Petronas extends takeover bid for Progress in hopes of winning approval

CALGARY — Petronas Canada has extended the deadline for its takeover bid for Progress Energy Resources Corp. in hopes it will be able to salvage the deal.The federal government derailed the $6-billion takeover of the Calgary-based company earlier this month after it denied it approval under the Investment Canada Act.Petronas says the deadline had been extended by 30 days to Nov. 30 and may be extended again.However, Petronas says it has met with Industry Canada and plans to submit a revised proposal in hopes of winning approval.The Petronas-Progress decision comes as Ottawa also weighs the more politically troublesome $15.1-billion takeover of Nexen Inc. by China National Offshore Oil Co.A key issue with both deals is that the bidders are state-controlled companies, raising concerns about how much control of Canadian resources should be in the hands of foreign governments. read more

Most actively traded companies on the TSX

Some of the most active companies traded Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (15,211.87, up 78.74 points):Element Fleet Management Corp. (TSX:EFN). Financial Services. Up 37 cents, or 4.12 per cent, to $9.36 on 11.2 million shares.Toronto-Dominion Bank (TSX:TD). Bank. Up $2.16, or 3.33 per cent, to $67.06 on 8.1 million shares. TD Bank wrapped up the banks’ earnings season Thursday with a 17 per cent increase in profits to $2.77 billion, anchored by a strong performance at its retail operations in both Canada and the United States.Trevali Mining Corp. (TSX:TV). Miner. Up one cent, or 0.70 per cent, to $1.44 on 7.9 million shares.Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX:CVE). Oil and gas. Up 34 cents, or 3.61 per cent, to $9.77 on 4.9 million shares.Lithium Americas Corp. (TSX:LAC). Miner. Up five cents, or 4.10 per cent, to $1.27 on 4.4 million shares.Hydro One Ltd. Instalment Receipts (TSX:H.IR). Utilities. Down 21 cents, or 0.53 per cent, to $39.29 on 4.2 million shares.Companies reporting major news:Bank of Nova Scotia (TSX:BNS). Bank. Down three cents, or 0.04 per cent, to $77.69 on 2.5 million shares. The Toronto-based bank is looking at buying BBVA Chile, which is in a strategically important high-growth market. It acknowledged Thursday that it’s in “non-binding, exploratory” discussions with the Chilean company’s controlling shareholder.First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (TSX:FM). Miner. Up 15 cents, or 1.01 per cent, to $15.05 on 3.5 million shares. The Toronto-based miner is spending US$635 million to boost its stake in the Cobre Panama mining project to 90 per cent. The deal will see First Quantum increase its stake by 10 per cent by securing part of Korean metal producer LS-Nikko Copper’s stake in the project.Magna International Inc. (TSX:MG). Auto parts. Up $1.28, or 2.18 per cent, to $60.09 on 1.1 million shares. The Toronto-area company has unveiled its new autonomous driving platform it says can be integrated into any vehicle. The MAX4 uses cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors that can be imbedded in any vehicle, including hybrid and electric versions, to allow up to Level 4 autonomous driving capabilities in urban and highway settings. read more

Canadian tech firms receive 11B from investors in Q3 report finds

TORONTO — A new report says Canada’s venture-capital backed companies received about $1.1 billion from investors in the third quarter of the year, with artificial intelligence firms bringing in a record amount so far this year.The PwC Canada report says 81 deals in the quarter accounted for a 21 per cent jump in activity and 110 per cent increase in funding from the previous quarter.The growth comes after two quarters of declining investment, and the quarter represents a two-year high.PwC Canada says artificial intelligence companies have received a record year of funding in 2017’s first three quarters, accounting for roughly $244 million in 22 deals.Fintech companies have received about $256 million in 27 deals so far in 2017.National technology sector leader Chris Dulny says in a statement the firm looks forward to a strong close to the year. read more

Canadian Minister to have talks with Lankan government

A top Canadian minister is to have talks with the Sri Lankan government over the weekend, the Canadian High Commission said today.The High Commission said that Jason Kenney, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism will meet the government regarding Canada’s role in cracking down on human smuggling operations as well as recent changes in the Canadian asylum system. While his visit is purely to discuss immigration related issues, it also comes as Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper contemplates if he will attend the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka later this year. The Canadian government said recently that Harper will not attend CHOGM in Sri Lanka unless there is an improvement in the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. Canadian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Chrystiane Roy had told The Sunday Leader that the Canadian government feels the Sri Lankan government continues to fail victims and survivors of the war.The spokesperson also said that Canada is ‘deeply troubled’ by recent reports of intimidation of judges in Sri Lanka, and reiterate the importance of judicial independence. read more

Mannar accident injures 12

A bus accident in Mannar this morning injured 12 passengers, the police and media reports from the north said.The stater owned passenger bus was heading to Mannar when the accident took place. The police said that 4 men and 8 women were injured in the accident and admitted to hospital for treatment.The police are conducting further investigations.

