Closing Bell TSX rises as traders look to US jobs data European

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed higher Wednesday amid hopes that stimulus measures are on the way to help the eurozone recovery and that the U.S. will rack up another month of strong job gains.Here are the closing numbersTSX — 14,796.79+62.10 0.42%S&P 500 —  1,927.88+3.64 0.19%Dow — 16,737.53+15.19 0.09%Nasdaq — 4,251.64 +17.56 0.41%The S&P/TSX composite index was ahead 62.1 points to 14,796.79.The Canadian dollar was down 0.24 of a cent to 91.42 cents as the Bank of Canada announced it was keeping its key rate unchanged at 1% and indicated they will stay that low for some time to come.U.S. indexes registered minor gains despite a disappointing read on private sector job creation during May. The Dow Jones industrials climbed 15.19 points to 16,737.53, the Nasdaq gained 17.56 points to 4,251.64 and the S&P 500 index was 3.64 points higher to 1,927.88.Payroll firm ADP reported Wednesday that the U.S. private sector created 179,000 jobs during May, the fewest number in four months. That reading came in two days before the release of U.S. non-farm payrolls report for last month. Economists have forecast that about 219,000 jobs were created during May following a much stronger than expected 288,000 gain in April. Canadian job figures for May also come out Friday and economists expect about 21,000 jobs were created after the economy shed 29,000 the previous month.The employment news was somewhat offset by other data showing the American non-manufacturing sector expanding at a faster than forecast clip. The Institute for Supply Management said its index rose to 56.3, the highest level since last August and above expectations for a read of 55.5.Also, the Federal Reserve’s latest regional survey shows the U.S. economy strengthening over the past two months in areas from manufacturing and construction to retail sales and bank lending.Meanwhile, markets are counting on the European Central Bank to announce measures Thursday aimed at giving a lift to the eurozone’s weak recovery and saving the region from falling into a deflationary spiral that would choke off growth.Worries about deflation increased Tuesday in the wake of data showing that inflation in the eurozone came in at 0.5% in May, down from 0.7% in April.“I would actually use the word ’scary’ because growth has been very fragile at best and now you have disinflation. If that turns to deflation, we know the experience on this from Japan and it is not a pretty story,” said Luciano Orengo, a portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management.The latest data also showed that gross domestic product in the eurozone grew by a paltry 0.2% in the first quarter.Analysts are looking at a variety of options for the ECB, including an interest rate cut.“I think the biggest wild card is whether it will do a form of quantitative easing,” added Orengo.The information technology sector was the biggest TSX advancer, up 1% as BlackBerry (TSX:BB) ran up 25 cents to $8.40.The financial sector was ahead 0.64% and Laurentian Bank of Canada (TSX:LB) shares edged 48 cents higher to $48.06 as the bank’s adjusted profit came in at $1.29 a share, five cents ahead of estimates. Laurentian also upped its quarterly dividend by a penny to 52 cents per share.The gold sector was ahead about 0.2%, while August bullion lost early momentum and faded 20 cents to US$1,244.30 an ounce.The energy sector was up 0.63% while the July crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange dipped two cents to US$102.64 a barrel.The base metals segment led decliners, down 0.27% while July copper fell four cents to US$3.09 a pound.TOP STORIESLoonie dives as Bank of Canada holds key interest rate, keeps outlook neutralCanada’s RRIF withdrawal rules forces seniors to outlive their savings, C.D. Howe findsToronto’s average detached home price closes in on $1-million as sales surge to fresh record in MayKeystone XL vulnerable to coordinated bomb attacks, says former U.S. Navy Seal who helped target bin LadenWHAT’S ON DECK THURSDAYCANADA8:30 a.m.Building permits (April): Economists expect 4.2% rise 10 a.m.Ivey Purchasing Managers’ Index (May):  Economists expect reading of 56, up from last month UNITED STATES7:30 a.m.Challenger layoff Report (May) 8:30 a.m.Weekly jobless claims:  Economists expect 310,000 new claims, up from last week CORPORATE NEWSCANADACanadian Western Bank    Q2 earnings: Analysts expect 61¢ a share Saputo Inc Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 74¢ a share Transcontinental Inc Q2 earnings: Analysts expect 43¢ a share UNITED STATESThe J. M. Smucker Company Q4 earnings: Analysts expect $1.16 a share read more

