UN pushes ahead with multinational enrichment plan to prevent nuclear proliferation

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Deputy Director General Yury Sokolov led the UN side in talks this week with Russian officials at the Angarsk Electrolysis Chemical Complex, a manufacturer of low-enriched uranium, which Russia is proposing should be the site of an international centre. Low enriched uranium is the fuel for nuclear power plants, but enriched to a higher degree it can be used to make nuclear weapons. Mr. Sokolov told a press conference that the Agency’s main point of concern about proposals discussed with Russia was provision of a mechanism to ensure that States which have been isolated for political reasons continue to receive nuclear fuel. Russian officials told the press conference that the talks had made positive progress.Russia is currently in negotiations with Kazakhstan to establish a joint enrichment facility at the Angarsk complex, which is north of Irkutsk in south eastern Siberia. Both IAEA Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei and Russian President Vladimir Putin have proposed putting enrichment under multinational control to reduce proliferation risks. The system would provide assurance of supply to States considering developing nuclear power and avoid the need for them to build their own nuclear fuel production capability.The so-called front end of the nuclear fuel cycle, when fuel is enriched, as well as the back end, when spent fuel is reprocessed, provide points that pose proliferation risks because material can be potentially diverted and used to produce weapons.A cornerstone of Mr. ElBaradei’s proposal is a fuel bank of last resort that would offer users of the system the insurance of guaranteed delivery if their regular supplies were interrupted.“The longer we delay in placing sensitive nuclear operations under multinational control, the more new countries will seek to build such facilities,” he said in a speech last year, calling for a unified international approach “so that no one country would have exclusive control over the most sensitive parts of the fuel cycle.” In September, the Nuclear Threat Initiative donated $50 million provided by United States billionaire Warren Buffet to the proposed fuel bank on condition that the contribution is matched by an amount of $100 million.The proposals for international uranium enrichment centres come amid a revival of interest in nuclear power as a means of generating electricity and fears about the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Mr. ElBaradei is to present a paper about supply assurance to the next meeting of the IAEA’s Board of Governors in June. 23 March 2007Pushing ahead with efforts to set up a multinational framework for uranium enrichment to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation and the possibility of their falling into the hands of terrorists, the United Nations atomic watchdog agency is exploring with Russia the possible establishment of an international enrichment centre in Siberia. read more

UNESCO chief applauds regional cooperation in SouthEast Europe

8 June 2007The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today welcomed the commitment of South-East European leaders to regional cooperation and dialogue. The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today welcomed the commitment of South-East European leaders to regional cooperation and dialogue. At the opening of the fifth summit of heads of state of South-East Europe in Sibiu, Romania, UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said that underlying the annual meetings is the leaders’ commitment to “dialogue, understanding, reconciliation and peace.” Organized by Romanian President Traian Basesc, five other leaders – of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia – are participating in the two-day meeting with the theme “Cultural Diversity – a Bridge between Cultural Heritage and the Culture of the Future.” “Heritage is no longer understood solely as the built environment,” Mr. Matsuura said, appealing for the ratification of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. “It is seen to encompass all aspects of human creativity.” He added, “Drawing on this heritage, human creativity can invent new forms of expression that will become, in turn, the legacy for the future.” Mr. Matsuura expressed satisfaction that each of the four previous summits have contributed to supported regional cooperation and “has chosen culture as the foundation for such an endeavour.” The meeting’s participants have selected Greece as the site of next year’s summit, and later today, they are expected to adopt a final declaration. read more

