Month: October 2019

  • TSX US markets jump on new eurozone rescue plan

    TORONTO — The TSX saw a big triple digit bounce just after the open Friday as commodity prices rose and European leaders appeared to have made some serious progress on solving their persistent debt crisis.The S&P/TSX Composite index moved ahead 170.57 points to 11,595.27.The Canadian dollar jumped 1.24¢ to US98.06¢ as investor sentiment improved.Markets had grown increasingly doubtful about the ability or willingness of the European Union to take action that would avert a broadening crisis. But leaders in Brussels on Friday revealed a new plan to send EU bailout funds directly to struggling banks and to ease austerity measures on the most debt-troubled countries.The August crude contract moved up US$3.61 to US$81.60 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.The August gold contract gained US$43.90 to US$1,594.30 an ounce, while the July copper contract moved up US12¢ to US$3.45 a pound.On Wall Street, the Dow Jones added 182.77 points to 12,785.88 and the S&P 500 was up 20.84 points to 1,349.88, while the Nasdaq gained 50.6 points to 2,900.09.The Canadian Press read more

  • National Energy Board to rule today on Enbridges controversial Line 9 from

    TORONTO — The National Energy Board is set to release a decision today on whether it will allow energy delivery giant Enbridge to reverse the flow and increase the capacity of a pipeline that’s been pumping oil between southern Ontario and Montreal for years.The decision on the controversial Line 9 is being delivered some four months after the federal regulator held public hearings on the Calgary-based company’s proposal.During those sessions, a three-member panel heard from a wide range of parties including First Nations, environmental groups, private citizens and representatives from municipal and provincial governments.Enbridge’s own final submissions were delivered in writing after the board cancelled its final day of Toronto hearings over security concerns stemming from planned protest activity.Line 9 originally shuttled oil from Sarnia, Ont., to Montreal, but was reversed in the late 90s in response to market conditions to pump imported crude westward. Enbridge now wants to flow oil back eastwards to service refineries in Ontario and Quebec.It plans to move 300,000 barrels of crude oil per day through the line, up from the current 240,000 barrels, with no increase in pressure.It has also asked for permission to move different types of oil, including a heavier form of crude.Opponents — some of whom have staged protests and held sit-ins at pumping stations — argue the Line 9 plan puts communities at risk, threatens water supplies and could endanger vulnerable species in ecologically sensitive areas.They also worry that Enbridge will run what they claim is a more corrosive product through the 831-kilometre-long line — a move which they claim will stress the aging infrastructure and increase the chance of a leak.Enbridge has insisted that safety is its top priority and has characterized the scope of the reversal as “actually very, very small.”It has said a reversed Line 9 will not be transporting a raw oilsands product, although there will be a mix of light crude and processed bitumen.It has stressed, though, that the products that will flow through the line will not erode it.The company has also said the refineries it supplies can currently only take a small portion of heavy crude and would have to invest significantly in infrastructure to take more.Despite the company’s assurances, Line 9’s opponents have often pointed to an Enbridge spill in Michigan, which leaked 20,000 barrels of crude into the Kalamazoo River in 2010. There are concerns the same thing could happen in Ontario or Quebec in the future.Some opponents have also suggested the Line 9 reversal is ultimately so Enbridge can transport oil to the Atlantic coast for export — something the company denies.A portion of the line has already received approval for reversal and has been sending oil from Sarnia to North Westover, Ont. — about 30 kilometres northwest of Hamilton — since August. read more

  • ICE Futures Canada Tuesday morning Canola prices mostly higher barley unchanged

    WINNIPEG — Prices were mostly higher in mid-morning trading at ICE Futures Canada on Tuesday:Canola: Nov. ’17 $1.30 higher $497.50; Jan. ’18 $0.60 higher $502.60; March ’18 $0.20 lower $507.30; May ’18 $0.90 higher $510.90; July ’18 unchanged $511.50; Nov. ’18 unchanged $486.00; Jan. ’19 unchanged $487.70; March ’19 unchanged $490.40; May ’19 unchanged $490.40; July ’19 unchanged $490.40; Nov. ’19 unchanged $490.40.Barley (Western): Oct. ’17 unchanged $145.00; Dec. ’17 unchanged $148.00; March ’18 unchanged $151.00; May ’18 unchanged $151.00; July ’18 unchanged $151.00; Oct. ’18 unchanged $151.00; Dec. ’18 unchanged $151.00; March ’19 unchanged $151.00; May ’19 unchanged $151.00; July ’19 unchanged $151.00; Oct. ’19 unchanged $151.00. read more

