October 2, 2017 nº 1,909 - Vol. 14

"Students need models more than they need critics."

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


  • Top News

Supreme Court to open a whirlwind term

If last year's Supreme Court term was so dry of interesting cases that it looked like a desert, this term already looks like a tropical rainforest. And the justices are only halfway to filling up their docket. Already scheduled are major test cases on a raft of controversial issues such as partisan gerrymandering, privacy in an age of technology, sports betting and much more, including a case that pits the right of a same-sex couple to buy a specially created wedding cake against the right of a cake creator and his bakery to refuse. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently predicted the term will be "monumental." It will be the first full term with the court's newest justice, Neil Gorsuch, on the bench. It will also be a term undoubtedly marked by increasing speculation about Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement plans. In many of the most hotly contested cases that reach the court these days, Kennedy's vote determines the outcome because the court is so closely and ideologically divided. (Click here)

US antitrust law is not broken

Current US antitrust doctrine uses the effects on consumer welfare to evaluate whether a merger or business practice is anti-competitive. That makes a lot of sense. Competition is supposed to benefit consumers, by giving us more for our money. Monopoly power, by contrast, increases profits by keeping prices artificially high. But Amazon drives down prices and Google and Facebook give services away for free. (They've also depressed ad rates.) So the focus on consumers is too narrow for ambitious progressives. "We're trying to agitate a move away from a consumer welfare approach … towards an approach that looks at a variety of factors that I would argue represents a more reality-based understanding of how competition works," Lina M. Khan, the author of an influential Yale Law Review article on the subject. As listed in the congressional Democrats' new economics platform, those factors might include just about anything people don't like: "whether mergers reduce wages, cut jobs, lower product quality, limit access to services, stifle innovation, or hinder the ability of small businesses and entrepreneurs to compete." It continues: "In an increasingly data-driven society, merger standards must explicitly consider the ways in which control of consumer data can be used to stifle competition or jeopardize consumer privacy." Democrats also pledge to shift the burden of proof, so that mergers would be presumed impermissible. Instead of the government raising potential problems. companies would have to show that combining “will benefit the economy across these metrics before a merger can be approved. This would have the immediate effect of slowing consolidation, but it would also solve the administrability problem that might arise if questions about a merger's impact on, say, labor markets were left to the government to evaluate." The goal is to have new antitrust legislation ready to enact the moment Democrats regain control of Congress and the White House, whenever that may be.

  • Crumbs

1 - Bayer sells further stake in Covestro for 1 billion euros. (Click here)

2 - Senate Republicans say they will not vote on health bill. (Click here)


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  • MiMIC Journal

China shuts down North Korean companies

The move from Pyongyang's biggest ally means that all North Korean companies in China will be closed.

China disrupts WhatsApp ahead of Communist Party meeting

The messaging service WhatsApp has been disrupted in China as the government steps up security ahead of a Communist Party meeting next month. Users have faced problems with the app for more than a week with services dropping in and out. At times, it has been completely blocked and only accessible via virtual private networks (VPNs) which circumvent China's internet firewall. WhatsApp is Facebook's only product allowed to operate in mainland China. Facebook's main social media service and its Instagram image sharing app are not available on the mainland. (Click here)

Siemens and Alstom form European train giant to beat Chinese competition

Germany's Siemens will combine its train unit with Alstom of France, showing how the threat from China is pushing the Continent together even as populist politics try to pull it apart.


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  • Brief News

At the center of the Equifax mess: its top lawyer

The board of directors at Equifax is reviewing the actions of Chief Legal Officer John J. Kelley in connection with executives’ sales of stock after the company discovered its data security had been breached.

Germans celebrate first gay marriag

Two men have become the first gay couple to marry in Germany, on the day gay marriage became legal there. Karl Kreile and Bodo Mende, a couple for 38 years, exchanged their vows at the town hall in Schöneberg, Berlin. Registry offices in several German cities were opening, unusually, on Sunday to allow couples to wed on the first day it was legally possible. Getting married will give gay couples the same tax advantages and adoption rights as heterosexual couples.

Volkswagen diesel emissions fixing bill hits $30bn

The diesel emissions cheating scandal will cost Volkswagen an extra $3bn, because engines are proving "far more technically complex and time consuming" to adapt the company said. The additional cost, for fixing engines in the United States, takes the total bill to $30bn. Two years after the problems first emerged, Volkswagen is still struggling to put the crisis behind it. Separately Munich prosecutors made an arrest in connection with the scandal. News of the additional financial burden from dealing with vehicles in the United States underlines the difficulty the company is having extricating itself from the scandal. (Click here)

Catalans support secession from Spain in vote boycotted by opponents

The leaders of Catalonia said voters in the Spanish region voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence in a referendum that was boycotted by opponents and marred by violence, putting Spain on the brink of a political and constitutional crisis.

