Saturday, May 30, 2009

May 31st-World No Tobacco Day 2009

May 31st-World No Tobacco Day 2009

The theme of World No Tobacco Day 2009 is "Tobacco Health Warnings", with an emphasis on the picture warnings that have been shown to be particularly effective at making people aware of the health risks of tobacco use and convincing them to quit. More and more countries are fighting back against the epidemic of tobacco by requiring that packages of tobacco show the dangers of the product's use, as called for in guidelines to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death. More than 1.2 million people die every year in South-East Asia Region due to tobacco use. The wide-spread use of tobacco products in the Region has resulted from unrestricted use of marketing tools by the tobacco industry, the addictive nature of nicotine and the lack of knowledge about the harmful effects of tobacco products among tobacco users and non-users in the form of second-hand tobacco smoke. The lack of regulation of the tools of a product that kills half of its users has exposed the population to the misinformation of the tobacco industry about the suitability of their products.
The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in its Article 11 mandates that countries should enact effective measures to ensure appropriate health warnings on tobacco products packages. It also says that these health warnings should be rotating, large, clear, visible, legible and include pictures or pictograms and occupy at least 50% or more and no less than 30% of the principal display areas. The third session of the Conference of the Parties (COP), held in Durban, South Africa in November 2008 also adopted guidelines for implementation of Article 11 which provide detailed information for countries to effectively implement their obligations in relation to Packaging and Labelling of Tobacco Products. In addition, the MPOWER Policy Package promotes effective tobacco health warnings as an intervention under its one of the six policies - “Warn about the dangers of tobacco”.
Comprehensive health warnings about the dangers of tobacco use play a vital role in changing its image, especially among adolescents and young adults. Text and pictorial health warnings are useful to communicate the health risks of tobacco use, provoke more thought about the health risks of tobacco use and have a greater emotional response and generate increased motivation and intention to quit. They are particularly effective in communicating health effects to comparative low literate populations, children and young people.
Call for action
Call to policy-makers
Promote your country's accession to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, whose Article 11 guidelines lay out the elements of effective tobacco health warnings.
Use the MPOWER package — specifically, the "W", which stands for "Warn about the dangers of tobacco" — to counter the tobacco epidemic and to help countries meet their commitments under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
Require by law that all tobacco products display large picture warnings about the harm caused by tobacco and its many other negative consequences.
Build on the experiences of other countries to craft the most effective warnings and implement them for the greatest possible impact.
Base your decisions on impartial scientific evidence, not on the claims of the tobacco industry. Tobacco companies oppose strong health warnings, particularly those with pictures. The arguments they use against health warnings are false and should not be relied upon.

Call to civil society and nongovernmental organizations
Advocate for picture-based warnings on all tobacco products.
Campaign for and help to develop and implement laws that require picture-based warnings on tobacco products.
Act as a watchdog to monitor tobacco-industry packaging strategies and compliance with statutory warnings.
Evaluate and share information about the effectiveness of picture warnings.

Call to the public
Demand your right to know the truth — the whole truth — about the dangers of tobacco use and exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke.
Let everyone know that you support picture warnings.

New pictures in former no war free zone area

Former War free zone now through camara eye

This is the present pictures of the former no-fire zone in Vellamullivaikkal, Irattavaikkal etc.
These are rial photos were captured by AP, Times and Reuter photo journalists from the helicopter UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon travelled over the no-fire zone.
Click This to enlarge

(Lankaenews report)

Sri Lanka rejects deaths report

Sri Lanka rejects deaths report
(BBC Report)
The Times says that the deaths happened during the Tigers' last stand
The Sri Lankan government has strongly denied allegations that more than 20,000 civilians were killed during its recent onslaught against Tamil rebels.
The figures published in The Times newspaper in the UK - quoting official documents and witness accounts - is far higher than previously thought.
A senior official from Sri Lanka's Centre for National Security told the BBC the accusations were totally false.
The UN says that there are no confirmed estimates of civilian casualties.
The last time it gave an estimate was about two weeks before the end of the war, when it said that 6,500 people had died.
But the UN Resident Co-ordinator for Sri Lanka, Neil Buhne, has told the BBC that he has no final figure in part because access to displaced people in camps is restricted by the government.
The government's denials are likely to be dismissed by many of its critics, who accuse it of repeatedly giving out inaccurate information about what has been happening in the north.
Aid agencies point out that its insistence that only about 110,000 civilians were trapped in fighting in the north - and its condemnation of UN figures saying the true figure was twice that - was followed by more than 250,000 civilians emerging from the area.
Expert testimony
The Times on Friday published what it said were photographs showing a devastated area in the former conflict zone where an estimated 100,000 people were sheltering.
The government says that it is doing all it can to protect displaced people
It said that more than 20,000 Tamil civilians had been killed in the final throes of the war, most as a result of government shelling.
Video evidence published by The Times suggests that the Tamil Tigers established mortar positions and military encampments within camps for displaced people, which were then shelled by the military.
Government forces were meant to have stopped using heavy weapons on 27 April.
From that time onwards they were supposed to observe a no-fire zone where 100,000 Tamil men, women and children were sheltering.
The paper says that it compiled its evidence using aerial photographs, official documents, witness accounts and expert testimony.
"The offensive ended Sri Lanka's 26-year civil war with the Tamil Tigers, but innocent civilians paid the price," the Times says.
It says that the evidence was compiled from confidential UN documents which record 6,500 civilian deaths in the no-fire zone up to the end of April, with an average of 1,000 civilians killed each day until 19 May, the day after Velupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of the Tamil Tigers, was killed.
'Jilted old woman'
A senior official from Sri Lanka's Centre for National Security, Laksham Hullegalle said there had been no shelling or killing in the zone, and that the photographs were "totally unbelievable".
Fighting intensified in the latter stages of the war
"The decision was taken by the government not to use any heavy weapons from the beginning of this month," he said.
"From that time onwards there was no heavy shelling."
Mr Hullegalle said there was a possibility the photos were fake and that there had been no corroborating evidence from civilians who fled the area and no bodies discovered.
The Permanent Secretary to the Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Palitha Kohona, also dismissed the report.
"I am bemused that The Times, like a jilted old woman, is continuing a bitter campaign against Sri Lanka based on unverified figures and unsubstantiated assertions," he said.
"The simple fact is that Sri Lanka eliminated a detestable terrorist group and in the process rescued over 250,000 hostages held as a human shield by the terrorists."