Thursday, April 21, 2011

SBI withdraws teaser home loan plan with effect from May 1

Published on Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 19:12 |  Source : CNBC-TV18
Updated at Wed, Apr 20, 2011 at 21:25  

India's largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) on Wednesday said it will withdraw its teaser home loan rates effective from May 1.  The change in the home loan structure was done keeping the Reserve Bank of India’s norms in mind, said SBI's new chief Pratip Chaudhuri.

There will also be no pre-payment penalty on car loans, Chaudhuri informed.
Earlier, the PSU major had increased its benchmark lending rates by 25 basis points. The move made all loans, including home loans and most loans to corporates, more expensive.

With effect from April 25, the country's largest bank will increase both its benchmark prime lending rate and its base rate.
The BPLR, which is the benchmark for all its old floating rate loans, has been increased from 13% to 13.25%.
The base rate, which is the benchmark for loans in recent months and for future loans, has been increased from 8.25% to 8.5%. This means that home loans will go up for both existing and new home loan customers.

Chaudhuri said the base rate was raised in order to catch up with industry. “SBI is behind the curve in revising base rate,” he said.
SBI has also removed the “fixed element” from special home loans. “We will shift special home loans from fixed to floating,” Chaudhuri said. The bank’s current provisioning on special loans is at Rs 587 crore.


The move is also expected to end the period of rift between SBI and RBI.

Teaser loans are considered risky due to their high default rates. They are usually offered to low-income home buyers. Unfortunately, when these borrowers try to refinance the loan before the rate increases, most will not qualify for standard mortgages. This leaves borrowers with increased monthly payments, which many cannot afford.
In an attempt to discourage teaser loans, RBI had asked banks to make provision of 2% of outstanding portfolio for such loans with immediate effect.

"The current provisioning requirement of 2% (on teaser loans) is a bit difficult for the bank when compared with the earlier 0.40%," Chaudhuri had said at his first media interaction after taking over as Chairman.

As per the new scheme:

Home Loans up to Rs 30 lakh to have interest of base rate + 1%
Home loans between Rs 30-75 lakh to have interest of base rate +1.5%
Home loans above Rs 75 lakh to have interest of base rate + 1.75%

PM congratulates ISRO on PSLV success

PTI | 04:04 PM,Apr 20,2011

New Delhi, Apr 20 (PTI)

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today congratulated the scientists and engineers of ISRO, saying the "flawless" launch of three satellites by PSLV has yet again demonstrated the space body's advanced capabilities.

"I am very happy to learn that the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)-C-16 has today successfully launched India's ResourceSat-2 satellite, the joint Indo-Russian YouthSat and Singapore's first satellite X-Sat", he said.

 He commended the Indian Space Research Organisation for the achievement and its continuing service to the nation.

” The flawless launch of these three satellites has demonstrated yet again the advanced capabilities that the ISRO has mastered in satellite development and launch vehicle technologies," Singh said in a message.

 The Prime Minister warmly congratulated the ISRO family and wished them all success in their future endeavours.In a morale-boosting success for India's space programme after two consecutive GSLV setbacks, ISRO today put into orbit its sophisticated remote sensing satellite Resourcesat-2 and two micro satellites carried onboard its workhorse PSLV-C16 rocket from Sriharikota.

Oscar-nominated war photographer killed in Libya TRIPOLI, LIBYA - Apr 20 2011 22:23

Release Hammerl

Release Hammerl Journalists demonstrate outside Parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday, calling on the government for assurances that it is doing everything in its power to ensure the release of photographer Anton Hammerl, who went missing in eastern Libya on April 4

 TRIPOLI, LIBYA - Apr 20 2011 22:23

An Oscar-nominated war photographer and film director was killed on Wednesday in the besieged city of Misrata while covering battles between rebels and Libyan government forces. Three other photographers were wounded.

British-born Tim Hetherington, co-director of the documentaryRestrepo about United States soldiers on an outpost in Afghanistan, was killed inside the only rebel-held city in western Libya, said his US-based publicist, Johanna Ramos Boyer. The city has come under weeks of relentless shelling by government troops.

Chris Hondros, a New York-based photographer for Getty Images, was seriously injured and was on a respirator at Hikma Hospital. Doctors told The Associated Press that his condition was critical.

The two other photographers -- Guy Martin and Michael Christopher Brown -- were treated for shrapnel wounds, doctors said.

Hetherington, 41, was nominated for an Academy Award for his 2010 documentary filmRestrepo. The film was co-directed by Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm.

Restrepo tells the story of the 2nd Platoon of Battle Company in the 173rd Airborne Combat Team on its deployment in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008. The title refers to the platoon outpost, named after a popular soldier, Juan Restrepo, who was killed early in the fighting.

Hondros, 41, has covered conflict zones since the late 1990s including Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, and his work has appeared in major magazines and newspapers around the world. His awards include World Press Photo honors and the Robert Capa Gold Medal, one of the highest prizes in war photography.

Two other journalists have been killed in the Libyan conflict, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. An unknown gunman killed Mohammed al-Nabbous, founder of the online Libya Al-Hurra TV, in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in March 19.

