July 27, 2015 nº 1,651 - Vol. 13

"To perform beyond your limits, you must first think beyond them."

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  • Top News

Social-Media Firms Resist Role of Policing Terror Talk

Ever since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the breadth of US electronic surveillance, tensions have simmered between the government and technology companies over access to users' online communication. Congress is now raising the stakes. The Senate Intelligence Committee included language in an annual intelligence-funding reauthorization bill last month that would require companies such as Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. to disclose any content they spot on their networks that could indicate terrorist activity. The proposed measure could cover everything from emails to tweets to videos. The move comes as law enforcement struggles to deal with the increased use of social networks for recruitment and planning among terrorist groups, such as the Islamic State's use of Twitter. The companies don't want terrorist activity on their sites, but they also don't want to play the role of cops. Both Yahoo Inc. and Google cited a recent post from the Center for Democracy and Technology, a nonprofit focused on privacy in Internet communications, that said the bill "would turn online service providers into law-enforcement watchdogs." Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo and Google all declined to state a position on the measure.

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  • Crumbs

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  • MiMIC Journal

Taiwan president rues lack of progress with China

The president of Taiwan has said that political progress in mainland China is unstable. Ma Ying-jeou said he was disappointed that despite improvements in the economic relationship during his two terms as president, there had been no meeting between himself and President Xi Jinping of China. The Chinese government claims the island of Taiwan as part of its sovereign territory and threatens to counter any move to outright independence by military force.

Shaking off the fakers

The American pop star Taylor Swift called for people to buy her new authentic merchandise. Ahead of a concert in Shanghai in November. But Chinese e-commerce sites are already flush with fake Taylor Swift merchandise. So the question is, if they are already available at much lower prices, do consumers really care?


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  • Brief News

Fiat Chrysler hit with record fine by US regulators

US regulators have imposed a record fine of $105m (£67.6m) on Fiat Chrysler over recall failures. Under the agreement with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the automaker will also offer to buy back as many as 1.5 million vehicles. An independent monitor will audit the US-Italian company's recall performance for three years. The fine comes days after the firm announced another recall over software faults in one of its models. The $105m fine sets a new record for the NHTSA, topping the previous record of $70m on Japanese car maker Honda in January this year. The regulator accused the automaker of problems with the execution of 23 vehicle safety recalls covering more than 11 million defective cars.

France top court rules surveillance law constitutional

France's Constitutional Court decided Friday that a new billing allowing for broad surveillance of terrorism suspects does not violate the country's constitution. The bill was proposed before the most recent terrorist attacks but officials stated that the recent attacks have added to the urgent need to pass the legislation. The court's ruling is one of the last steps in the process before the bill can become a law. The new law has drawn criticism from civil rights advocates who think that the law has infringed upon French constitutional rights. One of the provisions in the new law allows for the French government to monitor internet users through private internet firms anonymously but they can get more information on users if necessary through an independent panel.

Greece parliament approves second set of economic reforms

Greece's parliament on Thursday passed a second set of economic reforms with an overwhelming 230-63 majority vote. Greece's creditors asked that the second set of economic overhauls be passed before they began negotiations for the aid program, which will help the country's economy and save it from bankruptcy. Before the vote, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, gave a statement to the Greek lawmakers, calling the upcoming negotiations "an explicit, clear commitment to debt rescheduling in order for it to become viable." Tsipras stated that although they have exhausted much of their negotiating power, they must try to develop as many political and social alliances in Europe as possible, in order to achieve the best possible result.

Struggling Greek Businesses Choked By Money Controls

They're facing a double whammy. Not only do customers have less money to spend, but businesses can no longer pay their foreign suppliers for goods and raw materials. Many fear they'll have to close.

Thai Prosecutors Seek Indictments Against Scores Of Alleged Human Traffickers

Charges have been recommended for more than 100 people after the discovery of mass graves containing the remains of migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar.

5 Airlines Investigated For Post-Derailment Price-Gouging

The US Transportation Department has opened an investigation into five US airlines for price gouging. Delta, American, United, Southwest and JetBlue are all being asked for information on pricing on flights between New York and Washington, D.C., before and after May 12, 2015. That's the day an Amtrak train derailed and crashed in Philadelphia, killing eight people. Investigators hope to determine whether those airlines raised ticket prices after the crash. That could violate federal regulations.