  • Regulatory reforms of homesharing services may penalize casual users Airbnb says

    VANCOUVER — As Canadian cities continue to wage a regulatory crack down on online home-rental platforms, Airbnb maintains it’s open to regulation provided new rules don’t penalize casual users and recognize not every host runs a full-fledged business.Vancouver and Toronto are both weighing imposing a number of restrictions on users, while Quebec, the first province to regulate the industry, may revamp its law in the near future.“There are still a lot of misperceptions about what homesharing is all about,” said Alex Dagg, Airbnb’s director of Canadian public policy, warning about unintended consequences from rushed regulations.“That’s the concern — that you come up with something that you think makes sense. And without understanding really what your community is looking like and how they’re using the platform and how they’re benefiting from it, you can really design something that isn’t helpful.”Many homeowners or tenants use the platform to rent out a portion of or their entire home to earn some extra cash. Airbnb’s critics include the hotel industry that says hosts face less stringent regulations and don’t have to pay the same taxes, as well as those saying it has created additional housing problems in cities with low vacancy rates and high home ownership costs.Dagg is in Vancouver to argue the American company’s case in front of a city council holding public hearings into a proposed home-sharing bylaw. If approved, it would take effect in April and require hosts to have a licence that costs $49 each year and to only rent out their primary residence.The city argues limiting short-term rentals to primary residences will protect existing long-term rental housing and potentially add new units to a heated rental market.In Oct. 2016, metro Vancouver’s vacancy rate was 0.7 per cent, according to the CMHC’s most recent figures. Meanwhile, the benchmark price for a property in the Vancouver area was $1,037,300 in September, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.Dagg wants the city to consider allowing Airbnb rentals in some circumstances where a person’s primary residence is outside Vancouver. For example, if someone has a primary residence on Vancouver Island where they live on weekends but owns an apartment in Vancouver for work during the week, she said they should be allowed to continue renting that space on Saturdays and Sundays.“It’s complicated,” she said, and the system requires carefully thought out regulations.In Quebec, the provincial government has imposed numerous restrictions and Dagg said the company understands the provincial tourism minister will make some amendments this fall.“It’s really designed in a way for much more professional operators,” said Dagg, while not reflecting a large, casual homesharing community. The law requires anyone renting a property via Airbnb and other online platforms for no more than 31 consecutive days to hold a permit and pay a hotel tax.Toronto, another market grappling with high rents and housing prices, recently wrapped public consultations on its proposed home-sharing regulations.The city wants to allow people to rent their principal residence for no more than 28 consecutive days. It will also require hosts to register with Toronto at a cost of $40 to $150 annually. In November, the city will hold committee meetings to vote on the regulations and, if passed, the regulations will head to council in early December.On Wednesday, Airbnb announced an arrangement with Neptune Waterpark Condos in Toronto that will allow residents to rent their primary residence in the building using Airbnb and receive a portion of the profit. It’s the first building in Canada to join the company’s so-called friendly buildings program, which had only operated in the States up to now.The system could help ease some condo boards’ concerns about security if units are rented to travellers as it gives management access to a guest registry. Dagg said there’s “no reason” a similar set-up couldn’t work in Vancouver.But she believes it’s too early to say whether Vancouver will side with the home-sharing industry and its proponents, or stick to its proposed bylaw. The public hearing is scheduled to continue Thursday.Regardless, she said, it’s important to keep monitoring regulations once they’re in place.“We’ll obviously continue to work with the city.”Follow @AleksSagan on Twitter. read more

