March 21, 2016 nº 1,722 - Vol. 13

"Either do not attempt at all, or go through with it."


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  • Top News

Political turmoil dividing angry Brazilians

The corruption scandal roiling Brazil's government and business elite has polarized the nation. There was more political chaos in Brazil overnight and a big setback for the embattled government there. The president faces impeachment; the ex-president faces corruption charges — and crowds are on the streets. Earlier this month, the country was sent into shock when Lula was detained and questioned over allegations that he was involved in a massive corruption scandal involving the state oil company. Now, Lula could be arrested at any time, and for Dilma Rousseff, it means that she is a lot weaker. It's a volatile situation that's become even more so. On Friday, Lula gave a speech to the gathered masses where he said the attempts to jail him and impeach the president were a coup, and he said he was there to defend democracy. While these pro-government protests were smaller than the antigovernment ones we saw last weekend, they do show that this government has a great deal of support still. They say they are out in defense of democracy, chanting "we won't accept a coup," a reference to the numerous attempts to have Rousseff removed from office -- from pressuring her to resign to impeachment proceedings that they say are unfounded. Brazil is deeply polarized among right and left, rich and poor. It's very unclear what is going to happen next. Every day seems to bring some new development, but certainly the situation of Dilma and Lula, is precarious.


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  • MiMIC Journal

China's Anbang closes in on Starwood Hotels

Chinese insurer Anbang is set to acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide for $78 per share in cash, or about $13bn in total. Starwood said it would terminate a deal to be bought by Marriott International, after it received a superior proposal from a group led by Anbang. Marriott and Starwood had agreed to merge in November in a $12bn deal to create the world's largest hotel chain. But the Anbang-led consortium has now outbid Marriott for Starwood. Marriott now has five days to decide whether to put in a counter-bid.

China columnist Jia Jia detained by Beijing police

A lawyer for prominent Chinese columnist Jia Jia, who went missing last week, has confirmed he has been detained by Beijing police. Jia is said to be linked to a letter calling for the resignation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, published on a state-linked site earlier this month. The letter was quickly taken down.


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  • Brief News

Brazil crisis: Thousands join pro-Dilma Rousseff rallies

Tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Brazil to show support to President Dilma Rousseff, who is facing calls for her impeachment. Just a few days ago, more than a million people gathered on the same avenue calling for Rousseff's impeachment - with huge inflatable dolls of the president and Lula, her mentor, dressed as prisoners. Addressing supporters, Lula said he joined the government to help the country; he was greeted with energetic chants and applause, and said he was going to help the government put the country back on track. Earlier, police used tear gas on anti-government protesters in Sao Paulo.

Dilma to sue senator over corruption claims

Dilma Rousseff has said she will take legal action against a senator who has accused her of involvement in corruption at the state oil company Petrobras. Senator Delcidio Amaral said the president knew of wrongdoings and tried to block investigations. Rousseff has denied any involvement. Meanwhile, the new justice minister has threatened to remove teams from the Petrobras inquiry if any more material is leaked to the press. There is widespread public support for the investigation, known as Operation Car Wash, but Dilma and her allies have criticized its leading judge, Sergio Moro. They argue the inquiry has become politicized and some of his actions have been illegal. Last week, Moro released phone recordings suggesting Rousseff had appointed her predecessor Lula as her chief of staff to spare him arrest over money-laundering charges he denies. Even though Rousseff vehemently denies it, Supreme Court judge Gilmar Mendes has suspended Lula's nomination, and a final decision is yet to be announced.

Australia PM threatens early election over Senate deadlock

Australia will hold an early election in July if the Senate fails to pass two industrial relations bill. The Senate has rejected bills that aim to re-establish a construction industry watchdog and regulate how unions are managed. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has now asked the governor-general to recall both houses of parliament on 19 April to deal with the measures. Failure to pass the laws will provide a double dissolution election trigger. "The time has come for the Senate to recognise its responsibilities and help advance our economic plans, rather than standing in the way," Turnbull said. "This was the fifth review the bills have undergone. "The restoration of the ABCC is a critical economic reform. The time for playing games is over."

