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Israel: Amendment Allows Forced Sale of Assets of Monopolies That Threaten Competition

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(Jan 26, 2015) On November 17, 2014, the Knesset (Israel's parliament) passed an amendment to the Restrictive Trade Practices (RTP) Law. (RTP (Amendment No. 16) Law, 5775-2014, SEFER HAHUKIM [Book of Laws, the official gazette] No. 2476, p. 33, amending the RTP Law, 5748-1988, LAWS OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL [LSI] 135 (5748-1987/88), as amended, up-to-date version available from NEVO LEGAL DATABASE (by subscription) (in Hebrew).)

The RTP Law generally prohibits the operation of restrictive Business arrangements carried out in the absence of judicial approval and proper registration. (RTP Law, ch. B.) A restrictive arrangement is defined as "an arrangement made ... according to which at least one of the parties imposes a restriction on himself which is liable to prevent or to reduce business competition between himself and all or some of the other parties ... [or with] a person who is not party to the arrangement." (Id. § 2(a).)

The RTP Law generally defines a "monopoly" and a "concentration group" (under additional specified conditions and as appropriate), as the concentration of more than half the total supply or the total acquisition of assets, or of more than half the total provision or total acquisition of services, by one person (for a monopoly) or by a limited group of persons (for a concentration group). (Id. §§ 26 & 31B (a).)

The RTP Amendment Law authorizes the Restrictive Business Practices Court, established under the RTP LAW, to force a monopoly or a member of a concentration group whose practices have been found to cause or to constitute a threat to business competition or to the public to sell its assets. (RTP Amendment Law, adding §§ 30A(a) & 31C(b1) to the RTP Law.)

Author: Ruth Levush More by this author
Topic: Competition and antitrust More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Israel More about this jurisdiction

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Turkey: New Individual Income Tax Rates, Blacklist of Taxpayers with Large Amounts of Unpaid Taxes

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(Jan 26, 2015) Turkey's Ministry of Finance published new rates for individual income tax on December 30, 2014, in the country's official gazette. The amounts and rates are as follows:

Taxable income (in TRL)/Tax on lower amount/Rate on excess over the minimum income in each category:

Up to 12,000 (about US$5,120)/ 0/15%;

From 12,000 - 29,000 (about US45,120 - $12,372)/1,800 (about US4768)/20%;

From 29,000 – 106,000 (about US$12,372 - $45,223)/5,200 (about US$2,219)/27%;

Over 106,000/25,990 (about US$11,088)/35%.
(Emrah Ferhatoglu, Turkey: Individual Income Tax Tables Updated, TAX NEWS SERVICE (Jan. 7, 2015), International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation (IBFD) online subscription database.)

For income other than employment income, the tax and tax rates are the same as those for employment income for incomes up to TRL29,000, but the tax is TRL5,200 for non-employment income between TRL29,000 and TRL66,000, with a tax rate on the portion over TRL29,000 of 27%, and TRL15,190 (about US$6,481) on income over TRL66,000 (about US$28,158), with a 35% rate levied on the amount above TRL66,000. (Id.)

The national income tax in Turkey is thus levied at progressive rates on individuals' net annual income; no local income tax is imposed. (Turkey: Individual Taxation, IBFD Tax Research Platform (last updated Nov. 15, 2014), IBFD online subscription database; Gelir Vergisi Kanunu [Income Tax Law], Law No. 193 (Dec. 31, 1960, as last amended Dec. 30, 2014), MEVZUAT online legal database.)

The Ministry of Finance also made public, on December 27, 2014, a blacklist of taxpayers whose unpaid taxes and fines exceed TRL100 million. The list includes "the taxpayer's name, business name, tax identification number, the type of economic activity, the accrued tax and the fines claimed by the tax administration." (Emrah Ferhatoglu, Turkey: Blacklist of Taxpayers Published, TAX NEWS SERVICE (Jan. 7, 2015), International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation online subscription database.) A total of 14,247 individual and corporate taxpayers are named on the list, which appears on the Ministry's website, and some public enterprises and municipalities are also listed. (Id.) Publication of the blacklist is authorized under the Tax Procedure Law, which also allows the Ministry to make public a list of the country's top 100 taxpayers with their consent. (Id.; Vergi Usul Kanunu [Tax Procedure Law], Law No. 213 (Jan. 4, 1961, as last amended Feb. 19, 2014), MEVZUAT online legal database.)

