August 1, 2016 nº 1,772 - Vol. 13
 

"We must never confuse elegance with snobbery."

 Yves Saint Laurent

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

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  • Top News

Obama signs bill requiring labeling of GMO foods

Obama signed Senate Bill No. 764 into law on Friday, which requires labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food products under a single national standard. The law requires the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to write the rules for a "national mandatory bioengineered food disclosure standard" no later than two years after the signing of this bill into law. According to the bill, the disclosure may be in the form of a text, symbol, or electronic or digital ink. The USDA has also been directed to conduct a study to "identify potential technological challenges that may impact whether consumers would have access to the bio-engineering disclosure through electronic or digital disclosure methods," no later than one year after the enactment of this bill. The most important provision in this bill is perhaps contained in Section 293 (e) which states that: “Notwithstanding section 295, no State or political subdivision of a State may directly or indirectly establish under any authority or continue in effect as to any food in interstate commerce any requirement relating to the labeling or disclosure of whether a food is bioengineered or was developed or produced using bioengineering for a food that is the subject of the national bioengineered food disclosure standard under this section that is not identical to the mandatory disclosure requirement under that standard.” This essentially means that any state which has enacted GMO labeling laws that are not identical to the federal standard will now be overridden.

Stiglitz calls Apple’s profit reporting in Ireland ‘a fraud’

Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz said US tax law that allows Apple Inc. to hold a large amount of cash abroad is “obviously deficient” and called the company’s attribution of significant earnings to a comparatively small overseas unit a “fraud.” “Our current tax system encourages companies to keep their money abroad, opens up a vast loophole through what is called the transfer-pricing system that allows them not only to keep their money abroad but, effectively, to escape taxation,” Stiglitz, who advises Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, said. He was speaking in response to a question about whether policy makers like Clinton and Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, could develop a plan to encourage companies like Apple to bring their accumulated foreign earnings back to the US Under current law, companies can defer US income tax on their foreign earnings until they repatriate them, or return them to the US About $215 billion of Apple’s total $232 billion in cash is held outside of the country, third-quarter earnings results showed this week. Apple is making use of existing gaps in the US tax system to shift its US taxable earnings overseas to low-tax Ireland. Proposed US Treasury regulations are aimed at curbing so-called earnings stripping, and European tax regulators are examining the company’s tax practices.

Poll: Californians support new law to battle climate change

As the future of California’s marquee climate-change law remains in limbo, a new poll finds a majority of residents support expanding efforts to fight greenhouse gases — as well as paying for the associated energy costs. Under Assembly Bill 32, the state is moving steadily toward limiting greenhouse-gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Gov. Jerry Brown has further called for cutting emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, but some business groups have pushed back, arguing that future reduction targets need to be codified with new legislation. Democratic lawmakers have started pursuing a measure that would cement the governor’s ramped-up goals against global warming. According to survey released this week by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), about 68 percent of adults in the state support the idea of further cutting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. At the same time, Californians have significant concerns about climate change, according to the institute’s report, which is its annual overview look at environmental issues. About 81 percent of those polled said global warming was a somewhat to very serious threat to the state’s economy and quality of life.

  • Crumbs

1 - U.S. Prosecutors Probe ‘Panama Papers’ Law Firm’s Employees - click here.

2 - Judge Dismisses $24 Billion Lawsuit Against Credit Suisse - click here.

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  • MiMIC Journal

Uber to merge China business with rival Didi Chuxing

Ride-hailing firm Uber has reportedly agreed to merge its business in China with much bigger rival Didi Chuxing. The $35bn deal will give Uber China, which is owned by US-based Uber, Chinese internet giant Baidu and others, a 20% stake in the company. Uber China launched in 2014 but so far has failed to make any profit. The two have been fierce competitors for years but Didi Chuxing has remained the dominant market leader. As of May, Didi Chuxing said it provided more than 11 million rides a day and claims to have 87% of the market share in China.

Petition demands apology for Chinese lesbian student denied diploma

More than 75,000 people have signed a petition by an international LGBT group calling on a Chinese university to apologize to two lesbian students. Xiaoyu Wang, whose girlfriend publicly proposed to her at their graduation ceremony, was refused her diploma. The Guangdong University of Foreign Studies reportedly told the couple their act had "violated regulations". Wang has since received her diploma, but said the couple were told to "keep our homosexuality to ourselves". Jean Ouyang, who proposed to Wang, told Chinese media the "mental and emotional harm" caused by the actions could not be erased.

