December 9, 2016 nº 1,820 - Vol. 13

"A ship in port is safe, but that's not what ships are built for."

Grace Murray Hopper

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

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  • Top News

Seven EU nations face legal action

The European Union has started legal action against seven nations. Four, including the UK and Germany, are under fire for failing to take action against Volkswagen for cheating emission tests. Member states have two months to respond. The German car giant has had huge fines in the US over its use of "defeat devices" used to hide true levels of emissions. More than one million cars in the UK are involved. Spain and Luxembourg are the other two nations who the EU says have not taken action against the company. Another three countries - the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Greece - are being hauled up for not even including the possibility of fining carmakers over potential violations. On top of this, the European Commission has also called Germany and the UK to account for refusing to share details of breaches of EU emissions laws they discovered through their own investigations earlier this year. Industry commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska said in a statement: "National authorities across the EU must ensure that car manufacturers actually comply with the law". (Click here)

With LinkedIn, Microsoft looks to avoid past acquisition busts

Microsoft announced on Thursday that it had completed its $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, the social network for professionals. There are ample reasons to be skeptical that the deal, the biggest by far in Microsoft's history, will pay off. First, the company has not had a great track record with this sort of thing. Two of Microsoft's largest acquisitions — the digital advertising firm aQuantive and the mobile unit of Nokia — were disappointments that eventually led to the company writing off nearly the entire value of the deals, more than $13 billion in all. And Microsoft is not the only big company that has ended up wasting money on acquisitions. In fact, decades of research by academics and consulting firms have shown that from 60 to 80 percent of mergers and acquisitions end up destroying, rather than creating, shareholder value. "Mergers go on anyway, even though there's not much evidence they work out," said Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor of organizational behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. "Everybody believes they are going to be different." Still, the Microsoft of 2016 is different from the unfocused giant of the past that lurched from deal to deal with wild-eyed ambitions of catching rivals like Google and Apple. It has a new chief executive who has made a series of smaller deals that have shown positive results. The company's stock is trading at record highs.

Brazil's political crisis is so intense that nobody knew who was running the Senate this week

For more than 24 hours this week, nobody knew who was the head of Brazil's Senate. The Senate leader, Renan Calheiros, spent Tuesday avoiding a legal clerk who tried to serve him an order for his removal on embezzlement charges. That order, issued by a judge on Brazil's highest court, was also rejected by Senate leaders. And the chamber's vice president said that he wouldn't assume the Senate presidency. Although Brazilian politics have always been messy, this week’s showdown has taken the chaos to a new and dangerous level. Political analysts say the last time a standoff of this magnitude occurred, the military launched a coup, leading to two decades of military rule. The crisis appeared to be defusing Wednesday evening as the full Supreme Court ruled that Calheiros could stay in his job while he faces trial. But the episode showed how shaky Brazil's political institutions are. In the past six months, the country has impeached a president and jailed the speaker of the house, while five Cabinet ministers have stepped down or have been removed because of allegations of corruption.

White House voices concerns about China cyber law

The White House said on Thursday that it raised concerns about China's new cyber security law during a meeting with a Chinese official after the latest round of talks between the two countries on cyber crime. US National Security Adviser Susan Rice met with Chinese State Councilor Guo Shengkun to discuss the importance "of fully adhering" to an anti-hacking accord signed last year between the China and the United States, National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said. The deal, brokered during Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to Washington in 2015, included a pledge that neither country would knowingly carry out hacking for commercial advantages. Rice told Guo that the United States was concerned "about the potential impacts" of a law that China adopted in November aimed at combating hacking and terrorism. Critics of the law say it threatens to shut foreign technology companies out of various sectors deemed "critical," and includes contentious requirements for security reviews and for data to be stored on servers in China. Rights advocates also say the law will enhance restrictions on China's Internet, already subject to the world's most sophisticated online censorship mechanism, known outside China as the Great Firewall.

  • Crumbs

1 - EU unblocks visa-free travel for Ukraine and Georgia - click here.

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  • MiMIC Journal

Beijing's sweeping crackdown on human rights lawyers.

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December. But in China, it's proving a sensitive anniversary as experts from the UN demand answers from the government about the recent disappearance of a well-known human rights lawyer. Jiang Tianyong went missing three weeks ago after attempting to investigate the detention of a colleague.

