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Home Capital repays 2 billion line of credit from Berkshire Hathaway

TORONTO — Home Capital Group (TSX:HCG), the Toronto-based alternative mortgage lender that was on the verge of collapse earlier this year, says it has repaid a $2-billion line of credit from Berkshire Hathaway.The company was given the financial lifeline last month by Berkshire Hathaway, which is headed by Warren Buffett, as it was trying to regain investor confidence following a run on deposits from customers.When it provided the line of credit, Berkshire Hathaway also bought a $400 million stake in Home Capital.Home Capital says proceeds from asset sales helped it repay the line of credit, bringing down the amount of interest expenses it faces as it continues to strengthen its liquidity position.The lender, which provides mortgages to borrowers who don’t qualify for a loan from the big banks, faced allegations earlier this year from Ontario’s securities regulator that it misled investors in its handling of a scandal involving falsified loan applications.It has since settled that case and a separate class-action lawsuit filed by investors.The Canadian Press read more

Canada Mexico shrug off Trump threat to blow up NAFTA

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump’s sudden threat to blow up NAFTA less than a week into its renegotiation isn’t drawing much of a response from the other North American countries, which are downplaying his remarks.Canada and Mexico say it’s a predictable event in the course of a trade negotiation.“As we said last week, trade negotiations often have moments of heated rhetoric,” said Adam Austen, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. “Our priorities remain the same and we will continue to work hard to modernize NAFTA, supporting millions of middle class jobs. …“Canada’s economic ties with the United States are key to middle-class jobs and growth on both sides of the border. Nine million American jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada.”The Mexican foreign minister described it as an obvious leverage play: “No surprise: we’re in a negotiation,” Luis Videgaray tweeted in response to Trump. “Mexico will remain at the table with calmness, firmness and in the national interest.”This comes after the president told a partisan crowd at a rally that he doubts a deal is possible. Trump said he’ll try negotiating but will probably wind up killing NAFTA.“Personally, I don’t think we can make a deal,” Trump told a campaign-style rally in Arizona on Tuesday night. “Because we have been so badly taken advantage of. They have made such great deals — both of the countries, but in particular Mexico — that I don’t think we can make a deal.“So I think we’ll end up probably terminating NAFTA at some point.”He repeated it: “I told you from the first day, we will renegotiate NAFTA or we will terminate NAFTA. I personally don’t think you can make a deal without termination, but we’ll see what happens. You’re in good hands, I can tell you.”The president’s threat itself is no surprise. A common topic of hallway chatter at last week’s first round of talks last week was just when he might deploy that withdrawal threat, which many view as his principal source of negotiating leverage.The only surprise is how quickly it came.While he’s made the threat numerous times, this is the first time he’s done it since Canada, the U.S. and Mexico began talks last week.Insiders say they expect him to keep making these threats.It’s his main source of power to force the other countries to reach an agreement. One well-connected Washington lobbyist at last week’s talks said he was convinced the threat was coming: “Almost 100 per cent.”Robert Holleyman, former deputy trade czar under Barack Obama, said it’s an obvious move and he thinks the president made it too early. In an interview several weeks ago, Holleyman said it was a serious tactical error when Trump made the threat in April.He said Canada and Mexico gained valuable insight that will render Trump’s threats less powerful at the negotiating table. In April, the U.S. Congress pushed back against him, the business community fumed and his own cabinet members pleaded against it.“It was, at a minimum, terrible timing,” said Holleyman.“You do that at the 11th hour in the negotiation — that episode in April underscored the complexity of ending NAFTA.”A president might withdraw the U.S. from the international agreement without the support of Congress, but he could not single-handedly wave away the U.S. law that implemented NAFTA.An international economic law professor and former State Department lawyer said he believes it would ultimately end up in court. And he said U.S. courts would ultimately conclude that the president can’t rip up NAFTA without congressional support.That’s because the president can’t just erase the 1994 NAFTA Implementation Act passed by Congress. In addition, the U.S. Constitution makes clear that Congress has power over international commerce.“If the president were to rip up NAFTA and then sort of jack tariffs way up, I think somebody would be able to come in and say … ‘You’re actually violating U.S. domestic law’,” said Tim Meyer, a Vanderbilt professor, former government lawyer and one-time clerk for Neil Gorsuch, whom Trump appointed to the Supreme Court.“I think courts are going to be sympathetic to the idea that the president can’t ignore the legislation that implements these trade agreements. Congress has not repealed that legislation and they’ve given no indication they intend to.”Several observers suggest a presidential attempt to withdraw could set up a legal and political tug of war with Congress over the setting of new tariff schedules — and that would foster economic uncertainty. read more

Government declares day of mourning

The Secretary to the Ministry of Buddhasasana and Religious Affairs M.K.B. Dissanayake, said that on the instructions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his Ministry has made all arrangements to hold the funeral of the Mahanayake Thero under State patronage. The government has declared Monday as a day of mourning following the demise of the Mahanayaka of the Sri Lanka Ramanna Nikaya the most Venerable Weweldeniye Medhalankara Thero.The Mahanayaka of the Sri Lanka Ramanna Nikaya passed away on Wednesday afternoon at the age of 103. The government information department said that all liquor shops will be closed on Monday during the day of morning as the funeral of the monk will take place on that day.

