Canada housing starts jump to highest in almost a decade beating expectations

OTTAWA — The annual pace of housing starts increased more than expected in March and hit their highest level since September 2007.The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts for March came in at 253,720 units, up from 214,253 in February.Economists had expected a reading of 215,000 for last month, according to Thomson Reuters.Canadians ready to cash in on their property, poll finds; problem is, where to go next?Seven ways to cool Toronto’s red-hot housing market without hurting everyone elseOverheating housing could drag down Canada’s economy if unchecked, RBC warnsThe overall increase came as the annual pace of urban starts increased by 20.2 per cent to 235,674 units, boosted by an increase in multi-unit starts.Multi-unit urban starts increased by 30.2 per cent to 160,989, while single-detached urban starts increased by 3.1 per cent to 74,685 units. Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 18,046.CMHC’s trend measure, a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate, increased to 211,342 units in March compared with 205,521 in February. read more

Markets update

On the markets at 9:50 a.m. (ET):In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index is down 55.91 points to 15,210.13.The Dow Jones industrial average lost 10.72 points to 21,518.27.The Standard & Poor’s 500 index shed 7.75 points to 2,445.71.The Nasdaq composite index lost 7.62 points to 6,231.39.The Canadian dollar was trading at 75.33 cents US, down from Monday’s average price of 75.64 cents US.

Financial market highlights on Wednesday SPTSX 1580040 up 3004 points

Highlights at the close Wednesday at world financial market trading.Stocks:S&P/TSX Composite Index — 15,800.40, up 30.04 pointsDow — 22,872.89, up 42.21 points (record high)S&P 500– 2,555.24, up 4.60 points (record high)Nasdaq — 6,603.55, up 16.30 points (record high)Currencies:Cdn — 80.01 cents US, up 0.02 of a centPound — C$1.6506, up 0.02 of a centEuro — C$1.4806, up 0.52 of a centEuro — US$1.1847, up 0.45 of a centOil futures:US$51.30, up 38 cents(November contract)Gold futures:US$1,288.90 per oz., down $4.90(December contract)Canadian Fine Silver Handy and Harman:$22.317 oz., down 7.1 cents$717.49 kg., down $2.28 read more

Radiation in consignment from India Audio

Meanwhile the Power and Energy Ministry said that the distribution of the items from India which arrived in the container have been suspended pending further investigations.Head of the Division of Radiation Protection at the AEA H.L. Anil Ranjith said that the items found with radiation are items used mostly at home. The container had gone through tests at the port and radiation levels had been detected during that test, Dr. Wijeywardena said. The Atomic Energy Authority (AEA) in Sri Lanka is investigating a consignment of stainless steel products imported from India which have been found to have radiation.AEA chairman Dr. Ranjith Wijeywardena told the Colombo Gazette that the container with the items from India had arrived in Sri Lanka on a vessel on Thursday. He said that when officials from the AEA in Sri Lanka visited the port and inspected the container they had found 125 boxes with items containing radiation. He said that tests had found that the items had been detected with the ‘Cobalt-60’ radioactive material.CLICK HERE FOR AUDIO read more

JVP slams the media

“A lot of headlines today said Rajapaks gave concessions on May Day.  Why didnt you’ll write saying Rajapaksa increased the price of electricity? It was written that it was done by the Public Utilities Commission. One newspaper had even had a cartoon today where the public are being given a knock on their heads. We urge the media not to put down the industry,” he said. Earlier the Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL) had approved the new electricity tariff.Later the current and former Ministers of Power and Energy blamed each other for the tariff increase. (Colombo Gazette) President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced yesterday that electricity tariffs will not be increased for consumers who use less that 60 units per month.He also said that concessions will be given to consumers who use less that 180 units of electricity a month. However when the President announced concessions the media hailed him, Dissanayake said. The opposition Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) today slammed the media for hailing the electricity tariff concessions announced by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the May Day rally yesterday.JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was directly behind the electricity price increase and yet the media had not blamed him for it. read more

