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It's the largest regional trade agreement in history, encompassing 12 Pacific Rim nations, 800 million people, and 40 percent of global GDP. It took years of negotiations and a special act of Congress before terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership could be finalized on Monday.

The TPP could significantly change how business is done from the Straight of Magellan to Kuala Lumpur. That is, if it makes it through. The agreement faces strong opposition from environmentalists, unions, human rights advocates, and, as of Wednesday afternoon, Hillary Clinton. Here's what you need to know about the TPP:

A government shut down over Planned Parenthood has been averted. Yesterday, Congress went to the brink of shutting down the federal government over Planned Parenthood funding and pulled back at the last minute. But the compromise could only be temporary, according to The Washington Post. And of course, there's always the possibility that another political disagreement could lead to a funding impasse in the future and subsequent shutdown.

What is in-house counsel to do when the government shuts down?

For years, Volkswagen sold millions of cars designed to evade environmental controls. The company installed "defeat device" software which cheated emissions tests and disabled pollution controls when its diesel cars were on the road, allowing them to release 40 times the legal pollution limits. And they would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for those meddling environmentalists!

It's safe to say that Volkswagen's emissions fraud has been a complete disaster -- and not just for the environment. VW's weak position in the United States is bound to become even weaker and the company's stock lost almost a quarter of its value. Now VW must recall millions of vehicles, face up to billions in fines, and possibly face criminal prosecution. Here's what you can learn from Volkswagen's debacle.

Get ready to do some math, in-house counsel, or at least to call up the accounting department. The Securities and Exchange Commission has finally adopted a CEO pay ratio disclosure rule, five years after Dodd-Frank imposed the disclosure mandate.

The new executive pay ratio rule is complicated and, for some companies, sure to be embarrassing. But, the SEC promises, it will help shareholders have a "say on pay" and might delay -- or ignite -- the coming income inequality-inspired revolution everyone from Thomas Piketty to billionaire hedge fund managers are warning about. Here's what in-house counsel need to know.

California dreams are often more like nightmares for many in-house counsel. In-house counsel have a largely negative view of the state's litigation and regulatory climate, according to a new survey by the law firm Archer Norris.

In-house lawyers perceive litigation as a greater risk in California than other states. The state's legal environment is "hella burdensome," they claim.

If you're in-house in a heavily regulated industry, you know that government rulemaking can have a major impact on your business' day to day practices. But you don't have to be handling toxic waste or private medical records to have a stake in government regulation. Even a medium sized company may want to influence white collar overtime rules or Affordable Care Act regulations, for example.

In order to influence government rulemaking, you need to know how it works. Here's a quick overview:

Get ready for expanded overtime. In the upcoming month, the Department of Labor is expected to release new Fair Labor Standards Act rules which are expected to greatly expand the number of employees eligible for overtime. The FLSA requires that employees who work more than 40 hours a week be paid time and a half for any overtime.

For decades, that overtime requirement has been applicable only for lower-paid employees. Under the new rules, the salary cap will go up, allowing millions of salaried workers to qualify for overtime for the first time. GCs should be ready for the change.

The federal government doesn't usually get much praise from privacy advocates. Whether it's the NSA's mass data collection program, or Homeland Security's collection of facial recognition data, there's plenty of skepticism when it comes to the federal government and privacy.

But, if there's one agency that has gained the respect of privacy advocates, it may be the Federal Trade Commission. Over the past decade the FTC has evolved into America's primary "privacy cop," pursuing actions against companies that have fallen short of their privacy promises, violated consumers' privacy rights, or failed to keep sensitive data secure.

Comcast-Time Warner Merger Slightly More Doubtful

The merger between Comcast and Time Warner may have hit some rocky shoals, The New York Times and other outlets have been reporting all weekend. Sources inside the Justice Department, which has the final say over whether merger would go through, are skeptical of the deal because it would give the new company "just under 30 percent of the country's pay television subscribers" and "an estimated 35 to 50 percent of the nation's broadband Internet service," according to the Times.

That's got regulators concerned, despite Comcast's protestations that the deal is really in consumers' best interest.

OSHA Fines Ashley Furniture $1.7M for Workplace Safety Violations

Federal agencies keep on trucking with hefty fines for breaking laws: $70 million from Honda, $300 million to the EPA -- at this rate, we'll pay off the national debt. (Just kidding.)

Compared to all that, Ashley Furniture's penalty of $1.7 million seems like pocket change. The global furniture manufacturer, with headquarters in Arcadia, Wisconsin, ran afoul of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.