BlackBerry will reveal some of the most important sales figures yet for its new smartphones on Friday as the company issues its latest quarterly results and provides a glimpse of whether the phones are catching on with customers.Analysts have offered optimistic, yet cautious, expectations for the Waterloo, Ont.-based company’s first-quarter performance.It will be the first time BlackBerry has provided shipment numbers to the crucial U.S. market for its touchscreen phone, and also the first sign of whether anticipation for the keyboard model translated into sales in several major markets like the U.K. and Canada.“Expectations have been rising,” said Richard Tse, a technology analyst with Cormark Securities Inc. “I think that broadly, people believe that the initial rollout of these BB10 devices into the carrier channels potentially gives them a bit of momentum in terms of stocking the inventories.”Investors will be looking for any signs that BlackBerry has turned itself around on sales of its new BlackBerry 10 devices and whether the trend is expected to continue.BlackBerry launched its Z10 touchscreen phones, equipped with its new BlackBerry 10 operating system in January. The keyboard Q10 versions were launched months later in Canada, the U.K. and other markets.The complex rollout of the devices has made it difficult for the technology community to conclude whether the phones are a widespread success.The U.S. market has lagged behind much of the world, and didn’t begin stocking the latest keyboard phone until early June, which means it will take another quarterly report before shipment figures are made public.Edward Jones analyst Bill Kreher said BlackBerry’s biggest draw in the upcoming months is the launch of its lower-priced BlackBerry Q5 phone, which will appeal to customers in emerging markets outside of the U.S.“The company has lost relevance in the U.S. but still holds some significant share in emerging economies in areas like Indonesia,” Kreher said from St. Louis, Mo. “So it would be critical for them to get those consumers from (the older models) and maintain their subscriber base.”He said sustaining growth will be key to the company’s comeback and return to profitability.“I think the product cycle continues to shorten, particularly given the number of partners in the Android eco-system. It will be difficult for BlackBerry to stay top-of-mind unless it can continue to develop hit products,” said Kreher.In the last quarter, BlackBerry reported that it shipped about one million smartphones on its new BlackBerry 10 operating system. Kreher estimates that number might be upwards of 3.5 million phones in the first quarter.The company, which formerly called itself Research In Motion, reported a surprise profit of US$98 million or 19 cents per share for quarter ended March 2, compared with $125 million or 24 cents per share loss a year ago. Revenue increased to $2.68 billion.In a note Monday, RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Sue forecasted BlackBerry’s revenues at $3.5 billion, slightly above the $3.4 billion consensus estimate provided by Thomson Reuters. They put earnings per share at nine cents, compared with a consensus of six cents.Despite the forecast, the note warned that BlackBerry will face challenges in attracting and growing its customer base.“Competitive device launches in the second half (of the year) may mean increased spending for BlackBerry to sustain its product refresh,” wrote Sue. “Samsung and Apple, who have significantly more resources, are having a tough time growing their units, so it may be even more difficult for BlackBerry, which is much smaller and still playing catch up.”The note said investors should also anticipate lower profit margins in the next few quarters, with the anticipated launch of the BlackBerry Q5.Investment firm Raymond James questioned whether the BlackBerry Q5 device would be enough to satiate customers in emerging markets, which was BlackBerry’s largest growing subscriber base last year and where it has long benefited from name recognition.Earlier this week, BlackBerry launched its business service platform for corporate and government workers for rival Google Android and Apple smartphones.The operating system, called Secure Work Space, allows Apple and Android users to separate their data and work apps, such as email and calendars, from their personal apps bringing a greater level of security. This feature is already available on BlackBerry 10 phones.It also announced that it be the official mobile computing partner of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, as part of a sponsorship agreement with the company that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Marlies.BlackBerry said the partnership will mean the development of new, interactive apps for sports fans who use the Blackberry 10 devices.Founded in 1984, BlackBerry devices are now sold through 650 wireless carriers in 175 countries. It has about 76 million subscribers worldwide.Shares of BlackBerry were ahead six cents to $15.69 Thursday morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
