September 21, 2016 nº 1,793 - Vol. 13

"The private control of credit is the modern form of slavery."

Upton Sinclair

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  • Top News

50 countries to take in 360,000 refugees this year

Obama has announced a pledge by 50 nations to take in 360,000 refugees from war-torn countries this year. He told the United Nations General Assembly that world leaders, notably Germany and Canada, have vowed to double the number from last year. "We are facing a crisis of epic proportion," Obama said. About 21 million refugees have been forced to flee their countries due to conflict or persecution, the UN says. Nine million people alone have been displaced by the six-year conflict in Syria while more than four million others have fled the war-torn country. "We cannot avert our eyes or turn our backs. To slam the door in the face of these families would betray our deepest values," he added. The US has agreed to take in 110,000 new refugees in the 2017 fiscal year - which begins on 1 October- compared with the 85,000 refugees it expects by the end of September. The president's announcement also included a pledge by countries to increase financial contributions to UN appeals and humanitarian groups by about $4.5b over 2015 levels. Participating countries have vowed to help fund schools for a million refugee children as well as assist in helping one million refugees work legally.

  • Crumbs

1- Tesla sued in China over fatal crash - click here.

2 - Family courts face 'imminent crisis' over child custody cases - click here.

3 - China central bank may provide low-cost loans to support green financing: paper - click here.

4 - Renault and Nissan buy French tech firm to develop mobility apps - click here.

5 - Apple patents bold new innovation – a paper bag - click here.


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  • MiMIC Journal

US court throws out judgment against Chinese vitamin C makers

A federal appeals court threw out a $147 million civil price fixing judgment against Chinese makers of vitamin C, ruling the companies weren't liable in US courts because they were acting under the direction of Chinese authorities.

China merger to create world's second largest steel firm

Two of China's largest steel companies have announced plans for a merger, creating the world's second largest steelmaker, as the industry struggles with global overproduction.nUnder the deal, Baosteel is to take over its smaller competitor Wuhan Iron and Steel. Both companies are majority-owned by the state.


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  • Historia Verdadera


Un entramado de empresas constituidas en Uruguay, Bermuda y Estados Unidos es uno los secretos del acuerdo entre YPF y Chevron para la explotación de Vaca Muerta que la empresa argentina debe entregar este miércoles a la justicia. El objetivo de la conformación de esas sociedades offshore, según ejecutivos de YPF, era para evitar el embargo de las inversiones que la compañía estadounidense haría en el país sudamericano. (Presione aquí)


La agencia de calificación Standard & Poor's (S&P) bajó la nota de la compañía estatal Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) y advirtió que si se continúa con el plan de canje voluntario de bonos propuesto por la empresa será el equivalente a entrar en default. El petrolero venezolano está ofreciendo cambiar US$ 7.000 mlls. en bonos que vencen en abril y noviembre de 2017 por otros que otorgan una tasa de 8,5% a pagarse en los próximos cuatro años.


En Argentina se tomaron en serio la explotación del litio. Los medios transandinos hablan de “la guerra por el mineral blanco”, pues el gobierno de Mauricio Macri eliminó las retenciones mineras y le abrió las puertas a cuanto inversionista extranjero quiera ir a explotar sus salares y, de esa manera, quitar espacio a países competidores directos, como Chile y Bolivia. La zona geográfica que conforman las tres naciones se denomina “triángulo del litio”. Según datos del Servicio Geológico de Estados Unidos, Argentina posee reservas comprobadas por dos millones de toneladas métricas, aunque en exploración avanzada hay otros 6,5 millones.

  • Brief News

Lula to be tried for corruption

Lula will stand trial on corruption and money laundering charges over an alleged scheme at the state oil company, Petrobras, a judge has said. Prosecutors say he accepted 3.7m reais ($1.11m) in bribes connected to the multi-billion dollar scheme. Lula, 70, had already been charged in August with allegedly obstructing investigations. He denies any wrongdoing and says the accusations are politically motivated. A criminal conviction would bar him from running in 2018.

Wells Fargo boss urged to resign over accounts scandal

During fierce criticism from a panel of US senators, Wells Fargo chief executive John Stumpf was told to resign over a bogus accounts scandal. Senator Elizabeth Warrren told Stumpf he should step down as his bank had "squeezed" its employees "so they would cheat customers". Bank workers had opened more than two million deposit and credit card accounts without customers' permission. Stumpf said he was "deeply sorry" for that and failing to act quickly. Warren added: “Your definition of accountability is to push this on your low-level employees. This is gutless leadership.” The bank was fined $185m earlier this month and accused of "widespread illegal practice" by the regulator. Wells Fargo fired more than 5,000 staff in response to the scandal.

