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ISRAEL, LESS TAXES FOR INTERNATIONAL VENTURE CAPITAL FUNDS

International venture capital funds with offices in Israel may in future pay lower income taxes. According to a decree issued yesterday by the Israeli Tax Authority, these funds can now pay an income tax based on capital gains, instead of a fixed rate of 10% -15%.
The new legislation should encourage foreign investors to consider investments in Israel, according to Oz Halabi, member of the New York branch of the Israeli law firm Pearl Cohen Zedek Latzer Baratz, interviewed on Wednesday by Calcalist. In recent days, the law firm has received requests from numerous funds to understand the implications of the new law, Halabi said.
According to current Israeli government tax guidelines, a 30% income tax on national funds applies today, but non-Israeli investors and venture capital funds are exempt from local taxes. However, when a foreign fund opens an Israeli office, local laws provide unclear indications that this fund should be taxed as a national fund on its capital gains generated in Israel, with a fixed rate of 10% -15%.
Non-Israeli funds with more than ten partners are more likely to obtain an exemption, even with local representation, since a large investor base means that income gains are more easily recognized as passive income. Funds with ten or less partners are usually taxed according to the fixed rate of the country of origin.

The lack of clarity around local taxation means that non-Israeli funds operating on Israeli territory that are taxed at the fixed rate can not file tax returns in their country of origin, if the agreement is not recognized within a bi-national tax agreement, Mr. Halabi explained.
According to the new legislation, these funds will now be taxed as national, but only their expenses related to the presence in the country will be subject to tax.
The new guidelines are ‘another positive step’ to alleviate the tax burden on foreign investors and will allow these investors to operate in Israel through local representation in a more fluid way, said Halabi.

(ITALPRESS/MNA)


Source: medNews

ITALY, MINNITI WELCOMED TUNISIAN COUNTERPART LOFTI BRAHEM

The Minister of Interior, Marco Minniti, welcomed  his Tunisian counterpart Lofti Brahem at the Viminale Palace.
The meeting was an occasion to further strengthen cooperation between Italy and Tunisia in several sectors, starting from the fight to terrorism, illegal immigration, border control measures to the cooperation between police of the two countries.
In particular, Minister Brahem confirmed the commitment on cooperation in the prevention of illegal migratory flows, in the returning procedures and in the exchange of information aimed at contrasting organized crime and terrorism.
On the Italian side, Minister Minniti reaffirmed the availability to reinforce assistance to Tunisian authorities with regards to new measures aimed at reinforcing bilateral cooperation.

(ITALPRESS/MNA)


Source: medNews

MEDITERRANEAN, HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT FOR WOMEN AND YOUTH

The 2017 edition of the Report on the Mediterranean economies of the Institute of Mediterranean Societies Studies (Issm) of the Cnr, presented in Naples, focused in particular on the labor market issues, one of the central issues in relations Euro-Mediterranean, also for the connections with the migratory thrusts coming from the south and east shore of the basin.

The structural changes that occurred between 2000 and 2015 in this area affect especially the most vulnerable social groups: ‘Youth unemployment is high not only on the southern shore, but also on the northern shore of the Mediterranean, with four countries reaching in 2015 levels over 45%: Bosnia-Herzegovina (66.9%), Libya (50%), Spain (49.4%) and Greece (49.2%) ‘, as explained by Salvatore Capasso and Yolanda Pena-Boquete explain in their chapter. ‘Women’s participation remains extremely low in the Arab countries of the Mediterranean. Besides representing an obvious social problem, youth and female unemployment poses a serious question of inefficient allocation of resources ‘. The participation of women in the labor market in North Africa is also the subject of the contribution of Ersilia Francesca and Renata Pepicelli, who explain how ‘despite the lowering of fertility rates and progress in terms of schooling’ the rate remains ‘significantly lower than other developing areas. The average rate of female unemployment in North Africa in 2015 was 20.4%, more than double that of the EU, which in 2015 was 9.5% (source ILO 2015). The uprisings of 2011 have seen a prominent role of young people and women, but the phase of ‘transition’ has largely ignored their expectations and aspirations ‘.

