December 18, 2015 nº 1,708 - Vol. 13
 

"I despise a world which does not feel that music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy."

Ludwig van Beethoven

2016
Season’s Greetings

The whole team at Migalhas International wishes its readers lots of good cheer during the Holiday season and a happy and healthy new year.

We thank you for your readership, and your support during the past year. We look forward to a new exciting year and will return after the Holiday break in Januar.

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In today's Law Firm Marketing, Why trying to beat your competition is risky

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  • Top News

EU reaches agreement on uniform data protection regulations

The European Commission on Tuesday reached an agreement on data protection regulations concerning how digital information is to be collected and managed across the EU. The EU Data Protection Reform was initiated in 2012 and was approved following final negotiations by both the European Parliament and the Council. The reform was in response to calls from over 90 percent of Europeans for "the same data protection rights across the EU." The so-called Digital Single Market seeks to enable people to better control their personal data and is expected to result in decreased costs to businesses. As part of the European Agenda on Security the reform also seeks to ensure that the data of victims, witnesses, and suspects of crimes, are duly protected, and to facilitate cross-border cooperation of police or prosecutors to combat crime and terrorism more effectively across Europe. The final text of the regulations will be formally adopted by the European Parliament and Council at the beginning of 2016, and the new rules will become applicable two years thereafter.

Calm acceptance as Fed enacts its first interest increase in seven years

The much-anticipated "liftoff", the Fed’s first interest rate increase since the financial crisis, unfolded quietly and smoothly. But the hard work lies ahead.

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  • Crumbs

1 - EU Data-Privacy Law Raises Daunting Prospects for U.S. Companies - click here.

2 - Japan high court upholds law requiring married couples to share surname - click here.

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  • MiMIC Journal

Maritime dispute exposes rifts in China's Foreign Ministry

A debate in China’s foreign ministry on how to respond -- or whether to respond -- to a court case over the disputed South China Sea highlights how tensions over policy are complicating President Xi Jinping’s efforts to project the country as a responsible power. China is boycotting arbitration hearings brought by the Philippines in The Hague that are heading to a conclusion next year, saying it doesn’t recognize the court’s jurisdiction. That fits its approach of dealing with disputes on a state-to-state basis, rather than through courts or international groupings, but its absence means there is no counter-argument to the Philippines’ case.

Beijing issues second ever pollution red alert

Beijing authorities have issued a second pollution red alert, little more than a week after the first ever such warning. The Chinese capital will see hazardous smog from Saturday until Tuesday. Nationwide, a vast area from Xian in central China to Harbin in the northeast would also be affected. The alert triggers restrictions on vehicle use, factories and building. The government has promised to take action to address often-dangerous levels of pollution.

  • Law Firm Marketing

Why trying to beat your competition is risky
by Tom Trush

What if working like crazy to beat the competition did exactly the opposite -- made you mediocre and more like the competition?

Harvard Business School professor Youngme Moon poses this thought on the back cover of her book, Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd.

The question is worthy of attention, especially in today's business world where "we're different" claims are as common as coffee at Starbucks. After all, difference isn't a characteristic you can just talk about ... you must prove it.

But how can you? How do you get prospects to differentiate your offerings from your competitors'?

Well, if you're in an industry where your service (or product) isn't part of a regular shopping experience and prospects have many options, you have a tough task.

Here's a quick example that explains why ...

Until about age 13, I collected baseball cards. My dad lived behind a shopping mall. So my twin brother and I would spend our allowances on Topps wax packs at the nearby drug store.

Every year we created checklists so we could match our new cards with what we needed to create a complete set. The cards were then organized in albums and boxes.

We would also read Beckett Baseball Card Monthly like a minister studies the Bible. That way we always knew what our cards were worth (which was helpful when trading with friends).

In many cases, we could rattle off a card's value by just giving it a quick glance.

But while we understood what differences made baseball cards valuable, our parents had no clue and wondered why we kept wasting our money. They saw each card as the same -- a rectangular piece of stiff paper with a picture on the front and statistics on the back.

Prospects have similar reactions when shopping for a new service or product. As Moon describes in her book, "Where a connoisseur sees the differences, a novice sees the similarities."

When you're familiar with an industry, you can deconstruct your decisions. You make choices based on factors that you know are important.

But when you're unfamiliar with an industry, you don't have this luxury. You don't know the differentiating factors. And, as a result, most offerings look the same.

This is one reason why creating educational content for your prospects is so critical to an effective marketing strategy. Remember, most prospects prefer information -- not instant sales pitches.

When you only push services and showcase your company, you become just another fish in a sea of sameness.

