October 26, 2016 nº 1,805 - Vol. 13

"A day without laughter is a day wasted."

Charlie Chaplin

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

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  • Top News

Election law doesn't care if Trump (or Clinton) ever concedes

The prospect of election night drama seems to dwindle with each new round of polling. But Donald Trump, perhaps trying to author a campaign cliffhanger, is determined to provide Americans with at least a measure of "suspense" on November 8. Barring a remarkable turnaround -- "Brexit times five" as Trump put it last week -- Americans will begin their post-election Wednesday with a President-elect Clinton on the horizon. But whether her opponent sees fit to embrace defeat and publicly concede is mostly immaterial. "It doesn't have any independent legal effect," said Rick Hasen, a University of California-Irvine professor. "If he concedes or he doesn't concede, the votes totals will be what they will be." Recounts are triggered automatically in 20 states and the District of Columbia when the margin of victory is sufficiently narrow, according to different laws in each of those states. The parameters vary -- in Florida and Pennsylvania, it's a margin of 0.5% or less of the total vote, while Michigan requires a deficit of 2,000 votes or less. The most notable recount in recent times, after the 2000 presidential vote in Florida, began not -- as the Trump campaign has suggested -- at the behest of a litigious and sour Al Gore, but in accordance with the state's predetermined rules for sorting such a narrow vote.

Fearing Trump, Bar Association stifles report calling him a 'libel bully'

Alarmed by Donald Trump's record of filing lawsuits to punish and silence his critics, a committee of media lawyers at the American Bar Association commissioned a report on Mr. Trump's litigation history. The report concluded that Trump was a "libel bully" who had filed many meritless suits attacking his opponents and had never won in court. But the bar association refused to publish the report, citing "the risk of the A.B.A. being sued by Trump." David J. Bodney, a former chairman of the media-law committee, said he was baffled by the bar association's interference in the committee's journal. "It is more than a little ironic," he said, "that a publication dedicated to the exploration of First Amendment issues is subjected to censorship when it seeks to publish an article about threats to free speech." In internal communications, the bar association's leadership, including its general counsel's office and public relations staff, did not appear to dispute the report's conclusions.

  • Crumbs

1 - Executions fall to lowest level in decades in U.S. - click here.

2 - Egypt court confirms former president's 20-year sentence - click here.

3 - Brazil plans to waive visas for visitors from U.S. and Japan - click here.

4 - Thai junta asks Google and YouTube to remove royal 'insults' - click here.

5 - BAT makes $47bn offer to buy out tobacco rival Reynolds - click here.

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  • MiMIC Journal

Hilton unveils sale of 25% stake to China's HNA

Chinese conglomerate HNA has acquired a 25% stake in hotel group Hilton. HNA paid $6.5bn for the stake previously owned by Hilton's biggest shareholder Blackstone. Chinese companies have increasingly been investing in tourism-related businesses overseas as more Chinese citizens travel abroad. This latest move by HNA is part of the group's efforts to become a "global tourism business," said the company's chief executive Adam Tan. HNA announced in April that it had agreed to acquire Carlson Hotels, which owns the Radisson and Park Plaza brands. The tourism, logistics and financial services conglomerate started life in 1993 as a regional airline, but has grown rapidly and now has $30bn in annual revenues and employs 200,000 people, mainly in North America, Europe and Asia.

'One million' Chinese officials punished for corruption

China has punished more than one million officials for corruption over the past three years. The government says the corruption suspects were guilty of bribery and abuse of power, among other crimes. Another 409 people, said to be fugitives, have been detained overseas this year. The statistics were released as top officials in the Chinese Communist Party begin a closed-door plenum in Beijing. President Xi Jinping has led a wide-ranging anti-corruption drive.

Syngenta warns of delay in takeover by ChemChina

Regulatory scrutiny could extend into the first quarter after requests for additional information from European officials and others.

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  • Historia Verdadera

Celulosa

El grupo chileno Empresas Copec construirá una planta de tableros y paneles en Estados Unidos, con una inversión estimada de unos US$ 400 mlls. Arauco, uno de los mayores productores de celulosa y paneles a nivel mundial, informó que el proyecto denominado "MDP Grayling" se ubicará en el estado de Michigan y tendrá una capacidad productiva de 800.000 metros cúbicos, de los cuales 300.000 metros cúbicos serán revestidos con papel melamínico.