The problem will also tend to widen in perspective, according to Barbara Zagaglia, in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia which, ‘under the assumption of a continuous increase in life expectancy, will see the population of working age increase between 2015 and 2030. Only to keep the already low employment rates constant, Algeria will have to add each year from 126 thousand to 231 thousand new jobs, Morocco from 121 thousand to 133 thousand, Tunisia from 281 thousand to 392 thousand. If these objectives are not met, the road to migration will be assured ‘. Migration movements are intertwined with the fact that between 2008 and 2015 in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece ‘at the end of the long and intense economic crisis, the employment rates of foreigners have significantly decreased from 8 to 17 percentage points. ‘, As noted by Corrado Bonifazi and Salvatore Strozza. ‘While the unemployment of foreigners has taken on considerable dimensions: over 16% in Italy, but more than 30% in Greece and Spain’.

Francesco Carchedi and Michele Colucci have also drawn a historical picture, underlining that ‘it is not just national states that plan migration policies’, but ‘we must also look at international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and criminal organizations’. The link between migration policies and development, particularly in North Africa and in the Sahel, is the subject of the chapter by Marco Zupi, according to which ‘the priority of the EU has focused on migration and its containment, to the detriment of sustainable and inclusive development ‘, whereas a’ multi-level governance system and territorial policies ‘ would be necessary. Giorgia Giovannetti, Mauro Lanati and Alessandra Venturini focus on the migration of the most skilled workers (the so-called brain drain), noting how it favors ‘the growth of exports of products with higher technological content’.

Roberto Aliboni’s chapter tackles the crucial points of the crisis under way in the Mediterranean during 2016, such as ‘the weakening at regional level of the ‘moderate’ Arab countries, the reflux of jihadism, the strengthening of Iran and its allies, the protagonism of Turkey and the increasingly hegemonic and pervasive role of Russia ‘. The chapter of Desirée Quagliarotti identifies the prospects of the green economy of the countries in the Euro-Mediterranean region, which ‘must start thinking in terms of a systemic and integrated approach that can focus on innovation, efficient use of resources and the dissemination of knowledge. These factors could all contribute to growth, social cohesion and increased employment ‘.

(ITALPRESS/MNA).


Source: medNews

HI-TECH MADE IN ITALY FOR THE RESTORATION OF MONUMENT OF MALTA

There is also ENEA in the all-Italian team that led the restoration of the Tritons’ Fountain on the island of Malta, thanks to a collaboration agreement with the Roman firm De Feo Restauri. The synergy between a highly specialized private company and a public research body has provided a hi-tech imprint for the restoration of the symbolic monument of the Maltese capital, initiating an effective technological transfer activity from the laboratory to the company. After twelve months of work, the piece of the sculptor Vincent Apap and architect Victor Anastasi has returned to ‘dominate’ the entrance of Valletta, declared European Capital of Culture 2018. The large travertine basin – with the center three Bronze tritons that support an additional tank, as well made of bronze – had been inaugurated in 1959 but over time, due to atmospheric agents it had lost its original splendor. ‘Our task – explains ENEA researcher Valeria Spizzichino – was first of all to identify the type of deterioration present on the surface of the fountain basin. We did this by using our laser eqipment on site, while we analyzed the samples taken in the laboratories of the ENEA Research Center in Casaccia and Frascati . This type of investigation – continues the researcher – allowed to identify the causes of degradation and to identify the most suitable restoration intervention ‘. 