Cameraman Ali Hassan al-Jaber was shot when his Al-Jazeera crew was ambushed near Benghazi on March 13. 


21 mini FM stations helping survivors

Thursday, April 21, 2011

News photo
Disaster update: Staff at Natori Saigai FM radio station gather to broadcast disaster information for residents in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture, on Saturday. KYODO


SENDAI — A total of 21 mini FM radio stations have obtained government licenses to operate as provisional broadcasters, giving people postdisaster information in areas ravaged by last month's earthquake and tsunami, the communications ministry said Wednesday.
The ministry said it plans to support the broadcasters by giving them discounts on radio licensing fees and possibly granting subsidies to municipalities running them, as it may take much longer to rehabilitate the devastated communities than in past disasters.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications is authorized to issue special licenses to municipalities to set up radio stations to provide disaster information to communities. Applicant municipalities can seek licenses without official documents.
The FM radio stations in northeastern and eastern regions provide information, including on how evacuees are living in shelters and various lifeline services like the restoration of electricity and medical services, and do not get advertising revenues in most cases.
Local residents provide services to operate on a voluntary basis after the municipalities get the licenses.
The 21 stations are the largest number of local disaster broadcasters set up following a major catastrophe since the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake. There were seven in Japan before the March 11 twin disasters.
Radio Ishinomaki in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, one of the 21 broadcasters, began notifying survivors quickly about the fate of residents and where they can get free meals, using its own power generator.
Natori Saigai (disaster) FM aired on April 10 in the Natori government building with local women and city officials playing central roles in its launch.
One day, the station aired a song for the tsunami-submerged Yuriage Elementary School at the request of an elderly man, who graduated from there, and later received a phone call from another listener, who said he wept listening to the song.
"Our radio station is having the effect of bringing back together the members of the original community, who are now being forced to live in separate shelters as a result of the quake," said Takehiro Wako, a 47-year-old staff member at the station.
The municipal government of Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture, launched an FM radio as its original disaster wireless communication network was swept away by the tsunami.
Toshiaki Yaginuma, a 52-year-old official at the municipal planning division, said, "It will take considerable time for us to revive the antidisaster wireless communication network, so this station is functioning as a useful communications tool, as electricity has not yet been restored to the community."
Digital delay for some
The communications ministry said Wednesday it will delay a complete shift to terrestrial digital television broadcasts in three prefectures most severely stricken by the March 11 quake and tsunami by up to one year from the initially planned July 24.
The tsunami swept away numerous facilities for receiving such broadcasts in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures and the government-led campaign for the shift has halted, said Hideo Hiraoka, senior vice minister for internal affairs and communications.
Concern has been growing in the disaster areas that a complete shift from analog broadcasts would strip evacuees and others of a major means to receive vital information related to the disaster, such as aftershocks.

List of countries by the number of US dollar billionaires

World wide top 10 (2011)

RankCountry/RegionNumber of billionaires[1]Share of
world total (%)
 World total1210100.0
1 United States41234.0American billionaires
2 People's Republic of China1289.5Chinese billionaires
3 Russia1018.3Russian billionaires
4 India554.5Indian billionaires
5 Germany524.3German billionaires
6 Turkey383.1Turkish billionaires
7 Hong Kong363.0Hong Kong billionaires
8 United Kingdom332.7British billionaires
9 Brazil302.5Brazilian billionaires
10 Japan262.1Japanese billionaires


Total = 8
RankNationNumber of billionaires[1]Notes
1 Egypt4
1 South Africa3
3 Nigeria1


Total = 252
RankNation/RegionNumber of billionaires[1]Notes
1 People's Republic of China128[2]
2 India69[3]
3 Hong Kong25
4 Japan22
4 Indonesia22[4]
6 Republic of China (Taiwan)18
7 South Korea11
8 Saudi Arabia10
9 Israel10
10 Malaysia9
11 Kazakhstan5
12 Philippines5[5]
13 Lebanon4
14 Singapore4
15 United Arab Emirates4
16 Thailand3
17 Kuwait1
18 Pakistan1[6][7]


Total = 266
RankNationNumber of billionaires[1]Notes
1 Russia62
2 Germany53
3 Turkey38
4 United Kingdom29
5 Italy13
5 Spain13
7 France12
8 Switzerland11
9 Sweden10
10 Ireland6
11 Ukraine5
12 Netherlands5
13 Austria4
13 Norway4
13 Poland4
16 Czech Republic3
16 Denmark3
16 Romania3
19 Portugal2
19 Greece2
21 Monaco1

North America

Total = 436
RankNationNumber of billionaires[1]Notes
1 United States403
2 Canada24


Total = 14
RankNationNumber of billionaires[1]Notes
1 Australia11
2 New Zealand3

Latin America

Total = 51
Rank↓Per capita
Nation↓Number of
per 10M↓
12 Brazil300.9
23 Mexico110.8
31 Chile42.4
45 Colombia20.5
44 Venezuela20.7
46 Argentina20.2

See also