September 11, 2017 nº 1,903 - Vol. 14

"There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be, all you need is love."

 The Beatles

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  • Top News

US House unanimously passes driverless vehicle bill

The US House of Representatives on Tuesday approved legislation to allow self-driving cars into the marketplace. The Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research In Vehicle Evolution Act will allow 100,000 autonomous vehicles into the market as long as they meet the federal regulation standards. The purpose of the bill is to speed up the testing of automation and determine the requisite safety standards, which have had issues in local courts. This legislation would prevent states from blocking or adding requirements that are not in accordance with those set forth in the guidelines. The bill would also establish a council and mandate a review of the data collected from these 100,000 vehicles to determine the best regulations and safety features. Additionally, the bill would require manufacturers to ensure the safety regulations also included cyber security measures: "A manufacturer may not sell, offer for sale, introduce or deliver for introduction into commerce, or import into the United States, any highly automated vehicle, vehicle that performs partial driving automation, or automated driving system unless such manufacturer has developed a cybersecurity plan." Manufactures would also be required to have a written privacy plan to ensure automated vehicles to not violate the rights of the owners or occupants. The plans and the information collected from the council will be made available to consumers before they purchase the vehicles. The measure now goes to the senate for approval.


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  • MiMIC Journal

China looks at plans to ban petrol and diesel car

China, the world's biggest car market, plans to ban the production and sale of diesel and petrol cars and vans. The country's vice minister of industry said it had started "relevant research" but that it had not yet decided when the ban would come into force. "Those measures will certainly bring profound changes for our car industry's development," Xin Guobin said. China made 28 million cars last year, almost a third of the global total. (Click here)

Exiled Chinese billionaire seeks US asylum

Guo Wengui is seeking asylum in the US after months of accusing Chinese officials of corruption.


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  • Brief News

Equifax slammed after major data breach

US lawmakers attacked credit report giant Equifax after the company revealed that 143 million US customers may have had their information stolen. Two Congressional committee chairmen said they would hold hearings into the data breach, one of the biggest ever reported in the US. Several state prosecutors also said they would investigate. Shares in Equifax dropped by almost 14% on Wall Street as investors weighed up how the incident would affect the firm. Rep Jeb Hensarling, who leads the House Financial Services Committee, said: "Every breach leaves consumers exposed and vulnerable to identity theft, fraud and a host of other crimes, and they deserve answers." That committee and the commerce committee will hold hearings.

Slavery checks not fit for purpose at UK firms

UK businesses are running the risk of employing forced labor because they do not know enough about their staff, researchers have warned. Firms are realizing that often they do not fully trace the backgrounds of workers, a study found. It means their checks are not "fit for purpose" to uncover modern slavery. The government said further changes for businesses might be needed. It comes after a warning last month that modern slavery and human trafficking in the UK was "far more prevalent than previously thought".

Sarbanes-Oxley, bemoaned as a burden, is an investor's ally

Corporate chiefs are pushing Congress to repeal a provision on internal controls. But a study shows just how effective it has been.

Intel scores a victory in Europe

Intel has won a point in its antitrust battle with the European Commission — and the American technology industry as a whole may be feeling a little victorious as well. The Court of Justice of the European Union ordered a lower court on Wednesday to re-examine the 1.6 billion euro, or nearly $1.3 billion, fine imposed on Intel in 2009 for abuse of its dominant position in the computer chip market. The decision is a setback for the European Union antitrust authorities who have been investigating American tech giants like Google and Qualcomm.

For struggling consumers, a cheaper way to file for bankruptcy

A nonprofit has developed an online program designed to help struggling consumers prepare a chapter 7 filing without a lawyer.

Pope Francis addresses violence against women

Pope Francis has condemned "verbal and physical violence towards women" and called for "respect" while addressing large crowds on a visit to Colombia. The pontiff said that the Bible celebrates women who are strong and influential. "How many women, in silence, have persevered alone?"