Ban signs performance pacts with UN chiefs boosting transparency accountability

Unlike previous occasions, television cameras and the international press were invited to witness the ceremony. “Today we are taking a step back to see how we can better address the challenges within our departments and among each other,” Mr. Ban told the assembled agency heads. “Today is also unusual in that we are gathered in front of television cameras, and we have invited the press. As you know, the compacts you have signed will all be published on our intranet site, iSeek. This means we are not only talking about transparency; we are practicing it.” He said the goals of each body will be especially critical this year, as the UN grapples with many interlinked challenges, from boosting the economic and social development of poor countries to combating climate change to improving staff security. “We confront problems that no senior manager or single department can solve alone. We have to work together as a team,” he added, stressing that making the process as public as possible plays a key role. Both the compacts and end-of-year results will be put online. In April, iSeek will publish the results for last year’s compacts and action plans. “This transparency and accountability are critical to our credibility,” Mr. Ban declared. “They demonstrate the progress we are making toward becoming a more performance-driven Organization that sets clear goals, establishes specific timeframes, communicates them widely and then reports the results openly. “We must also outline clear roles, responsibility and authority for all levels of staff. This is not a glamorous exercise, but it is critical. When colleagues understand their duties and how they will be evaluated, they can produce better results,” he said, stressing that the next crucial step is to look closely at what works, and fix what does not. Nineteen senior managers were present at the ceremony at UN Headquarters in New York while five others participated via video-conference. The meeting was chaired by Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, who leads the Management Performance Board. 12 February 2009Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today highlighted efforts to spread transparency and accountability throughout the United Nations system, signing compacts with his senior managers for performance goals and results that will be published on the Organization’s intranet site, iSeek. read more

Discussions on negotiating texts on pact to combat global warming kick off

The two-week Bonn talks, the second round of UN climate change talks this year, are expected to draw over 4,000 participants, including representatives from Governments, the private sector, environmental organizations and research institutions.The new pact, to be concluded in Copenhagen, Denmark, is intended to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period ends in 2012.“The political moment is right to reach an agreement,” said Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). “There is no doubt in my mind that the Copenhagen climate conference in December is going to lead to a result.”The current financial crisis has reinforced the need for a global response to global issues, he added.The negotiating texts serve as a “starting point” for talks among nations, according to Michael Zammit Cutajar, who chairs the working group for long-term cooperation under the UNFCCC.Also expected to be discussed in Bonn are how to improve emissions trading and coverage of emissions credits, among other topics.In recent weeks, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been exhorting nations to “seal the deal” on a new climate change pact, warning that cost of inaction will be far greater than the cost of taking decisive action now.“We live in an interconnected world,” he told business leaders last month. “An effective agreement in Copenhagen would be a powerful vote of confidence in multilateralism. By the same token, failure would be bad news for everyone.”“We live in an interconnected world,” he told business leaders last month. “An effective agreement in Copenhagen would be a powerful vote of confidence in multilateralism. By the same token, failure would be bad news for everyone.”In a related development, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and over one dozen non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have urged climate negotiators to not leave fisheries and aquaculture out of discussions on a new pact.As a result of climate change, millions of fishers, fish farmers and coastal inhabitants will see their livelihoods take a hit, with global warming decreasing the availability and quality of fish for food and increasing health risks, according to a policy brief issued by the groups.Some 520 million people worldwide – or 8 per cent of the global population – depend on fisheries and aquaculture as a source of protein, income or family stability.It also argues that without immediate adaptation and mitigation measures, many fishing and coastal communities, already vulnerable due to poverty and rural underdevelopment, will face an even worse situation.“Through their decisions and actions, they need to avoid policies that would damage already stressed aquatic resources and human lives and, instead, implement measures that take full advantage of the environmental and food security services that healthy aquatic resources offer,” said Kevern Cochrane of FAO’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Department. 1 June 2009Delegates from 182 nations are gathering in Bonn, Germany, today to initiate discussions on negotiating texts which could form the basis of an ambitious United Nations-backed climate change deal, to slash greenhouse gas emissions, expected to be clinched in December. read more

At UN Zimbabwes leader blasts illegal sanctions against his country

Countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) “have made huge sacrifices and given Zimbabwe financial and other support at a time when they, too, are reeling from the effects of the global economic crisis,” Mr. Mugabe told the Assembly’s annual high-level debate.But “regrettably” and “to our surprise, and that of SACD and the rest of Africa,” the US and the EU have refused to remove their “illegal” sanctions, he stressed.The President accused some of these nations of “working strenuously to divide the parties in the Inclusive Government.”Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in earlier this year as Prime Minister in a unity government with Mr. Mugabe, following months of political tensions after disputed presidential elections in March last year.“If they will not assist the Inclusive Government in rehabilitating our economy, could they please stop their filthy clandestine divisive antics?” Mr. Mugabe asked. “Where stand their humanitarian principles when their illegal actions are ruining the lives of our children?”The UN’s humanitarian arm warned last month that the situation in Zimbabwe remains acute, with not enough food to feed all 12.5 million inhabitants and funding requirements to provide urgently-needed aid only half met.Even with commercial imports, there will be a 180,000-ton cereal deficit for 2009-2010, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.According to a recent assessment by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP) and the Zimbabwean Government, only 1.4 million tons of cereal will be available domestically, compared to the more than 2 million needed. 25 September 2009President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe today strongly condemned the “illegal” sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union (EU) against his country, telling the General Assembly that they are especially harmful in the midst of the current global economic crisis. read more

