November 23, 2016 nº 1,815 - Vol. 13

"Before you speak, think - Is it necessary? Is it true? Is it kind? Will it hurt anyone? Will it improve on the silence?"

Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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  • Top News

International commission recommends decriminalizing drugs

A report released Monday by the Global Commission on Drug Policy recommends "no penalty whatsoever" for low-level possession and consumption drug offenses. The commission of 23, which includes former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and former chairman of the US Federal Reserve Paul Volcker, is headed by former president of Switzerland Ruth Dreifuss. Calling the global war on drugs "misguided," the panel cited human rights and the rule of law as reasons for governments to take control of drug markets through "sensible regulation." The report also contains a summary of the increase in global drug use, revealing that in the 11 years between 2003 and 2014, the number of individuals aged 15-64 who had consumed illicit drugs in the previous 12 months increased 33 percent from 185 million to 257 million.

Business and Trump

Shares in banks of all sizes are benefiting from the prospect of fewer regulations and higher interest rates, but community bankers feel as if they are in a sweet spot: Mr. Trump could limit regulations on them while still being tough on the Wall Street banks that anger the general public. The exuberance over reduced regulation combined with tax cuts has bolstered markets, which hit record highs on Monday as money poured into United States stocks in anticipation of a turnaround in the economy. Investors are experiencing what is called FOMO — fear of missing out. While they look forward to this, the business credentials that Trump promoted during his campaign are raising questions even before he has taken office. Reports of Trump mixing business with his official duties as president-elect have prompted ethics experts to say that his actions threatened to compromise the integrity of the office. The Emoluments Clause, a provision of the Constitution that refers to the word for compensation for labor or services says that "no person holding any office of profit or trust" shall "accept of any present, emolument, office or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince or foreign state" unless Congress consents. Trump's companies, however, do business with entities controlled by foreign governments and people with ties to them. It would be tough to challenge him in court. The way to address violations of the clause would be through impeachment, not a lawsuit. Alternately, Congress could pass a resolution directed at the president-elect before going that far.

  • Crumbs

1 - South Korean authorities raid Samsung in Park Geun-hye probe - click here.


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  • MiMIC Journal

Facebook 'made China censorship tool'

Facebook worked on special software so it could potentially accommodate censorship demands in China, according to a report in the New York Times. The social network refused to confirm or deny the software's existence, but said in a statement it was "spending time understanding and learning more" about China. No decisions about the company's approach in the country had yet been made, the company said. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group which campaigns for better privacy online, said the project sounded "extremely disturbing".

A Trade war against China might be a fight Trump couldn't win

While China would suffer under a 45 percent tariff, it might be able to take the blow and it would certainly counterpunch.


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  • Historia Verdadera

Por indiscreto?

El gobierno de Venezuela evalúa posibles acciones judiciales contra el banco JP Morgan, luego de haber reportado el retraso de un pago de intereses de bonos por US$ 404 mlls. con vencimiento al 2021, 2024 y 2035. (Presione aquí)


El Consejo Directivo de la Comisión Chilena de Energía Nuclear emitió la autorización n° 2206/2016 que otorga a la multinacional estadounidense Rockwood Lithium (RLL) el permiso para extraer litio del salar de Atacama para procesar y vender, lo que es un avance respecto a autorizaciones anteriores en cuanto a sus condiciones, límites y procedimientos establecidos. Los consejeros reiteraron que el proceder se ha hecho en base a las atribuciones y obligaciones que les otorga la legislación vigente.


La canadiense Teck compra todas las acciones emitidas y suscritas de AQM Copper Inc. que no sean de su propiedad y sus filiales en Perú. Teck tiene 42.258.545 acciones de AQM, que representan un 30% de las acciones ordinarias emitidas y suscritas de la sociedad. El principal activo de AQM es un interés indirecto del 30% en el proyecto de cobre-oro Zafranal, ubicado al sur del Perú. Teck, a su vez, posee un interés indirecto del 50% en el proyecto Zafranal. El monto efectivo total pagadero a titulares de valores de AQM - que no sean Teck, e incluyendo a titulares de opciones y de acciones diferidas - es por US$ 25 mlls, implicando un valor patrimonial total por AQM por US$35 mlls sobre una base 100% diluida.

  • Brief News

Brazil corruption probe: Key suspect arrested in Spain

Police in Spain have arrested a man they suspect of being the financial brain behind a huge corruption scandal which has rocked Brazilian politics. Spanish police arrested the 43-year-old man, who has dual Spanish and Brazilian nationality, in a hotel in Madrid. Officers did not reveal the man's name but said he was a lawyer for Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht. He is suspected of being the mastermind behind a kickback scheme involving Brazil's state oil company, Petrobras. Police allege the man, whose initials they said were RTB, led a scheme in which politicians received bribes in return for awarding lucrative public works contracts to private companies.

