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Japan may blacklist firms in China, elsewhere aiding North Korea transactions

Japan is considering blacklisting companies based in China or other countries known to be facilitating transactions with North Korea, a Japanese government source said Monday.

In the face of North Korea’s unyielding ballistic missile and nuclear arms development efforts, Japan hopes to take a more efficient approach to cutting off the country’s financial resources by targeting its biggest gateways of foreign income.

With China expected to protest the move, the government will carefully consider the timing and extent of newly imposed unilateral sanctions while monitoring talks toward the adoption of a new U.N. Security Council resolution approving additional sanctions, the source said.

The Japanese government move would target companies involved in helping North Korea evade sanctions, as well as companies employing large numbers of North Korean workers. It is aimed primarily at Chinese firms operating near China’s border with North Korea.

The sanctions would involve freezing the companies’ assets in Japan and forbidding Japanese firms from doing business with them.

According to the source, the government may draft a special law if needed to execute the sanctions.

The move would be in line with the United States, which is investigating several Chinese firms after sanctioning a Chinese trading company and four of its executives in September.

The trading company in the city of Dandong, Liaonang province, along China’s northeastern border with North Korea, was suspected of supporting Pyongyang’s development of nuclear arms.

The sanctioning of companies that employ North Korean workers reflects concern the practice is used to funnel foreign currency into North Korea to fund its nuclear arms and missile development efforts.

Since earlier this year, Japan has been working with the United States and South Korea to urge countries taking in North Korean workers to stop doing so.

North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test — and second this year — on Sept. 9. It has also repeatedly launched or attempted to launch ballistic missiles despite U.N. prohibitions on both activities.

In response, Tokyo has sought to respond to what Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has dubbed “a new level of threat” with a strengthening of existing sanctions as well as novel measures.

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Kshama Sawant Proposes Tax Increase on Investment Firms to Help Fund Social Services

Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant says closing this tax loophole could generate $2 million a year.

Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant says this tax code change could generate $2 million a year. City of Seattle

Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant says she’s found a way the city can generate $2 million a year in new money and make investment managers pay.

As part of the council’s ongoing budget negotiations, Sawant has proposed increasing taxes on international investment management services, which currently pay less in city business license taxes than any other type of business.

City law defines “international investment management services” as investment managers who get at least 10 percent of their income from managing funds based outside the United States. It includes mutual funds and investment funds used for employee benefits and charitable trusts.

The council created the lower rates for those firms in 2009 in an effort to lure Tacoma-based Russell Investments to Seattle.

According to city budget documents, these firms are set to pay .153 percent in city business licensing taxes next year. Sawant’s proposal would increase that to .423 percent, which council staff say would raise about $2 million. Sawant has not yet offered a specific proposal for how to spend that money, but a staffer in her office compared the $2 million to a $500,000 request from the Tenants Union of Washington State and an $875,000 program for survivors of domestic violence. Sawant is likely to request increased funding for those types of programs, as well as homelessness services, in the budget.

The council will discuss Sawant’s idea—and a bunch of others, including Sawant’s proposal to build affordable housing with money previously set aside for a new police precinct in north Seattle—at a budget meeting today. The meeting started at 10:30 am and will continue into the afternoon. It’s live-streaming here and I’m tweeting here.

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Firms urged to get to grips with unfair terms

MORE THAN half of UK businesses don’t fully understand the terms and conditions they impose on customers.

New research from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has found that consumers and businesses could run into unnecessary difficulties given 54 per cent of businesses do not have a firm grasp on the law when it comes to terms.

“We know that the majority of businesses want to do the right thing by their customers, but it’s worrying that many businesses are not familiar with the law,” said Paul Latham, director of communications at the CMA

The CMA research also found that some businesses think a signed contract is final, not realising that they can’t enforce a term against a consumer if it’s unfair. Others may copy terms from larger businesses or competitors, assuming incorrectly that these will be automatically fair and legally binding.

In response the CMA has launched a new campaign to inform businesses about fair and unfair conditions – which are defined as those that give businesses an unfair advantage over consumers, often by reducing their rights or ability to complain.

Worryingly, 18 per cent of businesses admitted they had never heard of rules on unfair terms.

The rules on using unfair terms are set down in the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

Mr Latham added: “We know that the majority of businesses want to do the right thing by their customers, but it’s worrying that many businesses are not familiar with the law.”

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Alberta Renewable Energy Targets Should Be Made Law: Pembina

EDMONTON — Green energy groups have joined an environmental think tank in calling on the Alberta government to legislate firm targets for renewable power.

