July 22, 2015 nº 1,649 - Vol. 13

"The biggest sin is sitting on your ass."

   Rose F. Kennedy

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

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  • Top News

Second bailout reform vote in Greece

The Greek parliament is to vote later on a second set of reforms needed to secure its bailout deal. If MPs approve the financial and judicial reforms, Greece will be able to press ahead with negotiations for an €86 billion bailout from its creditors. Tsipras has been trying to rally his Syriza colleagues, saying the Greek people had "pinned their hopes" on staying in the euro. The vote is expected to pass with the support of opposition parties. But Tsipras needs to avoid a significant rebellion from within the ranks of Syriza. Some 32 of the radical-left party's 149 MPs - including former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis - voted against the first tranche of bailout measures last week. Another six abstained. The rebellion reduced Tsipras' support within his own ruling coalition to just 123, barely more than the minimum 120 required to sustain a minority government.

Overtime rules send bosses scrambling

Companies are racing to track and manage the hours their employees really work, following a White House proposal that would put millions more US workers in line for overtime pay. The plans, issued last month by the Labor Department, would more than double the salary threshold that determines which workers are eligible for time-and-a-half pay when working more than 40 hours in a week. Those rules won't be finalized for months, but already companies are seeking ways to comply with the law and keep a lid on labor costs. Some firms are installing software that alerts managers when workers are at risk of running up overtime pay, while others are evaluating which staffers should receive salaries and which should switch to hourly pay. And others may discourage checking email after working hours. Under the proposal, salaried workers earning less than $50,440—a group that includes occupations as diverse as graphic designers, assistant store managers and business analysts—would have to start tracking their hours more closely than ever before. "It's a big logistical issue to make sure you're catching all the time."

US, Cuban banks agree to form financial link

Florida-based Stonegate Bank and Banco Internacional de Comercio S.A. signed the deal in Havana, seven months after new regulations allowing US banks to open correspondent accounts at Cuban financial institutions took effect. Correspondent accounts allow banks to transact across international borders, often to move money on their customers' behalf. In the next three to four weeks, once Stonegate's correspondent relationship with the Cuban bank is in place, the bank will be able to facilitate payments and transactions directly between the two countries. "There are a lot of other obstacles to doing business in Cuba all across the board, but suddenly, for firms that can export to Cuba, that will be the easiest business to do." Some US business transactions in Cuba are authorized by US Treasury licenses, but all commercial transactions, including remittances, currently go through banks in third countries. The correspondent account established Tuesday allows Stonegate to maintain a direct tie to a Cuban financial institution. The account will be able to process transactions authorized by the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

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  • MiMIC Journal

Brics countries launch new development bank in Shanghai

The Brics group of emerging economies on Tuesday launched its New Development Bank (NDB) in Shanghai. The bank is backed by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - collectively known as Brics countries. The NDB will lend money to developing countries to help finance infrastructure projects. The bank is seen as an alternative to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, although the group says it is not a rival. "Our objective is not to challenge the existing system as it is but to improve and complement the system in our own way," NDB President Kundapur Vaman Kamath said. The Brics nations have criticized the World Bank and the IMF for not giving developing nations enough voting rights. The banks is expected to issue its first loans early next year. (Click here)

Japan sharpens censure of China disputed sea activity

]Japan's annual defense report has strengthened criticism of Chinese land reclamation and offshore platforms in disputed seas. The white paper was approved by PM Shinzo Abe on Tuesday after the first draft was rejected by his party for not taking a strong enough line on China. It comes after the lower house approved changes to the national security law. Those changes would allow Japanese troops to fight overseas for the first time since World War Two.

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  • Historia Verdadera

Conciliación

La petrolera estatal mexicana Pemex llegó a un acuerdo por US$295 mlls. para resolver una vieja disputa con Conproca, una asociación entre Siemens y la firma de Corea del Sur SK Engineering & Construction Co Ltd, que prestó servicios a una refinería de Pemex en el estado de Nueva León. (Presione aquí)

Contrato

La petrolera estatal brasileña Petrobras confirmó que halló irregularidades en la aprobación de un contrato de 2009 para suministrar nafta a la compañía petroquímica Braskem SA y que había reportado el tema a los fiscales públicos. (Presione aquí)

Citibank

La Superintendencia de Banca, Seguros y AFP autorizó el cierre de ocho agencia del Citibank del Perú en Lima. Estos cierres son parte del proceso de reorganización simple que atraviesa Citibank para la fusión con el Scotibank. Este proceso culminará en noviembre con la transferencia de un bloque patrimonial a Scotiabank Perú. A fines de año pasado, Citi anunció la venta de sus negocios de banca comercial y de consumo a Scotiabank en el país.

