Google Inc launches Nexus 5 smartphone

TORONTO — Google is marking the five-year anniversary of its Android mobile platform with the release of the new Nexus 5 phone, which is manufactured by LG.The phone — which diehard Android fans had been expecting since some details previously leaked online — officially went on sale Thursday through the Google Play online store, starting at $349 for a 16-gigabyte unit. The 16-gigabyte and 32-gigabyte black model, and 16-gigabyte and 32-gigabyte white Nexus 5 all appear to be sold out on the Google Play website, which says “We are out of inventory. Please check back soon,” when users try to purchase one of the devices.“It was actually five years ago this month that we launched that adorable first Android brick called the G1,” said Google Canada spokeswoman Wendy Bairos during a product briefing.“People just want things to work and they want it to look good and they want it to work simply and beautifully, and I think in the (last) five years we’re seeing that happen.”Handout/The Canadian Press Like Google’s previous Nexus phones designed in partnership with outside manufacturers, the Nexus 5 has top of the line hardware including: a 4.95-inch screen with a sharp 445 pixels per inch; a quad-core processor and two gigabytes of RAM; and an eight megapixel camera that’s driven by a significantly improved photo-taking app.The phone comes loaded with the new version of Google’s operating system — 4.4, nicknamed KitKat — which will also become available for some other Android phones.Google also announced Thursday that the new HP Chromebook 11 will be released in Canada on Nov. 8 for $299.Chromebook devices are low-cost laptops designed for users who primarily use their computers to access the Internet and don’t regularly use sophisticated software. Google doesn’t market Chromebooks as full-blown laptop replacements and instead considers them to be ideal second computers for a household, since they’re fully capable of surfing the web, sending emails and watching online video.“We’re working with retailers … to make sure that customers understand exactly the trade-offs they’re making,” said Caesar Sengupta, vice president of product development for Chrome and Chromebooks, noting he worked at Best Buy for a day to better understand how consumers are making purchasing decisions for computers.“Most people are really not that technically sophisticated … if you see the broad variety of people using computers today and ask them, ’What do you do?,’ they’ll say, ’I go to Facebook, or I look at photos, I do some online banking, some shopping’ — the consumer use cases actually get addressed incredibly well by something like Chromebooks, that’s what we’ve designed for.”With files from Financial Post read more

