The Sunday TimesNews/Comment

4th May 1997



Seevali Wijewardene passes away

The death occurred of Seevali Wijewar-dene at a private nursing home on Sunday April 27.

Mr. Wijewardene was the elder son of the late Mr. and Mrs. D. R. Wijewardene.

A keen amateur photographer from his student days, he worked with the late Lionel Wendt at Lake House and went on to build his own highly successful Cinex photograph related Company, Photo Cinex Ltd. which popularised the post-war Agfa film in this country. Photo Cinex Ltd. was later absorbed into the Rowlands Group of Companies.

Mr. Wijewardene was associated with his son Anil and nephew Shan Wickremesinghe in the setting up of ITN, Sri Lanka’s first and private TV Station. ITN was, however, taken over by the Jayewardene Government shortly after its first transmission.

Mr. Wijewardene was the Chairman of Emso Ltd. at the time of his death, a Company which has moved swiftly from a Pharmaceutical Agency House to include medical, dental and scientific equipment with geographic information systems and aerial visionics in its sales portfolio.

A keen horseman and motoring enthusiast in his younger days, he also had a passionate interest in Sri Lankan history and its antiquities. A private funeral took place on Sunday according to his wishes.

Seminar for public servants

A two-day seminar to improve the communication skills of officers in the public service sector is to be conducted by the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration.

This seminar will be held on May 5 and 6 at the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration. Longdon Place, Colombo 7. Where a group of 40 public servants participate.

Avurudhu nurse murder that shocked Dompe

By Christopher Kamalendran

The quiet village of Thiththapattara in Dompe was shaken on New Year’s day at the news that an attractive young nurse had been found in a pool of blood murdered by a notorius criminal.

Anne Niromi Sangapala, 24, was preparing for the New Year celebrations having taken time off from her work at a private nursing home in Colombo.

Preparations done, Niromi wished to take a bath at the public well where she had often bathed. Her mother had bathed and when Niromi came to the well the mother had left because the well was close to her house. Both mother and daughter were confident that nothing untoward could happen to her.

But minutes later she was struggling with a man who had threatened to rape her. A cousin who had come to the well saw the fallen body of Niromi. Within minutes the village came to know of the gruesome killing.

Dompe’s Inspector of Police Jayantha Athulathmudali was at the scene of the killing and is hopeful of tracking down the assailant. Two police teams are on the track of the suspect.

A university don who lives in the area said he remembered the suspect who, at the age of nine, had killed a cow belonging to his family by stabbing it with a tapping knife because it had drunk the latex collected by his mother.

Police believe that Niromi had been slashed with a manna knife, which people had seen him sharpening half an hour earlier.

Niromi was the chief breadwinner of the family. Dayawathie (52), the mother said she looked to her to help the three sisters to come up in life. The father is a retired minor employee of a state hospital.

Kadir’s good wishes to Foreign Secretary

Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar in a congratulatory message to Robin Finlayson Cook, MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs said:

“Please accept my sincere congratulations on the resounding victory of the Labour Party at the recently concluded General Election and your appointment as the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. I extend to Your Excellency my warmest good wishes for a successful and distinguished tenure of the high office you have been called upon to assume.

“Relations between our two countries have stood the test of time. Despite the stresses and challenges of a rapidly changing world the traditional warm and friendly relations between our countries have grown in strength and scope. The strength of our relationship is based on our shared history and common values.

“The excellent political relations we enjoy are paralleled by expanding economic relations. This is signified by the growing volume and quality of business interaction between the two countries, particularly in the fields of investment and trade. Internationally, we see bold cooperative efforts being undertaken against the scourge of terrorism which afflicts many countries including the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka. There is much that our two countries can do, working together, for our mutual benefit and for strengthening the structures and institutions that promote peace and stability in the world.”

UNP launches protest campaign

The UNP yesterday called upon the people of Sri Lanka and well wishers all over the world to support a campaign against the Broadcasting Authority Bill which it described as a frontal assault on the freedom of thought, political opinion, speech and publication.

In a statement issued by its Secretary, Gamini Atukorale, it said the Bill would lay the basis for direct political interference in the establishment and maintenance of electronic media in the country and even in the nature and content of the programmes beamed through such media.

“Nowhere in the civilised world do we see such a blatant political attempt to control the rights of the media audience in relation to programmes that they would like to see and hear,” the UNP said.

Referring to the clause for the renewal of annual licences the UNP said: “No broadcasting station which has invested millions of rupees to set itself up will even think of antagonising a Government that has such wide powers.

Equally no new broadcasting company will invest in this field under such punitive laws.

Thus the field of broadcasting will become the monopoly of stooges and fellow travellers of the Government.”

Friends of Lanka group in the House

Will the House of Commons have a “Friends of Lanka” group in the new Parliament, with the Labour Party getting a massive victory?

It is learnt that Clair Short is expected to be appointed as Minister of Overseas Development (Cabinet rank).

Meanwhile Sri Lankan born Niranjan Deva Adhittiya of the Conservative Party lost his Brentford and Isleworth constituency, to the Labour Party Keen Ann.

Niranjan polled 17,825 as against 32,249 votes polled by the Labour Party candidate.

Funeral of ‘Gusty’ Wirasinghe today

Augustus Octavius (Gusty) Wirasinghe, a long standing public servant who served on many Boards passed away last Thursday. He was a retired Ceylon civil servant, a former permanent secretary and an ex-chairman of the National Savings Bank.

Born on October 7, 1915 Mr. Wirasinghe entered the civil service in 1939 and received his first appointment to the Badulla Kachcheri. Between 1950 to 1960, Mr.Wirasinghe functioned as acting Rubber Commissioner, Acting Rubber Controller, Acting Tea Controller, acting Government Agent of the southern provine, GA of the Sabaragamuwa province, Kurunegala and Kandy, Principal Collector of Customs and Commissioner of Motor Traffic.

The cortege leaves residence No. 16, Cambridge Place, Colombo 7 at 10 a.m. today. Internment at RC section, General Cemetery, Kanatte.

Photography courses

The Photographic Society of Sri Lanka which holds certificate courses in photography and provides employment opportunities , will begin its next course on May 18.

Registration for the course can now be applied for in writing to the Secretary while application forms for participating in the UNESCO contest 1997 are also available at the Society 18, Guildford Crescent, Colombo 07.

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