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  • Brief News

Which side of the law is Trump on?

Trump’s law and order also carries a not-at-all-veiled racial subtext. He will use the law to impose order on “them” (undocumented immigrants, African-Americans protesting racially biased policing, Muslims) in order to protect “us” (white Americans). Trump’s law-and-order message does not just carry racist overtones. It also rests on falsehoods. Despite some local fluctuations, the violent crime rate in America remains substantially lower than it has been in decades. Meanwhile, undocumented immigrants account for a tiny fraction of the violent crime that does occur. And Trump’s vilification of all Muslims because of the terrorist acts of a tiny minority is both profoundly un-American and counter-productive. Fact-checking Donald Trump is both child’s play and beside the point. His strong-man campaign rests not on facts or sober policy analysis, but on scaring people into trusting him to take tough—albeit mostly unspecified—action.

Lula faces trial for obstruction

Lula is to go on trial for obstruction of justice in a case related to the scandal at state oil firm Petrobras, court documents show. The multi-billion-dollar affair has already seen dozens of politicians and officials arrested. Lula, with six others, is accused of hampering Operation Car Wash, the investigation into the scandal. He has denied any wrongdoing. The date for the trial has not yet been set.

Malaysia's new security law raises rights concerns

A new security law giving Malaysia's prime minister sweeping new powers has prompted concern it could restrict rights and stifle democracy. It allows a security council led by Najib Razak to declare a state of emergency anywhere deemed to be at risk, giving police wide powers. Najib has said the law is necessary as Malaysia is facing a growing threat from Islamist terror networks. But the UN has said it could encourage human rights violations.

UBS rogue trader: 'It could happen again'

The London trader who lost the Swiss bank UBS £1.4bn ($1.9bn) has apologized and said that banking has not done enough to regain the public's trust. Kweku Adoboli said that banking was still riven by conflicts of interest. He added that traders were pushed to make profits "no matter what". Asked if the crimes he committed - booking fictitious trades to cover up gambles in the hunt for profits - could happen again, he said: "Absolutely". Adoboli - the biggest rogue trader in British history and described by the prosecution at his trial as a "master fraudster" and "sophisticated liar" - now faces deportation to Ghana, where he was born. He said he is fighting the order as he is as "British in culture" as anyone living in the UK and could help the finance sector to reform by sharing his experiences.

Chelsea Manning facing new charges after suicide attempt

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said Thursday that Chelsea Manning is being investigated for charges in relation to her recent attempt at suicide. Manning, the Army solider convicted of releasing classified and sensitive military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, is currently facing a 35-year sentence and, if convicted of the "administrative offenses," could face the rest of those 35 years in solitary confinement. These "administrative offenses" consist of "resisting the force cell move team," "prohibited property," and "conduct which threatens." ACLU Staff Attorney Chase Strangio issued a statement in which he was deeply critical of the Army's handling of Manning, in particular the "denial of medical care related to her gender transition" despite "the treatment recognized as necessary." Strangio went on to say that "while Chelsea is suffering the darkest depression she has experienced since her arrest, the government is taking actions to punish her for that pain." The report goes on to say that the Army continues to deny necessary medical care to Chelsea, including medical treatment following her suicide attempt.

European Commission: rule of law in Poland under 'systematic threat'

The European Commission (EC) called upon Poland Wednesday to guarantee political freedom to its top court, saying the rule of law in the country is under "systematic threat." Poland's highest court, the Constitutional Tribunal, has faced rapid changes and international criticism over the past year as the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) has come into power and fired judges and suppressed judgments. PiS is a conservative party, and EU officials have issued warnings concerning their handling of the Constitutional Tribunal. Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission, stated that "the Commission considers the main issues which threaten the rule of law in Poland that have not been resolved." He went on to explain that though Poland passed legislation unblocking the court, such measures are not sufficient, and EC has made concrete recommendations to Poland on how to address and rectify the issues with the Constitutional Court so that the body may resume its proper judicial functions.