The ENEA researchers then tested, together with the restorers, different methods of chemical cleaning of the surface using four types of techniques on as many areas of the tank. All the compresses, consisting mostly of laponite and cellulose pulp, remained in contact with the surface of the fountain for around twenty-four hours. ‘Subsequently we analysed the treated parts, finding a different effectiveness associated with each treatment – emphasizes Spizzichino – but in no case traces of calcite removal of the travertine have been identified, meaning that no damage occurred to the treated material. Our diagnostic technologies – the researcher concludes – have allowed us to precisely identify the most suitable restoration for the fountain’.

The company De Feo Restauri, winner of the public tender announced by the Maltese government for the restoration of the fountain together with the companies Coge Impianti and Fonderia Marinelli, involved ENEA as a scientific partner for diagnostic investigations. Already in 2014, the Roman firm had worked on the restoration of the walls of Valletta as part of a larger project of redevelopment of the city started by architect Renzo Piano.

In addition to the restoration activities, sophisticated installations were carried out for the fountain, which saw the construction of a technical room below the square, a connecting tunnel of about 40 meters and a new pumping station, together with the installation of new hydraulic, electrical and mechanical systems, water treatment and a new lighting system.

 


Source: medNews

SLOVENIA, AGREEMENT GOVERNMENT-SID BANK FOR FUND DEVELOPMENT

At the end of the year the Government has appointed the SID Bank, manager of the ESIF Fund, which will have an allocation of 253 million euro from the European cohesion funds. The aim of the new fund is to promote and finance sustainable growth and economic development, investment in innovation and current management with equity and debt financing mainly in four areas: research, development and innovation, small and medium-sized enterprises, energy efficiency and urban development. Within the fund of funds, the SID Bank will offer, through financial intermediaries, mainly commercial banks and public funds, new financial products to Slovenian companies and municipalities. The new instruments will contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the operational program for the implementation of the European Cohesion Policy for the period 2014-2020. The funds will be available to final recipients from the second half of the year, once the procedures and management mechanisms will be established.

(ITALPRESS/MNA).


Source: medNews

EGYPT, PARLIAMENT PASSES BANKRUPTCY LAW

Egyptian Parliament has passed the country’s first bankruptcy law that is to regulate companies’ financial and administrative restructuring and bankruptcy cases.

The new law aims to minimize the need for companies or individuals to resort to courts and simplifies post- bankruptcy procedures. It will also abolish imprisonment in cases of bankruptcy.

 Difficulty in exiting the Egyptian market had be a concern among investors, a reason which lowered the country’s ranking on the World Bank’s Doing Business Index.

(ITALPRESS/MNA).


Source: medNews

TOURISM, MINISTER MALTA "POSSIBLE SYNERGIES WITH SICILY"

“Malta and Sicily are two complementary regions that work together. In Malta we have many Sicilians who have shops, owners of fine restaurants and who trade, and many Sicilians come to Malta for a holiday or a rest period. At the same time the Maltese come to Sicily, they have houses, and with the Sicilian government we are discussing what needs to be done to put together closer relationships”. This was stated by the Minister of Tourism of the Republic of Malta, Konrad Mizzi, in Catania to participate in the presentation of the new flight of the airline Air Malta that will connect Catania to Vienna.

“The first thing we are doing is intensifying the flights that allow you to go from Malta to Catania, Palermo and Comiso – added the Maltese minister – and soon the airline ‘Air Malta’ will have other flights in Europe: Vienna, London and Germany A ‘relationship’ between the two regions in the logic of ‘two-stop holidays’: those who come to Malta for three days can continue their holiday in Sicily, which is why, together with the Sicilian regional councilor for Tourism Sandro Pappalardo, we want to work to create a synergy of cultural and sporting events”.

