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Major stock indices rebound after morning slump amid North KoreaUS tensions

TORONTO — North American stock market indices finished Tuesday on a positive note after falling in morning trading amid heightened tensions between North Korea and the United States.The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index advanced 30.67 points to 15,082.70.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 56.97 points to 21,865.37, the Nasdaq composite index rose 18.87 points to 6,301.89, and the S&P 500 index edged up 2.06 points to 2,446.30.“Risk appetite’s come back,” said Scott Vali, vice-president of equities at CIBC Asset Management.Earlier in the day, investors had been shaken up by North Korea’s launch of a midrange ballistic missile on Monday that crossed over northern Japan and fell into the Pacific Ocean.Stock indices dipped on the news at the start of the session, with the TSX declining by more than 60 points after 90 minutes of trading, as investors initially turned to traditional safe haven assets like gold, Vali said.But without “a huge reaction” from the White House, Vali said, investors returned to riskier assets.U.S. President Donald Trump said “all options are on the table” in a written statement Tuesday in response to North Korea.Washington and its allies also called an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting for later Tuesday to evaluate options for stopping the nuclear and missile advances that are increasingly putting the U.S. mainland within range.In commodities news, the price of oil declined for a second day in row as tropical storm Harvey continued dumping record amounts of rain on the Texas Gulf Coast, where several oil companies operate.The October crude contract retreated 13 cents to US$46.44 per barrel.Elsewhere, the December gold contract advanced $3.60 to US$1,318.90 an ounce, the October natural gas contract rose 2.2 cents to $2.98 per mmBTU, and the December copper contract gained about 1.9 cents to US$3.10 a pound.In currency markets, the Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of 79.90 cents US, down 0.22 of a U.S. cent.By Aleksandra Sagan in Vancouver.Follow @AleksSagan on Twitter. read more

In Cairo Ban urges parties to Gaza conflict to end cycle of

“We are here to stand with the people of Gaza who have endured a terrible summer of suffering,” said Mr. Ban in his remarks to the Cairo Conference on Gaza attended by the President of the State of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, and several foreign ministers including of Egypt, and Norway. Mr. Ban’s spokesperson announced today that the UN Chief will visit Gaza on Tuesday to help advance reconstruction efforts. More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed in the recent 51-day conflict, along with more than 70 Israelis. Almost one-third of Gaza’s population was uprooted from their homes and entire neighborhoods were flattened. The Secretary –General recalled how in 2009, the international community gathered in Sharm el-Sheikh in the wake of another devastating war in Gaza. “We pledged our support. We expressed our commitment. We resolved to rebuild. And yet here we are again. The cycle of building and destroying has continued– only worse,” said Mr. Ban. This time around, dozens of schools, hospitals and clinics were destroyed or damaged. UN facilities sheltering women and children were hit, resulting in many casualties. Eleven staff members of the UN were killed in the course of the conflict.Meanwhile rockets fired by Hamas and other armed groups from Gaza continued to be fired indiscriminately causing fear, panic and suffering, said Mr. Ban. Children of Gaza who have not yet reached grade three have already lived through three wars.To effectively respond, the UN and partners in Palestine are working with the Palestinian Government to develop the “Gaza Crisis Appeal”. The “UN Support Plan for the Transformation of the Gaza Strip” amounts to about $2.1 billion for early recovery and reconstruction efforts. But ultimately, the successful reconstruction of Gaza requires a strong political foundation, said Mr. Ban, adding that the comprehensive reconciliation agreement reached in Cairo on 25 September was a promising first step. Mr. Ban pledged UN support for the Government of National Consensus as it manages Gaza’s reconstruction needs and said he was encouraged by the recent historic Palestinian unity government meeting in Gaza led by Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.Promoting an environment conducive for peace must include an investigation into potential violations of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict, Mr. Ban added. It was equally important to make the most of the opportunity presented by the upcoming Cairo talks, strengthen the ceasefire to return to broader peace talks and refrain from unilateral actions which only exacerbate tensions and resentment.“Gaza remains a tinderbox,” said Mr. Ban, reiterating the need to address the root causes of the recent hostilities: a restrictive occupation that has lasted almost half a century, the continued denial of Palestinian rights and the lack of tangible progress in peace negotiations.All parties must come together to chart a clear course towards a just and final peace — including achieving a full lifting of the blockade, ensuring Israel’s legitimate security concerns; and establishing two States living side by side in peace and security. “I do not want my successors or yours to make conferences such as this a ritual: building and destroying– and then expecting the international community to foot the bill,” the Secretary-General said. read more

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