August 17, 2016 nº 1,779 - Vol. 13

"Too much of a good thing can be wonderful."

Mae West

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  • Top News

Bankruptcy for banks: a sound concept that needs fine-tuning

The US House of Representatives is pushing to enact a bankruptcy act for banks.
It has passed a bankruptcy-for-banks bill, sent it to the Senate, and now embedded it in its appropriations bill, meaning that if Congress is to pass an appropriations bill this year, it may also have to enact the bankruptcy-for-banks bill. Is that a good idea? In concept, bankruptcy for banks makes sense: Why should they get the benefits of government bailouts that industrial companies rarely receive? The answer usually is that a bank failure can bring down the economy, while an industrial failure cannot. But if banks can be reorganized in bankruptcy, the possibility of a win-win result is in the cards. We could restructure a big bank to stop it from damaging the economy, but without having to bail it out.

US transfers 15 Guantanamo detainees to UAE

The US Department of Defense (DOD) on Monday announced the transfer of 15 Guantanamo detainees to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Twelve of the detainees were from Yemen, and the other three were from Afghanistan. Six of the detainees had been approved for release since 2009, and the others were cleared for release more recently. Thirteen of the detainees had never faced any charges, and two of the Afghan detainees had their military commission charges drops. This marks the largest single detainee transfer so far, as the Obama administration works toward its goal of shuttering the detention center. After these transfers, there are 61 detainees remaining at Guantanamo.

Domain name

According to Aécio Filipe Coelho Fraga de Oliveira, GVM - Guimarães & Vieira de Mello Advogados member, "when a domain name is confusingly similar to a pre-existing brand (mark), this can create potential disputes. The same occurs when a third party uses a domain name in bad faith, seeking, for example, to prevent someone to use it as a corresponding domain name to its brand (mark)". (Click here)


1- Turkish court orders closure of pro-Kurdish newspaper Ozgur Gundem - click here.

2 - U.S. Said to Uncover Evidence of Criminal Acts in VW Probe - click here.

3 - New stun gun law in Georgia electrifies concealed-carry debate - click here.

4 - Apple to increase investment in increasingly tough China - click here.

5 - Human rights lawyer's home ransacked in Guatemala in latest string of attacks - click here.


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  • MiMIC Journal

Shenzhen-Hong Kong stock tie up approved by government

China has approved a long-anticipated trading link between Hong Kong and Shenzhen's stock markets and abolished an overall quota limit that investors considered restrictive. The Shenzhen Connect was supposed to be launched more than a year ago but was postponed due to market volatility. It is now expected to go live by the end of the year. The move comes as China looks to open up its $6.5 trillion equity markets to foreign investors.

China launches quantum-enabled satellite Micius

China has successfully launched the world's first quantum-enabled satellite. It was carried on a rocket which blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in China's north west early on Tuesday. The project tests a technology that could one day offer digital communication that is "hack-proof". But even if it succeeds, it is a long way off that goal, and there is some mind-bending physics to get past first.


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  • Historia Verdadera

Faltas electorales

La Corte Suprema de Justicia de Panamá archivó el expediente seguido al diputado Carlos Afú remitido por el TE tras faltas electorales en la campaña política de 2014. Al ser consultado sobre la decisión de la CSJ, el magistrado del TE, Eduardo Valdés Escoffery, dijo conocer del fallo y señaló que en su momento el pleno del TE hará una revisión exhaustiva del mismo. Sostuvo que el fallo lo que sí deja claro es que la Corte es la entidad competente para juzgar a los diputados, contrario a la postura inicial de que le correspondía al TE.

Inseguro social

En Guatemala la directiva del IGSS suspendió una licitación de medicamentos porque descubrió que los accionistas de las dos empresas participantes podrían tener parentesco, lo cual promovería una competencia desleal, que es tipificado como delito de pacto colusorio. (Presione aquí)


Mexico publicó en el Diario Oficial el decreto que reforma el artículo 11 de la Constitución en materia de asilo y refugiado en el país, que establece que toda persona tiene derecho a buscar y recibir asilo.

