August 12, 2015 nº 1,658 - Vol. 13

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans"

John Lennon

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  • Top News

Sweden and Ecuador agree to talks over Julian Assange

Ecuador has agreed to hold talks with Sweden about questioning WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over alleged sex crimes, in a bid to end the three-year stand-off over his extradition from the UK. However, any deal is likely to come too late to stop three of the four potential charges from expiring in the next week. Under Swedish law, three of the alleged offences — one of unlawful coercion and two of sexual molestations — requires the suspect to be charged within five years of the alleged incident. Prosecutors, however, cannot bring any charges until they have formally interviewed Assange, who sought and was granted asylum at Ecuador's UK embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden. He denies the charges and fears that travelling to Sweden could lead to his extradition to the US, where he could face trial for divulging diplomatic and military information. Assange has not been charged with any offence. This year, in a bid to break the deadlock and avoid the statute of limitations taking effect, prosecutors in Sweden offered to question Assange at the embassy in London rather than insisting on his extradition. But Ecuador insisted that before they would granted investigators access, Sweden should agree to recognize Assange's asylum status. Stockholm said it was prevented by law from doing so. Cecilia Riddselius, a Swedish justice ministry official, said the government had now offered to enter into a general agreement on legal assistance with Ecuador but could still not commit to a specific deal over Assange because it had no bilateral treaty with Quito on such matters.

Russia and Nato training for war with each other, say analysts

Russia and Nato are training for a full-blown confrontation, an influential group has warned, as the war of words between Moscow and the west translates into military planning. The warning comes from the European Leadership Network, which comprises former military figures, politicians and policymakers. On Wednesday, it will present an analysis of recent military exercises by the two blocs that indicates each is "preparing for the worst".

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  • Crumbs

1 - Buffett’s Berkshire to Buy Precision Castparts for $32 Billion - click here.

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  • MiMIC Journal

China's yuan currency falls for a second day

China's Central Bank has again cut the guiding rate for the national currency, the yuan, a day after Tuesday's record 1.9% devaluation. The move sent fresh shockwaves through Asian markets, but the bank has sought to calm fears, saying it was not the start of a sustained depreciation. This is now the biggest two-day lowering of the yuan's rate against the dollar in more than two decades. The commerce ministry said the lower rate would boost struggling exports. The action on the yuan has sparked fears of a global and destabilizing "currency war". There has been criticism from the US, where markets fell sharply overnight.

China corruption general sentenced

A former Chinese army general has been given a suspended death sentence for crimes including bribery, abuse of power and misuse of public funds. Gu Junshan is one of the highest-ranking officers to be tried since the president's crackdown on corruption in the military. He had power over procurement and contracts. His misuse of funds was "immense", an official said. Suspended death sentences are usually commuted to life imprisonment in China.


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  • Historia Verdadera


Venezuela solicitó al tribunal arbitral del Banco Mundial, por segunda vez, que revise la decisión que le obliga a pagar una millonaria indemnización a la petrolera ConocoPhillips por la nacionalización de sus activos en el país sudamericano. (Presione aquí)


Expertos de la Organización para la Cooperación y el Desarrollo Económico – OCDE - y el Instituto de Gobernanza de Basilea se instalan en Perú para crear un Mecanismo de Denuncia de Alto Nivel Anticorrupción, como instancia preventiva que genere alertas tempranas en los procesos de licitación y permita tomar medidas correctivas. (Presione aquí)


Sin resultados terminó la conciliación entre la anglo-suizo Glencore y la chilena Antofagasta Minerals, por el conflicto que mantienen en Argentina, a raíz de que una subsidiaria de la minera chilena, Los Pelambres – construyó por error un botadero de estériles tras la frontera argentina. (Presione aquí)


El agroexportador global Cargill anunció un plan de negocios por US$7.254 mlls. en México para el periodo 2015-2018, en su mayor parte para compras de cosechas domésticas y financiamiento agrícola. Un monto de US$4.560 mlls. corresponderán a compras totales de cosechas domésticas y US$1.427 mlls. a capital de trabajo para financiar anticipos a productores, comerciantes, mantenimiento de inventarios y pago a clientes.

