February 25, 2015 nº 1,597 -  Vol. 11

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

Steve Jobs

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  • Top News

Surrender the UN veto, says Amnesty

Amnesty International has urged the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to give up their power of veto in situations of mass atrocities. In its annual report, the rights group said the global response to an array of catastrophes in 2014 had been shameful. Richer countries were guilty of taking an "abhorrent" stance by not sheltering more refugees, Amnesty said. The outlook for 2015 was bleak, the group added. Saying that 2014 had been a catastrophic year for victims of conflict and violence, Amnesty said world leaders needed to act immediately to confront the changing nature of armed conflict.

UN rights experts urge Spain to reject legal reform projects

Human rights experts from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Monday urged Spanish authorities to reject two suggested legal reformations that they say may disrupt freedom and fundamental human rights. Spain's Senate is currently considering reform to both the Penal Code and the Basic Law on the Protection of Public Security. Suggested reform under the Penal Code would, according to OHCHR experts, "pave the way for a disproportionate or discretionary enforcement of the law by authorities." The reform seeks to increase the penalty for protesters, which could have a chilling effect on freedom of assembly in the country. Also, the reform includes provisions against the glorification or justification of terrorism, terminology that the UN experts find too vague. Meanwhile, experts stated that the suggested reform of the Basic Law on the Protection of Public Security "could allow on the spot deportation to their countries of origin of persons at risk of being subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment, contrary to the provisions of international human rights law." The experts also warned that such reform would restrict freedom of opinion and expression. Amnesty International warned Spain's lower house of parliament earlier this month that the proposed expansion of the law would infringe on individual human rights in the country.

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  • Crumbs

1 - U.S. Justice Department asks for stay to allow immigration action - click here.

2 - Federal judge dismisses Google antitrust suit - click here.

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  • MiMIC Journal

China leads Asia digital charge

Leave it to Asian nations to yet again lead the charge of priming their economies for electronic commerce. Not only does Singapore occupy the top spot as the most digitally innovative country, the three biggest gainers — dubbed the "breakouts" — also come from the South China Sea region. The Digital Evolution Index, created by the Fletcher School at Tufts University, paints a grim picture of the state of technological innovation in the self-anointed old continent. The top 10 nations with the most negative scores over time hail from Europe, barring Australia. To measure performance past and present, Tufts took into account four drivers of Internet growth: consumer demand, supply and existing infrastructure, institutional environment and innovation.

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  • Historia Verdadeira

Belarusa

El consorcio Ecuaservoil S.A., cuyo capital mayoritario pertenece a la estatal belarusa Belorusneft, se comprometió invertir US$ 146 mlls. en la optimización de un campo petrolero ubicado en la Amazonía ecuatoriana. (Presione aquí)

Ventas

El gigante cementero mexicano Cemex podría vender parte de sus activos en el norte de Europa, el Mediterráneo y Asia, y la mitad de los recursos que obtenga los destinará al pago de deuda, confirmó su director general, Fernando González. Aclaró que podrían vender entre un 5 y 10% más de la subsidiaria Cemex Latam Holdings.

Insatisfechos

México admitió que un acuerdo alcanzado en diciembre con Estados Unidos para acotar sus exportaciones de azúcar no era lo deseado por el país, considera que era mejor mantener el comercio que entrar en una agria y destructiva disputa. (Presione aquí)

Acciones

El presidente ejecutivo de Vale informó que por el momento la empresa no está considerando una posible oferta pública inicial de una parte de su división de níquel, debido a los bajos precios de la materia prima, pero que podrían esperarse las ventas de otros activos durante el año. La minera brasileña está bajo presión para resolver una escasez de flujo de caja este año.

  • Brief News

As Homeland Security steps up cybercrime fight, tech industry wary

The Department of Homeland Security has become the unlikely hero of the new White House campaign to stop cybercrime — this, despite a history of mismanagement and the looming cutoff of its funding. To succeed, the big bureaucracy will have to inspire trust and compete against similar efforts by the tech industry. Cybercrime is just too easy. Often, hackers don't have to be innovative. They can take an attack — copy and paste it. Fnancial companies have gotten better at alerting each other. But, for other industries and across these industries, the alert system is pretty bad. Just a handful of federal rules require sectors like banking and health care to report hacks, and most breaches go unreported. This big problem could be a big opportunity. Imagine a place — a super-smart digital collection bin — where every company, every local and state government agency could submit a warning: We got hit by this line of code; don't let it happen to you. The Department of Homeland Security is working to build just that. Homeland Security is working on a new, automated system for public and private entities to use — a shared language to share threat information, like specific lines of malware, and the unique IP addresses of attacking computers.