Closure of Crown asset allows Saskatchewan courier to hop aboard expansion bus

REGINA — A courier service has received approval to take over some of the bus passenger routes that were once operated by the now-defunct Saskatchewan Transportation Company.Starting July 10, Melville-based DiCal Transport will offer service to five communities, including Regina, Yorkton, Melville, Balcarres and Fort Qu’Appelle.Owner and operator Diane Smith tells Regina radio station CJME that the business plans to expand in the near future to other communities, such as Canora, Kamsack, Preeceville and Sturgis.She says her company’s website is being updated with information about schedules and fees.DiCal was one of a number of companies that applied to the province’s Highway Traffic Board to handle STC routes after the government shuttered the Crown-owned bus company this spring as part of cost-saving measures.Smith says she got word Thursday morning that her application had been successful.“We’re really excited. We’ve been anxiously awaiting for the final piece of paper so we can start operating this service,” she said. “I’m certain we’re going to have passengers and we’re going to be busy.”DiCal originally wanted to start operating June 1, just two weeks after STC service ended, but its permit was stalled and there were protests over the closure of the government-run bus company.“We were all subject to the same type of backlash from the same group of protesters,” said Smith. “All of us that applied for operating authority certainly were dragged into the political dispute and essentially chastised for wanting to fill a void.”Smith said the company needs to advertise but she’s already responding to calls and emails from people inquiring about the service.She noted that her Facebook page has received thousands of hits since news broke about the approval. (CJME) read more

Most actively traded companies on the TSX

Some of the most active companies traded Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (15,807.17, up 64.97 points):Tethys Petroleum Ltd. (TSX:TPL). Oil and gas. Unchanged at two cents on 10.5 million shares.Eastmain Resources Inc. (TSX:ER). Miner. Up 1.5 cents, or 4.84 per cent, to 32.5 cents on 4.6 million shares.Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX:WEED). Healthcare. Down 20 cents, or 1.53 per cent, to $12.87 on 4.4 million shares.Hydro One Ltd. Instalment Receipts (TSX:H.IR). Utilities. Up 36 cents, or 0.94 per cent, to $38.49 on 3.2 million shares.New Gold Inc. (TSX:NGD). Miner. Down nine cents, or 1.91 per cent, to $4.61 on 3.1 million shares.B2Gold Corp. (TSX:BTO). Miner. Up two cents, or 0.58 per cent, to $3.44 on 2.9 million shares.

Quebec to set up provincial body to control marijuana industry

Quebec tabled cannabis legislation on Thursday that will give a provincially run agency tight control over the purchase, storage and sale of the drug.A newly created subsidiary of Quebec’s liquor corporation will oversee the pot industry, Public Health Minister Lucie Charlebois said in the national assembly as she tabled Bill 157.Charlebois said the bill forbids minors from possessing cannabis, prohibits people from growing it for personal use and stipulates that smoking it will be banned in the same places where smoking tobacco is illegal.Will marijuana advertising follow the restrictions placed on alcohol or on tobacco?Weed is the new craft beer, says former Budweiser exec: ‘Ignore it at your peril’The bill introduces “a new principle of zero tolerance” regarding drivers caught under the influence of marijuana or any other drug.“It prohibits anyone from driving a vehicle … or having control of a vehicle if there is any detectable presence of cannabis or any other drug in their saliva,” Charlebois said.The bill also gives police officers the power to demand saliva samples from drivers suspected of being under the influence.Only the new agency — the Societe quebecoise du cannabis — will be allowed to buy cannabis from a producer, transport it, store it and sell it, although there may be certain exceptions.Ottawa has promised marijuana will be legal across Canada by next July 1 and has left it to the provinces to create their own legal framework on how the law would be enforced on their territory.Quebec tabled the legislation a day after it again asked the federal government to push back the July 1 deadline by one year so the province can reach agreement with Ottawa on various money-related issues such as the division of tax revenues.On Thursday, the national assembly adopted a motion by a margin of 97-2 to ask Ottawa to delay implementing the law. read more