Vast majority of public remain exposed to dangerous secondhand smoke – UN

The World Health Organization (WHO) report noted that last year some 154 million more people no longer endured tobacco smoke in workplaces, restaurants, bars and other indoor spaces as Colombia, Djibouti, Guatemala, Mauritius, Panama, Turkey and Zambia implemented comprehensive smoke-free laws.However, only 5.4 per cent of the world’s population was covered in 2008 by such legislation, up from 3.1 per cent in 2007, according to the 2009 WHO report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic.“The fact that more than 94 per cent of people remain unprotected by comprehensive smoke-free laws shows that much more work needs to be done,” said WHO Assistant Director-General for Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health Ala Alwan. “Urgent action is needed to protect people from the death and illness caused by exposure to tobacco smoke,” added Dr. Alwan, stressing that there is “no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke.”WHO chose to make smoke-free environments the focus of the report not only because second-hand smoking kills, but it also causes crippling and disfiguring illnesses, as well as economic losses amounting to tens of billions of dollars annually.In addition, the report tracks the global tobacco epidemic, providing evidence showing where interventions aiming to reduce tobacco consumption have been effective and where more progress is needed. It also gives figures on tobacco use in individual countries as well as information about cigarette taxation, bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, support for treatment of tobacco dependence, enforcement of tobacco-free laws and monitoring of the epidemic.“Comprehensive tobacco control will help countries to reduce the rising number of heart attacks, strokes, cancers and other non-communicable diseases,” said Douglas Bettcher, Director of the WHO Tobacco Free Initiative.“People need more than to be told that tobacco is bad for human health,” said Dr. Bettcher. He said they need governments to implement the 2005 WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which has been ratified by nearly 170 countries.Tobacco use continues to be the leading preventable cause of death, killing more than 5 million people per year, and unless urgent measures are taken to control the tobacco epidemic, the annual death toll could rise to 8 million by 2030, according to the WHO report. 9 December 2009The vast majority of the world’s population is still exposed to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, responsible for 600,000 premature deaths annually, despite the ban on smoking in public places being extended to seven more countries last year, a United Nations report warns today. read more

UN chief honours civic servants on Public Service Day

23 June 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon paid tribute today to public servants around the world who use their services on behalf of their towns, cities, or countries, and called on young citizens everywhere to explore dynamic and diverse careers in public service. “Public service is not always an easy career choice to make, but it can be immensely rewarding for the opportunity it offers to get involved in addressing the challenges of our time,” the Secretary-General said in a message in observance of Public Service Day.“In an era of increasingly complex challenges, from climate change to food insecurity and the financial and economic crisis, the world needs its public servants to be more creative and talented than ever.”The UN General Assembly designated 23 June “to celebrate the value and virtue of public service to the community” and to encourage young people to pursue careers in the public sector.“We need to recruit into the public service an ever-increasing tide of ambitious youth who want to use their technological and scientific skills for the common good if we are to defeat poverty, disease, illiteracy and gender inequality and achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015,” Mr. Ban said.In recognition of the Day, the UN honours 23 public institutions – from Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America, Western Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean – with the UN Public Service Awards.The awards are divided into four categories: improving transparency, accountability and responsiveness in the public service; improving the delivery of services; fostering participation in policymaking decisions through innovative mechanisms; and advancing knowledge management in government.This year’s awards ceremony and forum are focused on the theme of “The Role of Public Service in Achieving the Millennium Development Goals: Challenges and Best Practices,” and will be held in Barcelona, Spain.The awards are organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) and the Government of Catalonia. read more

