senior NATO representative in Afghanistan
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Postcard from... Prague
Independent The, London, England

Shaking puppies in slow motion by photographer Carli Davidson, in pictures
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

Introducing Immy, Suki Waterhouse's newly signed model sister
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

Revised food safety act passes its third reading
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Ferry Victims' Families Want Search to Continue
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Mojo rising Bob Marley to be face of global marijuana brand
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Cash van driver flees with Rs 83 lakh bank money
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Netflix postpones launch of Cosby comedy special
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

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

'He gave me wine and a pill'
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

NTT Communications to Open Shanghai Pudong Data Center
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

New Zealand billionaire sees hope in Australia iron ore gloom
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

5 dead in Jerusalem synagogue attack, 1 Canadian-Israeli citizen among wounded
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Canadian doctor recounts horror of bloody attack at Israeli synagogue
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

Shale Oil Fuels Indigenous Conflict in Argentina
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

J&J seeks over $5 billion in damages from Boston Scientific at trial
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

Journalist killed in Somalia, third this year says union
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

TDSB director Donna Quan repels trustee accusations
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Ivorian troops ordered to end protest
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

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