AN UNCHARACTERISTIC failure to be punctual is the reason why the German government lost a bid at the European Court of Justice to overturn last year's European Union directive on tobacco manufacturing and labelling.

Berlin officials had until last October 11 to launch an appeal against the law, which had been published in the EU Official Journal on July 18. But, reported the court, Germany's case was only lodged on October 12, leading judges to reject the application out of hand.

The directive in question (2001/37/EC) forces ...

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