  • Brief News

State Supreme Court strikes down Delaware's death penalty law

By a 3-2 margin, the Delaware Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional the state's death penalty law, because it allows a presiding judge to disregard a jury's recommendation on whether the death penalty should be imposed. The state's high court held that violates the Sixth Amendment's right to a jury trial. The Delaware ruling follows the US Supreme Court's most recent ruling on capital punishment, Hurst v. Florida, which in January held, by an 8-1 margin, that a similar Florida law was unconstitutional, since the Sixth Amendment requires juries, not judges, be the ultimate decision makers on a criminal defendant's guilt and punishment. (Click here)

Polish jail terms for Nazi camp slurs

Poland's conservative government says anyone who uses language that implies Polish responsibility for Nazi German atrocities will face jail or a fine. The government has agreed on a new law to criminalize "insulting and slandering the good name of Poland". The ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) has a clear majority in parliament. Phrases like "Polish concentration camps" will be punishable by up to three years in jail. Millions died in Nazi German camps on Polish soil. Under the new law it will be illegal to suggest "publicly and contrary to the facts" that Poles participated in, or bore any responsibility for, the crimes of the Third Reich, the Polish Justice Ministry said.

Trump defends Milwaukee police shooting

Trump has said initial evidence suggests the shooting of a black man by police in Milwaukee was justified, after the killing of Sylville Smith in a predominantly African-American part of the city on Saturday led to protests. "We have to obey the laws or we don't have a country," Trump said. He later addressed a rally there. "Who can have a problem with that? That's what the narrative is. Maybe it's not true. If it is true, people shouldn't be rioting." Protesters say the police are too ready to use lethal force against African-Americans. A string of fatal police shootings have sparked demonstrations across the US.

Ex-Goldman Sachs trader barred from industry

A former head of Goldman Sach's mortgage trading unit has been barred from the industry by US regulators. Edward Chin, former head of residential mortgage-backed securities, was accused by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of misleading customers, causing them to pay more. In addition to the ban, he has agreed to pay $400,000. His conduct began in 2010 and continued until he left Goldman in 2012, the SEC said. According to the SEC, between 2010 and 2012 Chin generated extra revenue for the bank by concealing the prices at which it had bought such mortgages and then selling them to Goldman customers at higher prices. He also allegedly misled customers about who they were buying the securities from. He allowed them to believe he was brokering a deal between two clients when he was actually selling them products from Goldman's own inventory. "Chin repeatedly abused his fundamental duty to serve as an honest transmitter of market information so he could increase Goldman's trading profits and, indirectly, his own compensation," said Michael Osnato, chief of the SEC Enforcement Division's Complex Financial Instruments Unit.

Victims of Philippines dictator ask court to block 'hero' burial

Human rights victims of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos' regime petitioned the Philippine Supreme Court on Monday to permanently block the government's plan to bury him in the "Heroes Cemetery." The petitioners assert that the burial for the tyrant would be illegal, flout the constitution, violate regulations concerning the military-run cemetery and would violate a 1993 agreement to bury the dictator in his hometown in northern Ilocos Norte province. President Rodrigo Duterte maintains that the late dictator qualifies for burial in the cemetery as a former soldier and president.

India amused by '14-second staring' rule

Social media users have reacted with amused bewilderment after an official said it was illegal for a man to stare at a woman for more than 14 seconds. No such law exists, but Rishiraj Singh, the excise commissioner in the southern Indian state of Kerala, said such a stare could get a man jailed. People online asked what might happen if a man blinked, and some quipped that sales of sunglasses would go up. But some users said Singh had raised a valid point about women's safety.

Hong Kong ladies' night app defies legal ruling

Hong Kong's bar and club industry has launched a new app to help revelers find nearby ladies' nights, despite a court ruling against the gender-based promotions. In April, the District Court ruled that charging women less than men to get into a bar or club amounted to gender discrimination, prompting many bars to suspend the practice over concerns they could be sued. But some venues retained their ladies' nights, and they are now being promoted on the Hong Kong Bar and Club Association's new app, called Barmap.