WINNIPEG — ICE Futures Canada closing prices:Canola: Nov. ’17 $3.80 lower $500.90; Jan. ’18 $3.30 lower $506.90; March ’18 $2.60 lower $511.50; May ’18 $2.40 lower $513.00; July ’18 $2.50 lower $513.50; Nov. ’18 $2.00 lower $478.00; Jan. ’19 $2.00 lower $479.70; March ’19 $2.00 lower $482.40; May ’19 $2.00 lower $482.40; July ’19 $2.00 lower $482.40; Nov. ’19 $2.00 lower $482.40.Barley (Western): Oct. ’17 unchanged $145.00; Dec. ’17 unchanged $148.00; March ’18 unchanged $151.00; May ’18 unchanged $151.00; July ’18 unchanged $151.00; Oct. ’18 unchanged $151.00; Dec. ’18 unchanged $151.00; March ’19 unchanged $151.00; May ’19 unchanged $151.00; July ’19 unchanged $151.00; Oct. ’19 unchanged $151.00.Friday’s estimated volume of trade: 416,760 tonnes of canola; 0 tonnes of barley (Western Barley). Total: 416,760.
MONTREAL — Champion Iron Ltd. is restarting production in March at its Bloom Lake iron mine in Quebec’s Labrador Trough, three years after it was shuttered when its previous owner sought creditor protection.Some 450 workers will be on site around Christmas at the facility near Fermont, Que. About 250 of the total workforce has already been hired to get the mine ready for a resumption of activity.A subsidiary of Champion Iron (TSX:CIA) is reopening the mine after raising $350 million in financing, including about $51 million from the Quebec government and a US$100-million loan from the Caisse de depot pension fund manager that is partially tied to the price of iron ore.Sprott Resource Lending is also providing US$80 million in the form of a five-year senior secured loan.“It’s never easy to raise $350 million to start a project but people believed in the potential of the iron mine at Bloom Lake,” chief operating officer David Cataford said in an interview from Fermont.The mine is expected to produce 7.4 million tonnes of iron concentrate per year, all of which has been sold.The Quebec Iron Ore Inc. subsidiary and agencies of the provincial government bought the Bloom Lake mine and a regional railway last year from an affiliate of Cliffs Natural Resources that was put into creditor protection after ore prices tumbled.Energy and Natural Resources Minister Pierre Moreau said the government has supported the mine’s revitalization because of its strategic importance to the Quebec economy and Fermont community.“This project is one of the initiatives that will make a significant contribution to the success of Plan Nord. It will promote the development of our natural resources responsibly while leveraging our skilled workforce,” he said in a news release.Cataford said the company has the advantage of having access to the Sept-Iles port that can handle large ships to transport the ore and a railway to transport the product to port.“We will benefit from this pier so logistically we have a big advantage.”The reopening was announced as the Quebec government reported that mining investments in the province grew last year for the first time since 2012.Quebec’s statistics institute said spending grew 2.9 per cent from the prior year to reach $2.57 billion. That’s almost half the $5.13 billion in activity five years ago.Iron ore is the second most important metal after gold, accounting for 23.5 per cent of investments last year.It forecasts the investments will increase 17.8 per cent this year to reach $3.02 billion.
The Cabinet has approved a proposal made by the President, in his capacity as the Minister of Defence and Urban Development to vest identified blocks of state land in 15 locations in the city of Colombo to be utilized for the purpose of constructing housing units for the undeserved people of the city of Colombo, as Free Grants with the Urban Development Authority.Cabinet spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that Urban Development Authority is to construct 65,000 housing units to resettle shanty dwellers living in under-served settlements in the City of Colombo. He said the UDA will construct high rise apartments with all common amenities to resettle the families and to free those sites for commercial and mixed development projects, in keeping with the City of Colombo Development Plan. The Urban Development Authority has already awarded contracts to build 9,781 housing units under 11 projects within the City of Colombo, where the work is in progresses and is intended to complete construction within the next 2 years.