Man freed in NYC LTTE case

A man called the top U.S. representative of an outlawed Sri Lankan rebel group has been freed from jail in a New York City terrorism case.A judge sentenced Karunakaran (kah-roo-nah-KEHR-ahn) Kandasamy (kahn-dah-SAH-mee) on Friday to time served _ about five years. Prosecutors had sought a maximum 20-year term. But there’s still no finality to the criminal case.After countless delays, one of five defendants left in legal limbo _ a naturalized U.S. citizen and former cab driver named Karunakaran Kandasamy _ is up for sentencing Friday in federal court in Brooklyn. Two others who also pleaded guilty are awaiting sentencing, while another pair is fighting extradition in Canada.For the 55-year-old Kandasamy, the stakes are high: Prosecutors have argued that as the top U.S. representative for the Tamil Tigers, he deserves a lengthy sentence _ the maximum is 20 years _ for raising money for the separatist group. The defense believes Kandasamy, who suffers from diabetes and other ailments, already has done enough time. The United States and other Western countries had labeled the Tamil Tigers a terrorist organization before the rebels were defeated in a bloody civil war in Sri Lanka in 2009. Nearly six years have passed since U.S. authorities took the unusual step of rounding up a group of Sri Lankan immigrants and charging them with breaking terror financing laws by raising money and trying to get weapons for the Tamil Tigers rebel forces.Since then, 14 defendants charged in New York have been convicted. Some were given 25 years in prison. Back home, the Tamil Tigers were finally vanquished after a bloody civil war. The 55-year-old Kandasamy was among several Sri Lankan immigrants rounded up in the mid-2000s and accused of illegally raising money for the Tamil Tigers. Kandasamy, a native Tamil who’s been jailed for five years, “is a fundamentally good and decent man who wanted to help the community he clearly loved _ a community that suffered terribly for many years,” defense attorney Charles Ross wrote in a recent letter to the judge. “There is no question that Mr. Kandasamy went too far and broke the law, but like other defendants in this case, he was motivated by a deep desire to help his people,” the letter adds.In 2009, the Tamil Tigers admitted defeat in their 25-year war with the Sri Lankan government that left more than 70,000 people dead.The rebels, who once controlled a de facto state in the island nation’s north, had been fighting since 1983 for a separate state for minority Tamils after decades of oppression by the Sinhalese majority. Blamed for hundreds of suicide attacks, the Tamil Tigers were shunned internationally and branded terrorists by the U.S., European Union and India. Federal authorities in New York had sought to cut off support for the group by arresting sympathizers in their East Coast immigrant communities in 2006 and 2007 on charges of conspiring to provide material aid to a terrorist organization. Some like Kandasamy were tied to a covert campaign to raise and launder millions of dollars through a charity front organization.Prosecutors say there’s evidence Kandasamy helped raise millions of dollars for the Tamil Tigers, and that he went to Sri Lanka to meet with rebel commanders.The defense argued in it recent letter that Kandasamy’s motives were humanitarian. It says in Sri Lanka, he “personally witnessed the brutality of the Sri Lankan government on many occasions. … For more than 25 year, he lived in constant fear for his life and safety and the lives and safety of his family, friends and neighbors.”The U.S. government, “recognizing the systematic victimization of the Tamil people, granted Mr. Kandasamy political asylum in the early 1980s,” the letter adds. After that, “he lived an upstanding, law-abiding life.” (AP) read more

