Morning business round-up: Australia bans cigarette packaging

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What made the business news in Asia and Europe this morning? Here's our daily business round-up:

Australia's highest court has upheld a new government law on mandatory packaging for cigarettes that removes brand colours and logos from packaging.

The law requires cigarettes to be sold in olive green packets, with graphic images warning of the consequences of smoking.

Leading global tobacco manufacturers, including British American Tobacco and Philip Morris, had challenged the law.

The new packaging rules are scheduled to be implemented from 1 December 2012.

In the UK, Virgin Rail lost its bid to continue running the West Coast Mainline train service and will be replaced by the UK's largest rail operator, FirstGroup.

FirstGroup said it would "offer substantial improvements in the quality and frequency of services".

Sir Richard Branson said Virgin's loss of the franchise was "very disappointing news".

Standard Chartered shares have rallied after it agreed to pay $340m (£217m) to New York regulators to settle claims that it hid transactions with Iran.

The bank, accused of laundering as much as $250bn, had been threatened that its US banking licence may be revoked.

Shares opened 4.3% higher in London trade before easing slightly.

The number of people in the UK out of work fell by 46,000 to 2.56 million in the three months to June, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The unemployment rate fell to 8.0% in the period, down from 8.2% in the previous quarter.

The ONS also said number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance fell by 5,900 to 1.59 million in July.

Media caption,

Biz Heads

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said urgent steps must be taken to boost the country's ailing economy.

In a speech marking Independence Day, Mr Singh said the time had come to view growth as a matter of national security, and urged politicians to reach consensus on economic issues.

He promised to make it easier for foreign companies to invest in India.

And 23,000 cars made by China's Chery Automobile and Great Wall Motor Company have been recalled in Australia after asbestos was found in some components.

The import and use of asbestos, which is heat resistant, has been prohibited in Australia since 2004.

Asbetos fibres are believed to cause serious illness, including lung cancer.

However, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said the asbestos did not present "any risk to consumers during use of the vehicle".

The latest Business Daily programme from the BBC World Service looks at the misery caused by the crash of the US property market.

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