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Taipei’s littering fines prove hard to swallow

| May 1, 2015

Cigarette smokers who drop their butts on the ground in Taipei are risking fines that have been increased threefold and more from today, according to a story in the Taipei Times.

Previously, offenders faced a fine of NT$1,200, regardless of their record, but, as of today, a second-time offender faces a possible fine of NT$3,600, while those on their third offence or more will face having to pay NT$5,000.

The Times story explained that the increase in fines had followed a controversy early last month over cigarette butt litter in residential areas in Xinren borough near the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, which bans smoking.

At that time, Taipei Department of Environmental Protection commissioner Liou Ming-lone had said that his department was already working on new measures to target such littering.

The department said that cigarette butt littering accounted for more than half the fines it levied. It issued 17,452 fines for cigarette butt littering last year, of which 526 were handed out to repeat offenders and 120 to foreigners, department figures show.

Department agents often used covertly taken pictures as evidence, said Chiu Kuan-hou, head of the department section dealing with the issue, citing the example of a man who was fined even after swallowing the cigarette butt he had dropped.

And to prevent foreigners absconding without paying up, enforcement agents are empowered to accompany them to a nearby convenience store or post office, where the fine has to be paid directly.

To help smokers out, however, the city is increasing the number of ashtrays available to them.

Municipal staff leads anti-smoking push by example

| May 1, 2015

Pa Socheatvong, the municipal governor of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, has thrown his support behind a campaign to ban tobacco smoking in the city’s enclosed public places, and he has made a start by banning his staff from smoking in municipal buildings, according to a story in The Phnom Penh Post.

Addressing the second Smoke-Free Phnom Penh workshop, Socheatvong cited his decision to give up cigarettes 11 months ago after more than 30 years of smoking as motivation for supporting the campaign, which is attempting to have smoking banned from all public buildings, including restaurants and cafés.

“Our governor is a model for all civil servants in Phnom Penh to quit smoking,” municipal spokesman Long Dimanche said. “We must start with ourselves if we want to stop smoking at the commune and district levels.”

Dimanche said the municipality had not put a timeframe on the ban, but would enact it as soon as possible.

Some TPP provisions opposed by Hillary Clinton

| May 1, 2015

Hillary Clinton is opposed to a critical piece of the Obama administration’s proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would give corporations the right to sue sovereign nations over laws or regulations that could potentially curb their profits, according to a piece in the Huffington Post.

The policy position is contained in her book Hard Choices, and was said to have been confirmed to the Post by a spokesperson for her presidential campaign.

Obama and congressional Democrats are said to be locked in a bitter public feud over the TPPA, a deal being negotiated between 12 Pacific nations, with much of the controversy deriving from concerns that it will undermine regulatory standards.

The Post quotes Clinton’s book as saying: ‘Currently the United States is negotiating comprehensive agreements with eleven countries in Asia and in North and South America, and with the European Union. We should be focused on ending currency manipulation, environmental destruction, and miserable working conditions in developing countries, as well as harmonizing regulations with the EU. And we should avoid some of the provisions sought by business interests, including our own, like giving them or their investors the power to sue foreign governments to weaken their environmental and public health rules, as Philip Morris is already trying to do in Australia. The United States should be advocating a level and fair playing field, not special favors.’

American Snuff donates property to local community

| May 1, 2015

American Snuff Company (ASC), a subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc. (RAI), yesterday announced the donation of 10 acres of industrial land and buildings to Robertson County, Tennessee.

“American Snuff has a long history with the Springfield community and Robertson County,” said Mick Spach, president of ASC. “Many of our employees and farmers who grow our tobacco come from the area.”

Located at 901 Central Avenue West, Springfield, the property was formerly used for tobacco processing and includes 10 acres of land and three buildings with a combined floor space of more than 191,000 square feet.

“We are very grateful for this generous donation,” said Robertson County mayor Howard Bradley. “This prime location opens up a number of growth possibilities for our county. For American Snuff to contribute to our community in this way is greatly appreciated and this donation will have a long-lasting impact on our citizens.”

Spach said that ASC was confident that Robertson County could use the donation to support future economic development efforts in the region. “It’s always rewarding to give back to the community, and we’re happy to be able to do so with this donation,” he said.

AR acquires MWV’s European tobacco packaging operations

| April 30, 2015

AR Packaging Group AB has acquired the European tobacco, chocolate confectionery and general packaging operations from MeadWestvaco Corp. The transaction was completed today and the business will be consolidated as from May 1.

The acquired operation includes three plants in Graz, Austria, Krakow, Poland, and Moscow, Russia, and certain additional carton business and related machinery in Svitavy, Czech Republic. AR Packaging will operate the acquired business under the A&R Carton brand.

“We are happy to finalise this strategic move for AR Packaging where we establish an even stronger position as one of the leaders in the tobacco segment while enhancing the strategic position of key accounts in the confectionery and consumer goods segments,” says Harald Schulz, CEO of AR Packaging

“We elevate AR Packaging to a top three position in the European folding carton market with a total group net revenue of approximately €550 million [$557.95 million]. I look very much forward to integrating the newly acquired operations. This is an important milestone in realizing our growth strategy in selected market segments.”

JT in agreement to acquire US vapor company Logic

| April 30, 2015

Japan Tobacco Inc. said today that it had entered into an agreement to acquire Logic Technology Development, one of the leading US electronic cigarette ‘brands’.

JT described Logic, which was founded in 2010, as selling a full range of high-quality rechargeable, ready-to-use and disposable electronic cigarettes, including the Logic Pro tank system, newly launched this month.

“With the Logic brand and its strong portfolio of products, the JT group has a sizeable participation in the largest and fast-growing US e-cigarette market,” said Masamichi Terabatake, Japan Tobacco International’s executive vice president and deputy CEO. “Logic’s well established presence in the US, in addition to our acquisition of E-Lites in the UK, further underpins our global ambitions to become the leader in emerging products.”

JT said that the executive management team of Logic would remain with the JT group post-acquisition in order that the group could benefit from the team’s extensive knowledge and experience of the US electronic cigarette market.

“With the backing of JT group’s global resources, we believe Logic is uniquely positioned to accelerate its growth in the US market and further enhance its product offering.” said Eli Alelov, Logic’s co-founder and CEO.

“We are excited about the transaction and look forward to the next phase of Logic`s development with the JT group,” added Howard Panes, Logic`s co-founder.

The transaction will be funded by the group’s existing cash and loan facilities, with an expected minor effect on the group’s consolidated performance for the fiscal year 2015.

JT expects to complete the acquisition in the third quarter of fiscal year 2015 following regulatory clearance.

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