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Daily Archives: December 12, 2017

Vard : Tax Claim Cancelled

VARD HOLDINGS LIMITED(Incorporated in the Republic of Singapore)

(Registration No. 201012504K)


Further to the announcement released on 5 August 2014entitled “Tax Claim Received“, the Board of Directors of Vard Holdings Limited (theCompany) wishes to announce that the authorities in Brazil have upheld the Company‘sappeal and cancelled the tax assessment.

In the matter relating to the transfer pricing of goods and services delivered from the Company‘sNorwegian subsidiaries to Vard Niterói, and the tax treatment thereof, the Brazilian authorities have ruled that the original claim was without substance. This decision cannot be appealed any further and is thus definite.

No provision had been made for the tax claim as an unfavorable assessment was deemed to be highly unlikely. Hence, the decision does not have any material impact on the financial accounts of the Company.



Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer 13 December 2017

Vard Holdings Limited published this content on 13 December 2017 and is solely responsible for the information contained herein.
Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 12 December 2017 23:13:02 UTC.

ICOs – a new way of raising money

A new kind of investment offering is emerging that is testing regulators around the world – including New Zealand’s FMA (Financial Markets Authority).

Called ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) or token generation events – these are “investment” offerings where investors put their money into what is usually a startup idea and, instead of receiving shares, receive cryptocurrency or digital “tokens” in return. “Effectively, the investor gets a cryptocurrency or token – that carries a right to use or access the startup’s platform or services (which may not even exist yet) – and more often than not with the hope of a potential increase in their value. These tokens are issued on a blockchain – a digital, distributed ledger,” says Geoff Ward-Marshall, Senior Associate, DLA Piper.

“If you’re lucky, the startup’s idea grows, the platform or services come into existence and the tokens that you invested in become worth more than the initial cash you invested.”

So Initial Coin Offerings are the newcomer on the digital block. They have been around only a few years. According to an article by the Economist (UK) in August, more than $2 billion has been invested these offerings already. In 2017, they have accelerated rapidly in popularity. In June 2017, The Bancor Foundation raised US$150 million via an ICO in just three hours.

“They are both a risk and an opportunity,” says Geoff. “An ICO can be a legally compliant way to fund-raise. A properly run ICO can be an opportunity because it can immediately reach an international audience and can be a highly efficient way to raise capital. They cut out the middleman. You don’t need a broker or access to traditional sources of venture capital funding to launch and run an ICO.”

However, to date, the perception has been that ICOs are entirely unregulated.

“In this sense, then, they can be a risk,” says Geoff. “The perception in certain areas of the cryptocurrency community has been that anyone can raise money through an ICO by simply putting up a website, writing a short technical white paper and waiting for the funds to roll in off the back of a promise that, sometime in the future, the token will have some use or increased value. Because this was not thought to be offering a security, it was seen to circumvent the law.”

Offering securities means complying with the strict legal and regulatory requirements of each country including, typically, registration of the offer and providing disclosure documents and so on.

That “unregulated” perception is now changing.

In July 2017, the US’s SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) cautioned participants and found that many tokens will be a form of security and therefore subject to US securities laws.

“Its analysis was that if any ICO issuer were providing investment opportunities in this way, they should consider themselves regulated by the SEC,” says Geoff. “That meant: you’d need to register and do a full disclosure document in accordance with US laws.”

Singapore was the next to weigh in. The Monetary Authority of Singapore declared that it too considered ICOs securities, and that they were vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist activity, stating: “MAS has observed that the function of digital tokens has evolved beyond just being a virtual currency. For example, digital tokens may represent ownership or a security interest over an issuer’s assets or property. Such tokens may therefore be considered an offer of shares or units in a collective investment scheme under the SFA.”

“Next off the block were the Canadians, who said the same thing. Since then, China has banned ICOs outright and South Korea is looking to limit them to institutional investors only,” says Geoff. “The Chinese have always been worried about capital outflow. If you can make capital move through a crypto currency, it’s hard to track and control.”

