September 14, 2016 nº 1,790 - Vol. 13

"It is better to be beautiful than to be good, but it is better to be good than to be ugly."

Oscar Wilde

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  • Top News

Volkswagen engineer pleads guilty in emissions scandal

A Volkswagen (VW) engineer pleaded guilty in federal court on Friday to one count of conspiracy to defraud the US, commit wire fraud and violate the Clean Air Act by implementing software in the manufacturer's vehicles that could cheat US emissions tests. James Robert Liang was indicted in the Eastern District of Michigan in June, but the record was just unsealed Friday. The Department of Justice (DOJ) stated that Liang and other employees designed the engine in 2006 after they were unable to design an engine that met US emissions standards. According to Liang, his co-conspirators lied to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) when they were seeking certifications required to sell vehicles in the US and continued to deceive the agencies for model years 2009 through 2016. During this time, Volkswagen advertised its cars to the public as environmentally-friendly and "clean diesel." As part of the plea agreement, Liang has agreed to assist in further investigations. He faces a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment and/or three years of supervised release as well the possibility of a $250,000 fine, and restitution. (Click here)

  • Crumbs

1- JPMorgan whistleblower suit revived by U.S. appeals court - click here.

2 - London tries to save its black cabs from Uber - click here.

3 - Facebook loses legal bid to prevent girl suing over naked picture on 'shame page' - click here.

4 - Peugeot plans direct competitor to Uber - click here.

5 - HP agrees to acquire Samsung Printer business for $1.05 bn - click here.


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  • MiMIC Journal

China courts uphold presumption of innocence

The courts in China issued a statement Monday reiterating their dedication to human rights through the reformation of their criminal laws by upholding the presumption of innocence and the exclusion of illegally obtained evidence. This reformation comes as the UN has repeatedly criticized the country for the secrecy surrounding the judicial system and the manner in which prisoners are treated, especially political prisoners who may face particularly harsh prosecutions. The Chinese government has consistently rejected criticism of its human rights record.

China's PSBC launches biggest share sale of the year

Postal Savings Bank of China (PSBC) is looking to raise $8bn by listing its shares in Hong Kong, making it the world's biggest share sale this year. It is the largest stock market listing since Chinese online retailer Alibaba raised $25bn in New York in 2014. PSBC is China's fifth largest lender, but the biggest by number of branches. The majority of shares in the state-owned bank will be bought by so-called cornerstone investors, suggesting weak demand from traders. Cornerstone investors subscribe ahead of the stock market listing to buy a certain number of shares and in return agree to hold them for a minimum period of time.

Four Loko: 'Lose virginity' drink in China sparks debate

An infamous drink, known as "blackout in a can" in the US, has made its way to China. Four Loko, a fruit-flavored alcoholic beverage with at least 12% alcohol content, was a well-known party drink in the US, and was removed from stores in several states until its ingredients were adjusted. It's picked up steam in recent months in China, with people nicknaming it the "lose virginity" drink because they consider the alcohol to be dangerously strong. Several vloggers have uploaded videos of themselves drinking the 695ml cans of drink - with varying degrees of success. And the beverage made headlines recently after three women in their twenties smuggled the drink into a karaoke bar, passed out after drinking it and had their belongings stolen.


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  • Historia Verdadera


Autoridades de Brasil están preocupados por aumento de gravámenes a la importación de acero por Estados Unidos. Analiza en una nueva demanda comercial en instancias de la OMC contra el país del norte. (Presione aquí)


La canadiense Pan American Silver invertirá US$ 1,000 mlls. en el proyecto Navidad de Argentina, ubicado en la provincia patagónica de Chubut y que tiene la reserva de plata más grande del mundo. El proyecto de Pan American Silver está suspendido desde fines del 2013 por una ley provincial que prohíbe la minería a cielo abierto y el uso de cianuro para la extracción, algo que imposibilita el funcionamiento de la mina.


El gigante petrolero español Repsol y la sociedad de inversión CriteriaCaixa confirmaron la venta del 20% de las acciones de Gas Natural al fondo estadounidense GIP por US$ 4,200 mlls. Repsol informó que cederá alrededor de 100 millones de acciones, un 10% de la compañía gasística, a GIP por 1,900 mlls. de euros y que CriteriaCaixa hará lo mismo.

  • Brief News

Brazil Congress expels lawmaker who led charge to oust president

Brazil's lower house of Congress voted to expel the formerly influential congress member Eduardo Cunha on Monday. The vote was largely in favor of ousting the lawmaker for "conduct incompatible with parliamentary decorum." Cunha was charged by the Supreme Court with corruption for allegedly taking bribes from companies trying to secure oil contracts. The lower house decision banned Cunha from politics for eight years and he may be arrested now that he has lost his congressional prerogatives. Other politicians under investigation fear that Cunha could implicate others in a "tell all" plea bargain in relation to the Petrobras scandal.

US approves record $38bn Israel military aid deal

The US has agreed to supply Israel with military aid for the next 10 years in a record $38bn deal - the largest in US history. The agreement, to be signed on Wednesday, follows 10 months of talks. It was approved despite frustration within the Obama administration at Israeli settlement building. The agreement, which replaces a 10-year package set to expire in 2018, "constitutes the single largest pledge of bilateral military assistance in US history", said the state department.