UN human rights office welcomes Togolese report on violence against detainees

Togo’s national human rights commission “found that the prisoners were subject to physical and moral violence of an inhuman and degrading nature,” said Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).Ms. Shamdasani said the report also recommends that authorities take appropriate action against the perpetrators of the violence, make reparations to the victims, and carry out institutional reform of the national intelligence agency.“We note the Government’s commitment to implementing the recommendations of this report and encourage them to take all necessary measures to ensure justice and reparation for the victims and to prevent such acts from occurring in the future,” she said. “Detention facilities should be subject to transparent judicial monitoring.“We also call on the Government to continue to guarantee the independence of the national human rights commission and to ensure that human rights defenders are able to carry out their work without intimidation.” 24 February 2012The United Nations human rights office today welcomed the release of an independent report in Togo that examines allegations that members of the West African country’s intelligence agency tortured individuals accused of taking part in an attempted coup d’état in 2009. read more

Final day of Enbridge Line 9 pipeline hearings cancelled over security concerns

TORONTO — The final day of hearings on a proposal to reverse the flow of a pipeline that runs between southern Ontario and Montreal were cancelled Saturday due to security concerns.But that didn’t deter hundreds of protesters who rallied outside the site of the scrapped hearing to oppose Enbridge’s plan to reverse its Line 9 and increase its capacity to carry crude oil.“They try to make it seem like we’re not going to have a spill. And it’s very likely that a spill will happen somewhere along this line,” said protester Nigel Barriffe, who lives near Line 9 in northwest Toronto.Enbridge was to make its closing submissions to the National Energy Board on its plan to reverse the line and increase the pipeline’s capacity to move crude oil.But the National Energy Board announced late Friday that Saturday’s hearings were off, saying the way the previous day’s hearings ended raised concerns about the security of participants. Protesters were out in force for Friday’s panel hearing, but there was no violence during that demonstration or Saturday’s rally.The NEB didn’t provide a date for when Enbridge will present its closing arguments.Protest organizer Amanda Lickers said the NEB should have found a way to let Enbridge make its case in support of the reversal.“I think that if they were really concerned about security they could have still done it over the web… there could have been ways to make the presentation happen.”The panel heard this week from interveners stating the reversal would put First Nations communities at risk, threaten water supplies and could endanger vulnerable species in ecologically sensitive areas.Jan Morrissey of a Toronto residents’ group showed up early Saturday morning for the hearing, only to learn it was cancelled.Morrissey said she’s disappointed she won’t get to hear Enbridge’s final reply to arguments made to the board by critics of the reversal.“It’s sort of like reading a book and not getting to see the last chapter,” she said.The reversal would increase the line’s capacity to 300,000 barrels of crude oil per day, up from the current 240,000 barrels.Enbridge has also asked for permission to move different types of oil, including a heavier form of crude from the Alberta oilsands.Opponents claim the crude Enbridge wants to transport is more corrosive and will stress the aging infrastructure and increase the chance of a leak.But Enbridge has said what will flow through the line will not be a raw oilsands product — although there will be a mix of light crude and processed bitumen.Line 9 originally shuttled oil from Sarnia, Ont., to Montreal but was reversed in the late 90s in response to market conditions to pump imported crude westward.Enbridge is now proposing to flow oil back eastward to service refineries in Ontario and Quebec. read more