Argentina loses German top court case over bond payments

Argentina lost a ruling at Germany's top civil court over 6,000 euros ($6,800) in interest payments on bonds it sold to investors in the European country that don't have terms that allow for restructuring by a majority vote of creditors. The Federal Court of Justice rejected Argentina's argument that international law allows countries that default to withhold payments on all of its bonds if it reaches an agreement with most creditors. Argentina's default on a record $95 billion in 2001 set off more than a decade of litigation over what its creditors should receive, with today's case being the second in a European court in as many weeks. Euro-denominated Argentina bonds soared to an eight-year high after a London judge ruled last week they were covered by English law.

Eurozone backs Greece reform plans

Eurozone finance ministers have approved reform proposals submitted by Greece in order to obtain a four-month extension of its bailout. The Eurogroup said it had agreed to begin national procedures - parliamentary votes in several states to give the deal final approval. The measures offered by Greece include combating tax evasion and reforming the public sector.

Truck strike hits Brazil fuel supplies, soy exports

Brazilian lorry drivers block roads in protest against the high cost of fuel and tolls, with officials saying exports are being affected. The protest began last week but has only gained strength in the past few days.

US offers $3m for hacker's arrest

The US offers an unprecedented reward for information leading to the arrest of a Russian hacker, charged with major cybercrime theft. Evgeniy Bogachev was charged last year in the US with being behind a major cybercrime operation that allegedly stole more than $100m. He is one of the FBI's most wanted cyber-criminals. Arresting him may be difficult, as the US does not have an extradition treaty with Russia.

UK spies disguised at US trial

MI5 agents, wearing wigs and make-up to hide their identities, have told a US jury how they tracked a man accused of a transatlantic bomb plot. Abid Naseer, who was extradited from the UK in 2013, is accused of plotting bomb attacks in Manchester and New York as part of an al Qaeda conspiracy. He has pleaded not guilty and denied he was involved in any violent extremism. A judge has made several rulings to protect the spies' identities, including modified court sketches.

US court finds Palestine groups liable for Israel attacks

A jury for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York found the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority liable Monday for the terrorist attacks that took place in Israel between 2002-2004 and killed 33 people, including Americans. The jury awarded $218.5 million in damages to the victims' families, which is automatically tripled to $655.5 million under the 1992 US Anti-Terrorism Act. The verdict comes amid rising economic problems for the Palestinian Authority, since a Israel decided last month to freeze transfers of over $200 million in tax revenue it collects on behalf of the Authority. The Palestinian groups plan to appeal the verdict.

Legal costs weigh down US banks' earnings

United States banks' earnings dropped 7.3 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier as a few big banks had increased costs to settle legal cases and the industry's income from the mortgage business declined.

Obama vetoes Keystone oil pipeline bill

Obama has vetoed a bill that would have approved construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The Republican-led Congress sent the bill to the president on Tuesday. The 875-mile (1,400km) pipeline would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to the US state of Nebraska where it joins pipes running to Texas. The 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. The Keystone bill is Obama's third veto as president and his first since Republicans won full control of Congress in November.

Putin: War with Ukraine 'unlikely'

Putin has said war with neighboring Ukraine is "unlikely. He also stressed his support for the recent Minsk ceasefire deal as the best way to stabilize eastern Ukraine. Ukraine says Russian troops have been fighting in Ukraine. Putin repeated denials that this was the case. Foreign ministers from Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany are meeting in Paris on Tuesday to discuss the ceasefire.

Australia cracks down on illegal home buying by foreigners

Foreigners who illegally buy homes in Australia will face higher fines and be forced to sell the property under rules proposed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott's government Wednesday. Foreigners would have to pay a civil penalty of as much as 25 percent of the value of the property. Overseas investors in real estate will also have to pay application fees, starting at A$5,000, to help fund stronger enforcement of the rules. "The proposed new fees are excessive and will act as a deterrent to foreign investment," the Property Council of Australia said. "This in turn will jeopardize housing supply, thereby exacerbating existing housing shortages" and driving up prices, it said.

Egyptian president issues new law, broadening state's powers in anti-terrorism campaign

The Egyptian president has issued a law that broadens the state's definition of terrorism to include anyone who threatens public order "by any means," and gives authorities powers to draw up lists of alleged terrorists with little judicial recourse. Under the new law, prosecutors can name someone a terrorist, freezing their assets, and barring them from public life or travel, with only simple approval from a panel of judges, and without a trial. The listing is valid for three years and can be renewed.