Tom Trush is available at http://www.writewaysolutions.com.
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© Trey Ryder
FREE LAWYER MARKETING ALERT: If you'd like to receive Trey Ryder's weekly Lawyer Marketing Alert, send an e-mail to Trey@TreyRyder.com. Write "Subscribe LMA" in the subject line and write your name and e-mail address in the body of the message.

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  • Historia verdadera

Convenio

México y Estados Unidos formalizarán en Washington la firma de un nuevo convenio aéreo bilateral que elimina las limitaciones que prevalecían para la apertura de nuevos vuelos entre ambas naciones, lo que a decir de las autoridades abrirá un mercado de US$ 515,000 mlls. al año, de acuerdo con la Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes de México.

Antidumping

México inició una investigación sobre las importaciones de aceros planos recubiertos originarias de China y Taiwán por posibles prácticas desleales de comercio en la modalidad de discriminación de precios. La indagatoria fue solicitada por las siderúrgicas Ternium y Tenigal en septiembre.

Alibaba

Las empresas exportadoras peruanas podrán acceder al mercado de ventas online a través de su propio canal virtual en Alibaba Group, la plataforma de China. (Presione aquí)

  • Brief News

Brazil Supreme Court scraps President Rousseff impeachment commission

In a major setback for Brazil's opposition, the Supreme Court has scrapped a commission set up to deal with impeachment proceedings against President Rousseff. The court has also given more powers to the government-controlled Senate to block the impeachment process. The ruling means that proceedings initiated earlier this month will have to start from scratch. Rousseff said she was innocent and the impeachment attempt would fail. The disgraced Speaker of the lower house of Congress, Eduardo Cunha, opened the process based on allegations that Rousseff broke the law in the management of last year's budget.

House approves bill to end tax-free real estate spinoffs

The tactic has been popular among activist investors, who have pushed companies to unlock cash by separating themselves from their real estate holdings. On Thursday, the House of Representatives approved legislation including provisions that would remove the tax advantages of spinning off corporate real estate into a separate, publicly traded real estate investment trust. The end of such tax-free spinoffs will generate $1.9 billion in additional tax revenue in the coming years.

IMF chief Lagarde to stand negligence trial in France

IMF chief Christine Lagarde is to stand trial in France for alleged negligence over a €404m ($438m) payment to a businessman in 2008. She was finance minister in President Nicolas Sarkozy's government at the time of the compensation award to Bernard Tapie for the sale of a firm. Tapie supported Sarkozy in the 2007 presidential election. Lagarde's lawyer described the court's decision as "incomprehensible", and said the IMF boss would appeal.

Humans are slamming into driverless cars and exposing a key flaw

The self-driving car, that cutting-edge creation that’s supposed to lead to a world without accidents, is achieving the exact opposite right now: The vehicles have racked up a crash rate double that of those with human drivers. The glitch? They obey the law all the time, as in, without exception. This may sound like the right way to program a robot to drive a car, but good luck trying to merge onto a chaotic, jam-packed highway with traffic flying along well above the speed limit. It tends not to work out well. As the accidents have piled up -- all minor scrape-ups for now -- the arguments among programmers at places like Google Inc. and Carnegie Mellon University are heating up: Should they teach the cars how to commit infractions from time to time to stay out of trouble? Turns out, though, their accident rates are twice as high as for regular cars, according to a study. Driverless vehicles have never been at fault, the study found: They’re usually hit from behind in slow-speed crashes by inattentive or aggressive humans unaccustomed to machine motorists that always follow the rules and proceed with caution. “It’s a dilemma that needs to be addressed.”

EU to prioritize new border force

The EU will move rapidly towards setting up a new joint border and coastguard force over the next six months. "We should adopt a position on the force by July It would have a stronger mandate than the current Frontex border agency, which suffers from a lack of resources. EU leaders worry about the 26-nation Schengen zone - where passport checks are largely absent.

Bulgaria lawmakers approve constitutional amendments to reform judiciary

The National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria approved amendments to the Constitution on Wednesday to reform the judicial system. At a third reading of the proposed amendments, 189 legislators voted in favour, 39 MPs voted against and one abstained. The constitutional amendments will split the Supreme Judicial Council into two colleges of judges and prosecutors, provide for the direct election of the magistrates and increase the powers of the Inspectorate. Former Justice Minister Hristo Ivanov commented on the importance of continued judicial reform saying, "[n]o one should have ever thought we would exhaust all reforms that need to be implemented in the judiciary in one summer. This is about a third of the state power." Critics of the reform suggest that the changes fell short of the recommendations made by the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe's advisory body on constitutional matters, which suggested bigger changes, particularly in relation to the prosecutor's office.

