November 9, 2015 nº 1,693 - Vol. 13

"We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think its forever."

Dr. Carl Sagan

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  • Top News

The end of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Is Chapter 11 doomed? There are reasons to think that the famous financial reorganization law won’t work much longer in its current form. It has already been widely remarked that the tendency for distressed firms to grant first, second and even third liens on their assets makes reorganization all the more difficult. The bankruptcy code was really not intended for a world where everyone is a secured creditor. The growth of credit default swaps has made restructuring more complex by making creditors' true incentives more opaque. Chapter 11, as written in 1978, is based on the assumption that economic interests and legal interests come as a package, but that is no longer true. Then there are the safe harbors that remove derivatives, repurchase agreements and securities trades from the crucial protections of the bankruptcy code. It was only a matter of time before smart lawyers figured out that lots of ordinary supply contracts look a lot like swaps or other derivatives if viewed from the right angle. And there is the trend of putting companies’ real estate assets into REITs, or real estate investment trusts. Caesars Entertainment is proposing to put its real estate into a REIT as part of its Chapter 11 plan. But a host of other companies have already made this move or are considering it. REITs benefit from a tax subsidy, provided that they pass on all of their real estate income to shareholders. Separating a firm’s real estate into a distinct corporate entity allows the company to enjoy this subsidy. From a bankruptcy perspective, this means that if any of these companies ends up in bankruptcy – or in Caesars’ case, if it ends up in bankruptcy again – the operating company will no longer have direct control over the company’s real estate.

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  • MiMIC Journal

China's says Asia security ties lag economic cooperation

Growing economic cooperation in Asia is not being matched by security collaboration, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, calling on nations to "never let animosity" divide us even as tensions run high in the disputed South China Sea. While repeating China's claim to a large swath of the South China Sea -- saying the area belonged to the country since ancient times -- Xi used a speech in Singapore on Saturday during a state visit to downplay the territorial disputes that have caused friction with countries including the Philippines and Vietnam.

The new Chinese birth control: sky-high cost of raising kids

While China's Communist Party rolled back its long-standing one-child policy last month, economists are expecting another equally powerful deterrent to kick in: the soaring cost of raising kids. The government estimates that 90 million couples are eligible to have two children, and births will increase over the next few years peaking at over 20 million newborns a year.

China plans to lift moratorium on I.P.O.s by end of year

The move signals that the government is beginning to step back from the extraordinary measures it took over the summer to stop a steep sell-off in the country's stock markets.


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  • Brief News

Germany lawmakers approve assisted suicide bill

German lawmakers approved a bill Friday allowing assisted suicide for "altruistic motives" but banning the practice in cases where it is being conducted on a "business" basis. Lawmakers voted in favor of the bill despite fears that it could lead to charges against doctors. The bill threatens up to three years in jail for anyone who offers suicide to someone else on "business" terms. It was one of four bills considered. The four proposed bills ranged from fully permitting assisted suicide as long as it is not for profit, to a near-complete ban. The version accepted found its place in the middle of both of these extremes. Assisted suicide in Germany was neither permitted nor banned by law prior to the enactment of this bill. Former Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries said this bill "will open an era of great legal uncertainty" and will be appealed to the Federal Constitutional Court.

Mississippi Supreme Court grants same-sex divorce

The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled Thursday that same-sex divorce is legal within the state. In a 5-4 decision, the high court granted the divorce order citing to the recent US Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges as the main legal authority. The case was brought by Lauren Beth Czekala-Chatham who sought a divorce from her wife Dana Melancon. A lower court judge refused to grant a divorce in 2013, citing Mississippi's same-sex marriage ban.

Apple wins dismissal of suit over retail worker bag searches

Apple Inc. persuaded a judge to throw out a lawsuit by employees of the company's retail stores in California seeking back pay for time spent in "demoralizing" security searches when they left work for the day. The ruling by a San Francisco federal judge Saturday releases the company from having to compensate as many 12,400 former and current employees from 52 stores throughout the state a few dollars a day for time spent over a six-year period having their bags and Apple devices searched at meal breaks and after their shifts. A law professor who reviewed filings in the case estimated Apple could have been be on the hook for as much as $60 million, plus penalties. Workers were free to choose to avoid searches by not bringing bags with them, US District Judge William Alsup said in the ruling.

