Day: October 8, 2019

Tories mull a Chinese plan for Izok Corridor that could bring billionsTories mull a Chinese plan for Izok Corridor that could bring billions

Another massive Chinese-owned resource project is before Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet.[np_storybar title=”Main exploration projects in Canada’s Nunavut” link=””%5DHere are some of the main exploration projects in the giant Canadian territory of Nunavut, listed by company [/np_storybar]Some time in the new year, four federal ministers are to decide how to conduct an environmental review for the Izok Corridor proposal. It could bring many billions of dollars into the Arctic but would also see development of open-pit mines, roads, ports and other facilities in the centre of calving grounds for the fragile Bathurst caribou herd.Courtesy of MMG Minerals “This is going to be the biggest issue,” said Sally Fox, a spokeswoman for proponent MMG Minerals, a subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned Minmetals Resources Ltd.It would be hard to exaggerate the proposal’s scope. Centred at Izok Lake, about 260 kilometres southeast of Kugluktuk, the project would stretch throughout a vast swath of western Nunavut.Izok Lake would have five separate underground and open-pit mines producing lead, zinc and copper. Another site at High Lake, 300 kilometres to the northeast, would have another three mines.MMG also wants a processing plant that could handle 6,000 tonnes of ore a day, tank farms for 35 million litres of diesel, two permanent camps totalling 1,000 beds, airstrips and a 350-kilometre all-weather road with 70 bridges that would stretch from Izok Lake to Grays Bay on the central Arctic coast.MMG plans a port there that could accommodate ships of up to 50,000 tonnes that would make 16 round trips a year — both east and west — through the Northwest Passage.Izok Lake would be drained, the water dammed and diverted to a nearby lake. Three smaller lakes at High Lake would also be drained. Grays Bay would be substantially filled in.The result would be a project producing 180,000 tonnes of zinc and another 50,000 tonnes of copper a year.“That’s not insignificant,” Ms. Fox deadpanned.The deposits are an old story. Izok was discovered in the late 1970s and High Lake dates back to the 1950s. They had been owned by a half-dozen different companies before they were acquired by Minmetals in 2009.Their time has come, Ms. Fox said.“They’re very much about our future confidence in zinc,” she said from Melbourne, Australia, where MMG is headquartered. “We see in the next few years a number of major zinc mines will be coming off-line.”One of those is MMG’s own Century mine, which produces 500,000 tonnes of zinc annually. “Between the Izok Corridor project in Canada and our other project in Australia, we would be hoping that they would replace the zinc production of our Century mine,” Ms. Fox said.MMG estimates the Izok project would create about 1,100 jobs during construction and 710 permanent jobs. The mine life is estimated at 12 years, but Ms. Fox said exploration is likely to expand that.More than 400 individuals, organizations, aboriginal groups and governments registered concerns about the project with the Nunavut Impact Review Board.“Both the Izok Lake mine site and the High Lake mine site, as well as the route of the Izok corridor all-weather road, occur either near to or on the Bathurst calving ground,” the government of the Northwest Territories wrote. “The proposed project may cause significant adverse effects on the ecosystem and wildlife habitat,” Environment Canada wrote.“We are concerned that our hunting and harvesting rights will be in jeopardy if the project is allowed to proceed as is,” the Lutsel K’e Dene said.Many pointed out that the Bathurst herd has stabilized only recently after a 90% drop in the 1980s to today’s 32,000 animals. That drop was steep and sustained enough for aboriginal groups to stop hunting the herd and many are leery of anything that could impede its recovery.“The project may also cause some adverse socio-economic effects such as possible reductions and disruptions in harvesting opportunities,” the Kitikmeot Inuit Association wrote, despite acknowledging its members are most likely to benefit from mining jobs.The review board also expressed concern about the growing industrial footprint in western Nunavut. There are now nine mines operating or under review in the Kitikmeot region.On Dec. 14, the board recommended Northern Development Minister John Duncan call full public hearings on the project.Mr. Duncan and the three other ministries involved — transport, natural resources and fisheries and oceans — can send the project back to MMG and ask for changes, they can choose to let the board run hearings itself or they can decide the project’s effects would be broad enough to require the involvement of other governments in hearings.There’s no difference in length, who is able to appear or intervener funding between the two types of hearings, board chairman Ryan Barry said.Ms. Fox said MMG is aware of the centrality of caribou to residents in the area. “They’re absolutely essential to the local Inuit.”MMG has designed the road to make it as easy as possible for caribou to cross, she said, and the company is conducting field studies on how to further reduce the project’s potential impact.Ms. Fox said MMG is also aware of other potential stumbling blocks, such as Canadian sensitivity to major resource projects being owned by foreign governments. She said Minmet has left its Australian subsidiary alone to operate as it sees fit, despite the fact half of MMG’s board is from Minmet.“We’re a bit of a different model for Chinese investment,” Ms. Fox said. “We really run day-to-day quite separately.”MMG doesn’t expect the Harper government’s recent policy changes on investment by state-owned enterprises to affect Izok. The prime minister announced those changes at the same time Ottawa approved the takeovers of Nexen by China National Offshore Oil Co. and Progress Energy Resources Corp. by Malaysia’s Petronas.“We’re not acquiring and operating assets that are producing,” she said. “We’re in there as a long-term investor in a project that has been seen as quite marginal by others.“The Harper government has noted the importance of mineral investment in this region and the importance of that to unlock benefits for the local communities. We certainly see that we’re very aligned in our strategy with that.”However Ottawa decides to tackle the questions over Izok, mine production is a long way off. MMG plans to ask for permission to start preliminary work on-site before the regulatory process is over, but even that wouldn’t be until late 2014. The earliest the mines could be producing would be 2018.Mr. Duncan has no deadline to respond to the board’s request for a review. But, as the board notes in its letter to him, the ball is now in his court. “The (board) looks forward to receiving your decision and will respond in a timely and efficient manner to your direction once received.” read more

