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Netherlands: Referendum to Be Held on Surveillance Law

(Nov. 17, 2017) On November 1, 2017, the Electoral Council (Kiesraad) of the Netherlands publicly announced that, based on the more than 384,000 valid signatures received requesting it, a referendum on the Act on Intelligence and Security Services will be held within six months. (Press Release, Referendum over Wiv gaat door [Referendum on Wiv Coming Along], Kiesraad […]

China/Hong Kong/Macau: Penalization of Disrespect for National Anthem Under Tenth Criminal Code Amendment

(Nov. 8, 2017) On November 4, 2017, that the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) adopted an amendment to the country’s Criminal Code to include criminal sanctions, including up to three years of imprisonment, for disrespecting the national anthem. (Amendment (10) to the Criminal Code of […]

Thailand: Ban on Smoking on Beaches

(Oct. 26, 2017) It was reported on October 11, 2017, that the Thai government will ban smoking on 20 of the country’s popular tourist beaches beginning in November. (Thailand Bans Smoking on Beaches, THAI LAW FORUM (Oct. 11, 2017); Smoking Ban Planned at 20 Popular Beaches, BANGKOK POST (Oct. 10, 2017).)  The maximum punishment for […]

Thailand: Amendments to Firearms Law

(Oct. 23, 2017) On October 12, 2017, Thailand’s National Legislative Assembly passed amendments to the 1947 Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, Fireworks, and the Equivalent of Firearms Act (the Act) at the third reading, with 201 legislators in favor, one against, and five abstentions. The amendments, made to keep pace with developments in weapons technology and changes […]

Taiwan: Animal Protection Law Amended

(Oct. 18, 2017) On April 11, 2017, the Legislative Yuan (Taiwan’s main legislative body) passed a number of amendments to the Animal Protection Act. The President of Taiwan promulgated the amended Act on April 26. (Animal Protection Further Enhanced in Taiwan, TAIWAN TODAY (Apr. 12, 2017); Animal Protection Act (Nov. 4, 1998, as last amended Apr. […]

ASEAN/Hong Kong: Negotiations Concluded on Free Trade and Investment Agreements

(Oct. 13, 2017) On September 9, 2017, Hong Kong and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) announced that they had concluded negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and a related Investment Agreement. (Press Release, Hong Kong and ASEAN Conclude Free Trade Agreement Negotiations, Trade and Industry Department of the Government of the Hong Kong […]

United Nations: Treaty Prohibiting Nuclear Weapons

(Oct. 5, 2017) On July 7, 2017, the United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards Their Total Elimination, meeting in New York, adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, by a vote of 122 in favor, one against (the Netherlands), and one abstention (Singapore). (Matthew Santiago, UN […]

Turkey: Bill Authorizing Muftis to Perform Civil Marriages and Amending Civil Registration Rules

(Oct. 2, 2017) On July 25, 2017, the Turkish government submitted draft legislation to the Grand National Assembly (Turkey’s parliament) containing a controversial provision that would grant muftis – Sunni civil servants employed in the country’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) – the authority to perform civil marriages. (Mahmut Bozarslan, Bill Allowing Turkish Muftis to […]

Laos: Draft Resolution on Administrative Courts

(Sept. 11, 2017) It was reported on July 19, 2017, that discussions had been held in Laos on the draft National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee Resolution on Administrative Case Procedure, and that the People’s Supreme Court and the Institute for Legal Support and Technical Assistance (ILSTA) had convened some 30 senior legal experts from all […]

Turkey: More Emergency Decrees Issued

(Sept. 8, 2017) On August 25, 2017, the Turkish government issued two new emergency decrees, numbers 693 and 694. Decree Law 693 continues the pattern in earlier decrees of providing for the dismissal of public servants and the closure of institutions and organizations deemed to be a threat to national security or affiliated with terrorist […]