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The Global Legal Monitor is an online publication from the Law Library of Congress covering legal news and developments worldwide. It is updated frequently and draws on information from official national legal publications and reliable press sources. You can find previous news by searching the Global Legal Monitor.

Brazil: Ten People Arrested on Suspicion of Terrorism

(July 26, 2016) On July 21, 2016, the Brazilian Federal Police arrested ten Brazilian nationals based on the recently enacted anti-terrorism law. (Lei No. 13.260, de 16 de Março de 2016 [Law 13,260 of March 16, 2016], PLANALTO; Eduardo Soares, Brazil: New Anti-Terrorism Law Enacted, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (Apr. 15, 2016).) They are suspected of preparing to carry out terrorist acts during the Olympic Games now being held in Rio. (Lauro Jardim, Marcio Menasce, & Thiago Herdy, Polícia Federal prende dez suspeitos de preparem atos terroristas durante Olimpíada do Rio [Federal Police Apprehend Ten Persons Suspected of Preparing Terrorist Acts During the Olympics in Rio], O GLOBO (July 21, 2016).)

In a news conference, the Minister of Justice, Alexandre de Moraes, said that the Federal Police had been performing investigative work and detected the beginning of preparations for acts of terrorism. Moraes said the persons who were arrested had taken an oath of allegiance to the Islamic State over the Internet, were planning to buy a rifle (AK 47), and celebrated the recent terrorist attacks in France and the United States. The investigation found evidence the group advocates racial, gender, and religious intolerance and the use of weapons and guerrilla tactics to achieve their goals.  (Id.)

According to article 3 of Law No. 13,260, whoever promotes, creates, takes part in, or provides assistance to a terrorist organization, whether in person or through an intermediary, will be punished upon conviction with five to eight years in prison and a fine. (Lei 13.260, art. 3). Whoever performs acts to prepare for acts of terrorism will receive the same punishment. (Id. art. 5.)

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Singapore/Sri Lanka: Development Agreement Signed

(July 26, 2016) On July 18, 2016, Singapore and Sri Lanka concluded a Memorandum of Understanding on investment by Singaporean businesses in Sri Lanka. The pact was signed by International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, a government agency, and the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development of Sri Lanka; it is the first MOU signed between Sri Lanka and an agency of the government of Singapore. The expectation is that investment from Singapore will help develop the Western Region Megapolis in Sri Lanka. (Sri Lanka, Singapore Ink Agreement to Develop Western Province, COLOMBO PAGE (July 18, 2016).)

Tan Soon Kim, Assistant Chief Executive Officer of IE Singapore, who signed the MOU for his country, stated, “[g]iven its accelerated growth, the Western Region Megapolis is a good first stop for Singapore companies to consider when doing business in Sri Lanka.” (Id.) He added that the agreement is a good platform for partnerships. (Id.)

According to Nihal Rupasinghe of the Sri Lankan Ministry, the Megapolis project is expected to create an “urban transformation” in the area of the capital city, with many investment opportunities. He stated that the MOU will increase cooperation between the Ministry and IE Singapore, making it easier for investors from Singapore to “participate in Sri Lanka’s growth.” (Id.)

The sectors open to investment from Singapore include:

  • master planning, urban design, and investments in industrial and tourism development zones;
  • port-related development and logistics services and infrastructure to build an Aero-Maritime Trade Hub;
  • technology for development of smart city infrastructure; and
  • development of the Central Business District of Colombo, including the restoration of historic buildings and strengthening the transport infrastructure. (Id.)

Megapolis Project

The Western Region Megapolis is a development plan initiated by the Government of Sri Lanka with the goal of tripling per capita income in the region; it is estimated that there will be 142 projects in the area over the next 15 years and that their value will be about US$40 billion. The target is an annual growth rate of 7-8% for the next four years. (Id.) The plan was submitted to the country’s President, Maithripala Sirisena, on December 30, 2016. (Megapolis Development Plan Presented to President, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka official website (last visited on July 22, 2016).) Sirisena said that all government offices will be involved in implementing the plan, noting that “[e]very ministry, department and government officer should fulfill their responsibilities in that regard, considering it as a prominent task.” (Id.)