Closing Bell TSX little changed traders look for Fed tapering clues in

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed little changed Thursday ahead of a much-anticipated U.S. job creation report Friday that could provide an indication of where the Federal Reserve will go in cutting back on stimulus.Here are the closing numbersTSX — 13,629.41 +14.78 11%S&P 500 — 1,838.13 +0.64 0.03%Dow — 16,444.76 -17.98 -0.11%Nasdaq — -9.42 -0.23% -4,156.19The S&P/TSX composite index edged up 14.78 points to 13,629.41, lifted by gains in industrials and financials but held back by declining energy and mining stocks amid lower commodity prices. .The Canadian dollar fell 0.41 of a cent to 92.15 cents US, its lowest close since late September 2009 amid weak housing data.Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said housing starts came in at an annual rate of 189,672 units in December, a decrease from 197,797 in November.Other data from Statistics Canada showed that contractors took out $6.8 billion worth of building permits in November, down 6.7% from October. U.S. indexes were mainly lacklustre as traders took in a strong reading on American jobless insurance claims. The U.S. Labor Department reported that applications for jobless insurance fell by 15,000 last week to 330,000.The Dow Jones industrials lost 17.98 points to 16,444.76, the Nasdaq fell 9.42 points to 4,156.19 and the S&P 500 index added 0.64 of a point to 1,838.13.Traders hope that Friday’s U.S. non-farm payrolls report will provide some direction as to how the U.S. Federal Reserve plans to proceed on further tapering to its massive monthly bond purchases. The key stimulus program was cut last month from $85 billion a month to $75 billion, making further cuts contingent upon economic performance, particularly the job market.U.S. markets had finished in the red Wednesday after minutes from the Fed meeting last month failed to provide any clues as to how quickly the Fed might proceed.But there are concerns that a strong jobs report could persuade the Fed to accelerate its tapering program.Data released Wednesday indicated that Friday’s government employment report could exceed expectations that 195,000 jobs were created last month. Payroll firm ADP said that the U.S. private sector alone created 238,000 jobs in December.“Better news, which should say the economy is stronger, has a negative tone (because it suggests) tapering will be a lot faster,” observed Sadiq Adatia, chief investment officer at Sun Life Global Investment.“This is just a short-term thing right now. I think people will see economic news as being positive and I think from that standpoint that we will see a decent year on the market.”Canadian jobs data also comes out on Friday with expectations that about 13,000 jobs were create in December.The industrials sector led advancers, up 0.56% as Canadian Pacific Railway (TSX:CP) was ahead $3.45 to $161.19.The Transportation Safety Board says their preliminary investigation into a Canadian National Railways train derailment in northwestern New Brunswick has found a cracked wheel and a broken rail but it’s too early to say what caused the train to leave the tracks. A CN spokesman says the priority now is to extinguish the fire on three cars carrying crude oil and liquefied petroleum gas, along with burning diesel.CN shares were six cents lower at $58.57.Financials also turned positive with Manulife Financial (TSX:MFC) ahead 64 cents to C$21.99.The base metals sector was down 1.86% as March copper lost four cents to US$3.30 a pound. Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) dropped 56 cents to C$25.72 while HudBay Minerals (TSX:HBM) fell 24 cents to $8.57.Meanwhile, Adatia said there is some unease about the fact that markets have been generally lower so far this year.“Because the markets haven’t moved up, people are getting a little worried and thinking maybe the metals aren’t going to move up this year and you are seeing people not very positive about metals right now.”The energy sector also weighed on the TSX, down 0.67% as the February crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gave back 67 cents to US$91.66 a barrel. Penn West Petroleum (TSX:PWT) shed 37 cents to C$9.03.Husky Energy Inc. has given the green light to two new heavy oil construction projects in Saskatchewan in the Lloydminister region. Husky says the two projects will deliver a total of 20,000 barrels per day, with the first oil expected in 2016. Its shares were down three cents at $33.19.Performance in the gold sector was mixed as February bullion rose $3.90 to US$1,229.40 an ounce. Goldcorp (TSX:G) gained 44 cents to C$24.31 while Agnico Eagle Mines (TSX:AEM) faded 71 cents to $28.22.On the earnings front, Quebec-based pharmacy chain Jean Coutu (TSX:PJC.A) had $62.5 million of net income or 30 cents a share in its fiscal third quarter, an increase from $56.2 million a year earlier and two cents higher than analyst estimates. However, the Jean Coutu’s revenue were below estimates, falling to $712.5 million from $716.6 million. Its shares lost 14 cents to $18.49.TOP STORIESWhat soft landing? Bullish realtors see no slowdown at all for ‘strong’ housing marketThe first few days of 2014 don’t look good for the loonie, which is now worth about 92 centsFord hikes dividend by 25% as balance sheet strengthensJean Coutu profit beats Street, but revenue falls shortWHAT’S ON DECK FRIDAYECONOMIC NEWSUNITED STATES8:30 a.m.Employment Report: (Dec): Economists expect gain of 197,000 jobs with the jobless rate to remain at 7% Wholesale trade (November): Economists expect 0.7% rise CANADA8:30 a.m.Employment Report: (Dec): Economists expect gain of 14,100 jobs with the jobless rate to remain unchanged at 6.9% read more