Swiss deal over Italian tax evasion

Italy and Switzerland have signed a deal to share information in a bid to tackle tax evasion. The deal offers a partial tax amnesty to Italians that have hidden cash in Switzerland. They will have until 30 September to declare their Swiss bank accounts through a "voluntary disclosure procedure." In return, they will be given more lenient fines and most criminal charges will be dropped. Around 70% of the cash that Italians have hidden abroad is in Switzerland, reportedly costing Italy €90 billion ($100bn) a year. Italy is keen to bolster its government revenues as stagnant growth has put pressure on the country's finances.

Former Panama Supreme Court chief pleads guilty to corruption

Former president of the Supreme Court of Panama, Alejandro Moncada, pleaded guilty on Monday to charges of falsifying documents and illicit enrichment. Panama officials suspended Moncada in October over corruption charges and accusations that he profited from his ties with former president Ricardo Martinelli. Moncada denied any wrongdoing and also claimed to be a victim of Martinelli's political foe and successor Juan Carlos Varela. According to Moncada's defense lawyers, he struck a deal and pleaded guilty because of his declining health. Moncada was sentenced to serve a five-year jail term. It is still unclear whether this time will be served in prison or under house arrest.

Germany prosecutors charge 94-year-old for Auschwitz involvement

A 94-year-old man will stand trial in Germany for 3,681 counts of accessory to murder on allegations of serving in the Auschwitz death camp during World War II. Prosecutors stated that the man was a former SS sergeant who served as a medic in an SS hospital in Auschwitz. As a medic, the prosecutors stated that the man helped the extermination camp function, which qualifies the charge of accessory to murder.

Ivory Coast former first lady makes first appearance before ICC

Former Ivory Coast first lady Simone Gbagbo made her her first appearance before the International Criminal Court (ICC) Monday, questioning charges against her. Gbagbo is on trial for her role in the violence following the disputed 2010 election between her husband, Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara.

Auto loan securitization probed by U.S

The Justice Department and state authorities are looking into the securitization of auto loans for possible fraud as part of an effort to seek out emerging areas of abuse. Prosecutors are taking a hard look at the auto lending industry to stem any abuses before they could harm the marketplace.

Penn Law profs revolt over sex assault rules

Last week, 16 professors at the University of Pennsylvania Law School released an open letter criticizing the school's newly revised sexual assault policy. Of prime concern in the exhaustive critique were insufficient procedures to ensure due process and a fair trial for students accused of sexual assault. "We do not believe that providing justice for victims of sexual assault requires subordinating so many protections long deemed necessary to protect from injustice those accused of serious offenses," states the letter, which was authored by nearly one-third of the tenured law faculty. It goes on to argue that the new policies, which went into effect on Feb. 1, have "sacrificed the traditional safeguards that accompany traditional lawmaking procedures."

  • Daily Press Review

Arrest warrant issued for Bangladesh ex-PM
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

West Bank mosque torched by settlers, Palestinians say
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Tasers used on '400 children in 2013'
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

'Sniper' killer found guilty of murder
CNN International, London, England

Karlie Kloss sizzles in slinky black dress at London gala... a day after Victoria's Secret confirmed she has quit
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Twins Anya and Katya are fighting together with Donetsk People's Republic on the frontline
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Kerry accuses Russia of lying over Ukraine involvement
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

New Charlie Hebdo issue marks return to business as usual
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Erdo?an's giant Istanbul canal back on agenda with a new look
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

American Sniper Chris Kyle's killer Eddie Ray Routh found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison
Independent The, London, England

California train crash: police arrest truck driver after commuter crash
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

10 ways the Brit Awards could be better
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

Yellen navigates tricky path on interest rates
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Missile Defense Discussion Is a Dire Mess
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Killer of American Sniper Kyle sentenced to life in prison
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Puneeth Rajkumar at Mythri press meet in Bengaluru
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Fukushima governor OKs contaminated soil transfer to provisional dump
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Paris named host city for International Jazz Day 2015
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

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

Eight more ways Gandhi can inspire Des Hasler's Bulldogs
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

Study details lives of LGBT youths engaged in 'survival sex'
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Apple ordered to pay $533 million for patent infringement
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

'American Sniper' murder trial results in 2 capital murder convictions for defendant
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

West Bank mosque torched in apparent attack by Israeli extremists
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

Argentina Moves Towards Marriage of Convenience with China
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Euro zone backs Greek aid extension, seeks clearer reforms
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

Earthquake measuring 6.2 magnitude strikes off southern Japan - USGS
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

City's coldest job falls to Toronto Fire's icebreakers
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Deadly bus bombs explode in Nigeria
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

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