Canada not concerned for own deal as EU US trade talks takeCanada not concerned for own deal as EU US trade talks take

ENNISKILLEN — The start of free-trade talks between the European Union and the United States are no cause for great concern to Canadian negotiators trying to reach their own deal with the EU, a senior official says.“I wouldn’t say there’s a concern there,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly.“I mean, we’re down into the final rounds of discussion, and it’s always difficult at the end.”Potentially compounding those difficulties is the fact that European negotiators will now direct most of their attention to a trade agreement with the Americans.U.S. President Barack Obama hinted at the rocky road ahead for American and European negotiators.“There are going to be sensitivities on both sides. There are going to be politics on both sides,” Obama said Monday.“But if we can look beyond the narrow concerns to stay focused on the big picture, the economic and strategic importance of this partnership, I’m hopeful we can achieve the kind of high-standard, comprehensive agreement that the global trading system is looking to us to develop.”Obama added he’s sure he and EU leaders will have to step in sometimes to break deadlocks in the negotiations.“It is important that we get it right. And that means resisting the temptation to downsize our ambitions or avoid tough issues just for the sake of getting a deal,” Obama said.“We’re going to give a strong mandate to our negotiators, but occasionally I suspect we’re going to have to intervene and break through some logjams. Nevertheless, I’m confident that we can get it done.” Jose Manuel Barroso, president of European Commission, also spoke of the difficult task facing negotiators.“Integrating two of the most developed, most sophisticated and certainly the largest economies in the world can never be an easy task,” Barroso said.“But we will find convincing answers to legitimate concerns. We will find solutions to thorny issues. We will keep our eyes on the prize, and we will succeed.”British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is chairing the G8 summit in Northern Ireland where the start of the talks was announced, underscored the potential magnitude of a U.S.-EU trade deal.“We’re talking about what could be the biggest bilateral trade deal in history, a deal that will have a greater impact than all the other trade deals on the table put together,” Cameron said.“We must maintain that political will in the months ahead. This is a once-in-a-generation prize, and we are determined to seize it.”Among the obstacles believed to be standing in the way of a free-trade deal between Canada and the EU is access to European markets for Canadian beef.France and Ireland — two major beef producers — are said to object to the amount of beef Canada wants allowed into Europe.Harper was in both countries ahead of the G8 summit in Northern Ireland.The Canadian Press read more