However, moves are now underway to deport the suspects as soon as possible for them to be prosecuted in China. The suspects had been produced in court after being arrested and remanded till January 7th, the police said. The police today said that the arrest of the 100 suspects, carried out on a request by the Chinese police, could be termed as a successful joint operation between Sri Lanka and China.Of those arrested were 74 men and 26 women, all between the ages of 20 and 30, the police media unit said. The 100 Chinese nationals arrested in Colombo on Friday over their involvement in telephone fraud, are to be deported.According to the police media unit, the suspects are residents of China and Chinese Taipei.
She said that the US had made clear, including when senior Sri Lankans had visited Washington, that if they didn’t take steps that they could then they would see this kind of a resolution coming forward.“Again, we want to see the Sri Lankans take their own decisions. As we’ve said before, if those are not forthcoming, the international community will look at whether there are other steps we can take,” she said. She was referring to the recommendations of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) which the US sponsored resolution calls for the full implementation. The United States has warned that international action maybe initiated on Sri Lanka if the island fails to implement the latest resolution adopted at the UN Human Rights Council.US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Sri Lanka should listen to the words of the international community and implement the plan that they have never implemented. Asked what those “other” steps are and if it means another resolution next year, Nuland said “We have talked in the past about whether there ought to be an international effort on this front rather than a Sri Lankan-led effort.”Earlier the White House had said the United States wants the Sri Lankan government to develop a comprehensive action plan for implementing steps on reconciliation and accountability, as called for in the resolution, and to work with UN experts and its partners in the international community to take meaningful action to achieve these important goals, which will be a critical part of Sri Lanka’s efforts to provide a bright, peaceful, and stable future for all of its people.“We stand ready to partner with Sri Lanka in this important effort,” the statement added. “As you know, we welcome the passage of this new resolution; 24 other countries also voted for it. We call on the Government of Sri Lanka to fulfill its obligations to its own people. The resolution very clearly expresses the support of the international community for Sri Lanka, addressing its outstanding issues related to reconciliation and for meeting its obligations for accountability, which it has not yet done,” she said at a State Department press briefing.
A group of joint opposition members walked out of Parliament today in protest against the Government.The Parliamentarians, including Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) leader Dinesh Gunawardena, said that they were protesting against moves by the Government to pass several Financial Acts. (Colombo Gazette)
Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera today denied claims his Personal Assistant (PA) was arrested for the possession of drugs.The Ministers media division said that the Personal Assistant had been arrested by the Special Task Force with three others following a night function over the weekend. The arrest was made after drugs were found in the vehicle Samaraweera’s Personal Assistant was travelling in.Samaraweera’s media division said that the Personal Assistant was arrested as he was in the vehicle in which drugs were found. Samaraweera’s Personal Assistant was later released on bail as the drugs were not his. (Colombo Gazette)
Polgampola had received his letter of appointment from President Maithripala Sirisena at the President’s Official Residence on May 4 before the appointment was suspended by the President. (Colombo Gazette) Former Member of Parliament Shantha Bandara was appointed as the new Chairman of the State Timber Cooperation.He obtained his letter of appointment from President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat today. Earlier the appointment of Anuruddha Polgampola as the new Chairman of the State Timber Corporation was suspended.The move followed several concerns raised over his appointment.