  • Brief News

France to adopt law to cut nuclear dependency, carbon emissions

French lawmakers will adopt a long-delayed energy law on Wednesday to reduce the country's reliance on nuclear reactors and lower carbon emissions by cutting the use of fossil fuels. "It's the most advanced law of its kind among industrial countries," Environment Minister Segolene Royal said. The government wants to create jobs by insulating buildings and developing renewable energies, she said. The sweeping energy transition law reflects a campaign pledge more than three years ago by Francois Hollande to cut nuclear energy in favor of renewables. The law was delayed by industry resistance and ministerial changes, while the opposition-led Senate watered down nuclear provisions. The law stipulates that nuclear reactors should provide half of all power output "by around" 2025. Earlier drafts of the law had a firm deadline of 2025 for bringing down reliance from the current three-quarters of total output, the highest proportion of any country in the world. The law also caps nuclear capacity at today's 63.2 gigawatts, which means that when Electricite de France SA starts up a reactor under construction at Flamanville in Normandy, two smaller generators will have to be shut.

Brazil bank said to lose $2 billion on junk-rated loans

Brazil's national development bank lost out on an estimated $2 billion by setting interest rates too low on loans to junk-rated countries and builders facing corruption allegations, said the federal prosecutor leading an investigation into the lender. The prosecutor, who is assigned to Brazil's budget watchdog, said the losses are tied to $12 billion of loans from a workers fund that the state bank known as BNDES shouldn't have made because the rates trailed inflation. More than two-thirds of that cash funded projects from Angola to Venezuela by builder Odebrecht SA, whose chief executive officer was indicted this week as part of a separate corruption probe at state-run Petroleo Brasileiro SA. "We're questioning the real social benefits of these loans," federal prosecutor Marinus Marsico, who led the nine-month preliminary inquiry into the bank, said in an interview. "If BNDES's goal is to promote national development, why is the bank allocating scarce funds to a couple of private companies overseas?"

UAE issues religious tolerance law

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday issued Law No. 2 for 2015 to prevent discrimination and intolerance based on religious and ethnic backgrounds. The legislation bars discrimination based on religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race, color or ethnic origin and punishes violation with between six-months and over 10 years in prison. In particular, the law, decreed by President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, aims for those who encourage hate speech and intolerance and labels them as infidels.

UN Security Council approves Iran nuclear deal

The UN Security Council on Monday unanimously approved a nuclear agreement with Iran, lifting some economic sanctions in exchange for the country reducing its nuclear program and allowing International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections. The JCPOA outlines details of the agreement, in which Iran agreed not remove two-thirds of its centrifuges, ship all spent fuel from the reactor out of the country, and limit uranium research and development to a single facility. The Iranian Parliament, as well as those of the US and other countries imposing sanctions on Iran still must approve the deal.

US will lose 'all credibility' if Congress rejects nuclear deal, Kerry says

Secretary of State John Kerry tells NPR that Iran would use the deal's failure as an excuse to enrich uranium. He also says efforts to thwart warming diplomatic relations with Cuba would hurt the US.

Italy ‘fails on gay marriage’

Italy violates human rights by failing to offer enough legal protection for same-sex couples, a European court has ruled. Judges said the government had breached the rights of three gay couples by refusing them marriage or any other recognized form of union. Italy is the only major Western European country with no civil partnerships or gay marriage. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has long promised to pass a law on civil unions. By failing to introduce new legislation, his government failed to "provide for the core needs relevant to a couple in a stable committed relationship," the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Tuesday. The court said Italy was in breach of Article 8 - the right to respect for private and family life - of the European Convention on Human Rights. A small number of municipalities in Italy allow local civil unions, but there is a national ban on same-sex marriage and the benefits of the existing provision are limited.

Whistle-blower laws fail to curb Toshiba executives' deception

One of the more intriguing questions stemming from the Toshiba Corp. accounting scandal is this: Where was the whistle-blower? Top executives at the Japanese industrial conglomerate, which makes everything from refrigerators to nuclear reactors, padded pretax profit by at least 152 billion yen ($1.2 billion) over six years. The review by accountants and lawyers, led by a former investigator with the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor's Office, cited "institutional" accounting malpractices and a corporate culture "where it was impossible to go against the boss's will." Despite the fact the accounting lapses covered a more than six-year period, the scandal only came to light in February after Japan's Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission launched a probe into Toshiba's accounting related to infrastructure projects. A person related to Toshiba tipped off the securities commission. Toshiba declined to comment. Japan has had a whistle-blower protection law in place for more than a decade. While the law is a good one, corporate insiders willing to go public with incriminating evidence are rare. "People in this society have a strong loyalty to their organization. So even if the company is doing something wrong, there is a strong hesitation by the person to accuse his own employer."

Nonstop cyber attacks drive Israel to build hack-proof defense

In 2013, Israel Electric Corp. registered several hundred potential hacks on its grid each hour. Last year, the figure grew -- to 20,000. None succeeded. Israel Electric, which controls more than 80 percent of the country's power production, has dramatically increased its cyber personnel, developed new defense tools and enhanced employee training. The new protections reflect a nationwide effort to make Israel one of the most hack-proof countries in the world. This year alone, the government established a national authority to help oversee protection of critical civilian systems, the military announced a reorganization of all its anti-hacking units into one command and the central bank became what may be the first in the world to define mandatory cyber-defense steps for financial institutions.

