May 4, 2015 nº 1,621 - Vol. 13
 

"I´m not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it."

 Niccolo Machiavelli

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  • Top News

US will change stance on secret phone tracking

The Justice Department will start revealing more about the government´s use of secret cellphone tracking devices and has launched a wide-ranging review into how law-enforcement agencies deploy the technology. In recent months, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has begun getting search warrants from judges to use the devices, which hunt criminal suspects by locating their cellphones. For years, FBI agents didn´t get warrants to use the tracking devices. Senior officials have also decided they must be more forthcoming about how and why the devices are used—although there isn´t yet agreement within the Justice Department about how much to reveal or how quickly. The move comes amid growing controversy over the Justice Department´s use of such devices, some versions of which are deployed in airplanes and scan data from thousands of phones used by Americans who aren´t targets of investigations.

Surveillance law prompts unease in France

A new French law to beef up intelligence-gathering in the face of Jihadist violence is being opposed by an alliance of internet operators, defenders of civil liberties, journalists and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). They say it is a dangerous extension of government power that authorizes mass surveillance and threatens the independence of the digital economy. One place the law does not face opposition - at least not in any significant measure - is the French parliament. On Tuesday, the text goes to a vote in the National Assembly, where it is assured of a comfortable majority. Thanks to a fast-track procedure chosen after the Paris attacks in January, the law will go quickly before the Senate and should be on the statute books by July. The new law is officially intended to update the legislative framework inside which the security services do their work, taking account of the latest changes in technology.

Hacked firms could keep quiet under new US law

A proposed US national privacy law would let some companies that find their systems hacked off the hook from notifying customers. Legislation going through Congress would allow companies to decide whether a breach of consumer data merits notifying customers. Under the proposals, moving through both chambers of Congress, companies would need to quickly notify customers about an intrusion if they believe there´s a risk that the breach would lead to serious identity theft or fraud. But if companies believe there is no reasonable chance that a breach will hurt customers, the proposed legislation would allow them to keep it under wraps. The law would override current state laws on notification, many of which compel companies to tell customers if there is any unauthorized access of their personal data, regardless of perceived harm.

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  • MiMIC Journal

Walmart to open 115 stores in China

The world´s biggest retailer, Walmart, plans to open 115 new stores in China by 2017, the company says. The move would increase the number of its stores in the world´s second largest economy by almost a third. "Our aim is to become an integral part of China´s economy," CEO Doug McMillon said.

McDonald’s China supplier fined

Beijing has given its biggest ever pollution fine to a company which supplies French fries to McDonald´s in China, state media report. Beijing Simplot Food Processing will have to pay 3.9 million yuan (£408,000; $629,000) after its waste water was found to have levels of impurities above legal limits. The company said it also serves other companies in East Asia. McDonald´s said it suppliers "must comply with all relevant local laws and regulations".

Revised food safety law in China signals many changes

The revised FSL will come into effect in less than five months, on October 1, 2015, and will almost certainly lead to a number of changes to food regulations and a deepening of the reforms. Stakeholders should be ready for new proposed rules coming from the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA), the National Health and Family Planning Commission and other agencies with jurisdiction over food safety in China. While many of the changes to the FSL were expected, a series of significant unexpected changes were made between the last draft that the NPC issued for public comment and this final version.

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  • Brief News

Airbus files complaints over US spy claims

French aviation giant Airbus said Friday it is filing criminal complaints alleging that German intelligence helped the US carry out industrial espionage. The criminal complaint against persons unknown was filed following German media reports that the country´s spy agency BND was collecting data on European firms at the request of the US National Security Agency. Allegations claim that the German government knew about the NSA spying on European businesses since 2008. According to the reports, the agency did not target German or US officials in the surveillance because they are protected by a 2002 BND-NSA agreement. Airbus has asked the German government for more information, which is under pressure to disclose how much it knew about the operations.