The new Texas campus carry law takes effect on a profoundly somber day

On Monday, a new Texas campus carry law will go into effect, making the Lone Star State one of just a handful of states to allow the concealed carry of firearms on public college campuses. The law passed through the state legislature back in 2015, but it will take effect on a particularly significant day. Monday also marks the 50th anniversary of the 1966 mass shooting at the University of Texas at Austin. On August 1, 1966, a lone gunman ascended to the top of UT Austin's iconic clock tower and opened fire on the people below. The attack killed 16 people and injured 30 others before Austin police officers were able to stop the shooter. It was one of the earliest mass shootings on a college campus in the US, and reportedly, the first mass shooting during the era of live, national TV news.

Thousands march in Germany in support of Turkey's President Erdogan

Tens of thousands of people in Germany have turned out in support of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a rally that raised diplomatic tensions. Erdogan had planned to address the rally in the city of Cologne, held to denounce an attempted coup two weeks ago, by video link. But on Saturday, Germany's Constitutional Court banned the speech from being broadcast. German media said at least 35,000 people turned out. An estimated three million people of Turkish origin live in Germany, the majority of whom voted for Erdogan's AKP party in the last Turkish election, according to the Turkish Communities in Germany organization.

Luxury en-suite cell found in Paraguay prison

Police in Paraguay raided a drug lord's prison cell, only to find he was living a life of luxury. In the three-room cell, they found a conference room, plasma screen television, library and kitchen. The interior of the cell, which was occupied by Brazilian drug lord Jarvis Chimenes Pavao, has now been destroyed. Police had learned Pavao was planning to escape by using explosives to blow a hole in the wall of the prison.

KPMG changes graduate interviews to suit millennials

Accountancy firm KPMG has changed its graduate recruitment process to suit people born between 1980 and 2000 - the so-called millennial generation. Instead of conducting three separate assessments over several weeks, it will now combine the process into one day. The firm says the change will mean applicants will find out if they have got a job within two working days. It made the change following research suggesting millennials were frustrated by lengthy recruitment processes.

US GDP growth misses forecasts despite spending surge

The US economy grew at a much slower pace than expected in the second quarter and GDP was revised down in the first three months of the year. The world's largest economy grew at an annual rate of 1.2% in the three months to June, far below forecasts of 2.6%. Growth for the first quarter was revised down from 1.1% to 0.8%. Conversely, consumer spending surged in the three months to June by an annual pace of 4.2% - the fastest pace since the fourth quarter of 2014. The Federal Reserve indicated on Wednesday it was still on course to raise interest rates this year after "near-term risks", such as slowing employment, diminished.

Brazil authorities arrest man for war crimes in former Yugoslavia

Brazilian authorities on Saturday arrested a man charged with committing war crimes in 1992 against the civilian population of former Yugoslavia. The search for wanted criminal Nikola Ceranic began in late June after Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) authorities forwarded an extradition request to the Brazilian Justice Ministry and Supreme Court. Brazilian prosecutors and police cooperated with Bosnia to locate Ceranic near Sao Paulo. The authorities have yet to specify the details of Ceranic's crimes or how long he resided in Brazil. The Supreme Court must now decide on BiH's extradition request as required by Brazilian law.

Crisis-era lawsuits winding down? Not for PricewaterhouseCoopers

Banks, housing agencies, bond raters and many others have faced legal action over the 2008 financial crisis. Now, an accounting giant is taking its turn.

Hospital chain’s CEO faces lawsuit over business practices

Prem Reddy has built Prime Healthcare Service into one of the largest for-profit hospital chains in the US But he has also attracted criticism, and now he is the central figure in a lawsuit.

Federal judge rules Wisconsin election laws largely unconstitutional

A judge for the US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin on Friday struck down several Wisconsin election laws, passed in recent years, stating that "parts of Wisconsin's election regime fail to comply with the constitutional requirement that its elections remain fair and equally open to all qualified electors."

Morocco: new law advances domestic workers’ rights

Morocco’s new law regulating work for domestic workers could help protect thousands of women and girls from exploitation and abuse, Human Rights Watch said today. The new law was adopted by the House of Representatives on July 26, 2016, and will go into effect one year after publication in the official gazette.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Time
The games changer: Simone Biles Is Taking Her Sport to New Heights

Newsweek
Pope: It’s Not Right to Equate Islam With Violence

Business Week
Welcome to Zuckerworld

The Economist
Globalisation and politics:The new political divide

Der Spiegel
Sind wir staerker? (Terror)

L'Espresso
Mega tangenti Eni. Eccomi documenti

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