October 4, 2017 nº 1,910 - Vol. 14

"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have."

Bob Marley

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


  • Top News

King Felipe lays down the law in speech to Catalonia

King Felipe VI told Catalan separatists trying to break up his country that their "unacceptable disloyalty" has no place in any democratic state, as he vowed to keep Spain together. In a televised address to the nation Tuesday evening, Felipe said the regional government has sown division among its own people with its repeated and deliberate violations of Spanish law, and put the economic well-being and social harmony of the whole country at risk. "They have shown an unacceptable disloyalty toward the power of the state," Felipe said. "Today Catalan society is fractured, set against itself." Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is fighting to maintain control after 2.3 million Catalans defied both the central government and the Constitutional Court to cast ballots in a makeshift referendum on independence. Regional police ignored orders to shut down the vote on Sunday. For Felipe, the crisis may be a defining moment of his three-year reign, like the attempted coup which sought to topple his father’s nascent democracy in 1981.

US House votes to ban abortion at 20 weeks

The United States House of Representatives on Tuesday voted 237-189 to approve an abortion bill that would criminalize the medical procedure if performed after the 20 week viability mark. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36), sponsored by Trent Franks (R-AZ), protects patients from prosecution, focusing instead on medical providers who perform abortions outside of the 20-week period, with limited exemptions. (Click here)

  • Crumbs

1 - Amazon and Apple hit by EU tax crackdown. (Click here)

2 - Federal judge blocks Florida abortion counseling law. (Click here)

3 - Wal-Mart buys delivery logistics startup Parcel. (Click here)

4 - Apple faces down Qualcomm and Ericsson over EU patent fees. (Click here)


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  • MiMIC Journal

Hollywood finds Chinese cinemas fudging box-office figures

Hollywood is being shortchanged by millions of dollars at China’s box office, according to a recent audit for the Motion Picture Association of America.


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  • Historias Verdaderas


La italiana Enel SpA busca oportunidades para expandirse en el sector energético de Brasil a través de adquisiciones tras ganar una licencia para operar una importante represa hidroeléctrica. Carlo Zorzoli, el principal ejecutivo en Brasil, aseguró que la compañía analiza presentar una oferta por algunas empresas regionales de distribución de la estatal Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras SA, así como de Light SA. Además consideraba presentar ofertas por licencias de nuevos proyectos de energía eólica.


La embotelladora mexicana Arca Continental cedió los derechos de la marca de agua mineral Topo Chico en Estados Unidos a The Coca-Cola Company por US$ 220 mlls. La segunda embotelladora de Coca-Cola más grande en América Latina había anunciado en agosto un acuerdo preliminar para ceder los derechos de la marca de agua de manantiales que embotella en el norte de México.


Komatsu, la gigante japonesa de maquinaria para la industria, inauguró este una de las plantas de remanufactura de componentes de equipos mineros, una de las más relevantes de la marca alrededor del mundo, el emprendimiento requirió de una inversión por US$ 33 mlls., el desembolso más grande para un único proyecto de Komatsu en Chile en la última década.

  • Brief News

Catalan referendum: Region's independence 'in matter of days'

Catalonia will declare independence from Spain in a matter of days, the leader of the autonomous said. Carles Puigdemont said his government would "act at the end of this week or the beginning of next". Meanwhile, Spain's King Felipe VI said organizers of the vote put themselves "outside the law". Spain could invoke article 155 of the constitution, in effect suspending Catalonia's autonomous powers. He said the situation in Spain was "extremely serious", calling for unity. Hundreds of thousands of people across Catalonia have been protesting over Spanish police violence during the vote, during which nearly 900 people were hurt.

What is, and isn't, considered domestic terrorism

The Las Vegas shooting has again raised questions about domestic terrorism. The Patriot Act provides a definition, but because there are no actual criminal charges, some prefer not to use the term.

