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U.S. power grid needs to focus on resilience as extreme weather events rise- NERC

U.S. power grid needs to focus on resilience as extreme weather events rise- NERC

July 20 (Reuters) – The North American Electric Reliability Corp (NERC) on Wednesday said key entities of the U.S. power grid network were working to improve resilience of the power grid network as climate change drives more extreme weather.

The NERC’s “2022 State of Reliability” report said efforts were being made to improve the linkage between outages and weather by the Enterprise Electric Reliability Organization (ERO).

The ERO is made up of the NERC and six regional power entities.

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The U.S. power grid network is also implementing corrective action to avoid a repeat of widespread outages due to a cold snap last year.

“The February cold weather event demonstrated that a significant portion of the generation fleet in the impacted areas was unable to supply electrical energy during extreme cold weather,” the NERC’s report said.

These actions, based on recommendations by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and NERC among others, would also help to develop standards for longer term grid planning, the NERC said.

The report also highlighted the growing risks from the inter-dependency of electricity and the natural gas industries, which has threatened the reliability of the Bulk Electric System in the past few years. The Bulk Electric System refers to the facilities needed to operate the electric energy transmission network, excluding local distribution.

Natural gas generators are now needed for the reliable integration of renewable power until new storage technology is fully developed and implemented at scale, the NERC said.

“At the same time, reliable electric power supply is often required to ensure uninterrupted delivery of natural gas to these balancing resources, particularly in areas where penetration levels of renewable generation resources are highest.”

The NERC report also flagged risks from geopolitical events, while “increasingly bold cyber criminals and hacktivists presented serious challenges to the reliability” of the bulk electric system.

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Reporting by Rahul Paswan in Bengaluru. Editing by Jane Merriman

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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SUPPLEMENTARY ISSUE – China’s Top 10 Copyright Events in 2021

SUPPLEMENTARY ISSUE - China’s Top 10 Copyright Events in 2021

Recently, China’s Top 10 Copyright Events in 2021 were selected and released by the National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC).

1. Newly amended Copyright Law Coming into  Effect

The Third Amendment to Copyright Law came into effect on June 1, 2021, which was a milestone event of China’s copyright development. In response to the new demands of economic and social development and emerging expectations of the public, the amendment followed the principles of protecting rights, encouraging creation, promoting dissemination and balancing interests. The amendment improved copyright legal system, strengthened copyright protection, brought the Copyright Law in harmony with other laws, and helped implement the obligations provided for in the international copyright treaties China had joined in recent years. The amendment would serve as an important legal support for maintaining copyright order, increasing copyright governance effectiveness and promoting the prosperous development of socialist culture and science.

2.Marrakesh Treaty Ratified by NPC Standing Committee

The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled, the world’s first and only copyright treaty to include a clear human rights perspective, was ratified on October 23, 2021 by the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) at its 31st Session. The treaty’s ratification could better safeguard the cultural rights and interests of people with print disabilities in China by enabling them to equally appreciate works and receive education, thus facilitating the universal access to cultural achievements. Furthermore, it also created favorable conditions for providing works in accessible format to print-disabled people outside China and further expanding the overseas coverage of excellent Chinese works.

3. Judicial Protection of Copyright Strengthened

The Amendment (XI) to Criminal Law came into effect on March 1, 2021. In the Amendment, criminal protection was introduced for rights of communication through information network and performers’ rights, and the upper limit of statutory penalties for two crimes involving copyright infringement was raised to 10 years’ imprisonment for copyright infringement and 5 years’ imprisonment for selling infringing copies. On March 3, 2021, the Interpretation on the Application of Punitive Damages in Civil Cases of Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights was issued by the Supreme People’s Court to guide local courts to accurately apply punitive damages and punish serious infringements of intellectual property rights. The implementations of the Amendment and judicial interpretation are of great significance for maintaining copyright order by further strengthening the judicial protection of copyright.

4. Copyright Work Plan for 14th FYP Period Released by NCAC

The Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee incorporated into its resolution strengthening the creation, protection and utilization of intellectual property rights, reflecting the Party’s great emphasis on intellectual property development. In order to fully implement the guiding principles from General Secretary Xi Jinping’s major speech on intellectual property work and conscientiously put in place The Outline of National Intellectual Property Strategy (2021–2035) and The National Plan for Intellectual Property Protection and Utilization during the 14th Five-Year Plan (FYP) Period, NCAC strengthened the top-level design of copyright work and released The Copyright Work Plan for the 14th FYP Period on December 24, 2021, which sets out the guiding thought, basic principles, development goals and key tasks for copyright work during the 14th FYP period. This has provided important copyright support for comprehensively implementing the Party Central Committee’s major plans on intellectual property work, and building China into a country strong in innovation, culture and intellectual property.

