Half of Canadians failing to pay down debt poll finds

Half of Canadians with debt say their debt level is the same or higher than it was a year ago, according to a new poll.The survey for CIBC which revealed that 71% of Canadians carry some for of debt, showed that 21% say their debts have increased in the last 12 months; another 28% say their debt level has stayed the same, despite a prior CIBC poll where respondents indicated that debt repayment was a priority in 2013.The number one reason cited for not paying down debt was not having the money to do so (29%).“I think that has to do with the low interest rates that we have right now. The temptation to borrow is so easy to get the bigger house, to get the bigger mortgage or just to borrow from their lines of credit,” said Jamie Golombek, managing director of tax and estate planning with CIBC.“Debt that improves your financial situation over the long term is a good thing. For example, if you borrow money for education, hopefully that education will last you your whole life and may ultimately get you towards [greater] financial earning power. Similarly, if you are buying a home, hopefully over time the value of the home will appreciate. Bad debt is consumer debt — if you borrow money to buy a depreciating vehicle or you’re borrowing money to go on a vacation.”The average consumer debt (excluding mortgage) according to TransUnion’s quarterly analysis of Canadian credit trends is $26,935.Mr. Golombek advises that people have a plan to tackle their debt. “People need to have a plan to pay down that debt. People should be getting advice from a financial advisor or an expert to have a real concrete goal as to when that debt is going to be paid off,” he said. “The worse thing is you’re in debt and you see no way out because your current budget doesn’t include anything other than the minimum payments on the credit card. Those situations can become catastrophic.”• Email: mleong@nationalpost.com | Twitter: lisleong read more

TSX Wall Street claw back gains after Fridays big selloff

TORONTO — North American stock markets regained some composure as traders reconsidered whether a big pullback late last week was overblown.Toronto’s S&P/TSX index closed up 132.54 points at 13,779.44, although well off its highs of earlier in the day.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 125.61 points at 16,510.19, also well off its triple-digit high of the day, while the broader S&P 500 advanced 8.94 points to 1,966.97 and the Nasdaq gained 1.72 points to 4,828.95.Indexes in both Toronto and New York suffered big declines on Friday, a day after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced it was standing pat on its trend-setting interest rate. That move, along with Fed comments on the economy, left traders feeling jittery about the strength of the recovery.On commodity markets, the December gold contract fell $5 to US$1,132.80 an ounce. The November contract for U.S. benchmark crude oil was up $1.94 at US$46.96 a barrel.The loonie fell 0.16 of a U.S. cent to 75.50 cents US. read more

NewsAlert Consumer price index up 16 per cent compared with a year

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the consumer price index in September was up 1.6 per cent compared with a year ago.More coming.

No action plan to the US

However Minister de Silva said it was wrong to assume an action plan had been submitted to Clinton and that even her spokeswoman, at a press briefing after the meeting, never mentioned anything about an action plan.Minister Peiris met Clinton in Washington last month and following that meeting the U.S State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said “the Secretary met this morning for about 45 minutes with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Peiris. The foreign minister presented a very serious and comprehensive approach to the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission’s implementation and the plans that the government has, including plans to make it more public and accessible both to Sri Lankans and to those outside Sri Lanka, what the government intends to do in the implementation realm”. (Colombo Gazette) The government says an action plan on implementing the LLRC recommendations was not given to the United States during the recent visit to Washington by External Affairs Minister G.L Peiris.Responding to a questioned raised by JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanaika in parliament today, government Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that the US government was only briefed on the approach Sri Lanka will take to implement some of the recommendations. The JVP MP accused the government of submitting a secret plan to the U.S on implementing the LLRC recommendations. He called on the government to reveal to the nation the action plan the External Affairs Minister had submitted to U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. read more

