September 5, 2016 nº 1,787 - Vol. 13

"You can tell real scientists from CV-builders: the real thing tell you what they are *trying* to figure out, not what they *did* in their career."

 Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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  • Top News

Why no punishment for financial executives? Fannie Mae is case study

Few executives have faced the punishment of prison and fines for misdeeds stemming from the financial crisis. The Securities and Exchange Commission’s recent decision to throw in the towel in its civil case against Daniel H. Mudd, the chief executive of Fannie Mae in the go-go years immediately preceding the crisis, helps explain why. Law enforcement officials have often protested that it is not easy to win cases against senior executives at financial firms, who are often far away from low-level wrongdoers on the organizational chart, and whose work product is usually filtered through compliance officers, risk managers and lawyers. Maybe so. The outcome of the Mudd case certainly looks like a loss. Last week, Mudd settled the case, which has been pending since 2011, for $100,000 – which Fannie Mae will pay. That is small change, given the $24 million he earned from Fannie Mae from 2006 to 2008. Five years of litigation in pursuit of $100,000 does not bespeak a particularly efficient allocation of law enforcement resources.

  • Crumbs

1- Nice burkini ban overturned following ruling by top court - click here.

2 - Australia suing Volkswagen for misleading customers - click here.

3 - U.S. affirms duties on steel from Brazil, India, Korea, Britain - click here.


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  • MiMIC Journal

Hong Kong election: Anti-China activists set to take seats

A new generation of anti-China activists have won seats on Hong Kong's Legislative Council (LegCo), preliminary results indicate. Among them is Nathan Law, one of the young leaders of the mass pro-democracy demonstrations of 2014, who is now on course to win a constituency seat. It is the first taste of real political power for the young protest leaders. But pro-Beijing politicians will retain a majority of seats, partly because of the electoral system.

US-China diplomacy: Spy agency tweet adds to protocol spat

A sarcastic tweet aimed at China and posted on the US Defense Intelligence Agency's Twitter account has fuelled a row over protocol at the G20 summit. The tweet, which was quickly deleted, read: "Classy as always China". When Obama arrived in Hangzhou there was no red carpet and he had to leave by a different plane exit. There was also a row on the tarmac when a Chinese official shouted "This is our country!" as reporters and US officials tried to bypass a cordon. Obama called on reporters "not to over-crank the significance".

Venture communism: how China is building a start-up boom

The Chinese government is lavishing benefits like free rent and cash handouts on homegrown start-ups in an effort to move beyond the factory floor.

China opens antitrust investigation into Uber's deal with Didi

The sale of the ride-hailing company's Chinese operations to a rival, Didi Chuxing, would create a company worth about $35 billion. (Click here)


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  • Brief News

Ireland to appeal EU ruling on Apple tax benefits

Ireland's cabinet on Friday agreed to join Apple in appealing the European Commission's €13 billion ruling against the tech giant. The commission's ruling, issued in late August, determined that Ireland granted Apple undue tax benefits that now must be recouped. By appealing, Ireland is refusing to accept the windfall from Apple, citing an interest in protecting a tax structure very attractive to international employers. (Click here)

Hillary Clinton email row: FBI releases inquiry files

The FBI has published documents relating to its investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of private email while serving as Secretary of State. The 58 pages of notes included the Democratic presidential nominee's interview and details about her private server at her New York residence. FBI records show Clinton used many email devices. The FBI in July ended a year-long inquiry into whether she broke the law by using a private server. FBI Director James Comey did not recommend criminal charges. Comey concluded that though Clinton and her staff had been "extremely careless" with classified information, there was no evidence that she knowingly shared sensitive material. Days after taking office in 2009, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was warned by Colin Powell, one of her predecessors, that use of an email account could make her messages official government records and subject to public release.

Philippines President declares "state of lawlessness"

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte declared the country in "a state of lawlessness" on Saturday following a suspected terrorist attack in Davao City on Friday. Duterte expressed his belief that the explosion, which killed 14 people and injured at least 71 more, was an act of terrorism and declared a "state of lawlessness," which would allow police and military personnel to frisk individuals and search cars. At this time, President Duterte had refrained from declaring martial law. Those who perpetrated the attacks have yet to be discovered, but the Philippine's National Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana said he believes the attack was carried out by Abu Sayyaf, an Islamist militant group. Duterte said the attacks "could be a reprisal" from extremists in response to Duterte's crackdown on drugs and crime.

