Markets update at midafternoon

On the markets at midafternoon (ET):In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index is down 8.96 points to 15,310.60.The Dow Jones industrial average gained 39.02 points to 21,433.78.The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 3.88 points to 2,442.18.The Nasdaq composite index shed 3.73 points to 6,261.52.The Canadian dollar was trading at 75.50 cents US, up from Friday’s average price of 75.37 cents US.

Toronto stock market declines on lower commodity prices loonie up

TORONTO — Lagging commodity prices dragged down the Toronto stock market Friday, while solid jobs data upped the odds of a central bank rate hike and provided a boost to the loonie.The S&P/TSX composite index lost 50.84 points to 15,027.16, led by gold stocks, which were down 2.26 per cent on lower bullion prices. Meanwhile, the decline in the price of oil caused energy stocks to retreat by 1.46 per cent.The Canadian dollar gained ground following a stronger-than-expected jobs report that increased the likelihood the Bank of Canada will raise its key interest rate next Wednesday. The loonie was trading at an average price of 77.60 cents US, up 0.36 of a U.S. cent.That’s after Statistics Canada reported that the economy added 45,300 jobs last month, nudging the unemployment rate down to 6.5 per cent from 6.6 per cent the previous month.“The strong jobs number was that final nail in the coffin that increased the odds of a rate hike in Canada. That is going to lead to a stronger loonie,” said Craig Jerusalim, a portfolio manager of Canadian equities at CIBC Asset Management.In New York, markets were higher after new data showed that the U.S. labour market added 222,000 positions in June — more than analysts had expected. The government also raised its job gains estimates for April and May.The Dow Jones industrial average gained 94.30 points to 21,414.34. The S&P 500 index climbed 15.43 points to 2,425.18 and the Nasdaq composite index rose 63.62 points to 6,153.08.In commodities, the August crude contract gave back $1.29 to US$44.23 per barrel and the August natural gas contract declined two cents to US$2.86 per mmBTU.The August gold contract was down $13.60 to US$1,209.70 an ounce and the September copper contract lost two cents at US$2.65 a pound.Follow @alexposadzki on Twitter. read more

Labour market sees ninthstraight monthly gain as jobless rate dips to 62

OTTAWA — Canada’s labour market posted its ninth-straight month of job gains in August to give the economy its longest monthly growth streak since before the financial crisis nine years ago.Statistics Canada says last month’s increase of 22,200 jobs also helped nudge the unemployment rate down from 6.3 per cent in July to a nine-year low of 6.2.But Friday’s data showed the August growth was fuelled by less-desirable work, as the economy gained 110,400 part-time jobs and shed 88,100 full-time positions.The agency said most of the decline in full-time work was concentrated among young Canadians aged 15 to 24 years old. The youth category also showed a notable decrease last month in participation as fewer young people looked for work.The August numbers also showed a decline of 10,400 paid employee positions, while the number of people who described themselves as self-employed, including unpaid workers in family businesses, increased by 32,700.Looking at the bigger picture, however, the latest numbers said the labour market expanded 2.1 per cent compared to a year earlier with the addition of 374,300 net new jobs. Of those new jobs, 213,400 were full time.The data provided yet another sign the economy continued to have momentum after a stronger-than-expected start to 2017 that has also prompted two interest rate hikes by the Bank of Canada.The latest rate increase came earlier this week after a report showed Canadian economic growth expanded at an annual pace of 4.5 per cent from April to June.Last month’s labour data showed that the services sector gained 35,900 jobs while the number of factory positions fell by 13,700. The goods-sector slide was led by a loss of 11,100 manufacturing positions.By region, the agency reported that Ontario posted the only notable gain among provinces, while employment declined in Nova Scotia. The headline job numbers were little changed in the other provinces.The agency also said wages grew 1.8 per cent last month compared to a year earlier for the biggest increase since last October.Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitter read more

Lanka releases 37 Chinese fishermen

Sri Lanka’s location astride an ancient trade route in the Indian Ocean makes it of strategic commercial and military interest to the United States, India and China. The Chinese embassy had “urged Sri Lankan authorities to handle the issue in accordance with the law, sort out the truth and release the Chinese fishermen as soon as possible,” Xinhua said in an earlier report. Sri Lanka released 37 Chinese fishermen detained by its navy, China’s Xinhua state news agency reported on Monday, putting a quick end to what could have been a test of the increasingly close ties between Beijing and Colombo.Sri Lanka’s navy arrested the fishermen on Sunday night for fishing in Sri Lankan waters. They were aboard two trawlers off the country’s east coast town of Batticaloa, Xinhua said. China has been competing for influence in Sri Lanka with India, traditionally the island’s most important ally.Beijing has lent Sri Lanka hundreds of millions of dollars to build ports, roads, railways, power plants and a new airport, fuelling speculation China wants military bases on the island, something denied by Sri Lanka. read more