Author: Wendy Zeldin More by this author
Topic: Income tax More on this topic
 Taxation More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Turkey More about this jurisdiction

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Pakistan: Punjab Province Criminalizes the Glorification of Terrorism

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(Jan 23, 2015) On January 20, 2015, Pakistan's Punjab provincial government promulgated an amendment to a maintenance of public order ordinance that criminalizes expressions of support, sympathy, and glorification of terrorism. (Punjab Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance, No. 31 of 1960, amended by Punjab Maintenance of Public Order (Amendment) Ordinance 2015 (Amended Ordinance), PUNJAB LAWS.) The amending ordinance appears to address speeches or views expressed in the media or any public forum which glorify or sympathize with terrorist organizations. (Intikhab Hanif, Punjab Bans Glorification of Terrorists, DAWN.COM (Jan. 21, 2014).)

Section 6-A, which was inserted by this amendment to regulate speeches, stipulates that "[a] person shall not, by words spoken or written, or through visible representation, directly or by implication":

(a) support, propagate or promote,

(b) evoke or attempt to evoke sympathy or compassion for,

(c) project, commend or glorify,

(d) challenge, thwart, undermine or oppose any action of any law enforcement agency against, or

(e) jeopardize any ongoing security operation against any terrorist, act of terrorism, terrorist organization, or proscribed organization. (Amended Ordinance, § 6-A (1).)
A person who contravenes the new section is punishable with imprisonment for up to three years and a fine. (Id. § 6-A(2).) Another section was inserted to authorize the head of a local area police station to direct an organizer of a public meeting or gathering to submit audio or video recordings of all speeches made at the public meeting. (Id. § 8-A.) Failure to do so could result in up to six months of imprisonment and a fine. (Id. § 8-A(3).)

Author: Tariq Ahmad More by this author
Topic: Freedom of speech More on this topic
 Terrorism More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Pakistan More about this jurisdiction

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Sri Lanka: Constitutional Amendment to Be Implemented

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(Jan 23, 2015) Sri Lanka's Prime Minister, Ranil Wickramasinghe, stated on January 21, 2015, that the country will implement the 13th amendment of its Constitution. The amendment has been long pending, and the Tamil National Alliance, a political party of the Tamil people, a minority located largely in the Northern Province, has demanded that it be implemented. (Will Implement 13th Amendment Within a Unitary State: Ranil, COLOMBO PAGE (Jan. 21, 2015).)

The 13th amendment, originally certified on November 14, 1987, states that Tamil will be one of Sri Lanka's official languages and that provincial councils, with substantial authority, will be established throughout the country. It also said, however, that these councils would be established at various times, as determined by the President. (Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution (1987), SOUTH ASIA TERRORISM PORTAL; Introduction to the Web Version of the Constitution [with links to text as amended through Dec. 20, 2000], PRESINFORM [official website of the Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka].)

In addition to this announcement that the amendment would be implemented, Sri Lanka's President, Maithripala Sirisena, replaced the military officer who was the Governor of the Northern Province with a civilian. This was seen as a gesture of good will to the Tamil community. (Will Implement 13th Amendment Within a Unitary State: Ranil, supra.) The move, together with the plan to implement the 13th amendment, was also welcomed by political leaders in Tamil Nadu, the Indian state closest to Sri Lanka. (Tamil Nadu Parties Welcome Sri Lanka's Announcement on 13th Amendment, ECONOMIC TIMES (Jan. 21, 2015).)

Author: Constance Johnson More by this author
Topic: Constitution More on this topic
 Racial and ethnic relations More on this topic
 State and local government More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Sri Lanka More about this jurisdiction

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Japan: Act on Protection of Specially Designated Secrets

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(Jan 23, 2015) The Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets (SDS Act) that was promulgated on December 13, 2013, became effective on December 10, 2014. (Act No. 108 of 2013, Japanese Ministry of Justice online database (in English).) Under the Act, the head of an administrative organ designates secrets that satisfy the following requirements as SDSs. Those that:

  • have information on the matters set forth in a table appended to the Act divided into four groups: defense, diplomacy, prevention of specified harmful activities, and prevention of terrorist activities;
  • have not been disclosed to the public; and
  • if disclosed without authorization, risk causing severe damage to Japan's national security and that therefore must be kept secret. (Id. art. 3, ¶ 1; Cabinet Secretariat Preparatory Office for Enforcement of the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets, Overview of the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets, Cabinet Secretariat website (last visited Jan. 20, 2015).)
Effective Period of Designation as an SDS