The US inmates charged per night in jail

A widespread practice in the US known as "pay-to-stay" charges jail inmates a daily fee while they are incarcerated. For those who are in and out of the local county or city lock-ups that can lead to sky-high debts. It comes from a daily "pay-to-stay" fee - sometimes called "pay for stay" - that inmates were charged by the local jail, the Multi-County Correctional Center. They are charged $50 each day they spent in jail, plus a $100 booking fee. It works almost as if they checked into a hotel and got a bill when they checked out.

Hammond warns EU partners not to 'snub' UK reform demands

Britain will have to "think again" about staying in the EU if other members "snub" its reform demands, the foreign secretary has said. "If fundamental change did not happen, the British people would vote to leave." On Tuesday David Cameron will write to the European Council president, setting out Britain's argument for reform but it would not include "detailed specific legislative changes." The Vote Leave campaign said his demands were a "dishonest gimmick".

Federal appeals court rules against Florida credit card surcharge ban

The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled Wednesday that a Florida state law that bars retailers from imposing surcharges on credit card purchases is unconstitutional. Under the Florida statute it is a second-degree misdemeanor if a business imposes a surcharge on a customer who uses a credit card. The circuit judges ruled 2-1 against the law, finding that the statute was too burdensome on small businesses that would face prosecution for charging a surcharge. The judges found, however, that a business should be allowed to offer a discount to a customer for using cash instead of credit. The circuit judges ruled that the law violated First Amendment rights, stating that it "directly targets speech to indirectly affect commercial behavior." Last month the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that a New York state law banning retailers from imposing surcharges on credit card purchases was constitutional, creating a circuit split.

California Governor introduces proposal for single-drug lethal injection protocol

California Governor Jerry Brown, on Friday, introduced a proposal for a single-drug execution process. The new protocol would replace the existing three-drug execution protocol. The state would be allowed to determine one of four drugs to use on a case by case basis including: amobarbital, pentobarbital, secobarbital and thiopental. California has more than 700 inmates on death row and the state has not executed anyone since 2006. Gov. Brown has indicated that the new protocol dos not mean that any executions will take place anytime soon; but, it will change the procedure for future executions. Executions were halted due to a suit that claimed two individuals whose family members were executed in the 1980's were not executed in compliance with the law. California has not used capital punishment in ten years.

Lawyers wage campaign to end lawyer jokes

Why did they stop putting lawyers on stamps? Because people didn't know which side of the stamp they should spit on. Even with a sense of humor, it’s hard to find that funny. "Lawyers have consistently been the target of verbal bashing and derogatory portrayals, and literature is rife with lawyer-bashing dated back hundreds of years," according to the ABA's resolution. A day of happiness might not be enough to reverse the tide of displeasure that has historically flowed in lawyers' direction. It's worth a try. In October, the ABA passed a resolution in support of the holiday, which it describes as "a day for the public to celebrate lawyers and express their gratitude to them." Dedicating a whole day to loving litigators was resonating with the legal profession, if not the wider public.

UN climate conference: France to impose border controls

France will impose border controls for one month from 30 November for the UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris. French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said it was a precaution "because of the terrorist threat or risk of public disorder". "It is by no means a suspension of Schengen," he stressed, referring to the EU free travel zone where passport checks are minimal or non-existent. Schengen rules allow countries to restore border controls temporarily.