ICE Futures Canada Tuesday Canola futures prices higher barley unchanged

WINNIPEG — ICE Futures Canada closing prices:Canola: July ’17 $5.90 higher $557.20; Nov. ’17 $6.80 higher $504.80; Jan. ’18 $6.70 higher $510.30; March ’18 $6.60 higher $515.80; May ’18 $6.10 higher $518.80; July ’18 $7.20 higher $521.00; Nov. ’18 $7.10 higher $505.90; Jan. ’19 $7.60 higher $506.60; March ’19 $7.60 higher $506.60; May ’19 $7.60 higher $506.60; July ’19 $7.60 higher $506.60.Barley (Western): July ’17 unchanged $138.00; Oct. ’17 unchanged $140.00; Dec. ’17 unchanged $140.00; March ’18 unchanged $140.00; May ’18 unchanged $140.00; July ’18 unchanged $140.00; Oct. ’18 unchanged $140.00; Dec. ’18 unchanged $140.00; March ’19 unchanged $140.00; May ’19 unchanged $140.00; July ’19 unchanged $140.00.Tuesday’s estimated volume of trade: 310,480 tonnes of canola; 0 tonnes of barley (Western Barley). Total: 310,480. read more

Public advocacy centre skeptical of data breach reporting regulations

OTTAWA — Companies would be required to notify people of a serious data breach involving personal information under proposed new federal regulations.But the regulations are intended to provide “maximum flexibility” to an organization that loses data, says a government notice accompanying the planned measures.One prominent public advocacy organization voiced skepticism Tuesday about how effective the new rules will be.Several businesses — including telecom provider Bell Canada, retailer Target and affair-seekers website Ashley Madison — have been stung by breaches in recent years.The loss of data can be embarrassing for an organization and often causes headaches for customers whose personal or financial details are suddenly swirling in cyberspace.Legislation passed two years ago laid the groundwork for mandatory reporting of private-sector breaches that pose a “real risk of significant harm” to individuals. The newly published regulations, drafted with the help of public feedback, would flesh out the legislation.“A key theme of the responses was the need for flexibility to allow organizations to implement requirements in a manner that fits their particular circumstances,” the federal notice says.“The majority of business representatives were against overly prescriptive regulations and expressed the desire to make use of existing practices to meet their new obligations to the extent possible.”In the likelihood of “significant harm,” organizations would be obliged to inform affected people as well as the federal privacy commissioner, whose office would determine whether appropriate actions were indeed being taken.In addition, organizations that experienced a breach would have to keep a record of the incident and make these records available to the privacy commissioner upon request.The proposed rules don’t go far enough because they give companies discretion as to whether an incident is sufficiently serious to report, said John Lawford, executive director and general counsel of the Ottawa-based Public Interest Advocacy Centre.A risk-averse company might come clean about a breach, but others may be tempted to keep a lapse under wraps, Lawford said Tuesday.“I think it’s just a terrible solution, and I think we’re going to have fewer data breaches reported rather than more.”The regulations say a breach report to individuals must include a description of the lapse, when it happened, the information involved, steps taken to reduce harm to people, information as to what the individual can do, a toll-free number or email address for providing additional details to the public, and information on how to complain to the organization and the privacy czar.However, a company may provide only indirect notification to affected people — through a website posting or an advertisement — in the event that:— providing direct notification would cause further harm — for instance, if it would inform family members of the person’s purchase of a confidential product or service;— the cost of direct notification would be prohibitive; or— the organization lacks contact information for those affected, or the information it has is outdated.The privacy commissioner’s office, which has strongly supported the move to mandatory reporting, said Tuesday it was reviewing the regulations and therefore could not yet comment.The public has until early next month to provide feedback on the draft regulations.— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter read more