Brazil launches rescue plan to fix economy

Brazil's new government has announced a privatization plan aimed at reviving the country's struggling economy. It plans to sell off four airports and two port terminals as well as offer contracts to private firms for a wide range of projects from building new roads to running mining projects. President Michel Temer said the plan would boost growth and jobs. The plans are part of the new president's "Crescer" ("Grow") initiative, which aims to increase private investment in the country, in an attempt to address its huge budget deficit amid the country's worst recession in 80 years. Brazil's economy contracted 3.8% last year, and is expected to shrink a further 4.3% this year, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Obama will veto 9/11 victims bill

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday that US President Barack Obama will veto legislation that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia. The Obama administration has maintained this stance as the legislation progressed through Congress. While legislators are expected to attempt an override, a success would be the first one during Obama's presidency. The bill has yet to be presented to Obama.

Australia agrees to national vote on same-sex marriage

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will introduce legislation to hold a national vote on same-sex marriage after the plebiscite was approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday. The national vote would gauge voters' thoughts on the issue but would not actually legalize same-sex marriage as the parliament would still have to decide the issue. Under the prime minister's proposal, voters will be asked to respond on February 11 to the question: "Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?" The move is creating opposition by same sex-marriage advocates who believe the non-binding measure is delaying the granting of rights to same-sex couples. The vote is estimated to cost at least 7.5 million dollars.

Luxembourg wants to exclude Hungary from EU

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn has called for Hungary to be suspended or even expelled from the European Union because of its "massive violation" of EU fundamental values. He cited the Budapest government's treatment of refugees, independence of the judiciary and freedom of the press. Hungary said Asselborn "could not be taken seriously".

Bayer 'closes in' on $66bn deal to take over Monsanto

A deal by German drugs and chemicals giant Bayer to take over US seeds company Monsanto is imminent, media reports suggest. The takeover would follow several months of talks and is thought to value Monsanto at more than $66bn. Bayer has increased its offer to $129 per share while the Reuters news agency says the deal will be announced Wednesday. The takeover would create the world's biggest seeds and pesticides company. Combining Bayer and Monsanto would make it the market leader in the US, Europe and Asia. (Click here)

Zambia high court rejects attempt to stop presidential inauguration

The Zambia Supreme Court has denied an application by the country's main opposition party to stop Tuesday's inauguration of President Edgar Lungu, a lawyer for the opposition party stated Monday. Lungu's inauguration had been postponed when Hakainde Hichilema, opposition leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND), filed a lawsuit contesting the results of the August 11 election. A single judge on the court rejected the application because he had no jurisdiction. The lawyer said that his clients intend to file another application before the supreme court en banc.

Swedish government plans 40% gender quota for corporate

Sweden's opposition parties effectively killed a proposal by the government to impose gender quotas on corporate boards less than three hours after it was announced. The four-party Alliance opposition and the Sweden Democrats said they would vote against the plan to require publicly traded companies to ensure that at least 40 percent of their board members are female by 2019. "The proposal is very bad because it doesn't assess competence and would "diminish" women. The state doesn't own all companies and the state should therefore not interfere. This would constitute significant interference with ownership rights." The government's law envisages fines of 250,000 kronor ($30,000) to 5 million kronor for non-compliance depending on the company. The law was designed to affect about 330 private and state-owned companies.

Songwriters sue Justice Department over licensing rules

Last month's ruling by the Justice Department has to do with one of the most complex — and most bitterly disputed — issues in music copyright. For songs to be played on the radio, on streaming services or even in public places like restaurants and retail stores, performing rights organizations like Ascap and BMI collect royalties for songwriters and music publishers. In the United States, these fees amount to more than $2 billion a year. But the music industry has long been unsatisfied by the rates paid by online companies, and two years ago Ascap and BMI asked the Justice Department for changes to the regulatory agreements that have governed the organizations for decades. Last month, the agency declined those requests, and instead ruled that to comply with their existing rules, Ascap and BMI must institute what is known as 100 percent licensing: When a song has multiple writers, the organizations must have the legal clearance to represent the entire song or remove it from their catalogs. Broadcasters and digital companies hailed the ruling as a cleareyed application of copyright law. But music industry groups said it would disrupt decades of practice and cause tumult throughout the business. (Songwriters don't always belong to the same rights organization, meaning broadcasters and digital outlets would have to have deals in place with various groups.) BMI has said it will challenge the rule in federal court, with a hearing expected on Friday. The lawsuit by Songwriters of North America contends that the Justice Department's ruling on 100 percent licensing violates the property rights of songwriters, since it would mean that private contracts among songwriting collaborators — a common arrangement — might not comply with the new rule. In its announcement last month, the Justice Department suggested that writers with such agreements would need to renegotiate those deals. The Justice Department declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Yelp, TripAdvisor gain legal cover for negative reviews

Online review sites gained some added legal cover this week after Congress advanced a bill that makes it harder for businesses to sue customers over negative reviews and a federal court ruled in favor of Yelp Inc. in one dispute. (Click here)

Former LG employee sues LG, Samsung over alleged hiring deal

A former sales manager for LG Electronics in California filed suit against LG and Samsung Electronics, claiming the two Korean companies have an agreement not to recruit each other’s Silicon Valley employees, which has the effect of suppressing wages.


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