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S2 E2: Tobacco, Yemen & Ecuador: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

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S2 E2: Tobacco, Yemen & Ecuador: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Yemen

  • The United States closed its embassy in Yemen and evacuated diplomatic officials due to the collapse of the Yemeni government and the rise of the rebel group, the Houthis.
  • The Houthis, now in charge in Yemen, have a slogan that includes "death to America," but their leader has expressed interest in better relations with the US.

"50 Shades of Grey"

  • The film "50 Shades of Grey" was released worldwide, with different countries having varying reactions and age ratings for the movie.

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa

  • Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa responded to criticism from the video's host on Twitter, displaying oversensitivity and a history of stifling dissent in the country.

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

  • The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, an annual publication, has faced criticism for objectifying women and using controversial tactics to boost sales despite the availability of online content.

Tobacco Industry

  • Cigarette smoking was prevalent in the past, with advertisements featuring trusted figures and appealing imagery.
  • Despite health warnings and restrictions on tobacco advertising in the US, smoking rates have declined, while tobacco companies have found success in markets with fewer restrictions, such as Indonesia.
  • In Indonesia, children can easily purchase cigarettes due to lax regulations, and tobacco companies like Philip Morris International have expanded their presence there.
  • Tobacco companies aggressively challenge public health laws, as seen in Australia's case, where they sued the government for implementing plain packaging laws and faced legal battles with other countries.
  • Philip Morris International has even taken legal action against small countries like Uruguay for damaging its business prospects.
  • Uruguay introduced large health warnings on cigarette packs, leading to a drop in smoking rates.
  • Despite public support for the law, Philip Morris International (PMI) sued Uruguay for the past five years.
  • Togo, one of the poorest countries in the world, implemented new tobacco laws, including written warnings on cigarette packs.
  • However, 40% of Togo's adult population is illiterate, making pictorial warnings more effective.
  • PMI threatened to sue Togo for incalculable international trade litigation, citing an Australian High Court decision in favor of tobacco companies.
  • PMI's letter ignored the other six judges who called the tobacco companies' case "delusive," "unreal," and "synthetic."
  • Togo backed down from the public health law due to the threat of billion-dollar settlements.
  • British American Tobacco and its subsidiaries sent similar letters to Namibia and the Solomon Islands.

Jeff the Diseased Lung

  • The speaker suggests a compromise by introducing "Jeff the diseased lung in a cowboy hat" as a new face for Marlboro.
  • Jeff-branded billboards and t-shirts have been created and distributed in Uruguay and Togo.
  • The speaker encourages viewers to help spread awareness about Jeff through social media platforms.

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