Flaherty extends tax break for manufacturers in bid to help Canada competeFlaherty extends tax break for manufacturers in bid to help Canada compete

BRAMPTON, Ont. — Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has announced a two-year extension to a program that allows manufacturers to write off eligible investments in new machinery faster.Details of the plan to extend the program to 2015 were announced at an auto parts plant in Brampton, Ont.Flaherty said that about 25,000 businesses in Canada have used the accelerated capital cost allowance program to buy new machinery.Flaherty says the measure, which involves a straight line 50% depreciation rate instead of a declining one, helps make Canada more competitive globally.The head of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters association says the tax provision gives companies the capital they need to invest in improvements.

McDonalds Canada halts temporary foreign worker program during audit over abuse claimsMcDonalds Canada halts temporary foreign worker program during audit over abuse claims

VICTORIA — McDonald’s Canada is putting its temporary foreign workers program on hold while a third party conducts an audit on its use of the plan.Stung by recent criticism of its use of foreign workers, the restaurant chain’s vice-president of human resources Len Jillard says the firm needs to pause the program to prove to Canadians it’s is not abusing the program or its workers.Jillard, in an exclusive interview with The Canadian Press, says McDonald’s has already informed the federal government about its plans, including federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney.In Winnipeg today, Kenney warned that employers who abuse the temporary foreign workers program could face fraud charges and possible jail time.Three McDonald’s franchises in Victoria and a pizza restaurant in Weyburn, Saskatchewan are at the centre of program abuse allegations involving Canadian employees alleging foreign workers were given priority work status and in some cases took their jobs.McDonald’s is in the process of taking full ownership of the three Victoria franchises from the Victoria operator who previously held an 80% share in the three outlets. read more

Rogers Communications Inc attempts to block 670M Glentel Inc sale to BCERogers Communications Inc attempts to block 670M Glentel Inc sale to BCE

BURNABY, B.C. — Rogers Communications Inc. has filed an application to block its rival, BCE Inc., from buying wireless phone retailer Glentel Inc. in a previously announced deal valued at $670 million in stock, cash and debt.Glentel said it received notice of Rogers’ proposed injunction Wednesday from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.According to the mobile retailer, Rogers claims that Glentel requires its approval for the BCE acquisition.Rogers did not immediately comment on its application.Glentel sells wireless products and services from a variety of carriers including Bell Mobility, Rogers Wireless, Chatr, Fido, SaskTel and Virgin Mobile. It said the BCE deal does not affect its distribution contract with Rogers, which it has held for 25 years.BCE looks to solidify retail footprint with purchase of Glentel“Rogers’ claim is without merit and we will certainly defend against it,” Glentel said in a statement.“Approval of the acquisition is up to Glentel’s shareholders, not one of our many suppliers, and we look forward to closing the acquisition in early 2015.”The company added that if Rogers does not approve of this transaction, it can end its agreement with Glentel.“Rogers has the right to remove their products from our Canadian stores if they choose or to terminate its agreement with us, but has no right under its agreement to block the acquisition of Glentel,” it said.The deal, which was announced last month, has already received approval from Glentel’s board of directors. The Skidmore family, which holds a 37% stake in Glentel, has also signed agreements with Bell supporting the sale. The acquisition still requires approval from shareholders. A special meeting has been scheduled for Jan. 12.Glentel has nearly 500 retail locations across Canada. It also operates 735 locations in the U.S. and 147 in Australia and the Philippines.The Canadian Press read more