5. Copyright Enforcement and Supervision Focused on New Business Models and New Sectors

In 2021, copyright law enforcement and supervision authorities actively responded to copyright challenges in new business models and new sectors, and explored new methods and paths for copyright protection. NCAC Copyright Department, in cooperation with relevant authorities, launched a focused campaign to combat theatrical movies piracy and dissemination and strengthened social governance mechanism for the copyright protection of theatrical movies. NCAC and other authorities launched the “Jianwang 2021” Campaign, which prioritized copyright protection in short video, live webcast and sports events, and included Tokyo Olympic Games programs in the 2021 pre-warning list of copyright protection for key works. The 2021 National Conference on Copyright Protection and Development in Digital Environment focused on the latest issues of copyright protection and development, showcased the achievements of copyright protection and promoted the development of copyright industries.

6. Copyright Market Order of Digital Music Industry Maintained

In July 2021, the State Administration for Market Regulation issued an administrative penalty decision against Tencent Holdings Ltd., ordering Tencent and its affiliated companies to restore market competition by terminating exclusive license of music copyright  within 30 days, discontinuing the payment of copyright fees such as high prepayments, and not demanding of upstream copyright holders conditions that give competitive advantage without reasonable grounds. The decision would help reshape the competition order by providing all players with opportunities to compete fairly in relevant market. NCAC had been promoting the healthy and orderly development of digital music industry by guiding all parties to improve the copyright licensing model, build good market ecology, effectively resolve copyright disputes through negotiation and mediation, and refocus their copyright operation on encouraging originality and improving user experience.

7. Copyright Market Order of Karaoke Industry Regulated

The Notice on Regulating Copyright Market Order of Karaoke Industry was released by NCAC together with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism on April 2, 2021. The notice provides for eight measures to regulate collective management in karaoke industry, such as clearing copyright through collective management, and implementing a two-in-one copyright licensing mechanism. The notice, as an important step to further supervise and improve copyright collective management, is of great significance for protecting the legitimate rights and interests of right holders, and facilitating the legitimate use of copyrighted contents and the healthy development of the industry.

8. The 8th China International Copyright Expo Held in Hangzhou

The 8th China International Copyright Expo was successfully held in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province in October 2021, with over ten side events including the presentation of WIPO-NCAC Copyright Awards. The Expo fully remonstrated the achievements of China’s copyright endeavors and served as an important platform for copyrighted works exhibition, copyright exchange and trade. During the Expo, the Exhibition Marking the 30th Anniversary of the Implementation of the Copyright Law was organized by NCAC to celebrate the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. The exhibition comprehensively reviewed the significant achievements in copyright legislation, protection, industry development and international exchange and cooperation in the past 30 years under the leadership of the Party.

9. Wujiang Model of Copyright Protection Promoted Worldwide

On October 16, 2021, the plaque awarding ceremony of WIPO Case Study of Best Practice in Copyright Protection for Wujiang Silk Industry & the book release ceremony of Copyright as an Enabler for the Growth of Silk Industry: A Study of Copyright Protection and High-quality Development of Silk Industry took place in Hangzhou, marking a successful conclusion of the case study. After “Nantong Model” and “Dehua Model”, the “Wujiang Model” of enabling the growth the silk and textile industry through copyright protection is another example of increasing China’s international influence of copyright administration and contributing China’s share to improving global copyright governance. WIPO values this case study a lot and promotes the study results worldwide through its channels.

10. Verdict Announced for Copyright Infringement Case of Renren Yingshi Subtitle Group

The first instance verdict was announced for the case of Liang Yongping’s alleged copyright infringement during the public hearing by the Shanghai No. 3 Intermediate People’s Court on November 22, 2021. According to the verdict, the defendant Liang Yongping was convicted of copyright infringement and sentenced to three years and six months in prison and a fine of 1.5 million yuan, with the illegal proceeds recovered and the impounded property that had been used for the crime confiscated. The verdict that holds Renren Yingshi Subtitle Group criminally liable clarified the nature of subtitle groups’ translation of film and TV works, and demonstrated China’s determination to combat copyright infringement and piracy and strengthen copyright protection.

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Regulator’s notifiable events regime could be delayed

Regulator's notifiable events regime could be delayed

The Department for Work and Pensions launched its consultation in September last year, and experts warned at the time that the new notifiable events regime, which sets out the types of event trustees and employers are obliged to inform the regulator about, could be more impactful than its controversial criminal powers.