Gang threatens BBC team in Maharagama

Following the Bodu Bala Sena convention in Maharagama the BBC team had decided to make an ‘on location’ recording regarding the convention. A BBC team covering the Bodu Bala Sena convention in Maharagama this evening were threatened by a gang following the event.The BBC team, which included Colombo Correspondent Charles Haviland, were doing a video recording opposite the ‘No Limit’ store in Maharagama when the gang approached them. A police team had later arrived at the scene but the abuse continued even in front of the police.The policemen refused to allow the BBC team to leave and some of the gang members took photographs of the journalists. However subsequently a senior police officer arrived at the scene and ordered the police to allow the BBC team to leave.Meanwhile a reporter of the Nawamani newspaper was also abused by a gang and handed over to the Maharagama police.He was released after being detained for several hours. (Colombo Gazette) However the gang which approached them hurled abuse at them using foul language in Sinhalese and refused to let them leave. read more

Attempt to spread racial hatred using Jaffna clash condemned

The TNA appealed to all students not to permit any recurrence of such incidents or anything that will hinder genuine reconciliation amongst communities in our country. The clash occurred when a welcome ceremony was held for new entrants to the Jaffna university yesterday. The IUSF urged university students to join hands against racial disharmony and prevent politicians from gaining the upper hand from such incidents.Meanwhile, the Tamil National Alliance expressed it’s deep shock over Saturday’s clashes that took place at the University of Jaffna.“We regret that several students have sustained injuries and that the Sinhala students had to be evacuated from the University and Jaffna as a precautionary measure,” the TNA said in a statement. Some Tamil students had opposed the Kandyan dance being staged to welcome the students and this led to the clash.IUSF said that if clashes take place based on a race or religion it will prevent more important social issues from being addressed. An attempt being made to spread racial hatred using the clash at the Jaffna university yesterday has been condemned.The Inter University Student’s Federation (IUSF), while condemning the incident, raised concerns over attempts by some groups to make use of the incident to incite racial hatred. The clash involved a group of Sinhalese and Tamil students of the Science Faculty of the Jaffna University. “Whilst inviting the students who have been evacuated to return to Jaffna, we urge the other students who remain to welcome them and assure them of their safety as they resume their studies We call upon the students and the authorities to work together in creating the right conditions for students from different backgrounds to live and study together in the University of Jaffna in the future,” the TNA said in a statement. (Colombo Gazette) read more

India urged to pass resolution seeking probe on Sri Lanka Army

T.C. Mani, coordinator of the Kootamaippu, said the Sri Lankan Government had not taken any steps to punish its soldiers involved and added that the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has to set up an international tribunal to punish those soldiers who were involved in war crimes. A large number of people participated in a protest staged in Tamil Nadu on Sunday demanding that the Indian Government pass a resolution seeking to try the Sri Lankan Army in the International Criminal Court for war crimes against Sri Lankan Tamils, The Hindu newspaper reported.Volunteers of Eezha Tamizhar Vazhuvurimai Kootamaippu and several social organisations supporting the Sri Lankan Tamils participated. He said the Sri Lankan Government had been delaying the setting up of an internal tribunal to try the soldiers for war crimesSo the Indian government had to take a note from the Tamil Nadu government, which passed a resolution in the Assembly seeking an international probe, he added. (Colombo Gazette) read more

American Airlines extends Boeing plane flight cancellations

WASHINGTON — American Airlines says it will keep the Boeing 737 Max plane off its schedule until Nov. 3, which is two months longer than it had planned.In a statement Sunday, American says the action will result in the cancellation of about 115 flights per day. It says it “remains confident” that the Boeing plane will be recertified this year. But some airline executives are growing doubtful about that timetable.United Airlines announced Friday that it was extending its cancellations until Nov. 3, a month longer than it had planned.United has 14 Max jets while American has 24 of them. Southwest Airlines, which has 34 Max jets — more than any other carrier — is cancelling about 150 flights per day.The plane was grounded in March following two deadly crashes.The Associated Press