December 8, 2014 nº 1,578 - Vol. 12

"Fear is static that prevents me from hearing myself."

 Samuel Butler

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

UN officials call on US to end racial discrimination within its justice system

The United Nations Office of the Higher Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported their concerns on Friday over the outcome of both the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases. The UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsak, said "I am concerned by the grand juries' decisions and the apparent conflicting evidence that exists relating to both incidents." The OHCHR has expressed that the trial process would have ensured a fair decision in both cases, and the lack of grand jury indictment gave the appearance of impunity. The OHCHR has pointed out that racial profiling in the US impacts the African Americans the most, with African Americans ten times more likely to be pulled over by police officers for minor traffic stops than caucasians. The committee also pointed out the stark economic disparities and the fact that African American community has double the unemployment rate of the white community. They have urged US officials to not only abide by President Obama's new policies but end racial profiling by police officers completely and find methods to cure the economic disparity. However, they committee urged individuals to take advantage of their right to protest in a peaceful law abiding way and to end any violence.

Russian ties complicate US sanctions

US companies trying to avoid running afoul of the recent sanctions against Russia face a monumental challenge: Figuring out which companies are owned by those blacklisted. Some of the people and entities on the new lists of sanctions, part of the US government's effort to pressure Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, have extensive connections to other companies in countries throughout the world. That poses hurdles for American companies, which are restricted in doing business with some companies owned by those that are blacklisted. The US has put 50 entities and 57 individuals on the new Russia and Ukraine sanctions lists since March, according to the US Treasury Department. But those 107 parties hold ownership stakes or potentially exercise control of thousands of other companies around the globe, sometimes indirectyl. Some of those companies have blacklisted individuals among their executives or directors, where they could exert influence or control. Companies with ownership or management ties to those lists can be found in more than 70 countries around the world, including the US That is a change from the other sanctions regimes, which have generally focused on targets that are more isolated from the global business community. Among the challenges is finding accurate information on who owns what.

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  • Crumbs

1 - Twitter co-founder to sell $ 28.7 million shares -click here.

2 - China to stop using executed prisoners as source of transplant organs-click here.

3 - Lufthansa cancels half its long-haul flights over strike - click here.

4 - Uber taxi firm valued at $40bn after $1.2bn fundraising -click here.

5 - Egypt sentences 188 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death - click here.

6 - Study Finds Violations of Wage Law in New York and California - click here.

7 - Second Bitcoin Auction Draws Fewer Bidders - click here.


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  • MiMIC Journal

China's former security chief arrested, expelled from Communist party

Former head of China's domestic security apparatus Zhou Yongkang has been arrested and expelled from the ruling Communist Party after being accused of accepting bribes, exploiting his power to enrich family members and leaking state secrets. Zhou, once a potent rival for President Xi Jinping, is the highest ranking leader to ever face criminal investigation for corruption. In addition to controlling the police and paramilitary, Zhou had a heavy influence in state-owned petroleum sector. Previous investigations revealed assets of over 1 billion yuan. His son has also been detained as part of the investigation.

China probe of former security chief may mean closed-door trial

With former China security chief Zhou Yongkang under investigation for leaking state secrets, formal charges would allow for a closed-door trial that would test the Communist Party's resolve to make its legal machinery more transparent.

Hong Kong I.P.O. market rebounds after missing out on Alibaba

Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties of China is attempting to raise as much as $3.8 billion, just days after CGN Power, China's biggest nuclear electricity producer, successfully sold $3.2 billion in new shares.


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  • Brief News

DOJ to issue new Federal rules on profiling

The Justice Department is preparing to release new guidelines for some federal agents that would prohibit them from using such factors as religion or sexual orientation to profile individuals, but the new policy would not apply at airports or border crossings. Under the rules, law enforcement officials cannot consider any of those factors, along with race, during criminal investigations, or during routine immigration cases away from the border. Agencies whose officers make traffic stops, such as the United States Park Police, may not use them as a reason to pull someone over. The rules will apply to local police assigned to federal task forces, but not local police agencies. The rules also eliminate the broad exemption for taking into account those factors in cases involving national security, but F.B.I. agents will still be allowed to map neighborhoods and use that data to recruit informants from specific ethnic groups.