France approves tough new anti-terror laws

France's lower house of parliament has approved a new anti-terrorism law intended to bring an end to a nearly two-year-long state of emergency. The law will incorporate several measures first authorized under the emergency arrangement. They include easier searches of homes and confining individuals to their home towns, without judicial approval. Most people in France approve of the move, but it has been criticized by rights groups. A state of emergency was first introduced after the attacks of 13 November 2015, when militants from so-called Islamic State killed 130 people in gun and bomb attacks in Paris. It has since been extended six times, but there was a consensus that to continue with the state of emergency indefinitely would be undemocratic. (Click here)

Australia PM seeks 14-day detention law for terror suspects

Terror suspects could be held for 14 days without charge in Australia under a push by the nation's government. PM Malcolm Turnbull said the proposal would replace state laws, which specify varying periods of detention. Most do not currently allow 14 days. The government also wants to make it illegal to possess terror-related "instructions", such as bomb manuals. Turnbull will seek support from state and territory leaders at a national security summit this week. "The aim is to have consistent pre-charge laws to enable somebody who has been charged to be detained and questioned up to 14 days," Turnbull said "There is no place for set-and-forget with national security."

Did Trump's White House staff break the law by using private email?

Allegedly, least six members of Trump's White House team used private email accounts to discuss government business. The president's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, along with daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump, former chief strategist Stephen Bannon, former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and advisers Stephen Miller and Gary Cohn, used personal email accounts to conduct White House business. Hillary Clinton called this the "height of hypocrisy," since Trump spent much of his campaign calling for her to be locked up for her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state. But is it actually illegal for White House staffers to use private email to conduct government work? Most agree that we don't know enough to draw any definitive conclusions. But former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti told me it could be "a violation of a non-criminal law called the Presidential Records Act unless they forwarded all of the private emails to their public accounts within 20 days." That 20-day mark will become extremely significant if the reports are proven accurate. If private email correspondence was forwarded to public accounts within this window, there is virtually no chance of criminal charges. If not, everyone above could face legal issues. Another potential crime has to do with the sharing of classified information. According to Lisa Kern Griffin, a law professor at Duke University, "If classified information was transmitted over personal accounts, that may have compromised national security." Since we don't yet know what was discussed on these private emails, this remains an open question.

EU court to examine latest rule on US data storage and privacy

Europe's top court will decide whether to ban a widespread legal tool that companies employ when they store data about Europeans on US soil—the latest legal skirmish over what firms can do with the vast trove of information they are collecting on users. Two years ago, the European Union’s Court of Justice struck down a popular data-transfer mechanism that allowed information on individuals to be shifted relatively easily between the US and Europe. That decision sent companies scrambling to rewrite legal contracts that would keep them in compliance with the ruling, without jeopardizing revenue that relied on that data flow. Now, the same court will hear whether the standardized language in those contracts goes far enough to protect Europeans’ privacy. An Irish court Tuesday asked the high court to make the call. The referral sets up the broadest challenge yet to the practice—common especially among big US firms like Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc., and Apple Inc.—of storing data collected on Europeans back in the US Such data includes things like web-browsing habits and geolocation records. Privacy activists argue the US government’s ability to obtain legal access to personal information held by some companies in the US amounts to mass surveillance that is prohibited under EU treaties. The US argues its laws are proportionate and targeted.

Washington expels Cuban diplomats over 'acoustic attacks'

The US has expelled 15 Cuban diplomats, saying Havana failed to protect US diplomats from mysterious acoustic attacks. Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez called the move "unacceptable". The Department of State move follows last week's US withdrawal of more than half of its own diplomats from the Cuban capital. Nearly two dozen US personnel have suffered unexplained ill health in the city. "The decision was made due to Cuba's failure to take appropriate steps to protect our diplomats in accordance with its obligations under the Vienna Convention. This order will ensure equity in our respective diplomatic operations," US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said. The Cuban diplomats have been given seven days to leave.