Refugee return figures decline in first half

“It is difficult to determine why the numbers of refugees returning to Sri Lanka have fallen,” says UNHCR Representative in Sri Lanka Michael Zwack. “It is an individual decision to return home based on individual considerations,” he added. According to UNHCR’s statistics at end- 2011, there were 68,152 Sri Lankan refugees living in 112 camps in Tamil Nadu and another 32,467 living outside the camps. Worldwide there are more than 136,000 Sri Lankan refugees living in 65 countries. The overwhelming majority of refugees are returning from Indian government-run refugee camps in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu with a handful returning from Malaysia, Georgia and Hong Kong.The refugees are mainly returning to Trincomalee, Mannar, Vavuniya and Jaffna districts with smaller numbers returning to Kilinochchi, Batticaloa, Colombo, Mullaitivu, Puttalam and Kandy. The number of Sri Lankan refugees returning home with UNHCR’s help declined during the first half of 2012 compared with the same period last year.The latest statistics show that 662 individuals voluntarily returned to Sri Lanka with UNHCR’s help during the first six months of this year to end-June, nearly a third less than the same period in 2011 when 962 refugees returned. A total of 1,728 Sri Lankan refugees returned under UNHCR’s facilitated voluntary repatriation programme in 2011. read more

BBS suspects Wimal – Shiv Sena links Audio

“We know politicians always tell lies. We will reveal more about that Minister (Weerawansa) if the need arises. There are three groups working against us and we will reveal things about them as well soon,” the BBS monk said. (Colombo Gazette) Gnanasara thero also challenged Minister Weerawansa to prove claims he had made that the BBS is funded by Norway.He said that if the claims are proven then the BBS will disband after making a public apology to the nation. “Shiva Sena is working to protect Hinduism in India. A lot of Hindus are converting to Buddhism and that is a big problem for the Shiv Sena. The monk in Padukka is being funded by them. He has written books saying Lord Buddha was born in Sri Lanka. So we suspect Minister Weerawansa’s and his wife are linked with Shiva Sena,” he said. If not then he says Minister Weerawansa should wear a loincloth and go home for telling lies.“He is saying we are trying to remove Muslim Ministers from the government. He is telling lies and we cannot allow such Cabinet Ministers to continue like this,” Gnanasara thero said.Gnanasara thero said that the Minister has not raised his voice against Muslim extremists operating in Sri Lanka but yet goes on protest when anything is said against Cuba. Shiv Sena, is a Hindu nationalist political organisation in India. Gnanasara said that the Shiva Sena is working on the policy that Buddhism did not originate in India and the monk in Padukka is doing the same. The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) today claimed that Minister Wimal Weerawansa may have links with Shiva Sena in India.BBS general secretary the venerable Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara thero said that the Minister’s wife is working with a Buddhist monk in Padukka who is funded by the Shiva Sena. CLICK HERE FOR BBS AUDIO read more

Protest across railway track

According to the protestors, the train service never stops at that railway station and passengers who want to disembark at Hiriyala are forced to proceed further. In an attempt to force the train services to stop at the train station the demonstrators blocked the railway track this morning. A demonstration was staged along the railway track at Hiriyala today, blocking train operations along the track.The protestors were demanding that the train service operating between Vavuniya and Colombo stop at the Hiriyala railway station. The train operating between Vavuniya and Colombo was forced to stop at the Hiriyala railway station as a result of the protest. (Colombo Gazette)

LTTE sleeper cell busted

Investigators said Krishnamurthy, who supplied water cans in the Pozhichalur locality where he lived, befriended Udaya Doss and Maheswaran and took them to Suresh Kumar. The former LTTE operative trained them in making improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and electronic circuits for a variety of bombs.During questioning, the arrested men said they had taken the house in Pammal on rent more than two months ago. Doss was a carpenter and Maheswaran a photo editor. Suresh Kumar trained Sri Lankan Tamils and sent them to the island nation with bomb-making material, investigators said. The other arrested, Gopi alias Manoharan, 37, also a Jaffna native, flew into this country in 2009 on a genuine passport. Sivaneswaran came in 2011. The arrested duo was produced before a magistrate’s court in Tambaram that remanded them in judicial custody in Puzhal prison. The two narrowly escaped arrest when a team of ‘Q’ branch sleuths barged into a house inPozhichalur near Chromepet on December 19, 2012. The police team nabbed S Suresh Kumar, 34, D Udaya Doss, 39, T Maheswaran, 33 and K Krishnamurthy, 29. An investigating officer said Suresh Kumar, an ex-LTTE operative, lost his legs in an explosion during the Eelam war and moved around in a wheelchair. “Two of the four arrested men came to Tamil Nadu as refugees in 2001 and 2003, and the others came as the war was in its final stages in 2009,” the officer said. Tamil Nadu ‘Q’ branch sleuths said they have busted a sleeper cell of former LTTE cadres with the arrest of two men in a Mogappair guest house on Friday, the Times of India reported today.One of those nabbed, Sivaneswaran, 34, alias Nesan alias Priyan alias Isai Priyan alias Anbu, hails from Jaffna. He joined the LTTE and was tasked with checking the antecedents of young recruits. He also worked as a shadow for cadres going on leave. Later, he became head of the outfit’s recruitment wing. read more

