Home sales up, prices down in July • By EINAT PAZ-FRANKEL Israelis bought 7,861 new and second-hand homes in July, 3.6 percent more than in June but 7.7% fewer than in July 2010, the Finance Ministry reported Monday.Last month, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported a 2% increase in home sales in July. The housing protest began in mid-July.The median home price was NIS 960,000 in July, 1.1% less than in June and 11% less than in July 2010, the Finance Ministry said. The biggest drops were in the Sharon and Coastal Plain regions. Haifa was the only district where prices rose. The Finance Ministry said preliminary figures for August indicated a 30% drop in home sales, compared with both July and August 2010.The Finance Ministry reported sharp drops in newhome sales in July, compared with July last year, in the Central District, Tel Aviv and the Coastal Plain. However, there was an “unusual jump” in new-home sales in Jerusalem and Beersheba. Second-hand home sales were stable in July, except in the Sharon area, where sales were down 30% compared with July 2010.‘Computers are too expensive in Israel’ • By TZAHI HOFFMAN “There is no duty on computers in Israel, but there is VAT. There is no reason for computers to be as expensive, and if they are, they should be bought somewhere else.A computer is not a luxury,” Intel Corporation vice president and general manager of PCs Shmuel Eden said Monday at a press conference to unveil Intel’s new Ultrabook.“We need to close the computer gap for every child,” he said. “I visit Third World countries, and I see countries that get it. A computer in Colombia is cheaper than in the US, because the government gets it.”Eden also spoke about Intel Corporation’s new computers, manufactured by ASUSTeK Computer Inc., Acer Inc. and Toshiba Corporation, which are in-between Netbooks and laptops in size. The Ultrabook, which bears the Intel logo, is a very thin computer, less than 20 centimeters thick, weighs 1.4 kilograms and has an 11- to 15-inch screen. Its battery can supply power for five to eight hours. The processors in this category are stronger than the processors in Netbooks, Intel said.Teva buys out partner in Japan venture • By GUY KATSOVICH Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. announced Monday it will acquire the 50 percent interest formerly held by Kowa Company Ltd. in Teva-Kowa Pharma Co. Ltd., the two companies’ joint venture in Japan, for $150 million.With this acquisition, Teva will own 100% of the former joint venture. Teva and Kowa announced the establishment of Teva-Kowa Pharma in September 2008 and have since grown the joint venture into one of the top-five generic-drug players in Japan. It generated sales of approximately $200m. in 2010. Teva is also active in Japan with its branded medications and raw materials.In July, Teva completed the acquisition of Taiyo Pharmaceutical Industry Co. Ltd. for $934m.. Taiyo brings to Teva a portfolio of more than 550 products and has activity in two locations in Japan, both of them far from areas harmed by the earthquake and tsunami in March this year. Taiyo is the third largest generics manufacturer in Japan, with sales of approximately $530m. in 2010. With this latest transaction, Teva’s operations in Japan are expected to generate annual sales in excess of $800m.Eli Reifman declared bankrupt in UK • By YUVAL YOAZ For the first time, a UK court is enforcing a bankruptcy order issued in Israel within the UK. The High Court in London has declared Israeli businessman Eli Reifman bankrupt and granted a trustee, attorney Eitan Erez, authority over Reifman’s assets in the UK.The High Court issued an order recognizing the bankruptcy order against Reifman signed in Israel and appointed Erez as trustee. The decision will enable UK claimants, who are subject to English law, to petition for redress in the case. The court decision gives Erez the same authority as trustee in the UK that the Tel Aviv District Court granted him in Israel.