May 30, 2016 nº 1,748 - Vol. 13

"Freedom, morality, and the human dignity of the individual consists precisely in this; that he does good not because he is forced to do so, but because he freely conceives it, wants it, and loves it."

Mikhail Bakunin

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  • Top News

US appeals court denies 'right to deletion' of digital evidence

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Friday concluded that enforcement officials acted in good faith when they retained and searched copies of electronic files seized during a separate investigation that took place years before. In US v. Ganias, Stavros Ganias argued against his 2011 tax-evasion conviction asserting that the Fourth Amendment's guarantee against unreasonable search and seizures prohibits the government from retaining and searching evidence "not covered by the original warrant." The Second Circuit had initially ruled in Ganias' favor, then granted this en banc appeal. The court decided that investigators acted in good faith when they searched Ganias' hard drives, which were seized pursuant to a 2006 warrant, because there was an absence of court rulings or law regarding the issue at the time. Although, the court did not reach the Fourth Amendment issue, it suggested that they still would have rejected Ganias's 'right to deletion' argument. Justice Chin, argued that the "protections of the Fourth Amendment are even more important in the context of modern technology the government has a far greater ability to intrude into a person's private affairs". Justice Chin maintained that the investigators' actions were not excused by the good faith exception even if investigators did not violate Ganias's Fourth Amendment rights when it retained and reexamined his files for evidence of additional crimes.

Connecticut Supreme Court upholds ruling abolishing death penalty

The Connecticut Supreme Court on Thursday ruled 5-2 to uphold the state's ban on capital punishment. The decision, which rested upon the court's previous decision against capital punishment, stated once again that allowing the death penalty would be against the state's constitution and prior state legislation. In reversing the two death sentences imposed upon Russel Peeler, the court remanded the case and instructed the lower court to impose a sentence of life in prison without possibility of release.

Hostile takeovers abound, but success is no guarantee

A look at the most significant deals provides a lesson in how hostile takeovers work and how would-be acquirers often make common mistakes. The chief hurdle to take into account when planning a hostile takeover is the shareholder rights plan, more commonly known as the poison pill. Invented in the 1980s by the lawyer Marty Lipton, the poison pill changed takeover strategy. Before the poison pill, target companies were often on the back foot, lacking a defense against a barbarian at the gate. The poison pill effectively allowed a board to cap the number of shares a hostile bidder could acquire at a certain threshold. These days, that threshold is typically 10 to 15 percent of the outstanding shares. To avoid setting off the poison pill, a hostile bidder had to replace a majority of the target’s board. The new board would then eliminate the poison pill, allowing the hostile bidder to acquire the target. As a result, any hostile bid must be paired with a bid to replace the target board. As the many hostile takeover deals out there show, though, sometimes this is not that easy.

Thiel’s funding of lawsuit vs. Gawker divides Silicon Valley

Billionaire investor Peter Thiel has been a prominent backer of everything from Facebook Inc. to floating cities to life-extension technology. But his newly disclosed funding of a secret legal campaign against Gawker Media takes the entrepreneur’s zeal for shaking things up in a new and controversial direction. Thiel’s acknowledgment Wednesday that he has provided roughly $10 million to back professional wrestler Hulk Hogan’s invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against Gawker triggered a mixed reaction in media and technology circles.

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  • MiMIC Journal

Chinese city bans students from tearing up textbooks

A Chinese city has banned high school students from tearing up textbooks or yelling in hallways to relieve exam pressure. The ban, issued by the Xiamen Education Bureau, comes 10 days before the National College Entrance Examination. Almost ten million students across China sit for the notoriously difficult, two-day exam every year. High schools should instead provide psychological guidance, the China Youth Daily report said.An "unconventional measure of blowing off steam before the exam has prevailed in recent years, with students tearing their textbooks into pieces and throwing them off the school building. Some choose to yell in the school buildings to cheer themselves up as well," CCTV said.

Chinese firm apologises over race-row advert

A Chinese firm has apologised over an advert for detergent which has provoked a storm of allegations of racism. The manufacturer of Qiaobi said it strongly opposed and condemned racial discrimination, and was sorry the advert had caused controversy. In it, a black man is stuffed head-first into a washing machine before emerging as a light-skinned Asian. In its initial response several days ago, the firm had suggested that its critics overseas were too sensitive.


