February 4, 2015 nº 1,591  - Vol. 13

"The intelligent man who is proud of his intelligence is like the condemned man who is proud of his large cell"

Simone Weil

Read Migalhas LatinoAmérica in Spanish every Tuesday and Thursday. Visit the website atwww.migalhas.com/latinoamerica

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  • Top News

Alibaba class action suit faces unusually long odds

Lawyers have filed a class action suit against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. faulting the company for not disclosing meetings with China's State Administration of Industry and Commerce prior to its record-setting $25 billion public offering last September. Winning the case faces longer than the usual odds, attorneys say, and could be academic, because Alibaba's risk disclosures make it clear there are obstacles to enforcing US court judgments against the company. The Chinese regulatory body issued a white paper on Jan. 28, alleging company misconduct including allowing fakes to be sold and taking bribes. The white paper also stated that SAIC had delayed release of its findings so as not to affect Alibaba's initial public offering in September. Securities law experts are unaccustomed to seeing that sort of regulatory communication. "Basically admitting that the report was withheld so as not to interfere with the public offering … It's a pretty unusual statement to hear out of a regulator." The SAIC subsequently pulled the white paper from its website, without giving a reason, and even denied it had been a white paper. But Alibaba's stock had already fallen over 4% on the day the regulators released their report and then fell again nearly 9% the next day after a disappointing earnings report. Securities laws require disclosure of material information. "One way to show that investors cared about something is if the stock fell after something was disclosed. That's an indication it was of some importance and materiality to investors."

UK lawmakers approve '3-parent babies' law

Lawmakers on Tuesday voted in favor of a law that sets the stage for the United Kingdom to be the first country in the world to allow a pioneering in vitro fertilization technique using DNA from three people. The technique could prevent mitochondrial diseases but also raises significant ethical issues. A further vote must be held in the UK's upper house, the House of Lords, before the measure can become law. Passage of the law is opposed by Catholic and Anglican church leaders, in part because the process involves the destruction of an embryo. One in 6,500 babies in the United Kingdom are thought to develop a serious mitochondrial disorder, which can lead to health issues such as heart and liver disease, respiratory problems, blindness and muscular dystrophy. "It seems extraordinary that a license should be sought for a radical new technique affecting future generations without first conducting a clinical trial," Catholic Bishop John Sherrington said. "There are also serious ethical objections to this procedure which involves the destruction of human embryos as part of the process." The California-based Center for Genetics and Society, in an open letter to UK lawmakers last month, said that although the proposed goal was noble, "the techniques will in fact put women and children at risk for severe complications, divert resources from promising alternatives and treatments, and set a policy precedent that experimentation on future generations is an acceptable biomedical/fertility development."

UN rights chief urges halt to escalated fighting in Ukraine

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein on Tuesday called for both sides of the Ukraine conflict to halt "the dangerous escalation in the fighting" in response to the human rights "situation in the east of the country." In April the International Criminal Court opened an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes in Ukraine.

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  • MiMIC Journal

Most China cities fail air test

The Chinese government says only eight of the country's 74 biggest cities met its own basic air quality standards in 2014. China is attempting to cut pollution but the country still relies heavily on coal for its energy needs.

Probes have china execs leaving for 'personal reasons'

Chinese companies struggling with how to disclose the departure of top executives amid a nationwide crackdown on corruption are adopting the favored euphemism of U.S. corporations: personal reasons.

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  • Historia Verdadeira

Integración

Perú inició formalmente el camino para ser parte de la Organización para la Cooperación y el Desarrollo Económicos en un proceso que durará dos años.

Embargo

La justicia de Sao Paulo ordenó bloquear bienes del grupo industrial francés Alstom por unos US$ 104 mlls. por un caso de corrupción en contratos de energía.(Presione aquí)

Compras

Grupo Bimbo informó que su subsidiaria Canada Bread concluyó la adquisición de la totalidad de las acciones de Saputo Bakery, en Canadá, por US$ 120 mlls. canadienses. En un comunicado refirió que Saputo Bakery, al ser una de las compañías líderes de pastelitos en Canadá, fortalece la posición de Canada Bread en ese país. La adquisición incluye marcas como Vachon, Jos Louis, Ah Caramel, Passion Flakie y May West, entre otras.

  • Brief News

UK whole-life sentences conform with international law

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled Tuesday that the methodology used by British courts to determine whether to mitigate whole-life sentences does not violate Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which bars inhuman and degrading treatment. Arthur Hutchinson was seeking a judgment on an unsuccessful appeal of his whole-life sentence for a triple-murder and rape committed in 1983. In 2008 the Court of Appeal ruled there was no reason to depart from the whole life tariff. Hutchinson's most recent appeal under international human rights laws put the whole-life sentencing review profess of British courts under scrutiny. Commentators argue Tuesday's ruling is a sign the ECHR will limit interference with whole-life sentences under the British justice system. The impact of Tuesday's ruling may be more significant politically than legally, as the ruling affirms the position of the UK Conservative Party before the upcoming general election in the UK this May.

S&P to pay $1.4bn to regulators in sub-prime debt case

Ratings agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) has agreed to pay a $1.38bn settlement to US regulators over allegations it knowingly inflated its ratings of risky mortgage bonds. The deal with the US Justice Department also resolves 19 other lawsuits. McGraw Hill - the parent company of S&P - said the "settlement contains no findings of violations of law". S&P is the first credit agency fined over financial crisis-era violations.

