Turkey endorses UNled efforts to broker political settlement in Cyprus

In an address to the opening day of the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate, Mr. Gül said “we welcome and firmly support the comprehensive settlement negotiations” that recently began between Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.“The solution lies at the establishment of a new partnership State composed of two constituent states of equal status,” he said. “The process towards this goal should be based on the UN parameters of bizonality and political equality of the two sides.”The full-fledged negotiations between Mr. Christofias and Mr. Talat, which began earlier this month, are slated to resume on 8 October, with an initial focus on issues of governance and power-sharing.In May, Mr. Christofias and Mr. Talat committed to a partnership that will comprise a Federal Government with a single international identity, along with a Turkish Cypriot Constituent State and a Greek Cypriot Constituent State, which will be of equal status.The UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) has been in place on the island since 1964 after the outbreak of inter-communal violence. It is tasked with preventing a recurrence of fighting, contributing to a return to normal conditions and the maintenance of law and order.Mr. Gül added in his speech that he believed it was “long overdue to end the unfair isolation of the Turkish Cypriots who voted courageously in favour of the UN Comprehensive Settlement Plan in 2004 – the Plan which was unfortunately rejected by the other side.” 23 September 2008Turkish President Abdullah Gül today offered his country’s full backing to United Nations-led diplomatic negotiations aimed at reunifying the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. read more

Closing Bell TSX up amid strong US jobs data traders find few

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed slightly higher Wednesday as minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting shed little light on how fast the U.S. central bank will accelerate the winding up of a key stimulus program.The S&P/TSX composite index gained 17.7 points to 13,614.63 with lift coming primarily from miners and techs.The Canadian dollar continued to plumb multi-year depths, down 0.27 of a cent to 92.56 cents US, its lowest close since late October 2009.New York markets were mainly lower following the release of the minutes from the meeting last month when the Fed decided to start tapering its US$85 billion a month of bond purchases by $10 billion starting this month and said further decreases would depend on economic data. But traders had hoped there would be some clues as to the pace of further tapering and now the focus has shifted to Friday and the release of the government’s employment report for December.Expectations for a stronger than expected jobs report on Friday grew after payroll firm ADP reported Wednesday that the U.S. private sector created 238,000 jobs in December.The ADP data came out two days before the U.S. government releases its non-farm payrolls report and expectations have been that the U.S. economy cranked out about 195,000 jobs in December.The Dow Jones industrials lost 68.2 points to 16,462.74, the Nasdaq added 12.43 points to 4,165.61 and the S&P 500 index declined 0.39 of a point to 1,837.49.Meanwhile, the Fed minutes did nothing to dispel concerns that the U.S. central bank will exit its latest quantitative easing program well before the end of 2014.“(Tapering) is going to be data dependent but I think there’s a school of thought now that we will start to see that tapering of $10 billion, maybe $15 billion a month,” said Garey Aitken, chief investment officer at Franklin Bissett Investment Management.“So they’re not just going to go from $85 (billion) to $75 (billion) and leave it there — this is going to be a methodical wind-down of this so that by the third quarter we have completely stopped (the asset purchases).”The bond purchases have kept long-term rates low and encouraged investors to put their money in the stock market.TSX gains were paced by the base metals segment, up 0.74% even as the March copper contract lost early gains and gave back two cents to US$3.34 a pound. Performance was mixed with HudBay Minerals (TSX:HBM) ahead 20 cents to C$8.81 while Teck Resources (TCK.B) declined 33 cents to $26.28.The tech sector was largely supportive, ahead 0.72% as Open Text (TSX:OTC) rose $2.12 to $101.60.BlackBerry (TSX:BB) was up six cents to $9.20 on top of two days of solid gains. Wednesday’s advance came as Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. (TSX:FFH) said that it will double its investment in the smartphone maker’s debt with the purchase of an additional US$250 million in convertible debentures.Financials were also supportive with Manulife Financial ahead 50 cents to $21.35.The gold sector was the biggest drag, down about 1% as the February gold bullion contract slipped $4.10 to US$1,225.50 an ounce. Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX) faded 30 cents to C$19.37 while Goldcorp (TSX:G) fell 25 cents to $23.87. The component was the worst performer on the TSX last year, losing almost 50%, but it has been generally positive so far this year, up almost 4% over the last week.Industrials also dragged, with Canadian National Railway (TSX:CNR) down 95 cents to $58.63. A CN train carrying liquefied petroleum gas and crude oil derailed in northwestern New Brunswick on Tuesday. A spokesman said initial indications are that 15 cars and one locomotive derailed from a train that consisted of 122 cars and four locomotives.The energy sector was off 0.28% as the February crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange slid $1.34 to US$92.33 a barrel. Imperial Oil (TSX:IMO) fell 61 cents to C$45.97.In other corporate news, Monsanto reported better than expected first-quarter earnings on higher sales of the company’s insect-repelling and herbicide-resistant soybean seeds in Latin America. Despite an 8.6% increase in profit, the company left its full-year fiscal guidance unchanged. Its shares shed early declines to advance $1.99 to US$115.23.The Canadian Press read more