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  • Brief News

Syrian Chief opposition negotiator resigns

The chief negotiator of Syria's main opposition umbrella group, Mohammed Alloush, has resigned over what he called the failure of peace talks. Alloush, from the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), said the talks had not brought a political deal or eased the plight of Syrians in besieged areas. The HNC suspended its involvement in the UN-brokered "proximity" negotiations with a Syrian government delegation in Geneva in April. No date has been set for resumption. "The three rounds of talks were unsuccessful because of the stubbornness of the regime and its continued bombardments and aggressions against the Syrian people," Alloush said.

WHO seeks to allay fears over Rio Olympics

The World Health Organization (WHO) has played down concerns over the spread of the Zika virus, amid calls for the Rio Olympics in August to be postponed. Senior WHO official Bruce Aylward said that risk assessment plans were in place, and reiterated that there was no need to delay the Games. The mayor of Rio said disease-carrying mosquitoes were being eradicated. The officials were responding to an open letter by scientists saying it was "unethical" for the Games to go ahead. Cancelling or changing the location of the 2016 Olympics will not significantly alter the international spread of Zika virus," WHO says.

Strikes across France paralyze economy

A dispute over labor law changes in France has escalated to a full-fledged confrontation between the government and influential unions, sparking protests and even violence. Hollande is desperate to get down France's chronically high unemployment rate. It hovers around 10 percent. So he wants to make the labor laws more flexible. To be able to hire more easily you have to be able to fire more easily. Three major unions are on board with it. But the hard-line union, the CGT - it has communist roots - says no. So they want this law withdrawn, and they say they will not stop protesting until it is.

Iowa top court rules juveniles cannot be given life without parole

The Iowa Supreme Court on Friday ruled that juvenile convicted of first-degree murder may not be sentenced to life without parole. The court reasoned that sentencing a juvenile to life without parole was cruel and unusual punishment and emphasized that "sentencing courts should not be required to make speculative up-front decisions on juvenile offenders' prospects for rehabilitation." The court noted that it may be determined that an individual is beyond rehabilitation after time has passed, "after a record of success or failure in the rehabilitative process is available." The court also emphasized that parole was not guaranteed to juveniles, but rather only needs to be left available.

Backlog of 60,000 Cases Damps Hope for India Bankruptcy Overhaul

India has a brand new law at its disposal to help clean up $131 billion of impaired debt and avert a crisis at its banks. Implementation challenges are so daunting that the full benefits may be years away. The law passed by parliament this month calls for the creation of a Bankruptcy Board, which will regulate a new class of insolvency professionals. It also requires adjudication by two agencies: a National Company Law Tribunal, which has yet to be set up, and the Debt Recovery Tribunals, which had 62,000 cases pending as of December 2014 and a disposal rate of about 10,000 cases per year.

Federal jury rules for Google in copyright battle against Oracle

A US jury concluded that Google was not in violation of copyright laws where it used Oracle's Java programming language to develop its operating system, Android. After the case was remanded in-part by an earlier circuit court decision, the jurors were tasked with determining whether Google's use of the Java language was considered "fair-use" under copyright law. The victory for Google, which will eliminate Oracle's claim for $9 billion of Google's Android phone business, serves to encourage software companies to write "re-implementations of the systems used to pass information between widely-used software," as they will not, as of now, have to fear the legal repercussions. Despite this victory for those seeking to use re-implemented programming language, the previous decision, which had remanded the issue of fair-use in this case, may still make some take precaution. In that case, the circuit court held that Java APIs were granted copyright protection.

The jurisdictional provision of JASTA concerns rules governing foreign sovereign immunity

Less than two weeks ago, the United States Senate approved a measure to clear the way for lawsuits against foreign governments that provide tangible support to terrorist attackers who cause injury or death in the US Not a single member of the Senate objected to this legislation, known as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). While by no means limited to the 9/11 attacks, this legislation would directly bear on lawsuits brought against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by the families of the almost 3,000 innocent civilians killed in three separate locations on September 11, 2001. In fact, the provision of JASTA that would allow the 9/11 claims against Saudi Arabia to proceed doesn't create new law and apply it retroactively. It merely clarifies the circumstances under which existing law can be the basis for actions in federal court. JASTA concerns civil law, not criminal law. The jurisdictional provision of JASTA concerns rules governing foreign sovereign immunity.