At the end of September, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) issued a guidance paper requiring ICOs to operate within regulation, but recognising that the particular regulations in which an ICO might operate may change dependent upon the circumstances of each token.

In October, the New Zealand FMA issued commentary for ICO issuers, cryptocurrency exchanges and ICO investors. In November, NZ’s FMA warned against investing in a teenager’s ICO.

“There are legitimate and non-legitimate organisations in New Zealand looking at undertaking or investing in ICOs and providing exchange services for cryptocurrencies,” says Geoff. “Following the themes laid down by their international peers, the FMA has made it clear that ICOs will come under a regulatory umbrella under the FMCA (Financial Markets Conduct Act) if the tokens being offered are a “financial product” under that regime.

So creators of ICOs here need to approach their offers with similar caution as Australian and other offshore issuers.”

“Whether or not an ICO is regulated will depend on the nature and economic substance of the token. Not all tokens will need to be regulated. The key message from the FMA is that New Zealand is open for cryptocurrency business provided that it is carried out properly and in accordance with the law – the FMA wants to get involved at an early stage with ICO proposals.

Geoff also believes that ICOs have the ability to create real opportunities in New Zealand. “They’re innovative. We can expect that digital currency and blockchain innovation will continue to push the boundaries of regulation in the near future. The country – and the world – needs this innovation to continue. But caution should be applied by both issuers and investors so that the applicable regulations in New Zealand and wherever else the tokens are offered are understood and complied with” he says. “The securities law analysis is just part of it, thought also needs to be given to compliance with anti-money laundering, privacy and money transfer laws in New Zealand and elsewhere.”

Geoff is currently working, together with DLA Piper’s overseas offices, with New Zealand and offshore issuers to ensure that their ICO projects meet the regulatory requirements in their home jurisdictions and wherever they offer their tokens. Based in New Zealand, he is regarded as highly knowledgeable in this area by DLA Piper and its clients internationally.


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Namibia drops among world's good guys

Namibia has slipped four places to 88th on a global index that ranks the countries that contribute to the greater good of humanity.

Namibia’s global contribution to culture was one of the categories that received a high rating. The Good Country Index was created in 2014 and uses 35 separate indicators to examine what benefits countries have on humanity. The information to determine rankings is sourced from the United Nations, World Bank and other international organisations.

Information is categorised in seven broad themes: science and technology, culture, international peace and security, world order, planet and climate, prosperity and equality, health and well-being. Namibia scored fairly high in the category for culture (42nd out of 163) and for science and technology the country was ranked 66th.

For its contribution to international peace and security, Namibia was rated 89th, health and well-being 96th, for, planet and climate 103rd, world order 106th, prosperity and equality 136th.

The aim of the index is to show which countries are “a net creditor to mankind, a burden on the planet, and something in between,” reads the report. The Netherlands emerged as the world leader on the index and a look at the top ten countries suggests that overall European countries make the world a better place, specifically Scandinavian countries.

Along with the Netherlands, the top ten spots are occupied by countries in Europe, including Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway.

The top-ranked country outside of Europe is Canada, which makes an appearance at number 14, followed by Singapore. The US is ranked 25th.

In comparison to other African countries, South Africa scored fairly high on the index and was ranked at number 47, while Kenya ranked 63rd.

Libya and Afghanistan were rated the worst countries.







Corea del Nord, 007 Usa: 'Pyongyang verso guerra biologica'. Kim Jong Un accumula bitcoin

New York, 12 dicembre 2017  – La Corea del Nord non è una minaccia solo per i missili e l’atomica, ma anche per un arsenale adatto a una guerra biologica. Sono gli 007 americani a rilanciare, sì perché lo avevano già lo avevano lanciato alcuni anni fa, l’allarme. 