  • Government sticks to local judicial process

    The Government has decided to stick to a local judicial process to investigate alleged human rights abuses related to the war.Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told local media heads today that the Government had discussed this with the United States which had moved a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva. A new law will also be introduced to give powers to the Special Counsel and foreign judges who look to assist the investigations process will need to operate under the Sri Lankan system.The Prime Minister said that in 2009 when the Sri Lankan issue was discussed at the UNHRC,  the then Government had agreed to uphold international humanitarian laws but did not have the right mechanisms in place. The Prime Minister said the Government will setup a Special Counsel to handle the operations of some of the investigations and foreign lawyers and judges can assist the special counsel if such assistance is required. He said that the failure by the then Government to keep to its commitments led the US to move two resolutions against Sri Lanka during the following years.The Prime Minister assured that the new Government is committed to uphold democracy and also ensure a political solution for the National issue.He said that among the mechanisms which will be established to address some of the human rights concerns is a Truth Commission. “In my view if President Rajapaksa had accepted the proposal from South Africa to setup a Truth Commission we would not be in this problem today,” he said. The resolution moved last week at the UNHRC has proposed that the Sri Lankan judicial mechanism obtains assistance from the Special Counsel’s office, of the Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers, and authorized prosecutors and investigators. He said that Sri Lanka will now establish a local Truth Commission which will also have a compassionate council with the participation of religious leaders.The Prime Minister said that Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera will explain Sri Lanka’s position to the UNHRC this week when Sri Lanka is discussed at the ongoing 30th session of the UNHRC in Geneva. (Colombo Gazette) read more

  • Sri Lanka says it takes maritime security seriously

    Sri Lanka takes the security of sea lanes and maritime security in the oceans around the island seriously, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US, Prasad Kariyawasam said.He said that Sri Lanka is eager to work with the maritime powers of the Indian Ocean and beyond, to make Sri Lanka’s oceans secure for unimpeded commerce and peaceful navigation. Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US, Prasad Kariyawasam was speaking at the East – West Center in Hawaii. The Ambassador also said that Sri Lanka intends to broaden the existing Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement. He said the Free Trade Agreement between India and Sri Lanka was the first for both countries when it was signed in 1998.He also noted that Sri Lanka enjoys a Free Trade Agreement with Pakistan, and is now working towards such an Agreement with China. “We are determined, as it is in our interest, to work with the maritime powers of the region to ensure that the Indian Ocean is conflict free. We will therefore work with the maritime powers of the region with commitment to prevent conflict, combat terrorism and piracy and assist to harmonize geo-strategic complexities,” Ambassador Kariyawasam said. The Ambassador also said that after almost thirty years of conflict, peace has now been consolidated in Sri Lanka.In addition, he said the Government is working with all stakeholders in the country as well as the international community, in particular with the United Nations to establish mechanisms for truth-seeking, justice, and reparations to give solace to all those who suffered during long years conflict and promote reconciliation with a firm objective of guaranteeing non-recurrence.The Ambassador said the Government will also soon embark on drafting a new constitution which will address the requirements of a modern, progressive nation with provisions aimed at addressing the grievances of all communities living in the Island and promote social justice. (Colombo Gazette) read more

  • India still studying draft on ETCA deal with Sri Lanka

    Opposition political parties in Sri Lanka have raised concerns about the agreement saying it will not benefit Sri Lanka. Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. He said that India has been given only the outline of the agreement and proper negotiations have not yet commenced. India says it is still studying the draft framework on the Economic and Technology Corporation Agreement (ETCA) with Sri Lanka and will give its response to it soon.The High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Y.K. Sinha told reporters in Kandy today that the ECTA deal was proposed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe when he visited India last September. Sinha however assured that his Government will work with Sri Lanka to ensure any agreement reached will benefit the people of both countries.The High Commissioner also recalled the assistance India has given Sri Lanka and stressed that India is keen to assist Sri Lanka in any way possible. (Colombo Gazette) read more

  • US officials briefed on progress of reconciliation process

    “It has been useful for us to hear from different voices that provide perspective on the situation in Sri Lanka today,” Buchwald said.  “We were privileged to travel to a number of places in Sri Lanka and hear first-hand about the progress made and challenges remaining. (Colombo Gazette) Special Coordinator for the US Department of State Office of Global Criminal Justice Todd Buchwald and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Manpreet Anand (DAS) concluded a visit to Sri Lanka, during which they met with Government and political leaders and civil society from across the country to hear their thoughts on the reconciliation process, the US Embassy in Colombo said today.“The United States seeks to support the Sri Lankan people at this critical juncture as they pursue constitutional reform and a peaceful, prosperous, and reconciled future,” U.S. Ambassador Atul Keshap said. “Hearing a wide variety of Sri Lankan voices on reconciliation will be critical for these visitors as they help shape U.S. government assistance and policy in Sri Lanka in the coming years.” Buchwald subsequently met opposition leader R. Sampanthan, who provided insights into issues faced by Sri Lankans affected by the war.  The Ambassador, Buchwald, and DAS Anand also met with Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran to discuss challenges to reconciliation and livelihoods in the North. Buchwald also paid a courtesy call on Governor of the Eastern Province Austin Fernando. Buchwald and DAS Anand visited Kandy, where they met with youth and civil society leaders and paid respects at the Temple of the Tooth.  Additionally, Buchwald travelled to Trincomalee and Jaffna to meet with inter-faith groups, local government representatives, students, and civil society organizations and to continue his discussions on reconciliation.  Ambassador Keshap and Buchwald met with Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera to learn about the progress made on reconciliation issues, as well as with Governor of the Northern Province Reginald Cooray.  read more

