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You will be in our thoughts forever!

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Prof: Carlo Fonseka

By Dr. SAMADHI RAJAPAKSA

MD., MA., Ph.D.

Chairman National Authority on

Tobacco & Alcohol

Founder Cancer Care Association of

Sri Lanka Chairman Palliative Care Trust

It is generally true that each person on earth has only one skill. But there are exceptions to this rule seen with Emeritus Professor Carlo Fonseka who passed away a year ago. He had multifarious talents, hence he could shine in a variety of fields equally well.

He was  Sri Lanka’s most respected medical personality, the contribution of  Professor Carlo Fonseka to medicine in Sri Lanka will be remembered for decades to come.

A doctor by profession and a former Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of  Kelaniya and President of the Sri Lanka Medical Council; but he excelled in a plethora of other fields and activities such as music, art, film, literature, education, academia, oratory and political activism.

He was the founding Chairman of the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA). Much of his work revolved around campaigning against the use of tobacco and alcohol. Once addressing the media on how to deliver  an effective health message  he said; “To deliver a health message effectively and in confidence it should consist of 3 significant factors, viz. be authoritative, comprehensive, and clear. Nature has gifted the human brain with science to be authoritative, religion to be ethical, and art to address wisdom with our feelings. If we use all these factors we may deliver a strong message to society”  Professor Fonseka said, addressing a workshop organized for media personnel held in Colombo, to evaluate their contribution for tobacco control during the past many years.

Professor Fonseka was indeed an ardent anti-tobacco campaigner. He made use of the media by appearing as a true campaigner and for years, trying his best to  empower youth to be away from tobacco and alcohol. The World Health Organization recognized his anti-tobacco work. As a result he was one of the six South-East Asia Region awardees of the World No Tobacco Day 2012 awards. As its founding Chairman of the National Authority on Tobacco & Alcohol since 2006 was the Golden Period for development of tobacco control policies in Sri Lanka. He was honest to his tasks. His favourite slogan was “Your cigarette kills me!”

He was a man of great principles who did not chase after wealth, never earned through private practice. Professor Carlo Fonseka is revered and held in such high esteem by those in the sphere of medicine, his colleagues and especially his students. The demise of Professor Carlo Fonseka was a great loss not only to the medical fraternity, but also to those who are grateful to what he did to mankind.

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EC member Hoole moves SC against 20A

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Petitions challenging 20A before five-judge bench of SC today 

By Chitra Weerarathne

Petitions filed in the Supreme Court, challenging the constitutionality of the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka, will be called before a five-judge bench today.

These petitions have said that people’s approval at a referendum as well as a two-thirds majority in Parliament will be needed to enact the Bill.

All the petitions have basically said that the Bill has a section, which says a dual citizen can contest to enter the Parliament of Sri Lanka and run for President threatened national security.

The petitions challenge the powers vested in the President. The President could sack the Prime Minister and the Ministers. Once the Bill becomes law, fundamental rights petitions could not be filed to challenge an act of the President, the petitions have pointed out.

The investigating powers of the Auditor General have been curtailed. The powers vested in the Elections Commission when an election is on is also limited, the petitioners have argued.

The petitions have requested the Supreme Court to declare that a two-thirds majority in Parliament and people’s approval at a referendum will be needed to enact the proposed amendment.

Among the petitioners are Elections Commission member Ratnajeevan Hoole, the Samagi Jana Balavegaya, Attorney-at-Law Indika Gallage, Mayantha Dissanayake, S. J. B. Member of Parliament for the Kandy District and also the President of the Youth League of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya.

The Supreme Court bench will comprise the Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare, Justice Sisira de Abrew, Justice S. Thurairajah and Justice Vijith K. Malalgoda.

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Senasinghe announces quitting politics

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By Akitha Perera

Former non-cabinet minister of the yahapalana government Sujeewa Senasinghe announced yesterday that he would quit politics. 

He had also stepped down as the SJB Deputy Secretary, Senasinghe said. 

Senasinghe said that he intended to focus on his business in the future and that he would commence work on his PhD from January 2021. 

He unsuccessfully contested the Aug 05 general election from the Colombo district on SJB ticket.

Senasinghe commenced his political career as a member of the Western Provincial Council of the UNP. He was elected to Parliament twice from the same party. 

He earned notoriety by publishing a book denying the bond scam ever took place.

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Pujith insists his hands were tied during crucial period 

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

He had been aware that the activities and preaching of Islamists would have an impact on reconciliation, but those in higher positions were convinced otherwise, former IGP Pujith Jayasundara, yesterday, told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the Easter Sunday attacks.

The ex-IGP said that although he too had received information about activities of Islamic extremists by late 2018, he had been barred from the National Security Council (NSC) by then.

“I couldn’t share the information I had and I didn’t know what was discussed there. I couldn’t even assign a senior officer to represent me there.”

Jayasundara added that after he had received, on April 09, a report from State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Nilantha Jayawardena about a possible terrorist attack, he forwarded the report to SDIG of Western Province, Nandana Munasinghe, SDIG crimes and STF M.R. Latheef, DIG special protection range Priyalal Dasanayake and Director of the Terrorism Investigation Division, Waruna Jayasundara and spoke to them over the phone.

Jayasundara said that he had also phoned all SDIGs in charge of provinces. The witness added that he had wanted to ensure that there would not be a leak, causing unnecessary problems in society.

“For example, the letter I sent to the Special Protection Range (SPR) was leaked to the media after the attacks.”

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