Pare infatti che il regime di Pyongyang negli anni non abbia solo coltivato la passione nucleare, ma anche batteri di antrace, colera e peste, e che possa arrivare velocemente ad una produzione industriale di agenti patogeni. Secondo il Washington Post, che ricorda come già nel 2006, ben cinque mesi prima del primo test nucleare del Nord, l’intelligence Usa stilò un rapporto, poi inviato al Congresso in cui si parlava dei lavori segreti su un’arma biologica nordcoreana. 

Agli 007 però mancano le prove. “Che i nordcoreani abbiano agenti biologici è noto”, ha spiegato una fonte: “Ma rimane la domanda: perché hanno acquisito materiale e sviluppato le tecnologie ma ancora non hanno prodotto le armi?”. A suo parere le nuove strutture produttive sono ben camuffate all’interno di impianti dell’industria civile.

Il nuovo allarme arriva mentre Corea del Sud, Usa e Giappone hanno dato il via alla due giorni di manovre congiunte finalizzate alla rilevazione di missili nemici. E con le imminenti olimpiadi invernali di PyeongChang in Sud Corea, in programma nel febbraio 2018.

Ma proprio le Olimpiadi invernali potrebbero far spostare le esercitazioni militari di Seul e Washington, a causa della sovrapposizione tra i due eventi.

Sempre nell’ottica di regime, che vuole una Corea del Nord forte militarmente, a Pyongyang si è tenuta l’ottava edizione della “Conference of Munitions Industry” finalizzata a esaminare “traguardi ed esperienze” raggiunti negli armamenti e di discutere le misure per “accompagnare lo splendore” dell’industria della difesa, salita al rango di potenza militare nucleare grazie “al patriottismo e all’irriducibile spirito di offesa” del leader Kim Jong-un. L’agenzia Kcna ha precisato che alla conferenza ha partecipato Kim insieme a Thae Jong-su, vice presidente del Comitato centrale del Partito dei Lavoratori, e a scienziati e tecnici che hanno lavorato al successo del missile balistico intercontinentale Hwasong-15, lanciato il 29 novembre. 

Da Washington sembra quasi arrivare una risposta alla Corea del Nord, proprio oggi il presidente americano Donald Trump ha firmato il budget militare che porterà all’esercito Usa 700 miliardi di dollari, in cui sono inclusi i fondi per finanziare il programma missilistico di difesa contro la minaccia rappresentata della Corea del Nord. Anche se il tycoon dovrà attendere che il Congresso abolisca una legge del 2011 che blocca le spese per la difesa Usa a 549 miliardi di dollari. I repubblicani vogliono eliminare il tetto ma solo per le spese militari, mentre i democratici chiedono di togliere il limite ai fondi federali anche per altri settori.

Mentre il mondo guarda alle sorti della crisi tra Corea del Nord e Usa, il leader nordcoreano Kim Jong Un sta esultando per il boom di bitcoin e delle altre criptovalute: non solo per i vertiginosi guadagni fatti registrare quest’anno ma anche per la possibilità di utilizzarli per operazioni anonime in periodo di sanzioni o per convertirli in cash. Secondo la Cnn negli ultimi mesi Pyongyang è stata impegnata ad accumulare bitcoin, chiedendo di pagare riscatti con questa criptovaluta e rubandola con attacchi hacker alle piattaforme di scambio digitali, come accaduto la scorsa estate in Corea del sud attraverso email infettate da virus. 

Non è chiaro quanti bitcoin ed altre criptovalute abbia ammassato Pyongyang ma per Bryce Boland, responsabile tecnologico della società di cybersecurity FireEye con base a Singapore, dice: “è ragionevole presumere un bel pò”.

عمرو أديب: «سنغافورة هتقول لمصر يا ماما» (فيديو)

أشاد الإعلامي عمرو أديب، بالنظام التعليمي الجديد الذي أعلنت عنه وزارة التربية والتعليم، بهدف تطبيقه على المنظومة التعليمية مع بداية العام الدراسي المقبل.