Government urged to follow National Human Rights Commission guidelines

The PTA was used widely during the country’s decades-long civil war, primarily against those suspected of involvement with the separatist LTTE. Exact numbers of those still held under the PTA are unknown, with estimates ranging from 120 to 162 detainees. Since April 2016, the government has arrested at least 11 people under the PTA for alleged terrorist activities instead of using appropriate provisions under the criminal code. The PTA allows for arrests for unspecified “unlawful activities” without warrant and permits detention for up to 18 months without producing the suspect before a court. People detained under the PTA have been held without charge for years. The law also provides immunity for government officials responsible for abuses if deemed acting in good faith or fulfilling an order under the act. Although the government has been more transparent about recent PTA arrests, the tremendous powers given to the security forces under the PTA facilitate abuses.Following a scathing report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in September 2015, the government agreed to a resolution at the Human Rights Council in which it made many pledges toward accountability and justice. Paragraph 12 of the resolution committed the government to review and repeal the PTA and enact a law in line with international best practices. The government is working on a new bill to replace the PTA but there is no sign that this will be passed soon, and little transparency or consultation about the process. “It is encouraging that the government has taken preliminary steps to abolish the Prevention of Terrorism Act, but the process is moving too slowly,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Until it is repealed, the government should announce a moratorium on the use of the PTA and instead rely on the criminal code, which does not allow indefinite detention without charge or trial.” The Sri Lankan Government should abide by National Human Rights Commission guidelines on arrest and detention while taking urgent steps to repeal the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), Human Rights Watch said today.Human Rights Watch said that Sri Lankan authorities have continued to use the PTA to detain individuals without charge, despite pledging to revoke the law at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva in October 2015. Recent arrests under the PTA in Chavakachcheri in the Northern Province prompted Sri Lanka’s National Human Rights Commission to issue Directives on Arrest and Detention under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act No. 48 of 1979 on May 18, 2016. This comprehensive list of directives is intended to protect detainees against the security forces’ broad powers under the PTA, particularly at the time of arrest and ensuing detention. These include guarantees of medical and legal assistance, registration of arrest, right to language of the detainee’s choice, security from torture and other ill-treatment, and special protection for women and children. The directives also reassert the commission’s mandate to be promptly informed of all PTA arrests, to access any person arrested or detained under the PTA, and to access any place of detention at any time.The government has made substantial progress on many cases of prior PTA detainees, Human Rights Watch said. The authorities have released some PTA detainees on bail, “rehabilitated” others, and promised to charge and prosecute the remainder. However, the government has still not put forward a plan to provide redress for those unjustly detained under the PTA, or addressed the issue of detainees charged and prosecuted solely on the basis of coerced confessions obtained during detention.“So long as the PTA is in place and being used, the Sri Lankan government will have a hard time convincing the Human Rights Council that it is keeping its commitments,” Adams said. “Revoking the PTA is absolutely crucial for ensuring respect for the basic rights of criminal suspects and the rule of law in Sri Lanka.” (Colombo Gazette) read more

President orders expansion of Wilpattu park land area

He also told the officials to appoint a special investigation team to look into the allegations leveled by some section of the society regarding the deforestation taking place in the Puttalam and Mannar districts.The President also said that this investigation team should comprise officials of the Ministry of Environment, Department of Forest Conservation and the Department of Wildlife Conservation, representatives of the environmental organizations as well as the journalists. During the meeting the officials apprised the President that there is no forest degradation taking place in the Wilpaththu National Park. Some incidents emphasized by some media institutions and the environmental organizations are taking place beyond demarcated areas of the Wilpaththu National Park and those incidents taking place as a result of giving permission during the past regime in 2007 to resettle the people in those areas.Nevertheless, if any, illegal forest degradation occurred in those areas, the President instructed the officials to enforce the law against them and instructed the officials to implement a special program to identify land outside the forest areas for the purpose of Resettlement.The officials pointed out recently they have taken steps to take legal actions against two persons who are caught with equipment including a backhoe during a raid conducted on deforestation in Musali Divisional Secretariat Division in Mannar. The President gave these instructions during a special meeting with officials of the Ministry of Environment at the Presidential Secretariat, today. President Sirisena further instructed the officials to enforce the law against the persons who are responsible for the forest destruction irrespective of their social status. He further said that he will request the Judicial Service Commission to fully implement the penalties and sentences within the existing laws against the deforestation and forest degradation. President Maithripala Sirisena has given instructions to the relevant authorities to issue a gazette notification declaring a larger Wildlife Reserve, including the surrounding forest area which is not under the purview of the Department of Wildlife, further expanding the forest area belonging to the Wilpattu National park.Furthermore, the President ordered the expeditious implementation of a programm to monitor the forest, including the Wilpattu National park with aerial monitoring utilizing the modern technology. Secretary to the President, P. B. Abeykoon, Mr. Udaya R. Senevirathne, Secretary Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, Mr. R.M.D.B. Meegasmulla, Secretary, Ministry of Sustainable Development and Wildlife, Additional Secretary, L.J.M.G.C. Bandara, Mr. K.H. Muthukudaarachchi, Director General of Central Environmental Authority, Mr Manjula Amararathna, Deputy Director of Wild Life Conservation and other officials participated at this meeting. read more