The development plan for the Megapolis includes a trade hub, a central business district with at least 60 high-rise towers, a science and technology city, and rapid transit to alleviate traffic congestion. It is estimated that 2.1 million jobs would be created by instituting the plan. (Munza Mushtaq, Sri Lanka’s $40bn ‘Megapolis’ Plan Is Bold – but Achievable?, NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW (Mar. 10, 2016).)

Criticism of the Project

A spokesman for a former Sri Lankan President criticized the plan, noting that “[a]nyone can draw up beautiful and flamboyant proposals, but eventually it depends on commitment and enthusiasm for a project.” (Id.) He also disparaged the 15-year timeline, stating that the country needs to “set out something where targets are achieved yearly and not blankly in 15 years.” (Id.) Other points of concern over the viability of the project are Sri Lanka’s economic difficulties and the lack of assured financing to carry out the plan, together with the political “vulnerability” of the country. The current administration has been in power for only half a year. (Id.)

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China: Cyberspace Administration Releases New Rules on Mobile Apps

(July 26, 2016) On June 28, 2016, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) released a set of new rules regulating mobile Internet application programs (apps).   (Yidong Hulianwang Yingyong Chengxu Xinxi Fuwu Guanli Guiding [Administrative Provisions on Information Services of Mobile Internet Application Programs] (Provisions), CAC website (June 28, 2016); English translation available through Westlaw China online subscription database.)

The Provisions take effect on August 1, 2016, the same day another set of new rules, issued by the CAC on June 25, regulating Internet search services, takes effect.  (Laney Zhang, China: Cyberspace Administration Requires Paid Search Results to Be Marked, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (July 20, 2016).)  All “information services provided via apps” and “app store services” provided within the territory of the People’s Republic of China are subject to the Provisions.  (Provisions, art. 2.)

The Provisions set out requirements for mobile Internet app providers  and mobile Internet app stores.  App providers and app stores must not use apps to endanger national security or disrupt the public order, or to produce, reproduce, publish, or disseminate content banned by laws and regulations, according to the Provisions.  (Id. art. 6.)  The Provisions also require app providers and app stores to cooperate with government oversight and inspection.  (Id. art. 10.)  App stores must file with provincial-level cyberspace authorities within 30 days of launching operations. (Id. art. 5.)

Requirements for App Providers

Under the Provisions, app providers are required to monitor online content and report violations to government authorities.  App providers must ensure that new app users register with their real names by verifying users’ mobile phone numbers and/or other identity information. (Id. art. 7(1).)  China requires telephone users, including mobile phone users, to register their real names by presenting prescribed identity documents, such as Resident Identity Cards or household registration booklets; foreigners are required to present their passports.  (Dianhua Yonghu Zhenshi Shenfen Xinxi Dengji Guiding [Provisions on the Registration of Real Identity Information of Telephone Users] (July 16, 2013, effective on Sept. 1, 2013), art. 7, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology website.)  Therefore, when it becomes necessary, government authorities can easily track down the identities of app users through their mobile phone numbers on file.

App providers must monitor banned content and take action against users that publish banned content, by issuing warnings, restricting functions, stopping updates, or terminating accounts.  They must also keep a record of the violations and report the matters to relevant government authorities. (Id. art. 7(3).)  App providers are required to keep records of users’ activities for 60 days. (Id. art. 7(6).)

In the meantime, the Provisions require app providers to enhance protection of personal data. Under the Provisions, when collecting and using user information, app providers must expressly state the purposes, methods, and scope of information to be collected and obtain user consent. (Id. art. 7(2).)  App providers are prohibited from accessing locations, address books, cameras, or audio recordings without issuing express prompts to users and obtaining user consent. (Id. art. 7(4).)

Requirements for App Stores

The Provisions impose management duties on app stores in regard to app providers.  For example, app stores must verify the legitimacy of app providers and ensure app providers protect user information and publish lawful content.  App stores are required to take action against offending app providers by issuing warnings, suspending their publications, or removing the aberrant apps from the stores.  App stores are also required to keep records of the violations and report them to the relevant government authorities. (Id. art. 8.)