GL briefs Manmohan

Minister Peiris informed Prime Minister Singh of recent developments in Sri Lanka including arrangements that are being made for the elections to the Northern Provincial Council on 21 September. Describing the process involving the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, Minister Peiris said that Sri Lanka is in compliance with its obligations in terms of the Indo-Lanka Accord which includes specific provisions on linguistic and cultural aspects. In this context the Minister referred to the Tamil language being given its due place. The Minister explained as well, the provision which specifies the uniform application of administrative structures in all provinces. Prof. Peiris expressed the view that the participation of all parties in the PSC process, particularly the Tamil National Alliance, would be useful and that solutions to matters that pertain to people living in Sri Lanka should be found within Sri Lanka.Minister Peiris had wide ranging discussions with his counterpart in the Government of India, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid. The External Affairs Minister of India accepted with pleasure the invitation by Prof. Peiris to visit Sri Lanka in October. The Minister handed over to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a letter of invitation from President Mahinda Rajapaksa, to attend the Commonwealth Summit and the Minister said that the Government of Sri Lanka looks forward to Prime Minister Singh’s participation. The Prime Minister of India requested that the Minister of External Affairs should convey to the President of Sri Lanka, the thanks of the Indian Prime Minister for deputing Prof. Peiris to hand over the letter of invitation to him, the External Affairs Ministry said. The Prime Minister and Prof. Peiris discussed matters pertaining to the apprehension of Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan waters. The Minister expressed the necessity to find a practical solution to the issue and explained that 400-500 Indian fishing boats consisting of approximately 1500 Indian fishermen continue to cross over to Sri Lanka territorial waters during the fishing season on a daily basis with no reduction in numbers.Explaining the serious impact of this practice on the livelihoods of Tamil fishermen in the North of Sri Lanka, Minister Peiris said that the matter is aggravated by the fishing methods used by the Indian fishermen such as use of multi-day fishing boats and nylon nets and bottom trawling which cause damage to the sea bed and marine eco system. Moreover, the Indian fishermen no longer confine themselves to the Palk Bay area but venture close to the eastern seaboard, Mullaitivu, Mannar and Point Pedro.  Sri Lanka is therefore compelled to put in place an effective deterrent as the Government of Sri Lanka has a responsibility to protect the livelihoods of the fishermen in the North of Sri Lanka.  The deterrent mechanism involves apprehending fishermen, producing them in court and charging a fine. There is no intention whatsoever to harass or oppress fishermen or  keep them in custody for  long periods. Due care will always be given to treating fishermen in a humane manner. External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris briefed Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in New Delhi today on the post war developments in Sri Lanka, the External Affairs Ministry said.The discussions between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Prof G.L. Peiris included a range of matters such as cooperation with regard to the economy, development and the rehabilitation process. read more

President Sirisena leaves for Germany on official visit

President Sirisena is scheduled to visit the German Parliament and to meet representatives of the German Parliament. Subsequent to that the President is expected to held bilateral discussions with the German Foreign Minister. A special discussion between the President and the German Economic Affairs Minister is also scheduled to be held. The President of Austria, Heinz Fischer, will warmly welcome the President. The President is expected to have talks with a high level Austrian delegation including with the Austrian President.During the visit to Austria the President is also scheduled to meet the Austrian business community. The aim of the tour is to further collaborate and strengthen the relations between the two countries. (Colombo Gazette) President Maithripala Sirisena left for Germany this morning on an official visit. During his visit to Germany the President is expected to secure economic and development benefits for Sri Lanka, the President’s office said.A special ceremony will be held under the patronage of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to welcome the President on February 17. Germany is one of the economically powerful member States of the European Union and one of the largest export economies in the world.After concluding the 2-day visit to Germany the President will leave for Austria on February 19. read more