  • CEB told to submit plans to generate electricity for 20 years

    3) To build a scenario applying the average cost of the year 2016 for new coal and supercritical plants and Oil but use the price of USD 8.3/MMBtu for Natural Gas recommended by the Petroleum Research Development Secretariat without externalities cost that will generate a power plant combination for 20 years. “We carried out an in-depth study on the proposed Least Cost Long Term Generation Expansion Plan 2018-2037 prepared by CEB and analysed the comments and proposals that key stakeholders made during our public consultation process,”Damitha Kumarasinghe, Director General of Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka said. Clarifications were also requested from CEB on the references of the studies that are mentioned in the submitted 20-year generation expansion plan, implementation of the first 10 years of the base case plan, specification of the coal proposed for new coal and super critical coal plants, cost details for pump storage hydro power plant etc. This information was asked to be produced on or before 7th July 2017 while another set of clarification that includes varying topics that generated through public consultation asked to be produced to PUCSL on or before the 14th of July 2017.The LCLTGEP has been compiled based on the results of the latest electricity expansion planning studies conducted by the CEB for the planning period of 2018-2037 and aims to cater the forecasted demand growth by identifying the least cost plant addition sequence based on the most sustainable technology to avoid electricity shortfalls in the country.The plan has been submitted to PUCSL for the approval and PUCSL held a written and oral public consultation to receive key stakeholder comments , proposals and views on the 20 year electricity generation plan.PUCSL will announce the decision on the LCLTGEP on 20th July 2017. (Colombo Gazette) “Taking all that into the accounts, PUCSL requested 12 new scenarios to be submitted apart from the plant combination recommended in the plan, so that the nation can be ensured that every option is studied and best 20 year power plant plan is given approval.” Considering all the requirements CEB is directed,1) To build a scenarioapplying the last 03 months average price of the year 2016  for new coal and supercritical plants, the average price of the last quarter 2016 for natural gas and the same for oil without externalities cost that will generate a power plant combination for 20 years.2) To build a scenarioapplying the average price of the year 2016 of new coal and supercritical plants, natural gas and oil without externalities cost that will generate a power plant combination for 20 years. 4) To build all the above-mentioned three scenarios, including the externalities cost by taking environmental costs and social damage cost in to accounts which will generate  three different power plant combinations for 20 years.5) To build aforesaid six scenarios under additional constraint of no future coal power plant additions that will generate  six different power plant combinations for 20 years.The 3-month average prices of the last quarter of year 2016 and 1-year average prices for Coal, Natural Gas and Oiland references to the prices were communicated to CEB in order to expedite the process. The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the electricity sector regulator, has instructed the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to develop 12 new scenarios which will provide different power plant combinations to generate electricity for next 20 year and submit the plans on or before 07th of July 2017.PUCSL said these scenarios should be developed with updated prices for coal, natural gas and oil and with the cost of externalities (Social and environmental costs) and should be submitted together with input data. PUCSL instructed CEB to use the electricity demand forecast on the recommended power plant combination (Base case) in the proposed Least Cost Long Term Generation Expansion Plan (LCLTGEP) 2018-2037 to develop these new scenarios and to do away with the assumption that pump storage plants are mandatory.However, PUCSL stressed not to include the cost of terminal/ floating storage regasification unit (FSRU), and jetty costs in the capital cost of gas fired plants, but to incorporate those costs to the fuel cost component of those plants in developing these new scenarios. read more

