April 8, 2016 nº 1,729 - Vol. 13

"A civilization is destroyed only when its gods are destroyed."

 Emile M. Cioran

Read Migalhas LatinoAmérica in Spanish every Tuesday and Thursday. Visit the website at www.migalhas.com/latinoamerica


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  • Top News

Brazil high court orders legislature to commence impeachment procedures against VP

The Brazilian Supreme Federal Court on Tuesday ordered the legislature to commence impeachment proceedings against Vice President Michel Temer. Judge Marco Aurelio Mello overruled a previous rejection from a high ranking member of the Brazilian legislature. Brazil is in the midst of a political and economic crisis, tied to widespread corruption. Impeachment proceedings are already underway for Brazil's current president, Dilma Rousseff. Until recently, Temer was viewed as the likely successor to Rousseff, and he has met with a number of political officials in recent months to discuss the structure of a new government. The impeachment proceedings against Temer accuse him of the same charges levied against Rousseff, including the manipulation of national budget figures. The decision on Rousseff's impeachment is expected mid-month. The ruling to initiate impeachment proceedings against Temer can be appealed against and overruled by a majority vote by the full Supreme Court.

Federal appeals court allows Uber to appeal approval of class action

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Tuesday agreed to hear an appeal by Uber of a federal district court order that certified a class of nearly 160,000 drivers in California who challenge their status as independent contractors. Uber's attorneys argue that the drivers signed away their right to participate in class-action lawsuits due to a binding arbitration clause in their agreement with Uber. However, District Judge Edward Chen certified the class action last September finding that the arbitration agreements were unenforceable. Uber has consistently maintained that the arbitration clause in the driver contracts is the only avenue for any remedy or resolution that the drivers may seek. A jury trial was initially scheduled for June 20, but if Uber succeeds in its appeal, the entire structure of the lawsuit may change, involving far fewer plaintiffs than originally planned.

EU top court adviser: providing image hyperlink not copyright infringement

Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), Melchior Wathelet, stated on Thursday that providing a hyperlink to images without the owner's consent does not amount to copyright infringement. The case involves a website, GreenStijl, which posted hyperlinks to another website's unlawfully posted Playboy pictures. Wathelet stated that "hyperlinks which lead, even directly, to protected works do not 'make available' those works to a public where the works are already freely accessible" on other websites. More specifically, he claimed that hyperlinks do not constitute a 'communication to the public' as defined by Directive 2001/29/EC, which would make the information a copyright infringement. To interpret hyperlinks as such, Wathelet stated, would impair the "functioning of the Internet and...one of the main objectives of, namely the development of the information society in Europe." He expressed fear that ruling contrary to this interpretation would open up individuals to copyright proceedings and would thus be severely detrimental to the continuing proliferation and exchange of information on the internet.


1 - Michigan governor faces racketeering lawsuit over Flint water crisis - click here.


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  • MiMIC Journal

China stanches flow of money out of the country

Officials said that the country’s hoard of foreign exchange reserves, a rough proxy for money moving in and out of the nation, grew in March for the first time in five months.

  • Law Firm Marketing

How to create content when you have nothing new to say
By Tom Trush

Real quick, let's solve a problem. It sounds something like this ..

"I don't have anything new to say" or "I don't know anything that my competitors don't already know."

Too often business owners and entrepreneurs fall back on these justifications when explaining why they don't create helpful content for prospects. They believe the information they share must be an original concept.

But this is not the case.

Keep in mind, you have a distinctive style when you present material. Your unique voice resonates with certain people, while others prefer an alternative source.

In fact, even when you share identical concepts as your competitors, no two people take away the same ideas.

For instance, look at late-night television. Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel both interview celebrity friends and offer humorous takes on pop culture. Both target the 18-49 demographic and have a knack for viral videos. And both use the Internet and social media to expand their audiences.

But, if you watch late-night television, you likely have a favorite. You prefer one over the other, right?

The fact is, the more you share helpful information, the more you attract the prospects you want. Prospects seek out people they like and trust. And by helping them, you prove you care about their needs -- not just the money you hope they bring you.