  • Brief News

Court skeptical trade body has oversight of digital transmissions

A federal appeals court appeared skeptical Tuesday of claims by a government trade panel that it can block Internet communications it finds infringe U.S. patents. The U.S. International Trade Commission last year took the unprecedented step of ordering ClearCorrect LLC of Round Rock, Texas, to cease receiving digital models and data from Pakistan to manufacture dental aligners, plastic orthodontic devices used to straighten teeth. The commission ruled the data to be the digital equivalent of the aligners themselves, which it found infringed patents held by Align Technology Inc., the San Jose, Calif., maker of competing Invisalign devices. Since the commission can block the importation of infringing physical goods, it reasoned that it can likewise halt the transmission of data. The case has drawn attention of industries far removed from orthodontics, because the commission also holds authority to enforce copyrights. The entertainment and publishing industries hope an ITC victory could open a new venue to fight digital piracy. Internet providers worry it could expand government control over the online world.

Brazil authorities detail U.S. link in Petrobras case

Brazilian authorities leading an investigation into a massive corruption scandal at the state-run oil firm Petróleo Brasileiro SA have for the first time detailed suspected wrongdoing on U.S. soil. The authorities had previously shown evidence that some suspects in the case laundered money through U.S. bank accounts. But new evidence purports to show two suspects working out the details of a bribe-for-contracts deal at a Manhattan hotel, adding to the international scope of an investigation that already spans four continents. The U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission opened investigations last year into Petrobras, whose shares are traded in New York. "It is certainly significant. Having somebody in the U.S.—where there was some action that furthered the conspiracy—would be a very good jurisdictional hook" for the Justice Department, said Bill Michael, a Chicago-based lawyer with firm Mayer Brown LLP.

Google rises on promise of more openness

Google has unveiled a surprise restructuring, creating a new parent company called Alphabet Inc. Under the rebranding, Google will retain its best-known businesses, such as search, apps, YouTube and Android. Some of the newer entities, such as the investment and research divisions, the "smart-home" unit Nest, and the drone arm will be run under Alphabet. Google founder Larry Page said it would create a simpler structure for what had become a diverse group of businesses. "This new structure will allow us to keep tremendous focus on the extraordinary opportunities we have inside of Google," he said. Page's fellow Google co-founder Sergey Brin will become president of Alphabet, and Eric Schmidt, the current Google chairman, will be executive chairman of the holding company, with senior vice president Sundar Pichai becoming CEO of Google. (Click here)

From Harvard law prof to White House?

It seems a Harvard law professor may have designs to move out of Areeda Hall… and into the White House. Lawrence Lessig, a constitutional law professor, internet law specialist, and advocate for campaign finance reform, has launched LessigforPresident in anticipation of a possible presidential run. Lessig is hoping to raise $1 million by Labor Day in order to officially throw his hat into the Democratic presidential primary. Lessig's presidential aspirations are limited to making radical changes to election laws: securing passage of the Citizen Equality Act of 2017, a legislative proposal for voter protection laws, new methods for electing representatives and a greater focus on citizen-funded elections. In his launch video, he explains that he is running to put "citizen equality" on the map, and unless a leading candidate, "whether Hillary or Bernie or Joe or someone else" adopts that mantle, Lessig himself would run as a "referendum president," serving only as long as it takes to pass that agenda. The centerpiece of a Lessig presidency would be an end the trifecta of election law issues: voter ID laws, gerrymandering, and Citizens United; and then, well, he'll give it all up.

Hillary Clinton to hand over email server to the FBI

Hillary Clinton has agreed to hand over to the FBI the private email server that she used as secretary of state. Her use of private email has generated a barrage of criticism as Clinton runs for president. Critics say that her set-up was unsecure, contrary to government policy and designed to shield her communications from oversight. Under US federal law, officials' correspondence is considered to be US government property. The FBI is investigating whether classified information was improperly sent via the server and stored there. Clinton initially handed over thousands of pages of emails to the state department, but not the server. Her lawyers will also hand over to the FBI memory sticks which contain the copies of the emails.

India sues Nestle for $100m over Maggi noodles

India is suing Nestle for $100m over "unfair trade practices." The complaint against Nestle is that it caused damage to consumers through misleading advertisements related to its Maggi noodles product. Maggi was banned in India after the food safety regulator accused Nestle of not complying with food safety laws. Nestle has challenged this at the Bombay high court, saying its products are safe. But the company, which has 80% of India's instant noodles market, has already destroyed 400m tonnes of Maggi products. The claim, made on behalf of Indian consumers, was not filed through the courts but with the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), which has semi-judicial powers. A Nestle spokesman in Delhi said that the company would only be able to "provide substantive response" after it received an official notice about the complaint filed to the NCDRC. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had earlier said that tests deemed the instant noodles to contain "unsafe and hazardous" amounts of lead. Nestle says that its noodles are safe as seen in the results of tests conducted in other countries, including the US, Britain and Singapore.