Gold stocks financials push TSX higher

Canadian stocks were higher Monday as investors bought up battered gold and financial stocks that slipped last week in the wake of earnings reports from the big banks.The S&P/TSX composite index gained 57.13 points to 13,337.85 as traders also took in mixed economic news out of Asia.The Canadian dollar inched up 0.01 of a cent to 93.85 cents US amid a weak housing report.Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said that housing starts came in at an annualized rate of 192,235 units in November, a decrease from 198,161 in October. It was also less than the 195,000 reading that economists had expected.U.S. indexes were positive following a strong slate of economic data last week, capped off by U.S. data showing strong job growth last month.The Dow Jones industrials were 11.05 points higher to 16,031.25, the Nasdaq gained 11.32 points to 4,073.84 and the S&P 500 index was up 4.12 points to 1,809.21.While the data was a welcome sign that the American economic revival remains on track, it also raised concerns that the Federal Reserve is set to start winding up its asset buying program sooner than thought, perhaps as early as next week when Fed members meet.“We saw the markets really drifting lower throughout the week on this premise that the economic data was looking good enough to maybe necessitate a Fed move earlier than expected,” said Craig Fehr, Canadian markets specialist at Edward Jones in St. Louis.“Then we get good news on Friday (which) had all the makings of the ’good news is bad news’ scenario but I think we saw a bit of transition where investors were embracing good news a bit more.”Speculation about tapering those US$85 billion of bond purchases has weighed on markets as the stimulus has kept long-term rates low and supported a strong rally on equity markets this year.The gold sector ran ahead 1.7 per cent while February gold added $6.80 to US$1,235.80 an ounce. Barrick Gold. (TSX:ABX) advanced 52 cents to C$16.90.Guyana Goldfields Inc. (TSX:GUY) has revised up the total capital cost of its Aurora Gold project to US$249 million and approved a spending plan to bring it to commercial production. However, the new estimate is well below an earlier estimate, after the company scaled back its plans earlier this year.The earlier estimate for the project in northern Guyana had proposed a $525-million cost for a mine with a life of 22 years and total production of nearly 4.4 million ounces of gold. Guyana shares were ahead eight cents to $1.68.The financials sector was ahead 0.9 per cent, clawing back some of last week’s 1.6 per cent decline following a mixed earnings performance from the big banks.Fehr said despite a couple of disappointments, the banks are attractive because “they’re able to offset that by some other levers that they can pull within their diversified earnings mix.”Royal Bank (TSX:RY) gained $1.21 to $70.26.The energy sector was ahead 0.35 per cent with oil prices lower following a string of gains last week amid figures showing bigger than expected drawdowns in U.S. inventories. The January crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange edged six cents lower to US$97.59 a barrel. Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) improved by 38 cents to $34.58.Equal Energy Ltd. (TSX:EQU) says it’s entered into a definitive agreement to be bought up by Petroflow Energy Corporation and Petroflow Canada Acquisition Corp. for $5.43 a share. Equal says the total transaction value is approximately US$230 million. Equal shares were unchanged at $5.74.The base metals component was flat with March copper up a penny at US$3.25 a pound as China has posted its biggest trade surplus in almost five years, rising to US$33.8 billion from $31.1 billion the month before. Exports ran ahead 12.7 per cent from November last year, well ahead of October’s 5.6 per cent growth. But imports grew only by 5.3 per cent year-over-year amid tepid domestic demand. Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) climbed 20 cents to C$25.20.In other corporate developments, food service distributor Sysco is buying rival US Foods for about US$3.5 billion in a cash and stock deal. It will also assume or refinance about $4.7 billion in debt, putting the total value of the deal at about $8.2 billion dollars. When the acquisition closes, Sysco will have annual sales of about $65 billion dollars. Sysco shares surged $4.50 or 13.12 per cent to US$38.81. read more

Canopy Growth to supply marijuana strains seeds to be grown and cultivated

Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX:WEED), Canada’s largest licensed cannabis producer, has extended its reach into Europe with an agreement to provide certain marijuana strains and seeds to a Spanish pharmaceutical producer.Canopy Growth announced today that the cannabis giant and its German subsidiary Spektrum Cannabis have signed a supply license agreement with Spain’s Alcaliber.As part of the agreement, Alcaliber will use Canopy Growth strains and seeds to grow and cultivate marijuana at the Spanish producer’s facilities for sale worldwide.This is the latest move by a Canadian licensed marijuana producer towards an international footprint. Earlier this month, B.C.-based cannabis producer Tilray said it planned to invest 20 million euros, or about $29.5 million Canadian, in a medical cannabis operation in Portugal.After winning federal licenses to import cannabis seeds and clones to cultivate them in Portugal, Tilray said it plans to establish a campus north of Lisbon to grow, process and package medical cannabis for the European Union.Canopy Growth shares were up 1.6 percent to $9.33 on Monday morning. read more

UNP led Government to devolve powers

The UNP had supported Sirisena at the January 8 Presidential election when he contested against Mahinda Rajapaksa. (Colombo Gazette) The UNP leader also said that a UNP Government will also look to legalize a special unit to fight corruption. However he said that the UNP later decided to form a broad coalition under the United National Front in order to defeat the threat posed by the current opposition.The opposition United Peoples Freedom Alliance is contesting the Parliament elections with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.Wickremesinghe said that the United National Front will work with President Maithripala Sirisena, if it wins the election. The UNP, which will be contusing the August 17 Parliament election as the United National Front by including candidates from other political parties, is aiming to obtain a Parliament majority to create a stable Government.Wickremesinghe said that the UNP had initially decided to contest the Parliament elections on its own and not as an alliance. A United National Party (UNP) led Government will devolve powers to the provinces within the policies of an undivided Sri Lanka, UNP leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said today.Speaking at the UNP special convention in Borella, Wickremesinghe said that he believes every community in every part of the country should be able to enjoy equal rights. Wickremesinghe also said land acquired during the war will be returned to the rightful owners in the North and East as well as in the South. read more