Lufthansa to suspend flights to Venezuela

The company also said currency controls in Venezuela made it impossible for airlines to convert their earnings into dollars and send the money abroad. Venezuela's economy has been hit hard by a sharp drop in the price of oil - the country's main source of income. Venezuela has high inflation and severe shortages of basic goods. In a statement, Lufthansa said that it "will be forced to suspend our service between Caracas and Frankfurt as of 18 June". It noted that the demand for international flights to Venezuela had dropped in 2015 and in the first quarter of the current year.

41 secret service staffers disciplined for accessing private files on congressman

The punishment includes, in some cases, suspensions without pay for improperly reviewing records about Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz. An employee who leaked data to the press has resigned.

Amputations & stoning: Malaysia govt backs Islamic penal law

The Malaysian government has pledged its support for an Islamic penal code seeking to expand the jurisdiction of Shariah law by introducing harsh punishments like amputations and stoning, shocking its predominantly multi-ethnic society. Prime Minister Najib Razak's government unexpectedly submitted for parliamentary approval a controversial bill that had been proposed by the Islamist group Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS). The bill, also referred to as “hudud law,” seeks to amend the Malaysian constitution, thus allowing Sharia penalties in Kelantan, a predominantly Muslim northern state, where nightclubs are banned and there are separate public benches for men and women. If passed, the bill would open the possibility to other states to enact hudud laws and promote two parallel criminal justice systems with different penalties under secular and Sharia laws, Malaysian media suggested. Whereas the secular criminal code includes no corporal punishments, under Sharia laws, the courts would be empowered to order stoning or amputations. Arguments for and against the introduction of Sharia law have divided Malaysia for years. Most of the states already implement the Islamic legal system, but its reach is restricted by secular federal laws.

Judge temporarily suspends extradition of "El Chapo" to US

A Mexican judge granted a temporary suspension on the extradition of Joaquín "el Chapo" Guzmán to the US on Saturday. The decision comes after Guzmán's lawyers filed an appeal arguing that extradition to the US would be unconstitutional. The Mexican foreign ministry had approved the extradition of Guzmán so that he could be tried in US federal courts. The judge gave a "non-postponable" 48-hour window for the foreign ministry to present an argument that the extradition will comply with the extradition agreement. Furthermore, the judge provided that if the court does not receive the argument, the extradition decision will be reviewed by the justice department in June.

Former Argentina dictator, military leaders sentenced to prison for Operation Condor

Argentina’s last dictator, Reynaldo Bignone, and other former military officers were sentenced to prison on Friday for their roles in Operation Condor in the late 1990s. The criminal court in Buenos Aires, composed of judges Adrián Grünberg, Óscar Amirante, Pablo Laufer and Ricardo Ángel Basílico, handed Bignone a 20-year prison sentence on top of his previous prison sentences for crimes against humanity.

Banks set for capital reprieve as EU-SEC derivatives talks drag

Banks using some US-based clearinghouses to handle their derivatives trades are set to win a reprieve from tougher capital rules as the European Union continues talks with the Securities and Exchange Commission on regulatory equivalence. The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, plans a six-month delay in increasing capital charges on trades at clearinghouses in countries whose rules haven’t been deemed equivalent to those in the EU, a commission official said. That includes SEC-regulated clearinghouses, including ones run by the Options Clearing Corp. and the Depository Trust and Clearing Corp. Without the delay, billions of dollars in capital requirements would kick in on June 15. US regulation of clearinghouses is divided between the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which the EU recognized in March as having rules as tough as its own. While the SEC proposed in 2014 to impose stiffer standards on clearinghouses than current practice, the agency hasn’t yet completed that regulation, making it more difficult for Europe to reach the key equivalence decision.

Ukraine says Russian aggression means it can’t repay bonds

Ukraine said that a Russian campaign of aggression and economic sanctions, including the occupation of the Crimean peninsula, made it impossible to repay a $3 billion bond at the center of a London lawsuit. Ukraine was under “massive, unlawful and illegitimate economic and political pressure” to take financial support from Russia instead of signing a 2013 agreement with the European Union, Ukraine said in the London court filing Friday. The London court should dismiss the case, or delay it until Russia “complies with its obligations under public international law,” Ukraine said.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Bernie’s Evolution

The wind turbines saving the Galápagos islands

Business Week
Reince Priebus Dug the Republicans out of a Hole. Then Came Trump

The Economist
North Korea’s nuclear programme: A nuclear nightmare

Der Spiegel
Paris: die unbesiegte schoenheit

Patto avvelanato


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