How technology is changing law in Asia

Law is an old profession. Old, but not immune to change, and technology is changing law and the legal sector in many, varied ways. Asia is at the heart of this development. The need for legal services is growing apace with economic development, but in a more diverse and challenging environment than elsewhere in the world. This challenge makes Asia the engine for global growth in legal services. This is supported by the continuing trend of international law firms entering or expanding their presence in Asia, and regional firms expanding their footprint in Asia-Pacific. Technology has empowered clients to expect more from their lawyers. In today’s market, clients demand lawyers to provide their services seamlessly in a global world with a fixed fee and transparency on service performance. Also, the range of services lawyers provide has expanded, and can still be delivered efficiently at an acceptable price point. The increasing trend to value billing holds the prospect of economic alignment between the client’s interest and the advising lawyers.

It is a challenging time for the legal sector. There is certainly more work arising from global commerce and complex regulation. But there is intense competition for it and from many sources. Legal consultancies will displace private practice law firms in the market for commoditized work. Other advisory firms are providing related advisory services that were the domain of law firms; even some law firms are forming aligned consultancy service firms to combat the trend. Some professions are forming aligned law firms for their clients. A tax driven corporate project might well be serviced under one roof by a Big 4 accounting firm, and its aligned law firm.

The traditional private practice law firms will focus almost exclusively on premium work. Specialization or complexity will be the two key reasons why private practice law firms are engaged. For the past decade, the legal market for private practice law firms has been dividing into the global service firm (global in geography and service scope) and the global boutique (global in geography, specific in service scope). The muddled middle is fast disappearing. Those that remain will focus ruthlessly on identifying profitability drivers, not revenue. Only profitability can support success in a world based on value billing.

The teams within law firms will be lean and mean. Client demands mean learning on the job is a luxury that law firms will rarely indulge. Fewer young lawyers will place more demand on fewer people to deliver complex work. Working life will become longer with fewer opportunities for progression. A war on talent will focus on the experienced few. Life in a law firm will become more transient. 
(Click here)

Source: Forbes

Microsoft launches $40bn share buyback

US software giant Microsoft plans to buy back $40bn worth of its shares. The firm did not say how long the repurchase scheme would last. Its previous buyback, also worth $40bn, was announced in September 2013 and is due to be completed by the end of the year. Share buybacks tend to support a company's share price and are popular with investors. Microsoft also announced that it was raising its quarterly dividend by 8%, to 39 cents a share. (Click here)

Loss of EU passporting 'significant risk' to UK business

More than 5,000 British financial services firms rely on "passporting rights" to trade across the EU, the chairman of the Treasury select committee, Andrew Tyrie, has said. Passporting rights allow firms to trade across the bloc without the need for separate licences. Tyrie said it showed the "significant" risk Britain leaving the single market would pose to business. But Eurosceptics have previously said such an outcome would not harm the UK.

S.E.C. is latest to look into Exxon Mobil’s workings

At issue is how the company values its oil reserves in light of potential climate change regulations, and environmentalists applauded the scrutiny.

City slaps businesses that violated paid sick days law with $1.2 million in fines

New York City businesses were hit with $1.2 million in fines for breaking the city's paid sick days law in the 2016 fiscal year — a dramatic spike from just $50,050 the year before, newly released stats show. On top of the fines, 13,675 workers got money from their employers to compensate them for violations of the law, up from 97 in 2015. Employees took in $2.1 million in restitution during the year that ended in June, compared to $54,961 over the previous 12 months. The law requires all employers with at least five workers to offer five paid sick days a year.

The fall of Chris Christie

Governor Chris Christie "totally knew" about his staff engaging in a politically motivated closing in 2013 of several lanes on a key bridge from his state into New York City. On Monday, federal prosecutors in the trial of two New Jersey government officials over their involvement in what has become known as the "Bridgegate" scandal said one of the defendants and a star witness boasted about their actions to the New Jersey governor at the time. It's a rare point of agreement between the prosecutors and the defense attorneys whose case largely rests on Chris Christie's knowledge - and approval - of the lane closures. Now, in a real courtroom with real prosecutors, Christie's political career is effectively on trial.

Federal appeals court: North Carolina county commissioners can open meetings with prayer

The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on Monday ruled that Rowan County Commissioners in North Carolina may open public meetings with prayer. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and ACLU of North Carolina brought the suit in 2013 on behalf of three Rowan County residents who were alleging that the opening prayers violated their First Amendment rights. The focus of the lawsuit is the opening prayer at almost all meetings, which is focused only on Christianity.

Sanofi files suit against Merck

Sanofi said it filed a lawsuit against Merck & Co. for alleged patent infringements to prevent the US drugmaker from launching a rival version of the French pharmaceutical giant’s best-selling diabetes treatment Lantus.


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