UK High Court rules prison book ban unlawful

The High Court of Justice of England and Wales has declared that the government's ban on sending books to prisoners in England is unlawful. Current rules prevent prisoners from receiving parcels unless there are exceptional circumstances such as a medical condition. Justice Collins called the ban "unnecessary and irrational" and highlighted the importance of books for the prisoners. The book ban was introduced in England last November partly to control the entry of drugs into prisons. The challenge was brought by inmate Barbara Gordon-Jones, who is serving a life sentence.

Dilma picks lose policy choices after commodities bust

When Dilma Rousseff became Brazil's first female president four years ago iron-ore prices were booming, Petroleo Brasileiro SA had just held the world's biggest share sale and Eike Batista was wooing Wall Street. Now, as she appoints new ministers for a second term, the commodities pendulum has swung. Iron's slump is putting some producers out of business, Petrobras faces record debt amid a corruption scandal and plunging crude prices and Batista is trying to avoid going to jail on insider-trading charges. The China-like growth Rousseff leveraged to reduce poverty has evaporated and the first trade deficit in 14 years is looming. For Brazil's natural-resources industries, the end of the commodities super-cycle probably will come with a silver lining in the form of less onerous regulations and policies.

EU to urge Turkey to step up IS fight

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is in Turkey to urge it to participate fully in the fight against Islamic State militants in Syria. The EU wants Turkey to stop the flow of foreign fighters across its borders, to help identify foreign fighters, to provide warnings of any danger to aviation security, and back sanctions against Russia, despite the warming relationship between Ankara and Moscow. Turkey argues that EU governments should be working harder to prevent putative fighters from travelling to the region. It argues that it has had to make big sacrifices in accommodating thousands of Syrian refugees. Negotiations over Turkish membership of the EU have been going on since 2005, but have been held up because of disagreements over the divided island of Cyprus and resistance to Turkish EU membership from some member countries.

After a dry spell, a boom in big deals

Low interest rates, strong stock prices and healthy capital balances set the scene for a flurry of large acquisitions, most of them traditional and relatively safe bets.

Japan's third quarter recession deeper than estimated

Japan's economy shrank more than initially estimated in the third quarter of 2014, according to revised gross domestic product (GDP) figures. The economy contracted by 1.9% in annual terms from July to September, well above a preliminary reading of 1.6%. A big fall in business spending plunged the economy into a deeper recession.

US frees six Guantanamo detainees

The US says it has released six men held at Guantanamo Bay on suspicion of ties to al-Qaeda and has sent them to Uruguay for resettlement. All six had been detained as suspected militants with ties to al-Qaeda but were never charged. Around half of the 136 men still in Guantanamo have been cleared for transfer but have nowhere to go because their countries are unstable or unsafe.

France vows to fight anti-Semitism

France's interior minister vows to make the fight against anti-Semitism a "national cause" following an attack on a Jewish couple last week. France has the largest Jewish community in Europe and a recent report said there had been a significant increase in anti-Semitic acts there this year.

Apple's $1bn anti-competition trial might collapse

A court case against Apple, which could see the company facing damages of $1bn, might collapse. Lawyers for Apple have raised a last-minute challenge saying new evidence suggested that the two women named as plaintiffs may not have purchased iPod models covered by the lawsuit. The case is considering whether the hardware giant abused its dominant position in the digital music market. The lawsuit covers iPods purchased between September 2006 and March 2009. During that period Apple used software that meant only rights-protected music purchased from its iTunes store could be played on its devices.

