legal battle

Marlboro-maker Philip Morris ordered to pay Australian government millions after losing lawsuit

It wanted the South Pacific country to withdraw its laws that made unappealing packaging mandatory for cigarettes.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration on Monday ordered tobacco company Philip Morris to pay the Australian government millions of dollars. It also ruled against the Marlboro manufacturer’s lawsuit that had sought the withdrawal of Australia’s packaging laws.

In 2012, the Australian government was the first in the world to order that cigarettes be sold in unappealing packets with graphic health warnings, BBC reported.

The Singapore-based court has ordered the company to pay the government’s legal costs in addition to an undisclosed arbitration fee. The exact amount is not known as it has been redacted from the ruling. Experts estimate it to be around AU$50 million (approximately Rs 288 crore), the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Philip Morris manufactures Marlboro and Longbeach cigarettes. It had moved the Singapore-based international court using a provision in the Hong Kong-Australia investment treaty known as the investor-state dispute settlement. The court had dismissed the case in 2015, labelling it as an “abuse of rights”.

While the legal representatives of Philips Morris argued that the fees were extensive, the court refuted its claims. “The tribunal does not consider that any of these costs claimed by the respondent were unreasonable,” it said.

“This thing should never have been in the court in the first place,” said former Australian treasurer Wayne Swan, who had helped draft the plain-packaging laws. The Australian government had ordered Swan to submit evidence during secret hearings in 2015.

In August 2016, the company had lost lost a six-year battle to block Uruguay’s stringent rules on warning labels on cigarette packets. It was the first tobacco company to take on a country in an international court.

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Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.


2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.