Yahoo 2013 data breach hit 'all three billion accounts'

Yahoo has said that all of its three billion user accounts were affected in a hacking attack dating back to 2013. The company, which was taken over by Verizon earlier this year, said an investigation had shown the breach went much further than originally thought. The stolen data did not include passwords in clear text, payment card or bank account data, it added. Previously the internet giant had said "more than one billion" of its accounts had been hit. Yahoo said that while its latest announcement did not represent a new "security issue" it was sending emails to all the "additional affected user accounts".

Russian-bought Facebook ads 'seen by 10 million in US'

An estimated 10 million people in the US saw Facebook adverts bought in Russia before and after the US presidential election. The company published the numbers in a blog post as it turned over 3,000 Russian-bought ads to federal investigators on Monday. It said most ads focused on "divisive social and political messages" on issues like immigration and gun rights. Russia has denied trying to influence the election.

Companies face 50m euro fines in Germany for hate speech

A law has come into effect in Germany requiring social media companies to remove "obviously illegal" posts or pay fines of up to 50m euro. Companies with more than two million German users will have 24 hours to remove posts containing hate speech or other criminal material. The law is among the toughest of its kind in the world. Critics have said the law's tight time limits are unrealistic and may lead to accidental censorship .UK told the United Nations General Assembly last month that tech giants must go "further and faster" to remove extremist content. Along with France and Italy, she is calling for a target of one to two hours for censors to remove illegal material. German MPs voted for the Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (NetzDG) law in June after a series of high-profile cases of fake news and hate speech being spread on social media sites in the country.

Tech giants spread misinformation about Las Vegas shooting

Facebook, Google spread misinformation about las vegas shooting. What Went Wrong? The platforms promoted the name of a man falsely accused of being the shooter by surfacing less-credible sites. Posts from a 4chan messaging board that falsely identified the gunman as an individual who was not involved were circulated online. Google says the posts only appeared in its Top Stories section if users searched for the erroneous name. Facebook said it took down the posts within minutes. The companies say they're working on fixes, but analysts say the challenge is massive.

Atlanta unanimously votes to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana

The Atlanta City Council on Monday unanimously approved an ordinance decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana within the city limits. Following the path of other cities, the council approved, by a 15-0 vote, Ordinance 17-O-1152 to make the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana a non-jailable offense that results in a fine of seventy five dollars without the possibility of incarceration.

Europe 'to bill Amazon for Luxembourg back taxes'

Amazon is facing a bill for hundreds of millions of euros in back taxes linked to an alleged "sweetheart" tax deal with Luxembourg. The European Union's competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager is expected to announce a recovery order later. It follows a three-year investigation into tax arrangements between the US online retailer and Luxembourg. In a preliminary ruling the commission said the deal "constituted state aid". Such a move by the European Commission (EC) would be similar to a 13bn euros bill it levied against US technology giant Apple last year for Irish back taxes. Europe claimed that Ireland had given Apple, which employs around 4,000 people in the Republic, illegal state aid through special tax arrangements. Apple is appealing against the ruling. The tax deal between Luxembourg and Amazon was struck in 2003.

Uber determined to make things right

Uber has said it is "determined to make things right" following a meeting with London's transport commissioner to discuss the loss of its license. A spokesperson for the taxi-hailing app said the meeting was "constructive" and that it hoped to have more discussions. Transport for London said talks "centered on what needs to happen to ensure a thriving taxi and private hire market in London". Uber's licence expired on Saturday but its drivers can continue to operate in the capital while it pursues an appeal. TfL said the meeting was about a market "where everyone operates to the same high standards".

ACLU sues to increase access to abortion pill

The suit filed Tuesday challenges a longstanding regulation allowing the abortion pill to be dispensed only at a medical facility under the care of a certified provider.

Ford chief outlines investment shift away from passenger cars

The executive, Jim Hackett, told investors that the company would focus development on trucks, S.U.V.s, and electric or self-driving vehicles.


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