The Pembina Institute and a number of green energy firms say in a letter to Premier Rachel Notley and others in her government that the province has shown strong leadership in its Climate Leadership Plan.

But the letter says there are questions about how the targets will be enforced and what considerations would lead to a deviation from the targets.

The government is moving to phase out coal-fired power by 2030 and simultaneously triple renewable energy’s share of the power supply to 30 per cent.

alberta renewable energy
Green energy groups have joined an environmental think tank in calling on the Alberta government to legislate firm targets for renewable power. (Photo: Larry MacDougal/The Canadian Press)

The groups that signed the letter are asking the Alberta government to turn that target into law.

The letter says more companies will enter the market if there’s certainty, meaning bids for green energy projects will be lower.

Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips has said an auction-style call for renewable generation proposals will be announced in November.

She has also said support could come in the form of government purchases of renewable energy credits from the projects on long-term contracts, or through “contract-for-differences” agreements that would top-up developer revenue when prices fall.

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Firms in distress fall as Britain holds nerve after vote on EU

British businesses have held their nerve so far since Brexit, with corporate levels of “significant” financial distress falling by 6% over the past three months.

The figures, from insolvency firm Begbies Traynor, also showed that the number of UK businesses in significant financial distress was down 2% compared to the same quarter a year ago.

The construction sector enjoyed the most improved financial health in the three months to October, with saw an 11% drop in firms in significant distress.

The industry has bounced back from the Brexit shock: in July construction activity initially shrank at its fastest pace since 2009. It is set to benefit from recent policy announcements including the £3 billion Home Builders Fund, plans to accelerate construction on public land and use more brownfield sites.

Professional services firms also had a buoyant quarter, with the number of firms in significant financial distress down 10% to 11,745.

Ric Traynor, Begbies’ executive chairman, said: “It is still too early to tell what longer term impact the ‘Leave’ decision might have on the UK economy. Clearly though, the stronger the UK economy becomes pre-Brexit, the better it will be able to withstand any post-Brexit shocks.”

Partner Julie Palmer added law firms and consultancies enjoyed a boost from firms dealing with Brexit. 

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Abu Dhabi Global Market licenses 160 firms

A large pool of companies in the non-financial category has also made ADGM their home base, including law firms, professional and corporate service providers and family offices. (File photo)

A large pool of companies in the non-financial category has also made ADGM their home base, including law firms, professional and corporate service providers and family offices. (File photo)

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Abu Dhabi’s financial centre Abu Dhabi Global Market, or ADGM, has registered and granted licences to 160 companies from a range of industries and sectors.

The financial free zone, which has completed its first year of operation, said the group of first movers comprises financial, non-financial and retail businesses.

In line with ADGM’s strategy of fostering a broad based, thriving and sustainable business community, a large pool of companies in the non-financial category has made ADGM their home base include the law firms, professional and corporate service providers and family offices.

In other key sectors, real estate, investment and holding companies seeking to be close to the region’s business and growth opportunities are also among those who have also chosen ADGM as their hub. Adding to the dynamic mix is a sizable group of retail and hospitality businesses catering to the needs of the financial free zone. This achievement sets another new milestone in ADGM delivering on its ambition to support Abu Dhabi’s economic plan and long-term growth.

The varied consortium of well-established local family businesses and international companies registered with ADGM is testament to the free zone’s commitment to being an open, trusted and well-regulated financial and commercial hub, designed to serve the financial needs of Abu Dhabi and the UAE, said Dhaher bin Dhaher, chief executive officer of ADGM’s Registration Authority. Given its central location, retail businesses increasingly value Al Maryah Island as a highly attractive base and location for sustainable growth.

In making a choice, many companies have attributed the ease of doing business, level of efficiency, a comprehensive range of business offerings and investment vehicles, and adoption of the entirety of common law in legislative framework as some of the fundamental reasons for being attracted to ADGM

The financial zone has established a significant presence in the local and international business and financial regulatory scenes.

ADGM understands what businesses want and has been meticulous in developing a conducive ecosystem that enables local businesses to thrive, regional companies to expand their presence and global entities to access the growth opportunities in the region.

Dhaher says ADGM has been focused on creating a business-friendly and sustainable eco-system where local companies and international entities can grow together. “Through ADGM, businesses have access to and can conduct a wide range of activities to bolster their growth. We also have a supportive framework that meets the needs and requirements of family businesses by safeguarding their assets,” added Dhaher.

Numerous family businesses and individual companies have also set up in ADGM as it provides a supportive framework which allows them to manage family interests and safeguard their assets in the most efficient manner.

He highlighted, “Our registration process is efficient and straightforward. In some cases, we are able to issue licenses to companies within 48 hours of receiving their business registration.”