Columbia to sign new peace deal with Farc

Colombia's government says it will sign a new peace accord with Farc rebels on Thursday, after a previous deal was rejected in a referendum last month. The new revised agreement will be submitted to Congress for approval, rather than put to a popular vote. But opposition groups say it still does not go far enough in punishing rebels for human rights abuses. The deal is aimed at ending more than 50 years of armed conflict, in which more than 260,000 people have been killed.

Turkey withdraws child rape bill after street protests

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has withdrawn a bill that pardons men convicted of sex with underage girls if they have married them. The bill, part of a package of amendments to the legal system, was sent back for further work just hours before a final vote in parliament. It had sparked protests across Turkish society and was condemned abroad. Critics said it would legitimize statutory rape and encourage the practice of taking child brides. UN agencies had called on the government not to approve the bill, arguing that it would damage the country's ability to combat sexual abuse and child marriage. But the government says the main aim is to exonerate men imprisoned for marrying an underage girl apparently with her or her family's consent.

Trump to withdraw from Trans-Pacific Partnership on first day in office

Trump announced Monday that he would issue a notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on his first day in office. Trump called the TPP a "potential disaster for our country" and said he will instead focus on negotiating "fair bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back on American shores." (Click here)

UN report: Israel bill legalizing West Bank outposts violates international law

A proposed Israeli law legalizing more than 100 outposts in the occupied West Bank would violate Israeli and international law, stated a UN Special Rapporteur on Monday. Michael Lynk, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, warned that the legalization of the outposts could spell the demise of the two-state solution. Lynk further said that the: "outposts undermine the Palestinian right to self-determination, violate their rights to property, freedom of movement and development, and continue to confine the Palestinians into smaller and smaller cantons of non-contiguous lands within their own territory."

Airbnb, New York State settle suit on short-term sublet law

Airbnb Inc. settled its lawsuit against New York state over a new law restricting short-term rentals, with both sides agreeing that New York City, not the state, is responsible for enforcing it. Airbnb and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman agreed in court papers filed Tuesday that the state would be dismissed from the suit. The new law prohibits advertising of short-term rentals - less than 30 days - with violators facing fines of as much as $7,500. Hours after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law on Oct. 21, Airbnb sued the city and the state claiming the restrictions were unconstitutional and infringed its free-speech rights.

New Dubai law to ensure independent judiciary

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashi Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, issued a law Sunday that seeks to create full independence of the judiciary while ensuring fair litigation for everyone. Law No. 13 of 2016 has dual purposes, the first being to allow for a fully independent judicial body. As a means to achieve this goal, the law provides that members of the judiciary performing judicial actions within their jurisdiction are immune to lawsuits and various legal actions. The law also sets out that petitionary actions against any decision by the Dubai Judicial Council or Dubai Judicial Authority may only be brought about through specified appeal procedures. (Click here)

Pennsylvania governor vetoes bill preventing identification of police officers who use force

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf on Monday vetoed HB 1538, a bill that would criminally punish public officials that release information about police officers within 30 days of their causing death or serious harm.

Lufthansa strike starts after failed court challenge

Lufthansa has cancelled almost 900 flights after it lost an eleventh-hour legal bid to halt a pilots strike. Flights by Lufthansa's other airlines including Eurowings, Swiss, Austrian Airlines, and Brussels Airlines are not affected, the airline said. The industrial action is part of a long-running pay dispute at Lufthansa. The pilots' union, Vereinigung Cockpit, has organized 14 strikes since April 2014. On Tuesday, Lufthansa made two legal challenges to halt the strike. A Frankfurt labor court first rejected Lufthansa's application for an injunction. Later in the evening, the Hesse state labor court rejected the airline's appeal. Pay talks between the Vereinigung union and the German airline broke down earlier this month, and Lufthansa said the union had "consistently rejected the offer" of mediation. The union is calling for a 3.7% pay rise for 5,400 pilots dating back to 2012. Lufthansa, which is facing increasing competition from budget rivals, offered a 2.5% increase over the six years until 2019. (Click here)

Kochs and other Madoff investors are winners in fight over profits held abroad

A judge ruled that certain funds held abroad — estimated at about $2 billion — could not be made available to victims of the Madoff Ponzi scheme.

Law firms cull partners

The latest to publicly weigh such a step is Shearman & Sterling, which indicated that it would reshape its structure, primarily through demotions. Being made partner at a big law firm used to be seen as a brass ring of prestige, wealth and security. But it turns out that is not so secure after all. There is more supply than demand for legal services so some big law firms are demoting partners — taking away their share in annual profits. Some are setting retirement dates or reducing them to salaried status and cutting them out of the yearly profit distribution. With law firms having to add 5 percent to 15 percent in new business each year just to stay even” all law firms are going to have to slim down in some form.

House Republicans ask to put on hold case against Obama's health-care law

Attorneys for the US House of Representatives asked a federal court to delay a lawsuit over President Barack Obama's signature health-care law, citing negotiations with President-elect Donald Trump over the future of the Affordable Care Act.


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