Turkey coup inquiry: Police raid companies and target CEOs

Turkish police have raided 44 companies and are seeking the arrest of 120 company executives, as part of the investigation into last month's failed coup. The companies in Istanbul targeted by prosecutors are suspected of channeling funds to the movement of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. The cleric is accused of organizing the botched coup. His followers are alleged to have set up a parallel state.

Tech giants gobble start-ups in an antitrust blind spot

Walmart's $3.3 billion acquisition of can be expected to sail through antitrust review, eliciting barely a peep of objection from the federal government. Like Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp, the Walmart deal will probably end up being another example of an upstart internet company being swallowed up to preserve the stranglehold of a giant. This happens because antitrust regulators are stuck in an outdated view of the world, while the internet giants are more attuned to their nascent competitive threats. The deal for is just the latest defensive internet acquisition of an emerging start-up that will preserve the hegemony of a select few.

Higher fees increase law firm revenue by 4.1 percent

Average revenue rose 4.1 percent in the first half of the year, according to Citi Private Bank’s quarterly report on the legal industry.

Singapore passes contempt of court law amid much controvers

The Singapore government has gone ahead to pass a bill that details what constitutes contempt of court, despite strong criticism that the law serves as a way to "muzzle" public discussion and stifle freedom of expression. The Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill was passed in parliament Monday after a seven-hour debate that saw members of opposition party, The Workers' Party, arguing against the need for such laws. The bill pushed key elements of the law of contempt into statute, mainly, around prejudicing court matters, disobeying court orders, as well as scandalizing the courts. Contempt previously was determined by case law and not deemed a criminal offence. With the new bill formalized, publishing material deemed to interfere with ongoing court proceedings could be considered contempt. This could include posting comments publicly on social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter.

Cambridge says the new Mass. Uber law should end cabbies' complaints

When Massachusetts lawmakers late last month passed new rules for Uber and Lyft, they specifically included language making it impossible for cities and towns to set their own regulations on the ride-hailing services. So in a Tuesday legal filing, the city of Cambridge used that provision as a shield in a federal lawsuit. A city attorney pointed to the measure and argued that the judge should dismiss the cab industry’s demand that Cambridge hold Uber and Lyft drivers to its taxi regulations. The move could set the stage for cab companies to sue the state to challenge the new law, which was one of the most contentious issues to be taken up by legislators in 2016.

Hackers auction files 'stolen from NSA'

A group of hackers calling itself Shadow Brokers claims to have stolen a collection of malware files from a group linked to the US National Security Agency (NSA). The hackers are holding a bitcoin auction and say they will give the code to the highest bidder. Experts said that a sample they have released for verification could be genuine. Whistle-blowing website Wikileaks tweeted that it also had the data. In a message on file-sharing site Pastebin, Shadow Brokers describes its haul as "cyber weapons" and says it is offering programs "made by creators of Stuxnet, Duqu, Flame" - high profile forms of computer malware said to be government-sponsored. The department Shadow Brokers claims to have stolen it from is named by security company Kaspersky as the Equation Group, which is believed to be linked to the US security services. There is no end date for the auction, but the group says that it will send decryption instructions to the winner "when we feel it is time to end".

UN rights expert concerned over Singapore trial of teen blogger

UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, warned on Monday that the upcoming trial in Singapore of a teenage blogger is a sign of increased criminalization of expression. The trial is scheduled this week for a 17 year-old blogger who posted to Facebook content that allegedly "wounded the religious feelings of Muslims and Christians." If convicted at the trial in which he will defend himself, the teenager will face up to three years in jail. The UN Special Rapporteur asserted that the trial is contrary to international human rights law because (1) the trial concerns a lawful expression and (2) the teenager is considered a child under international human rights law. (Click here)

US companies slow to adopt European Data Transfer Agreement

US companies have been slow to sign on to a new international data-transfer agreement with the European Union.


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