January 25, 2017 nº 1,831 - Vol. 14

"If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people."

  Virginia Woolf

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  • Top News

Trump signs order withdrawing from Trans-Pacific Partnership

Trump signed a memorandum Monday withdrawing the US from the Tran-Pacific Partnership. The TPP, signed nearly a year ago, was a trade pact between the US and 11 Pacific Rim Nations, including Japan, Malaysia and New Zealand. The deal, which would have promoted trade between the US and the nations involved, had been a consistent target for Trump, who stated that it would harm domestic American labor. The Trade Representative website which formerly contained the terms of the deal now contains a pro-domestic trade statement from the new administration. (Click here)

Protecting email privacy

A new law would ensure national security while respecting civil liberties. Last week, the Email Privacy Act, a bill that will protect Americans' privacy rights from bureaucratic overreach was reintroduced, in view of updating the grossly outdated 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Last April, the Email Privacy Act passed the House with a stunning 419-0 vote in the House of Representatives. Shortly afterward, the Senate version of the bill was compromised with controversial amendments, causing it to never make it to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Now, however, all signs point to the clean version passing both houses of Congress this session. The ECPA allows law enforcement to gain possession of any emails or messages that are more than 180 days old. This is a violation of our Fourth Amendment rights, making us less safe because it overwhelms our bureaucrats with excessive information.

On the use of Presidential Executive Orders

Trump has put his signature on a lot of documents during his first few days in the White House, and signed five executive actions Tuesday morning, among them an executive order on Obamacare, presidential memos on controversial oil pipelines, freezing hiring in the federal government and formally withdrawing from a 12-nation trade pact. Some of these actions are symbolic. Others could be sweeping. None require anything from Congress. The executive order is a specific form that allows the president to do two things. The first is to issue directives about how the executive branch is going to operate to manage the internal affairs of his department. The second form of executive order stems from statutory authority that's been delegated. In statutes, Congress often gives the president power to make certain decisions. In executive orders that are under this umbrella, the president is careful to cite that statutory authority to justify the steps that he's taking. Presumably within the limits of the law. Executive orders might generally be regarded as a matter of custom as having higher stature. But each of them goes through a process of vetting in the Department of Justice to ensure that they comply with law. For example, Trump can't repeal the mandate that has been upheld on people to get health insurance, as upheld by the Supreme Court in the Affordable Care Act. That's in the statute, and Congress would have to redo that. What he could do is not enforce the penalties - or enforce the tax associated with the mandate. He could direct the IRS not to impose that tax on people who don't buy health insurance. So that's another source of authority that I imagine the new president is going to try to use to decide what laws he thinks ought to be enforced vigorously and which ones are not. And presidents have a wide berth to do that.

Lawmakers in eight States have proposed laws criminalizing peaceful protest

Over the weekend, millions of demonstrators took to streets across the country to mobilize against the new president and his agenda, assembling in a national turnout that organizers call the beginning of a reinvigorated protest movement. But in states home to dozens of Saturday's demonstrations, Republican lawmakers are moving to criminalize and increase penalties on peaceful protesting. Last week, in Minnesota, Washington state, Michigan, and Iowa, Republican lawmakers have proposed an array of anti-protesting laws that center on stiffening penalties for demonstrators who block traffic; in North Dakota, conservatives are even pushing a bill that would allow motorists to run over and kill protesters so long as the collision was accidental. Similarly, Republicans in Indiana last week prompted uproar over a proposed law that would instruct police to use "any means necessary" to clear protesters off a roadway.

  • Crumbs

1 - SEC fines Citigroup, Morgan Stanley over forex trading program - click here.

2 - Goldman Sachs files $1 billion countersuit against Indonesian businessman - click here.

3 - China abandoning rule of law - click here.

4 - Brazil's CPFL stake handover to State Grid to trigger minority buyout - click here.