Recommendations by UNs Rita Izsák to be implemented

Izsák says the constitutional reform and the transitional justice process present an unprecedented opportunity to address the past, regenerate trust at all levels of society and shape a common vision of the future for Sri Lanka. She says it is an opportunity to strengthen and rebuild the Sri Lankan identity, to foster a stronger sense of belonging and togetherness of all Sri Lankans.“It will be crucial to build in a strong minority rights regime in the governance structure, putting in place legal and institutional guarantees for equality and non-discrimination for all. The protection and realization of the rights of minorities are instrumental not only to reduce communal tensions but are essential components of good governance,” she added.Izsák said it is her sincere hope that, in its efforts to achieve national reconciliation and an inclusive society, the Government of Sri Lanka will implement the recommendations outlined in her report with a clear vision and road map, with timelines as necessary, including the eventual establishment of a Minorities Commission. (Colombo Gazette) He said that with Sri Lanka’s renewed commitment towards greater engagement with human rights mechanisms and the international community, and the promotion and protection of rights in the context of ensuring non-recurrence of conflict, action will be taken to implement the recommendations in consultation with the relevant stakeholders. In her report, Ms. Rita Izsák notes that five months have passed since her visit to Sri Lanka, when she urged the Government to seize the momentum and to put in place some immediate, important and concrete measures to clearly demonstrate its political will and commitment to better protect the country’s minorities.“Today, I repeat this message. Unless those critical issues which are among the most pressing and emotive, especially for the Tamil and Muslim communities – such as those relating to demilitarization, disappeared persons, land return and security-related detainees – are immediately addressed, there is a real risk that this hard-earned momentum would be lost,” she said. Aryasinha was speaking as a concerned country after Rita Izsák presented a report to the UN Human Rights Council today during the 34th session in which she commented on her visit to Sri Lanka in October last year. The Government today said that action will be taken to implement the recommendations to Sri Lanka by the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Ms. Rita Izsák, in consultation with the relevant stakeholders.Sri Lanka’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to Geneva Ravinatha P. Aryasinha said that Rita Izsák’s Report on her visit to Sri Lanka is being studied carefully. read more

Talks held to address concerns on Norochcholai

The discussions came into light as the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka directed the PUCSL to take necessary steps to regularize the environment damage caused by the Norochcholei coal power plant. The direction was given with regard to the ongoing Fundamental Rights Application pending at the Supreme Court on the environmental impact of the power plant, which PUCSL informed that it has already commenced the process to reduce the damage caused by the fly ash as well as the remaining coal in that area. The first meeting was held on Wednesday, 5thApril 2017 and the representatives of various communities and institutions discussed in depth on all the issues that the villagers voiced and in the second meeting held on Monday, 24th April 2017, the villagers submitted all their issues and concerns in writing to the Committee.The Lakvijaya Power Station, also known as the Norochcholai Power Station is the largest coal power station in Sri Lanka. The plant which has the capacity of 900 MW generates about 39 percent of Sri Lanka’s total energy requirement. The need of establishing community based committees in order to work hand in hand with the Ceylon Electricity Board to resolve these types of issues that arise from time to time was also discussed in parallel to the development of a regulatory mechanism to address issues in the short, medium and longer term basis.The next meeting of the committee is scheduled for on 22nd May 2017 and the outcome of these discussions will be reported by PUCSL to the Supreme Court. (Colombo Gazette) The Supreme Court said, all the matters concerning the environmental damage caused,will be looked into by the PUCSL, which is the authority in law entitled to do so. Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the electricity sector regulator, held discussions with the communities that raised concerns on the environment impact of the Norochcholai coal power plant in the North Western Province.Accordingly, a committee of expertise appointed by the PUCSL in March 2016 to study the environmental impact that caused by the thermal power plants in Sri Lanka, the fisheries and farmer community, the representatives of the Ceylon Electricity Board, Central Environmental Authority, North Western Provincial Environmental Authority, Department of Coast Conservation and Environmental Foundation (Guarantee) Limited discussed in depth on the issues that the communities raised in this regard. read more

Sri Lankan gets Foreign Domestic Worker of the Year award in Singapore

Sri Lankan Jayawardena Mudiyanselage Sittamma Jayawardena has received the Foreign Domestic Worker of the Year award in Singapore, which comes with a cash prize of $2,000, the Straits Times reported.On top of household chores, the 60-year-old Sri Lankan cared for her employer’s bedridden wife from 1997 till her death last year. She would bathe the woman, change her diapers and urine catheter, feed her every few hours through a nose tube, administer medication, and even take the initiative to groom her with a haircut. Said her employer Chua Choo Hock, 76, who is retired: “The family is always thankful and appreciative of her dedication to my wife and our family… She has become more of a family member to us now after so many years.” The first and second runners-up in the foreign domestic worker category took home $1,500 and $1,000 respectively, while the five merit winners each received $500. The employers received certificates.Since its inception in 2005, Fast has provided subsidised training programmes for about 25,000 foreign domestic workers every year. It also runs a helpline and clubhouse for domestic workers and provides avenues for legal aid. Foreign Domestic Worker Day, organised by the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast) and the Association of Employment Agencies (Singapore), drew more than 7,000 people this year who watched stage performances and took part in activities such as lucky draws.The annual competition saw more than four times as many entries compared with last year. Of the 442 entries, 341 were for the foreign domestic worker category. Ms Jayawardena intends to save part of her cash prize, and give the rest to her 100-year-old mother who lives in Sri Lanka. read more