Hands-free cars take wheel, and law isn´t stopping them

Limited forms of hands-free driving have already arrived. But the innovations have prompted the question: Is it legal? The vast majority of states do not have any rules at all. The few that do passed the laws primarily to allow research and testing. Only New York specifically requires that drivers keep one hand on the wheel, but that dates to a law from 1967. As a result, automakers are pushing into a regulatory void. "Where it´s not expressly prohibited, we would argue it´s allowed," said Anna Schneider, vice president for governmental relations at Volkswagen, which owns Audi. "We don´t need any change in legislation to put Super Cruise on the road," said Dan Flores, a spokesman for General Motors. Tesla declined to comment on the issue. Car manufacturers see hands-free technology as the natural next step in driving — an evolution that has gone from cruise control to anti-lock brakes to electronic stability control. None of those innovations required permission from regulators. And legal experts say the automakers´ positions are most likely correct — that in the absence of specific laws against it, hands-free driving is legal.

EU court restricts bans on gay blood donors

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) on Wednesday restricted bans on blood donations from homosexual men. Since 1983, France automatically and permanently banned blood donations from all men who had ever had sex with another man, calling it a measure of safety against spreading the HIV virus. This ban was seen by many critics as a discriminatory action based on sexual orientation. A French man, Geoffrey Léger, filed a lawsuit over the ban in 2009 after he was turned away from a blood bank for admitting to prior sexual relations with another man. The ECJ then examined the case, determining that the ban may be permitted if it was in the best interest to protect the health of others. However, the ECJ limited the ban to apply only under strict conditions. Rather than instilling a blanket ban over the blood donations of all homosexual men, the ECJ stated that acceptance of donations should be determined on an individual basis. The court suggested that questionnaires and individual interviews with donors should be instituted in effort to weed out those with "high-risk sexual behaviour." Additionally, the ECJ called upon health professionals to determine if there are techniques to effectively detect HIV in the blood, for the health benefit of all donation recipients. (Click here)

Saudi-led alliance used cluster bombs in Yemen airstrikes

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Sunday that it has received credible evidence indicating that the Saudi-led coalition used illegal cluster munitions supplied by the US in airstrikes against Houthi forces in Yemen. Cluster bombs spread bomblets over a wide area, many of which do not immediately explode, allowing the bomblets to kill or maim civilians long after a conflict ends. They were prohibited by a 2008 treaty adopted by 116 countries, not including Saudi Arabia, Yemen or the US. Saudi Arabia has denied using cluster munitions during its month-long campaign against the rebels in Yemen.

Iran´s disingenuous approach to maritime law

Iran´s seizure of the MV Maersk Tigris underscores the importance of a stable rule of law in the oceans, and the dangers of allowing one state to attempt to alter them for its own benefit. Tehran is trying to replace the package deal of the law of the sea with a cafeteria-style selection of favored provisions and rejection of others that benefit and protect the international community. This conduct is of a familiar style and pattern for the regime in Iran, and an indictment on its ability to implement international law in good faith.

Citing religious beliefs, Muslim Gitmo inmates object to female guards

A judge has blocked women from shackling and escorting the five Muslim men on trial for plotting the Sept. 11 attacks. Soldiers, in turn, have filed Equal Opportunity complaints against the judge.

Georgia settles case alleging assembly-line justice for children

After the Justice Department filed a statement of interest in the case, the state of Georgia has settled a lawsuit accusing it of providing inadequate representation to poor young people. The case argued public defenders in several counties there are so overwhelmed that defendants are routinely denied their right to a lawyer. The settlement will ensure that young people accused of crimes are represented by lawyers with training and experience in adolescent development. Now all people detained in jails - children and adults - won´t have to wait more than three days to see a lawyer.

Australia faces massive budget blowout

China´s slowdown has gouged a big hole in the Australian government´s budget, a new report said. Slower wages growth in Australia has also hit government revenues hard, said Deloitte Access Economics. It has forecast massive budget blowouts for both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 financial years.