PCCSL receives 30 complaints

The Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka (PCCSL) received 30 complaints during the first quarter of this year, the PCCSL said in its latest newsletter.Of the complaints, 16 were against Sinhala newspapers, 08 against Tamil newspapers and 2 against English newspapers. The PCCSL said it had also received 4 complaints which were not concerning newspapers. The PCCSL had received the most number of complaints during the first quarter of this year in the month of February  which was 15. Bound by the Editors’ Code, the PCCSL looks to resolve complaints in a fast, free and fair procedure. Of the complaints received during the first quarter the PCCSL said it had resolved 8 cases which is 61.50 percent of the complaints.The PCCSL provides a voluntary self regulatory method to resolve inaccuracies that may occur in newspapers, magazines, journals and online editions of newspapers. read more

Customs protest delays outbound flights at BIA

However the strike was later called off and operations resumed. (Colombo Gazette) A protest staged by customs officers at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) today resulted in delays in outbound flights.At least four Srilankan airlines flights bound to Beijing, London, Lahore and Singapore were delayed as a result of the strike.

Mahindas military security removed and replaced with police

“As security deteriorates, how can Govt justify removing Army protection of @PresRajapaksa-only #SriLanka leader to end brutal terrorist war?” Namal Rajapaksa tweeted.The joint opposition had raised concerns over Nation security after a suicide jacket and explosives were found in the North recently. (Colombo Gazette) The military security provided to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been removed and replaced with police security.Rajapaksa’s son Namal Rajapaksa said the Government cannot justify the decision to remove the military security provided to the former President. read more

Presidents decision on foreign judges in war probe will be final

President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision on the involvement of foreign judges in the investigation on incidents related to the war will be the final decision, a Government Minister said today.Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said that the President has made clear foreign judges will not be invited to be part of the domestic accountability process. President Maithripala Sirisena recently emphasized that he will not allow any foreign court, judge or organization to interfere in the internal administration and judiciary in the country. He also said he will not allow any national or international activity to take place which challenges the freedom, independence and the territorial integrity of the country.Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera however had said that no final decision had been taken and that everything will depend on the outcome of an ongoing consultation process. Several countries, at the recently concluded UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, had called for international participation in the accountability process.Earlier this year UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon had also called for international participation in the judicial mechanism when investigating the war in Sri Lanka.Ban ki-moon’s spokesman Stéphane Dujarric had said that the Secretary‑General understands that the discussions in Sri Lanka on the transitional justice mechanism, including the judicial component, are ongoing. However he said the UN Secretary General remains hopeful that the Sri Lankan Government will stand by its commitments and fully implement a resolution on Sri Lanka adopted by the UN Human Rights Council last year which notes the need for international participation. (Colombo Gazette) He said that when the President takes a stand and the Prime Minister also expresses a similar view that is the final decision and the matter is closed. read more

Sri Lanka expecting increase in Chinese tourist arrivals in 2017

“China is one of the most powerful countries in the world. We are targetting more Chinese arrivals and we have enough of hotels which are prepared to cater to that market,” Amaratunga said. Sri Lanka is expecting a substantial increase in Chinese tourists this year as more resorts and hotels throughout the country are putting in place to cater to the Chinese market, Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said here Saturday.Amaratunga told Xinhua that with China becoming the number one outbound tourism market in 2016, Sri Lanka too was gearing up to welcome more Chinese tourists. He added that Sri Lanka Tourism was continuing its promotion campaigns in the major cities across China.According to the latest report released by the United Nations World Tourism Organization, China was once again named the number one market in the world with the highest number of outbound tourists in 2016. He added that more locals were now also learning the Chinese language in order to guide the Chinese tourists and Sri Lanka had in the first quarter of this year already received several inquiries from Chinese travel agents. read more

