Saturday, March 24, 2012

DPJ and China's communist party to set up hotline

Japan's ruling party and China's Communist Party have agreed to set up a hotline to each other.Democratic Party Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi and Li Yuanchao, the head of organization department in the Communist Party's central committee, agreed on the plan in Beijing on Friday.

Li said the countries should look past specific disputes and take a broader approach to relations. The DPJ official said the hotline would help restore trust.

Acting DPJ Secretary General Shinji Tarutoko was also present at the meeting. He referred to North Korea's planned rocket launch next month, saying Japan has a sense of urgency and called for close cooperation with China to deal with the matter.Reports from NHK

N.Korea's parliament to meet on April 13

North Korea's parliament will meet next month. The focus of attention is on whether the country's new leader Kim Jong Un will assume the top post of chairman of the National Defense Commission.

The North's state-run media made the announcement on Saturday. It said the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly decided to convene the assembly in Pyongyang on April 13th, 2 days before the 100th anniversary of the birth of the country's founder, Kim Il Sung.

The assembly will meet for the first time since last April.

Attention is focused on whether Kim Jong Un, who succeeded his father and former leader Kim Jong Il, will assume the chairmanship of the National Defense Commission.

The post has been vacant since his father's death in December of last year.

Kim Jong Un has already been named the country's supreme military commander.

He is widely expected to assume the post of secretary general of the Workers' Party at a meeting of party representatives in mid-April. The meeting will be held for the first time in 19 months.
Rajiv Awas Yojana Scheme
The Union Cabinet today approved the establishment of the Credit Risk Guarantee Fund Trust (CRGFT) for Low Income Housing. The CRGFT will have an initial corpus of Rs.1200 crore of which Rs.1000 crore is being contributed from the Centre and the remaining Rs.200 core will come from the State Governments who draw on it, in accordance with their slum populations. This is in pursuance of the approval of the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) Scheme by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in June 2011 which included the creation of a Risk Guarantee Fund for low income housing loans.

The urban affordable housing deficit is estimated to be about 26 million. The total housing loan outstanding was about Rs.3.06 lakh crore of which only about 24% is for loans up to Rs.5 lakhs of which only a part is estimated as flowing to the Economically Weaker Sections and Low Income Groups. The establishment of such a Government-supported Credit Risk Guarantee Fund would facilitate credit enablement of the urban poor and the flow of institutional finance for affordable housing. The CRGF is intended to act as a risk-mitigant, thereby enhancing the confidence of the lending institutions in lending to this segment.

The CRGF Trust will administer and operate the Credit Risk Guarantee Fund Scheme (CRGF Scheme). The key principle of the CRFG Scheme is that the lender shall secure the housing construction/ upgradation loan purely on the assets financed, without any other collateral.

The Trust will guarantee the housing loans made by the lending institutions like Commercial Banks, Regional-Rural Banks. Housing Finance Companies, Cooperative Housing Finance Societies etc. to new or existing individual EWS/LIG borrowers and eligible borrowers forming a group or housing society of at least 20 members for purposes of home improvement, construction, acquisition, and purchase of new or second hand dwelling units of size up to 430 sq.ft. (40 sq.mtrs.) carpet area involving an amount not exceeding Rs.5 lakh per loan without any collateral security and / or third party guarantees.

The guarantee cover available under the CRGF Scheme is to the extent of 90% of the amount in default subject to the ceiling of 90% of the sanctioned housing loan amount for a loan amount of upto Rs.2 lakh and 85% of the amount in default subject to the ceiling of 85% of sanctioned housing loan amount for loan amounts above Rs.2 lakh and upto Rs.5 lakh.

The Credit Risk Guarantee Fund Trust will be set up under the Indian trust Act, 1882 and the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) will be the settler of the Trust. The Trust shall be managed and administered by a Board of Trustees with cross sectoral composition. The Trust shall be serviced by the National Housing Bank (NHB).

The Ministry of HUPA and State Governments may make further contributions to the corpus fund of the Trust in the proportion as may be decided from time to time.

The Credit Risk Guarantee Fund is expected to catalyse a flow of credit of about Rs.20,000 crore to the low income housing sector and create the enabling environment for creation of affordable housing stock. The availability of bank credit without the constraint of collaterals / third party guarantees would be a key enabler for the urban poor to realise their objective of upgrading/buying their own house.

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh arrives at the Seoul air force base, to attend the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit on March 24, 2012. Smt. Gursharan Kaur is also seen.

Nuclear Security Summit in South Korea

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh leaves on Saturday on a four-day visit to South Korea where he will seek to strengthen ties with the Asian economic partner and also participate in the Nuclear Security Summit.
During his visit to Seoul, Dr Singh is scheduled to hold talks with President Lee Myung-bak on Sunday to forge closer economic ties.Dr Singh is scheduled to interact with leading CEOs of South Korean corporations on Monday morning.On Monday evening, Singh will attend a dinner for the leaders attending the second Nuclear Security Summit.
The leaders, including US President Barack Obama and 57 others, will review the progress made since the first Nuclear Summit held in Washington in 2010.
Steps to strengthen nuclear security and measures to prevent terrorists getting access to atomic weapons will top the agenda of the Summit.
“The main objective of the Summit has been high-level attention on the global threat posed by nuclear terrorism and the measures that are required to prevent terrorists and other non-state actors from gaining access to sensitive nuclear materials and technologies,” Mathai said.
US President Barack Obama will hold talks with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday in the South Korean capital Seoul, a statement released by the White House said.
“The meeting will be an opportunity for the United States and Pakistan to continue high-level consultations on areas of mutual interest,” said the statement released by the White House on Friday.
“In particular, the president looks forward to reviewing our efforts to support an Afghan-led reconciliation process, and to pursue an end-state in the region that advances security and prosperity.”
Media agencies

Australia hit by biggest quake in 15 years

Australia has been hit by its biggest earthquake in 15 years, seismologists said on Saturday, rattling a remote part of the desert with local Aboriginals reporting strong shaking but no major damage.

The 6.1-magnitude earthquake had its epicentre near Ernabella, in the middle of Australia, at a shallow depth of three kilometres, Geoscience Australia said.
Ernabella is an indigenous arts hub home to about 500 Aboriginal people, some 317 kilometres southwest of the popular Alice Springs.
Seismologist David Jepsen said: "An event like this, there are a number of Aboriginal communities around there and they have experienced strong shaking.”
“We've heard from them, people have felt strong shaking, but we haven't heard of any damage yet, but there is that possibility."
It was Australia's biggest quake since a 6.3-magnitude one was recorded in West Australia in 1997.
Resident Ria Nicholls told ABC radio houses shook and windows rattled for about 30 seconds with elderly people on her street terrified by late Friday's quake.

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