August 30, 2017 nº 1,900 - Vol. 14

"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."

 Anais Nin

Read Migalhas LatinoAmérica in Spanish every Tuesday and Thursday. Visit the website at


  • Top News

DOJ is investigating whether Uber broke the law against foreign bribery

Uber just picked a new chief executive, but the tide of bad news facing the Silicon Valley transportation company isn't letting up. The company confirmed Tuesday that the Department of Justice is probing whether managers broke US laws prohibiting bribery of officials in foreign countries. Uber is cooperating with the investigation. The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. The DOJ didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. The federal bribing investigation is striking in one respect: Large multinationals, such as Walmart and Halliburton, are more commonly the subject of bribery investigations. Silicon Valley startups rarely face this type of scrutiny. The probe may reflect an aggressive international strategy pursued by the company's ousted chief executive Travis Kalanick. Under the hard-charging Kalanick, the Uber expanded to 77 countries in just eight years. The case is also the latest in a long litany of travails confronting the company's presumptive incoming chief executive, Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. (Click here)

No, Sept. 1 isn't deadline for hurricane-damage claims under new Texas law

As floodwaters rose in Houston this week, warnings started to spread on social media: File insurance claims by Friday, or potentially forfeit some of what you've got coming to you. The dire references were to a new Texas law set to take effect on Friday. Among other things, it reduces the penalty insurers pay if they stall claims during a lawsuit. The penalty was adopted in the 1990s as an incentive for property insurers to process claims quickly. The new law shrinks the penalty to 10 percent from 18 percent, shrinking policyholders' leverage with it. It sounds like one more setback for homeowners, just when their insurance policies are probably stuck in file cabinets drenched by the record-breaking rainfall.

  • Crumbs

1 - Two lawsuits challenge Trump transgender military service ban. (Click here)

2 - Burger King launches WhopperCoin crypto-cash in Russia. (Click here)


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  • MiMIC Journal

China's markets can't agree on how good its economy is

China's financial markets are sending conflicting signals about the health of the world's No. 2 economy, where a strengthening currency, buoyant stocks and soaring commodities contrast with the pessimism popular among the country's bond investors.

Chinese man charged over US data breach

The Chinese national is alleged to have helped buy malicious software used in big data breaches.

Has China hit 'peak sharing'?

Chinese customers are sharing bikes, basketballs and even umbrellas. But is this a boom or a marketing bubble?

China web users debate new rules on online identity

Chinese social media users have been debating new rules requiring internet platforms to verify a user's true identity before letting them post online content. The new rules were issued on 25 August by the Cyberspace Administration of China. They will take effect on 1 October. China already has laws requiring firms to run identity checks on net users, but the new guidelines may require identity cards to be scanned online.


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  • Historias Verdaderas

Matrimonio igualitario

La presidenta chilena Michelle Bachelet envió al Congreso el proyecto de ley de matrimonio igualitario que contempla la adopción de menores por parte de parejas homosexuales. (Presione aquí)

Ley de ruptura

El Gobierno de Cataluña no recurrirá la ley de ruptura presentada por las fuerzas independentistas hasta que sea admitida a trámite por la Mesa del Parlamento. El Ejecutivo aplica el mismo criterio que ya empleó con la Ley del referéndum y sostienen que "no tiene sentido" actuar ahora porque mientras no se tramite el texto es un mero anuncio sin consecuencias jurídicas. (Presione aquí)

  • Brief News

Ninth Circuit questions scope of travel ban

A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Monday questioned the Justice Department lawyer representing the Trump administration in a hearing over the executive order restricting immigration from certain countries. Popularly known as the "travel ban," the Trump administration policy restricts refugee and general travel from six predominantly-Muslim nations in the stated-interested of national security. Though the Supreme Court defined what was permissible under the program, there continues to be disagreement between the administration and opponents, including over who has a "close familial relationship" to a US person or "close, documented" ties to a US entity. When government attorney Hashim Mooppan argued that grandparents should not fall within the scope of close familial relationships, Judge Ronald Gould countered, "what universe does that come from?" (Click here)