CID allowed to obtain statements from Arjun Kasun in prison

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) has been allowed to record statements from Perpetual Treasuries head Arjun Aloysius and Chief Executive Officer Kasun Palisena at the Welikada remand prison.The Colombo Fort Magistrate ordered the prison officials to allow the CID to record the statements on February 13, 14 and 15. Arjun Aloysius and Kasun Palisena are in remand prison after being arrested over the Central Band treasury bond scam. (Colombo Gazette)

After 22 years Sri Lankan worker in Saudi receives benefits

A domestic aide who left Saudi Arabia 22 years ago will soon receive his end-of-service awards in Colombo. His Saudi sponsor, who died six years ago, requested his next of kin to pay the benefits to the man if he could be found after his return to Sri Lanka, Arab News reported.Based on an Arab News report — ‘Dead’ sponsor sends end-of-service benefits to domestic aide who left KSA 22 years ago — published on Feb. 16 and which recorded more than 40,000 hits online, the beneficiary was found in Sri Lanka and the authorities will make the payment shortly on completion of formalities. Al-Shammary’s grandson, Abdullah, had handed SR11,000 to the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh to be given either to the driver, if living, or to his family members.Nalin Rajapaksa, media officer at the Ministry of Foreign Employment, told Arab News that the ministry launched an islandwide search for the driver to clear the payment. Saudi sponsor, Shukr Sweilem Al-Shammary, who died six years ago, requested his next-of-kin to pay the end-of-service to Mohammed Zizan Hameed Lebbe, a Sri Lankan domestic driver, who had worked with him from 1987 to 1996 in Riyadh. According to the last will of Al-Shammary, the deceased asked his heirs to pay SR11,000 to the driver or to his family.Indika Thilakaratne , labor counselor at the Sri Lankan Embassy, said that he received the money and it has been sent to the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment to pay the nominee or his next-of-kin. Rihan Razick, managing director at Asma Travels, told Arab News from Colombo that based on the report from Arab News, he had searched for the driver on humanitarian grounds. “Fortunately, I found the man in my own village,” he said, adding that he was now running a tea kiosk in Bandawa, Polgahawela, some 70 kilometers from the city of Colombo. Razick said he was unaware of the news and it came as a pleasant surprise.According to Razick, the driver has handed the identity documents to the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment in Colombo and will soon receive his dues from his employment abroad. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Johnston Fernando acquitted in assets and liabilities case

Former Minister Johnston Fernando was today acquitted in the case over his alleged failure to declare his annual assets and liabilities for the year 2010.The Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court acquitted Fernando in the case filed by the Bribery Commission. (Colombo Gazette)

