On the markets at midmorning (ET):The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 91.01 points to 15,126.32, after 90 minutes of trading.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 110.82 points to 21,937.88. The S&P 500 index was down 18.45 points to 2,455.57 and the Nasdaq composite index was down 68.32 points to 6,284.01.The Canadian dollar was trading at 78.64 cents US, down from Wednesday’s average price of 78.71 cents US.The September crude contract was up 20 cents to US$49.76 per barrel and the September natural gas contract was up seven cents to US$2.95 per mmBTU.The December gold contract was up $12.40 to US$1,285.40 an ounce and the September copper contract was down two cents to US$2.91 a pound.

TORONTO — Stock markets nosedived Thursday as investors continued moving into gold amid escalating political tensions between the United States and North Korea.The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index fell 143.08 points to 15,074.25, with nearly all of its sectors moving lower.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 204.69 points to 21,844.01, while the S&P 500 index dropped 35.81 points to 2,438.21 and the Nasdaq composite index slid 135.46 points to 6,216.87.After seeming to shrug off the heated rhetoric between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea over the last couple of days, investors are becoming more wary as the standoff between the two countries continues ratcheting up, said Michael Currie, vice-president of TD Wealth Private Investment Advice.Strong gains in New York, where the Dow saw repeated record highs up until three day ago, had kept investor optimism high when news of the conflict first broke, Currie said.“But now we’re seeing increasing rather than diminishing tensions,” he said. “I think a few investors are capitulating to it.”Earlier on Thursday, North Korea revealed a plan to launch ballistic missiles toward a major U.S. military hub in the Pacific. Later in the day, President Trump warned the regime to “get their act together” or face extraordinary trouble.The Vix, a measure of how much volatility investors expect in stocks, jumped 34.8 per cent, the biggest increase since May.The price of gold also surged for the second day in a row as the December bullion contract advanced US$10.80 to US$1,290.10 an ounce. The precious metal is often seen as a safe haven for investors during times of uncertainty.The Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of 78.67 cents US, down 0.04 of a U.S. cent.Elsewhere in commodities, the September crude contract advanced 20 cents to US$49.76 per barrel and the September natural gas contract was up seven cents to US$2.95 per mmBTU. The September copper contract was down two cents to US$2.91 a pound.Follow @DaveHTO on Twitter. read more

Sri Lanka and India held military level discussions on Tuesday in order to strengthen ties between the armies of both countries, the Sri Lanka army media unit said.The India-Sri Lanka Army to Army Staff Talks (AAST) was attended by an Indian delegation including Major General Gurdeep Singh of the Indian army and Colonel Vivek Tyagi, the Director of Military Training of the Indian Army. The meeting comes even as politicians in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu continued to raise objections to India providing military training to Sri Lanka. The AAST held on Tuesday was the second such meeting with the first held in India last year. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha Jeyaram and former Chief Minister M. Karunannidhi had on Tuesday demanded that the Indian government discontinue with the training for the Sri Lanka army. Following the AAST meeting both Sri Lanka and India are expected to sign the final minutes as an endorsement of the mutual agreement for implementation of the conclusions in the three-day deliberations.The Sri Lanka army media unit also said that the visiting Indian army delegation had separately met the Sri Lanka Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya on Tuesday.“The delegation during the meeting with the Sri Lankan Army Chief expressed satisfaction over the progress that has been made after its inception a year ago. Lieutenant General Jayasuriya pointed out that the new bilateral understanding on security issues after this arrangement, has made great strides in the past one year and underlined the importance of maintaining the status quo,” the army media unit said. Tamil Nadu has been demanding an investigation into alleged war crimes committed during the final stages of the 30 year war between the Sri Lanka army and the Tamil Tiger rebels.However the Indian government had said it will continue with the training for the Sri Lankan military despite the protests. read more

“I appeal to the SLFP, the way they are saying now that they are for the 20th Amendment, they must go to parliament and let everyone know what their stand really is,” he said. President Maithripala Sirisena today urged the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) to put words to action and vote for the 20th Amendment to the constitution in Parliament.Speaking at a rally in Colombo, the President said that the public must know who is for and who is against the 20th Amendment. The President noted that if electoral reforms are not introduced now, then the people will curse the current Parliament in 10-15 years saying the current Parliament missed an opportune moment. (Colombo Gazette)

United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) Parliamentarian Priyankara Jayarathne was sworn in today as the State Minister of Local Government and Provincial Councils, before President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat.Meanwhile Dushmantha Mithrapala was sworn in as the Deputy Minister of Buddha Shasana before the president. Mithrapala is also the current Deputy Minister of Justice.

Deshapriya also said that elections for the Local Government (LG) bodies of which the terms end this year, must be held this year.He said that holding the election is in the hands of the Minister in charge of provincial councils and Parliament. (Colombo Gazette) Badulla may lose a seat at the next Parliament elections, head of the Elections Commission and Commissioner of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya said.He said that the gazette notice on the seats allocated for each district at the next Parliament elections will be issued tomorrow.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and Sri Lanka, and the 65th anniversary of the signing of the Rubber-Rice Pact between the two countries. Wang said China expects to cement solidarity and cooperation with developing countries including Sri Lanka. Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang met with visiting Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana in Beijing Wednesday, Xinhua reported.Wang said China highly values its relations with Sri Lanka, and regards the country as an important cooperation partner in the Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road trade routes and beyond. It comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Marapana congratulated China on the success of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.He said Sri Lanka considers China a close friend and partner, and hopes to participate in the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and boost cooperation in ports, infrastructure and other areas. (Colombo Gazette) read more

At least seven accidents were also reported on the Southern Expressway and the Katunayake Expressway as a result of the poor weather. Lightning killed two people and electricity was disrupted in some areas today as heavy rain experienced in the country since yesterday began to take its toll.The Police said that two people were struck by lightning at a paddy field in Welikanda. The victims were aged 17 and 33. Landslide warnings were also issued for several areas while the spill gates of some reservoirs were opened as water levels rose.Meanwhile, the Department of Meteorology said that the heavy rain was expected to continue around the country today. The Department of Meteorology also warned of lightning and urged the public to take precautions. (Colombo Gazette) Meanwhile, the Ceylon Electricity Board said that electricity was disrupted in Kegalle, Rambukkana, Matugama and Agalawatte following heavy rain today. read more

Four people were killed and two others sustained injuries when a train crashed into a car in Omanthai today.The Police said that the train had crashed into the car at an unprotected level crossing. The Railway Department said the  level crossing was an illegal crossing created by residents in the area.The car had reportedly stalled on the level crossing when the train was near resulting in the tragic accident. Four women were killed in the accident. (Colombo Gazette)

He was arrested in August by the Criminal Investigations Department over the abduction of 11 youth in Colombo in 2008. (Colombo Gazette) Former Navy Lieutenant Commander Chandana Hettiaracchi aka Navy Sampath, was today ordered to be further remanded till November 21st over the abduction of 11 youth.Hettiaracchi had been in remand till today and was presented in court where the Magistrate ordered that he be further remanded.