VW engineer jailed for emissions scandal

A former Volkswagen engineer who helped develop a device that enabled cars to evade US pollution rules has been sentenced to more than three years in prison and ordered to pay $200,000. James Liang, 63, was the first person prosecuted in the emissions scandal. The US investigation has led to charges against seven others in the US and sparked probes in other countries. Volkswagen has admitted guilt, agreeing to spend as much as $25bn to address US claims. Liang co-operated with prosecutors, who argued that his help with the investigation warranted a reduction in the possible punishment to three years in prison and a $20,000 fine. But US District Court Judge Sean Cox opted for a harsher penalty of 40 months and a $200,000 penalty, saying he wanted to send a message to others in the car industry. "This is a very serious and troubling crime against our economic system," he said. In a memo submitted to the court last week, prosecutors acknowledged that Liang did not "mastermind" the plan, but argued that he abdicated his responsibility to speak out. They wrote: "Unless individual actors are also punished, future corporate employees and contractors may be tempted to justify their criminal behavior as just 'doing their jobs' or 'following orders'. "Sentencing Liang to a three-year term of imprisonment will deter others from making similar rationalizations."

US tax reform: tough task for Trump

Changing the US tax system will be very hard for Trump, says a former leading adviser to the White House. Trump is expected to outline more of his thinking on such changes on Wednesday, after making the idea a cornerstone of his election campaign. Jason Furman, the former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to President Obama said Trump had a tough job on his hands. "Reform has winners and losers, and often the losers feel the pain in a very specific concentered way, the winners are more diffuse and that makes it easier for the losers to organize," Prof Furman said. "Also I think there are some benefits to tax reform but I don't think they are so huge that it absolutely has to happen." Republicans are promising to stimulate investment and create jobs. But steps to undo tax dodges may not produce the intended economic lift.

India Supreme Court: privacy a fundamental right

A nine-judge panel of the Supreme Court of India ruled Thursday that privacy is a "constitutionally protected value." The ruling could have drastic consequences for the government—particularly the country's biometric identification program, Aadhaar. The judgment outlined the history of privacy and fundamental rights, not only in India but other countries as well. The court overruled two previous court rulings on privacy and stated that privacy is a "constitutional core of human dignity." (Click here)

Colombia's Farc begins first congress

Delegates meet in Bogota to choose a new name for the group, which will become a political party.

Guatemalan president orders out UN anti-corruption investigator

Guatemala's president has ordered the expulsion from the country of the head of the UN anti-corruption mission. President Jimmy Morales ordered Iván Velásquez Gómez's immediate removal in a video message released on Sunday. The Constitutional Court quickly halted the order, but Morales said it did not have the power to overrule his decisions on foreign affairs. The UN agency has backed calls for the removal of Morales' political immunity. Guatemalan prosecutors accused Morales of funding irregularities in the 2015 election.

N Korea threatens further Pacific action

North Korea says a missile fired over Japan was the "first step" in military operations in the Pacific.

Debt-laden see credit card limits raised

In the UK, one in five people struggling with debts has seen their credit card limit automatically increased - a higher proportion than for cardholders in general, a charity has claimed. Citizens Advice said 18% of those struggling financially had seen the limit increased without request, compared with 12% overall. It wants a ban on increases without a cardholder's explicit consent. The regulator has estimated that 3.3 million people are in persistent debt.

UN rights committee urges Russia to address hate speech

A periodic report published on Friday, the UN's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination expressed concern about the racist speech used by politicians and neo-Nazi groups in Russia. According to the report, such speech often targets Central Asians, the Roma, migrants and people of African descent. While the report found that racist violence has decreased, it still remains a problem in sports. The UN also stated that the Russian police continues to profile ethnic minorities, and the Russian media still promotes racist stereotypes. The committee wrote, "Racist hate speech is still used by officials and politicians, especially during election campaigns, and remains unpunished." The committee recommended prosecuting hate speech by both neo-Nazi groups and politicians who use such speech in their campaigns. They also recommended having law enforcement officials undergo anti-racism training. (Click here)

Venezuela assembly approves treason trials for opposition

Venezuela's new constituent assembly has voted to put opposition leaders on trial for treason. The assembly said it would pursue those it accuses of supporting US economic sanctions against the country. Washington approved the measures last week in response to what it called the "dictatorship" of Maduro, who has accused the US of trying cripple Venezuela's economy amid an ongoing economic crisis.

Britain looks to address inequality with executive pay measures

Proposals aim to increase transparency and raise pressure over C.E.O. compensation, but critics argue that they do not go far enough.


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