EU gives US 3-month ultimatum to seal data-privacy deal

The European Union set a three-month deadline to reach a new trans-Atlantic deal on data-transfers after the bloc's top court struck down a 15-year-old pact that risked giving American spies unfettered access to EU citizens' private details. "We need an agreement with our US partners in the next three months," Andrus Ansip, the European Commission vice-president for digital issues, said. "The commission has been asked to take swift action: this is what we are doing. Today we provide clear guidelines and we commit to a clear timeframe to conclude current negotiations." The EU Court of Justice last month forced the EU and the US back to the negotiating table, saying the existing "safe-harbor" designed to ease the flow of commercial data across the Atlantic failed to stop US spies gaining access to European citizens' private details. Judges said it also compromised citizens' right to challenge the use of their information.

Steel industry calls for EU action on Chinese imports

An emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in the steel industry is to be held by European economy ministers. The industry is demanding tougher action against cheap imports of Chinese steel, which it blames for low global steel prices. Workers from the UK, Belgium and France will also hold a demonstration in Brussels later. "The US and other countries have already moved to prevent cheap Chinese imports distorting their markets and now the EU must do the same and, do so quickly," said Gareth Stace, director of the industry body UK Steel.

Obama rejects request to build Keystone XL oil pipeline

Obama has announced he is rejecting an application to build the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada. Speaking from the White House, he said it would not have served the "national interests" of the US. Its construction has been hotly disputed for seven years, with environmentalists saying it would do irreparable damage. But the president said the pipeline had taken on an "overinflated role" in the climate change debate.

Supreme Court will hear more religious objections to Obamacare

Birth control and the Affordable Care Act are back on the Supreme Court's docket, in what could be called a sequel to the Hobby Lobby ruling.

Mormon Church declares same-sex couples to be apostates

The policy also bars children in same-sex households from being blessed or baptized until they turn 18 and meet certain conditions.

Dallas zoo 'no guns' rule faces test

A Texas lawyer thinks the right to carry guns should extend to a trip to the zoo, but the Dallas Zoo isn’t budging yet on its no-gun policy.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Is Iran Finally Ready for Change?

Ruling Party Admits Defeat to Suu Kyi's Opposition

Business Week
50 Companies to Watch

The Economist
Germany and Europe: The indispensable European

Der Spiegel
Ich will weiterleben (Guido Weterwelle)

La verita sul libro che fa tremere il Vaticano

  • Daily Press Review

Turkey sacks Ankara police chief after suicide bombings
Al Jazeera, Doha, Qatar

MPs approve Osborne's budget rules
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

Israeli-Palestinian violence: What you need to know
CNN International, London, England

Heidi Klum is 'mom and a dad at the same time' since her split from Seal in 2012
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Denmark's Princess Marie denies boob job after Her & Nu magazine claimed she had one
Daily Mail, Conservative daily, London, England

Tense times in Jerusalem
EuroNews, International news, Ecully Cedex, France

Israel seals off East Jerusalem after 'Day of Rage' attacks
France 24, Issy-les-Moulineaux, France

?? Sanat to present a rich program in its new season
Hurriyet Daily News, (Liberal, English-language), Istanbul, Turkey

'Blood moon' prompts Mormon announcement: This is NOT the end of the world
Independent The, London, England

Pompeii's pilferers punished with a curse from the gods
Telegraph The, Conservative daily, London, England

The Apprentice 2015: episode 1, live
Telegraph The, Celebrity news, London, England

Hung ouster in motion, Chu calls for party unity
China Post, English-language daily, Taipei, Taiwan

Up to 10 Million People Made Sick by Their Phones
Chosun Ilbo, Conservative daily, Seoul, South Korea

Pope Francis makes historic first US visit
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India

Minister vows to return donations from firms involved in bid-rigging
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Financial services startup Square files for $275M IPO
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

Nike says expects revenue of $50 bn by 2020
The Economic Times, Business, Mumbai, India

It's official ó the 1% finally own 50% of everything
Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto, Ontario

New York teen dies after beating at church during 'counselling'
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

Wall St declines as Wal-Mart's weak forecast drags on retailers
Reuters, Business News, New York, U.S

Malaysia's embattled PM facing stern test as parliament returns
Reuters, World News, New York, U.S

Blue Jays cut lead to 2-1 against Rangers in Game 5
Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario

US troops to help fight Boko Haram
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England


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