Michael Jordan wins trademark case in China's top court

China's supreme court has ruled in favour of US basketball legend Michael Jordan in a trademark dispute. The People's Supreme Court ruled a Chinese sportswear company must stop using the characters for Jordan's name, read as Qiaodan in Chinese. Qiaodan Sports registered the name more than a decade ago but Jordan's lawyers said it built its business around his Chinese name without his permission. Jordan has welcomed the decision which overturns previous rulings against him.

  • Law Firm Marketing

How a single sentence can drive more response to your marketing
By Tom Trush

It's among the most frustrating challenges in business...

Persuading prospects who know they should take you up on your offer -- but don't follow through for some reason.

Maybe it's a money situation ... a lack of information ... a trust issue .. or possibly they're just frustrated with part of your sales process ...

Whatever the case, adding one piece of social proof to your marketing can help fix this problem.

Now, I'm not talking about something as common a testimonial, case study or review. What I'm sharing with you today targets a far deeper desire.

In fact, it hits at the heart of three fundamental human motivations (as detailed by Steve J. Martin in The Small BIG: Small Changes That Spark Big Influence):

1. To make accurate decisions as efficiently as possible
2. To affiliate with and gain the approval of others
3. To see oneself in a positive light

You see, our brains are wired to follow the crowd. So mimicking the actions of others is often seen as a shortcut to good decisions and acceptance (see motivations #1 and #2).

As such, it's critical that you explain in your marketing how many others similar to your target audience already took action on your offer.

Of course, you must be honest. Please don't fabricate numbers to create fake appeal. Doing so only leads to lost credibility.

One example Martin shares in his book comes from Britain's Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs, the agency tasked with collecting the country's taxes. Martin and his team were brought in to help reduce the number of late-payers.

Previously, most efforts focused on repeated threats of fines and legal action.

Martin and his team, though, tapped persuasive science by simply adding one sentence to the agency's standard letter. It told recipients of the large number of citizens who paid their taxes on time.

This single line led to collecting 86% percent of the outstanding debt. For comparison, in the previous year, just 57% of the outstanding debt was collected.

One sentence that explained what most others are doing literally brought in billions in overdue revenue.

Incredible, isn't it?

You may have seen a similar concept carry over to hotel towel use. After all, how many times do you see signs suggesting you do the environment a favor and reuse your towel?

Well, researchers Dan and Chip Heath from Stanford University discovered a way to actually get more people to take this action.

The change in behavior only required (again) a single sentence. In their study, they increased towel reuse by 26% with a sign that said:

The majority of guests at the hotel reuse their towels at least once during their stay.

Notice again how this sentence tells what many others are doing.

So think about it ...

How can you incorporate the actions of others into your offers?

Tom Trush is available at https://www.writewaysolutions.com/

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© Trey Ryder
FREE LAWYER MARKETING ALERT: If you'd like to receive Trey Ryder's weekly Lawyer Marketing Alert, send an e-mail to Trey@TreyRyder.com. Write "Subscribe LMA" in the subject line and write your name and e-mail address in the body of the message.

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  • Historia Verdadera

Multa

El regulador de competencia de Brasil, Cad, llegó a un acuerdo con cinco grandes bancos internacionales a los que multó por un total de US$ 54 mlls., por formar un cartel para operaciones en mercados cambiarios internacionales. (Presione aquí)

Negocios

El mexicano Grupo IAMSA se convirtió en el único accionista de la aerolínea mexicana de bajo costo Viva Aerobus, luego de adquirir la participación que no poseía a Irelandia Aviation por un monto que no fue revelado. Como parte de la operación, Declan Ryan, socio de Irelandia. Aviation y otros dos ejecutivos de esa empresa, fundadora de Viva Aerobus, dejarán de formar parte del consejo de administración de la aerolínea mexicana.

Acuerdo

Etados Unidos y la Argentina acordaron un mecanismo común de lucha contra el financiamiento internacional del terrorismo. El documento, suscrito por el secretario adjunto del Tesoro de USA para Financiamiento del Terrorismo, Daniel Glaser, y el secretario de Finanzas de la Argentina, Luis Caputo, tiene por objetivo identificar las amenazas financieras ilícitas y desarrollar estrategias conjuntas para enfrentar el flagelo del terrorismo. Para avanzar en estas prioridades, se acordó proseguir una serie de iniciativas para combatir el lavado de dinero, el financiamiento del terrorismo y otros delitos financieros.