Mexico bans giveaways of baby formula at hospitals

The Mexican government has banned free baby formula at hospitals in an effort to encourage breastfeeding. Health authorities said baby formula would still be available for purchase in shops and could be supplied at a doctor's request. But they said the country needed to boost low breastfeeding rates. Mexico has one of the lowest levels in Latin America. Only one in seven mothers breastfeed exclusively during the baby's first six months. The World Health Organisation says exclusive breastfeeding for six months is the optimal way of feeding infants. It says thereafter infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to two years of age or beyond. The Mexican health authorities said Mexico's poor record is problematic in a country where millions of people live in extreme poverty and drinking water is often dirty or contaminated.

Rousseff digs in as split Brazil opposition ponders her fall

Brazil's embattled President Dilma Rousseff is digging in her heels as her opponents struggle to find a way to unseat her. Rousseff has stepped up public appearances to trumpet her achievements and on Monday dined with senators to defuse discontent. The meeting came a day after she thwarted some congressional leaders by nominating for a new term the prosecutor who is spearheading a graft probe into dozens of politicians and business executives. More politicians have joined the majority of Brazilians who say the country may be better off without Rousseff as unemployment rises and a corruption scandal ensnares leaders in her Workers' Party. Yet there is no sign Rousseff wants to quit, no evidence that would justify impeachment and little unity in the opposition. That paves the way for further political turmoil. "The pressure that could force Rousseff out of office is high but the path of getting there isn't clear. There's neither a smoking gun, nor any consensus within Congress -- including the opposition -- on how or even whether to impeach the president."

Haiti holds first parliamentary election in 4 years

Despite widespread irregularity and violence, Haiti on Sunday held its first parliamentary election in four years. Haiti's parliament [official website, in French] dissolved in January following canceled elections in 2011 and 2014. Around 50 of 1,500 voting centers were affected by violence [AP report] or bureaucratic problems, ranging from varying poll start times to gangs accosting voters by throwing bottles. The Organization of American States [official website] sent an observer mission [report, PDF] to the country led by Jose Enrique Castillo Barrantes [official website - in Spanish], characterized problems with the elections as not "so generalized or so big as to be able to question the whole process." Castillo indicated that observers were present at 171 voting centers throughout Haiti, and reported positive signs such as voters' lists being visible at polling stations and women casting ballots. It is unknown how many of the nation's 5.8 million eligible voters participated in the election, and results are expected August 19.

Hackers tapped a bonanza of data for traders, U.S. says

On Tuesday, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn and New Jersey filed voluminous criminal charges against two alleged hackers and seven other people who allegedly traded using pilfered corporate secrets. In a related civil complaint, the SEC filed allegations against those men and 23 other individuals and corporate entities. U.S. law-enforcement officials said the alleged scheme, active as recently as this month, was the largest known collaboration between hackers and inside traders. It reaped $30 million in illegal profits, according to prosecutors. The SEC, which uses a different standard for defining unlawful acts, put the figure closer to $100 million. The infiltration of the networks appeared to have gone undetected for years, according to court documents. SEC Chairman Mary Jo White said investigators sorted through millions of trades and thousands of earnings releases using new trading-surveillance technology to pinpoint suspicious transaction patterns. It wasn't clear how the alleged hacking and trading were initially detected. Ultimately, a sprawling government investigation involving six agencies and dozens of investigators connected the alleged Ukrainian hackers to the individuals in the U.S.

New York police union collecting images of city's homeless

New York's police union is encouraging its members to take photos of homeless people to bring attention to what they view as an increase in "quality-of-life offences" in the city. But some say the tactic amounts to shaming the city's poorest residents. The union launched a Flickr album this week featuring the first photos from its members. After years of declines, New York has seen increases in murders and other crimes in the past year.

MH17: 'Russian missile parts' at Ukraine crash site

Fragments of a suspected Russian missile system have been found at the Flight MH17 crash site in Ukraine, investigators in the Netherlands say. They say the parts, possibly from a Buk surface-to-air system, are "of particular interest" and could help show who was behind the crash. But they say they have not proved their "causal connection" with the crash. MH17 crashed on land held by Russian-backed rebels in July 2014, killing all 298 on board.