Israel to permit visit from ICC delegation

Israel agreed to permit officials from the International Criminal Court (ICC) to visit the country and the occupied territories, according to statements made by an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman on Sunday. However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not officially agreed to the visit. Specific details, including the timing of the visit, are still under discussion with the Israeli government. The ICC requested the visit after receiving complaints of Israel's 2014 Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. Senior officials have stated the purpose of the visit will be for outreach and education, not to look into the Palestinian complaints.

EU migrant crisis: Calais protest to demand Jungle closure

Thousands of protesters in the French town of Calais are to demand the closure of the migrant camp known as the Jungle. They plan to block main roads and form a human chain on the road to the port. More than 7,000 people now live there, in squalid conditions. Many of them try to jump on lorries to reach Britain. Protesters say the camp undermines the town and causes disruption at the port.

India territory ratifies tax consitutional amendment amid protests

The Puducherry (former Pondicherry) Legislative Assembly ratified the Goods and Services Tax (GST) constitutional amendment passed by the Parliament of India earlier this month amid a walkout staged by the primary opposing party and ruling party of Tamil Nadu, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK or ADMK). All members of the All India NR Congress (AINRC) continued their own boycott against the ratification of the amendment, which is seen as the biggest tax reform in the country in decades.

U.A.E. cabinet adopts final version of Federal bankruptcy law

The United Arab Emirates' cabinet adopted a final version of the federal bankruptcy law, as the oil-rich nation tries to attract investors put off by current rules that criminalize an inability to repay debt. The law "aims to enhance foreign investment and ease the work of commercial companies," Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the U.A.E.'s prime minister and Dubai's ruler, said on Twitter on Sunday. The post included no details of the new law. The absence of a bankruptcy law was widely blamed for the thousands of Dubai residents who fled the city after losing their jobs in the 2008 financial crisis. Faced with the possibility of jail time, many said they had no choice but to leave their cars and belongings after the economic slowdown left them unable to repay debts. Post-dated checks are the most common way to pay residential rent in the U.A.E., and the method is used to secure most debts.

No guns for marijuana users

An appeals court upheld a federal ban on the sale of guns to medical marijuana card holders. The ruling by the 9th US Court of Appeals applies to the western United States, and comes as a blow to S. Rowan Wilson, a Nevada woman who tried to buy a firearm in 2011, but was turned down by the store. (Click here)

Goodbye, ivory tower. Hello, Silicon Valley candy store.

The promise of big data and big paychecks is drawing some of academia's top economists to study consumer behavior for tech companies like Airbnb, Amazon and Uber.

Microsoft's challenge to government secrecy wins dozens of supporters

Tech companies, civil liberties groups and media organizations are planning to back Microsoft's resistance to government attempts to snoop on customers. (Click here)

No, you're not in a common-law marriage after 7 years together

So you've been with your partner for a long time. It's time to start considering yourselves common-law married, a sort of "marriage-like" status that triggers when you've lived together for seven years. Right? Nope. That's all bogus. For one, common-law marriage, which traces its roots to old English law, isn't a nationwide thing. It exists in only a small number of states. Unless you live in one of those states, getting hitched will involve an official "I do" ceremony. Alabama had been one of the states that recognize common-law marriages, but it recently moved to abolish it, a trend that has been taking place nationwide for years. Also, that common-law marriage kicks in after partners live together for a certain period of time? That's a flat-out myth. "By far the most common number is seven years," says family law professor Marsha Garrison of Brooklyn Law School. "I've never figured out where that may have come from and why it's seven years." Couples may eschew a formal, licensed marriage for any number of reasons, like hesitating to make a public commitment or never getting around to making it official. That means you may be passing on the big expensive party or the dreamy walk down the aisle, but common-law marriage is as real and legal as marriage gets. It means you are eligible for all of the economic and legal goodies afforded to couples with marriage licenses — like tax breaks and inheritance rights. But if you break up, you need to get divorced. As in, a traditional divorce. There is no common-law divorce.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

The New Science of Exercise

Trump will pay a high price for his romance with Putin

Business Week
Will Amazon Kill FedEx?

The Economist
Personal transportation: Uberworld

Der Spiegel
Sie sind entlassen (Mensch gegen nMaschine)

Il riconstrutore


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