Acciones

Las mineras chinas Zijin Mining Group Co Ltd y Shandong Gold Mining Co Ltd han alcanzado un acuerdo con Barrick Gold Corp para comprar un 50 % de participación en el yacimiento de oro Veladero en Argentina. La alta calidad de la mina, su capacidad de producción y las perspectivas para diversificación geográfica son atractivas para los posibles compradores chinos.

Exportaciones

Con la participación de la empresa canadiense Bombardier, México exportó vagones de ferrocarril por US$ 3,164 mlls. en el 2015, ubicándose como el mayor exportador mundial de ese tipo de vehículos de transporte. La firma, filial de Bombardier, tiene una planta en el estado de Hidalgo, la cual adquirió de la empresa Constructora Nacional de Carros de Ferrocarril (CNCF o Concarril), desde donde se han impulsado las exportaciones mexicanas de vagones hasta multiplicarse por más de cuatro veces en los últimos siete años. La empresa produce y exporta, actualmente, partes primarias de trenes y carros completos a Estados Unidos, Australia, Canadá y Sudáfrica. Las inversiones que la canadiense ha hecho desde 1994 en este complejo ascienden a US$ 200 mlls.

  • Brief News

Judge approves VW's record US emissions settlement

A US judge has approved the record $14.7bn settlement Volkswagen will pay in the country over its diesel emissions scandal. Under the settlement, the German carmaker agreed to spend up to $10bn on buybacks and owner compensation. An additional $4.7bn is to go to programs to offset excess emissions and to clean car projects. The deal was agreed in June after regulators discovered VW software designed to cheat emissions tests. Vehicle owners will be able to choose between having their car bought back at pre-scandal "trade in" value or having VW repairing the cars if regulators approve the fixes. They will also receive an additional compensation of between $5,000 and $10,000 depending on how old their vehicles are. The US judge turned down objections from owners who thought the compensation should have been higher, saying the agreement was "adequate and fair". (Click here)

France's highest court strikes down sweeping surveillance law

A surveillance law that was rushed through the France’s parliament in the wake of the terror attack on Charlie Hebdo in 2015 has been ruled unconstitutional by the French Constitutional Council. The council opposed the law on the basis that it contained no sufficient definitions or parameters as to what kind of surveillance operations were allowed or how they might be challenged. In short, spies were given open access to the population’s metadata. In what one journalist called the "French equivalent to the Patriot Act," intelligence agencies were given the freedom to intercept and monitor communications with very little oversight. Intelligence operatives could gather communications data in real time directly from internet service providers without prior authorization.

Sexual harassment of female MPs widespread, report says

Sexual harassment and even violence against female parliamentarians is widespread, a report from a global parliamentary grouping suggests. The study by the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) is being released during the group's annual assembly in Geneva. Just 55 female MPs took part in the survey, but they represent parliaments from across the globe. Over 80% said they had experienced some form of psychological or sexual harassment or violence.

Sex, honour, shame and blackmail in an online world

Thousands of young women in conservative societies across North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia are being shamed or blackmailed with private and sometimes sexually explicit images. Smartphones and social media are colliding head-on with traditional notions of honor and shame. Revenge porn is a problem in every country on Earth, but the potency of sexual images as weapons of intimidation stems from their capacity to inflict shame on women - and in some societies, shame is a much more serious matter. Most cases of this form of abuse go unreported because the same forces that make women vulnerable also ensure they remain silent. But lawyers, police, and activists in a dozen countries say that the arrival of smartphones and social media has sparked a hidden epidemic of online blackmail and shaming.

UN rights experts urge US government to end mandatory detention of migrants

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on Monday called on the US government to "abolish the mandatory detention of migrants, especially asylum seekers, from all countries." The working group stated that mandatory detention was a violation of international law standards. The group urged US authorities to ensure individual assessment for detention of asylum seekers, including women, men and children. The group found that while detention of migrants is meant to be non-punitive, conditions in the US approach punitive measures and may be viewed as measures to deter immigration. The group expressed the need for the US government to make concrete efforts to explore alternatives to detention.

