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World’s biggest tobacco company vows to phase out cigarettes

In a swish research centre on the edge of a Swiss lake, the world’s biggest cigarette company is re-inventing itself.

Philip Morris International – which makes Marlboro and several other leading brands – has vowed to phase out cigarettes and move into smoke-free products instead.

And the complex of laboratories is a signal of intent.

It’s spent £3.5bn on science and technology so far, clocking up more than 3,000 patents, with another 5,000 pending.

Sky News was given unprecedented access, allowed to see banks of machines that “smoke”, and a laboratory where scientists monitor the impact of chemicals on the tiny hairs inside the lungs and airways.

Fewer than 15% of adults now smoke in the UK, compared to 21% a decade ago

The current focus is on IQOS, an electric device that heats, rather than burns tobacco.

The cooler temperature lowers levels of 15 noxious chemicals found in cigarette smoke by 95%, according to the company’s research.

That doesn’t mean it reduces the risk of smoking-related diseases. Those studies haven’t been done, though blood tests suggest there is a less damaging impact on the body.

Nor have there been head-to-head comparisons with vaping.

The aerosol from heating nicotine liquid has even lower levels of toxic compounds. And while medical authorities endorse vaping as an alternative to smoking, they are so far sniffy about heated tobacco.

Public Health England says there just isn’t enough independent research to recommend it to smokers as a way of reducing risk.

Image:
A laboratory where scientists monitor the impact of chemicals on the tiny hairs inside the lungs

There may well be a big dose of scepticism involved too.

Tobacco killed 100 million people in the 20th Century and for decades the industry denied there was a risk from smoking.

According to anti-tobacco campaigners it even covered up evidence that nicotine was addictive.

So why, they ask, should the industry be trusted now?

There may be another motive for Philip Morris’s shift away from cigarettes.

Smokers in most industrialised nations are already making the same transition.

Philip Morris International has spent £3.5bn on science and technology so far
In the UK fewer than 15% of adults now smoke, compared to 21% a decade ago.

They’re either quitting altogether, or they’re vaping.

So this could be a shrewd move by the company to give smokers a reason to stick with tobacco in some form.

The biggest test is what Philip Morris does in low and middle income countries, where most smokers live and where it continues to make huge profits from its cigarettes.

The current heated tobacco device is well-beyond the means of the world’s poor.

The company says it is committed to devising cheaper versions for every market, a win for the business and arguably for smokers.

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World News

Nigeria postpones presidential election at last minute | World News

Nigeria’s presidential election has been postponed just hours before polls were due to open.

The country’s election commission said it was delaying the vote to 23 February due to unspecified “challenges”, amid reports that voting materials had not been delivered to some areas.

The delay is expected to spark anger in Africa’s most populous nation and largest democracy after many people had relocated for the chance to vote.

A police officer oversees the distribution of election materials in Yola

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The presidential election is now due to take place on 23 February

Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said: “This was a difficult decision to take but necessary for successful delivery of the elections and the consolidation of our democracy.”

A review of logistics led the commission to conclude that going ahead with the election as planned was “no longer feasible,” he said.

A group of women sit at the entrance of a polling station in Gombi

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Nigerians sit at the entrance of a polling station in the town of Gombi

Nigeria also postponed its presidential election in 2015 because of deadly insecurity in the northeast of the country, which remains under threat from Islamic extremists.

More than 84 million voters had been expected to head to the polls on Saturday, in what is seen as a close and heated race between President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar, a billionaire former vice president.

:: ‘Four’ killed in stampede at election rally for Nigeria president

igeria's main opposition party presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar

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Atiku Abubakar has campaigned on the theme of ‘Let’s Make Nigeria Work Again’

Both men have pledged to work for a peaceful election even as their supporters, including high-level officials, have caused alarm with warnings against foreign interference and allegations of rigging.

Mr Buhari made history when he came to power in 2015 with the first defeat of an incumbent Nigerian president.

That election was hailed as one of the most transparent and untroubled ever in Nigeria, which has seen deadly post-vote violence in the past.

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari is bidding for a second term

Mr Buhari’s term has been marked by a crash in global oil prices that spun Nigeria’s economy into a rare recession, from which it only emerged in 2017.

Unemployment shot up and the country passed India as the nation with the most people living in extreme poverty. More than 13 million children are said to be out of school.

Many Nigerians also worry about Mr Buhari himself after he spent more than 150 days outside the country for an unspecified medical treatment.

In December, he bizarrely denied rumours he had died following a period of ill health and had been replaced by a Sudanese clone.



Muhammadu Buhari

Nigerian leader: ‘I am not a clone!’

Meanwhile, Mr Abubakar has followed in the footsteps of US President Donald Trump by campaigning on the theme of “Let’s Make Nigeria Work Again”.

He has vowed to apply his business acumen to privatise Nigeria’s state oil company and lift 50 million people out of poverty by 2025, but has faced years of corruption allegations.

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Entertainment

Vogue Brazil executive Donata Meirelles quits over ‘slavery’ party picture | World News

The style director of the Brazilian edition of Vogue has quit after an image taken at her 50th birthday party was condemned for depicting scenes of slavery from colonial times.

A guest at the lavish party, held in Bahia, northeastern Brazil, posted a picture showing Donata Meirelles sat on an elaborate, throne-like chair, flanked by black women in traditional white dress.

Critics likened the women’s clothes to the uniforms worn by house slaves, and pointed out the chair’s similarity to one commonly used by slave masters.

Marie Claire columnist Stephanie Ribeiro said on Twitter: “The black women were used as objects to create an exotic scene.

“It’s reminiscent of colonialism and romanticises those times. She was recreating the image where whites are superior and blacks are dehumanised.”

Ms Meirelles insisted in an Instagram post that the chair was an artefact from the Afro-Brazilian folk religion candomblé, and the clothes were traditional Bahian party attire.

“Even so, if I caused any different impressions, I am sorry,” she added.

In a statement on Instagram, the magazine said: “Vogue Brasil profoundly regrets what happened and hopes that the debate that has been generated serves as a learning experience.

“We believe in affirmative and purposeful actions and also that empathy is the best alternative for the construction of a more just society, in which the historical inequalities of the country are debated and faced.

Vogue has said it will also create a panel of activists and academics to help produce content to combat inequalities.

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Hausa

‘Yaki na sanadin mutuwar Jarirai 500 kullum’

Yemen
Image caption

Jarirai da yara na mutuwa saboda tsananin yunwa, da rashin abinci mai gina jiki

Wani sabon rahoto da aka fitar dauke da cewa Jarirai 5 ne ke mutuwa sanadiyyar yaki, kafin soja guda ya mutu.

Rahoton da kungiyar Save the Children ta fitar, ta ce shekaru biyar da suka gabata, jarirai dubu dari biyar ne ke mutuwa a kowacce rana, sanadiyyar yaki.

Wasu lokutan kuma 300 ko dai sanadiyyar yunwa da rashin abinci mai gina jiki, ko cututtuka kamar amai da gudawa da rashin kulawar likita da magani.

Kasashen da lamarin ya fi munana sun hada da Yemen da Syria da Afghanistan, da Jamhuriyyar Dimukradiyyar Congo.

Save the Children ta ce idan za a hada da yara ‘yan shekara biyar da ke mutuwa, adadin ka ya kai waDubu dari tara.

Haka kuma ba a sanya yaran da suka mutu a lokacin da ake gwabza yakin ba, ko dai ta harbin bindiga, ko tashin bam ko rikitowar gine-gine.

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