February 22, 2016 nº 1,711 - Vol. 13
 

“A secret is powerful when it is empty. As long as it remains empty it can be filled up with every possible notion, and it has power.”

Umberto Eco

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  • Top News

Nursing home suit raises a simple question: Who signed the contract?

Arbitration clauses have proliferated over the last 10 years as companies have added them to tens of millions of contracts for things as diverse as cellphone service, credit cards and student loans. Nursing homes in particular have embraced the clauses, which are often buried in complex contracts that are difficult to navigate, especially for elderly people with dwindling mental acuity or their relatives, who can be emotionally vulnerable when admitting a parent to a home. State regulators are concerned because the secretive nature of arbitration can obscure patterns of wrongdoing from prospective residents and their families. Recently, officials in 16 states and the District of Columbia urged the federal government to deny Medicaid and Medicare money to nursing homes that use the clauses. Between 2010 and 2014, hundreds of cases of elder abuse, neglect and wrongful death ended up in arbitration, according to an examination by The New York Times of 25,000 arbitration records and interviews with arbitrators, judges and plaintiffs. Judges have consistently upheld the clauses, The Times found, regardless of whether the people signing them understood what they were forfeiting. It is the most basic principle of contract law: Once a contract is signed, judges have ruled, it is legally binding.

Pope calls on Christians to abolish death penalty

The commandment, 'Thou shalt not kill,' has absolute value, and concerns both the innocent and the guilty," Pope Francis says.

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  • Crumbs

1 - FBI escalates war with Apple: 'marketing' bigger concern than terror. (Click here)

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  • MiMIC Journal

China sacks securities regulator

China has removed the head of its securities regulator as it tries to tackle major volatility in its stock markets. Xiao Gang was replaced by Liu Shiyu as the chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), state media report. Xiao was in charge when China's markets crashed in mid-2015. At one point, the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges lost as much as 40% of their value.

Beijing accuses US of militarization in South China Sea

China has accused the US of militarizing the disputed South China Sea through its air and naval patrols. The accusation comes days after the US and Taiwan said China appeared to have deployed surface-to-air missiles on a contested island in the region. Vietnam has called the reported move a "serious violation". The Philippines and Australia also expressed concern. China dismissed the reports as "hype", but said it had the right under international law to defend itself.

Uber losing $1bn in China every year

App-based car-hire service Uber is losing more than $1bn a year in China, as it struggles against what it called a "fierce competitor". US-based Uber launched in China in 2014 and competes against the country's largest taxi app Didi Kuaidi.

China requires approval for foreign firms to publish online

A new Chinese regulation will require foreign companies and foreign-Chinese joint ventures to acquire approval before publishing content online, in the government's latest move to tighten control of the digital realm. Under the new regulations going into effect March 10, firms with at least part-foreign ownership will be banned from publishing on the mainland text, pictures, maps, games, animation and sound "of informational or thoughtful nature" without approval from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. In an apparent countervailing trend born of the need to shore up slowing growth and flagging foreign investment, the government on Friday also announced plans to make it easier for foreigners to live and work in the country under new rules for obtaining permanent residency.

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  • Brief News

Hollande's attack on 35-hour work week angers French socialists

Hollande’s plan to dilute the 35-hour limit on the working week and ease firing rules is creating turmoil among French unions and Socialist lawmakers even before its official release. Hollande would allow businesses to increase workers’ hours above the 35-hour cap with minimal compensation and without prior agreement from unions. The bill may make it easier to shed jobs if companies see their orders decline, face new competition or technological changes and could also restrict payouts to those who are fired. “This is going to create a huge mess in parliament.”

UK will vote on whether to remain in the EU on June 23

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron is calling for a historic nationwide referendum on whether the UK will stay in the European Union. He says new concessions from the EU mean Britain should stay.

DOJ files motion to compel Apple to unlock shooter's phone

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday filed a motion to compel Apple to unlock the encrypted iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is seeking Apple's help to access Syed Rizwan Farook's phone, but the tech company has refused.

Ransomware takes millions, baffles law enforcement

A California hospital this week paid a $17,000 ransom to free its computers from a hacker's virus, thrusting a little-known but wildly lucrative cyber scheme into the limelight. Cyber criminals have extorted hundreds of millions from victims using these attacks, yet the technique has baffled law enforcement and received little attention on Capitol Hill. Law enforcement is scrambling to keep up as some victims, desperate to regain access, simply pay the price without consulting police. The FBI has even told victims to pay up — a controversial move for security experts. While modern ransomware has been around for over a decade, the tactic exploded in 2013. Cyber crime syndicates started going after more businesses and tailoring their attacks.

Last Treblinka death camp survivor dies

Samuel Willenberg, the last survivor of Nazi Germany's Treblinka death camp in Poland, has died in Israel aged 93. About 870,000 people died in the gas chambers at Treblinka - more than anywhere else except Auschwitz. Most of Treblinka's guards were never prosecuted for their part in the crimes there. Treblinka's commandant, Franz Stangl, was sentenced to life imprisonment in October 1970 following his trial in the west German city of Duesseldorf.

US fights encryption—and also helps develop it

Several federal agencies are developing tools of secure communication to protect the military and pro-democracy activists abroad, even as the FBI battles Apple for access to an encrypted iPhone.

LSAT’s grip on law-school admissions loosens

Law schools are toying with a new way to boost shrinking applicant pools: dropping the Law School Admission Test requirement.

Bolivian President Evo Morales 'loses' fourth term bid'

President Evo Morales of Bolivia has narrowly lost a referendum to allow him to stand for a fourth term in office, exit polls suggest. One poll suggests 52.3% voted against the proposal to amend the constitution, while another suggests it was 51%. Bolivia's first head of state of indigenous origin could still win, as official results trickle in. The constitution change would have let Morales remain in power until 2025.

Abuse victims can attend Pell testimony in Rome, inquiry says

An inquiry into child sex abuse in Australia has cleared the way for victims to be present when Australia's most senior Catholic gives testimony. Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican's finance chief, will speak to the inquiry from Rome next week. He has been excused from returning to Australia because of ill health, which has angered child abuse survivors.

Pope hints at relaxation of contraception ban against Zika

Pope Francis has hinted that the use of contraception by women at risk of contracting the Zika virus may be permissible. The pontiff insisted that abortion remained a crime but said avoiding pregnancy was "not an absolute evil". His remarks came in response to a question about how best to tackle the Zika outbreak across Latin America.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Time
The One Way Millennials Could Still Change the World

Newsweek
London Mayor to Campaign for UK Exit From EU

Business Week
The Most Important Apple Executive You’ve Never Heard Of (Johny Srouji)

The Economist
The world economy: Out of ammo?

Der Spiegel
Ohne Zins und Verstand

L'Espresso
Noi, I ragazzi dello zoo di Roma

  • 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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