  • Sri Lanka decides to release 113 Indian fishermen

    The Sri Lankan Government today recommended the release of 113 Indian fishermen arrested in recent months by its Navy on charges of fishing in its territorial waters, a fishermen association leader said in Tamil Nadu.A communication in this regard had been sent to the court in Jaffna, Tamil Nadu Mechanised Boats Fishermen Association President P Sesuraja said quoting information received from the Fisheries officials in Sri Lanka, the Press Trust of India reported. The fishermen from Tamil Nadu had been detained over a period of time and lodged in prisons in the neighbouring country. Their mechanised boats had been impounded. The other 109 fishermen were likely to be released in the next few days after completion of judicial process, he added. The Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka had requested for the release of Jayaseelan and three of his relatives on parole following the death of his son.The Sri Lankan Government, however, recommended the release of the 113 fishermen who were detained till last month. Another 27 fishermen, detained later, would still be under Sri Lankan custody. (Colombo Gazette) The state Government had taken up the issue with the Centre last month and sought release of the fishermen and the boats. This is the second instance of release of Indian fishermen in large numbers since December last year. The Sri Lankan Government had released 89 fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the last week of December.Sesuraja said the court in Jaffna today set free four of the fishermen, whose release had been requested on an urgent basis following the death of the son of one of them here. read more

  • US and Sri Lanka discuss defense ties

    The United States and Sri Lanka have had talks on the defense relations between both countries.The discussion took place at a meeting between the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Alaina B. Teplitz and State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene. The Defence Ministry said that State Minister Wijewardene and the US Ambassador had cordial discussions on matters of bilateral importance and mutual relevance during the meeting. (Colombo Gazette)

  • Case filed before special court against Mahanama and Dissanayake

    The Bribery Commission today filed legal action against the former Chief of Staff of the President, I.H.K. Mahanama and the former Chairman of the State Timber Corporation (STC) Piyadasa Dissanayake.The case was filed before the Permanent High Court-at-Bar over allegations of accepting a Rs 20 million bribe. Mahanama and Piyadasa Dissanayake were arrested by Bribery Commission officers for allegedly soliciting a bribe of Rs 20 million from an Indian businessman in order to transfer the machinery equipment belonging to the Kantale Sugar Factory in May 2018.They were, however, later released on bail. read more

  • Protestors refusing to leave Enbridge site despite injunction

    (Video updated)A group of protestors opposed to a plan to move oil sands bitumen through a pipeline that runs through the Hamilton region, are still wondering if police will remove them from a construction site near the Enbridge Pipeline in Westover.Sean Leathong has more on the standoff.00:00:00 | 00:00:00::Projekktor V1.3.09

  • Oakville teen charged with several break and enters

    Halton Regional Police have charged a 16-year-old Oakville teen with four counts of break and enter.The incidents happened during the nighttime hours of December 11-12. The youth is also facing ten counts of fail to comply recognizance.Police say the teen has been previously arrested and charged for similar crimes. Halton police are reminding residents to be vigilante and secure all doors and windows at night or when out of the house. They also suggest setting existing alarm systems and set exterior motion lights to turn on overnight. read more

  • Priest ExChrysler CEO Lee Iacocca prized family above fame

    BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. — A priest eulogizing ex-Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca says the master pitchman prized kindness above success and family above fame.The Rev. Howard Lincoln spoke Wednesday at the funeral of Iacocca, who died July 2 at 94 in Bel Air, California. Lincoln, who had been Iacocca’s priest, travelled from California to the church in the Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills for the service.Iacocca put the Mustang in Ford’s lineup in the 1960s and two decades later resurrected Chrysler. He was famous for TV ads from that time, in which he said: “If you can find a better car, buy it!”Still, Lincoln says, the blunt-talking, cigar-loving executive was courteous to everyone. The priest added Iacocca told him that next to his family, his successful career “really hasn’t mattered at all.”The Associated Press read more

  • Former tourism official agrees to fines in gift card probe

    LAS VEGAS — The former chief marketing officer of the Las Vegas tourism agency has agreed to pay $8,700 in fines for violations stemming from the personal use of the agency’s airline gift cards.The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Thursday that a review panel determined last month there was “credible evidence” for the Nevada Commission on Ethics to pursue a complaint against Cathy Tull.Authorities say Tull used $6,000 in Southwest Airlines gift cards that were purchased by the publicly funded Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.The commission will consider next week approving the agreement with Tull.Tull’s lawyer, Mike Pavlakis, did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.Tull resigned from the agency in April amid investigations into the misuse of the gift cards by agency officials.___Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.comThe Associated Press read more