Australia will become the first country to require cigarettes to be sold in uniform packages after its top court rejected a challenge from tobacco companies, setting a precedent for other nations to follow.
Politically, environmentalism has had a few good months in the U.S. Hurricane Sandy put the words “climate change” back in the national vocabulary. Republican attempts to attack Democrats for waging a “war on coal” failed to win many votes in states like Virginia and Ohio on Election Day. In his second inaugural address, President Barack Obama made climate action a priority. A climate rally in Washington is being planned for later this month, and the president has committed to conducting a “national conversation” on the subject.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who fought for anti-smoking legislation in the city, said he would donate $220 million to help reduce tobacco use in China, India and elsewhere in the developing world.
The brother of Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang, who oversees public health, should be removed from his post as a top official in China’s state-owned tobacco monopoly to avoid conflicts of interest, a report published by the Washington-based Brookings Institution said.