On the markets at 9:50 a.m. (ET):In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 26.34 points to 15,146.38.The Dow Jones industrial average was up 28.76 points to 22,232.24.The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was down 0.56 of a point to 2,495.06.The Nasdaq composite index was down 7.70 points to 6,421.39.The Canadian dollar was trading at 82.19 cents US, up from Thursday’s average price of 81.98 cents US.
VANCOUVER — Western Forest Products is shutting down its Englewood line after transporting logs by train for 100 years on northern Vancouver Island.The company says in a release that it is closing the line for financial reasons and will now send logs to company mills and customers by truck.It says 34 jobs will be lost at its operations in Woss, about 75 kilometres southeast of Port McNeill, B.C.German softwood imports up tenfold in wake of U.S. duties on Cdn industryWestern Forest Products indefinitely curtails Vancouver Island sawmillWestern Forest Products says fewer than 15 people are expected to be without jobs following negotiations to transition employees to other opportunities within the company.Last spring, three workers died and two were injured when a train hit a maintenance car and work crew on the tracks at Woss.Western Forest Products says it will work with local communities and governments to honour the train’s long history, which dates back to 1917.
Like her party, opposition members including the DMK, which is a member of the ruling coalition at the Centre, have attacked the union government for allowing Sri Lankan defence personnel to be trained in India.All Tamil Nadu political parties have taken a strong stand against the Sri Lankan defence forces who have been accused of atrocities against the local Tamil minority during the last stretch of the island’s civil war, which ended in 2009. (NDTV) he incident comes a day after Sri Lanka issued a travel advisory asking its citizens not to visit Tamil Nadu until further notice in the wake of “increasing number of instances of intimidation” of Sri Lankans in the state. The Sri Lankans also faced protests yesterday during their visit to another shrine near Thanjavur. Buses in Tamil Nadu were attacked this afternoon because they had on board pilgrims from Sri Lanka. The convoy of five buses was headed to the Trichy airport to board a special flight home.Earlier today, the group of nearly 180 Sri Lankans were stopped by protesters after they left the famous Velankanni Christian shrine, 20 kilometres from Trichy. Over the weekend, in a much-criticised move, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa ordered that a football team that was visiting the state in a friendly match should be sent back to Sri Lanka immediately.
The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) had earlier said that a priest and a nun at the church were assaulted by troops during the violence in Weliweriya last week.The BASL said that a team of lawyers had visited Weliweriya and recorded statements from people in the area as well as doctors who had treated the injured. Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith called on the government to conduct an impartial and just inquiry into the incident where innocent people were killed. “Such actions cannot be accepted by anyone. It is always necessary that we preserve the sanctity of sacred premises of any religion and respect the people who enter such premises seeking protection.” he said. “The people still live in fear,” an executive member of the BASL had told the Colombo Gazette.The BASL will be recording more statements over the next few days and will then decide on the next course of action.Three people have died so far and many others sustained injuries during the “battle for water” at Weliweriya. The Catholic Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith today condemned the attack carried out by “some elements of the forces” on people who had sought refuge at St. Anthony’s Church in Weliweriya during the clashes between the army and public in the area last week.He said that it was sacrilege for anyone to enter such sacred precincts with arms in their hands and to behave in a violent manner there. The Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission has also launched an investigation into the incident. (Colombo Gazette)
The controversial ‘Channel 4’ video, which was part of several videos later released by the British television station, alleged the army was involved in war crimes. In April 2013 an army court of inquiry had cleared the military over allegations of targeting civilian locations during the final stages of the war.The army court claimed to have examined senior field commanders and infantry, armory, artillery, intelligence, civil affairs and medical officers who had participated in the war. Human rights groups had however raised doubts over investigations carried out by the army back then, as the allegations are against the army in relation to some incidents reported during the war. (Colombo Gazette) The army says the investigations over the controversial ‘Channel 4’ video on the war in Sri Lanka is still not over.Since the year 2013 the army has been investigating into the Channel-4 video upon directions given by then government. “The objective of those investigations is to verify whether those were Army members,” the army said.
The subjects for the Ministries of the new Cabinet have been finally allocated and and the gazette was published today.Reports said that according to the gazette, twenty bodies including the Sri Lanka Central Bank, National Youth Services Commission, Exchanges and Securities Commission will fall under the national policies and economic affairs coming under the purview of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The Central Cultural Funds will fall under the purview of Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyavasam. (Colombo Gazette) Minister of Law and Order and Prison Reforms Thilak Marapana will be in charge of the Police Department, Dangerous Drugs Control Board, and Prisons Department. The Urban Development Authority will fall under the purview of Minister of Megapolis and Development Patali Champika Ranawaka.Ten institutions including the paddy marketing board and the health department, will fall under the purview of minister of rural economy P. Harrison.Minister of Public enterprise development Kabir Hashim will be in charge of 19 institutes including all state banks, SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka. Transport Minister Siripala De Silva will be in charge of the Civil Aviation Authority, and Aviation Services Limited. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake will be in charge of 26 institutions including the Treasury, Customs, Inland Revenue Department, Sri Lanka Insurance Board and National Lotteries Board.The Department of Immigration and Emigration, Department of Registrations of Persons, National Museum Department will fall under the purview of Minister of Internal Affairs, Wayamba Development and Cultural Affairs S.B Navinne. Click here for the Gazette Notification
The police have arrested six suspects over their alleged involvement in the killing of wild animals. They were produced before a Magistrate today and remanded.The suspects were identified based on images posted on Facebook and they were arrested in Panvila. The suspects had reportedly killed the animals at the Knuckles forest.