Survey finds 13 of Canadians cant pay monthly bills as rates set

CALGARY — A new survey suggests a third of Canadians can’t pay their monthly bills, including debt repayments, against a backdrop of rising interest rates.The quarterly MNP consumer debt index survey finds the number of Canadians who can’t cover their fixed monthly expenses is up eight points since September.It also finds Canadians who are making ends meet have less disposable income, with an average $631 left after paying bills and contributing to debt repayment. That’s 15 per cent less money left over than in the previous quarter.The survey says Canadians worried more about their debt as the Bank of Canada raised its benchmark interest rate twice last year and is expected to continue the momentum in 2018.Four-in-10 respondents say they fear financial trouble if interest rates rise much further and one-in-three agree they’re concerned rising rates could move them toward bankruptcy.More than 70 per cent of respondents say they’ll be more careful with how they spend money as rates move up, and nearly half say they believe they’ll have to take on more debt over the next year to cover expenses.Ipsos, which conducts the quarterly survey, interviewed 2,001 Canadians online between Dec. 8 and 13, 2017.The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the populationThe survey is conducted on behalf of MNP Ltd., a division of MNP LLP., a personal insolvency practice. read more

Explosives found in Colombo bound bus

Explosives were found hidden in a bus heading to Colombo from Jaffna late last night, the police media unit said this afternoon.Police spokesman S.P Ajith Rohana said that 38 passengers who were in the bus at the time as well as the driver and conductor were taken in for questioning following the detection. The police said that the explosives were hidden under the seat of the bus in a bag and the owner of the bag had not been identified. Among the explosives found were 300 grams of gun powder, three electric detonators, a roll of fuse and bullets. The army discovered the explosives when the bus was searched at Omanthai. Further investigations are underway.

Embassy rejects claims on Paris killing

Mathinthiran was shot at least three times when he was leaving the office of the TCC at Pyrenees in Paris 20, reports said. Mathinthiran was given with the nom de guerre Reagon when he joined the LTTE in 1983. He received his military training in the 2nd batch of the LTTE’s training programme provided by India. Some of his batch mates in the training camp in India were Kumarappa, Bhanu, Ranjan Lala and Vasu, reports said.Reagon took part in the early operations of the LTTE against the military in Mannar, Jaffna and Vanni. He was a middle-level commander when he left the LTTE in the early 90’s. “It would not be appropriate for me to comment on something that is obviously under investigation by the French authorities, except to say that the culture of lethal violence of the Tiger/pro-Tiger milieu seems to be very much intact. It is this culture of violence that exercises tremendous psychological coercion upon and within the Tamil Diaspora and prevents the emergence of truly democratic, pluralist politics. As for the ridiculous accusations by certain pro-secessionist propagandist websites, I am quite certain that the French law enforcement authorities will investigate this crime and identify, apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators as well as those behind it,” he said. The Sri Lankan Embassy in France termed as “ridiculous” accusations that the military intelligence was behind the assassination of a former LTTE commander in France.Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to France, Dayan Jayatilleka, told The Sunday Leader that the French law enforcement authorities are investigating the incident.Nadarajah Mathinthiran alias Parithi, an ex-LTTE commander who had left the movement in the early 90′s and later coordinated Tamil political activities in France since 2003, was killed on Thursday evening outside the office of the Tamil Coordinating Committee (TCC) in Paris. read more

Government denies reports on navy attack

“The External Affairs Ministry said that it was revealed that naval vessels had not entered Indian waters at any time either on 6 or 7 March, as alleged. It was further revealed that no Sri Lankan Naval craft had opened fire at any fishing vessel or any other object on 6 or 7 March in the area,” the External Affairs Ministry said. The navy had arrested 16 fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters off the north-western coast on 3 March, the External Affairs Ministry said.“The Sri Lanka Navy reiterates its commitment to not use force under any circumstances and extend humane treatment to all fishermen at all times,” the External Affairs Ministry added. The navy expresses concern over the large number of fishermen from Southern India crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and fishing in Sri Lankan waters on a regular basis. The Hindu newspaper had reported earlier that a fisherman from Karaikal was injured when he was fired upon allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy, about 11 nautical miles off the Kodiakarai coast.Shenbagam (40) of Kilinjamedu was shot in the back while steering one of two mechanised boats in which a group of fishermen ventured into the sea last Saturday. A few others escaped, the fishermen said in a police complaint later, the Hindu newspaper report said.Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa voiced serious concern over such incidents and demanded that the Union government take firm action. The government has denied reports that the navy had attacked Indian fishermen off the Kodiakarai coast yesterday.A statement by the External Affairs Ministry said that on seeing reports in the media on an incident of alleged firing at Indian fishermen by the Sri Lanka Navy off the Kodiakarai coast, an investigation had been carried out. In a letter to the Prime Minister, she said the latest incident was an attempt to intimidate India and “browbeat” it into not raising its voice against Sri Lankan authorities in international forums. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Knidhi wants action on Lanka