By Haseeb Haider

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Green companies say Alberta's target for renewable energy should be law

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contents = $(container).html();

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function dropPanelSetUp(data) {
/* buttons should be a dataobject of strings representing IDs
the hide and show functions are expecting IDs so passing a class will result in a

click as the action is assumed for now

the data object should look like this:

{ masterlistener:(string[dom id]),
panel:(string[dom id]),
eventgroup1:{ button:(string[dom id]),
content:(string[dom id]),
on_state_class: ”(string)
eventgroup2:{ button:(string[dom id]),
content:(string[dom id]),
on_state_class: ”(string)
} … etc

The drop panel nodes should be placed so they share the same offset parent as the buttons that activate it.

NOTE: IE8 Got-chya: the ID for the panel is hard coded into the IE8 rouned corners code.
If you have changed the ID for the drop panel and are having trouble with IE8
change the ID in the template string in this function: ie8DropPanel()


var speed = 300,
panel = $(‘#’+data.panel),
buttons = [];

for (var i=1,eg; eg=data[(‘eventgroup’+i)]; i++) {

var bp = $(‘#’+eg.button).position(), //button position
ph = $(‘#’+eg.button).height(), //button height
panelPos = [, bp.left, eg.offset];
on_state_class = eg.on_state_class;




var org =,
speed =,
panel =,
buttons =,
panel_open = isPanelOpen(panel);

for (var i=buttons.length-1, b; b=buttons[i]; i–) {
* b[0] = button DOM object
* b[1] = content DOM object
* b[2] = the display co-ord object:
* [0] = top (int)
* [1] = left (int)
* [2] = offset object
* {x,y}(int,int)
* b[3] = button ID (string)
* b[4] = button ‘on’ class

var button_id = b[3],
same_content = isSameContent(panel,b[1]);

if ( $(org).attr(‘id’) === button_id || $(org).parents(‘#’+button_id).attr(‘id’)){

if(!same_content) {


if (panel_open) {


} else {



} else {





function isPanelOpen(panel) {

return ($(panel).css(‘display’).toLowerCase() === ‘block’);

function isSameContent (panel,content) {

return ($(content, panel).css(‘display’).toLowerCase() === ‘block’);


function movePanel(panel,b) {
// b[0] top, b[1] left, b[2] {x,y}

‘top’: (b[0] + b[2].x)
‘left’: (b[1] + b[2].y)


function showPanel(panel,speed) {


function hidePanel(panel,speed) {

$(panel).slideUp(speed, function() {hideAllContent(buttons);});


function showContent(content, button, btn_class) {

function hideContent(content) {



function hideAllContent(buttons) {

for (var i = buttons.length-1, b; b=buttons[i]; i–) {




return {



var headerNavication = (function($,cw) {

var nav_item_list = $(‘.cw-header .main-nav ul.main > li’),
channel_id_list = ”,

var findChannel = function () {

var winloc = isIE ? document.URL.split(‘/’) : document.documentURI.split(‘/’) ,
channel_id = winloc[3],
sub_chanel_id = winloc.length > 5 ? ‘/’+winloc[4]+’/’ : ”,
reg_sub_find_id = new RegExp(sub_chanel_id,’ig’),
reg_removed_id = /^nav-/i;

for (var i=nav_item_list.length-1,n; n=nav_item_list[i]; i–) {

if ( channel_id === $(n).children(‘a’).attr(‘id’).replace(reg_removed_id,”) ) {
var list = $(n).children(‘ul’).children(‘li’);

if (sub_chanel_id.length > 0) {

for (var j=list.length-1,l; l=list[j]; j–) {

if (reg_sub_find_id.test($(l).children(‘a’).attr(‘href’))) {
} else {
l = false;






findChannel = function () {
return [n,l];

return [n,l];


var init = (function() {
channel = findChannel()[0] || nav_item_list[0];
sub_channel = findChannel()[1];

if (sub_channel) {


if(isIE) {


if(isIE8) {

if ($(‘#handle-header’).attr(‘id’)) {
masterlistener: ‘handle-header’,
panel: (‘drop-panel-container’),
eventgroup1: {
button: ‘btn-newspapers’,
content: ‘panel-newspapers’,
offset: {
x: 5,
y: 0
on_state_class: ‘newspapers-dropdown-on’
eventgroup2: {
button: ‘btn-networks’,
content: ‘panel-networks’,
offset: {
x: 5,
y: 0
on_state_class: ‘networks-dropdown-on’

