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Death of former Minister Kingsley T. Wickremaratne

Former Cabinet Minister and former Southern Province Governor Kingsley T Wickremaratne died yesterday at a private hospital in Colombo. He was 69. A stalwart of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Wickremaratne first contested the Kaduwela electorate at the 1977 General Election without success. He was later appointed as the SLFP Assistant Secretary.

He was elected Treasurer of the SLFP for three consecutive terms and helped steer the party during turbulent times. A voracious reader equally eloquent in his speech Wickremaratne showcased his forte in marketing and advertising at more than 200 lectures the world over.

As a Southern Province Governor, he strove to forge closer ties between China and Sri Lanka and to develop the Province in the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami.

Along with the Central Government, Wickremaratne persuaded donor agencies and philanthropists to extend their support for the revival of Southern Province after the tsunami in 2004.

He first entered Parliament at the 1988 General Election and was appointed Internal and External Trade and Commerce Minister by President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga after the SLFP led United People's Freedom Front came into power in 1994.

He was responsible for introducing dramatic changes to the Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) which was running at a loss and never supported the call for privatisation for all woes in the State sector institutions.

A Fellow of the Institute of Management UK, Wickremaratne identified emerging trends in the world employment market and was committed for the uplift of ICT education in Sri Lanka. The Malabe ICT campus is the brainchild of Wickremaratne.

Wickremaratne in his capacity as the Southern Province Governor organised a seminar for ANCL provincial correspondents in Galle in 2006.

He maintained a close rapport with media persons at national and provincial level alike.

He served in various capacities in leading companies in the country.

Family sources said the former Minister had been suffering from a prolonged liver illness and received overseas treatment before he was admitted to a private hospital in Colombo two days back.

His remains are now lying at his residence at Welikadawatte, Rajagiriya and funeral arrangements will be notified later.


Forces recover GPS equipment inside sacks of jaggery

The Security Forces searching lorries bound for the uncleared areas in the Wanni taking essential food stocks recovered 22 Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment hidden inside sacks of jaggery yesterday evening, Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told the Daily News last night.

The Security Forces made this recovery around 4 p.m yesterday as they were searching the lorries bound to the Wanni at the Thandikulam checkpoint.

The Security Forces on Tuesday too recovered 2.5 kilogrammess of C 4 explosives hidden inside one of the lorries bound to the uncleared areas in the Wanni. The Government Agent in Vavuniya has hired 60 lorries to transport essential items to the uncleared areas in the Wanni by Thursday evening.


Bush fire in Opanayake

The Opanayake Police yesterday ordered families living close to a hill known as Metihakwala, Hunugala in the Opanayake Police division to evacuate their houses for safer places following a bush fire that erupted on the hill.

According to the Opanayake Police the fire has destroyed a vast area of forest stretch.

Chief Incumbent of Hunugala temple Ven Pelane Vijayawansa Thera said no life or property in the area was affected by the fire.

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