Bitcoin comes out of the shadows and into Wall Street´s sights

There´s a fat chance of that with all the attention lavished recently on Bitcoin, which on Wednesday reached a new peak of financial industry acclaim with Goldman Sachs´ first investment in the technology via Bitcoin finance start-up Circle. It´s a sign of a pivotal change. Die-hards like the conference questioner will mourn the lost privacy and edginess of Bitcoin´s geeky existence. The flip side is that mainstream financial industry acceptance is in sight.

Thailand must authorize UN investigation into human trafficking

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday called on the Thai government to authorize a UN-assisted inquiry into human trafficking in Thailand. The discovery of more than 20 bodies of ethnic Rohingya Muslims near an abandoned trafficking camp inspired the call. Rohingya migrants fleeing persecution from Myanmar and Bangladesh are often victimized by human trafficking networks, many of which are allegedly protected or supported by government officials.

A second Goldman ´secret sauce´ conviction headed for appeal

Sergey Aleynikov, the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. programmer accused of pilfering the bank´s "secret sauce" trading code, was convicted by a New York state jury of a single count of "unlawful use of secret scientific material." Jurors deadlocked on a second similar count and acquitted him on a third charge of unlawful duplication. The conviction was the second in five years for the 45-year-old Aleynikov, who began working for Goldman in 2007 and left two years later for a Chicago high-speed trading firm -- taking Goldman code with him. Aleynikov, a dual Russian and American citizen, never denied copying code -- he simply argued it wasn´t a crime. The code, his lawyer argued, was open-source and didn´t belong to the bank.

Mali law would reserve one-third of government jobs for women

If enacted, a proposed law before Malian lawmakers would reserve one-third of government jobs for women, including in elected offices.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Time
The Roots of Baltimore’s Riot

Newsweek
Behind the scenes with Alex Salmond, the man who would break up the United Kingdom

Business Week
A League of His Own. How Sepp Blatter controls soccer

The Economist
Who should govern Britain?

Der Spiegel
Der unheimliche Dienst

L´Espresso
Bersaglio mobbing

  • Daily Press Review

Thousands rescued off Libyan coast
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Hundreds protest air pollution, high cancer rates in Haifa
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Leaders focus on ´choice´ for voters
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Police: 2 killed after opening fire at Mohammed event
CNN International, London, England

Did EastEnders star Shane Richie let slip that Alfie Moon will NEVER be returning to Albert Square?
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

New Zealand hit by ´severe´ earthquake
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Miracle in Nepal as three more people are pulled out alive from the rubble
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

Two gunmen shot dead at anti-Islam art show in Texas
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Turkey keeps ´not free´ position in Freedom House report on press freedom
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Robert Fisk: Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?
Independent The, London, England

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

Shooting at Mohammed cartoon drawing contest in Texas
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

Labour receives celebrity endorsements from Delia Smith and Steve Coogan
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

Chu-Xi meeting scheduled for today
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

More Than 7,200 Dead, Thousands Missing in Nepal Quake
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Two dead one injured at Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest in Texas
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Hitting the outdoor gym
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Activists battle to justify, denounce Constitution
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Ex-CIA official says Republicans politicized Benghazi
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

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

Beat the post holiday blues
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

French far right patriarch to go before disciplinary board
Taiwan News, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

S&P warns BHP rating vulnerable to weak iron ore, oil prices
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

Boko Haram stoned captive girls to death as rescuers approached
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Two men who opened fire outside Muhammad cartoon contest shot, killed by police
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

The Blue Amazon, Brazil´s New Natural Resources ier
IPS Latin America, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Asian shares rise as weak China data spurs stimulus bets
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

China, Taiwan to seek cooperation as heads of ruling parties meet
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

´Wild West´ scheduling holds millions of Ontario workers hostage
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Freed women tell of Boko Haram horror
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

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