BP quickens job cuts over oil fall

Oil giant BP says it is accelerating plans to cut hundreds of jobs within its back-office departments - many based in the UK and US. The company, which has been downsizing since the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, said it had long planned the cuts, but is speeding up the process due to falling oil prices. Crude prices have fallen by almost 40% this year, reducing oil firms' margins.

'Fewer' Or 'Less?' The express lane language debate

You're ready to check out at the supermarket. There are only eight items in your cart, so you look for the express lane. The sign above says "10 items or less." Do you: (A) Head for the register without a second thought? (B) Rue the decline of the English language because you were taught that the sign should say "10 items or fewer?" Egregious error or silly gripes? It’s a divisive topic. There are the descriptivists, who argued that "or less" has become common, isn't confusing and therefore is fine. There are the prescriptivists, who argue that "fewer" is to be used when objects such as grocery items can be counted, while "less" is to be used when referring to mass amounts. That would make "10 items or less" a glaring grammatical error.

California DNA collection law struck down

California's First District Court of Appeals on Wednesday struck down a California law which requires the collection of DNA from anyone arrested on suspicion of committing a felony. The case had been remanded from the California Supreme Court with orders to affirm the law due to the decision rendered by the US Supreme Court in Maryland v. King. However, the First District Court again ruled in favor of the defendant, characterizing the collection of DNA as a search that does not pass the reasonableness standard. Under the DNA collection law, the sample must be taken as soon as administratively possible, meaning that the arrestee need not be formally charged or detained. The First District Court held that a collection at that point in time is unreasonable because an arrestee that has not had a judicial determination of probable cause has a higher privacy expectation, which the collection of DNA would violate. Furthermore, should the arrestee be released without being charged, the DNA sample would still be on record and would require substantial time and effort to expunge, again further infringing upon privacy rights. Finally, the court held that the law violates the California Constitution on unreasonable searches and seizures, which is more exacting than the US Constitution's Fourth Amendment.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

The Man Who Wired the World. Mark Zuckerberg's crusade to put every single human being online

The Kid With the Kalashnikov Isn't Happy

Business Week
85 years. 85 ideas.

The Economist
The new economics of oil. Sheikhs v shale

Der Spiegel
Die Zukunft des Lesens: schneller, besser, sinnlicher

Alemanni e lanzichenecchi

  • Daily Press Review

Syria says Israeli jets hit Damascus
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Amr Moussa Considers Election Boycott
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

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

'Pay benefits faster' to cut hunger
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Legislators defend failed rescue
CNN International, London, England

Pixie Lott voted off Strictly Come Dancing in shock elimination
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William arrive in New York
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Greece passes 2015 budget plan against backdrop of protests
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

Israel launches airstrikes near Damascus airport, Syrian state TV says
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Istanbul's Koç Museum presents doll houses
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Risks of nuclear war rising because of global tensions and insecure stockpiles, warn experts
Independent The, London, England

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

Moroccan minster killed in train crash
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

Is this the blog post that proves Zoella did not write Girl Online?
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

China imports fall and export growth slows in November
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

2015 Tipped as a Bumper Year for Car Sales
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Watch Paul Rosolie calls off stunt after spendingnbsp1 hour in Anacondas grip
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

BJP's Sadhvi to speak at riot-hit Trilokpuri today
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

North Korea denies 'righteous' hack of Sony but hints at 'supporters'
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

US, NATO ceremonially end Afghan combat mission
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

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

When Stella stole the show
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

IOC opens session on Thomas Bach's reform program
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Typhoon Hagupit: Philippines' response shows lessons learnt from last year's Typhoon Haiyan
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

'Your silence is killing people,' NYC protester lectures police officers
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Canadian Embassy in Cairo closed due to security concerns
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

Chilean Activists Change the Rules of the Game
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Brent weak near $68 after Morgan Stanley cuts price forecast
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

Canadian Embassy in Cairo closed due to security concerns
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

Ottawa pays some sick moms but not others
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Judge ruling on Dewani trial future
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England


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