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  • MiMIC Journal

China hits back at US over South China Sea claims

China has asserted its "indisputable sovereignty" over parts of the South China Sea after the Trump administration vowed to prevent China from taking territory in the region. The Chinese foreign ministry said Beijing would "remain firm to defend its rights in the region". White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Monday the US would "make sure we protect our interests there".

China to crack down on censor-busting services

China is cracking down on the hi-tech ways citizens avoid official scrutiny of what they do online. The nation's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has announced plans to "clean up" unauthorized internet connections. The 14-month campaign will target the virtual private networks and dedicated lines many use to go online. All these types of service must be officially vetted to keep operating, said the Ministry.


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  • Historia Verdadera


La aerolínea de bandera Air Canadá entra con un proceso de arbitraje contra Venezuela, para recuperar US$ 3.8 mlls de ingresos por ventas de boletos en ese país. (Presione aquí)


La justicia mexicana rechazó incluir en un procedimiento de bancarrota la planta de cogeneración A3T de la española México (Abemex), filial del grupo español de ingeniería y energía renovable Abengoa. (Presione aquí)


Perú trabajará con China y otras naciones de Asia para crear un acuerdo comercial que rescate los "buenos" elementos del Acuerdo Transpacífico, TPP, luego que el presidente de Estados Unidos, Donald Trump, retiró a su país de ese tratado, aseguró el presidente peruano Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

  • Brief News

Federal judge approves $1.2 Billion settlement for VW dealers

A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Monday approved a $1.2 billion settlement with Volkswagen dealers. The 650 US dealers will receive payments over the course of 18 months. VW North American Chief Executive Officer Hinrich Woebcken said said the deal "is a very important step in our commitment to making things right for all our stakeholders in the United States." The settlement is valued at more than $1.2 billion, which includes $175 million in sales incentives and $270 million in prior payments. VW has agreed to pay up to $22 billion in the US to address the claims from states, environmental regulators and owners. (Click here)

UK Parliament must trigger Brexit, Highest Court says, dealing setback to May

The prime minister's office says the ruling "does nothing to change" its timetable of leaving the economic union by the end of March. (Click here)

3 judges Trump may nominate for the Supreme Court

Trump says he plans to announce his pick for the US Supreme Court next week. The Trump administration has begun to float specific names for the high court's vacancy. The consensus seems to be that among the finalists on Trump's shortlist are Neil Gorsuch, a judge on the federal appeals court based in Denver; Judge William H. Pryor Jr. of Alabama, who served on the federal appeals court based in Atlanta; and Judge Thomas Hardiman of Pittsburgh, who serves on the 3rd Circuit Federal Court of Appeals. All were appointed to their current positions by President George W. Bush and are considered hardcore conservatives, but there the similarity ends.

UN condemns Israel's West Bank settlement plans

The United Nations has condemned Israeli plans to build more settlements in the occupied West Bank. A UN spokesman said "unilateral actions" were an obstacle to peace based on a two-state solution. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would build 2,500 more homes in Jewish settlements "in response to housing needs". It is the second such announcement by the Israeli authorities since Trump took office. Palestinian officials said the plans undermined peace hopes by building on land they want for a future state.

Trump: 'We will build Mexico border wall'

Trump has said a "big day" is planned on national security, including an announcement to build a wall on the border between the US and Mexico. The new US president is expected to sign several executive orders regarding immigration and border security over the next few days. They are likely to include the "extreme vetting" of people coming from seven predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa. This would restrict refugee access. There will also be measures that force so-called sanctuary cities in the US to co-operate with the authorities on deporting illegal immigrants. Immigration and humanitarian organizations are likely to be outraged by the measures.

Second Circuit declines to review Microsoft email privacy case

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Tuesday declined a request for re-hearing en banc a 2016 case in which it quashed a warrant filed by the government under the Stored Communications Act (SCA) in order to access customer emails to corporations stored on servers outside of the country. The court decided that the US could not force companies to turn over customer emails stored outside of the US. Those dissenting argued that the case should be re-heard as it is a "matter of exceptional importance" to both national security and public safety; that the use of the term-of-art "warrant" made it necessary to determine whether this was a domestic or potentially international issue.