Federal judge suspends Michigan ban on 'ballot selfies'

A federal judge on Monday issued a preliminary injunction blocking Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson from enforcing a ban against "ballot selfies" on election day. The state statute made the act of posting and displaying one's ballot a misdemeanor offense, thereby prohibiting state residents from taking pictures of ballots for social media. (Click here)

Mayors of Kurdish Turkey city Diyarbakir held in terror probe

The co-mayors of Diyarbakir, Turkey's largest Kurdish-majority city, have been detained as part of a terrorism investigation, security officials say. Gultan Kisanak was held at the local airport, while Firat Anli was arrested at his home in the south-eastern city. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to prosecute local officials accused of links to the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). In September, 28 elected mayors in largely Kurdish towns were sacked.

Vatican to open Argentina's 'Dirty War' archives

The Vatican says it will open its files relating to military rule in Argentina to victims and their relatives. It says the decision has been taken at the request of Pope Francis "in the service of truth, justice and peace". Thousands of people were tortured, killed or disappeared during the period known as the Dirty War in Argentina from 1976 to 1983. Many victims accuse the Roman Catholic Church of complicity and failure to speak out against abuses.

Obamacare rates will rise by 25% in 2017

The cost of healthcare insurance in the US under the Affordable Care Act is expected to rise by an average of 25% in 2017, according to the government. About one in five consumers will also only be able to pick plans from a single insurer, it said. But it said federal subsidies will also rise, and about 70% of people will find plans for less than $75 a month. Obamacare is a major part of Obama's legacy, and his signature piece of legislation.

NYC won't enforce anti-sublet law until Airbnb suit is resolved

New York City said it would follow the state's lead and hold off on enforcing a new law prohibiting short-term apartment rentals until a lawsuit by Airbnb Inc. is resolved. That was a reversal from earlier indications that the restrictions would be enforced immediately after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed them into law on Friday. The home-sharing company sued to block the measure just hours after Cuomo's action. The law prohibits the advertising of accommodations that can’t be legally rented out for less than 30 days, with violators facing fines.

South Korea president urges constitutional amendment to extend presidential terms

South Korean President Park Geun-hye proposed on Monday to amend the country's constitutional provision that restricts presidents to one term in office. In a speech to the legislature, she called for a special committee of the National Assembly to debate the issue. Currently, South Korean presidents can only have a single five-year term, and Park finishes her term in office in February 2018. She claims that the change is necessary to better maintain policy continuance and to more effectively engage in foreign policy. The opposition has accused Park of using the proposal to distract from recent governmental corruption. (Click here)

Amnesty: popular messaging services not protecting user privacy

Popular services like Snapchat and Skype are falling short on privacy protections for their users, Amnesty International (AI) said in a new report. The report, released Friday, ranked the 11 companies that provide the most popular services, including Facebook and Apple.

Self-driving truck's first mission: a 120-mile beer run

Otto, the Uber-owned self-driving vehicle operation, delivered 2,000 cases of Budweiser 120 miles to Colorado Springs from Fort Collins, Colo.

Brazil real estate to fall 'deeper' in 2017

The country’s real estate is in a state of shock following back to back years of economic recession. After years of skyrocketing housing costs in Brazil, the market has come down to earth since the recession. Next year will see even deeper declines in Brazilian real estate. Fitch Ratings said Tuesday that home prices in Brazil "will drop further as the economy remains challenged."

Albania's constitutional court suspends law key to EU hopes

Albania's Constitutional Court has suspended a law that requires the vetting of the personal and professional backgrounds of judges and prosecutors, key to judicial reforms needed to convince the European Union to launch membership negotiations. The court suspended the law to seek the opinion of the Council of Europe's Venice Commission, which already has reviewed the reform package prepared with help from EU and US experts. The suspension was sought by the opposition Democratic party, which opposed the vetting law. That suspension, however, will only temporarily block the launch of a legal overhaul meant to restructure the justice system to ensure that judges and prosecutors are independent from politics, and to root out bribery. Albania was granted EU candidate status in 2014 and hopes to launch negotiations this year.

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