October 16, 2017 nº 1,914 - Vol. 14

"My wife dresses to kill. She cooks the same way."

Henny Yougman

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


  • Top News

Obamacare was built with the flaws Trump now exploits

Like his predecessor, Trump has been frustrated by lack of action in Congress on Obamacare. Like his predecessor, he has resorted to executive fiat to get around that obstruction. Only instead of frantically trying to save the troubled program, he is yanking out the life-support cords installed by Obama. This week saw two executive actions. With the first, Trump is trying to expand health insurance options outside of the Obamacare exchange for individual insurance plans (which will have the side effect of making on-exchange policies less attractive to healthy customers). The second is even more serious: After threatening it for months, the president has finally ended the cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers, which subsidize the provision of special policies with lower out-of-pocket expenses for people who make less than 250 percent of the federal poverty line. At the very least, this will probably mean a further increase in premiums, and growing instability in at least the parts of the individual market that aren't eligible for subsidies to offset the increase. At worst, especially if it gets bogged down in lawsuits, it may cause insurers to say, "enough is enough," leaving broad areas of the country without any firm willing to sell individual policies through the Obamacare exchanges. While the Congressional Budget Office has issued a delightfully counterintuitive forecast that ending the subsidies could actually increase insurance coverage, there’s little question in my mind that these policies are bad for the exchanges.

Killer drivers to receive life sentences in UK law change

Drivers who kill someone in the most serious cases of dangerous and careless driving will now face life sentences. Causing death by dangerous driving, or death by careless driving while drunk or on drugs, will carry the top-level punishment. Jail terms in cases involving mobile phones, speeding or street racing will now be the equivalent of manslaughter, the Ministry of Justice said. Road safety charity Brake said it was a "major victory" for victims' families. It follows criticism that sentences for those convicted over road deaths were too lenient. The increase will apply to offences in England, Scotland and Wales, but not Northern Ireland, which has separate road safety laws. (Click here)


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  • MiMIC Journal

Chinese app sorry for racist translation

Chinese messaging app WeChat has apologized after its software used the N-word as an English translation for the Chinese for "black foreigner". The company blamed its algorithms for producing the error.

China’s embrace of private investment is getting tighter

On one hand, China enjoys the job growth and efficiency of the private sector. But the government keeps inserting itself into boardrooms. If Beijing moves to take board seats at companies like Tencent and an Alibaba affiliate, it may hamper their deal-making overseas.


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  • Brief News

Trump to end Obamacare subsidies amid strong criticism

Trump will end subsidies to health insurance providers designed to help low income households, as he continues his attempts to dismantle Obamacare. The White House announced the move hours after Trump signed an executive order allowing the sale of health insurance plans which are exempt from some of the law's regulations. The two decisions came after Congress repeatedly failed to repeal Obamacare. The moves were instantly criticized. Several state attorneys general say they'll sue to protect the subsidies that help defray costs for low-income consumers. Many physician groups say they oppose the administration's action. (Click here)

Spanish deadline looms for Catalonia

The leader of Spain's Catalonia region has attended a commemoration less than 24 hours before a Spanish deadline to give his final say on independence. Spain has given him until 10:00 on Monday to clarify whether he has or has not declared independence. If he confirms that he has, he will have until Thursday to withdraw the declaration or Catalonia, which has substantial autonomy, faces the prospect of direct rule from Madrid. The Spanish government regards the self-determination referendum held in Catalonia on 1 October as illegal. The European Union has made clear that should Catalonia split from Spain, the region will cease to be part of the EU. Madrid is, for the first time, invoking Article 155 of the constitution allowing it to suspend a region's autonomy and impose direct rule. (Click here)

Austria set to elect world's youngest leader

Austria's conservative People's Party, led by 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz, is set to win the country's general election, projections suggest. Kurz is on course to become the world's youngest national leader. The People's Party was set to win more than 31%. It is so far unclear whether the Social Democrats or the far-right Freedom Party will finish second. Short of a majority, Kurz's party could seek an alliance with the anti-immigration Freedom Party.

Germany ratifies convention preventing and combating violence against women

Germany formally ratified on Thursday the Council of Europe convention on preventing and comabting violence against women and domestic violence. The so-called "Istanbul Convention" criminalizes violence against women in all its forms. The 81 Articles in the Convention provide substantive law as well as guidance for investigation, enforcement, migration, and international co-operation, among other concerns. The Convention is one step in achieving equality among men and women:

Federal appeals court: no Second Amendment right to sell firearms

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, ruled Tuesday that "a textual and historical analysis of the Second Amendment demonstrates that the Constitution does not confer a freestanding right on commercial proprietors to sell firearms." The plaintiffs in the case were three individuals, John Teixeira, Steve Nobriga and Gary Gamaz, who were joined by Calguns Foundation Inc., California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees and the Second Amendment Foundation, Inc., as interested parties. The individual plaintiffs alleged that a county zoning ordinance in Alameda, California, violated their Second Amendment rights by denying them conditional use permits to open a gun shop near a residential area. The zoning ordinance in question requires "businesses selling firearms in unincorporated areas of the County be located at least five hundred feet away from any of the following: schools, day care centers, liquor stores or establishments serving liquor, other gun stores, and residentially zoned districts."