European and US aviation bodies certify Bombardier CSeries 100 aircraft finally clearingEuropean and US aviation bodies certify Bombardier CSeries 100 aircraft finally clearing

MONTREAL — Bombardier Inc. says aviation authorities in Europe and the United States have now certified its CS100 series passenger planes, clearing the way for delivery of the aircraft to Swiss International Air Lines by the end of the month.The Swiss carrier is scheduled to be the first to put the plane into commercial service in July.Certification from the Federal Aviation Administration in the U.S. and the European Aviation Safety Agency follows a similar decision by Transport Canada in December 2015.Montreal-based Bombardier has a lot riding on the success of the CSeries aircraft, which is two years behind schedule and has incurred about US$2 billion in cost overruns.Bombardier received a major boost in late April when Delta Air Lines placed a firm order for 75 CS100 aircraft with options for another 50 in a deal the company said was worth approximately US$5.6 billion.Bombardier said delivery of the aircraft to Delta, one of the largest airlines in the world, is expected to begin in 2018.On Monday, Premier Philippe Couillard said Quebec is on track to finalize its US$1 billion investment in Bombardier’s CSeries program and that a deal should be in place by the end of the month.Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau earlier said the government continues to talk with Bombardier about providing US$1 billion in funding.Bombardier Inc exec fires back at competitors trying to ‘cast doubt’ on CSeries, says plane here to stayQuebec aims to finalize $1B Bombardier CSeries deal by end of June read more

Key foreign currency quotationsKey foreign currency quotations

Quotations for key foreign currencies in terms of the Canadian dollar. Quotations are nominal, for information purposes only.Canadian dollar value on Wednesday, the previous day, three-months and one-year: Currency Wed Tue 3 months Year U.S. dollar 1.2264 1.2371 1.3461 1.2847 British Pound 1.6008 1.6094 1.7354 1.7248 Japanese Yen 0.0113 0.0114 0.0123 0.0126 Euro in U.S. 1.1928 1.1909 1.1270 1.1246 Euro in Cdn 1.4628 1.4733 1.5170 1.4448Quotations provided by the Bank of Canada

Ten ex PSD officers jailedTen ex PSD officers jailed

Another former PSD officer was freed from the case by the Panadura High Court. The former PSD officers were attached to the security staff of former President Chandrika Kumaratunga. The former PSD members were charged with unlawful assembly, organizing, intimidating and robbing the property worth of Rs. 3.6 million from the house of Rookantha Goonatillake. The Panadura High Court today sentenced to jail 10 former Presidential Security Division (PSD) officers over their involvement in the harassment of popular singers Rukantha Gunatillaka and Chandralekha Perera several years ago.The 10 former PSD officers were given 4 1/2 year jail terms and were also ordered to pay compensation to the victims. The musician’s wife Chandralekha Perera was also harassed. The incident took place in the year 2000 during the presidency of Chandrika Kumaratunga.Fearing for their lives, Rookantha Goonatillake and his family left the country following the incident and lived in the United States. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Wallapatta worth Rs 93 million seized at BIAWallapatta worth Rs 93 million seized at BIA

A local passenger who had attempted to smuggle over Rs 9 million worth of wallapatta (Gyrinops Walla) was arrested at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) today.The customs department said that the 43 year old man was arrested at the departure lounge of the airport with 23.3 kg of wallapatta chips valued at Rs. 9.3 Million. He had attempted to take the stock to the United Arab Emirates when he was arrested. Investigations are being carried out by the Deputy Director of Customs Mihira Piyaratnaand his team.