Lanka IOC said that it will also be increasing fuel prices. LIOC said that 92 Octane petrol will be sold at Rs 137 per litre, Lanka Auto Diesel Rs. 111 and Lanka Super Diesel Rs. 119 per litre.The Government said the price increase will be part of a new price formula which will be followed in future. Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that fuel prices in Sri Lanka will be revised every two months according to the Platts Singapore benchmark prices. Accordingly 92 Octane petrol will be sold at Rs 137 per litre, 95 Octane Rs 148, Auto Diesel Rs 109 and Super Diesel Rs 119 per litre. The price of kerosene will also be increased to Rs 101. “This means the price could either increase or decrease.” he told reporters today.The IMF had said last month that subject to cabinet approval of an automatic fuel pricing mechanism—consistent with the three-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF)-supported program, the IMF Board is expected to consider Sri Lanka’s request for completion of the fourth review in June 2018.The IMF had said that the measure would represent a major step towards completing energy pricing reforms in 2018. (Colombo Gazette) Fuel prices have been increased in line with the expectations of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).Co-cabinet spokesman Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) will increase fuel prices from midnight today.
The next government budget is to be presented in parliament on November 5 with the final vote scheduled for December.The Tamil National Alliance’s (TNA) vote would be key to the current unity government in passing the budget. The TNA support would be important in the midst of reported attempts by loyalists of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa to defeat the budget in order to force the government to resign. Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran has said that the TNA party must make its support to the government’s 2019 budget conditional to the release of all Tamil political prisoners.Wigneswaran stated this at a political meeting held in Jaffna. While Tamil political activists and rights groups describe those held for LTTE-linked terrorist acts as political prisoners, the government maintains there are no such prisoners in the country.Responding to Wigneswaran’s stance, TNA spokesman M A Sumanthiran said that the release of all Tamil political prisoners has been a long held demand of the party. “We have to consider this and ask the party to take action,” he said. Wigneswaran said some Tamil youth have been imprisoned over the last 20 years for being aligned with the former LTTE militant group. But many LTTE leaders such as its former deputy leader Karuna are free, he said.
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has decided to review the process to supply food to Parliament, the Speaker’s office said today.This follows concerns raised by President Maithripala Sirisena on food supplied to Parliament going to waste. The Speaker’s office said that a strict process is followed when providing food in Parliament.However it was decided to review the process following the concerns raised by the President. (Colombo Gazette)
The High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka, Taranjit Singh Sandhu along with Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera and Minister for Hill country New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development Palani Digambaram, laid the foundation stone for 50 new houses being constructed under the Indian Housing Project at Indola Estate in Matara today.Members of Parliament and Southern Provincial Council, senior Government officials as well as officials from Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT), Plantation and Estate Management and a large number of people from the Indola Estate participated in the ceremony. Out of the 14000 houses committed by the Government of India in the plantation areas, over 1000 houses have been completed and construction of 3000 is currently underway. As soon as the land for the remaining houses is identified by the Sri Lankan Government, construction of these houses will be undertaken. The locations of these houses are in Central and Uva Provinces covering Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Kandy, Mathala and Monragala and also in Sabragamuva and Southern Provinces including Galle, Matara, Kegalle and Ratnapura. The High Commissioner in his remarks, reiterated the Government and people of India’s commitment to participate with the people of Sri Lanka in their journey towards prosperity and development. India has undertaken more than 70 people-oriented development projects in various fields including health, education, housing, skill development, infrastructure, vocational training among others, all across the country including the largest University Auditorium in Ruhuna University in Matara. About, 20 such projects are currently under progress. The overall development portfolio of Government of India in Sri Lanka is close to US$ 3 billion out of which US$ 560 million are in grants. (Colombo Gazette) The houses are being constructed under an innovative owner driven process with technical support from independent implementing agencies on behalf of the Government of India viz. UN Habitat, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC)/Sri Lanka Red Cross (SLRC), Habitat for Humanity, Sri Lanka and National Housing Development Authority of Sri Lanka. IFRC/SLRC is the implementing agency for the houses being constructed at Indola Estate.In addition to the houses under the Indian Housing Project, 1200 more houses sre being built separately under 50 model villages all across the Southern Province including Galle, Matara and Hambabtota. The 1990 free Emergency Ambulance Services under Indian assistance was first implemented in Southern and Western Provinces and following its tremendous success, it is currently being expanded Island wide.