Donald Trump sworn in as the 45th US President

The new president was to deliver an inaugural address lasting about 20 minutes centered on the campaign themes that he used in his improbable November election victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Clinton attended the ceremony with her husband, former President Bill Clinton.“It will be optimistic. It will be visionary, but it’s going to be philosophical,” his spokesman, Sean Spicer, said of the speech, speaking to NBC on Friday morning. Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, succeeding Barack Obama and taking control of a divided country in a transition of power that he has declared will lead to “America First” policies at home and abroad.As scattered protests erupted elsewhere in Washington, Trump raised his right hand and put his left on a Bible used by Abraham Lincoln and repeated a 35-word oath of office from the U.S. Constitution, with U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts presiding. At Trump’s side was his wife, Melania Trump. Trump, 70, takes over a country divided after a bitter election campaign. A wealthy New York businessman and former reality TV star, he will set the country on a new, uncertain path at home and abroad.“It all begins today!” he wrote in a note on Twitter at about 7:30 a.m. on Friday “I will see you at 11:00 A.M. for the swearing-in. THE MOVEMENT CONTINUES – THE WORK BEGINS!”Away from the Capitol, masked activists ran through the streets smashing windows with hammers at a McDonald’s restaurant, a Starbucks coffee shop and Bobby Van’s Grill steakhouse several blocks from the White House. The transition from a Democratic president to a Republican took place on the West Front of the domed U.S. Capitol before a crowd of former presidents, dignitaries and hundreds of thousands of people on the grounds of the National Mall. The crowd stretched westward on a cool day of occasional light rain. They carried black anarchist flags and signs that said, “Join the resistance, fight back now.” Police used pepper spray and chased them down a major avenue, a Reuters eyewitness reported. In another location not far from the White House, protesters also scuffled with police, at one point throwing aluminum chairs at them at outdoor café.At the inaugural ceremony, former presidents George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter were also present with their wives. Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush, 92, was in Houston recovering from pneumonia.Trump and his vice president, Mike Pence, began the day attending a prayer service at St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House. (Courtesy Reuters) read more

TNA votes in support of motion JVP abstains

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) meanwhile, abstained from voting. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) voted in support of the motion presented to Parliament today expressing confidence in United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister.The TNA voted for the motion after reaching an agreement with Wickremesinghe last evening.

Defence Secretary assures security under control

Defence Secretary, General SHS Kottegoda today assured that the security threat in the country has been brought under control and the public can go about their usual dail activities.He said that the threat following the Easter Sunday attacks has been eliminated and security strengthened in the country. He said that special focus of the security operations has been placed on schools, places of worship and hotels. (Colombo Gazette) “I say with responsibility the situation is now under control,” he said.Kottegoda said that security operations are being conducted around the island by the Police and the security forces. read more