If Trump calls me I may not answer Huawei founder defiant in

Huawei Technologies Co. founder Ren Zhengfei struck a defiant tone in the face of U.S. sanctions that threaten his company’s very survival.In an interview with Bloomberg Television, the billionaire founder of China’s largest technology company conceded that Trump administration export curbs will cut into a two-year lead Huawei had painstakingly built over rivals like Ericsson AB and Nokia Oyj. But the company will either ramp up its own chip supply or find alternatives to keep its edge in smartphones and 5G.The U.S. on May 17 blacklisted Huawei — which it accuses of aiding Beijing in espionage — and cut it off from the U.S. software and components it needs to make its products. The ban hamstrings the world’s largest provider of networking gear and No. 2 smartphone vendor, just as it was preparing to vault to the forefront of global technology. It’s rocking chipmakers from America to Europe as the global supply chain comes under threat. The ban could also disrupt the rollout of 5G wireless globally, undermining a standard that’s touted as the foundation of everything from autonomous cars to robot surgery.Being able to grow in the toughest battle environment, that just reflects how great we areRen Zhengfei Ren maintained Huawei had the capability to devise its own solutions — given time. It’s been designing its own chips for years, which it now uses in many of its own smartphones. It’s even developing its own operating software to run phones and servers. The CEO however deflected questions about how quickly Huawei can ramp up those internal replacement endeavors. Failure could dent the fast-growing consumer business and even kill emergent efforts such as cloud servers.“That depends on how fast our repairmen are able to fix the plane,” said Ren, who appeared at ease in a white jacket over a pink shirt, making light of questions about his company’s plight. “No matter what materials they use, be it metal, cloth or paper, the aim is to keep the plane in the sky.” U.S. ‘not ready’ to make a trade deal with China, Trump says Nokia in talks to sell 5G gear to telcos as decision on Huawei looms Apple earnings could be slashed 29% if China retaliates with product ban, warns Goldman Sachs Ren has gone from recluse to media maven in the span of months as he fights to save the US$100 billion company he founded. The 74-year-old billionaire emerged from virtual seclusion after the arrest of eldest daughter and chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou as part of a broader probe of Huawei. He’s since become a central figure in a U.S.-Chinese conflict that’s potentially the most important episode to shape world affairs since the collapse of the Soviet Union. As Ren said in January, when the world’s biggest economies battle for dominion, nothing in their way will survive. His company is a “sesame seed” between twin great powers, he said.“This may bring one of China’s national champions to its knees,” said Chris Lane, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. “If China shut down all the Apple plants, the U.S. would get very upset. This is a similar kind of move.”Ren has had much to deal with of late. His company finds itself increasingly under fire, besieged by a U.S. effort to get key allies to ban its equipment. The U.S. assault helped crystallize fears about Huawei’s growing clout in areas from wireless infrastructure and semiconductors to consumer gadgets.Then came the blacklist. Huawei appears to have anticipated this possibility since at least mid-2018, when similar sanctions threatened to sink rival ZTE Corp. Huawei’s said to have stockpiled enough chips and other vital components to keep its business running at least three months.“We have made some really good chips,” said Ren, a legendary figure in his home country thanks to the way he built Huawei from scratch into a global powerhouse. “Being able to grow in the toughest battle environment, that just reflects how great we are.”Last week, Trump said Huawei could become part of a U.S-Chinese trade deal, stirring speculation it was a bargaining chip in sensitive negotiations. But Ren said he wasn’t a politician. “It’s a big joke,” he scoffed. “How are we related to China-U.S. trade?”If Trump calls, “I will ignore him, then to whom can he negotiate with? If he calls me, I may not answer. But he doesn’t have my number.”In fact, Ren pulled no punches in going after a man he labeled “a great president” just months prior. “I see his tweets and think it’s laughable because they’re self-contradictory,” he quipped. “How did he become a master of the art of the deal?”Beijing itself isn’t without options. Some speculate China might retaliate against the ban of Huawei — which may widen to include some of its most promising AI firms — by in turn barring America’s largest corporations from its own markets. Apple Inc. could relinquish nearly a third of its profit if China banned its products, Goldman Sachs analysts estimate.Ren said he would object to any such move against his American rival.“That will not happen, first of all. And second of all, if that happens, I’ll be the first to protest,” Ren said in the interview. “Apple is my teacher, it’s in the lead. As a student, why go against my teacher? Never.”At the heart of Trump’s campaign is suspicion that Huawei aids Beijing in espionage while spearheading China’s ambitions to become a technology superpower. It’s been accused for years of stealing intellectual property in lawsuits filed by American companies from Cisco Systems Inc. and Motorola Inc. to T-Mobile US Inc. Critics say such theft helped Huawei vault into the upper echelons of technology — but Ren laughed off that premise.“I stole the American technologies from tomorrow. The U.S. doesn’t even have those technologies,” he said. “We are ahead of the U.S. If we were behind, there would be no need for Trump to strenuously attack us.”Ren’s easy demeanor belies the way he’s consistently shunned attention. The army engineer-turned-entrepreneur has this year turned in a command performance in the public spotlight, particularly for someone who’s rarely spoken to foreign media since he created Huawei. The re-emergence of the reclusive CEO — who before January last spoke with foreign media in 2015 — underscores the depth of the attacks on Huawei, the largest symbol of China’s growing technological might. Ren again waved off speculation his company is in any way beholden to the Communist Party, though he’s declared his loyalty ultimately lies with the country’s ruling body.U.S. lawmakers aren’t convinced. That’s why the U.S. Commerce Department cut off the flow of American technology — from chips to software and everything in-between.An iconic figure in Chinese business circles, the billionaire remains a uniquely placed voice in a conflict that will help define the global landscape. Ren, who says he survived the chaos of the Cultural Revolution thanks in part to his much sought-after expertise in high-precision tools, remains a big believer that Huawei’s technology will win the day.His company today generates more sales than internet giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. combined. In 2018, Huawei overtook Apple in smartphone sales, a triumph that burnished his tech credentials. His quotes adorn the walls of the food court at Huawei’s sprawling campus on the outskirts of the southern metropolis of Shenzhen, and employees still speak of him in reverent tones. The company’s 2018 report shows he has a 1.14 per cent stake, giving him a net worth of US$2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.Ren, who survived Mao Zedong’s great famine to found Huawei in 1987 with 21,000 yuan, said Huawei will do whatever it takes to survive. It will ignore the noise while doing its business the best it can. Meanwhile, the pressure is bound to take a toll. At one point during the interview, Ren’s unflappable demeanor cracked — if only for a minute.“The U.S. has never bought products from us,” he said, bristling. “Even if the U.S. wants to buy our products in the future, I may not sell to them. There’s no need for a negotiation.”With assistance from John LiuBloomberg.com read more