The DMK chief said his party-backed TESO (Tamil Ealam Supporters’ Organisation) had passed a resolution last year, demanding that India set up a naval base in Dhanushkodi, the southern tip of India, or Mandapam in Rameswaram.“To save Indian fishermen from the atrocities of the Sri Lankan navy, Government of India should come forward to set up a naval base, at one of the said places and also adopt an approach similar to that of Gandhi and this would bring a lasting solution to the issue,” he added. He was freed following an apology, Karunanidhi said, adding such strong action would alone “reign in” Sri Lanka, whose navy is often accused of attacking and arresting Tamil Nadu fishermen, sometimes even killing them. DMK President M Karunanidhi stressed that setting up of an Indian naval base in Dhanushkodi or Mandapam near Rameswaram will bring a “lasting solution” to the issue of alleged attacks on fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, the New Indian Express reported.Karunanidhi said that many problems would have been averted if the Centre and Tamil Nadu government had shown even “one per cent” of that care for the state fishermen. In a letter to partymen in the DMK mouthpiece, ‘Murasoli,’ he recalled that when the late Indira Gandhi was prime minister, she had ordered for the arrest of a Sri Lankan navy captain for allegedly attacking Indian fishermen inside the country’s waters. read more

Germany to keep close eye on new Lankan Government

“Free and fair elections are the key to a functioning democracy. The way in which these elections were held is therefore especially encouraging. With their high turnout and their involvement in the election campaign, the Sri Lankan people have shown how important their country’s democratic development is to them,” he said. Germany says it will follow the upcoming formation of a new government in Sri Lanka with great interest, and looks forward to continuing Germany’s cooperation with Sri Lanka, which was intensified at the beginning of the year.German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Germany welcomes the fact that, following the presidential elections at the beginning of the year, the parliamentary elections have also proceeded peacefully and smoothly. He also said that the Sri Lanka’s authorities and the EU election observers, whose report Germany eagerly awaits, deserve respect. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Cabinet approves 6 percent bus fare hike from next month

The cabinet, which met today, has approved a 6 percent bus fare hike with effect from next month.The Transport Ministry said the bus fare hike was approved after considering a report on the annual bus fare increase. Accordingly the 6 percent bus fare hike will take effect from August 1, the Transport Ministry said. (Colombo Gazette)

At least 37 killed after two blasts hit Afghan voter registration center

The assaults underscore growing concerns about security in the lead-up to legislative elections scheduled for Oct. 20.Afghanistan began registering voters on April 14 for the long-delayed legislative elections, which are seen as a test-run for the presidential poll next year. Later in the day, another explosion rocked Pul-e-Khumri, the capital of Afghanistan’s Baghlan Province, killing at least six people and wounding five others. At least one police officer was killed and another person was wounded, officials said, blaming the Taliban. Last Tuesday, gunmen attacked a voter registration center in the central province of Ghor, kidnapping three election workers and two policemen.Taliban militants released the five two days later.Over the next two months, authorities hope to register up to 14 million adults at more than 7,000 polling centers for the parliamentary and district council elections. Election officials have acknowledged that security is a major concern as the Taliban and other militant groups control or contest large swathes of the country.Afghan police and troops have been tasked with protecting polling centers, even as they struggle to get the upper hand against insurgents on the battlefield.Militants last Friday launched rockets at a voter registration center in the northwestern province of Badghis. At least 37 people were killed, dozens others injured in Afghanistan after two explosions rocked the country.The first explosion happened in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a voter registration center in a heavily Shiite-populated neighborhood in the western part of the city, killing at least 31 people and wounding 54 others, a health ministry spokesman said. The ISIL has claimed responsibility for the attack. Officials have been pushing people to register amid fears a low turnout will undermine the credibility of the polls.President Ashraf Ghani last week urged religious leaders to use Friday prayers to encourage worshippers to sign up.He also called on provincial governors to tell their employees to register themselves and their family members. (CGTN) read more