//need to check state of search radio buttons since firefox doesn’t reset to the default checked radio button
if($(‘.cw-header #radio-btn-yp:checked’).attr(‘id’) != null){
$(‘.cw-header #header-search-form’).attr(‘action’,’’);
$(‘.cw-header #header-search-string’).attr(‘name’,’what’);
$(‘.cw-header #radio-btn-yp’).siblings(‘label’).removeClass(‘selected’);
$(‘.cw-header #radio-btn-yp’).next().addClass(‘selected’);



function highlightSubChannel() {



function clearNav() {

$(channel).css(‘background-position’, ‘bottom right’);


function eventSetUp() {

$(‘.cw-header .main-nav ‘).bind(‘mouseleave’, function(event){

if (isIE) {

if ($(event.relatedTarget).parents(‘.main-nav’).length 0)?”” + value.substring(0,pos) + “” + value.substring(pos, term.length) + “” + value.substring(pos + term.length) + ““:value.substring(0, term.length) + “” + value.substring(pos + term.length) + ““;
scroll: false,
selectFirst: false

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Why UK lawyers should look carefully at US firms

Lawyers in the UK risk being left twiddling their thumbs, as US and new firms increase competition and put a squeeze on top and bottom lines, a report out today has found.

Only three-quarters (75 per cent) of the Top 100 UK law firms reported revenue growth this year, according to figures from PwC, down from eight out of ten (82 per cent) in 2015, while average profit margins have fallen.

The less lucrative marketplace will be a particularly harsh blow to new hires. Firms have been on a hiring spree, with the top 50 boosting their fee earner headcount by 7.6 per cent on average over the course of the year.

Read more: More than half of solicitors are first gen uni-goers

“As confidence returned to the sector last year, firms increased headcount in anticipation of continued improving market conditions,” explained David Snell, partner and leader of PwC’s law firms advisory group. “However, with the market turning out to be more challenging than expected and with increased competition from US firms and new entrants, spare capacity is now an issue for firms.”

According to PwC’s report, UK firms are struggling to keep pace with their US counterparts. While profits per fee earner at UK top tier firms fell by 2.6 per cent, the same metric grew by 2.8 per cent at US top tier firms.

Read more: Justice is blind: Solicitors urged to shake up recruitment

Snell continued: “Despite partner numbers being tightly controlled, spare capacity has increased and is a cause for concern, particularly with the increased uncertainty around Brexit. Workforce management and deployment has remained unchanged for many years and we expect the better performing firms in the future will be those who can improve the agility of their workforce both between practice areas and globally.

“One issue law firms can’t ignore is the need to invest heavily in technology, both to replace old systems and invest in emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI). The successful firms of the future are likely to provide global services supported by virtual collaboration and widespread use of AI.”

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Leading Omani law firm wins international award

The event brought together leading financial and corporate lawyers to celebrate the region’s most standout deals over the past 12 months, stated a press release.

This is the sixth consecutive year that AMJ has won the title.

The annual IFLR Awards recognises the best law firms in each jurisdiction based on high level performance in business law, finance, capital markets, mergers and acquisitions. Winners are selected based on innovation and the complexity of deals completed.

In addition to the country award, AMJ was shortlisted alongside the GCC’s top, global law firms for its work on a number of Oman’s standout deals in the past 12 months. These include the US$6.4bn Orpic Liwa Plastics project financing, the largest project to close in the region in the past 12 months and the Oman government’s US$680mn inaugural sukuk [Islamic bonds], added the release.

Receiving the award on behalf of the firm, managing partner, Mansoor Malik said, “We are delighted with this prestigious award from the industry-leading IFLR following an exceptionally challenging year for Oman and the region.

“Thirty years of experience in Oman has enabled the firm to play a strategic role as adviser to both government and private sectors over the past 12 months. A bold and creative approach to structuring deals and close collaboration with clients has ensured successful delivery of key projects despite the tough market conditions.”

Senior partner, Dr Said Hilall al Busaidy commented, “The firm’s policy of recruiting experienced international lawyers and training the most promising Omani law graduates, creates a degree of in-country value that is unique among law firms in Oman. It allows us to dedicate the legal resources our clients need on any transaction, fast and cost-effectively.”

AMJ is a top-tier, globally-rated, commercial law firm and the largest in Oman. This year, the firm is celebrating 30 years of existence, and involvement in most, ‘first of a kind’ deals and landmark projects that have taken place in Oman and the region.

Its resident team of 44 lawyers includes many of Oman’s most senior and experienced practitioners who are recognised as leaders in their fields. They are able to draw on expertise gained in multiple innovative deals over the past 30 years to respond to changing market conditions and evolving commercial and legal needs of corporate and financial institutions as well as government.

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