Uber lodges appeal over London ban

Uber has filed an appeal against the decision by London authorities to deny it a license to operate in London. Last month, Transport for London refused Uber a new private hire license, saying the ride-hailing firm was not fit and proper. TfL said it took the decision on the grounds of "public safety and security implications". The appeal process could take months, during which time Uber can continue to operate in London. (Click here)

The Russia investigations: Facebook makes nice, imbroglio sucks in more tech firms

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg launches a goodwill tour in D.C., more big tech companies are pulled into the imbroglio and the White House weighs its Muller strategy.

Trump calls Iran nuclear deal 'unacceptable,' but leaves US in it for now

"We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran's nuclear breakout," Trump said. Western firms have piled into Iran since world powers agreed to lift sanctions. Now, as Trump deals a blow to that deal, executives must decide whether to stay the course.

New York District Attorney on the defense over handling of Weinstein allegations

Cyrus Vance Jr. decided not to prosecute Harvey Weinstein despite an undercover audiotape of the movie mogul harassing an Italian model. Now Vance is under scrutiny over his handling of the case.

India Supreme Court rules sex with minor bride is rape

The Supreme Court of India ruled Wednesday that sexual intercourse with a girl who is under the age of 18 is rape regardless of the marital status of the girl. Section 375 of the India Penal Code specifies that intercourse with someone under the age of 18 is considered rape. However, Exception 2 to section states that a husband can have intercourse with a girl between the ages of 15 and 18 if he is married to the girl, whether intercourse is consensual or not. The court noted that there are an estimated 23 million child brides in India. Although India's laws require that the minimum age to be married is 18, other laws regarding how child brides and grooms can nullify marriages has in some ways legitimized these marriages in the country.

BASF to buy Bayer units for $7 billion

Bayer hopes that selling some of its crop science operations to its German rival will clear the way for regulatory approval of its $56 billion deal for Monsanto. (Click here)

Windows 10's data collection allegedly violates Dutch privacy law

Microsoft has already caught flak over claims that Windows 10's data collection is still overly aggressive, but it's now facing a direct legal challenge over how it handles your info. The Netherlands' Data Protection Authority has determined that Windows 10 violates the country's data protection law even after tweaks that came with the Creators Update. Allegedly, Microsoft doesn't "clearly inform" you of the type of data it's using and the reasons why that data is needed. Moreover, officials believe that Windows' default settings prevent you from offering true consent to data gathering. Windows defaults to the full data sharing during the installation process, and encourages you to simply accept those terms. Just because you didn't change those settings doesn't mean you gave permission, the DPA said. The regulator also contended that the Creators Update didn't honor some users' existing privacy preferences, and that Microsoft doesn't make it clear that the Edge browser is continuously collecting app and browsing data using the default settings.

The need for Martian law

Scientific discovery is making a Martian Eldorado a feasible dream at breathtaking speed. Last month, China claimed to have developed a “physics-defying EmDrive”, which would allow humans to journey to Mars in weeks. With or without this engine, it seems humans are on the inevitable trajectory to colonize Mars. It is therefore becoming as important to ask what laws will govern humans on Mars as it is to ask whether we could survive on the planet’s surface. Unexpectedly, this may be something that isolation experiments could help with. Settled law on space stations Space law has always supported the position that objects and stations placed on celestial bodies are to remain under national ownership, jurisdiction and control. Private companies or other entrepreneurs cannot therefore have legitimacy or mine these bodies for resources unless they exercise lawful control through a sovereign state. Current rules say the establishment of a space station and the area required for its operation should be notified to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. These would then be under the exclusive jurisdiction of the state where the spacecraft is registered or the state bringing the component parts of the station.

Alphabet is training law enforcement on how to handle self-driving car crashes

What happens when self-driving cars gets into an accident? Alphabet’s self driving car division Waymo has been testing its fleet of robot cars in four states across the country — Washington, California, Arizona, and Texas — and it has started to work with local law enforcement agencies and first responders to figure out what to do after a collision and create new protocols. That includes what a fully driverless car should do when it hears a siren coming toward it — yes, Waymo driverless cars can hear — as well as how police officers, or first responders can access the cars in emergency situations. In a new 43-page report (pdf) that Waymo published Thursday, the company detailed some of its efforts to respond to (and avoid) collisions. Those efforts can be broken up into three parts: How the cars stop in unsafe working conditions; how the cars respond to sirens/emergency vehicles; and what happens after an accident.

  • Weekly Magazine Review

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Harvey Weinstein?

Will Trump Be Impeached, Removed Or Resign?

Business Week
Dollar General Hits a Gold Mine in Rural America

The Economist
Chinese politics: The world’s most powerful man

Der Spiegel
Ich bin nicht arrogant. I sage und tue nur was ich mag. (Macron)



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