Malaysian police arrest 2 Sri Lankans

Datuk Seri Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff said the operation involved seven places around Klang Valley, including Wangsa Maju, Damansara, Sri Kembangan and Sepang. Two Sri Lankans have been arrested in Malaysia after the police shut down a drug lab producing Syabu and ecstasy.The Rakyat Post quoted the Narcotics Department director Datuk Seri Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff as telling reporters today that the police shut down the drug lab and nabbed eight suspects in a drug sting. The operation, conducted by Bukit Aman Narcotics Crime investigation department, special tactical intelligence narcotics group (Sting) and Selangor Narcotics Crime investigation department, also seized RM10 million worth of drugs and drug processing items. The drug lab, which was producing Syabu and ecstasy, was discovered in Sri Kembangan.“Of the eight suspects, five were Malaysian citizens, two from Sri Lanka and one from India,” he told reporters at a press conference at Bukit Aman today. read more

TNA hold talks with military heads on releasing land

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) had talks with the military today on releasing private land held by the military.The meeting was headed by TNA leader R. Sampanthan. TNA spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran said that the Defence Secretary, Army Chief and officials from the Navy and Air Force attended the meeting.Sumanthiran said the TNA was informed at the meeting that the Army will follow any order on the land matter issued by the President or Defence Secretary. The TNA was also informed that the Army is prepared to withdraw from any land not required for security reasons.

TULF chief tells TNA head to control Federal Party members

Anandasangaree appealed to everybody in Sri Lanka not to make statements to hurt the feelings of the people who take a lot of risk and come all the way from various places to help Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette) He told Sampanthan it is regrettable to note that with so much of experience he has in politics and also as the head of the team, he has failed in his duty to promote goodwill and friendship with India, which is now fast declining. “First of all you must realize that as our immediate neighbor, whenever we are in distress it is India that always rushed in first with our urgent needs such as medical teams, food etc. For example during the last Tsunami even before clearing the areas in their own country, the Indian teams rushed in here with urgent requirements that reached all parts of the country, irrespective of any ethnic, religious or regional differences. A new tradition has been established that in the event of a national disaster, India comes first to help us. Please don’t forget that after the end of the war, a lot of families received aids not only to build houses but also in a small way, individuals received some aid that enabled them to earn a living,” Anandasangaree said. Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) Secretary General V Anandasangaree has written to Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R Sampanthan, urging him to keep Federal Party members of the TNA under his strict control.“They can’t make statements as they like, to wound the feelings of not only a country but its people as well. I do not know whether you are aware of the immense damage caused to the friendship and goodwill of India, by the thoughtless acts and utterances, more by the Federal Party members of your alliance, than by the others who only share the blame by remaining silent, ignoring the conduct of such members. Perhaps they are helpless. Due to certain reasons, which I do not want to mention openly, there is conflict of interest between two countries in Sri Lanka that may explode one day to the detriment of both sides. It is our innocent people who will ultimately get badly affected. By our foolish utterances let us not provoke a situation for that to happen,” Anandasangaree said. read more