The DWP proposed adding two new employer-related notifiable events: the first was the sale, by an employer, of a ‘material proportion’ of its business or assets, defined as accounting for 25 per cent or more of its annual revenue or the gross value of its assets.

The second was “the intended granting or extending of a relevant security by the employer over its assets”, an arrangement where, should the employer become insolvent, a secured creditor would be ranked above the pension scheme in a priority list for debt recovery.

The draft regulations explain that ‘relevant security’ is a level of security of more than 25 per cent of the employers’ consolidated revenues or its gross assets.

The extent of the changes, and the significant penalties for non-compliance, led the Association of Consulting Actuaries to call in October for “comprehensive guidance” to be published before the new regime is introduced.

Non-compliance could result in a fine of up to £1mn and, where false or misleading information has been provided, prosecution under the Pension Schemes Act 2021.

Despite the potentially significant implications of the new events, which were expected to come into force on April 6, the government has yet to publish a response to the consultation, which closed in October. 

In a blog post, law firm Herbert Smith Freehills’ regional head of practice Samantha Brown, partners Michael Aherne and Rachel Pinto, and professional support consultant Tim Smith noted that the changes “have been trailed for some time”.

They said: “The government has still not issued a response to its consultation and the final amending regulations are still awaited. It is unclear what has caused this delay.

“The proposed changes to the pensions notifiable events regime have been trailed for some time. Therefore, we still expect changes along the lines of those set out in the government’s consultation to be introduced. However, we cannot be certain when this will be.”

The DWP has been approached for comment.

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Events leading up to ex-Goldman banker’s 1MDB graft trial

Events leading up to ex-Goldman banker's 1MDB graft trial

NEW YORK, Feb 14 – Former Goldman Sachs (GS.N) banker Roger Ng is accused of bribery and money laundering charges in connection with the multibillion-dollar looting of Malaysia’s 1MDB sovereign wealth fund.

Here is a timeline of key events leading up to the trial.

April 2014 – Ng, Goldman Sachs’ managing director and head of Southeast Asia sales for fixed income, currencies and commodities, leaves the bank for unspecified reasons. Ng had helped the company win business with Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

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July 2015 – The Wall Street Journal reports that Malaysian investigators have traced nearly $700 million from entities linked to 1MDB to bank accounts in the name of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. He denies the allegations, calling the reports “political sabotage.”

February 2016 – Tim Leissner, senior Goldman Sachs investment banker and chairman of its Southeast Asia business, leaves the bank. Leissner had helped arrange the sale of U.S. dollar bonds for 1MDB. The bank drew criticism from Malaysian politicians over the hefty amount it earned from these transactions.

July 2016 – The U.S. Department of Justice files lawsuits seeking to seize dozens of properties tied to 1MDB, saying that over $3.5 billion was misappropriated. The funds were used to purchase high-end real estate, jewelry and artwork, and finance the production of the Hollywood film “The Wolf of Wall Street,” the lawsuits allege.

July 2018 – Najib is arrested by Malaysian authorities on charges linked to the 1MDB scandal. He had led the country for nearly a decade and recently lost a bid for reelection.

November 2018 – U.S. prosecutors in Brooklyn unveil criminal charges against Leissner, Ng and Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, alleging they conspired to launder money and bribe government officials in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi through the 1MDB bond offerings. Leissner pleads guilty to conspiracy charges and agrees to forfeit $43.7 million. Ng is detained in Malaysia.

December 2018 – Malaysia files criminal charges related to the scandal against Goldman Sachs, Leissner, Ng, Low and other individuals.Low has not been arrested by U.S. or Malaysian authorities.

May 2019 – Ng is extradited to the United States and pleads not guilty to criminal charges.

August 2019 – Malaysia files criminal charges against 17 current and former directors at subsidiaries of Goldman Sachs as a result of its 1MDB probe.

July 2020 – Najib is convicted of corruption and sentenced to 12 years in jail.

October 2020 – Goldman says it will claw back $174 million in executive compensation and pay $2.9 billion to settle with the U.S. Department of Justice and other U.S. and overseas regulators over its role in the scandal. The bank’s Malaysia subsidiary pleads guilty to conspiracy in a U.S. court.

December 2021 – A Malaysian court upholds Najib’s conviction on corruption charges over the 1MDB scandal. He says he will appeal the decision to Malaysia’s top tribunal.

Feb. 8, 2022 – Chief Judge Margo Brodie selects 12 jurors and six alternates to hear the case, which is estimated to last five to six weeks.

Feb. 14, 2022 – Opening arguments begin.

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Reporting by Jody Godoy in New York; Editing by Richard Chang

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.