Obama in Cuba at start of historic visit

Obama has arrived in Cuba for a historic visit to the island and talks with its communist leader. He is the first sitting US president to visit since the 1959 revolution, which heralded decades of hostility. He will meet President Raul Castro, but not retired revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, and the pair will discuss trade and political reform.

FBI warns on risks of car hacking

The FBI and the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have added their voices to growing concerns about the risk of cars being hacked. In an advisory note it warns the public to be aware of "cybersecurity threats" related to connected vehicles. Last year Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.4 million US vehicles after security researchers remotely controlled a Jeep. People who suspect their car has been hacked were told to get in contact with the FBI. The public service announcement laid out the issues and dangers of car hacking. "Modern motor vehicles often include new connected vehicle technologies that aim to provide benefits such as added safety features, improved fuel economy and greater overall convenience," it read. "With this increased connectivity, it is important that consumers and manufacturers maintain awareness of potential cybersecurity threats."

Opposition leader in Syria says Assad must go

Salem al-Muslet, leader of the main faction opposing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, on Saturday said that Assad and various security officials must leave office for his faction to agree to a transitional government. The High Negotiations Committee (HNC) is the largest opponent to Assad's rule in Syria, and would, according to Muslet, only agree to retain officials who "have not taken any decision against the Syrians."

Multiple African countries hold Presidential elections

Elections are being held in several African countries on Sunday, a day many people have called "Super Sunday." Citizens in Benin, Cape Verde, Congo, Niger, and Zanzibar are voting for President, while voters in Senegal are voting to reform Presidential term limits. In Niger, the country is holding a Presidential run-off election to determine the final results. While in Benin, Cape Verde and Zanzibar there are elections being held as well. In Congo-Brazzaville, in order to facilitate fair elections, telecommunications have been cut off for 48 hours in order to prevent newspapers and other media sources from illegally posting results.

France Senate effectively blocks nationality law

The French Senate on Thursday adopted a different version of a constitutional amendment that would deprive French citizenship or rights attached to it from dual nationals convicted of terrorism, essentially blocking the measure. For the amendment to pass, the National Assembly and the Senate must agree on the "same text of the legislation and ... both chambers of Parliament approve it by a three-fifths majority." The procedure must start over or be abandoned because the Senate approved a different version than the one that the National Assembly approved last month, namely, that the defendant hold another nationality in addition to French citizenship to avoid statelessness. The vote was 186-150 with 8 abstentions to adopt the article that the deprivation of nationality be reserved for only bi-national defendants.

Indonesia to keep applying death penalty for drug crimes

Indonesia will continue to apply the death penalty to convicted drug traffickers despite international opposition fanned by the executions of 12 foreign convicts last year, the country’s foreign minister said. The continuing use of the law was justified by a “drug emergency" in Southeast Asia’s largest nation.

As coal’s future grows murkier, banks pull financing

The coal industry is in a free fall, and even daring investors are reluctant to risk trying to saving it.

GMO labeling law roils food companies

The US food industry is fighting one of its fiercest regulatory battles in years over labels for ingredients made with genetically modified organisms. The country’s first law requiring mandatory GMO labels is slated to go into effect in Vermont on July 1 after an industry-backed federal law that would block states’ authority stalled in the US Senate last week. Facing fines up to $1,000 a day per product, food makers from giants like General Mills Inc. to regional businesses are making big adjustments, many of which extend beyond the state’s borders. Some companies, fearing such labels will be a sort of scarlet letter and scare off consumers, are replacing ingredients altogether. GMOs include crops whose genes have been engineered to make them resistant to pests, able to withstand herbicides, and otherwise hardier. Federal regulators have approved the GMO seeds on the market. Critics say they can hurt the environment and rely on herbicides that could harm consumers.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Inside Apple's FBI Fight

Istanbul Attack Blamed On Turkish Isis Member

Business Week
How GE Became a 124-Year-Old Startup

The Economist
Russian foreign policy: A hollow superpower

Der Spiegel
Aufstand der Witbuerger

Raggi X


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