December 16, 2015 nº 1,707 - Vol. 13

"In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy."

Jean Paul Getty

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  • Top News

EU officials reach agreement on text of new privacy law

European Union officials reached agreement Tuesday on a pan-European digital-privacy law, creating a strict new legal framework that will have ripple effects globally on how companies can use individuals’ personal information. After nearly four years of haggling and lobbying, negotiators agreed late Tuesday on a final text of the EU-wide bill, which will replace a patchwork of 28 different sets of national privacy laws, and boost the bloc’s paltry privacy penalties to potentially billions of euros, EU officials said. Under the agreed text, fines would rise to a maximum of 4% of a company’s world-wide revenue, the officials added. The text, which must be definitively approved by the European Parliament and EU governments before going into effect in two years’ time, is expected to tighten rules for getting online consent and create new responsibilities for cloud-services companies. It is also expected to tightly restrict how analytics and advertising companies can re-use data harvested from individuals, for example after they purchased a product or signed up for a service. (Click here)

Putin signs a law that allows Russia to ignore international court rulings that it doesn’t like

“I will do what I want.” Russia has crafted new legislation that will give it a legal justification to defy verdicts by international courts—like, say, a recent attempt by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to make Russia pay out $2 billion to shareholders of defunct oil firm Yukos. The new law, signed on Tuesday by Putin, enables Russia’s constitutional court to decide whether to adhere to a verdict of an international court. The law makes it clear that Russia’s constitution takes precedence over international law. But there’s one issue, as Human Rights Watch (HRW) points out. Russia is party to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, which bans countries from invoking their domestic laws to skirt international court rulings. Russia still technically will have that obligation, so the new law will bring “much uncertainty and opacity to the domestic legal system, further hinder Russia’s relations with its international partners, and delay justice even further for human rights victims,” HRW said.

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  • MiMIC Journal

US said to move ahead with $1.83 billion arms sale to Taiwan

The Obama administration is preparing to move forward with a $1.83 billion arms sale to Taiwan that will be announced as soon as Thursday, according to two US officials familiar with a move that’s already drawing sharp denunciations from China.

How wants to control the internet

At a conference on Wednesday China is arguing for cyber sovereignty, a system that allows governments to control the internet within their own borders.


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  • Historia verdadera


México adjudicó con éxito 25 contratos de licencia para la extracción de hidrocarburos en campos maduros terrestres. Entre las empresas favorecidas están el consorcio mexicano Geo Estratos/Geo Estratos Mxoil Exploración y Producción fue el que más contratos ganó con cuatro, seguido por la empresa canadiense Renaissance Oil Corp y la mexicana Strata Campos Maduros con tres cada una. (Presione aquí)


El gobierno de Perú advirtió que podría sancionar a la estadounidense Kimberly-Clark con una multa de hasta un 12 % de sus ingresos tras iniciar una investigación de un presunto cartel de precios, junto a una filial de la chilena CMPC, durante casi una década en el mercado local de derivados de papel. (Presione aquí)


La multinacional petrolera de origen francés Schlumberger invertirá cuatro US$ 1.900 mlls. para incrementar la producción de crudo en un bloque operado por la estatal Petroecuador.

  • Brief News

US and Russia in Syria peace push

The US and Russia say world powers will meet in New York on Friday to pass a UN resolution endorsing the Syria peace process. It follows talks in Moscow between US Secretary of State John Kerry, his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin. Lavrov said both sides would keep working on contentious issues, like the make-up of the opposition delegation. Kerry said they had reached some agreement, such as on terrorist groups.

Britain prunes silly laws on salmon handling and armor wearing

It is not a great idea to carry a plank of wood down a busy sidewalk. Nor should you ride a horse while drunk, or handle a salmon under suspicious circumstances. But should such antics be illegal? Still? Thanks to centuries of legislating by Parliament, which bans the wearing of suits of armor in its chambers, Britain has accumulated many laws that nowadays seem irrelevant, and often absurd. So voluminous and eccentric is Britain’s collective body of 44,000 pieces of primary legislation that it has a small team of officials whose sole task is to prune it. Their work is not just a constitutional curiosity, but a bulwark against hundreds of years of lawmaking running out of control. Over the centuries, rules have piled up to penalize those who fire a cannon within 300 yards of a dwelling and those who beat a carpet in the street — unless the item can be classified as a doormat and it is beaten before 8 a.m. “To have a legal situation where there is so much information that you cannot sit down and comprehend it, does seem to me a serious problem,” said Andrew Lewis, professor emeritus of comparative legal history at University College London. “I think it matters dreadfully that no one can get a handle on the whole of it.” Yet, as Professor Lewis also noted, many old laws have survived because crime and bad behavior have, too.

What is Shariah Law? Islam shouldn't be protected under First Amendment, Rick Santorum says

Former US Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania said during Tuesday night’s "undercard" Republican debate that Islam should not be protected under the First Amendment. Islam, he said, is “not just a religion,” but “also a form of government.” “Islam is a religion but it is also Shariah law,” Santorum said. “That political structure is a big problem.” He added, there “has to be a line drawn.” So what exactly is Shariah law? Shariah law is Islam’s legal system, and it is an Arabic word that means “the clear, well-trodden path to water.” It primarily comes from the Quran -- Islam’s main text -- and the Sunna, the sayings and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. Muslim scholars use precedent and analogies to determine how it applies to new issues. Shariah is a broad set of laws that cover personal morals and religious practices, including everything from prayers to fasting to donating to the poor. The goal of Shariah is to help Muslims understand how God wants them to lead their lives.