Families of missing in Kilinochchi to mark one year of protest

President Maithripala met with the families of the disappeared in June and November last year and promised to release a list of surrendees who surrendered to the Army at the end of the war in 2009. The families handed over a letter stating five key demands to the President, requesting the release of lists of all who surrendered to the armed forces, during and after the war, particularly during the last phase, a list of all secret detention centers, their status and list of detainees, and a list of all political prisoners held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). To date, none of their demands have been met with. About seven elderly parents of the disappeared have passed away over the course of this protest.  (Colombo Gazette) The Office of Missing Persons (OMP) which was supposed to have been operational by now, has seen delay after delay, it’s setting up has been shrouded in secrecy with no consultation with victim families, and decisions relating to some appointments being heavily politicised and influenced by the President.Almost a decade since the end of the war, pleas by these families have fallen on deaf ears and they are now fed up and desperate for answers. The families of the disappeared from Kilinochchi will make their one year of continuous protest tomorrow (Tuesday), from 9am to 3pm, in the Kilinochchi town.The protest is being staged to find out the truth about their loved ones and hold accountable those responsible for their disappearances. read more

Parliament approves motion to suspend Wimal and Prasanna

Parliament today approved a motion to suspend Parliamentarians Wimal Weerawansa and Prasanna Ranaweera from Parliament.The decision was taken in connection to their unethical conduct in Parliament recently. UPFA MP Wimal Weerawansa has been suspended for two weeks and Prasanna Ranaweera for four weeks.The motion against Weerawansa was passed with 39 votes for and 21 against it while the motion against Ranaweera was passed with 41 MPs voting for and 21 against it. (Colombo Gazette)

Protest staged outside Saudi Embassy in Colombo seeking justice for Jamal

A protest was staged outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Colombo today seeking justice for journalist Jamal Khashoggi.Amnesty International said that it supported the protest in Colombo which was organised by local civil society and media groups. Almost three weeks after his disappearance, the Saudi public prosecution revealed in their investigation findings that Jamal Khashoggi died after a ‘fist-fight’ inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. On the 2nd of October Khashoggi walked into the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey to get some paperwork and never came out. Since then, several explanations have leaked about his fate and whereabouts. Other reports however said he may have been murdered.Khashoggi lived in Saudi Arabia until he left for the United States last year to avoid facing persecution amidst a wave of arrests in the country. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Sagala assures will push for Animal Welfare Bill

Vets had made attempts to save the life of the dog which suffered extensive burn injuries but the animal had died. Animal rights activists said that the Labrador named Charlie was burnt alive in Negombo by trespassers on a private property this week. Minister of Ports and Shipping Sagala Ratnayake assured he will push for the Animal Welfare Bill following an incident in Negombo where a dog was set on fire.Ratnayake condemned the crime and supported calls for justice for the animal which died from the burn injuries it suffered. “I strongly condemn the despicable crime committed on #Charlie. As a lawmaker, I will do everything in my power to enact the Animal Welfare Bill to replace current 1907 law. I urge all MPs to support this and do justice to #Charlie who paid the ultimate price for human cruelty,” Ratnayake tweeted.He also said that he supports a protest to be staged opposite Temple Trees tomorrow (Saturday) demanding justice for the dog. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Lakshadweep islands on alert for terrorists who fled Sri Lanka

The Navy officer also informed the meeting that a boat from Tamil Nadu, named SS Rafai, with eight crew members and bearing false registration documents has been seized near Suheli island, he said.Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Shibesh Singh briefed the meeting that his personnel are maintaining high alert in the area and all the passenger jetties and fish landing jetties have been kept on strict surveillance. Khan directed all the security forces including Navy, Coast Guard, CRPF, local police and intelligence units to exercise high alert. The administrator also directed these agencies to give special attention to the uninhabited islands and take up frequent joint patrolling, he said.Khan also directed the agencies that special security should be ensured at the Agatti island, the spokesperson said.The intelligence about the suspected movement of the terrorists was first received on May 23 from Sri Lankan authorities and the Kerala police has also been on alert since then. “The surveillance by Naval maritime patrol aircraft is also in progress and all possible measures have been taken to prevent such intrusion in any of the islands in Lakshadweep,” the spokesperson said, quoting defence officials. Sri Lanka witnessed a deadly terror attack on Apr 21 when eight blasts rocked the island nation, claiming over 250 lives. The Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the attack. He said Naval officers briefed Khan that both the Navy and Coast Guard vessels are undertaking enhanced patrolling across all the islands of Lakshadweep. The Lakshadweep administration Tuesday held a multi-agency security review meeting following intelligence reports that a boat carrying 15 ISIS terrorists had set off from Sri Lanka to the scenic islands, the Press Trust of India reported.Farooq Khan, the Administrator of the Union Territory, held a meeting at Kavaratti with senior officials of the local administration, Navy and Coast Guard, a Lakshadweep administration spokesperson said. read more