Cabinet yet to receive proposal on legalising abortion

Cabinet will discuss the proposal on making abortion legal once it is received, Health Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne said.He said that making abortion legal is only a proposal discussed at a meeting recently. The Minister says the proposal has not been put forward to the Health Ministry or the Government. The proposal was based on the right a mother should have if pregnant as a result of rape or if a serious medical disorder is detected in the embryo.Recently the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka expressed concerns over moves to legalize abortion under special circumstances and urged the Government not to legalize abortion under any circumstances. Issuing a statement the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Sri Lanka said it was deeply concerned at the news that a cabinet decision has been made to legalize abortion on two counts and is to be presented to the Parliament.The Church condemned the Government decision to legalize abortion under two instances saying that the Catholic Church believes that life begins at conception and no one has the right to take a life. (Colombo Gazette) He however said that once the proposal is received it will be discussed by the cabinet. read more

Former LTTE member arrested over explosives in threewheeler

One person had fled while two others were arrested. (Colombo Gazette) The items were found hidden in the three-wheeler during a search operation.According to the Police, three people were in the vehicle when it was stopped by the Police. A former LTTE member, who escaped last week when the Police found explosives in a three-wheeler, was arrested in Mankulam.Flags similar to that used by the LTTE, clothes and explosives were found in the three-wheeler in Oddusuddan on Friday.

Long weekend gas prices

Good news for those planning on taking a road trip this Canada Day long weekend. Petroleum analysts say there won’t be much of a hike on prices at the pump.However gas is already $0.25 per litre more than it was at this time last year.A sunny long weekend means many will be looking to hit the road, but don’t wait until the end of the work week to fill up.According to petroleum analyst Dan McTeague there’s a strategic way to fill up, “My best advice would be for motorists not to buy gas on a Friday. That tends to be the time when we see gas stations restore their 10 to 12 cent retail margins. So fill up on Thursday, or Saturday/Sunday.”McTeauge also says, “It’s the 10 to 12 cents of flexibility that retailers have that might jump to the top end. Something that usually happens on a Friday before a long weekend. Another tip and fill up in the evening.”As a rule of thumb it has always been a case of minimum 2 cents a litre drop after 6 p.m. with many stations dropping 6 or 7 cents a litre.CAA says the roads will be busy this weekend, with those looking for a mini vacation.“Ontario is the number one destination for road trips, the maritimes are also very popular and New York state, so staying close to home.”Representatives at CAA say the high gas prices this summer don’t seem to be stopping many from going on road trips, but drivers are looking for ways to be more fuel efficient.Its also important do to things like check your air tire pressure, not use too much air conditioning.If you are really want to be a stickler about saving gas some of the most common hacks found on the internet include parking in the shade. Apparently gas evaporates much faster in the sun, even if your gas cap is tightly screwed on.Ditch the heels, platforms make it difficult to tell how hard you’re pressing on the gas pedal.And if you really want to save as many drop as you can, plan a trip with only right turns. That way you wont be idling at stop lights. read more

Boys 8 and 6 drive pickup truck to Tim Hortons

An 8-year-old boy and his 6-year-old brother have been returned to their parents after going on a Tim Hortons run in a pickup truck. The Ontario Provincial Police say the boys took the truck from their home in Jarvis, Ont. and drove to get some breakfast.The 8-year-old driver lost control of the vehicle in the drive-thru area, hopped the curb and drove into a field where they became stuck. An employee went to check on the occupants and found the boys sitting in the vehicle. Police say the children were not hurt and there was no damage to the pickup truck. They were turned over to their parent by police at the scene. No charges will be laid.

Pilot suspected of drinking arrested at Minnesota airport

MINNEAPOLIS — A Delta Air Lines pilot suspected of drinking before his flight at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has been arrested.A report by airport police says the pilot had an “alcoholic container” in his possession and was suspected of being impaired. He was scheduled to fly to San Diego, California, Tuesday morning.The Star Tribune reports that the pilot, who lives in Rosemount, Minnesota, was released about three hours after his arrest. Airport spokesman Patrick Hogan says final toxicology results are pending, so the case is still under investigation.Delta said its alcohol policy “is among the strictest in the industry and we have no tolerance for violation.” The Atlanta-based carrier says it’s co-operating with investigators.The Federal Aviation Administration prohibits any pilot from flying within eight hours of drinking alcohol.___Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.comThe Associated Press read more