December 16, 2016 nº 1,823 - Vol. 13

"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

George Santayana

In today´s Law Firm Marketing, The 2 most powerful words you can use in your marketing copy during a recession

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  • Top News

The inside story of Apple´s $14 billion tax bill

"The Maxforce" is the European Union team that ordered Ireland to collect billions of euros in back taxes from Apple Inc., rattled the Irish government, and spurred changes to international tax law. You´d think it might have earned the name by applying maximum force while investigating alleged financial shenanigans. It didn´t. It´s just led by a guy named Max. A European Commission official gave the nickname to the Task Force on Tax Planning Practices in honor of its chief, Max Lienemeyer, a lanky, laid-back German attorney who rose to prominence vetting plans to shore up struggling banks during Europe´s debt crisis. Since its launch in 2013, the Maxforce has looked at the tax status of hundreds of companies across Europe, including a deal Starbucks Corp. had in the Netherlands, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV´s agreement with Luxembourg, and -- its largest case -- Apple in Ireland. Lienemeyer´s team of 15 international civil servants pursued a three-year investigation. Much of it outlined for the first time here, this story chronicles a growing clash between Europe and the U.S. and a shift in the EU´s approach to the tax affairs of multinationals. The Maxforce concluded that Ireland allowed Apple to create stateless entities that effectively let it decide how much -- or how little -- tax it pays. The investigators say the company channeled profits from dozens of countries through two Ireland-based units. In a system at least tacitly endorsed by Irish authorities, earnings were split, with the vast majority attributed to a "head office" with no employees and no specific home base -- and therefore liable to no tax on any profits from sales outside Ireland. The U.S., meanwhile, didn´t tax the units because they´re incorporated in Ireland. In August the EU said Ireland had broken European law by giving Apple a sweetheart deal. It ordered the country to bill the iPhone maker a record 13 billion euros ($13.9 billion) in back taxes, plus interest, from 2003 to 2014. One example the Commission cites: In 2011, a unit called Apple Sales International recorded profits of about 16 billion euros from sales across Europe. But only 50 million euros were considered taxable in Ireland, leaving 15.95 billion euros of profit untaxed, the Commission says. Though the EU says its goal is "to ensure equal treatment of companies" across Europe, Apple maintains that the Commission selectively targeted the company. With the ruling, the EU is "retroactively changing the rules and choosing to disregard decades of Irish law", and its investigators don’t understand the differences between European and U.S. tax systems, Apple said in a Dec. 8 statement.

US raises key interest rate by 0.25% on strengthening economy

The US Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark interest rate by 0.25%, only the second increase in a decade. The central bank voted unanimously to raise the key rate to a range of 0.5% to 0.75%, citing a stronger economic growth and rising employment. But the central bank said it expected the economy to need only "gradual" increases in the short term. Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen said the economic outlook was "highly uncertain" and the rise was only a "modest shift". The economy is clearly in much better shape than it was eight years ago — but that is a slightly misleading comparison. (Click here)

  • Crumbs

1 - Abengoa U.S. unit wins court blessing to exit bankruptcy - click here.

2 - US authorities close in on Volkswagen criminal settlement - click here.

3 - German court rules Gurlitt´s art collection can go to Bern - click here.

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  • MiMIC Journal

"Hey Trump, feminists are watching you."

One of China´s most prominent women´s rights activists has written a letter warning US President-elect Donald Trump against "sexist behavior". Zheng Churan says "feminists around the world are watching" Mr Trump for signs of "straight man cancer". The Chinese term refers to sexual discrimination and male chauvinism. She was among five women dubbed the "Feminist Five", who were detained by Chinese authorities last year for their activism.

  • Law Firm Marketing

The 2 most powerful words you can use in your marketing copy during a recession
By Tom Trush

If ever there is a time when people realize they have new problems or concerns, it´s during a recession.

As a result, they seek information.

Many people go to the Internet in search of solutions. Some go back to school. Others turn to family and friends.

So how can you be the source for information your prospects crave?

Simple.

Focus your marketing copy on solutions instead of sales.

If you´re blatant in your attempts to persuade, you´ll meet resistance. But when you present educational information, you break barriers.

One of the easiest ways to convey solutions in your marketing copy is by using the follow two words: "how to."

The words "how to" promise a solution to a problem. The key is following these words with a big benefit that addresses your prospects´ greatest concerns. Of course, you then need to deliver quality content.

Think of your marketing piece as your opportunity to tell a story no one else is telling.

Recently, I analyzed all the emails I sent to my newsletter list. My goal was to find out what subject lines created the highest open rates.

While industry average for email open rates hovers around 30%, many of my "how to" emails doubled or even tripled that figure.

> How to Use Branding to Capture Prospects and Create Customers -- 100%

> How to Maintain a Strong Mindset in a Weak Economy -- 73.1%

> How to Write ´Easy Reading´ Ads Your Prospects Will Remember -- 65.3%

> How to Quickly Implement a Proven Marketing System -- 65.2%

An added bonus of providing "how to" information is that prospects are more likely to keep your content. Furthermore, you increase your chances of them sharing your information with friends and family.