Aruba Simplifies IoT Adoption with ML Infusion

Mobile Operators Building a New Channel for IoT Michael Finneran January 28, 2019 Mobile operators are positioning themselves as the one-stop-shop for “packaged” IoT solutions. Is Your Network Ready for IoT? Gary Audin September 13, 2019 IoT devices come in all shapes and sizes, with varied network requirements. The benefit of Aruba’s approach is that the cloud dataset continuously learns though crowdsourcing. If a device is discovered that isn’t already identified, the Aruba cloud receives, tests, validates, and makes the signature available for all customers. Aruba told me it has identified an estimated 90% of endpoints found in general enterprises and about two-thirds of vertically specific ones. Aruba has a massive customer base, and as Device Insight becomes more widely deployed, the number of identified devices should grow considerably. See All in Internet of Things » Nyansa Delivers IoT Operational Assurance Zeus Kerravala April 15, 2019 The IoT era is here and it’s going to take cybersecurity complexity to an entirely new level. Talking IoT Standards With the Open Connectivity Foundation Gary Audin September 06, 2019 Without standards, interoperability among vendor products and services can limit IoT’s growth. A connected lighting system serves as a good example. The system would likely send updates to the manufacturer on regular intervals, such as once per day. In the event the device behavior changes and the lighting system starts communicating with the point-of-sale systems, this would indicate a breach and violate the rules being enforced by ClearPass Policy Manager. The endpoint would be removed from the segment, and the remediation process started. The combination of new APs and ClearPass Device Insight can automate that entire process. At Atmosphere, Aruba rolled out access points (APs) and device management capabilities aimed at simplifying IoT’s adoption. Managing and securing IoT is perhaps the most difficult task that network operations has ever faced, given the number of devices being connected without IT having control. There’s too much data being generated for IT to connect the dots between all the data points to understand what’s happening. With these solutions, Aruba is introducing AI into the mix, providing a huge leap forward, with machines able to see things and identify anomalies that people can’t.Tags:News & Viewsmachine learningW-FiAccess PointsIntelligent Device ManagementArubaInternet of ThingsAI & AutomationDigital TransformationEndpointsProduct NewsSecurity Articles You Might Like The tie-in to Aruba’s access control product, ClearPass Policy Manager, further simplifies the process of securing IoT devices. Enterprises can use the policy manager to apply access policies and dynamically segment the network. Aruba’s IntroSpect, which provides user and entity behavior analytics, will set baselines for device behavior, and provide continuous monitoring for anomalous behavior. If it identifies a breach, ClearPass Policy Manager will quarantine a device and turn enforcement over to the 130+ security vendors with which Aruba has partnered. ClearPass Device Insight will ship this month, too. List price is slated to be about $1,300 per 100 devices. Wi-Fi 6 Access Points — Aruba’s Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) portfolio now includes the 530 and 550 Series APs. Like the 510 Series announced last November, the 530 and 550 APs support connectivity over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5, and Zigbee. I believe this makes Aruba the first Wi-Fi vendor to integrate Bluetooth 5 and Zigbee into its APs. Without this integration, gateways would be required to bridge these to Wi-Fi, adding complexity, reducing visibility, and leaving management tools blind to some endpoints. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Zigbee devices account for about three-quarters of IoT gear today, and I expect that number will grow over time. In addition to simplified connectivity, Wi-Fi 6 offers a number of other features, including improved battery life, a boost in performance, and increased reliability. The 530 and 550 APs will begin shipping this month, for $1,500 and $1,900, respectively.ClearPass Device Insight — With machine learning (ML) capabilities from Niara, which HPE acquired two years ago, ClearPass Device Insight automates the discovery and fingerprinting of IoT and all other connected devices on the Wi-Fi and wired network. I can’t emphasize enough how big a problem device discovery is for companies. In a recent ZK Research survey, a whopping 61% of network engineer respondents said they have low or no confidence that they know how many endpoints are connected to their enterprise networks. Even more shocking is the percentage jumped up from 51% three years ago, meaning many businesses have actually regressed in understanding what’s connected. The big problem is that IT no longer owns what gets connected. Operational technology and lines of business are connecting things to improve customer, patient, student, and guest experiences without IT’s knowledge. ClearPass Device Insight uses ML and crowdsourcing to simplify this process.The combination of the new, high-performance APs and Device Insight creates a closed loop system that connects the device and then applies ML to a combination of data sources to identify the device. While a number of solution providers, such as ForeScout Technologies, have large device databases, these require constant updates and often have huge gaps in device knowledge. Data sources for Device Insight include MAC/vendor information, static information such as DHCP and SNMP, frequency of communication, application communication, port, and protocol to profile the device using deep packet inspection. The metadata is sent to the cloud for analysis and device identification. Do Your IoT Efforts Match Up to Successful Initiatives? Gary Audin July 26, 2019 A focus on corporate buy-in and enterprise vision, rather than technology only, is a key success factor. IoT is now real, and businesses are connecting “things” at a furious rate. This includes everything from MRI machines to security cameras to point-of-sale devices to a whole lot more. While Wi-Fi’s primary role is to connect these IoT endpoints, businesses should also expect its help in managing and securing them, too. This, however, hasn’t been easy. Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) company, is holding its annual Atmosphere event this week in Las Vegas. Once mostly for hard-core gearheads (or “Airheads,” as Aruba calls them), the show has grown in scope as Wi-Fi has become increasingly important to digital transformation initiatives, such as in its ability to connect Internet of Things (IoT) devices. iot.jpg Log in or register to post comments read more

Wynne serves Tories libel notice

Tory leader Tim Hudak says he won’t back down after being slapped with a libel notice from premier Kathleen Wynne.The premier sent the notice on friday over accusations that she was behind an alleged plan to destroy documents in the gas plant scandal.Hudak was on NewsTalk 1010’s weekly radio show The Province today. He said the ongoing scandal leads directly to Wynne’s office whether she likes it or not. He says he won’t be silenced by the notice, which was filed after Wynne warned the Tories to stop accusing her of masterminding a plan to wipe computer hard drives in the premier’s office.Libel notices have also been served to the Ontario PC Party, the Ontario PC Fund and MPP Lisa MacLeod. read more

