Category Archives: News

Implementation Of The Portability Regulation

The Portability Regulation comes into force on 1 April 2018. Businesses bound by its obligations must implement by this date

Intellectual Property Office

Intellectual Property Office

Consumers will soon find it easier to access their online film, TV and other subscription services while visiting countries in the EU. For example, you will be able to stream your favourite films and TV programmes and watch sporting events while on holiday or on a short business trip. The EU Portability Regulation, which allows this to happen, applies in the UK from 1 April 2018.

The IPO’s consultation on the enforcement of the EU Portability Regulation closed on 31 January 2018. It asked for comments on proposed enforcement mechanisms and bodies, and topics for guidance. It also asked for views on portability in the context of the UK’s exit from the EU.

There were 12 responses to the consultation. These were from individual online content service providers, their representative bodies and trade associations, and organisations representing copyright owners. No significant issues with the IPO’s proposed approach were identified. The government would like to thank all respondents for their contributions.

The government has now published its response to the consultation.

The government laid the implementing legislation on 28 February 2018. The UK is now fully compliant with the requirements of the EU Portability Regulation. The IPO will produce guidance to assist businesses in understanding their obligations.

U.S. Statement To The 61st Session Of The Commission On Narcotic Drugs

Deputy Secretary of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs - Vienna, Austria

James A. Walsh

James A. Walsh

Thank you, Madam Chairman, for the opportunity to deliver remarks at the 61st session of the CND. Thank you also to the Secretariat for its tremendous work in preparing our conference. The United States expresses its appreciation for the partnership, investment, and fellowship within this body to address the complex and ever-evolving challenges presented by the world drug problem.

Now more than ever, our work in the Commission is vital to protecting the health and security of all our citizens. The world drug problem is ever-evolving and changing. Today, we are in the midst of a new drug trafficking paradigm where international criminal organizations trafficking in drugs are evading international controls by creating synthetic drugs – new psychoactive substances (or NPS) – that are mirror images of controlled substances. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s Global Synthetics: Monitoring, Analysis, Reporting, and Trends (SMART) program March 2018 update reports that these criminal organizations are producing at least one of these new substances every week, with SMART identifying 70 new substances in 2016 alone.

In this new paradigm, traffickers are also exploiting the online market through open and dark net sites, and then trafficking these substances through the international mail and express consignment shipments. What’s more is that these substances are shipped in small quantities – a couple milligrams for example – making these packages difficult for law enforcement and regulatory officials to identify and intercept.

The dramatic increase in the misuse of synthetic drugs, particularly synthetic opioids – like carfentanil – is plaguing many of our countries. According to UNODC’s 2017 World Drug Report, opioid misuse remains high in Southwest Asia and Eastern Europe, and has been expanding in Western Europe and others parts of North America. An estimated 190,000 deaths globally are attributed to drug use disorders, mostly among people using opioids.

Fighting this plague is also exacting a grisly human toll among many of our law enforcement colleagues. In 2015 and 2016, Colombia lost 290 Ministry of Defense forces and over 3,000 wounded. 2017 was one of the bloodiest years on record in Mexico with over 29,000 murders, including many valiant members of Mexico’s security services battling transnational criminal organizations.

Clearly, this international problem requires a smart, strategic, and coordinated international response, and our decisions here at the CND matter. We must work as an international community to curb this new paradigm in drug trafficking – lives depend upon it. We must work together to identify innovative options to curb the rapid proliferation of these new synthetic drugs. Some of the most dangerous substances in this category are synthetic opioids. Synthetic opioids are fueling thousands of deaths in many of our countries because they are incredibly lethal and difficult to detect.

One of the most dangerous synthetic opioids being trafficked in international criminal markets is carfentanil, which is 10,000 times more potent than morphine. It is an elephant tranquilizer, not approved for use in humans, that has made its way into the illicit drug market, and is being used, sometimes unknowingly. To hinder criminal access to carfentanil and reduce its presence in the illicit drug market, the United States requested that it be controlled under the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs – the 1961 Convention. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) reviewed this request and concluded that carfentanil should be controlled under Schedules I and IV and we urge the Commission to vote in favor of this request this week. Broader controls of synthetic drugs is one way we can work together as a community to address this problem.