A New Picture Emerges for Cable Cellular

apple_cable.jpg Playing in the cable companies’ favor is the fact that enterprises are under relentless pressure to cut costs, and these services are cheap! Comcast and Charter offer unlimited voice/data/text for $45 per line, per month; AT&T and Verizon unlimited plans start at $70 to $80 per month. The cable companies also offer usage plans at $12 or $14 per gigabyte. Now Altice, which acquired the Cablevision and Suddenlink properties, is planning to offer unlimited plans for $20 to $30 per month. Given changing economics of the cellular business, it’s now feasible for cable companies to support Apple iPhones natively with their new generation of WiFi-cellular wireless services. This means the decision regarding whether these services are a good fit for businesses is on the table for enterprise buyers. After all, given the prevalence of iPhones in corporate use, any service that would require iPhone users to switch to Androids would be a nonstarter in enterprise environments. The cable companies have now checked the iPhone box, but the majority of enterprises — and certainly those with 100 or more phones — still prefer to deal with the operator directly rather than buying through mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), including cable companies. While the cable companies will make use of their Wi-Fi assets for these offerings, they’ll need to depend on reselling a cellular carrier’s network service in order to provide uninterrupted coverage. Over the past several years, cable companies have advanced numerous attempts, plans, announcements, and pilot offerings of mobile wireless service. Little has come of these efforts. Now, cable companies like Comcast, Charter, and Altice are focusing on adding cellular to the TV and Internet services they provide – and these offerings seem to be gaining traction. As reported in The Wall Street Journal, for example, Comcast had signed up 1.4 million wireless subscribers as of March. For now, these plans (and prices) are only available to subscribers of those companies’ Internet services. The shrinking cable TV market has already spurred the cable companies to refocus on selling Internet, UCaaS, and other services to business customers. If these wireless initiatives are successful, they could be expanded to include businesses as well. When voice was a more significant portion of wireless traffic, the strategy of depending on Wi-Fi was more problematic. iPhones default to cellular for voice calls, so the cable company would be paying the cellular carrier for virtually all voice calls. Android devices usually default to cellular for voice, though the OS allows a user to select Wi-Fi as the default for voice either in Settings or with a downloaded app. As a result, any Wi-Fi-first or Wi-Fi-only service that looked to save money by shifting voice traffic to voice over Wi-Fi supported Android devices only. It turns out that routing customer data onto Wi-Fi is pretty easy, as both iPhone and Android devices default to Wi-Fi (over cellular) for data traffic. If there’s an accessible Wi-Fi network within range, that’s where the data is going. Mobile Voice, Data, Text: Unlimited for $20 a Month?! Michael Finneran September 19, 2019 Calling itself an ‘infrastructure-based MVNO,’ cable operator Altice sets new price point for cellular service. Dissecting Microsoft’s ‘Discovery’ of Firstline Workers Michael Finneran September 24, 2019 The mobile field is rife with meaningful examples of business process automation. Can Microsoft be a factor? CBRS: A Threat to Wi-Fi? Gary Audin September 27, 2019 Have enterprises unjustly dismissed Citizens Broadband Radio Service in favor of Wi-Fi? Click below to continue readingTags:News & ViewsCable CellularCable companieswirelessCellular ServicesMobilityAnalyst InsightDeployment ModelsEnterprise NetworkingIndustry NewsNews & Views12nextlast Articles You Might Like 5G Insights: IoT Opportunities, Vulnerabilities Gary Audin August 13, 2019 5G will provide an opportunity to connect IoT devices across the enterprise, but security vulnerabilities may follow. With unlimited talk and text (UT&T) plans, voice service has essentially become a giveaway. Since the requirement to route voice calls to Wi-Fi is no longer an issue, the cable companies no longer have to restrict customers to Android devices. Habits of the ‘Always’ Connected Worker Gary Audin September 20, 2019 How connected are we? Wilson Electronics tries to find out in their latest survey. See All in Mobility » All the major cable companies have deployed extensive Wi-Fi networks to provide mobile access to Internet customers from public gathering places. A few years ago, several of the cable companies got together to deploy Cable WiFi, which, in essence, is a plan to allow their subscribers to roam onto other partners’ Wi-Fi networks. According to Comcast, the Cable WiFi consortium now has an estimated 18 million hotspots nationwide. iPhone Is In Because Voice Is a GiveawayKey to the cable operators’ pricing strategy is the plan to carry as much of their customers’ data traffic on their Wi-Fi networks as they can. That will minimize how much they have to pay to the underlying carrier for use of its cellular network services. Log in or register to post comments read more

Mosquito memories

If you check out the Hamilton Air Show this weekend, you’ll have the chance to experience the world’s only flying Mosquito. The World War II aircraft was one of the fastest planes of its time.Friday, Melissa Raftis spoke with a 92-year old pilot as he was reunited with “the wooden wonder.”00:00:00 | 00:00:00::Projekktor V1.3.09

