August 24, 2015 nº 1,662 - Vol. 13
 

"To destroy is still the strongest instinct in nature."

Max Beerbohm

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  • Top News

Chinese shares drop in dramatic slide

Chinese shares continued their sharp fall on Monday as concerns over the country's slowing growth and volatile markets sparked panic among traders. The mainland benchmark index, the Shanghai Composite, closed down 8.5% at 3,209.91 points, extending last week's losses. The sell-off continued despite Beijing's latest attempts to reassure investors. China's dramatic tumble has dragged down markets across the region. Some analysts are warning that "a perfect storm" is brewing as China wrestles with diving shares.

European shares slump

Stock markets in London, Paris and Frankfurt have opened sharply lower as fears of a Chinese economic slowdown continue to haunt investors. London's FTSE 100 index was down by 2.5% in early trade, while major markets in France and Germany also opened down by more than 3%.

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  • MiMIC Journal

China uses pension fund to lift stocks

China plans to let its main state pension fund invest in the stock market for the first time. Under the new rules, the fund will be allowed to invest up to 30% of its net assets in domestically listed shares. The fund will be allowed to invest not just in shares but in a range of market instruments, including derivatives. By increasing demand for them, the government hopes prices will rise. China's main pension fund holds 3.5tn yuan ($548bn). The move is the latest attempt by the Chinese government to arrest the slide in the country's stock market.

China to punish some major holders for share selling violations

China's securities regulator will penalize major shareholders at publicly traded companies including Southwest Securities Co. and Guoxing Rongda Real Estate Co. for violating rules that limit stake sales. Major shareholders at 20 companies are the offenders, according to the China Securities Regulatory Commission. The CSRC's investigation focuses on whether shareholders sold their stakes beyond what rules allow, if they sold them during a moratorium period and whether they made timely disclosures. The CSRC didn't say what the penalties would be. Major shareholders are defined as those who own at least a five percent stake.

UN rights expert urges transparent investigation into China chemical explosion

A UN human rights expert called Thursday on the Chinese government and relevant businesses to ensure transparency in the investigation of a chemical disaster in Tianjin, including both the causes and effects of the explosion. "The Chinese authorities should also assess whether China's laws for hazardous substances and wastes are consistent with international human rights standards, including the right to information," said the Special Rapporteur on human rights and hazardous substances and wastes, Baskut Tuncak.

Dilemma of China's 'little tigers'

Perceptions of the anti-corruption campaign's success rest principally on the arrest and conviction of serious offenders. "The tiger hunt is a show — a show to be seen by the people. There are still so many mean little tigers at grassroots." For most people in China it is corruption among rank-and-file civil servants that really matters. "Little tigers" include the principal who won't enroll a student unless a bribe is paid, the doctor who won't treat a patient without a backhander or, in the case of the Tianjin blasts, the former police chief's son who is storing lethal chemicals in a populated residential and commercial area.

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  • Brief News

Bank litigation costs hit $260bn — with $65bn more to come

The wave of fines and lawsuits that has swept through the financial industry since the 2007-08 crisis has cost big banks $260bn, new research from Morgan Stanley shows. The analysis, which covers the five largest banks in the US and the 20 biggest in Europe, predicts the group will incur another $60bn of litigation costs in the next two years.

White House door isn't always open to ex-cons

Obama, as part of his push to overhaul the criminal-justice system, has said ex-offenders should have a chance at redemption. The White House's security operation, however, hasn't always been on board. Invited guests with convictions in their past have encountered an array of roadblocks when attending meetings with administration officials. Some have been denied entry. Others have been assigned an escort. Several said they felt stigmatized by the experience. There are many factors that could prompt tighter security, including the rise of Islamic State and concerns about lone-wolf domestic threats. The Secret Service also has experienced some miscues—including not preventing a man who jumped the fence from making it inside the White House—that have raised questions about Obama's protection.

Palmyra's Baalshamin temple 'blown up by IS'

Islamic State militants have destroyed Palmyra's ancient temple of Baalshamin, Syrian officials and activists say. Syria's head of antiquities was quoted as saying the temple was blown up on Sunday. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that it happened a month ago. IS took control of Palmyra in May, sparking fears the group might demolish the Unesco World Heritage site.

'Visual inspection' could be part of state law to determine gender indentity

A proposal by a state lawmaker could require that visual inspection be used as part of a process to officially determine a person's gender in South Dakota, including for high school athletes. The battle over how to officially determine someone's gender arises from a controversy over whether transgender high school students can declare their own gender when participating in sports. A high school athletic group enacted a policy last year that allows students to decide for themselves which gender group they will compete with. But some lawmakers are unhappy with that concept.

Google ordered to remove news links

Google has been ordered to remove nine links to news stories by the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) under the "right to be forgotten". Details of a "minor criminal offence" were referenced in the stories regarding an individual, the ICO said. Earlier links about the case had already been removed - but this act of removal itself later became news. It is the links to those new articles, when searched for via the individual's name, which must now be removed. In a statement, the ICO revealed that Google had refused to remove the links when asked by the complainant, which is why officials are now stepping in. Being able to access the links by searching for the complainant by name constitutes a breach of the Data Protection Act, according to the ICO.

South Korea stands firm on border broadcasts into North

South Korean President Park Geun-hye has said its cross-border propaganda broadcasts will continue until Pyongyang apologises for landmines that injured two South Korean soldiers. "We need a clear apology and measures to prevent a recurrence of these provocations and tense situations," said Ms Park according to a statement released by her office. "Otherwise, this government will take appropriate steps and continue loudspeaker broadcasts." North Korea has threatened to use force to stop the broadcasts, ratcheting up tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

UN reports impunity for rights violations in Darfur

A UN report published Friday found that the Sudanese government has failed to address human rights violations in Darfur. The report, based on information provided by the African Union-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), details widespread human rights violations and "endemic impunity."