The United States has also sponsored a resolution this week aimed at enhancing international cooperation to address the threats presented by synthetic drugs, particularly these deadly synthetic opioids. The resolution promotes and amplifies existing tools within UNODC and the INCB to increase information sharing and data collection and analysis that can facilitate real-time cooperation among experts in the field to disrupt the illicit supply of synthetic drugs, and the chemicals used to produce them. The information derived through these efforts can then be used by the WHO to accelerate reviews of substances for international control. Currently, the international community is controlling these substances at a rate of about ten a year. We have to do better. The ideas offered in this resolution – increased information sharing and international cooperation – present options for us to more aggressively attack this threat together. We look forward to discussing the text with you this week, and hope we can mobilize a strategic and coordinated response to this challenge.

Another option to curb this threat is to generate a better understanding of the new drug trafficking pattern whereby synthetic drugs are being sold online and trafficked through express consignment shipments and the mail. To explore this new pattern, the United States sponsored a side event on “New Methods of Synthetic Drug Trafficking” with expert panel presentations on challenges and experiences related to synthetic drugs being sold and trafficked through this method. Through this event, we highlighted the new paradigm, whereby dangerous and deadly synthetic drugs, such as carfentanil, can easily arrive anywhere with an internet connection and international delivery services. With synthetic drugs being so potent, a small amount can be easily shipped and often has higher profit margins than other narcotics.

When you combine these new modalities with a large supply of heroin being trafficked into your country by sophisticated transnational criminal organizations, along with an increase in demand fueled by an excess of prescriptions pills, you have a crisis; a crisis where thousands of my fellow Americans are dying annually. In 2016, nearly 64,000 people died from drug overdoses in the United States. Of these 64,000, over two-thirds, died from overdoses involving prescription or illicit opioids, including fentanyl. And we are not alone here.

This new trafficking pattern shows that we are all vulnerable. Anyone with an internet connection and access to international mail can be next. So the world must be vigilant and respond to this new threat. Whether it is fentanyl or tramadol, or another a new synthetic concocted by a rogue chemist, it is imperative that we work together to get ahead of this problem; we must be proactive, not reactive.

In thinking proactively, we should prioritize life-saving efforts to address this international crisis beyond the 2019 High-Level Ministerial Segment of the 62nd CND. The “beyond 2019” drug-policy trajectory must focus on this “new reality.” In the 2016 outcome document from the UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS), we highlighted the rapid proliferation of synthetic drugs, or NPS, as one of these new realities to be prioritized. The outcome document represents the latest international consensus that reaffirms the Commission’s primary role in international drug policy. On the road to 2019 and beyond, we want the Commission implementing the operational recommendations in the outcome document to promote a society free of drug abuse, with an acute focus on working together to address the new realities of “today’s” world drug problem.

Again, I am very excited to be here to work through these issues. Thank you.

PM Meeting With Prime Minister Muscat Of Malta

On Commonwealth Day, Prime Minister Theresa May held a meeting with Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat

10 Downing Street

10 Downing Street

A Downing Street spokesperson said:

This afternoon the Prime Minister held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Muscat of Malta ahead of the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey. The Prime Minister thanked Prime Minister Muscat for the progress made on the reform agenda during Malta’s Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth. Both leaders looked forward to the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April.

The leaders also discussed the ongoing Brexit negotiations, with Prime Minister Muscat welcoming the further detail provided in the Prime Minister’s recent Mansion House speech. The Prime Minister reiterated that the UK is ambitious about the future relationship with the EU including on services. She also noted the importance of the UK and the EU reaching agreement on the terms of the implementation period at the March European Council.

Innovative Satellite Tech Company Invests In The UK Space Sector

Rapid growth of SatixFy’s UK operations means more than half SatixFy worldwide employees are now based in Farnborough and Manchester

UK and Ireland from space. Credit: ESA

UK and Ireland from space. Credit: ESA

SatixFy, the satellite communication technology company, has gone from strength to strength since setting up UK operations in August 2016, after being established in Hong Kong, with its first design centre in Israel, in 2012.