Argentina leader 'named in warrant'

Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman planned an arrest warrant for President Fernandez before his mysterious death last month, investigators say. Nisman died hours before he was due to testify in Congress against President Fernandez, whom he had accused of covering up Iranian involvement in the 1994 attack.

Court rejects Balkan genocide claims

The top UN court rejects claims by Serbia and Croatia of genocide against each other during the war which saw the break-up of Yugoslavia. Forces on both sides had carried out violent acts during the war, Judge Tomka said. However, neither side had provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate the "specific intent required for acts of genocide".

France 'no Jews' job ad sparks outrage

An advert for a graphic design job in France has been withdrawn after it said the candidate should "if possible not be a Jew". Racial discrimination is illegal in France and anti-racism group SOS Racisme says it is taking legal action. NSL Studio said that the hours of work, particularly during busy periods, meant the candidate should not be someone with cultural or religious needs. It then tweeted that its advert had been hacked and thanked those who had brought the issue to its attention.

NSA to delete some data of non-Americans after five years

The US electronic spying agency will no longer be allowed to keep indefinitely data collected from foreigners with no intelligence purpose. The new rule will require information to be deleted after five years. The move makes no changes to the mass collection of data about US phone calls first revealed by Edward Snowden. The Obama administration also "re-affirmed'' existing requirements that the government must delete communications to, from, or about US citizens if they lack intelligence value and set up new bureaucratic oversight over the requirement.

House votes to repeal Affordable Care Act

The vote was 239-186. The bill would repeal the health care law and direct panels to come up with a replacement. The measure, which is unlikely to pass the Senate, faces a presidential veto threat.

EU tax probe widened to Belgium

The European Commission has widened its corporate tax probe to include Belgium's rules on so-called "excess profit". It is the latest European Union member state to have its tax regime put under the spotlight. The Commission is investigating whether the tax regimes of certain EU nations amounts to state aid. It said Belgium often made tax deals with firms that moved "a substantial part of their business" to the country. Under European Union (EU) state aid rules member states are not allowed to grant companies selective tax advantages that distort competition. But the Commission said that, on the face of it, Belgium's excess profits tax regime did just that. The Commission said Belgium's tax arrangements meant as much as 90% of the profits a multinational corporation made in the country could be deducted from the its corporation tax bill, although more typically, the tax break applied was 50%.

Libya suspends law barring Gaddafi officials from office

Libya's House of Representatives on Monday voted to suspend the law barring from office any officials that served under Muammar Gaddafi.

The French are struggling with their rogue drone problem

Just as in the US, drones have become a massive fad in France, where they ranked as the second "Most Trendy Christmas Tech Gift" in 2014. Over 1,200 commercial drone companies operate in France, flying thousands of the small, unmanned aircraft around the country inspecting everything from crops to railroad tracks. It is now considering to hammer out a defense system for errant or malicious drones. By comparison in the US, where the government is still struggling to draft rules for commercial drone use, the FAA has granted 24 approvals for companies, with more than 300 applications pending. "We don't really have any kind of regulatory structure at all for it," Obama said. In 2012, France began to regulate safe use of drones, allowing commercial unmanned craft to fly around the country while keeping them out of the way of airplanes and people on the ground. Still it's juggling to stay on top of the fast-changing technology.

Brokerage firms worry of breaches by hackers, not terrorists

The online attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in the fall that federal authorities linked to the North Korean government raised alarm bells about the hacking threat posed by foreign governments. But brokerage firms based in the United States remain most concerned about an attack carried out by a loose band of hackers or employees with a grudge.

  • Daily Press Review

Jordan executes prisoners after ISIL murder of pilot
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

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

Up to 11 killed after Taiwan plane crashes into river
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Jordan executes convicted jihadists
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Execution comes after ISIS burned pilot
CNN International, London, England

New report claims Nicole Scherzinger 'dumps Lewis Hamilton after he refused to marry her and start a family'
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Passenger jet carrying 58 people clips the side of a bridge before crashing into a river, killing at least 12 people on impact and leaving many trapped in the wreckage
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

King Abdullah says killing will unite Jordanians but faces protests at home
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

Jordan executes two prisoners after IS group kills pilot
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Floods bring down Ottoman bridge in Balkans
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

TransAsia crash: At least eight killed as Taiwan plane clips bridge and plummets into river
Independent The, London, England

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

Dashcam captures shocking moment a TransAsia flight clipped a bridge before crashing in to river
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

Harper Lee: the story of her life and extraordinary career
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

Nine killed as TransAsia airplane crashes in Taipei
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Samsung Cranks Up Hype for Galaxy S6
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Pilot taking selfies led to fatal US air crash
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Cold conditions return to Bhubaneswar
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Goto's final days saw him swapped between Islamic State factions
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Poor Russian economy catches up with US wild-fur trappers
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

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

David Jones bangs the drum and brings the '70s back for winter
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

Toyota raises forecast after quarterly profit up on weak yen
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Sony cuts full-year net loss forecast to $1.4 billion
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

Taiwan plane crashes into river, killing at least 9 as rescue operation continues
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

At least nine killed after Taiwan plane crashes into river
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

Row Erupts over Jamaica's Bid to Slow Beach Erosion
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Toyota lifts profit outlook as weak yen offsets Japan slump
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

At least nine dead as Taiwan plane cartwheels into river on take-off
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

Chris Christie, Rand Paul stir Republican anti-vaccination debate
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Chad troops join Nigeria battle
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

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