Aurora Cannabis MedReleaf confirm discussions but say theres no deal

MedReleaf Corp. and Aurora Cannabis Inc. shares were briefly halted Thursday and resumed trading after the companies announced they have held discussions, but no agreement has been reached.Trading resumed mid-afternoon after being halted “pending news” for several hours.The companies issued press releases saying they were aware of media reports that MedReleaf was seeking a buyer.Citing anonymous sources, The Globe and Mail reported that Markham, Ont.,-based MedReleaf was putting itself on the market and that Edmonton-based Aurora had submitted a friendly offer.On Thursday afternoon, MedReleaf released a statement in response to a request by Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), saying it was aware of a news article speculating about a potential transaction involving Aurora.“MedReleaf does not publicly comment on unusual market activity, rumours or speculation in the marketplace or any potential transaction unless, and until, a binding legal agreement to effect that transaction has been signed,” it said.It confirmed that it engages “from time to time” in discussions with other industry players, including Aurora Cannabis, “regarding various alternatives.”“The company has not entered into an agreement to effect any particular transaction, and there can be no assurance that such discussions will result in any such agreement,” MedReleaf said.Aurora also released a statement in response to a request from IIROC regarding reports involving a potential transaction with MedReleaf.“The company does confirm that it engages in discussions with industry participants from time to time, including MedReleaf,” Aurora said in a statement on Thursday afternoon. “At this time the company confirms there is no agreement, understanding or arrangement with respect to any transaction with MedReleaf.”Consolidation in the Canadian marijuana sector has been accelerating as the country prepares to legalize cannabis for recreational use later this year.Aurora recently completed its acquisition of Saskatoon-based licensed producer CanniMed Therapeutics after striking a $1.1 billion stock-and-cash deal in January.In February, rival licensed producer Aphria Inc. completed its acquisition of B.C.-based Broken Coast Cannabis Inc., a transaction valued at more than $200-million in stock and cash. read more

Alleged hash tagger arrested

Police have made an arrest in connection with a graffiti vandalism spree dating back to 2018.Dozens of locations in Norfolk County have been defaced with stylized variations of the word “HASH.” Sometimes the vandalism has been accompanied by the symbol “#” to suggest “Hashtag.”In a news release Monday, Norfolk OPP say the vandalism dates from Nov. 1 to Jan. 4.However, the word “Hash” has been spray-painted in other locations since this time frame. Most recently it appeared in large letters on the former Maliboo Tavern in downtown Simcoe before it was demolished last month.Last week, the Norfolk-Haldimand Community Street Crime Unit arrested and charged Aaron Lundrigan, 36, of Norfolk County, with one count of mischief over $5,000 and 24 counts of mischief under $5,000.“The cost to remove the graffiti is estimated at approximately $20,000,” Const. Ed Sanchuk, spokesperson for the Norfolk OPP, said Monday in a news release. “This particular cost is likely to increase as further victims pay to have the spray-paint removed from their properties.”In a video posted on social media, Sanchuk said the arrest was made in partnership with Waterloo police. In the video, Sanchuk is shown speaking in front of the word “Hash” spray-painted on a bridge in large letters.“This is not any form of art,” Sanchuk says. “This is vandalism at its finest.”Norfolk OPP are attempting to get an accurate accounting of how much damage this “Hash-tag” spree has caused. Anyone with “Hash” spray-painted on their property is asked to report it to the Norfolk OPP at 1-888-310-1122.The accused is scheduled to answer the charges in the Ontario Court of Justice in Simcoe March 26.MSonnenberg@postmedia.com read more

Greta Thunberg to attend Montreals climate strike while protests erupt crosscountry