With the support of the UK Space Agency, Innovate UK and the Department for International Trade, the company now has 77 full-time employees in Farnborough and Manchester – out of 150 worldwide – and attracted a further $20 million of investment.

Having developed its innovative technology, SatixFy UK is now selling its products. Just 18 months after being established, the company’s customers already include some of the world’s largest satellite operators and satellite manufacturers.

The company received funding to develop revolutionary flat antennas which could have applications in the Internet of Things market, connecting vehicles to the internet, as well as for user terminals for the upcoming Low Earth orbiting (LEO) constellations. The company’s new development centre in Manchester designs space-hardened silicon chips for satellite payloads with a first chip for on-board-processing.

Graham Stuart, Minister for Investment at the Department for International Trade, the UK government’s international economic department, said:

“We are delighted with the success that SatixFy have enjoyed since opening their UK operations. They are a ringing endorsement for the compelling offer the UK presents to innovative, ambitious companies seeking to grow and compete successfully in the booming global space market.”

Dr Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said:

“SatixFy UK is an excellent example of how working together we can bring investment to the UK, attract new engineers to work in the space sector and support innovative space companies to become really successful here, whilst driving significant export opportunity.

“The UK Government’s Industrial Strategy sets out a clear vision for the UK to become the world’s most innovative nation and we are working with industry to capture 10% of the global space market by 2030.”

SatixFy UK has received a commitment for funding of more than €30 million, for several programmes, from the European Space Agency’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Satellites (ARTES) programme, which transforms research into successful commercial projects. The UK is the largest funder of the programme which is designed to support industry by funding the demonstration of advanced technologies, systems, services and applications in a representative space environment.

Craig Brown, Innovation Lead for Space at Innovate UK and the UK’s Delegate to the ESA ARTES Satcom programme, said:

“SatixFy’s story is an excellent example of how Innovate UK, the UK Space Agency and the Department for International Trade use the support tools at our disposal to attract companies to set up and grow in the UK. The UK offer goes well beyond our ability to co-invest in projects; we work hard to ensure that the whole value chain is well connected, is collaborating and is co-innovating.

“I look forward to seeing the fruits of SatixFy’s early success and would also encourage any other technology companies wishing to establish and grow in the UK to get in touch.”

SatixFy UK is investing €15 million in its UK centres and other UK contractors including Cadence and TVS.

Likewise, SatixFy UK has formed a new joint venture with Singapore Technologies Engineering (STE), which will see STE invest $20 million to develop and sell commercial Aero antennas for the In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) market while ownership of the technology remains in the UK.

Yoel Gat, CEO of the SatixFy Group said:

“Becoming an integral part of the UK space industry, with the support of the UK authorities, has been one of the most successful business decisions SatixFy has taken. The level of support and goodwill we have received from the UK Government was very important for us. Within a short period of 18 months, we have been able to establish two successful design centres and design our first chips.

“Within two years from our starting point, we will already be selling our products. We plan to continue to grow our UK infrastructure and use it as a base for our future electronically steered antennas and satellite payloads product lines.”

Foreign Office Minister For Europe And The Americas Visits Chile

The Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP, Minister of State for Europe and the Americas at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, arrives in Santiago de Chile today (9th March)

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Minister Duncan arrives in Santiago de Chile today (9th March) to attend the inauguration of the new President of Chile, Mr Sebastian Piñera and discuss the future of UK-Chile bilateral relations with the incoming administration.

As well as meetings with Interior Minister Andres Chadwick and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Roberto Ampuero, Sir Alan will meet Chilean business leaders to discuss future commercial opportunities under the Global Britain agenda, host an event for Chilean alumni of the UK’s Chevening Scholarship and International Leaders programmes, and deliver a foreign policy lecture to students at the prestigious Universidad del Desarrollo.

Sir Alan Duncan said:

My first official visit to Chile comes at an important time, as our two countries continue to work closely on regional and international issues such as human rights, security and peace keeping, climate change and protection of the oceans.

The UK and Chile have strong historical links that go back over 200 years. Our relationship will continue to go from strength to strength in the 21st century, as we further our collaboration in fields as diverse as trade and investment, science and innovation, and green sector growth.

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