INTERPOL to assist in Matale probe

The Magistrate also ordered that public notices be issued in all three languages to ensure than anyone who has more information or wants to give evidence in the case comes forward. The international police INTERPOL has been asked to assist in the investigations into the Matale mass grave, the Matale Magistrate said today.The Magistrate said this when the case into the mass grave found at Matale last year was taken up for hearing once again today. Meanwhile another 22 petitions were filed today in relation to the case.Over 150 skeletal remains and human bones have been unearthed from the mass grave in Matale. Forensics had determined that the remains were of those killed sometime in the late 1980′s and the area has now been marked as a crime scene. The Magistrate said that INTERPOL assistance had been sought and once that is obtained then DNA tests will be carried out on the skeletal remains found at the grave site. At least 10 skeletal remains were first found from the site near the Matale hospital in November last year by construction workers when land near the hospital was being dug-up to construct a new building. Following police investigations excavation work began to look for skeletal remains at the site and more remains were found.The JVP had demanded that the government carry out investigations on the mass grave following fears the remains maybe that of JVP members or supporters killed during a 1987-89 insurgency.The UNP, which was in power during the 1987-89 period, said it will back an independent investigation into the mass grave. The UN had also been called to assist in the investigations into the mass grave. In a written statement submitted to the UN Human Rights Council, ahead of the 22nd session last March, the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), a nongovernmental organization, had said that the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances should, through their experts, study the situation and the conduct of inquiries relating to the remains of the 200 or more persons found in Matale and assist the Sri Lankan government to ensure that these inquiries meet international standards. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Two Lankans grilled by Indian authorities

The fishermen were brought from the Puzhal Central Prison in Chennai to Nagapattinam for the joint interrogation and later taken back after conclusion of the detailed inquiry to ascertain the facts of the case, police sources said. The Sri Lankan fishermen had set sail in a fibre boat bearing the number OFRP – A 2672 NNR from Parithithurai near Jaffna when their boat’s engine developed technical snag in the mid-sea. Owing to rough sea condition at that time, their boat strayed into Indian waters about eight nautical miles off Arcot Thurai sea shore. Fishermen of Arcot Thurai who ventured into the sea rescued the two Lankan fishermen in the Indian waters and handed them over to the Indian Navy on October 11. They were handed over to the Vedaranyam Marine police station where the two were inquired and arrested on the charge of entering into Indian water without any documents.A case was registered against them under The Maritime Zones of India (Regulation of Fishing by Foreign Vessels Act), 1981. They were lodged in the Puzhal Central Prison thereafter. (Colombo Gazette) Two Sri Lankan fishermen who were arrested recently after they strayed into Indian waters near Vedaranyam were interrogated by a team of top officials at the Nagapattinam Collectorate on Tuesday, The Hindu newspaper reported.The duo K. Roobadoss (21) and D. Nishanth (23) were interrogated for over an hour by the joint team comprising District Collector S. Palanisamy, Superintendent of Police Abhinav Kumar, a senior officer of the Indian Navy, personnel of State police intelligence units, officials of the Fisheries Department, and the Coastal Security Group. read more

Navy stops 17 people who attempted to head to Australia

Among those arrested are a woman, two small girls and two young boys. The would-be asylum seekers had left from the Negombo harbor onboard the fishing trawler “Vindana 3” on 1st March. The Sri Lanka navy apprehended the migrants on a tip off received by intelligence personnel. The apprehended migrants were taken to the port of Galle with the help of the naval craft P414 and handed over to the police station in Galle for onward investigations.The navy said that there is no means of heading towards Australia using illegal methods as the country is very strict with regard to such migration. The navy today arrested 17 people who attempted to head to Australia by boat, the navy media unit said.Naval crew onboard the ship SLNS Samudura apprehended the 17 people early this morning in the seas 40 NMs off the Galle lighthouse. “However people keep on venturing and losing their hard earned money based on the bogus information given by human smugglers and finally become convicts in the hands of the law. Due to the deployment of Sri Lanka navy’s regular patrols and its strong network of intelligence it is impossible to break the shackles of the navy,” the navy said following the arrest.Australia has in the recent past adopted a policy to turn back any illegal asylum seeker boats which attempts to reach Australian waters. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Court orders release of Lalith Weeratungas passport

The Colombo High Court today ordered the release of the passport of former President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga.The High Court ordered the confiscated passport to be released on a Rs. 10 million bond.

Sea cucumber to be smuggled to Sri Lanka seized near Rameswaram

The officials managed to nab one of the gang members while the rest escaped. A case has been registered. Around 400 kg of sea cucumber meant to be smuggled to Sri Lanka was seized from a coconut grove in Tirappanvalasai, about 35 km from Rameswaram today, Outlook India reported.One suspect was arrested in this connection, the Police said. Acting on a tip-off, a team of forest officials reached the spot and seized the sea cucumber valued at Indian Rs 5 lakh, stocked by a gang to be smuggled to Sri Lanka. Sea cucumbers, classified as endangered species and their harvest banned under the Wildlife Protection Act, are in demand in South-East asian countries. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Teachers protest blocking road opposite UNP headquarters

Teachers staged a protest blocking the road opposite the United National Party (UNP) headquarters ‘Sirikotha’ in Pitakotte today.The Police were forced to urge motorists to use alternate routes as a result of the protest.