UK shelves plain cigarette pack plans

Updated 13 July 2013
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UK shelves plain cigarette pack plans

LONDON: Britain announced yesterday it had postponed plans to introduce plain packaging on cigarettes, saying it was waiting to see the results of a similar move in Australia.
Prime Minister David Cameron faced criticism over the move, with opposition lawmakers asking whether the decision had been influenced by links between his chief party strategist and tobacco companies.
Health Minister Jeremy Hunt said the decision was delayed because the government wants more time to see how a similar system in Australia works before committing to such a policy.
In December 2012, Australia became the first country in the world to force tobacco firms to sell cigarettes in identical, olive-green packets bearing the same typeface and largely covered with graphic health warnings.
The British government is reported to be worried about the impact on jobs in the tobacco industry that any ban on branded packaging might have, especially at a time of austerity and economic stagnation.
Diane Abbott, health spokeswoman for the opposition Labor party, told Parliament the government had made a “disgraceful U-turn.”
“We have to ask, what happened? We suspect Lynton Crosby happened,” she said, referring to the election strategist for Cameron’s center-right Conservative party.


Khaleeji music enthralls Saudi audience

Updated 8 min 42 sec ago
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Khaleeji music enthralls Saudi audience

  • Saudi singer Abadi Al-Johar has composed around 50 albums since he began his musical career in 1968
  • Waleed Al- Shami, from Iraq, has been awarded the Best Khaleeji Musician Award from Egypt and the Golden Oud from Rotana

JEDDAH: Singers Abadi Al-Johar, from Saudi Arabia, and Waleed Al- Shami, from Iraq, were a hit at their first concerts in front of families at King Abdullah Economic City on Friday.
Al-Johar, 64, is a musician, singer and composer. One of the most popular Khaleeji singers in the Gulf, he has composed around 50 albums since he began his musical career in 1968. He earned the title Ikhtabout Al-Oud (Octopus of the Oud) from the late Talal Maddah because of his unmatchable Oud playing.
The Saudi singer is also a member of the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts. He won a number of awards including an honorary doctorate from the Academy of Arts in Egypt, Best Khaleeji Musician Award from Egypt and the Golden Oud from Rotana.
Al-Shami, 46, is an Iraqi singer and composer who began his musical career in 1999 and has composed four albums.
His career took off after the success of his first album “Musiba” in 2008.
First to perform at the venue was Al-Shami. He sang hit songs such as “Sadmah,” “Eshtaqt Lak,” “Majnouni,” “Ahebah Kolesh” and his most popular song “Hala Hala.”
On stage, he thanked the General Entertainment Authority and BluePlan Media for providing the concert to the public.
“I hope it is not the last time we meet. We must repeat this, here, Riyadh and the Eastern Province. That is a promise,” he said.
Following Al-Shami’s performance, Al-Johar sang hit songs such as “Khalas Erjaa,” “El Mazhareya,” “Khayarteni,” “Daqayeq” and “Hobbak Samaa.”
During his performance, the Saudi legend said: “I am delighted by your presence, I will sing any song you want me to.”
Television presenter Kholud Alnimer attended the concert. “It is very crowded, that means there is a lot of love for these singers,” he told Arab News.
The audience was overjoyed with the music of Waled Al Shami and Abadi Al-Johar.
“It is great to see a Khaleeji concert for the first time in front of families, and it has been done very professionally — looking forward to more.” Nadeem bin Talal, a fan, told Arab News