TSX closes at fresh record while Wall Street slumps on Amazon Visa

TORONTO — Gold stocks and financials helped give the Toronto stock market a lift Friday amid a rebound for U.S. durable goods orders and gold prices.The S&P/TSX composite index gained 60.59 points to finish at a record high close of 15,455.04.The gold sector was ahead about 3.3% as the August gold contract gained $12.50 to US$1,303.30 an ounce after three days of losses. The financials sector was up 0.59%.Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar shed 0.6 of a cent to 92.47 cents US as the greenback strengthened in the wake of U.S. data showing that orders for durable goods increased by 0.7% during June.U.S. markets were lower after earning disappointments from online retailer Amazon and Visa. The Dow Jones industrials dropped 123.23 points to close at 16,960.57 while the Nasdaq fell 22.55 points to finish at 4,449.56. The S&P 500 index lost 9.64 points to close at 1,978.34.Amazon shares plunged 9.65% to US$324.01 after posting a quarterly loss of US$126 million, or 27 cents per share, 14 cents worse than estimates. Revenue rose 23%, but operating expenses also rose by a similar percentage.Shares in Visa, which is closely watched because of its heavy exposure to U.S. and global consumer spending, dropped 3.58% to $214.77 as the global payments technology company trimmed its forecast for annual revenue growth.The Toronto stock market finished the week up 188.47 points or 1.24% on positive Chinese manufacturing data and a series of positive earnings reports from Canadian National Railway, Teck Resources and Loblaw Co. Ltd.. The Dow shed 132 points or 0.8%.Traders are optimistic ahead of next week as many of the big names in the Canadian resource sector prepare to report their second-quarter results.“It’s pretty solid by and large; hard to complain,” said Bob Gorman, chief portfolio strategist at TD Waterhouse.“If in Q1 we saw TSX earnings up around six%, Q2 is looking like about 15% and that is probably, I would say, going to be the number for the year,” Gorman said.The industrials sector was ahead 0.48% after Candu Energy Inc., an SNC-Lavalin (TSX:SNC) company, signed a co-operation agreement with China Nuclear Power Engineering Company Ltd. for the construction of two nuclear reactors at the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant in Romania. SNC rose $1.23 to $57.74.The metals and mining sector gave back 0.27%, returning all of the gain racked up Thursday in the wake of the strong report on Chinese manufacturing. However, the International Monetary Fund warned that global growth will be about three-tenths of a point lower at 3.4% this year than it thought in April. September copper was down three cents at US$3.24 a pound after surging six cents Thursday.The energy sector was down 0.37%, while September crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange edged up two cents to US$102.09 a barrel. The move came after U.S. officials accused Russia of firing artillery shells over the border into Ukraine.Also on Friday, European Union ambassadors reached a preliminary deal on stepped-up sanctions against Russia, targeting its access to European capital markets and its trade in the defence sector, dual-use goods and sensitive technologies. read more

Over 300 election related complaints

The Elections Department has received over 300 polls related complaints since the day campaigning began for the September provincial council elections.According to the department 305 complaints were received of which 252 were related to violating elections laws. Meanwhile the police elections unit said that it had received 52 complaints of election related violence. Most complaints were from Anuradhapura totaling 83 while Kegalle recorded 42 complaints, Batticaloa 37, Ratnapura 34 and Ampara 64. Head of the unit Gamini Navaratne said that 44 people have also been arrested.He also said that so far the run up to the elections in three provinces to be held next month have been largely peaceful.   (Colombo Gazette)

Opposition slams Ranil over judiciary

Rajapaksa had filed a petition in court against the police Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID). Wickremesinghe said that he will go to the Commonwealth to challenge the court order preventing the arrest of Rajapaksa.The opposition says the Prime Minister had misled the public through the reasons he had given on why he will challenge the court order. (Colombo Gazette) A two member bench of the Supreme Court had ordered the police not to arrest the former Defence Secretary until a case filed by him is heard. The opposition today accused Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of degrading the judiciary by questioning the order given on former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.Opposition leader and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) member Nimal Siripala de Silva said that while President Maithripala Sirisena had accepted the ruling, the Prime Minister was attempting to challenge it. read more

Sri Lanka to use Bans views to gather UNHRC support

The Minister said the Government will look to take his views on the progress seen in Sri Lanka to the UNHRC when Sri Lanka is discussed in March next year. (Colombo Gazette) He said that the UN Secretary General had noted that Sri Lanka will need time to achieve post war reconciliation. Sri Lanka will look to use the positive views on Sri Lanka expressed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to gather wider support at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva in March next year.Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told reporters today that Ban Ki-moon had expressed positive views on Sri Lanka during his visit last month.

