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Joint US and British delegation to check on conditions on US tobacco farms

| July 25, 2014

US congresswoman Marcy Kaptur and British members of parliament Ian Lavery and James Sheridan are due tomorrow to participate in a fact-finding delegation to North Carolina tobacco fields that will examine human rights conditions in the supply chain of British and US tobacco manufacturers, according to a Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) press note.

The delegation will be joined by the executive vice president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), Tefere Gebre, and the president of FLOC, Baldemar Velasquez.

FLOC, a union representing farm workers in the US South and Midwest and the organizer of the delegation, will highlight the efforts of farm workers to engage the companies in guaranteeing their right to negotiate collectively, without fear of retaliation.

The delegation will visit – at the height of the tobacco growing season – farms in the supply chain of various manufacturers, with particular attention to the supply chains of Reynolds American and British American Tobacco, to speak with farm workers about their living and working conditions.

Reynolds, the largest tobacco manufacturer in North Carolina, is a major supplier of BAT, which owns a major share of Reynolds.

Following the field visit, a community forum will be held to further the discussion on the experience of farm workers, while also broadening the conversation to understand the impact that tobacco company policies have had on public policy in the local community, including on immigration reform and child labor.

On July 27, the delegation will travel to Raleigh to meet with farm worker supporters and religious leaders before planned meetings in Washington, D.C, and London to publicize the findings.

Call for auction sales as demand for Zambia’s tobacco drops by a third

| July 25, 2014

Tobacco sales in Zambia during the first 64 days of this year’s marketing season were down by 30 per cent on those of the same period of last year, according to a Zambia Daily News story quoting Tobacco Association of Zambia (TAZ) figures.

Tobacco sales during April to July amounted to 8.7 million kg, down from 12.4 million kg.

TAZ finance and administration manager Owen Simukoko attributed the decline in sales in part to delays in the start of the marketing season.

He said also that the global demand for tobacco had been reduced because of over-production in some countries.

Simukoko was quoted as saying too that TAZ agreed with the Tobacco Board of Zambia and buyers that the commodity should be ‘sold through an auction system to deal with [the] issue of the crop being in the hands of independent traders’.

Tit-for-tat at Bahrain airport

| July 25, 2014

A Bahraini man, who was caught smoking a cigarette while driving his car, has been charged with denigrating Ramadan, according to an ArabiaBusiness.com report quoting a Daily Tribune (Bahrain) story.

The man was referred to the Lower Criminal Court where he was remanded in custody for seven days pending an investigation.

Bahrain prohibits smoking, drinking and eating in public during daylight hours in the holy month of Ramadan.

Earlier this month, an Egyptian woman was charged with smoking in public during daylight hours, an offence that allegedly took place as she was being questioned by a Customs officer at Bahrain International Airport.

The 32-year-old had been escorted into the lieutenant’s office after she apparently tried to avoid having her bags checked at the airport, claiming that she was late for her flight.

The Gulf Daily News reported that she allegedly insulted the officer, knocked his hat off and lit a cigarette in his office.

She explained that she lit the cigarette because she was not fasting.

And she was reported to have said that she knocked the policeman’s hat off accidentally as she waved her hands while explaining that she was late for her flight.

The woman was released on bail.

New Peace initiative in Japan

| July 25, 2014

Japan Tobacco Inc. said today that it intended to launch in early September two new products under its Peace brand, which has been renowned for its rich aroma since it first appeared on the market as Peace (10) in 1946.

The new products are said to have been formulated using a ‘lavish blend of select Virginia tobacco leaves, offering an even richer aroma than the Peace brand is known for’.

‘In addition, flavored ingredients are carefully chosen to complement the unique aroma of the Virginia leaves.’ JT said in a press note posted on its website. ‘A ”new trimming process” offers an even richer aroma, with no roughness, by flash heating the fine cut tobacco.’

In its website note, JT said that Peace Aroma Royal 100′s Box (10 mg) and Peace Aroma Crown 100′s Box (6 mg) had been developed out of a desire to offer consumers a more luxurious and relaxing smoking experience.

They will retail in boxes of 20 cigarettes for ¥500 per box.

Universal to webcast conference call

| July 25, 2014

Universal Corporation is due to webcast a conference call from 17.00 hours Eastern Time on August 7 following the release of its results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2015 after market close on that date.

The conference call will be hosted by Candace C. Formacek, vice president and treasurer.

A live webcast of the conference call will be available online on a listen-only basis at www.universalcorp.com.

A replay of the webcast will be available at the same site until November 6, and a taped replay of the conference call will also be available from 20.30 hours on August 7 until August 20 on (855) 859-2056 using the telephone replay identification number 76784375.

Attempt to block Lorillard acquisition

| July 24, 2014

A Lorillard investor is going to court in an attempt to block the company’s billion dollar acquisition by Reynolds American, claiming the deal favors the buyer, according to a story by Sophia Pearson for Bloomberg News.

Reynolds said on July 15 that it would acquire Lorillard for cash and stock in a deal that values Lorillard at $68.88 a share.

But, according to the complaint made public yesterday in Delaware Chancery Court, the proposed deal is the product of a flawed process and provides little benefit to stockholders.

‘To the detriment of the company’s shareholders, the terms of the merger agreement substantially favor Reynolds and are calculated to unreasonably dissuade potential suitors from making competing offers,’ the investor, Vincent Valentino, said in the complaint. He is seeking to represent all Lorillard shareholders.

Valentino said that Lorillard shareholders wouldn’t benefit from a transaction that, as part of the deal, would see Imperial Tobacco Group acquire brands such as Kool and Blu e-cigarettes for $7.1 billion.

The complaint claims too that the deal is ‘unfair and inadequate because, among other things, the intrinsic value of Lorillard is materially in excess of the amount offered’.

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