Tom Trush is available at www.writewaysolutions.com

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© Trey Ryder
FREE LAWYER MARKETING ALERT: If you´d like to receive Trey Ryder´s weekly Lawyer Marketing Alert, send an e-mail to Trey@TreyRyder.com. Write "Subscribe LMA" in the subject line and write your name and e-mail address in the body of the message.

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  • Historia Verdadera

Tabacos

La industria tabacalera de Nicaragua junto a organizaciones regionales de tabaco, interpuso ante una corte federal de Virginia una demanda contra la Administración de Medicamentos y Alimentos de Estados Unidos por aprobar una nueva reglamentación para el consumo y comercialización de cigarros. (Presione aquí)

Gas

La española Gas Natural Fenosa interpuso un recurso de revocación del acto que permitió la intervención de la Superintendencia de Servicios Públicos de Colombia a Electricaribe, ya que esta habría sido "ilegal". El caso tiene relación con una millonaria deuda a la filial de Gas Natural en Colombia. (Presione aquí)

Licencia ambiental

Un tribunal de la Corte de Costa Rica anuló una sentencia que vetaba el reglamento de la ley de Hidrocarburos, la misma permitía a las empresas suscribir contratos con el país sin previa presentación de un estudio ambiental. Tras el fallo, la petrolera estadounidense Mallon Oil Company ve abrirse la posibilidad de que el Gobierno formalice la licitación que se le adjudicó en el año 2000. (Presione aquí)

  • Brief News

Obama vows action against Russia over election hacks

Obama has vowed to take action against Russia for its alleged interference in the US presidential election campaign. "We need to take action and we will," he said. Russia stands accused by the US of hacking the emails of the Democratic Party and a key Hillary Clinton aide, which the Kremlin strongly denies. Republican president-elect Trump has also dismissed the claim as "ridiculous" and politically motivated. The intelligence agencies say they have overwhelming evidence that Russian hackers linked to the Kremlin were behind the hacks. And on Thursday, a White House spokesman said that Putin was involved in the cyber-attacks. Hours later, Obama said: "I think there´s no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact on the integrity of our elections, that we need to take action and we will, at a time and a place of our own choosing."

EU extends Russia sanctions over Ukraine

EU leaders have agreed to extend economic sanctions against Russia for six more months. Earlier, France and Germany complained that the Minsk peace deal for Ukraine was still not being fulfilled. Russia´s military interventions, first in Ukraine, then in Syria, were high on the EU summit agenda in Brussels. But Italy and Slovakia want sanctions, that have cost EU exporters billions of euros, eased. The summit focused on the crises in Europe´s neighborhood. The destruction of Aleppo and the exodus of Syrian refugees, migrant pressure from Africa and Ukraine´s conflict with Russia were key themes.

Iran sanctions extension becomes law without Obama´s signature

A bill renewing US sanctions against Iran for another 10 years because law Thursday without President Barack Obama´s signature. Obama has commented that the act will not affect the Iran nuclear deal signed in July 2015, under which world powers agreed to lift international sanctions against Iran in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear program. The language in the nuclear agreement makes it unclear whether the US renewing the Iran sanctions act but keeping the nuclear ones suspended amounts to a violation of the JCPOA.

Obama signs the Consumer Review Fairness Act into law

Obama signed a number of bills into law on Thursday, most notably H.R. 5111, the "Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016". The legislation, which passed both houses of congress at the start of December, "makes certain clauses of a form contract void if it prohibits, or restricts, an individual from engaging in a review of a seller´s goods, services, or conduct." This is a big win for consumers. There have been a rash of incidents over the past couple of years in which companies attempt to stifle negative user reviews with "gag clauses" that threaten legal action and punitive monetary damages. The Union Street Guest House in Hudson, New York, for example, threatened a wedding party with $500 fines for every bad review the wedding´s guests left on Yelp. Now that the President has signed the bill, the FCC and states are empowered to take legal action against companies that don´t knock it off.

Lula hit with more corruption charges

Prosecutors on Thursday charged Lula, his wife and a former finance minister with more corruption charges in the investigation of graft at state-run oil company Petrobras. It is up to federal judge Sergio Moro to decide if the new charges will result in another trial for Lula, who is already accused in Moro´s court in southern Brazil with separate corruption charges. A ruling on those charges is not expected before late January or early February.

Brexit: Theresa May wants early deal on Britons in EU

Theresa May wants an early deal on what Brexit means for the status of Britons in Europe and EU citizens in the UK. There has been concern in other countries about the status of their nationals in the UK after Brexit. EU leaders said negotiations over the UK´s exit would be approached in "a spirit of trust and unity". The prime minister was not invited to join the 27 other EU leaders who later met for a dinner to discuss their approach to Brexit negotiations. There was a sense that Britain is already on the outside, with Mrs May looking "a bit awkward" in the crowd.

GM appeals bankruptcy-shield ruling

General Motors asked the Supreme Court to maintain a bankruptcy shield blocking some lawsuits over faulty ignition switches after a lower court ruled the Detroit auto giant´s failure to reveal the safety defect violated consumers´ legal rights.