US-Cuba agree commercial flights deal

The United States and Cuba have agreed to restore regular commercial flights, in a deal that could jumpstart economic relations between the two countries. The agreement paves the way for thousands of visitors to the island on a daily basis. It is not known when the first Cuba-bound flights will take off.

Bayer sued in Germany over contraceptive pill risks

A German woman is suing pharmaceuticals giant Bayer, claiming its contraceptive pill Yasminelle caused her to suffer a pulmonary embolism. Felicitas Rohrer, is seeking €200,000 ($220,000) in damages following the life-threatening illness. The case is the first of its kind in Germany, Bayer's home country. The firm has already faced a series of lawsuits in the US and elsewhere. Bayer insists that its contraceptive pills are safe when taken correctly. Rohrer says she would never have taken Yasminelle if the increased risks of blood clots had been made clearer by Bayer.

Pharma boss arrested on fraud charges

Representatives for pharmaceutical boss Martin Shkreli, who sparked outrage after hiking up the price of a medicine used by Aids patients, say he strongly denies fraud charges. He is accused of fraud relating to a drug company he previously headed, Retrophin, and a hedge fund, MSMB Capital Management, where he was a fund manager. He is currently chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals. Shkreli was arrested by the FBI. He was later bailed on payment of a $5m bond package and allowed home. Shkreli was accused of running a "Ponzi scheme" where Retrophin assets were illegally used to pay off debts after MSMB lost millions of dollars.

EU to investigate Volkswagen emissions scandal

The European Parliament has voted to set up a committee to investigate the Volkswagen emissions scandal. The committee will investigate whether regulators failed to prevent the car industry from cheating emissions tests designed to reduce pollution. It will investigate alleged breaches of European Union law and "maladministration".

US state accuses tech support firm of scamming users

One of the world's largest independent tech support firms has been accused of routinely pressuring customers into buying software they do not need. It is also accused of falsely claiming affiliation to Microsoft, Apple and HP. In a Washington State lawsuit, Indian firm iYogi is accused of using scare tactics to mislead consumers. "While we are yet to receive the complaint through formal channels, based on our assessment of media reports we would like to firmly state that the allegations are false or baseless," said iYogi's co-founder Vishal Dhar said.

Northern Ireland judge: abortion law 'incompatible' with human rights

A judge for the High Court in Belfast on Wednesday declared that Northern Ireland's abortion laws, which only allow abortion when the mother faces the risk of death or serious injury, are not compatible with human rights laws. Judge Mark Horner's decision, which echoes a ruling he issued last month, does not mandate a change in the law but rather pushes the Parliament of Northern Ireland to agree on new abortion legislation. Last month Horner held that by failing to provide exceptions for women who have been victims of sexual abuse and cases in which a fatal fetal abnormality is present during the pregnancy, Northern Ireland had violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Horner noted in his prior decision that it did not establish a "general right" to abortion, as no such right exists except in limited circumstances.

Cybersecurity legislation finds a place in US budget bill

Congress has been trying to tackle cybersecurity for years. After several attempts to craft information-sharing legislation, the latest one has found its way into the must-pass federal spending bill.

Thai law criticized after man charged for insulting king's dog

The Thai military’s use of a law protecting the monarchy from criticism has "reached the absurd" with criminal charges filed against a man for allegedly insulting the king’s dog, a rights group said. A 27-year-old factory worker was charged Dec. 14 with violating Thailand’s lese-majeste law, which allows for up to 15 years in prison for those convicted of defaming, insulting or threatening the king, queen, heir apparent or regent. He is accused of spreading "sarcastic" images of the king’s dog on social media, Human Rights Watch said in a statement Friday. "The heavy-handed enforcement of lese-majeste laws is crushing freedom of expression in Thailand." said Brad Adams, Human Rights Watch’s Asia director.

Law schools continue to bleed

December 15th is the day that law schools must produce their ABA 509 Required Disclosures! First-year registered students totaled 37,058 at 204 ABA-accredited law schools. Students were at their height in 2010 with 52,488. Just five years later, and law schools have lost 15,000 students The current crop of first-year students is the lowest number since 1973, when 37,018 matriculated to 151 law schools.

Philip Morris loses latest case against Australia cigarette-pack laws

An arbitration court in Singapore has ruled it has no jurisdiction to consider the case, which the company filed as a trade issue under an investment treaty with Hong Kong.

Swiss-banking lawsuit against IRS could have wide impact

A Texas man’s lawsuit against the IRS could help set a precedent for Americans seeking to challenge aspects of the US bid to clamp down on offshore tax evasion.

  • 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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