Top Singaporean Minister here to boost bilateral relations with Sri LankaTop Singaporean Minister here to boost bilateral relations with Sri Lanka

Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran is to visit Sri Lanka to strengthen bilateral relations and open up business opportunities for Singapore companies in the fast-growing market, Channel News Asia reported today.Iswaran will visit Colombo and Trincomalee today to Thursday, the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said. Sri Lanka was Singapore’s 39th largest trading partner in 2015, with bilateral trade amounting to S$2.05 billion. Foreign direct investment from Singapore to Sri Lanka amounted to S$656 million as of 2014, MTI said. (Colombo Gazette) While in Colombo, he will attend the Sri Lanka-Singapore Business Forum with Minister for Development Strategies and International Trade, Malik Samarawickrama on Jun 1. Iswaran will also call on Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Minister for Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathuideen, and Minister of Megapolis and Western Development Champika Ranawaka. On Jun 2, Iswaran will travel to Trincomalee where he will visit Singapore subsidiary Prima Ceylon Flour Mill Complex, the largest integrated flour milling complex in Sri Lanka. He will also call on Chief Minister of the Eastern Province Ahamed Nazeer.A business delegation of 28 Singapore companies, led by International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and the Singapore Business Federation (SBF), will also be in Colombo to explore business opportunities there. read more

China keeps mum over Sri Lanka rejecting submarine dockingChina keeps mum over Sri Lanka rejecting submarine docking

The remarks came as China gets ready to host Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wicikramasinghe for the high-profile silk road summit on May 14-15. “What I can tell you is that China and Sri Lanka enjoy traditional friendship. The two sides maintain sound cooperation in the fields of politics, economy, culture and military to military exchanges,” Geng said. The Chinese Foreign Ministry today parried questions on reports that Sri Lanka has rejected China’s request for its submarine to dock at Colombo next week after a similar visit in 2014 triggered a strong protest from India, the Press Trust of India reported.“I have just read the relevant information. I suggest you raise it with the defence ministry for more details,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said when asked whether China has expressed dissatisfaction to Sri Lanka for refusing to let its submarines to dock in Colombo port. China has made about USD eight billion investments in Sri Lanka in the last few years, specially in port projects like Hambantota and Colombo ports. It continues to pressure the island nation for docking its submarines despite assertion by Sirisena government that it will not permit them due to concerns from India. India has expressed concern over the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government for permitting a Chinese submarine in Colombo harbour in 2014. China’s request to dock its submarines coincided with the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Colombo.China says it wants docking facilities for its submarines to take part in the anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. In February this year, Sri Lankan Ambassador to China Karunasena Kodituwakku told the media here that Colombo will not permit any military activity by China in any of its ports including Hambantota where a Chinese firm plans to acquire 80 percent in view of India s concerns. However, China is happy that Wickaramansinghe has consented to take part in its Belt&Road Forum. Significantly, Wickaramansinghe and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif are the only two top leaders from South Asia to attend the conference in which India is yet to confirm its participation owing to its objections to the USD 46 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).The other South Asian countries would be represented by either ministerial and official level delegation. China is yet to release the list of delegates participating in the event. During his visit, Wickramasinge is expected to finalise the Hambantota Port deal as well as a Chinese free trade zone in the area which were stalled by public protests.Saddled with heavy Chinese loans, Sri Lanka offered to lease 80 per cent of the loss making Hambantota port for 99 years lease. The two sides are also expected to finalise Free Trade Agreement. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Victorian Greens announce Sri Lankan as leader in lead up to pollsVictorian Greens announce Sri Lankan as leader in lead up to polls