Nuclear watchdog ends Iran 'weapons' probe

The global nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, has ended its 12-year investigation into concerns that Iran might be developing nuclear weapons. The move is seen as a key step towards lifting UN, EU and US sanctions. The IAEA concluded that Iran conducted nuclear weapons-related research until 2003 and to a lesser extent until 2009, but found no evidence of this since. The lifting of sanctions, agreed in a July deal with world powers, hinged on the IAEA's findings on the issue. Iran has strongly denied pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons program.

Republican candidates clash over how to counter IS

Republican presidential candidates sparred over national security issues and how best to counter the so-called Islamic State (IS) in the first debate since attacks in California and Paris. A major fault line has formed between those favoring more surveillance and those concerned about civil liberties. Front runner Donald Trump has been on the defensive, with Jeb Bush calling him a "chaos candidate". Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz also clashed over government surveillance. Trump's proposed ban on Muslims entering the US put Trump on the defensive in the early minutes of the debate.

MEPs urge tougher EU stance on diesel emissions

The European Parliament's environment committee has rejected new EU standards for diesel car emissions, arguing that they are not strict enough. The standards agreed by EU governments in October would allow diesel cars to continue exceeding the maximum level set by laboratory tests. From September 2017 new models would be able to emit double that maximum. The EU Commission says actual emissions are currently five times the limit. MEPs can force changes to the rules. The scandal over Volkswagen diesel emissions prompted the EU to reassess its testing procedures. The plan is to introduce new real driving emissions (RDE) tests from 1 September 2017. Such tests are considered far more accurate than the current lab tests.

Migrant crisis: EU launches new border force plan

Controversial plans for an EU Border and Coast Guard force have been set out as part of an EU drive to curb the record influx of migrants. The European Commission is proposing a force with a stronger mandate than the EU's current Frontex border teams. But some governments see the powers as violating national sovereignty. The commission is also proposing to resettle Syrian refugees directly from camps in Turkey to try to stop people taking the dangerous voyage by sea. The new proposals follow the reintroduction of border controls by some countries within the EU's internal borderless Schengen area - including Germany, Austria and Hungary - to control the flow of migrants. They also follow revelations that two of the Paris attackers entered the EU on the migrant route through Greece.

ICTY orders retrial for 2 Serbs acquitted of war crimes

The appeals chamber of the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on Tuesday ordered a retrial for two senior Serbian officials acquitted of war crimes during the 1990s Balkans conflict. Jovica Stanišic and Franko Simatovic were acquitted in 2013 after the court found that the prosecution failed to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused planned or ordered crimes against humanity. The appeals chamber quashed that decision and ordered a retrial on all counts in the original indictment, citing numerous errors by the trial chamber. The marks only the second time the ICTY has ordered a retrial.

Facebook amends 'real name' policy after protests

After passionate and at times angry pleas from various vulnerable communities, Facebook has announced it is to amend its controversial "real name" policy. On Tuesday the site said it was to test new tools that allowed people to share any special circumstances they felt meant they could not use their real name. The tool is intended to help people who may have suffered domestic abuse, or in cases where their sexuality could put them in danger. However, Facebook stood firm on insisting people use "real names" in all but the most unusual situations. "We require people to use the name their friends and family know them by," the company said. "When people use the names they are known by, their actions and words carry more weight because they are more accountable for what they say. "We're firmly committed to this policy, and it is not changing. "However, after hearing feedback from our community, we recognize that it's also important that this policy works for everyone, especially for communities who are marginalized or face discrimination."

Vatican money-laundering investigations 'must show results'

The Vatican must "deliver real results" from its investigations into money-laundering, the Council of Europe's financial agency has said. In its latest report, Moneyval said the Vatican had improved its financial management and its bank had shut down almost 5,000 suspicious accounts. Vatican prosecutors had frozen about €11m ($12m) and 29 money-laundering investigations had been launched. However, the agency said there had yet to be any indictments or prosecutions.

Brazil: Speaker's house is raided in graft inquiry

Police in Brazil have raided the official residence of the speaker of the lower house of congress, Eduardo Cunha. Several police cars surrounded the house in Brasilia early on Tuesday. Cunha's property in Rio de Janeiro has also been raided. The officers are searching for evidence in connection with a corruption scandal at the state-oil giant Petrobras, which has cost the company $2bn.

For sex industry, Bitcoin steps in where credit cards fear to tread

Trying to crack down on sex trafficking, authorities have been going after online ads for adult services. Some in this industry have found a workaround to stay under the radar: cyber currency.

Supreme Court blocks decision revoking parental custody from lesbian

The Supreme Court Monday stayed an Alabama court decision that repudiated the parental rights of a woman (VL) who had been raising the three children she shared with her same-sex partner. The Alabama Supreme Court decision had reversed the ruling of a Georgia court, which granted VL custody of the children. The Alabama court found that the Georgia court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to issue the judgment and that the Georgia court improperly applied Georgia law.

Egypt lawyer challenges censorship law

Egyptian lawyer Nasser Amin on Saturday challenged a law that allows for writers to be jailed for writings that violate Egyptian "morals." The challenge came during the trial of Egyptian writer Ahmed Naji, who could face a nearly USD $1,300 dollar fine and two years in jail for his work, "The Use of Life," which includes an explicit sex scene and reference to hashish use. Amin has challenged the law based on two articles in the Egyptian constitution that ban this type imprisonment for published materials unless they are defamatory, encourage violence or are discriminatory. The prosecution has insisted that the excerpts from the book be treated as journalism.

Japan Court to rule on married couples keeping separate names

Japan’s Supreme Court is set to rule Wednesday on whether couples have the right to retain separate names after marriage, potentially overturning a system in place since the 19th century. The five plaintiffs say the current law breaches the equal rights guaranteed under the constitution, because in most cases Japanese women take their husband’s name to comply with the legal requirement. They are seeking compensation for personal distress and difficulties at work they say were caused by being forced to change their names, according to court documents published on a website for supporters.

  • 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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