 


Source: medNews

MOROCCO, WORLD BANK FORECASTS 3.1% GROWTH IN 2018

The World Bank published the “Global Economic Prospect” report, which presents world growth forecasts for 2018. The MENA region (Middle East and North Africa), according to World Bank experts, should record an economic growth of 3% this year, following the hoped-for attenuation of geo-political tensions and a slight increase in oil prices. Morocco, which recorded 4.1% GDP growth in 2017, is expected to see a positive trend of 3.1% this year. This slowdown in growth, also confirmed in the Moroccan Government’s forecasts (+ 3.2%), is mainly determined by the non-encouraging prospects in the agricultural sector, which is affected by atmospheric rainfall, which are significantly lower than the previous year. The World Bank recognizes the stability of the Moroccan economy and calls on the country’s authorities to continue the reform program aimed at improving the functioning of the labor market, the business environment and competitiveness. On this last aspect, it should be noted that Morocco is in 69th place in the “Doing Business 2018” ranking, one position less compared to the previous year in this world ranking of economic competitiveness. The Moroccan Government aims to reach the 50th place in this special ranking by 2020. The Government has identified some guidelines to enhance economic growth, including the development of the industrial sector (automotive, aeronautical components, electronics), the revival of tourism, the increase in trade and investment with the countries of West Africa, the strengthening of education and training programs.


Source: medNews

SPAIN, NEW TOURISM RECORD IN 2017

Spain received 82 million international tourists in 2017, an increase of 8.9% compared to the previous year. This is a new record that has led Spain to overtake the USA and position itself in second place in the world in terms of tourist arrivals, surpassed only by France.

The total expenditure made by tourists visiting Spain amounted to 87,000 million euros, a figure that exceeds the levels reached in 2016 by 12.4%. Among the main markets of origin of tourists, in the period January / November 2017, the United Kingdom with a total of 18 million tourists (+ 7% compared to the first 11 months of 2016) followed by Germany (11.4 million tourists / + 6.1%) and France (10.7 million tourists) / + 0.4%).

All the Spanish tourist areas, with the exception of Aragon, La Rioja and the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla, have increased the number of international arrivals. Catalonia dominates the ranking of the most visited regions with 18.2 million followed by the Balearic Islands (approximately 13.7 million) and the Canary Islands (around 13 million). To highlight the excellent performance of areas such as Extremadura which, with a total of 350,026 tourists, showed a 50% increase compared to data for the period January / November 2016; also double-digit increases for Galicia, Castilla y León, Madrid, Valencian Community, Navarra and the Basque Country.


Source: medNews

ISRAEL, DIAMONDS EXCHANGE ANNOUNCES THE ISSUE OF CRYPTOCURRENCY

While the Knesset Financial Committee analyzes agreements and policies for cryptocurrency use and operations, Israel Diamond CEO Eli Avidar displaces MPs by announcing that Ramat Gan’s Diamond Exchange will shortly issue a digital currency that will be supported by 25% of diamond purchases on the market and its volatility will be based on a transaction-specific index. The Israeli economic journal Globes reports it.

The Deputy Governor of the Bank of Israel, Nadine Baudot-Trajtenberg, noted that “the law defines a foreign currency as a banknote or promise of payment legally recognized abroad but which is not part of a legislative process in Israel, in which case the bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies do not meet the definition legal status of a currency or foreign currency”. In addition to this and regardless of the legal definition, when examining the economic parameters of virtual currencies, the same do not seem to respond to the main function of a currency and in particular to the degree of credibility that users give to the financial instrument.

Trajtenberg also said that from the point of view of currency risks, the Bank of Israel considers that cryptocurrencies run the same risks as money transfers and, for these reasons, they must be carefully monitored. The Central Bank has therefore set up an internal committee to examine the subject.

The President of the Securities Authority (ISA) of Israel, Shmuel Hauser, said that the main problem of digital currencies is to give investors the feeling of being protected. “I am not against virtual currencies, but it is necessary to create an appropriate regulatory framework before allowing companies involved in cryptocurrencies to operate on an exchange”, he added.

The Head of the Israeli Tax Authority, Moshe Asher, has declared, finally, that the institution he presided over is aligned on the positions of the ISA”.

(ITALPRESS/MNA).


Source: medNews

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