However, Ms Springle admitted the move could be seen as controversial. “We are a self-contained unit,” Ms Springle said.“I am sure our federal colleagues will respect our decision.”Member for Melbourne Ellen Sandell said there were no other members considered during the leadership discussions. Ms Ratnam flagged a focus on pokies, political donations and removing coal from the state were all on the agenda.“I am excited, humbled and honoured to stand here today. We are excited to shake up the a Victorian Parliament,” she said.Despite being new Ms Ratnam was confident saying the Victorian Greens had a “highly competent team” to support her. “This is an exciting time for the Greens. The balance of power in both houses is within sight and we’re working hard to take the first step with a win in the Northcote by-election,” Ms Ratnam said. “It’s an honour to be appointed by the Greens MPs, who are all leaders in their own right. As a social worker and councillor I’ve witnessed state government failures first hand.“Victorians are the most progressive people in the country and we deserve a government willing to lead on the big issues.” Sri Lankan born Australian legislator Samantha Ratnam has become the new leader of the Green’s Victorian branch, the Herald Sun reported.The former Moreland Mayor was announced as the surprise choice today, with current upper house member Nina Springle taking the deputy position. Ms Ratnam is replacing retiring former leader Greg Barber in the Legislative Council, and will officially enter the chamber tomorrow. Integrity and Treasury and Finance are two new areas of focus.It is understood the new leadership is a bid to bring in a “changing of the guard” and freshen the party.The Greens are also hoping to win another lower house seat in the coming months with candidate Lidia Thorpe in a tight contest with Labor candidate Clare Burns in the Northcote by-election.Ms Ratnam ran for the federal seat of Wills, in northwest Melbourne, last year but failed to win it from Labor.She was born in Sri Lanka and fled the country in 1987 as a child before arriving in Australia with her family.The leadership announcement comes after former Victorian Greens Leader Greg Barber said he would step down from his seat.Weeks before, he had flagged he would not recontest his seat in the upper house which will be taken by Moreland councillor Sam Ratnam.Mr Barber told media he was leaving politics to go fishing.“I’ve been a very busy Green, for more than 15 years,” Mr Barber said.“I’m going to have a little rest, do some fishing and think about my future plans.” read more

Kiriella says no agreement on SLFPUNP divorceKiriella says no agreement on SLFPUNP divorce

He was responding to questions raised by the joint opposition with regards to statements made by the SLFP that they have withdrawn from the unity Government. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said that he has not been officially informed that the unity Government is no more. (Colombo Gazette) Kiriella said that the statements to that effect had only been reported in the media and nothing was yet official.“We are still in the unity Government. There are two parties to the agreement,” he said. Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella says there is no agreement between the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP) to part ways from the unity Government.Kiriella told Parliament today that any decision regarding the unity Government cannot be unilateral. Joint opposition leader Dinesh Gunawardena said that the country has been informed by the SLFP that they are no more part of the unity Government. read more

OMP hands over interim report to the PresidentOMP hands over interim report to the President

The Office on Missing Persons (OMP) handed an interim report containing interim recommendations to President Maithripala Sirisena today.The report was handed over to the President in Parliament. The report contains recommendations for interim relief as well as securing truth and justice.The OMP led by President’s Counsel Saliya Pieris, was established in February 2018 and since then it has met with families of the missing, particularly in the North and East. (Colombo Gazette)

Two bodies found inside a cave in RagalaTwo bodies found inside a cave in Ragala

According to reports, the men had gone hunting for porcupines and had got trapped in the cave.The two men had attempted to smoke the porcupines out of the cave and had died from being choked by the smoke in the cave while being trapped inside. The bodies of two men were found inside a cave in a forest in Ragala.The Police said the bodies were believed to be that of two men who had gone hunting.

SriLankan Airlines to suspend flights to Hong Kong from OctoberSriLankan Airlines to suspend flights to Hong Kong from October