Your content offers a glimpse into your personality and perspective. When prospects like what you share, they naturally crave more.

This desire especially works to your advantage when you have big-brand competitors. Thanks to legal fears, many larger companies must deliver sterile, heavily scripted marketing messages that offer little feeling.

You don't have this restriction.

What's more, with common concepts, you have the freedom to add your own experiences. Or, to really attract attention, go against familiar claims.

I used this strategy a few years ago with an article titled "Why a Website is a Worthless Investment." I received several responses from confused readers. With so many marketing experts touting the need for a website, why did I recommend something different?

You can find out here: https://www.writewaysolutions.com/blog/808/clarification-about-why-websites-are-worthless/

Tom Trush is availoable at https://www.escapetheexpected.com.


© Trey Ryder
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  • Historia Verdadera

Panama paper’s

El gobierno de Panamá decidió crear una comisión internacional de expertos juristas nacionales e extranjeros para esclarecer la filtración de más de 11,5 millones de documentos de la firma de abogados Mossack Fonsec, a través de la cual se conoció la constitución de asociaciones offshore con fines ilícitos como lavado de dinero y otros. (Presione aquí)


Itaú Unibanco, el mayor banco del sector privado de Brasil, está interesado en los activos que venderá Citigroup en Latinoamérica, Informó el vicepresidente de la entidad brasileña para la región. Ricardo Marino, vicepresidente de la entidad bancaria, dijo están a espera del inició de las negociaciones para lanzar sus ofertas.

Demanda colectiva

Minera chilena SQM presentó dos testimonios ante la Corte de Distrito Sur de Nueva York, dirigidos a bloquear el proceso colectivo iniciado por inversionistas minoritarios en Estados Unidos. (Presione aquí)

  • Brief News

Panama Papers: Argentina President Macri has 'nothing to hide'

Argentine President Mauricio Macri has pledged to assert his innocence when he appears before a federal prosecutor to explain his financial dealings. An investigation began on Thursday after it transpired Mr Macri was mentioned in the Panama Papers, leaked files of law firm Mossack Fonseca. Allegedly, Macri was listed as director of an offshore company in the Bahamas. In a TV address, he vowed to prove he had done nothing wrong. He said that he had made clear in his initial declaration that he did not have any shares and did not receive any payment for acting as a director of offshore companies.

Panama Papers: Putin rejects corruption allegations

Putin has denied "any element of corruption" over the Panama Papers leaks, saying his opponents are trying to destabilize Russia. He was speaking for the first time since the leak of millions of confidential documents from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca. The papers revealed a number of offshore companies owned by close associates of his. They suggest the companies may have been used for money laundering. Speaking live on TV, he said Russia's Western opponents "are worried by the unity and solidarity of the Russian nation... and that is why they are attempting to rock us from within, to make us more obedient".

Panama Papers: How has the Papers affair affected Panama?

Although a very small country, Panama is used to getting attention, for reasons good and bad. This Central American nation has often been in the middle of events with an impact far beyond its borders, from the engineering marvel that is the Panama Canal to the country's many political storms. Even so, people here have reacted with surprise - and indignation - after seeing their country's name linked to a hashtag that is shaking the world. For many locals, to talk about #PanamaPapers is in itself an injustice, as the name tarnishes the whole country with an alleged complicity in international tax evasion. They claim the accusations should instead be directed at a minuscule segment of their society. Panama is indeed a large and sophisticated offshore financial center, whose companies help manage, in one way or another, large fortunes from all corners of the planet. Panama City has done a good job in attracting cash to the country, home to just four million people and with relatively few natural resources other than its geographic location. The financial sector is key to the country's wealth, representing around 7% of GDP. And in a business where reputation is everything, many fear the effect the scandal could have on the industry's future growth. Panameans views it as a quarrel among elites. "It is a white people's dance," they say disdainfully.

Panama Papers: David Cameron had stake in father's offshore trust

David Cameron has said he and his wife Samantha owned shares in an offshore trust set up by his late father, before selling them for £30,000 in 2010. The PM has faced questions over Blairmore Holdings, an offshore company set up by his late father, Ian. He said he had paid all UK taxes due on the profits he made from the sale of the shares and said the firm had not been set up to avoid tax. Labour said the PM had been forced into the "extraordinary admission". Cameron will publish his tax returns, possibly next week.

