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Tobacco is sticking point in Pacific trade agreement

| December 15, 2014

President Barack Obama said on Thursday that he believed the odds for striking a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement were “significantly higher than 50-50″, though one “big bugaboo” concerned tobacco.

According to a story by Justin Sink for The Hill, Obama, speaking during a meeting with his export council, said he believed he and business leaders could “make a strong case” to Congress to approve the treaty.

The US is negotiating the TPP agreement with Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Obama acknowledged there were still some significant stumbling blocks in the regional free-trade agreement.

He said one “big bugaboo” was a concern that tobacco companies could use the deal to sue poorer countries in a bid to prevent anti-smoking legislation, or conversely, that anti-smoking laws could be unfairly applied to shake down US tobacco manufacturers.

But the president said he was optimistic negotiators could find a way that tobacco companies could abide by local safety rules by ensuring the laws “are not being discriminatorily applied.”

Sink’ story is at:

A lengthy report by Stephanie Cohen for Bloomberg BNA is at:

Nominations for Engle litigation awards closing today

| December 15, 2014

Courtroom View Network (CVN) is inviting nominations for the 2014 CVN Engle Litigation Awards.

The categories are: Plaintiff’s Attorney of the Year; Defense Attorney of the Year; Plaintiff’s Law Firm of the Year; and Defense Law Firm of the Year.

Nominations have to be in by today and the winners will be announced on December 30.

‘In 2014 alone, CVN has covered more than 25 Engle trials involving dozens of attorneys and billions of dollars in verdicts,’ CVN said in a note posted on its website on December 9.

‘To reflect on this pivotal year in the litigation’s history and to honor the lawyers at its forefront, we’re introducing the inaugural CVN Engle Litigation Awards.

So-called Engle progeny cases have been heard since a Florida Supreme Court decision in 2006 decertified a $145 billion class-action lawsuit filed by Howard Engle but allowed former class members to file individual lawsuits stating that cigarettes caused their respective illnesses.

More than 100 Engle progeny cases have been heard and about 8,000 cases are pending.

More information about the awards is at:

Iggesund’s card lights up intricate Christmas scene

| December 15, 2014
Iggesund continues its tradition of delivering Christmas cards showcasing intricate paperboard designs and sophisticated printing techniques.

Iggesund continues its tradition of delivering Christmas cards showcasing intricate paperboard designs and sophisticated printing techniques.

Iggesund Paperboard’s 2014 Christmas card takes its recipients on a journey from a forest setting to the city of Stockholm profiled against a sky gleaming with the northern lights.

Iggesund has a tradition of using its Christmas card as an ambassador for its paperboard and to display various printing techniques. This year’s edition was designed by Papersmyths of Bristol, England, who also managed the production as a whole.

The card is in the form of an altarpiece whose laser-cut doors form the outline of a forest. They open to reveal several layers of a city skyline whose relationship to each other depends on how wide the doors are opened.

“In their turn, the building facades are profiled against a night sky with northern lights,” said Iain Smyth of Papersmyths. “The shimmering effect is created with a clear holographic twinkling foil, with the moon and stars reversed out.

“The forest and city silhouettes are finely laser cut and decorated with spot UV ink stars, with Christmas greetings in silver foil blocking to create a really exciting scene.

“I wanted to convey the feeling of both the forest, which is the starting point for Iggesund’s products, and the Scandinavian winter night.”

The card comprises five parts, which were assembled into one unit. The complex assembly was done with the help of a team of undergraduate students in Bristol but the task placed high demands on the participants.

“They needed a combination of deft fingers and good humour to succeed,” Smyth said.

To give the card even more of a Christmas touch, a special envelope was created to underline the idea that this is almost a Christmas present. The envelope has an elegant closure which makes the most of Iggesund paperboard’s tensile strength.

The card was printed by Taylor Brothers in Bristol and the laser cutting was done by Lasercraft of Huntington, England.

Indonesia bans smoking in public transport

| December 12, 2014

Indonesian Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan has ordered a smoking ban on board all forms of public transportation and pledged strict punishment for violators, reports The Jakarta Globe.

In a decree issued last week, Jonan instructed that all public transportation vehicles were no-smoking premises. He also specified that there were no exemptions, including for bus drivers, who continue to flout a Jakarta bylaw against smoking inside buses.

“The transportation operators on duty are not allowed to smoke inside the vehicle, and if they are found to have broken the rules while on duty, firm sanctions will be imposed,” ministry spokesman Julius. A. Barata said on Wednesday.

E-cigarette Holding continues strong growth

| December 12, 2014

Electronic Cigarettes Holding (ECH) reported promising results for the first half of 2014. The company plans to expand its business to 25 countries within the next three months.

ECH currently has online shops in 18 European countries. Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) for the first half-year of 2014 already surpassed those of last year, indicating that the company will close the financial year on a high note. In 2015, ECH expects to see a continued increase in sales across its portfolio of e-cigarette products and anticipates its EBIT to triple, to CHF15 million by the end of next year.

“We have a very attractive business model with the highest profit margin and EBIT in the global industry,” said ECH CEO Robin Roy Krigslund-Hansen.  “As such we have second-to-none organic growth financed entirely by our own profit. This is quite unique.”

OLAF dismantles illegal cigarette network

| December 12, 2014

The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and  law enforcement authorities in Italy and Germany have dismantled an international cigarette contraband network that was manufacturing “made in Italy” cigarettes destined in part for the illegal market in the European Union (EU).

More than 10 individuals were arrested in an ongoing investigation. The network produced cigarettes in the EU and simulated exports or carried out real exports to third countries. Then it smuggled the cigarettes back into the EU to avoid applicable taxes. The illegal trade cost  Italy alone more than €90 million ($110 million) in lost tax revenue.

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