Airport shops urged to pass VAT savings on to customers

Airport shops are being urged to pass VAT savings on after it emerged some are keeping the extra money they earn when customers show boarding passes. Passengers are asked to do so at tax-free shops in UK airports so retailers can avoid paying 20% VAT on purchases made by those flying outside the EU. Treasury minister David Gauke said VAT relief at airports was intended to reduce prices for travellers. He warned it was not meant to provide a windfall gain for shops. Passengers do not legally have to show their boarding pass when buying goods at the airport.

Diageo's Turkish unit under investigation by competition board

Turkey's antitrust authority opened an investigation into Diageo Plc's Mey Icki unit amid allegations that the raki maker abused its market dominance in the country. Preliminary findings submitted to the Ankara-based competition board were deemed to be "serious and adequate," justifying a probe, the regulator said. A representative for Diageo said Mey Icki will review the issues raised and respond within a required time limit. The $2.1 billion acquisition of Mey Icki in 2011 has already presented challenges for Diageo. Two years after the deal, Turkey's government enforced a law forbidding advertisements and restricting sales of alcohol. The U.K. company has also encountered difficulties in developing countries including China and India.

Picasso painting owned by Botin returns to Spain amid legal row

A $29 million Pablo Picasso painting belonging to Spanish banker Jaime Botin and barred from leaving Spain will arrive in Madrid on Tuesday after an attempt to export the artwork was blocked by French authorities. "Head of a Young Woman" will be transported by Spain's Guardia Civil in a special-purpose aircraft carrying officials from the country's Ministry of Culture. The painting will be deposited at Madrid's Museo Reina Sofia under judicial oversight until the case is resolved. In May, Spain's National Court upheld an order prohibiting the painting from being taken out of the country on the grounds that it has unmeasurable cultural value and is considered a national treasure. The work, with an estimated value of 26 million euros, was bound for Switzerland when it was seized by customs agents in a port on the island of Corsica on July 31, according to French authorities. Lawyers representing Botin argue that he did not violate Spanish law on art exports because the painting was acquired abroad and its permanent address is a U.K.-registered yacht, where it was seized. Botin bought it in 1977 in London for his personal collection. "The painting was painted abroad, purchased abroad and has since had a permanent address abroad," Botin's lawyer, Rafael Mateu de Ros, said in comments to the media. "Therefore, it could have not been exported, legally or illegally."

Stock buybacks draw scrutiny from politicians

Hillary Clinton and others are asking whether there's a need for greater regulation of stock buybacks, on which companies have spent $7 trillion since 2004.

Law school launches 'Freddie Gray' course

Less than four months after the police-involved death of Baltimore man Freddie Gray and the rioting and criminal charges that followed, a law school in the city has launched a new course named after him.

  • Daily Press Review

Endless battle: Fighting systemic corruption in Iraq
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

Iran, Hezbollah discuss new Syria peace plan
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

More parents in court over truancy
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Texas cop who killed man is fired
CNN International, London, England

Michelle Dockery ditches the period dress at BAFTA Downton Abbey tribute
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

How you can beat the great airport shop VAT rip-off by LEO McKINSTRY
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Stocks fall as China devalues yuan currency for second straight day
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

Confusion surrounds alleged resignation of Libyan PM
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

Economic crisis proves no tragedy for Greek theater
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Arlington police officer fired for fatally shooting Christian Taylor
Independent The, London, England

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

Pictures of the day: 12 August 2015
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

First look at Lily James in War and Peace for a new generation
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

New Taiwan dollar falls to a 5-year low
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Seoul Must Get Tough on N.Korean Provocations
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

China: 10 killed, 40 missing after accidents in coal mines
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Water level continues to rise in Ganga, Yamuna
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Reactor in Kagoshima poised for restart despite public opposition
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

US military helicopter crashes off Japan's southern island
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

Malaysian experts in Maldives to probe possible MH370 link
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

China pushes yuan down further amid fears of currency war
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Refugees overwhelm Greek holiday island of Kos, authorities criticized over living conditions
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

Credit Suisse in talks to settle 'dark pool' allegations: WSJ
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

Malaysia opposition party files suit against PM, state fund 1MDB
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

Key witness Nigel Wright to testify in Mike Duffy trial
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Nigeria market blast 'kills 47'
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England


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