Private sector pay lures F.B.I.'s hacking experts

The talent drain is likely to continue as corporations pay more attention to the threat posed by hackers and offer higher salaries to F.B.I. agents.

US probe into handgun-toting drone video

A teenager has posted a video online of a handgun rigged to a drone firing shots in a wood in Connecticut. The Federal Aviation Administration has said it is investigating whether Austin Haughwout, 18, has broken its rules. The FAA regulations prohibit the careless or reckless operation of a model aircraft. Haughwout's father told a local news station that his son made the drone with help from a Central Connecticut State University professor. A video posted to YouTube shows a four-propeller drone topped with a semi-automatic handgun, firing four shots in the woods. Drone laws are being incrementally introduced in the US. FAA rules say drones must be clear of surrounding obstacles, but do not specifically mention guns, though guidelines do advise civilians using drones that they could be fined for endangering people while using them.

Democrats fight efforts to weaken financial reform law

Democratic congressional leaders said they're fighting Republican attempts to weaken consumer protections in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law that passed in response to the Great Recession. A mix of progressives and moderates credited it with a more stable financial system and expanded protections for consumers in the financial sector. They were joined by former senator Chris Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat who co-authored the 2010 legislation with former congressman Barney Frank, D-Mass. "We never suggested we wrote the 10 commandments," said Dodd, now CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America. "This is a bill, a complicated bill, and certainly there will be issues down the road that probably need some modifications. But it ought to be done through the prism of trying to improve and strengthen and protect the American consumer from the kind of damage done to them by institutions that deregulated and did everything they could to rip off innocent people in our country."

Uganda: How volunteer lawyers are ending 'mob justice'

Without a clear understanding of the law, citizens often take justice into their own hands—with violent consequences. Hundreds of Ugandan women protested in February in Kampala against a new law that bans miniskirts. After the law passed, mobs publicly attacked women thought to be dressed inappropriately. Can pigs be prosecuted? Is it possible to sue a police officer for soliciting a bribe? If your social media account has been hacked, can the hacker be identified? In Uganda, this is just a sampling of the legal dilemmas citizens face—but navigating the country's maze of laws has proved to be even tougher. That's why many are turning to a tech-savvy group of legal experts known as "barefoot lawyers" who are dispensing legal advice via Facebook, SMS, and Skype. Barefoot Law—the name was inspired by the "purity associated with the term," according to the group—was founded in 2012 when then–law student Gerald Abila started offering legal advice to strangers who were discussing their legal woes on online forums, Facebook, and Skype. Now, the organization is an award-winning nonprofit social enterprise assisting some 300,000 people every month through a variety of online platforms. The staff of 10 volunteer lawyers aims to help ordinary citizens become aware of legal rights and remedies they might not otherwise know are available. One focus of the group's work: to end violent, so-called mob justice.

FCC set to approve AT&T-DirecTV merger

The agency's chairman circulated an order to his fellow commissioners to approve the $48.5 billion merger. He said the move would increase competition in the broadband space.

IRS: 7.5 million Americans paid penalty for lack of health coverage

Americans paid an average penalty of $200 for not having health insurance in 2014, the first year most Americans were required to have coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

NYC Mayor wants to limit Uber's growth

The New York City Council may vote as soon as this week on Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to limit the growth of ride-hailing service Uber.

  • Daily Press Review

Suicide blast leaves several dead in Afghanistan market
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Palestinians say 21-year-old killed in clashes with Israeli troops
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Dementia drug data set to be revealed
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

For GOP candidates who want to debate, he is a roadblock
CNN International, London, England

TOWIE's Lauren Pope shares a smooch with Dan Edgar in explosive finale
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Overseas viewers cash in on BBC shows on the iPlayer
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

At least 32 dead in explosions across Iraq
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

Iran: How the nuclear deal was done
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

10 issues Turkish media is banned from reporting on
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Greek charity head says hundreds of children's lives at risk as group struggles to continue care for abandoned kids
Independent The, London, England

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

Two Turkish police officers killed close to Syria border
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

'Fiddler on Roof' stage actor Theodore Bikel dies at 91
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

Police detain alleged MRT attacker
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

How to Keep Mosquitoes at Bay During the Summer Months
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Car bomb in Baghdad kills 14, injures 30: Officials
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

City wakes up to twin robberies
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Heads roll at Toshiba as scandal claims top brass
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

University of Birmingham says Quran parchment among oldest
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

South Africa's June headline CPI quickens to 4.7%
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

Kerry vows to 'push back' against Iranian influence in Gulf Arab states
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

U.S. could send tanks to Hungary for military exercises: report
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

Stocks sour as Apple results leave bitter aftertaste
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

Protesters clash with Turkish police for second night after suicide bombing
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

Frustration, exasperation mark woman's lengthy fight for wages
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Burundi prepares for election result
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

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