Pearson In Talks To Sell Stake In The Economist Group

The announcement comes just days after the publisher said it was selling The Financial Times.

India to Introduce Road Safety Law Reform, Modi Says

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government will soon introduce laws to enhance road safety as traffic fatalities and injuries mount. India's road-safety law, first passed in 1914 and twice revised, doesn't call for mandatory crash tests for vehicles or the installation of air bags that are standard in developed countries. The road transport ministry has proposed stiffer fines and tougher licensing norms in a draft bill, though progress has been slow amid Modi government's push to get approvals for taxation and land reform laws. Safety advocates have pushed successive administrations to revamp the laws to cut traffic fatalities in India, which account for 15 percent of road deaths in the world despite having only 1 percent of the motor vehicles. The new bill also proposes to set up a road transport regulator on the lines of the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Syria President admits army strained by war

The Syrian army has been forced to give up some areas in order to retain others in the war against rebels, now in its fifth year, President Bashar al-Assad has acknowledged. The Syrian leader also said the army faced a shortage of soldiers. A day earlier, he declared an amnesty for draft-dodgers and deserters. The conflict is thought to have left more than 230,000 dead and displaced millions. Vast areas are no longer under government control. Syria's conscript army was once 300,000 strong, but has been roughly halved by deaths, defections, and a rise in draft-dodging.

Luxury Firms Fight Online Fraudsters Over Expensive Fakes

It took luxury-goods makers about a decade to realize that the Internet represented an opportunity. Now, they're finally figuring out it's also a threat. As companies from LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE to Kering SA increasingly sell online, top brands are stepping up efforts to combat Web sales of counterfeit and grey-market goods. Gucci owner Kering sued China's largest e-commerce operator for allegedly facilitating the sale of dodgy products. UK handbag maker Mulberry Group Plc and others use technology to take down links to websites selling fakes. The push comes as a new generation of consumers turn to social media to shop as well as to show off, and as criminals target the same bona fide customers as luxury-goods makers themselves. At stake is as much as $82 billion of sales that Frontier Economics predicts will be lost to intellectual property breaches this year.

No More Hidden Sugar: FDA Proposes New Label Rule

The FDA wants to revamp the Nutrition Facts panels on foods. The labels would have to list how much added sugar the foods contain — and how much it counts against your recommended daily allowance.

Brazil Files Charges Against Odebrecht CEO, Others

Brazilian federal prosecutors filed charges against the CEO of construction group Odebrecht and several other construction-industry executives, detailing what they said was an elaborate use of Swiss bank accounts to hide cash as part of an alleged corruption scheme involving Petrobras.

For Ransom, Bitcoin Replaces the Bag of Bills

In the old days, criminals liked their ransom payments in briefcases full of unmarked bills. These days, there's a new preferred method for hostage takers: the virtual currency Bitcoin. In a modern day version of a mob shakedown, hackers around the world have seized files on millions of computers, taken down public websites and even, in a few cases, threatened physical harm. The victims — who have ranged from ordinary computer users to financial firms and police departments — are told that their only way out is through a Bitcoin payment that is sometimes more than $20,000. One set of attackers, believed to be based in Russia and Ukraine, collected about $16.5 million in Bitcoins in a little over a month, primarily from victims in the United States, according to the security firm Sophos.

Clinton Eyes Corporations in Proposals for Economy

Hillary Rodham Clinton made a case on Friday for weaning Wall Street from an addiction to profits, calling for a change to capital gains taxes for the highest earners and a string of measures to adjust the balance of power between corporate titans and their employees. She also supported raising the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $15 an hour in New York, where a wage board this week suggested such an increase, but she also insisted that such a rise was not a one-size-fits-all approach for the whole country. The approach — suggesting, among other things, increasing transparency involving stock buybacks and executive compensation — is her first effort to take on Wall Street, without the gate-rattling that some more liberal elements of the Democratic Party have called for. Her plans won praise from a key centrist think tank but came under criticism from anti-tax groups and some liberal analysts, who were skeptical about how much change would result.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Games of Thrones: the most surprising couples in politics

Why Europe Is Drowning Beneath a Tidal Wave of Debt

Business Week
Distressed Denim: Levi's Tries to Adapt to the Yoga Pants Era

The Economist
Inside Silicon Valley: Empire of the geeks

Der Spiegel
Habgierig?, Hungrig. Raffgiering?, Arm. Kriminell? Verfolgt.

Il Calvario Di Lucia


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