She has inspired millions of young people to take to the streets over climate change since starting solitary weekly protests outside Swedish parliament a year ago.The Montreal protest comes as the International Civil Aviation Organization is debating ways to minimize the sector’s impact on the environment at its triennial assembly, which runs until Oct. 4 in the Canadian city.Commercial flying accounts for 2.5 per cent of carbon emissions. But with passenger numbers forecast to double by 2037, experts say emissions will rise if more is not done.In 2016, ICAO brokered the first global industrial climate initiative with a medium-term scheme to help airlines avoid adding to their net emissions from 2020.Related Greta Thunberg speaks during a press conference before the march for climate in Montreal, Sept. 27, 2019. One exception is Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who’s spending the day in the suburbs of Vancouver for an announcement and campaign stops with candidates in Maple Ridge and Richmond, but not marching anywhere. Scheer has said other Conservatives will be joining marchers.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.Asked about the Montreal meeting with Trudeau afterward, Thunberg said she tries not to “focus so much on individuals,” but she added:“He’s, of course, obviously not doing enough … this is such a huge problem, this is a system that is wrong. So my message to all the politicians is the same: to just listen to the science and act on the science.”Trudeau told reporters that he agreed with her, and praised her for inspiring young people.“I agree with her entirely. We need to do more,” said Trudeau.“And that’s why the ambitious plans we’ve laid out all week that have been criticized by some as too ambitious, are not too ambitious — are necessary.”https://twitter.com/jsebcloutier/status/1177618217033973761?s=20The meeting with the 16-year-old came with great political risk for Trudeau. Thunberg, who has galvanized the world’s young people to demand action on climate change, has demonstrated confidence in speaking truth to power with her defiant condemnation of world leaders at the United Nations this past week for their inaction on fighting climate change.Trudeau has aligned himself with her on the campaign trail, praising the activism of young people and positioning the environment as a key issue. He has made a series of announcements this week aimed at reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, protecting oceans and habitat and encouraging conservation while simultaneously branding Scheer as a climate-change laggard.“Andrew Scheer is choosing to hide today instead of participating in climate marches,” Trudeau said Friday.But Trudeau has also faced much criticism over the Liberal government’s $4.5-billion purchase of the Trans Mountain oil-pipeline project, which critics see as a direct contradiction of the Liberal claim that the party represents Canada’s best choice for environmental policy.Trudeau defended the pipeline purchase, saying any eventual profits from it will be invested in the fight against climate change.Activist @GretaThunberg is leading the #ClimateStrike in Montreal as the global movement takes place across Canada. https://t.co/wDHxVVTV2E— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) September 27, 2019NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Trudeau can’t be trusted on climate promises after his pipeline purchase.“It’s obviously Greta’s choice who she wants to meet with, but it’s really clear that Mr. Trudeau promised really clearly in 2015 that he would not build the Trans Mountain, that he would oppose it,” Singh said in Ladysmith, on Vancouver Island during an announcement on coastal protection.“That is something that should give everyone pause.”Friday is Singh’s fourth straight day campaigning in British Columbia. He was to join climate protesters later in Victoria.People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier is campaigning at home in Quebec’s Beauce region, where he’s striving to keep his seat after breaking away from the Conservatives last year.Last month, Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic to the United States from Britain in a zero-carbon emissions boat to protest air travel emissions, and she denounced world leaders earlier this week for failing to tackle climate change. OTTAWA — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said Friday he agrees with Swedish climate activist GretaThunberg that he needs to do more to fight climate change.And he also said his party — and not the Conservative party — is best suited to do that. Trudeau met Thunberg at a Montreal hotel in advance of the cross-country marches that are expected to dominate the federal election campaign today.Trudeau also said he will release a fully costed platform that includes assessments of Liberal promises by the parliamentary budget officer before the first televised leaders’ debate on Wednesday.Trudeau and Green Leader Elizabeth May are joining what is expected to be the largest of dozens of marches taking place across Canada. Most of the federal party leaders are joining marchers, who are demanding cuts to greenhouse-gas emissions.  MARTIN OUELLET-DIOTTE/AFP/Getty Images MARTIN OUELLET-DIOTTE/AFP/Getty Images Thousands of protesters flood the streets of Montreal during the march for climate, on March 15, 2019. Trump trolls Greta Thunberg after her UN climate speech: ‘She seems like a very happy young girl’ Greta Thunberg’s UN speech falls on deaf ears as world’s largest emitters dodge sweeping climate commitments Terence Corcoran: From innocents to anxious activists — what are we doing to our kids? The Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation requires most airlines to limit emissions or offset them by purchasing credits from environmental projects.Industry says around $40 billion in climate financing will be generated between 2020 and 2035.Europe, environmentalists and the industry itself, want ICAO to commit now to setting longer-term goals at its 2022 assembly. “During the ICAO assembly, we will join with our industry partners to call for a significant and ambitious long-term target for CO2 reduction,” said Angela Gittens, director general of Airports Council International.With files from Reuters. read more

Donors reaffirm support for UN relief agency serving Palestine refugees

The two-day meeting brought together delegates representing 28 donors to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), as well as the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The participants reaffirmed their support for the Agency and its efforts to maintain services for some 3.8 million refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank and Gaza Strip, UNRWA said in a statement.A number of delegates expressed their appreciation for the “exceptional” efforts of UNRWA staff, who often work in very difficult circumstances at personal risk. This sentiment was echoed in the statements by representatives from Jordan (on behalf of the host countries), Sweden (on behalf of the European Union), the United States, the European Commission, the PLO, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Norway, Japan and Syria.The representative of the United Kingdom stressed that the prompt response of donors to UNRWA’s emergency appeals reflected a recognition of the Agency’s “ability to deliver and deliver effectively.” Canada’s representative announced that his Government would increase its contribution to UNRWA’s regular budget by 10 million Canadian dollars.Participants also noted obstacles hampering the free movement of humanitarian assistance in Gaza and the West Bank as a result of closures and other measures, a number of which were described by some delegates as “collective punishment” that ran contrary to international humanitarian law. The representatives stressed the importance of the Agency’s unhindered movement in carrying out its vital role.UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen thanked the participants for their continued support for UNRWA, which he said sent a positive message to Palestine refugees reaffirming the international community’s commitment to their cause until a just settlement could be reached. read more

Western Sahara Annan calls for speedy release of remaining prisoners

In his interim report to the Security Council, the Secretary-General calls for the immediate release of more than 1,350 prisoners held by the Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguía el-Hamra y del Río de Oro (Frente POLISARIO), some for more than 20 years.Mr. Annan also draws attention to the situation of Saharan refugees in the Tindouf camps in Algeria as a matter of “growing concern” and appeals to the international community to provide generous support to the UN’s refugee and food agencies that are providing humanitarian assistance to those in need.As for the ceasefire in the territory, the Secretary-General notes the passage without incident of the Paris-Dakar rally through Western Sahara on 3 and 4 January. “There has been no indication on the ground that either side intends to resume hostilities in the near future,” he observes.The Security Council is expected to hold consultations on Western Sahara next Tuesday. The Secretary-General will also report on the future of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) before the end of its present mandate on 28 February. read more