  • Brief News

Senate votes in favor of new health bill

The US Senate voted on Wednesday to pass the 21st Century Cures Act, which will allow the Food and Drug Administration to fund more medical research and speed up access to new drugs. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said the bill would provide more funding towards research for cancer, Alzheimer's Disease and rare diseases. He also said that the bill will support resources to combat the opioid epidemic and help Americans with mental illnesses]. The bill received bipartisan support and passed by a vote of 94-5. Those who did not support the bill, such as Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) say that it gives the pharmaceutical industry too much power. The 21st Century Cures Act received bipartisan support in the US House of Representatives last week, where it passed by a vote of 392-26. Before becoming law, the bill must be signed by President Obama, who has supported the bill from the beginning.

S Korea lawmakers vote to impeach leader

South Korea's parliament has voted to impeach President Park Geun-hye over a corruption scandal. The National Assembly motion passed by 234 votes to 56, meaning some members of Park's ruling Saenuri party voted to impeach her. Park's authority now passes to Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn. She has been embroiled in a political scandal that led thousands of Koreans to take to the streets in recent weeks demanding her removal from power. At the heart of the crisis is the relationship between Park and her close confidante, Choi Soon-sil, who stands accused of using her connections to gain influence and financial benefits. (Click here)

Brexit: French financial regulator wooing London banks

Some major banks are in advanced stages of planning to shift some operations from London to Paris, France's leading financial regulator said. "Large international banks" have undertaken the due diligence needed to set up a subsidiary in the French capital.” Many other companies have lodged informal inquiries about moving post-Brexit. Similar talks are going on in Europe's other financial centers. Authorities in Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Amsterdam have said they would welcome banks moving operations from London for when the UK leaves the European Union. For many years, British-based financial services companies have been able to operate throughout Europe using so-called passporting rights.

UN rights chief: Israel settlement legislation violates international law

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein on Thursday expressed concern over proposed legislation in Israel that would retroactively legalize the Israeli outposts constructed on privately-owned Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. Currently there are about 570,000 Israeli settlers living in 130 settlements and 100 outposts in the West Bank. The legislation, which was approved in the first of the three readings by the Israel Parliament on Wednesday, would allow for the construction of 4,000 settler homes. To be considered legal, the construction of these settlements would have be carried out in good faith as defined by the legislation. Peace Now, an Israel-based rights group supporting a two-state solution in the region, refers to the bill as "grand law robbery" that will deal a devastating blow to the two-state solution.

Federal judge halts Michigan recount

A federal judge dissolved the decision from earlier this week and halted the Michigan recount on Wednesday. Judge Mark Goldsmith of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan had entered a temporary restraining order "to cease any delay in the commencement of the recount of the presidential vote cast in Michigan" and to "continue until further order of this Court." While the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed the temporary restraining order they also stated that if the Michigan state courts deemed the recount improper for any reason the district court should consider motions "to dissolve or modify its order in this case." The Michigan Court of Appeals held that recount should never have been initiated because the filing party, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, is not an "aggrieved candidate" who had a reasonable chance of winning the election.

Pfizer fined $107 million for overcharging UK for epilepsy drug

Pfizer has become the latest drugmaker taken to task for high prices after UK authorities hit the company with a record $107 million fine over the price of an anti-epilepsy drug. (Click here)

Bumble Bee Foods executive to plead guilty to fixing canned tuna prices

A Bumble Bee Foods executive has agreed to plead guilty to fixing prices on canned tuna, the first criminal charges in an ongoing Justice Department probe in the packaged seafood industry.

Clinton warns of 'fake news epidemic'

Losing US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has called for urgent action to stop the proliferation of "fake news". Clinton said it was an epidemic with "real world consequences" that threatened America's democracy. She urged the private and public sector to combat the numerous false reports, propaganda and malicious stories that had been spread over the past year. She herself has been the target of fake news, including the "pizzagate" story. It wrongly stated during the election campaign that a paedophilia ring involving people at the highest levels of the Democratic Party was operating out of a Washington pizza restaurant.

