The story of Halifax Harbour will be told by Gordon Fader duringa lunchtime talk on Tuesday, Nov. 2 at the 2004 Mining MattersConference in Halifax. Mr. Fader, an employee of the Geological Survey of Canada’sAtlantic Geoscience Centre, will speak about some unusualfeatures of the harbour that he has uncovered during 15 years ofstudy. “We are pleased Mr. Fader is participating in Mining Matters inone of his last official speaking venues before he retires after35 years with the Geological Survey of Canada,” said NaturalResources Minister Richard Hurlburt. “His presentation covers thegeological aspects of Halifax Harbour, but includes otherinteresting discoveries about the harbour.” Many people may not know about the numerous shipwrecks that havecome to rest on the harbour bottom, or that the original bridgesthat crossed The Narrows were discovered in the area, and thatHurricane Juan caused changes to the seabed. Mining Matters is an annual conference that promotes mineraldevelopment opportunities in Nova Scotia by government agencies,universities and the private sector, and inform the public aboutthe province’s geological history. “This conference provides an opportunity to increase awareness ofthe importance of our mineral resources and to help facilitateeconomic development,” said Mr. Hurlburt. “It is a goodopportunity for the public to see what is happening and to talkto those who work in the mineral industry.” The conference will feature a number of talks on currentdevelopments in Nova Scotia’s mining industry, including the newgypsum wallboard plant in Point Tupper, and presentations on themineral resources in southweastern Nova Scotia. The luncheonspeaker on Monday, Nov. 1 will tell conference delegates abouthow the success of an Australian mining company with roots inAtlantic Canada pertains to current gold exploration in NovaScotia. During the two-day event, Heather Lawson, a stone mason from BassRiver, will demonstrate her stone carving skills. Ms. Lawson willbe working on a sandstone plinth that will be used to display afossil from the Joggins fossil cliffs. The conference takes place on Nov. 1 and 2 at the Westin NovaScotian Hotel. All talks and presentations are free but there isa charge for the two luncheons. Two, one-day field trips are alsooffered for a fee on Wednesday, Nov. 3. Mining Matters is sponsored by the Department of NaturalResources, the Office of Economic Development, the Nova ScotiaChamber of Mineral Resources, and the Mining Society of NovaScotia. For more information on Mining Matters see the Department ofNatural Resources website at www.gov.ns.ca/natr .
The Indian side resisted these moves on the grounds that trade pacts are too serious, too far reaching and wide-ranging in their impact to be tailored to suit short-term political requirements. Negotiations between India and Sri Lanka on an Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) hit the hard road at an officials-level meeting held in Colombo on January 4 and 5, the New Indian Express reported.Informed sources told Express that the Sri Lankan side was pressing the Indians to make certain concessions explicitly to enable it sell the pact to the Sri Lankan masses who tend to imagine that ETCA would be a rank give away to the Big Brother across the Palk Strait. There were differences over priorities. The Sri Lankan side lay great stress on correcting the flaws or removing the irritants in the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which became operational in 2000. The Sri Lankan side has been seeking the removal of a plethora of Non Tariff Barriers (NBTs) which impede the entry of Sri Lankan goods into the Indian market. Sri Lankans feel that if the NTBs are not there, the trade gap would not be as big as it is now.But the Indians have had difficulty in removing many of the NTBs. Or, as the Sri Lankans allege, they have been tardy and reluctant.At any rate, Indians think that pegging the signing of ETCA to removing the flaws in the FTA is neither warranted nor practical because the two are different kettles of fish. FTA is about trade in goods while ETCA is about investment, services and economic cooperation. It is to be a re-designed reincarnation of the now abandoned Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CEPA). Above all, there were differences over the time period to end the negotiations and sign the pact. Not having been able to sign it by December 2016 to time with the second anniversary of the Sirisena regime, the Sri Lankans wanted the talks to be wrapped up fast by mid 2017 before the local bodies and provincial elections. But the Indians would not be hustled as trade talks are complicated affairs and take years to conclude internationally.India was not averse to holding meetings often, say once in a month, but it was against rushing through as both sides have vital interests to be safeguarded or pursued. As the Indian Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said during her visit to Colombo last year, both India and Sri Lanka have concerns, interests and issues to address, and that India is not in favor having a strict timeframe to wrap up the talks.While no date was fixed for the next round of talks, it is likely that the next round could be held in February. (Colombo Gazette) With the opposition, led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, backing the anti-ETCA campaign, the pact is expected to be an issue in the forthcoming local bodies and provincial elections scheduled for June-July and September respectively, unless it is tailored to suit the electoral agenda of the ruling coalition.But tailoring it to an electoral agenda might mean India’s giving in to Sri Lanka in ways which could adversely affect the interests of its own private sector. This aspect has to be borne in mind as the primary driving force in the liberalized Indian economy is the private sector. However, the Sri Lankan side had good reasons to pursue a political goal. Even as the talks were on in the city, posters against ETCA, describing it as “aggression”, appeared in parts of Central Colombo. At any rate the Sinhalese language slogan “ETCA EPA” (No to ETCA) has caught the imagination of the people. At official level trade talks, the minutiae tend to get a lot of attention. Discussions take place over every sentence and paragraph and the order in which they are written. It is said that the Sri Lankans wanted some things to be stated not only in the introductory statement but also in the main body of the agreement as a clause which the Indians resisted.