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Prof: Carlo Fonseka


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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Economic crisis: 100,000 families already starving



Govt. to provide monthly assistance package – official

By Ifham Nizam 

Plans are underway to assist an average needy family of  four with a monthly package of Rs. 15,000, a senior adviser to President Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday, adding that the move was expected to help ameliorate the plight of nearly 65,000 families.

Food Security Committee Chairman Dr. Suren Batagoda told The Island yesterday that at present some 100,000 families across the country were starving.

He said financial assistance would be provided to those families for three months. Within three months, the government would design a package in the form of food stamps, etc.

Dr. Batagoda said the World Food Programme, UNICEF, the World Bank, and state agencies would also team up to strengthen food security, focusing especially on needy pregnant mothers and pre-school children.

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GR govt. ignored Chinese lenders’ request for debt restructuring



By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Gotabaya Rajapaksa government had ignored suggestions by Chinese lending institutions that Sri Lanka to restructure the debt in 2021, Prof. Samitha Hettige said yesterday.

“The Rajapaksa government started talking of debt restructuring earlier this year. The Opposition had been asking for this before,” he said.  By 2021, before the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration decided on debt restructuring, the Chinese institutions that had given Sri Lanka loans suggested that a restructuring process should start since Sri Lanka would have trouble repaying the loans, the Strategic Studies scholar said.

However, the request had gone unheeded, and if the government had started discussions then, Sri Lanka would not have been in crisis, Prof. Hettige said.

The Sri Lankan foreign policy, in the last few years, had also been misguided, Prof. Hettige said. A number of Indian and Chinese companies faced unnecessary issues by the behaviour of the government, he said.

Prof. Hettige said that the government must focus on establishing free trade ports and reducing negative lists for investments.

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SJB dissociates itself from SF’s call for protest



By Chaminda Silva

MP Sarath Fonseka’s call for people to join anti-government protests was not a decision taken by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), party MP J.C Alawathuwala said.

The SJB believed that they had to help President Ranil Wickremesinghe stabilise the country, economically and politically, he said.

MP Alawathuwala said the President must be given some time to solve the problems faced by the people and that the SJB was holding discussions with the government to guide it on a people-friendly path.

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