Army reiterates allegations on rehabilitated LTTE cadres false

A former LTTE cadre was reported to have made the allegation that several former LTTE cadres were injected with poison before being released into society after being rehabilitated.The issue was later discussed at the Northern Provincial Council and Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran sought US assistance to investigate the issue but the US had turned down the request. The army today reiterated the allegation that several rehabilitated LTTE cadres were poisoned is false.Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, Commander, Security Forces – West said that the allegation is a “diabolical lie” and that there is no evidence to back the claims. He said that the rehabilitation process was accepted by international agencies so the allegation that the former LTTE cadres were poisoned during rehabilitation was false. The Northern Province Chief Minister later said that he has advised doctors in the North to look into the issue and submit a report.The Government had said earlier it was prepared to investigate the allegations that former LTTE cadres were injected with poison if the details of such former LTTE cadres is submitted to the relevant authorities. (Colombo Gazette) Ranasinghe, who headed the rehabilitation unit, said that former LTTE cadres were given full rehabilitation and were released back into society. read more

Sri Lanka enters into visa waiver agreement with Philippines

The Agreement shall enter into force when the two Parties inform each other of the completion of internal procedures and the respective mechanisms being put in place.This is the second successive Agreement concluded between the Governments of Sri Lanka and the Philippines during this year demonstrating inter-alia the strong, mutual desire and commitment of the two countries to further elevate the existing close and friendly relations. Philippines Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Perfecto R. Yasay,Jr., and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the Philippines Mrs. Aruni Ranaraja signed the Agreement on behalf of the two countries. The signing of the Agreement is a significant milestone of the bilateral relations as the two countries reach 55 years of Diplomatic relations in 2016. Sri Lanka and the Philippines further cemented relations with the signature of Visa Waiver Agreement for Diplomatic and Official Passport Holders today at the Carlos P. Garcia Conference Room of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila.The Agreement facilitates holders of Diplomatic and Official Passports of the two countries to enter and stay in the territory of either country up to thirty (30) days without having to obtain prior visa. Assistant Secretary Millicent Cruz-Paredes of the Office of Asian and Pacific Affairs, Ambassador Leah Basinag-Ruiz, Chief Coordinator, Office of the Secretary, Assistant Secretary Frank R. Cimafranca of Office of the Consular Affairs, Ms. Angelica C. Escalona, Executive Director of Consular Affairs, Mr. Raly L. Tejada, Executive Director of Protocol, Ms. Leah C. Rodriguez, Director of Public Diplomacy, Ms. Jaybee B. Arguillas, Principal Assistant of Visa Division, Office of Consular Affairs and Mrs. Sewwandi de Silva, Second Secretary &Head of Chancery of the Embassy of Sri Lanka, were present at the signing ceremony today. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Nepal requests Sri Lanka to reconsider death penalty

The Prime Minister of Nepal Pushpa Kamal Dahal urged President Maithiripala Sirisena to reconsider the capital punishment handed down by Sri Lanka on a Nepali citizen, Chet Bahadur Thapa ( Lalitpur). My Republica reported.Pushpa Kamal Dahal had talks with President Sirisena in India and discussed matters relating to operating direct flights between the two countries and hosting the stalled 19th SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation ) Summit. Emphasizing on the need of holding the Summit of the regional body as soon as possible, he said the member countries should have common views regarding this. During the meeting, Prime Minister Dahal said that though Nepal and Sri Lanka are somehow far in terms of geographical location, both countries need to play a role in the overall development of South Asia and in the maintenance of cordial relations among SAARC countries. The Prime Minister, on the occasion, also requested the President to reconsider the capital punishment handed down by Sri Lanka on a Nepali citizen, Chet Bahadur Thapa ( Lalitpur) over a case of drugs smuggling and to take effective measures to control trafficking of Nepali women to gulf countries via Sri Lanka.Stating that Sri Lanka shares friendly relations with Nepal, the Sri Lankan President underscored the need of making collective efforts to organised the SAARC Summit. He said Sri Lanka was positive towards the concerns put forth by Nepal. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Tiran Alles two others remanded over RADA case

Former Parliamentarian Tiran Alles and two others were remanded today till November 10 by the Colombo High Court over a Rs.200 million fraud that had allegedly taken place at the Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA) in 2006.The Attorney General (AG) had earlier filed indictments in the High Court against Alles, former North and Eastern Provinces LTTE Financial Head Emil Kanthan, former Chief Operating Officer (COO) of RADA Saliya Wickramasuriya and Dr. Jayantha Dias Samarasinghe. The AG had stated that the four suspects could be charged for misappropriation of public funds under the Public Property Act. (Colombo Gazette)

Former DIG and former Crimes OIC further remanded in Lasantha case

Tissa Sugathapala is accused of concealing and destroying information pertaining to the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge. (Colombo Gazette) Former Senior Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Prasanna Nanayakkara and former Mount Lavinia Police Crimes Officer in Charge (OIC) Tissa Sugathapala have been further remanded in the case over the murder of journalist Lasantha Wickremetunga.Nanayakkara and Sugathapala were today ordered by court to be further remanded till May 25th.

Parts of North shuts down protest in Kilinochchi

Parts of the North shut down today while a mass protest was staged in Kilinochchi demanding concrete answers to concerns on human rights violations related to the war.The protest took place as the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) began it’s 40th session in Geneva today with Sri Lanka on the agenda. Families of the missing were among those who took part in the protest in Kilinochchi. (Colombo Gazette)