The head of an administrative organ may also specify the effective period of such a designation, not exceeding five years. The period is renewable for up to a total of 30 years. If it is necessary to ensure the safety of Japan and its people, the head of the administrative organ may keep extending the period for another 30 years, with the approval of the Cabinet. The period of designation as an SDS can be extended further upon approval of the Cabinet if the information concerns cryptology, human intelligence sources, or other matters as specified in the Act or in a Cabinet order. The head of an administrative organ must terminate the designation before the expiration of the effective period if the information no longer meets the designation requirements. (SDS Act, art. 4.)

Record-Keeping

The head of an administrative organ must make and keep records of the SDS designations and mark the documents or electric recordings of SDSs. (Id. art. 3, ¶ 2.) The head also must determine the scope of officials who handle SDSs, from among those who have passed a security clearance. (Id. art. 5, ¶ 1.)

Provision of SDSs to Other Agencies or Contractors

Provision of copies of SDSs is limited to specified cases under the Act. When it is necessary for Japan's national security, the head of an administrative organ that keeps the SDS may provide it to other administrative organs. (Id. art. 6.) The head of an administrative organ may also provide an SDS to an eligible contractor. The types of SDSs that can be provided to eligible contractors are, however, limited and specified in a list attached to the SDS Act. The contract between the administrative organ and the contractor involved must have provisions on the scope of the contractor's employees permitted to handle SDSs and other necessary measures to protect the SDS. (Id. art. 8.) In these two cases, the administrative organ that receives SDS and the eligible contractor must take necessary measures to protect SDSs and assign SDSs only to officials or employees who are authorized to handle them and have passed security clearances. (Id. arts. 6, 8, & 11.)

An administrative organ is also allowed to provide SDSs to foreign governments or international organizations when they take necessary measures to ensure the protection of the SDSs. (Id. art. 9.) There are several other instances in which the provision of an SDS is allowed under the SDS Act.

Standards

The Act requires the government to formulate standards to ensure uniform implementation in connection with the designation and termination of SDSs and the security clearance process. (Id. art. 18, ¶ 1.) The Cabinet issued the necessary standards on October 14, 2014. (Tokutei himitsu no shitei oyobi sono kaijo narabini tekisei hyoka no jisshi ni kanshi toitsuteki na unyo o hakaru tame no kijun [Standards on Designation, Termination and Proper Evaluation of SDSs to Ensure Uniform Implementation], Cabinet Decision (Oct. 14, 2014), Cabinet Secretariat website.)

The Council for Protection of Information, comprised of non-governmental experts, was consulted when the Cabinet formulated the implementation standards and makes an annual report on the implementation of SDSs to the Prime Minister. (SDS Act, art. 18, ¶¶ 2 & 3.) The Cabinet Committee for Protection and Oversight of SDSs within the Cabinet oversees the designation and termination of SDSs and supervises administrative branches in accordance with the implementation standards. (Id. art. 18, ¶ 4.) Within the Cabinet Office, a position entitled the Independent Public Records Management Secretary was created. The Secretary verifies and oversees the appropriateness of designations of SDSs. (Id. Supp. Provisions, art. 9.) A public prosecutor was appointed as the first Secretary. (Mr. Takafumi Sato for the Independent Public Records Management Secretary = Public Prosecutor, Who Supervises Administration of the SDS Act, JIJI PRESS (Dec. 10, 2014) (in Japanese).)

Penalty Provisions

Violators of the Act face upon conviction a penalty of a maximum of ten years of imprisonment. If a person who is engaged in handling an SDS discloses, without authorization, that SDS which he/she has come to know in the course of performing the duty, he or she is punished with a term of imprisonment of not more than ten years and a fine of not more than ten million yen (about US$100,000). (Id. art. 23.) The same penalty applies to anyone who acquires an SDS by an act of deceit, assault, or intimidation; by theft or destruction of property; by trespassing on a facility; through interception of wire telecommunications; by unauthorized computer access; or by any other act that violates the control of a person who holds an SDS, for the purpose of using that secret to promote the interest of a foreign country, for illicit personal gain, or to cause harm to Japan's safety or to the lives or persons of its citizens. (Id. art. 24.)

Author: Sayuri Umeda More by this author
Topic: Documents More on this topic
 National security More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Japan More about this jurisdiction

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