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SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, HERALD SUN, THE AUSTRALIAN,(Australia), BBC (UK)

Worldcrunch

Australia’s High Court of Justice has upheld a new government law on mandatory packaging for cigarettes that remove brand colors and logos from packaging, reports the BBC.

The new law mandates that cigarettes be sold in drab olive-green packs and ban all commercial logos. Packs will be distinguishable only by printed brand names in a standard font and size, according to The Australian. Large graphic health warnings will dominate the packs. The new law will go into effect in December.

British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International, Philip Morris and Imperial Tobacco took their fight against the green boxes to the High Court in April, reports the Herald Sun.

The cigarette companies argued the Government was effectively taking their property without compensation by stopping them from using their trademarks. They also argued that the Government was taking their property for anti-smoking “advertising” and should pay for the privilege.

But to make their case, says the Sydney Morning Herald, the companies had to show that the government gained a measurable benefit as a consequence, which is apart from the claimed benefits to population health. The High Court responded that the companies’ case could not succeed unless it could be shown that the government had taken property from them.

British American Tobacco Australia said it was “extremely disappointed” the High Court had upheld “a bad piece of the law,” adding “at the end of the day no one wins from plain packaging except the criminals who sell illegal cigarettes around Australia.” The company believes that “the illegal cigarette black market will grow further when all packs look the same and are easier to copy.”

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon and Health Minister Tanya Plibersek declared in the Sydney Morning Herald: “This is a victory for all those families who have lost someone to a tobacco related illness,” adding “No longer when a smoker pulls out a packet of cigarettes will that packet be a mobile billboard.” According to the ministers, plain packaging is a vital measure, “which removes the last way for big tobacco to promote its deadly products.”

The case will be of enormous interest around the world as other jurisdictions such as the UK and New Zealand contemplate plain packaging laws, says the Herald Sun.

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Ideas

How U.S. Airlines Are Doing Cuba's Dirty Work On American Soil

American and Southwest Airlines have been refusing to allow Cubans on board flights if they've been blacklisted by the government in Havana.

How U.S. Airlines Are Doing Cuba's Dirty Work On American Soil

Boarding a plane in Camaguey, Cuba

Santiago Villa

On Sunday, American Airlines refused to let Cuban writer Carlos Manuel Álvarez board a Miami flight bound for Havana. It was at least the third time this year that a U.S. airline refused to let Cubans on board to return to their homeland after Havana circulated a government "blacklist" of critics of the regime. Clearly undemocratic and possibly illegal under U.S. law, the airlines want to make sure to cash in on a lucrative travel route, writes Colombian journalist Santiago Villa:

-OpEd-

Imagine for a moment that you left your home country years ago because you couldn't properly pursue your chosen career there. It wasn't easy, of course: Your profession is not just singularly demanding, but even at the top of the game you might not be assured a stable or sufficient income, and you've had to take on second jobs, working in bars and restaurants.

This chosen vocation is that of a writer or journalist, or perhaps an artist, which has kept you tied to your homeland, often the subject of your work, even if you don't live there anymore.

Since leaving, you've been back home several times, though not so much for work. Because if you did, you would be followed in cars and receive phone calls to let you know you are being watched.

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