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Last December, 195 nations reached a historic agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change. The Paris Climate Change Agreement marked the most aggressive, concerted action the international community has taken to addressing the climate crisis, but the agreement didn't go into effect automatically. First, it needed to be ratified by at least 55 countries, representing at least 55 percent of global emissions.

That threshold was crossed in early October, as ratification by European countries, India, Canada, Bolivia, and Nepal brought more than 55 percent of global emissions under the agreement's umbrella. As a result, the Paris Agreement will enter into legal effect on November 4th. But what will this intergovernmental accord mean for private businesses?

Bribery costs an estimated $1 trillion a year and U.S. companies that engage in bribery abroad can suffer significant financial penalties under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

But bribery risks aren't spread out evenly; some areas are corruption hotspots, while others are relatively corruption free. Here are some ways to tell the difference.

OSHA has revised its guidance on settlement agreements in whistleblower cases, taking a stricter approach to what provisions can be included in OSHA-approved settlements.

OSHA's new guidance, part of the revisions to its Whistleblower Investigations Manual, parallels efforts by the SEC to combat agreements that could impede employees from reporting violations to the government.

Your company's overzealous protection of its secrets could put it on the wrong side of Dodd-Frank. The Dodd-Frank Act Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed in 2010, sought to make it much easier for employees to report corporate wrong doing. And the SEC has made it clear that company confidentiality agreements that impede whistleblowing can violate that law. Just last spring, the SEC settled one of its first confidentiality-based enforcement actions, claiming that a corporate confidentiality agreement was unlawful "pretaliation."

Now, the SEC has severance agreements in its sights as well. The Commission recently took action against two companies whose pretty standard severance agreements the SEC felt violated Dodd-Frank. It might be time to redo your standard severance agreements before the SEC comes your way, too.

Federal agencies, that fourth branch of government, have been increasing regulation and enforcement actions in the past years, expanding readings of federal employment laws, targeting individual corporate officers, and even inching closer and closer to institutions once considered "too big to jail." And as government enforcement becomes increasingly robust, many old lessons are starting to change.

To help you stay on top of it all, here are our top pieces on recent government litigation and enforcement trends, from the FindLaw archives.

Do your protective orders, settlement agreements, and confidentiality provisions constrain information that might otherwise be reported to the government? Well, the feds would like you to knock it off.

In March, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration became the newest federal agency to bar gag provisions and confidentiality requirements that might prohibit information gained in litigation from being shared with the federal government. NHTSA now joins the SEC and OSHA in barring gag clauses and anti-whistleblowing provisions.

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser All But Kills Mega-Energy Merger of Pepco-Exelon

It looks like the very expensive deal that was set to create the nation's largest utility just about got killed thanks to some rather unexpected developments in which District of Columbia mayor Muriel Bowser withdrew her support, according to the Associated Press. The proposal is "not in the public interest," said she.

Bowser and other interested parties are facing a ticking clock. The general skeleton of a new deal must be fleshed out by March 11. And with $250 million already in the hole, Exelon is unlikely to take this bump in the road lying down.

On January 16th, the International Atomic Energy Agency verified that Iran had met its nuclear commitments to the United States and Europe. With that, years of economic sanctions against Iran were suddenly relaxed.

But if your business is rushing to open its first office in Tehran, you'll want to tell them to slow down. Here are three things you need to know about doing business with Iran, post-sanctions.

The Paris climate accords, agreed to in December by 195 nations, are one of the largest economic and environmental policy advancements in recent decades. The accords marked the first time that all countries have agreed to reduce climate change causing greenhouse emissions. The accords also committed nations to a global temperature rise of 3.6 degrees, just enough to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

The impact of businesses can be seen throughout the accords, and we're not talking climate change denying fossil fuel companies here. Instead, large businesses were immensely supportive of climate action -- though not as supportive as some civil society groups would want. Here's the impact big business had on the climate accords.

The Department of Justice filed its first charges against Volkswagen on Monday. In a civil complaint filed in the Eastern District of Michigan, the Justice Department alleges that Volkswagen repeatedly and illegally violated the Clean Air Act by installing "defeat devices" on its so-called clean diesel vehicles. Those devices allowed the cars to cheat emissions tests and release air pollution at much higher rates than allowed under the Clean Air Act.

The case could lead to civil fines of costing tens of billions of dollars. But that's just the opening salvo in the government's response to the VW emissions scandal and does not foreclose the possibility of criminal charges against Volkswagen executives sometime in the near future.