وعلق أديب، خلال تقديمه حلقة اليوم الثلاثاء من برنامج «كل يوم»، المذاع على قناة «أون إي»: «النظام ده لو صح تطبيقه العام المقبل، سنغافورة هتقولنا يا ماما».

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يذكر أن الدكتور طارق شوقى، وزير التربية والتعليم والتعليم الفنى، كشف خلال ندوة مجلس الأعمال الكندى «رؤية جديدة لتطوير منظومة التعليم في مصر»، عن النظام الجديد الذي ستطبقه الوزارة على المراحل التعليمية بداية من العام المقبل، مؤكدًا أن النظام  سيقضي على الإجابة النموذجية، وسيتم تسليم الطلاب «تابلت»، والامتحان لن يكون موحدًا، كما أنه يوفر على أولياء الأمور مبالغ الدروس الخصوصية.

Zimbabwe: l'inquiétante influence de l'armée

Au Zimbabwe, le congrès de la Zanu-PF le parti au pouvoir s’est ouvert sans Robert Mugabe. L’ex-président s’est envolé lundi pour Singapour pour y recevoir des soins médicaux. Un congrès extraordinaire de 4 jours qui s’achèvent vendredi. Et lors duquel Emmerson Mnangagwa doit être confirmé à son poste de président de la Zanu-PF. A cette occasion, les appels se multiplient pour que le nouvel homme fort du pays se démarque de son prédécesseur, en respectant les droits de l’homme et l’Etat de droit. Et notamment restreigne l’influence de l’armée sur le gouvernement.

Le poids des militaires dans ce nouveau gouvernement inquiète de plus en plus. Emmerson Mnangagwa, qui a accédé au pouvoir à l’issue d’un coup de force de l’armée, a déjà nommé deux généraux dans son cabinet. Notamment Perence Shiri, ancien commandant de l’armée de l’air, qui est aujourd’hui ministre de l’Agriculture et de la terre.

Lors de ce congrès, Mnangagwa doit nommer ses deux vice-présidents. Et on s’attend que le général Chiwenga, chef de l’armée, et responsable du coup de force soit nommé vice-président.

Pour le militant des droits de l’homme Dewa Mavhinga les militaires n’ont pas leur place dans un gouvernement civil. « Les militaires doivent respecter les droits de l’homme. Ils doivent retourner dans leur caserne et ne pas intervenir ni en politique, ni dans le maintien de l’ordre. Dans une démocratie, il doit y avoir un pouvoir civil. Ce que nous avons au Zimbabwe est une crise de gouvernance, qu’il faut résoudre par une élection démocratique dans laquelle l’armée n’interviendra pas. »

L’armée aux commandes

Cette influence de l’armée est très préoccupante, estime Dewa Mavhinga. « Mnangagwa a été nommé par l’armée et dépend d’elle, notamment pour sa survie. Cela n’est pas bon ni pour les droits de l’homme, ni pour l’Etat de droits, ni pour la démocratie. C’est pour cela que nous demandons le plus rapidement possible une feuille de route conduisant à des élections démocratiques. »

« Ce congrès va servir principalement à valider les décisions prises par les auteurs du coup d’Etat, valider la présidence de Mnangagwa et ouvrir la voie pour la nomination des deux vice-présidents, estime le militant. C’est Mnangagwa qui nomme, mais il est très clair que cela se fait sous l’influence des généraux de l’armée, car ce sont eux qui détiennent le pouvoir. »

Les militaires dans la rue

Depuis le coup de force, l’armée est toujours déployée dans les rues. Un signe inquiétant selon Philippe Van Damme, ambassadeur de l’UE au Zimbabwe

« Nous espérons que les militaires se retirent le plus vite possible et entièrement de la rue, insiste le diplomate. Bien sûr, il y a eu un problème d’impopularité de la police pour des raisons de corruption, d’abus, etc. Mais on ne remplace pas la police dans la rue par des militaires. »

La crainte désormais est que l’armée soit utilisée pour intimider la population lors des élections présidentielles prévues dans quelques mois.