Silent anti-tobacco campaign gaining ground

4df0b2fb196c3110dcba5f613b3ba0c0_MBy Arthur Wamanan

While arguments and counter-arguments continue on the recent Court of Appeal judgment on the percentage of pictorial warnings on cigarette packets, a group of medical officers, together with villagers have been silently conducting awareness programs to change the mindset of people with regard to tobacco.

This probably is the first program of its kind in Sri Lanka where officials, villagers and community leaders got together to make a change while being with the people. A team of medical officers in several parts of the Moneragala District have got together with villagers, community leaders and religious leaders to change the people’s attitude towards tobacco and cigarettes.
This awareness program has been conducted over the past one and a half years in several areas including Buttala, Maharagama and Wellawaya Pradeshiya Sabha Divisions. During the initial stages, the awareness campaign did not target tobacco usage or smoking. Continue reading →

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No plan to leave government on Casino Bill issue-Champika

Minister of Technology, Research and Atomic Energy and senior member of the Jathika Hela Urumaya, Patali Champika Ranawaka says the operation of casinos would result in grave consequences that would lead the breakdown of moral and ethical values of society while encouraging social evils such as drugs, blackmoney and prostitution. In an interview with The Nation, he also pointed out the risk of Government falling into the hands of casino giants

Following is the full interview:

Q: The JHU has voiced its displeasure over the Bills that were passed in Parliament pertaining to the
Casino Bill that was passed in Parliament recently. Can you explain your reasons behind it?

It was a gazette notification under the Strategic Enterprises Act of 2008. It is not a Casino Bill. There is a history behind it.
There were two organizations, Lake Leisure and Waterfront Leisure. There was a proposal made to Parliament in August
2013 to provide them tax relief and to allow them to operate as betting centers. This is not a new thing. Continue reading →

Ball in Dhanapala’s court

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Pic courtesy AFP

By Arthur Wamanan

Media representatives and rights groups will come together tomorrow (May 5) to sign a public petition to legalize the Right to Information Bill. With World Press Freedom Day commemorated yesterday (May 03), media representatives and rights groups are once again abuzz calling for assurance of freedom of speech and ensure security to media personnel.

The media in Sri Lanka has faced its problems over the years and still continue to do so. The blocking of news website Colombo Telegraph in Sri Lanka has once again raised concerns over freedom of speech and right to information.
The site has been inaccessible through almost all major internet service providers including Dialog, Mobitel and Etisalat. However, the issue here is not with the service providers. Continue reading →