Panama Papers: How China's wealth is sneaked abroad

In the shadow of Hong Kong's big banks, rows of currency exchange shops specialise in quick, anonymous transactions. But behind the scenes, much larger deals are helping to move money at an unprecedented rate. Wealth is flowing from the mainland, through currency dealers in Hong Kong and beyond. The leaked Mossack Fonseca documents have revealed how the families of China's leaders keep money offshore. And now, a full analysis of the files by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists shows that nearly one third of the firm's business came from its offices in Hong Kong and China - making China the firm's biggest market and Hong Kong the company's busiest office. Mossack Fonseca's booming China business is evidence of an even bigger trend: the reliance of China's wealthiest people on offshore investments. Around $1tn left China last year, draining the country's foreign reserves. It is a shift that could destabilize the entire Chinese economy. And the relatives of China's leaders are among those who have stashed their wealth abroad. At least seven current and former leaders were found to have links to offshore companies set up by the Panamanian law firm, including the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, and two other top leaders.

Panama Papers: Sweden consider tougher laws

The government of Sweden has responded to a series of leaks after Scandinavia’s biggest bank was listed as allegedly having helped clients hide their wealth in offshore accounts with a view to evading taxes. Per Bolund, Sweden’s minister for financial markets, says he is “upset” by the revelations, which have now prompted the ruling administration to consider tightening its laws to prevent such practices. The government needs to consider “whether the laws we have are sufficient or whether legal changes are needed,” he said. “That means that we can go ahead and investigate whether there have been cases where the law hasn’t been followed,” Bolund said. Nordea Bank AB was implicated in numerous alleged transgressions. The bank has since severed all ties with Mossack Fonseca and pledged to avoid “gray zones” in the kind of offshore accounting associated with tax evasion.

Panama Papers: European bankers step down

European regulators pressed the region’s banks for details of their offshore business dealings, as two senior bankers resigned over allegations arising from the Panama document leak. Britain’s financial watchdog sent out letters asking banks and other financial companies to disclose any ties to Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, said a person with knowledge of the situation. Swiss regulator Finma said it would also investigate “suspicious” connections unearthed by the Panama Papers. Media reports this week based on millions of documents leaked from Mossack Fonseca revealed how its lawyers, including a Geneva team, worked with Credit Suisse Group AG, UBS Group AG and other banks to create offshore shell companies for world leaders, athletes and other rich clients. On Thursday, ABN Amro Group NV announced the resignation of supervisory board member Bert Meerstadt after his name appeared in the leaked records. In Austria, the chief executive officer of Vorarlberger Landes- und Hypothekenbank AG, resigned after the province-owned bank was mentioned in reports about offshore companies. Michael Grahammer cited “biased” local media reports.

Lessons in a busy week of deal busting

Corporate America fought the law and the law won. This is the clear conclusion looking at this week’s deal-killing actions. So far, the government has destroyed the $152 billion deal between Allergan and Pfizer by instituting stricter tax rules, sued to block the $35 billion Halliburton-Baker Hughes merger on antitrust grounds, and sued the $16 billion activist fund ValueAct Capital for failing to file an antitrust notification regarding its investments in Baker Hughes and Halliburton. The press described the ValueAct lawsuit in apocalyptic terms as a “lawsuit to define activism.” And it’s only Thursday.

Officials scrutinized over classified information, but rarely found criminal

There's a long history of government officials getting FBI scrutiny for mishandling classified information. But prosecutors usually require bad intent or ulterior motives to bring a criminal case.

Uber pays $10m in driver vetting row

Ride-sharing company Uber has agreed to pay $10m to settle a dispute over its background checks for drivers. Uber was sued in 2014 after it claimed its vetting process was better than systems traditional minicab firms used. But district attorneys in San Francisco and Los Angeles said Uber's very public statement it was "the gold standard" for safety was misleading. Uber said it had dealt with many of the concerns in the case, and said settling was not an admission of any wrongdoing. Unlike traditional cab companies, Uber does not require a fingerprint check that could uncover prior convictions. Instead, Uber uses different criminal databases to vet its drivers, with data going back seven years.