The airline said it will continue to evaluate future opportunities in the Hong Kong region, as it does with all its markets. SriLankan also said that in keeping with its strategy of optimizing and rationalizing market opportunities throughout its route network, SriLankan Airlines will be introducing a range of significant changes to its winter schedule.Accordingly, the National Carrier will be deploying state-of-the-art A330-300 aircraft on its daily Melbourne operations from October 28, 2018. The Airline is pleased to offer its passengers an unmatchable travel experience, with its elegant cabin ambience completed with mood lighting and entertainment featuring over 100 movies, live news and weather updates. With Wi-Fi connectivity available on-board, passengers also have the luxury of staying connected; making calls or sending mails and browsing. Arrangements are being made to route passengers who have already purchased tickets to and from Hong Kong, on other airlines. The Airline is also expanding its capacity on the Colombo-Singapore-Colombo route from October 29, 2018 with the introduction of wide bodied Airbus A330 aircraft that are equipped to provide modern inflight comforts with the latest inflight entertainment systems, luxurious seating and on-board cuisine that is among the finest in the sky. The Airlines’ weekly frequencies will be increased to 21 flights per week from the current schedule of 17 flights per week. Out of this, 7 flights will be operated by A 330-300 aircraft, while the remaining 14 frequencies will be operated by A 320/ A 321 Neo`s. This capacity enhancement is aimed to offer over 2400 additional seats per week, thus enabling the Airline to serve more passengers.SriLankan operates a route network of 114 cities in 48 countries from its hub in Colombo, with a fleet of modern aircraft with the latest comforts such as flatbeds in Business Class and sophisticated in-flight entertainment, to complement its world class service. As a member of the prestigious oneworld global airline alliance, SriLankan also connects its passengers to over 1,000 cities in 160 countries around the globe through its oneworld partner airlines. (Colombo Gazette) SriLankan Airlines has decided to suspend flights to Hong Kong from October, the airline said today.The National airline said that after having re-evaluated its presence in the Far East, the Airline is suspending operations to Hong Kong with effect from October 27, 2018. This decision has been taken following careful assessment of commercial results over a significant period of time.

PM says US sanctions on Iran will impact oil pricesPM says US sanctions on Iran will impact oil prices

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament today that the US sanctions expected to be enforced on Iran in November will impact oil prices.Responding to a question raised by Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, the Prime Minister said that the world is waiting and watching to see how the sanctions will impact oil prices. The US has told countries to cut oil imports from Iran to “zero” by November 4 or face sanctions. He said there is a fear oil prices will increase further as a result of the sanctions. The Prime Minister also said that the US-China cold war is also having an impact on the oil prices.He said that cabinet had agreed earlier this year that an oil pricing formula was needed to control oil prices in Sri Lanka. Anura Kumara Dissanayake however said that no one seems to know how the formula works.Dissanayake said that the information on the oil price formula is not being released even after a request was made under the Right to Information Act.The Prime Minister said that he will request Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera to brief Parliament on the formula at a later date. (Colombo Gazette) read more

US federal Government begins partial shutdownUS federal Government begins partial shutdown

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives adjourned late Friday without passing a federal spending bill that provides President Donald Trump with the $5 billion that he insists is needed to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border in addition to appropriations for government agencies. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi issued a joint statement Saturday saying, “Democrats have offered Republicans multiple proposals to keep the government open, including one that already passed the Senate unanimously, and all of which include funding for strong, sensible, and effective border security — not the president’s ineffective and expensive wall. If President Trump and Republicans choose to continue this Trump shutdown, the new House Democratic majority will swiftly pass legislation to re-open government in January.”Trump tweeted a video late Friday, saying “we’re going to have a shutdown. There’s nothing we can do about that.” The U.S. federal government has begun a partial shutdown of its operations, US media reports said.About a quarter of the government ran out of funds at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Washington time. More than 800,000 federal employees’ jobs have been disrupted and more than half of those employees are required to work without pay. Lawmakers had until midnight to enact a measure to keep the government fully funded. read more

Over 210 killed and 450 injured in Easter Sunday attack in SriOver 210 killed and 450 injured in Easter Sunday attack in Sri

Over 210 people have been killed and at least 450 injured in the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka.The Kochchikade St. Anthony’s Church, the St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo and the Zion Church in Batticaloa were rocked by bomb explosions this morning. The Shangri-la hotel in Colombo, Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury hotel were also attacked.