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Is selling cigarettes nothing short of drug dealing!

The argument for plain packaging on cigarettes and tobacco products rumbles on and on here in the UK. The government delayed a decision back in July on whether or not all cigarettes should be sold under plain packaging; many people think that it’s merely a delaying tactic as the UK government comes up with a way around the pressurised situation they are in. On one hand they are being pressured by the EU and health organisations to do all they can to discourage smoking and protect the young and on the other they are under pressure from the tobacco companies which are big business, big business that pump a lot of money into the UK economy in revenue and taxes, big businesses that have a lot of political clout. You could argue that Cameron and his pals are stuck in between a rock and a hard place on this issue!

Apparently our Conservative/Lib Dem coalition government, that no one actually voted into power, is waiting for the outcome of trials being held in Australia on packets that are almost plain unbranded and just carry health warnings before they make a decision whereas  Labour, the opposition, saying that action is needed now and not another review.

Regardless which side the fence you are on here, the outcome is probably irrelevant. In my view the sale of cigarettes is nothing short of legal drug dealing on a massive scale. It doesn’t matter which political party happens to be in power now as all parties have taken part in this appalling situation over the decades and have stood by and watched these drugs be readily available and sold for profit to its very own people.

Cigarettes and tobacco are a massive health and safety problem; we know the damage they do to passive smokers that is why smoking in public buildings and work places was banned years ago in the UK and Europe. We know that smoking causes cancer and a whole manner of nasty diseases hence the reason to have warnings on the packets; my question is why aren’t they banned totally?

If we can legally sell these things to our fellow citizens and make a fortune in taxes for our government’s coffers then why are other substances like cannabis illegal?  Millions if not billions of people around the world die or are suffering from illnesses directly related to smoking tobacco, none have ever died from using pure cannabis. It just doesn’t make sense does it?

I know I am not in a position to put the world to rights but it’s my view that any member of parliament in any government that condones the legal sale of tobacco products should be arrested and charged with dealing in a dangerous substance known to cause death. What makes our government and others around the world different from say the Columbian Cartel that trade in Cocaine or the Afghani war lords that trade Heroin?, all supply dangerous drugs knowingly and all make huge profits from the illicit trade.

The government is seen to be almost two faced when it comes to the sale of tobacco, they are happy to receive the revenue that this can generate (which could be construed as immoral earnings) and allow the tobacco companies to trade freely and even protect this revenue stream by not allowing any general member of the public to sell or produce tobacco without a license(something that would never be granted) but imagine what would happen if you or I decided to set up shop selling drugs or even tobacco, our doors would be off the hinges and our homes raided in no time at all….double standards!

Do we need plain packaging on our tobacco products?, I personally don’t think it will make a difference, it’s no coincidence that the majority of smokers are from the lower end of the social scale, surveys done over the years on this and other health issues have shown that the people who find themselves at this end of the social scale are less likely to be aware of health issues or less likely to be in a position to care.



Are Amazons Warehouse Staff Being Pushed Too Far!

Amazon, the internet giant has been accused of pushing staff too far and putting them at risk of stress associated illnesses as they gear up for the Christmas period. According to an article released today Amazon staff that work in the eight distribution depots across the UK are expected to pick a parcel every 33 seconds, and walk distances up and down the warehouse that equal 11 miles of walking per shift.

This was brought to light during undercover filming for a popular BBC topical news show which airs tonight. Under cover reporter Adam Littler applied for a temporary post in one of Amazons giant 800,000 square feet Swansea based distribution depots as a picker. He was assigned a trolley and a hand held computer/scanner which relayed information telling him what item he should pick and where it is located and was counting down from the moment the order was received. An average of 33 seconds was allowed per pick with an audible alarm being sounded, if a mistake was made or he took too long locating the item then the handheld terminal would basically report this to a member of the management team who would then demand to know what is causing the delay.

Health experts think that added to the long hours this kind of pressurised job could lead to increased number of stress related illnesses due to its high demand nature. Amazon employs many staff through employment agencies at peak times with most working for the average hourly rate of £6.50 per hour rising to over £8 pounds for 10 hour evening shift.

The undercover agency reporter/agency worker said he felt like a machine that was not encouraged to think for himself and just follow the computer, he said he had walked approx. 11 miles during his 10 hour night shift and that his feet were left feeling painful and sore.

Amazon hit back claiming that new recruits are warned of the active nature of the roll stating that many staff actually enjoy the exercise with employees volunteering for the roles especially because of the activeness of the job. The also went on to say:

“Amazon said it had invested £1bn in the UK and created 5,000 permanent jobs. It added that it relied on the good judgement of thousands of employees. The company said: “Together we’re working hard to make sure we’re better tomorrow than we are today.”

The full programme is available now in the UK on BBC iplayer: Behind the click is part of the Panorama series aired earlier this evening at 20.30.

Xbox One V’s PlayStation 4

Tensions are rising as the world’s biggest gaming titles go head to head with the Xbox One gamer console’s imminent release in the UK and around the world at midnight tonight, 22nd November. The release of Sony’s latest gaming console the PS4 follows a whole week later in the UK on the 29th November, although it is already on sale in the US and Canada.

Both consoles are hotly anticipated by gamers around the globe and the current financial situation shows no signs here with gamers seemingly happy to cough up an eye watering £349.00 for the PS4 and a budget busting £429.00 for the Xbox One. Gamers will be forced to part with more cash as each console only comes with one controller as standard in the box.

Sony’s early release in the US and Canada saw the new PS4 flying of the shelf with a reported              1 million sales in 24 hours, making it the world’s fastest selling console ever!. It’s unlikely that UK sales will come anywhere near so many so quickly for either of the new arrivals but people will literally be queuing out the doors to get their hands on what is surely going to be the most wanted must have gift this year regardless of the high price tags.

The upcoming games and entertainment Expo in 2014 will be the place to be in the coming New Year, with the release of these two new games consoles, surely all eyes will be on this event as the rivals showcase their new titles for the future. The E3 2014 held in Los Angeles is the must-attend event where the video game industry unites to debut, showcase, and experience the future of games. This trade Expo convention will be held on June 10th-12th 2014.

Both consoles have the big titles ready to run on the new platforms, games such as Fifa 14, Assassins Creed, Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty-Ghosts, all red hot releases for this year, and worthy titles too. Along with these generic releases both the PS4 and Xbox One have exclusive titles too.  Microsoft’s Killer Instinct and Sony’s Resogun certainly look like good fun titles whilst PS4’s Killzone looks to outshine Xbox’s  Ryse: Son of Rome although to be fair they are both amazing games when showcased on the new respective platforms.

Gamers around the world have an exciting year ahead with many Expo and convention meetings being held around the world. Here is a few exhibitions, conferences and Expo to look out for in 2014

Global Electronic Entertainment Expo 2014  AsiaWorld-Expo, Hong Kong,  Date: Tue 18th Feb – Thu 20th Feb.

Amaze/Interact 2014 Venue TBA Berlin Germany

New Media Expo Las Vegas USA January 2014

Pocket Gamer Expo-Conference London UK January 2014

Global Game Jam (multiple venues) January 2014

Independent Games Festival and Expo- San Francisco March 2014

Gamescom Cologne August 2014

Eurogamer Expo London UK Sep 2014

There are many more events going on around the world, from games developer’s conferences to gamer fan events so there will be probably one near you, search online for local and national events.