Fine firms for sexist dress rules, say MPs

The UK government must enforce the law to ban sexist dress rules at work that discriminate against women, MPs say. Their report follows the experience of London receptionist Nicola Thorp, who was sent home from work in December 2015 for not wearing high heels. Her parliamentary petition on the issue gained more than 150,000 signatures. MPs also heard from women asked to wear shorter skirts and unbutton blouses, and of dress codes detailing nail varnish shade and hair root color.

Supreme Court declines to review Utah anti-bigamy statute

The US Supreme Court on Monday denied a petition for certiorari from Kody Brown and his four wives, famous for their reality television show Sister Wives. They were challenging the constitutionality of a little-used Utah statute that says bigamy is a third degree felony. They claimed the statute "infringed their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights," and sought a permanent injunction against the state of Utah preventing enforcement of the law. The US Supreme Court's decision to deny the appeal means that the case has no other avenue for appeal.

Not only elite law schools offer great returns on investment

In a study of graduate salary-to-debt ratios, some lower-ranked state schools can also lead to a highly paid job to tackle hefty tuition bills.

Polanski pulls out of Cesars jury after outrage

The film director Roman Polanski has pulled out of this year's Cesars, the French equivalent of the Oscars. His appointment last week to head the jury had outraged women right's groups, who called for a boycott of next month's televised ceremony. The award-winning director has been wanted in the US for decades after admitting to sex with a minor. The "controversy... deeply saddened Roman Polanski and affected his family," his lawyer said.

BMW U-turn over comparison site listings

BMW and its Mini offshoot have caved in to demands to let dealers put their cars on a price comparison site. The U-turn comes as the competition regulator was threatening an inquiry. The pressure is seen as a clear signal to firms that they must not stop the public taking advantage of the power of the internet to find bargains. BMW had put a ban on its dealers using Carwow, which connects car sellers across the country with buyers hunting for the best price. The website appealed to the UK's Competition and Markets Authority, accusing BMW of putting a road block in the way of legal competition.

Philadelphia mayor signs bill banning salary history inquiries by employers

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney on Monday signed a bill into law making Philadelphia the first US city to bar employers from asking applicants about their past salaries. The bill is designed to help decrease the wage gap between men and women, as women on average earn 83 percent of men's salaries. The Philadelphia ordinance allows employees to volunteer information about their salary histories but prohibits employers from asking for a prospective employees salary history.

Doubts arise as investors flock to crowdfunded start-ups

Advocates of a new law that aims to make it easier for businesses to raise capital worry whether investors are getting the information they need. Over the last two years, SeedInvest, which is based in New York, has turned away dozens of companies that wanted to raise money from investors on its site. Some of the companies had what seemed, to Mr. Feit, to be clear red flags for investors, but later showed up on other crowdfunding sites, where they have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from unsophisticated investors. Feit, a 33-year-old graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, went to Washington several times to lobby for a new law that allowed small-time investors to buy stock in start-ups — and then set up one of the first websites that list companies trying to raise money. With the Jobs Act, companies could raise money on sites like Feit's and offer investors an actual ownership stake, with the promise of financial returns — turning crowdfunding into a much more serious business, than, say Kickstarter. And there have been success stories. Companies that have raised money so far have included those that the Jobs Act was hoping to help — businesses far from Silicon Valley or lacking easy access to venture capital. A craft brewery in Austin, Tex., attracted $1 million from investors in just a few months, while an indoor farming start-up in Indiana has drawn over $600,000. Yet advocates of crowdfunding, like Feit, have been expressing concern about the low levels of compliance among many of the early companies that have raised money and the bad terms the companies have offered investors.

KPMG faces probe for role as Rolls-Royce auditor

KPMG faces an investigation for its role as Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC's auditor during the course of Rolls' bribery problems.

Bill seeks to limit Trump on Russia sanctions

A US lawmaker says there is bipartisan backing for a bill to require Congress to sign off on any changes President Donald Trump may make to sanctions against Russia.


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