Federal judge orders release of immigrant children from detention centers

Judge Dolly Gee of the US District Court for the Central District of California on Friday upheld her July decision and ordered the government to release immigrant children held in family detention centers, "without necessary delay." The original ruling found that the current Department of Justice (DOJ) method of detaining children with their mothers violates a 1997 court settlement. The settlement bars children from being detained in unlicensed secure facilities. The issue was whether this covered all children including those being detained with their mothers. The government argued that holding the children in this manner was necessary to keep families together while their immigration status was being reviewed and the detention is also necessary to deter immigration in this manner. Gee rejected the government's reconsideration request for failing to raise a new argument and gave government officials until October 23 to comply with her initial ruling.

Soaring art market attracts a new breed of advisers for collectors

For decades, art advisers were a small club of professionals who personally helped build collections for clients, using their scholarship and connoisseurship. Their role was to consult and offer expertise, rarely to make deals. But the rapidly changing art market — characterized by soaring prices, high fees and a host of wealthy new buyers from Wall Street and abroad — has prompted scores of new players to jump into the pool, from young art-world arrivistes to former auction-house executives with an abundance of expertise and connections. "It's the Wild West." Many of these advisers are changing the profession — aggressively pursuing trophy art, wielding greater power in negotiations and in some cases acting more like fast-moving dealers than high-minded consultants. It is not yet clear what effect the latest gyrations of the financial markets will have on the art market, but in good times one big sale can reap millions of dollars for an adviser. Many veteran advisers view their new competition with concern. Some practitioners are too inexperienced to provide good counsel, they say, or use tactics that they warn threaten to sully the profession, like dealing on the side, or demanding broker's fees from both their clients and the galleries that sell to them. Some advisers are paid on retainer, or perhaps a rate of, say, $150 to $300 an hour — fees that do not rise or fall based on the price of the art they recommend. But increasingly advisers work on commission, typically earning perhaps 5 percent to 10 percent of the purchase price — leading to big returns when prices soar into the tens of millions of dollars. Such sales are usually private.

Alabama tried a Donald Trump-style immigration law. It failed in a big way

In Alabama, the backlash was massive — a legal assault that chipped away at the law, and a political campaign that made Republicans own its consequences. Business groups blamed the tough measures for scaring away capital and for an exodus of workers that hurt the state's agriculture industry. The debate seemed to be over — nice try, lesson learned — until the summer of Trump. He's run as a standard-bearer for tough, clinical immigration reform that includes mass deportation. Trump has also kick-started a debate about "birthright citizenship," which is granted to any child born in the United States under the 14th Amendment. "We could tell him a hundred of the things that went wrong in Alabama, and he wouldn't listen. But our biggest concern is not really Donald Trump. Our concern is that the other candidates are jumping on that bandwagon." By speaking so plainly, Trump ushered in a new discussion about who deserved to be in the country, no matter who might be offended by "politically incorrect" talk.

Attorney requests hearing delay to avoid 'being killed' by wife in labor

A Pittsburgh defense lawyer asked a judge to delay his client's court proceeding to avoid being killed by his pregnant wife who was going into labor.

Are topless panhandlers covered by the first amendment?

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's suggestion of dismantling Times Square's popular pedestrian plaza renewed long-standing questions about the First Amendment rights of panhandlers. The idea floated by the mayor and endorsed by the city's police commissioner prompted a backlash from transportation advocates, city politicians and Times Square businesses. But it also renewed long-standing legal questions about regulating panhandling in public places.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Time
Why Donald Trump Is Winning. Deal with it.

Newsweek
Study Sees Mass Shootings as 'Exceptionally American Problem'

Business Week
Are Lawyers Getting Dumber?

The Economist
Genetic engineering: Editing humanity

Der Spiegel
Die spinnen, die Bayern!

L'Espresso
Woody secondo Woody

  • Daily Press Review

China stocks plunge rattles Asian markets
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

U.K. says needs to tread carefully with Iran, deep legacy of distrust
Haaretz, Liberal daily, Tel Aviv, Israel

Shoreham crash toll 'could reach 20'
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

France gives 3 U.S. men, 1 Briton the Legion of Honor
CNN International, London, England

Kelly Brook poses for racy cleavage-baring Instagram selfie†
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Shoreham airshow plane crash: Sister searches for news of missing Matt Jones
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Apologise, or propaganda continues, South Korea tells Pyongyang
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

Train attack heroes awarded France's Légion d'Honneur
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

The ill-fate of Turkish men
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

Police seize firearms, arrest two men who promised to 'kill the competition' at Pokémon World Championship
Independent The, London, England

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

France train attack: Francois Hollande to personally thank Briton and US servicemen - live
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

Former Baywatch actress becomes Countess of Devon
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

Gov't tightens stock short-selling rules
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Typhoon Goni to Bring More Storms This Week
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Islamic State blows up Roman-era temple in Palmyra
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Police link adhesive tape found on bodies of slain Osaka boy, girl
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Typhoon Goni hits Okinawa after killing 19 in Philippines
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

No need for new EU summit on immigration: Jean Claude Juncker
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

Park Geun-hye, South Korea PM, wants North apology over landmines
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Swedish tolerance under question as attacks on migrants rise
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

Alarm bells ring as China sinks, dollar tumbles
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

Thai police say whereabouts of bomber a mystery, a week after blast
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

Caledon family facing $100,000 in U.S. surgery bills
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

Militants ambush Nigerian army chief
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

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