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US senator brands TPP a disastrous trade agreement

| January 8, 2015

A US senator has made a scathing attack on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), listing 10 ways in which it would harm working families, according to a piece by Jason Easley in PoliticusUSA.

Senator Bernie Sanders branded the TPP a disastrous trade agreement designed to protect the interests of the largest multi-national corporations at the expense of workers, consumers, the environment and the foundations of US democracy.

It would negatively impact, too, some of the poorest people in the world, he said.
The TPP was a treaty that had been written behind closed doors by the corporate world. Incredibly, while Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry and major media companies had full knowledge as to what was in the treaty, US people and members of Congress did not. They had been locked out of the process.

‘Let’s be clear: the TPP is much more than a “free trade” agreement,’ Sanders was quoted as saying in a statement.
‘It is part of a global race to the bottom to boost the profits of large corporations and Wall Street by outsourcing jobs; undercutting worker rights; dismantling labor, environmental, health, food safety and financial laws; and allowing corporations to challenge our laws in international tribunals rather than our own court system.’

The Politicus piece, including what Sanders sees as the 10 ways in which the TPP would be harmful, is here.

Punjab clamping down on sales of loose cigarettes

| January 8, 2015

The government of the Indian state of Punjab said on Tuesday that it was taking measures to prevent the sale of loose cigarettes and other tobacco items because they did not carry the required pictorial health warning messages, according to a dnaindia.com story.

A government spokesperson said all the deputy commissioners (district heads) had been directed to ensure strict implementation of section seven of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003, which required the placing of pictorial warnings on tobacco products.

The deputy commissioners have been asked to keep a close watch on sales of single tobacco products near educational institutions, colleges, coaching institutes, schools, factories and offices.

At the same time, they seem to have been instructed to ensure that no tobacco products of any kind are being sold within 100 yards of ‘these institutions’, but it is possible that the reference here is to the various educational institutes and not to factories and offices.

And just to make sure that the laws are followed; the watchers will be watched. A special district-level task force has been set up to conduct surprise raids in all of the Punjab’s districts to ensure strict compliance with the orders.

Meanwhile, the government spokesperson said that nicotine in the form of electronic cigarette liquids had been declared ‘illegal’, but it wasn’t clear whether the illegality, which cannot attach to the product since no sanctions can be applied against a product, referenced the manufacture of these products, their sale, their possession, their consumption, or all of these actions.

BAT Korea announces tax-induced price rises

| January 8, 2015

British American Tobacco Korea said yesterday that it would raise the price of a pack of Dunhill cigarettes from WON2,700 to WON4,500 from January 13, according to a story in The Korea Times quoting a BAT official.
And it said it would raise the price of Dunhill again in February – to WON4,700.

The price rises are the company’s response to the government’s WON2,000 tax increase on a pack of cigarettes that took effect from January 1.

KT&G, the leading cigarette provider in South Korea, raised the price of its products by WON2,000 per pack from the start of the year.

Lung cancer numbers up among Welsh women

| January 8, 2015

The number of Welsh women diagnosed with lung cancer has increased by more than a third in the past decade, according to a story by Mark Smith for WalesOnline, quoting a new report.

According to the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, the number of lung cancer cases in women rose from 825 in 2003 to 1,121 in 2013.

The rise has been blamed on an increase in women smokers in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, with numbers peaking in the 1980s.

Lung cancer figures for men dipped slightly during the past 10 years with 1,294 cases in 2003 and 1,249 in 2012.

New Winston-Salem role for Reynolds’ Whitaker Park

| January 8, 2015

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company said yesterday that it had agreed to donate a significant portion of its Whitaker Park manufacturing plant and surrounding properties to a local redevelopment group, WPDA.
WPDA is a non-profit corporation created by Winston-Salem Business, the Winston-Salem Alliance and Wake Forest University to undertake economic and redevelopment projects.

As part of the agreement, R.J. Reynolds is due to donate a laboratory building to WPDA early this year. The Whitaker Park plant and other properties will then be transferred to the group over the next 12-24 months.

The laboratory, a 70,000-square-foot building on about four acres of land, is being donated first because of its potential for near-term economic development.

The donation will include also about 120 acres of prime commercial and industrial land, along with buildings totaling about 1.7 million square feet.

“We’re pleased that a local group has stepped forward and committed resources towards repurposing this great and historic plant and its surrounding properties,” said Mark A. Peters, senior vice president and chief financial officer of R.J. Reynolds. “We’re confident these properties will play a key role in the economic development and transformational growth of Winston-Salem and the greater Triad region.”

The Whitaker Park manufacturing plant was opened in 1961.

Call for privatization of cigarette-butt clean-up costs

| January 7, 2015

UK MPs want tobacco companies, takeaway restaurants and chewing-gum manufacturers to spend hundreds of millions of pounds to clean up the mess created when their products and packaging are carelessly discarded, according to a story by Mark Leftly for The Independent.

They are said to be furious that managing litter in England alone costs the state £1 billion a year, much of it in council tax, at a time when the government is trying to balance the country’s precarious finances.

The most frequently littered items are cigarette butts – six billion are said to be discarded every year in London’s Square Mile financial district – and chewing gum, which is particularly costly to remove and accounts for around a quarter of all litter. Nearly three percent is fast-food related.

Leading figures from the Wrigley Company, the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association, and McDonald’s are due to face the House of Commons’ Communities and Local Government Committee this week.

MPs are considering whether it would be effective to impose litter taxes on companies that produce products frequently discarded on Britain’s streets.
Committee chairman Clive Betts said the taxpayer should not be expected to bear the full cost. He said it was too soon to judge what financial burden could be transferred to the private sector, but a committee source said these businesses could “absolutely” end up footing a significant part of the current £1 billion clean-up costs.

Keep Britain Tidy has estimated that indirect costs, such as the impact on health, property values, and crime, cost the economy an additional £3 billion annually.

Follow the story here.

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