Wigneswaran had made the charge on October 1, in a written speech which was read out at the release of a book written by Prof.Thirunavukkarasu on Sri Lankan constitutional history from the Donoughmore constitution in the 1930s to the one being drafted by incumbent President Sirisena.In the written speech, which was carried by all Tamil newspapers on October 2, Wigneswaran said that the Tamils were cheated in the past and are being cheated now too, by the powers-that-be in South Sri Lanka. But if he expresses these grievances, he is misinterpreted and accused of being a communalist and extremist ,he said. He then went on to mention a threat to his life from Sinhalese-majority South Sri Lanka. On Tuesday, the Secretary General of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Mavai Senathirajah had said that he had asked TNA chief, R.Sampanthan, to discuss the matter with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, and seek enhanced police protection for Wigneswaran. The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) has passed a resolution seeking an investigation into Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran’s charge that he has been continually receiving information about a plot to assassinate him and put the blame on the LTTE.“The resolution asked the Inspector General of Police to investigate the complaint and, if necessary, increase security for the Chief Minister,” the Chairman of the NPC, C.V.K.Sivagnanam , told the New Indian Express. Senathirajah told the media that Wigneswaran, having been a Supreme Court judge before entering politics in 2013, would not have made a charge of such seriousness in writing, without grounds. However, on October 2, when Wigneswaran attended a national sports event in Jaffna along with President Mihripala Sirisena, he did not mention any threat to his life in his speech. He wailed about his being misinterpreted by the Sinhalese without first getting his speeches correctly translated from the Tamil original. He spoke in Sinhalese also so that the President and other ministers and officials from South Sri Lanka could follow him.Some political observers wondered why he did not mention the alleged threat to his life in the presence of the President.Moderate Tamils feared that such statements might needlessly exacerbate ethnic tensions in Sri Lanka. But were relieved to find both North and South Sri Lankans taking Wigneswaran’s allegation in the stride. (Colombo Gazette)
Quoting Edgar O’Ballance, The Cyanide war: Tamil Insurrection in Sri Lanka 1977-88, Bharat Kumar says: “He (Rajiv Gandhi) also decided to reduce the flow of arms from Tamil Nadu to Tamil insurgents in Sri Lanka. And on 29 March 1985, the Indian Coast Guard began selectively stopping and searching craft suspected of ferrying weapons across the Palk Strait.”However, despite these steps, by early 1987, there were fears of the LTTE becoming too strong. India launched “Operation Tiger” in November 1986 to disarm LTTE cadres in India and to take over their communication equipment .This action took place just before the SAARC summit in Bangalore. But to generate goodwill before the summit, where Rajiv Gandhi wanted LTTE chief Prabhakaran and Sri Lankan President J.R.Jayewardene (JR) to meet and thrash out issues, the seized equipment were released. Unlike Tamil Nadu leaders M.G.Ramachandran and M.Karunanidhi, Indian Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were not for an independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka. They saw the arming of the Tamil militants as an instrument to pressurize the Sri Lankan government to find a permanent solution to the Sri Lankan Tamil problem. When the JR-Prabhakaran talks broke down with JR saying a firm “no” to the merger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces to form a single Tamil-speaking province, and Prabhakaran sticking firmly to his demand for an independent Eelam, “Rajiv Gandhi developed an aversion for Prabhakaran’s intransigence, and became more favorably inclined to Jayewardene’s views.”By 1986, the LTTE had established its dominance in the Northern peninsula, subjugating the rival Tamil militant groups and at the same time defending the peninsula against the Sri Lankan forces. The situation worsened in January 1987 when the Tigers announced a plan to establish a separate administration in Jaffna and the Sri Lankan government immediately imposed an embargo on food and fuel supplies to the North creating “near famine conditions.”New Delhi’s response to the developing situation was to draw up contingencies plans based on various scenarios, some of them bizarre. The “worst case” scenario, according to Brig (later General ) V.P.Malik, was Colombo inviting countries inimical to India to render military assistance and forcing India to carry out an “opposed landing and intervention.” Eventually, political efforts resulted in President Jayewardene agreeing to sign the India-Sri Lanka Accord in July 1987 and accept an Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to ensure the implementation of the Accord. (Colombo Gazette) This is why, even as the training of Sri Lankan Tamil militants was going on India in 1984, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi sent, in December that year, “an undisclosed number of Indian warships to patrol the Palk Strait.” Soon after the July 1983 anti-Tamil riots in Sri Lanka and the influx of Tamil refugees into Tamil Nadu, the training of Tamil militants began in Tamil Nadu with the knowledge and patronage of the Tamil Nadu government. India’s national intelligence agencies started their training program only in 1984, when New Delhi felt that Tamil Nadu’s initiative in the matter might not be in the overall Indian interest, says Air Marshal (Rtd) Bharat Kumar in his book Operation Pawan: Role of Airpower with IPKF, according to the New Indian Express.“The training of Tamil rebels had commenced in Tamil Nadu with full knowledge and in some cases, under the patronage of the state government. New Delhi’s suggestion to rein in these Tamil groups were not acceptable to Tamil Nadu leaders. Since the Central government could not afford Tamil Nadu ‘invading’ Sri Lanka, various Indian intelligence agencies also got into the act from 1984 onward. It was better that the Indian state got involved in Sri Lanka rather than the Tamil Nadu government because of obvious repercussions,” Bharat Kumar says.