EU´s Galileo satellite system goes live

The EU´s Galileo satellite system has gone live, aiming to supply the world´s most accurate satellite navigation technology. It follows 17 years of development, plagued by delays and budget increases. The 18 satellites initially launched will be of only limited use at first for smartphones and in-car systems. Officials hope the system will eventually provide greater location accuracy than either the US or Russian military services, increasing geo-location precision 10-fold. Galileo would "enable the next generation of location-based technologies; such as autonomous cars, connected devices, or smart city services".

Facebook rolls out new tools to tackle false stories

Facebook has announced new features to help combat fabricated news stories on the world´s largest social network. New reporting features are being rolled out, along with other changes designed to combat the spread of misinformation. Facebook was widely criticized last month after some users complained that fake news had influenced the US presidential election. The new features include the ability to flag fake stories, as well as possible future changes to Facebook´s algorithm.

Pressure on Yahoo grows after massive hack attack

Pressure on Yahoo continued to grow after the internet search giant revealed that it was the victim of another huge hacking attack in 2013. The company´s shares closed down more than 6% on Wall Street on fears that a planned sale to Verizon was in doubt. Politicians and regulators called for action after Yahoo disclosed on Wednesday that more than one billion user accounts may have been breached. That followed Yahoo´s disclosure in September of a huge hacking in 2014. Hackers are offering records for sale on dark Web.

Israeli parliament lifts dress code after protest over short skirt ban

The Israeli parliament has suspended its dress code rules, reports say, after staffers protested against a ban on skirts deemed too short. Workers said security at the Knesset had strictly enforced rules on the length of skirts recently, banning colleagues from entering the building.
Speaker Yuli Edelstein said the measure came after mounting complaints over alleged inappropriate clothing. A joint team will look at the rules and decide how they should be implemented.

Cuba offers rum to pay off Czech debt

Cuba has come up with an unusual way to repay its multimillion dollar debt to the Czech Republic - bottles of its famous rum, officials in Prague say. The Czech finance ministry said Havana had raised this possibility during recent negotiations on the issue. Cuba owes the Czech authorities $276m, and if the offer is accepted the Czechs would have enough Cuban rum for more than a century.

Australian court increases fine over ´misleading´ Nurofen

The UK manufacturer of Nurofen has been hit with an increased fine of A$6m ($4.4m) for misleading customers in Australia. Australia´s Federal Court ruled last year that products marketed as targeting specific pains, such as migraines, were actually identical. Reckitt Benckiser was fined A$1.7m in April, but Australia´s consumer watchdog argued the sum was too low. The court on Friday agreed to increase the penalty. "The objective of any penalty in this case must be to ensure that Reckitt Benckiser and other ´would-be wrongdoers´ think twice and decide not to act against the strong public interest," the court´s justices said in a joint statement.

Six pharmaceutical firms accused of price-fixing

US authorities have accused six pharmaceutical firms from the US, India and Australia of price-fixing. It is alleged the companies conspired to raise the price of the antibiotic doxycycline and diabetes drug glyburide. The civil lawsuit has been filed in 20 US states. It follows criminal charges being brought against former executives at one of the accused firms. US drugmakers Mylan, Heritage Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceutical USA and Citron Pharma are named in the lawsuit alongside India´s Aurobindo Pharma and Australia´s Mayne Pharmaceuticals. Mylan, Teva and Aurobindo have denied the allegations.

Dutch court orders Crimean artifacts returned to Ukraine

The Amsterdam District Court ruled on Wednesday that Crimean gold artifacts are to be returned to Ukraine and not Crimea. The artifacts, including gems, helmets and scabbards, were on loan to Amsterdam´s Allard Pierson Museum when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014. Russian authorities argued that the artifacts should be in the possession of Crimea since they were discovered in the Crimean peninsula. In its decision, the court ruled that only sovereign countries could claim objects as cultural heritage. Therefore, since Ukraine, and not Crimea, is sovereign, the treasures must be returned to Ukraine. Crimean museums have three months to appeal the ruling.

Mexico senate approves medical marijuana

The Mexican Senate on Tuesday approved the use of medical marijuana. The announcement was made on the official Senate twitter along with a video of the debate. Number-803 allows for the use of cannabis and it derivatives for medicinal purposes. The bill also removed the substance from the list of public health concerns. The vote is seen as a move to transition to full legalization in order to combat the violence of the drug trade as well as assist those with health ailments. (Click here)

Lagarde case is ´weak´, French prosecutor says, raising chances of acquittal

The prosecutor wrapped up a four-day trial against Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, who is accused of "negligence by a person in a position of public authority."

Trump´s election inspires new law school course

As soon as Donald Trump won the election, students at the University of Washington School of Law began querying their instructors. They wanted to know what his presidency could mean and how the law can both empower and rein in the president-elect as he moves to implement his political agenda. Sensing an opportunity to engage students by harnessing current events, professors Sanne Knudsen and Kathryn Watts quickly began designing a new course focused on the role of the presidency and its limitations—a class that delves into hot topics including health care, climate change and immigration. "Frankly, it´s very exciting to teach when students are at the height of their level of engagement," Knudsen said.

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