The excess of lawyers is a burden on society

In 2014, the population of attorneys in the US surpassed 450,000 and law schools add over 34,000 new lawyers yearly.

European Commission releases guidelines for detecting and removing illegal content online

The European Commission on Thursday released a set of guidelines and principles for online platforms to detect and remove illegal content online. The guidelines consider a variety of illegal online content, including terrorism-related material, illegal hate speech, child sexual abuse material, and material related to trafficking in human beings, in addition to violations to intellectual property, illegal commercial practices online, and online activities of a defamatory nature.

Brazil offshore oil drilling rights draw interest at auction

The bidding, the first of nine rounds, was considered a test of confidence in government policy as well as the industry’s appetite for exploration.

Austrian ban on full-face veil in public places comes into force

Legislation banning full-face Muslim veils in public spaces has gone into effect in Austria. The government says the law, which says faces must be visible from the hairline to the chin, is about protecting Austrian values. It comes ahead of a general election later this month which could see gains by the far-right Freedom Party. Muslim groups have condemned the law, saying just a tiny minority of Austrian Muslims wear full-face veils. The law bans Muslim veils such as the burka or niqab, but also places restrictions on the use of medical face masks and clown makeup. An estimated 150 women wear the full burka in Austria but tourism officials have expressed fears that the measures will also deter visitors from the Gulf. (Click here)

FAA restricts drones near national landmarks

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a new regulation Thursday restricting drone flights near 10 major national monuments and sites, including the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore. The regulation will take effect October 5, but there are exceptions to the rule that must be cleared by the individual site and/or the FAA. There will be an interactive map available to those visiting the sites to ensure they are aware of the restricted locations. Those who violate the regulation will be potentially subject to possible civil fines or criminal charges.

OJ Simpson released on parole from Nevada jail

The former American football star and actor OJ Simpson has been released on parole after nine years in a Nevada jail. He had been serving time for armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and 10 other charges over a 2007 confrontation at a Las Vegas hotel. Simpson was approved for early parole release at a board hearing in July. The 70-year-old has been released from the facility and will face restrictions - including up to five years of parole supervision.

Trump calls N Korea talks waste of time

The US president tells his secretary of state to "save your energy" when dealing with Pyongyang.

Ryanair backs down over passenger rights for cancellations

Ryanair has bowed to regulator demands and spelled out more options on offer to passengers affected by its planned flight disruption. It has avoided possible legal action by emailing those affected by more than 20,000 flight cancellations. On its site, Ryanair acknowledges it is required to offer those on cancelled flights full refunds or comparable tickets on rival carriers. Civil Aviation Authority said Ryanair had "capitulated".

France aims to get real: retouched photos of models now require a label

The goal is "to avoid the promotion of inaccessible beauty ideals and prevent anorexia among young people," said France's former health minister.

Vietnam fraud trial: 51 ex-bankers found guilty

A Vietnamese Court began issuing verdicts and sentences Friday in an ongoing anti-corruption case for members of Ocean Bank, with former CEO Nguyen Xuan Son being sentenced to death for embezzlement. Other sentences include life in prison for Ha Van Tham, former Chairman of Ocean bank. The 51 officials and bankers who stood trial were accused of mismanagement leading to losses of USD $69 million. The charges implicated dozens of the men down the ranks, targeting accountants and branch managers.

South Africa court: political parties must disclose sources of private funding

The Western Cape High Court in South Africa on Wednesday ruled that parliament must amend the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to compel political parties in South Africa to disclose the sources of their private funding. (Click here)

EPA announces launch of Smart Sectors program to reduce unnecessary regulations

The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday announced the creation of the Smart Sectors program to "re-examine how the EPA engages with industry in order to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden, create certainty and predictability, and improve the ability of both EPA and industry to conduct long-term regulatory planning while also protecting the environment and public health." The EPA identified 11 different industries that will be the initial focus of the program: aerospace; agriculture; automotive; cement and concrete; chemical manufacturing; construction; electronics and technology; iron and steel; oil and gas; ports and shipping; and utilities and power generation.

Saudi Arabia to allow women to drive

Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud on Tuesday announced by decree that the country will grant women driver's licenses beginning next June. The order was broadcast though Saudi Arabia's state television channel and would allow women the legal right to drive. The country is the only nation to outright forbid women from driving in any capacity due to the guardianship laws JURIST op-ed] in connection with cultural and religious beliefs associated with Sharia Law. (Click here)

  • Weekly Magazine Review

Inside Donald Trump’s Latest Battle Against the NFL

Spanish Police Smash Into Catalan Polling Stations

Business Week
Bannon's Back and Targeting China

The Economist
Europe's new order: The spotlight shifts from Germany to France

Der Spiegel
Die Schulz Story

Ultima Spiaggia.


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