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Japan: Ports and Harbors Act Amended to Encourage More Foreign Visitors from Cruise Ships

(July 25, 2016) The Japanese government has in recent years made efforts to attract greater numbers of foreign visitors.  To that end, the Cabinet established the Tourism-Oriented Country Promotion Cabinet Members Conference in 2013. (Regarding Establishment of the Tourism-Oriented Country Promotion Cabinet Members Conference, Cabinet Consent (Mar. 26, 2013), Cabinet website (in Japanese).) As one part of these efforts, the Ports and Harbors Act has been amended, and the amendment was promulgated on May 20, 2016. (Act to Amend the Ports and Harbors Act, Act No. 45 of 2016, OFFICIAL GAZETTE (in Japanese).)

The number of foreign tourists going to Japan has been increasing over the last few years, and during the first half of 2016, 11.7 million foreigners visited the country, the highest number thus far and representing a 28.2% increase over the number from the first half of 2015. (Foreign Visitors to Japan, Highest Number, 11.71 Million … Spending per Person Decreased, YOMIURI NEWSPAPER (July 20, 2016) (in Japanese).) One rapidly increasing category is visitors coming to Japan on foreign cruise ships. (Bill to Partially Amend Ports and Harbors Act, at 1, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism website (last visited July 25, 2016) (in Japanese).)

The government decided to facilitate improvements to Japanese ports to accommodate more foreign visitors arriving by cruise ship. The amendment makes no-interest government loans available for construction costs of port facilities incurred in making ports ready for tourists. (Ports and Harbors Act, Act No. 218 of 1950, amended by Act No. 45 of 2016, art. 55-7 ¶ 2.) In addition, the amendment authorizes port authorities to designate non-profit organizations (NPOs) as cooperative organizations and to promote tourism jointly with them. (Id. art. 41-2.) For example, NPOs and the port authority can host events to welcome tourists arriving by cruise ships. (Id. art. 41-3.)

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Japan: PCB Special Measures Act Amended

(July 25, 2016) An amendment to the Act on Special Measures for Promotion of Proper Treatment of Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) (PCB Special Measures Act) was promulgated by the Japanese government on May 2, 2016. (Act No. 34 of 2016, OFFICIAL GAZETTE (in Japanese).) PCBs, which are ”man-made organic chemicals consisting of carbon, hydrogen and chlorine atoms,” have been shown “to cause a variety of adverse health effects.” (Learn About Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website, (last visited July 25, 2016).) 

The government intends to make sure that the treatment of PCB is done in accordance with the schedule that it had previously established. The amendment obligates owners of waste that contains PCB to take measures to have the PCB properly treated. In addition, prefecture governments now have the authority to collect reports on PCB waste and to carry out on-site inspections. (Notice Regarding Cabinet Decision on Amendment to PCB Special Measures Act (Notice), Ministry of Environment (MOE) website (Mar. 1, 2016) (in Japanese).)

Background on Treatment of PCB

The manufacturing of PCB was banned in 1972. (Id.) Owners of PCB-containing waste must store it following the Standards on Specially Managed Industrial Waste Disposal. The Standards require waste material with PCB to be stored separately, in a manner that prevents leaks, and marked as containing PCB. (Summary of Standards on Specially Managed Industrial Waste Disposal, MOE website (in Japanese) (last visited July 22, 2016).)

For 30 years following the enactment of the ban, there was little progress in establishing facilities that can treat PCB, although some companies established effective methods to treat PCB waste and treated their own PCB waste in the 1990s. (Committee on Evaluating the PCB Waste Disposal Business, Mid-Term Report (Mar. 2003), at 11, MOE website (in Japanese).)

In 2001, the PCB Special Measures Act (Act No. 65 of 2001) was enacted. Based on the Act, the government established five facilities that treat waste with high concentrations of PCB. (PCB Waste Treatment, JESCO (last visited July 22, 2016).) The government planned to process all waste with high concentrations of PCB by 2024, but there is doubt as to whether the process will be completed by that time. (Notice, supra.)

Waste with low concentrations of PCB is treated by waste disposal facilities certified by the Minister of Environment or licensed by prefectural governors under the Waste Management and Public Cleansing Act. The government plans to properly process this waste (i.e., by burning it at a high temperature) through these facilities by 2027. (Toward Completion of Processing PCB Wastes by the Scheduled Time (Apr. 2015), at 1-2, MOE website (in Japanese).)

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