Prince Harry announces massive travel sustainability project

NEW YORK — The eco-minded Prince Harry announced a massive travel sustainability initiative Tuesday in partnership with key service providers that’s aimed at bettering the practices of the global industry amid an ever-increasing number of travellers.The Duke of Sussex unveiled Travalyst at a news conference in Amsterdam, a city hit hard by over-tourism. He was joined by representatives of his partners, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Visa, China’s largest travel company, Ctrip, and the Ctrip-owned fare aggregator Skyscanner.The long-term initiative is focused on tackling the travel industry’s impact on climate change, improving wildlife conservation and protecting the environment in top tourist spots. It will also look at ways to better serve local communities through tourism dollars.Leanne Italie, The Associated Press read more

Sierra Leone UN envoy appeals for fullscale peacebuilding efforts

Oluyemi Adeniji, who heads the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), made the call on Tuesday in the eastern town of Koidu at a ceremony marking the commencement of work to rebuild a market destroyed during the war.The market, which Mr. Adeniji said could serve as a rallying point for the people of the Kono District where Koidu is located, is being rebuilt by recently disarmed ex-combatants as one of UNAMSIL’s quick impact projects. The effort is funded by the UN Development Programme and the British Government. More than 400 ex-combatants will be employed in the project, which will be completed within two months. read more

UNs Jenin factfinding team set to be in Middle East by weeks

“We have started our work,” Martti Ahtisaari, the former President of Finland, told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York. “We are heading today to Geneva with those team members who are coming from here. And I expect to meet the rest of the team in Geneva during the day tomorrow.” Mr. Ahtisaari, whose appointment as head of the team was announced by Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Monday, stressed that he was focusing on the job defined by the Security Council resolution 1405. “I have been asked to look into the whole Jenin question,” he said. “What that will require, I will do whatever is needed. And what is, I think, more important at this moment is that we have been assured of the full cooperation of the Israeli authorities.”According to Mr. Ahtisaari, the mission was planning to start out by meeting with the Israeli authorities and then with the Palestinians. “Out of sheer courtesy I should perhaps start with the Foreign Minister and the Defence Minister and continue from there,” he said. Asked about a meeting with Chairman Yasser Arafat, he said, “I’m sure that that will be in the cards.”During his encounter with the press, Mr. Ahtisaari was accompanied by one of his team members, retired United States General Bill Nash, whom the Secretary-General described as a military adviser when he had named some members of the mission at a news conference on Monday. Asked about the reported complaints by Israel that General Nash was not a full member of the team, Mr. Ahtisaari stressed that the role of the General “is going to be crucial in the sense that we are dealing primarily with the Ministry of Defence.” “When I met the Secretary-General for the first time, before we heard of any complaints, I told him that I’m a very inclusive manager… so my idea is to have both General Nash and Commissioner [Thomas Peter] Fitzgerald [the Police Advisor] as part of my team, and indeed the others who are joining me as well.” For his part, General Nash, who has considerable experience working in conflict areas, said he was “deeply honoured that the Secretary-General has demonstrated confidence in me to ask me to participate in this mission, and I look forward to serving him and President Ahtisaari.” read more

UN reports seven of its personnel injured in Bali attack

Citing reports from the field, UN spokesperson Hua Jiang told the press in New York that three of those injured – two civilian police and a military officer – “have suffered serious burns” while the other four endured injuries described as “relatively minor.” In addition, two military members of the mission remain unaccounted for.All those wounded were serving with the UN peacekeeping mission in Timor-Leste, known as UNMISET. Personnel from the mission often pass through Bali on their way to and from the capital, Dili, or visit the island while on leave. At the time of the attacks, up to 155 UNMISET personnel were reported to be in, or transiting through, Bali.UNMISET has sent a small team, consisting of a chaplain, a stress counsellor and a logistics officer to assist the mission’s staff in Bali and facilitate their quick return to Timor-Leste.In a related development, the President of the UN General Assembly, Jan Kavan of the Czech Republic, today added his voice to other UN officials condemning the attack, including Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who today denounced it as “brutal and inhumane.”Mr. Kavan called on all States to fight terrorism, and said such attacks “cannot be excused for any reason or by any ideology,” according to his spokesman, who added that the President “hopes for a swift investigation and punishment of those responsible.” read more