Germany chancellor endorses partial ban on full face veils

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday endorsed a partial ban on burqas and niqabs. Merkel said that "the full facial veil is inappropriate and should be banned wherever is legally possible." The chancellor's party, the Christian Democratic Union, is expected to pass a motion proposing a ban in some ares of public life such as courts, schools and police checks. The full ban is seen as incompatible with German law. This is the first time Merkel has fully supported such a ban. This speech comes after Merkel stated she would run for a fourth term and after backlash from her own party after accepting refugees from Middle Eastern countries. Opponents say that the ban will have little effect as very few women wear the full veil and most of the areas that will ban such usage already do.

US Congress fights ticket-grabbing bots

Congress has passed legislation to US President Barack Obama that would crack down on bots that buy batches of tickets online before humans. Such software sometimes means that concert and theatre tickets sell out in minutes. Using these programs is an "unfair and deceptive practice", the legislation says. It was approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday and passed by the Senate last month. Should the president sign the legislation into law, the Federal Trade Commission would be able to crack down on those who use such programs. The producer of the Hamilton musical, currently a hit on Broadway, testified at a Senate hearing about the bill in September. He said some tickets were selling for more than $1,000 because so many were being snapped up automatically.

Despite sanctions, Russia finds buyers for $11 billion stake in Rosneft

The Kremlin has announced that commodities trader Glencore and Qatar's sovereign wealth fund are together buying a 19.5% stake in Rosneft, Russia's largest oil company. "It is the largest privatization deal, the largest sale and acquisition in the global oil and gas sector in 2016," Putin said. The surprise move sees Glencore and Qatar paying $11.3bn for the stake in Rosneft, where BP already owns 19.75%. Moscow will keep the controlling stake. The long-planned sale is part of the Russian government's efforts to sell some state assets to help balance the budget amid a two-year recession caused by a drop in global oil prices and Western sanctions. A deadline for the sale was missed, and speculation grew that Rosneft was struggling to find a buyer.

Cahuzac, ex-budget minister, jailed for fraud

A former French budget minister appointed by President Francois Hollande to tackle tax evasion has been jailed for tax fraud. Jerome Cahuzac had committed crimes of "extraordinary" seriousness, a court in Paris said, and sentenced him to three years in prison. Cahuzac, 64, resigned in 2013 after it emerged he had held an undeclared Swiss bank account and then lied about it. The affair was an embarrassment to Hollande and caused public outrage. Hollande had made fighting tax evasion among the wealthy a priority for his Socialist administration. He subsequently ordered his ministers to disclose their personal wealth.

McDonald's to move non-US tax base to UK

McDonald's is to move its non-US tax base from Luxembourg to the UK, the company has said. The new holding company will pay UK tax on the royalties the firm receives outside the US. McDonald's said it had chosen the UK due to the "significant number of staff" it has in London. The Luxembourg tax affairs of the burger giant are currently under formal investigation by the European Commission. McDonald's said that the holding company would have "responsibility for the majority of the royalties received from licensing the company's global intellectual property rights outside the US".

E-cigarettes major concern

The chief public health officer of the US, the Surgeon General, has called the use of e-cigarettes by children "a major public health concern". In a report, Vivek Murthy recommends more regulation and taxation. His report agrees that e-cigarettes are less harmful than actual ones, but his concern is that the devices expose children to the risks of nicotine. E-cigarettes are devices that turn nicotine liquid into a vapor. Because they do not actually burn any material but leave users merely inhaling nicotine in steam, they are seen by some health experts as preferable to smoking cigarettes and, by some, as a way to give up cigarette smoking. Murthy's report says there is not enough evidence that prove e-cigarettes work in this way. For young people, he says, e-cigarette use is strongly linked with the use of other tobacco products. Murthy says nicotine usage by young people risks mood disorders, attention deficits and addiction to nicotine that could lead to the use of traditional cigarettes. Many tobacco companies are pinning their future on e-cigarettes and other alternatives as people continue to move away from using traditional nicotine products.

S.E.C.'s top enforcer to depart at year-end

Andrew Ceresney announced plans to leave agency after three years as Wall Street's regulators continue to wind down their tenures.

North Dakota could be biggest loser in ruling against oil pipeline

Delays are costing the pipeline's builder hundreds of millions of dollars, but the nation's energy supply is unlikely to suffer.

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