Sri Lankas Bhagya Wijayawardane to receive Queens Award

The Queen’s Young Leaders programme was established in 2014 by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust in partnership with Comic Relief, The Royal Commonwealth Society and the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education, in recognition of The Queen’s lifetime of service to the Commonwealth. To see a full list of Award winners and highly commended runners up, and to learn more about their stories, please visit www.queensyoungleaders.com(Colombo Gazette) Later this month, during their time in the UK, Bhagya will visit 10 Downing Street, take part in masterclasses at the BBC World Service and the UK Headquarters of Facebook. Award winners will then meet with the Commonwealth Secretary-General and High Commissioners from across the Commonwealth, before receiving their Award from Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace. They will also attend workshops at the University of Cambridge and visit projects that are changing the lives of vulnerable people in the UK.Dr Astrid Bonfield CBE, Chief Executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust said:“Through selfless determination, the Queen’s Young Leaders of 2018 are dedicating their lives to bring positive change to those around them. Their visit to the UK this June provides them with a unique opportunity to connect with each other and gain valuable lessons from experts and leaders from all walks of life which we hope will help transform the reach of their endeavours for many years to come. I am delighted that the work they are undertaking is being recognised by Her Majesty The Queen and I look forward to meeting this year’s winners and celebrating the remarkable difference that they have already made all over the Commonwealth. Now that we are in the fourth and final year of this special programme, we look proudly on the network that is the Queen’s Young Leaders and feel confident that the future will be driven by their courage and commitment towards making the world a better place.” The 2018 Queen’s Young Leaders are finding solutions to global issues such as climate change, food scarcity, gender-based violence, mental health, and access to education.The Queen’s Young Leaders Award winners take part in a year-long leadership course run by the University of Cambridge and receive bespoke mentoring. They will visit the UK for a programme of high-profile networking opportunities, meetings and training designed to help them develop as leaders and work with ever greater impact. Bhagya, aged 29, from Sabaragamuwa, Sri Lanka will receive a Queen’s Young Leaders Award for the work she is doing to improve food security by encouraging people to grown their own food in their garden or home in her country. Her Majesty The Queen will present Bhagya Wijayawardane from Sri Lanka with a Queen’s Young Leaders Award at a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London, on Tuesday 26th June.The Awards recognise the work that young people from across the Commonwealth are doing to transform lives in their community and beyond. Bhagya was selected following a competitive process involving thousands of applicants across the Commonwealth. Together they join a network of 240 powerful young leaders, from 53 Commonwealth countries, who are driving change to make the world a better place. read more

New Foreign Minister Sarath Amunugama assumes duties

Foreign Minister Amunugama addressed the senior staff of the Ministry following his assumption of duties. (Colombo Gazette) The newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Sarath Amunugama assumed duties at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today.The Minister was received by the Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Prasad Kariyawasam and senior officials upon arrival at the Ministry.

Three Iranian Navy ships arrive in Sri Lanka

During their stay in the island the crew members of ships are expected to take part in a number of programmes including cultural events and friendly sporting activities organized by the Sri Lanka Navy.On completion of their official tour, the ships are scheduled to set sail from the Colombo harbour on the 18th of this month. (Colombo Gazette) The Commanding Officers of the ships, Lieutenant Commander Mahmood Badvi, Lieutenant Commander Hasan Beygi and Lieutenant Commander Mohammad Bagher Rahnama called on the Commander of the Western Naval Area, Rear Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne. Talks were held between both sides and mementos were also exchanged to mark the occasion. Three Iranian Navy ships, Bushehr, Lavan and Bayandore arrived at the port of Colombo on a training and goodwill visit.The Sri Lanka Navy welcomed the trio of ships in compliance with naval traditions on their arrival. read more