Atheist law student hacked to death in Bangladesh

Last year, a string of attacks killed secular bloggers in Bangladesh. Now 28-year-old Nazimuddin Samad, an outspoken atheist, has been killed, reportedly by several unidentified assailants.

Mafia boss's son's interview sparks fury in Italy

There has been outrage after Italian state television aired an interview with the son of one of the country's most infamous Mafia bosses. Giuseppe Salvatore Riina appeared on RAI to promote a book dedicated to his father, Toto Riina. He did not condemn his father, thought to have ordered more than 150 murders while boss of Sicily's Cosa Nostra. During the interview the younger Riina, himself a convicted mobster, said he had a happy childhood, calling his father "an upstanding man who respects family and traditional values". Executives at RAI have been summoned to Italy's anti-Mafia parliamentary committee.

French MPs outlaw paying for sex

French MPs have passed a law that makes it illegal to pay for sex and imposes fines of up to €3,750 ($4,274) for those buying sexual acts. Those convicted would also have to attend classes to learn about the conditions faced by prostitutes. It has taken more than two years to pass the controversial legislation because of differences between the two houses of parliament over the issue. Members of the Strass sex workers' union say the law will affect the livelihoods of France's sex workers, estimated to number between 30,000 and 40,000. Sweden was the first country to criminalize those who pay for sex rather than the prostitutes, introducing the law in 1999. Other countries have since adopted the so-called "Nordic model": Norway in 2008, Iceland in 2009, and Northern Ireland in 2014. Earlier this year, the European parliament approved a resolution calling for the law to be adopted throughout the continent. But many advocacy groups warn the model makes sex work more dangerous, as criminalization makes those in the industry "much more likely to have to accept clients who are obscuring their identity, which benefits people who want to perpetrate violence".

US Senate effort to rein in cramped aeroplane seats fails

Legislation that would have set minimum standards for passenger space aboard commercial aeroplanes has failed to pass in the US Senate. In recent years, airlines looking for cost savings have reduced the sizes of seats and cut the amount of passenger legroom, among other changes. Passengers have often complained about the increasingly cramped quarters. Many airlines now charge passengers if they want more legroom. Under the legislation, airlines would have been barred from further reducing the "size, width, padding and pitch" of seats. It also addressed legroom and the width of the aisles. Airline companies opposed the bill saying the measure was attempting to "re-regulate" the industry. The amendment failed 42-54 with all but one Republican voting against the legislation.

Pakistan militant group establishes new Islamic court

Pakistani authorities opened a probe on Thursday into reports that a charity run by a militant group has established an Islamic court. The group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) has reportedly established a court separate from the judiciary in Lahore. Legal experts in the area claim that such a system is illegal and unconstitutional. This type of Tabilban style court is rare in Pakistan's heartland, but has become common in northwestern tribal regions. A spokesperson for Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the charity in question, stated that the court is not a parallel judicial system, but rather an arbitration service. LeT is suspected of carrying out the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

Unwed couples in Florida can now legally live together

The US state of Florida has repealed a law that barred unmarried couples from living together. Governor Rick Scott signed a bill on Wednesday that overturned the law, which dates back to 1868. If prosecuted, offenders faced 60 days in jail and a $500 fine, but the law was rarely enforced in modern times. Co-habitation laws were common in the US until the mid-20th Century. Two states - Michigan and Mississippi - still have them on the books. Florida lawmakers pushed for the repeal because living arrangements have changed over the years, particularly among older people.

White House to financial advisers: put savers' interests first

The White House on Wednesday rolled out rules to force financial advisers to take on fiduciary duties. That means they must put savers' interests ahead of fees. Critics say the rules are too complex.

Puerto Rico passes law that freezes the island's debt payments

The measure delays payments on Puerto Rico's debt load, which is now more than $70 billion, until January 2017. Creditors say the measure violates prior agreements and the island's constitution.


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