North Korea requires a global response

Nato's general secretary, Jens Stoltenberg, has said North Korea's nuclear program "is a global threat and requires a global response". But he refused to say whether an attack on the US overseas territory of Guam would trigger the military alliance's collective defense pact. Article 5 of the Nato treaty says that an attack against one member is considered an attack against all. Guam, an island territory of the US in the Pacific Ocean, is a key military outpost and has been the subject of heated rhetoric from Pyongyang.

Iraqi Kurds 'prepared to draw own borders'

The president of Iraqi Kurdistan has signaled it will draw the borders of a future Kurdish state if Baghdad does not accept a vote for independence in a referendum due later this month. Massoud Barzani said he wanted to reach an agreement with the central government if Kurds opted to secede. Iraq's prime minister has rejected the referendum as unconstitutional. Barzani also warned the Kurds would fight any group that tried to change the "reality" in Kirkuk by force. Kurdish Peshmerga forces have taken control of the oil-rich city, which has large Arab and Turkmen populations, and other areas claimed by Baghdad over the past three years while driving out the jihadist group Islamic State.

Batista arrested after lawyers send prosecutors the wrong tape

A Brazilian billionaire at the centre of a corruption case involving President Michel Temer has handed himself in to federal police officers in the city of Sao Paulo. A Supreme Court judge accused the tycoon, Joesley Batista, of hiding evidence he was obliged to provide as part of a plea bargain agreement. Temer denied the allegations and said he was an unreliable witness. Batista is the head of the world's largest meat-packing company, JBS. He made a secret recording of Temer in May in which the president apparently admitted paying bribes to influential Brazilian politicians. The tycoon made a deal with the prosecutor's office.

BNP Paribas loses £35m UK tax avoidance case

French bank BNP Paribas has lost a case in the UK which has seen it pay back £35m in tax. A tribunal ruled in favor of Revenue & Customs, which said the bank tried to use a tax avoidance scheme involving share dividends. BNP Paribas said it "respects the decision" and had paid the tax in full before the tribunal was heard. The bank added it would not appeal the ruling, which dealt with a transaction dating back to 2005. BNP Paribas was accused by HMRC of avoiding tax by using a scheme known as "dividend stripping". It involved the bank trying to get an exemption from tax by claiming an artificial loss on the purchase and sale of dividends, according to HMRC.

Turkish court orders release of opposition spokeperson

A Turkish court released a Peoples' Democratic Party parliamentarian Thursday, according to a HDP statement. Parliamentarian Ayhan Bilgen is the former speaker of the HDP and has been jailed over allegations of terrorism. This release follows a "Conscience and Justice Watch" at the Constitutional Court to protest and demand action for those they believed were unjustly and unlawfully imprisoned.

Spain Constitutional Court suspends Catalan referendum

The Spanish Constitutional Court on Thursday suspended the Catalan independence referendum. The Catalan Parliament, the region's ruling coalition, passed the referendum law on Wednesday despite recent tensions between the coalition and the Spanish government. The rapid action taken by the court forbids the Catalan Parliament from ignoring or avoiding the court's suspension, appointing election officials, creating any record-keeping system for the referendum vote or taking any action geared towards promoting the referendum. (Click here)

Australia High Court allows same-sex marriage survey vote

The Australia High Court on Thursday unanimously dismissed a legal challenge to a same-sex marriage postal survey, thereby allowing the general public to vote directly on whether same-sex marriage should be legalized. The focus of the legal challenge to the survey was more on a financial level than on a social level. The challenge to the postal survey was brought forth by proponents of marriage equality and concerned the $122 million appropriated for the purpose of the mail-in ballot. These plaintiffs argued that the government is attempting to fund the survey illegitimately by using a special reserve of the budget which is only to be used for "urgent" or "unforeseen" matters. (Click here)

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Firsts: Women Who Are Changing the World

Hurricane Irma: Storm Hits Florida

Business Week
We're Going to Need More Lithium

The Economist
Facial recognition: nowhere to hide

Der Spiegel
Alles wird (W)Gut

Partito di Minniti


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