Joe Biden: World needs Canada ‘very badly’

Biden and Trudeau

US Vice-President Joe Biden told an audience in Ottawa that the world needs “genuine leaders” such as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The outgoing vice-president spoke during a state dinner and took the opportunity to praise America’s northern neighbour.

“The world is going to spend a lot of time looking to you, Mr Prime Minister”, he told the Canadian leader.

Mr Biden has been highly critical of US President-elect Donald Trump.

“Vive le Canada because we need you very, very badly,” he told the dinner guests.

  • Canada fears ‘dangerous’ Trump
  • Trudeau open to renegotiating US trade deal

He went on to describe the self-doubt that liberal leaders across the world are currently experiencing after several political defeats.

But he praised “genuine leaders” including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying such statesmen and women are in short supply.

Mr Biden's plane arrives in Ottawa during snowstormImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionMr Biden’s plane arrived in Ottawa during a snowstorm
Biden in the snowImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionMr Biden is on a two-day visit to Canada

Mr Trudeau reportedly became emotional during Mr Biden’s remarks when the American spoke of his late father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

“You’re a successful father when your children turn out better than you,” Mr Biden said.

This is the second state dinner shared by the two North American nations this year.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image caption“Here in America, you may well be the most popular Canadian named Justin”, Mr Obama joked earlier this year

President Barack Obama hosted Prime Minister Trudeau at the White House in March and later in the summer visited Canada to give a speech in parliament.

Canadian officials say the visit is not about “specific policy”, but rather “an opportunity to show the depth of the relationship”, said Kate Purchase, Mr Trudeau’s director of communications.

The dinner ensures “that there is continuity in the relationship” with the new American administration, she added.

Experts say Mr Biden will seek to assure Canadians that the US-Canada relationship will remain strong during President-elect Donald Trump’s presidency.

On Friday Mr Biden is meeting with Canada’s provincial premiers and indigenous leaders to discuss climate change.


US actor Judge Reinhold ’embarrassed’ by airport arrest

Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, and Lisa Eilbacher in Beverly Hills Cop

US actor Judge Reinhold has said he is “just embarrassed” after being arrested in a confrontation with security officials at a Texas airport.

Police say he was held on a disorderly conduct charge after refusing to go through screening at Dallas Love Field.

Authorities say the 59-year-old then declined a pat-down by airport security.

Reinhold co-starred in 1980s films such as Beverly Hills Cop and Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

According to reports, the actor used explicit language and took his shirt off after being asked to undergo a second screening.

Undated photo provided by Dallas County Sheriff's Department shows actor Judge ReinholdImage copyrightAP
Image captionReinhold co-starred in such 1980s films as Beverly Hills Cop and Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Reinhold’s attorney said the actor had successfully passed the Transportation Security Administration scanner and was stopped only after his bag raised an alarm, according to the Dallas Morning News.

The lawyer added that the actor did not understand why he needed to be searched after he had gone through the scanner without incident.

As Reinhold was led away by police to jail, he said to journalists: “Thanks for the exposure guys. Glad you’re here.”

If found guilty, he could pay up to a $500 (£395) fine.


Prince Andrew denies rift over daughters Eugenie and Beatrice

Beatrice and Eugenie at the Chelsea Flower Show 2016

There is “no truth” in press claims of a split in the Royal Family over the future roles of princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, the Duke of York has said.

Prince Andrew said in a statement he wished to stop “speculation and innuendo” relating to his daughters.

He said it was “complete fabrication” to suggest he wanted titles for any future husbands of the princesses.

He added that continued speculation over a split between himself and Prince Charles was “pointless”.

“As a father, my wish for my daughters is for them to be modern, working, young women, who happen to be members of the Royal Family, and I am delighted to see them building their careers,” the duke said.

“When they do support the Royal Family in its work this is very much appreciated by my family and, most importantly, by those organisations and to those for whom their participation makes such a difference to their lives.”

While acknowledging there is “considerable interest” in the granddaughters of the Queen, Prince Andrew said he “cannot continue to stand by and have the media speculate on their futures based on my purported interventions, which are completely made up”.

Princess Beatrice, the Duchess of York and Princess EugenieImage copyrightPA
Image captionThe statement came after Beatrice (L) and Eugenie appeared at a charity event with their mother

The statement was issued via the duke’s Twitter account.

It came shortly after the princesses’ mother, the Duchess of York, urged the media to “stop bullying the York family”.

She was speaking as Beatrice, 28, and Eugenie, 26, became patrons of the Teenage Cancer Trust charity.

The duchess and the two princesses visited a specialist teen cancer unit in central London to mark the occasion, meeting young people with the disease.

“Let’s focus more on this and less on tittle-tattle gossip,” said the duchess, who was divorced from Prince Andrew in 1996.


Prince Andrews statementImage copyrightPA

By Peter Hunt, BBC royal correspondent

Once, personal royal statements were vanishingly rare.

Not anymore.

After Prince Harry leapt to the aid of his girlfriend Meghan Markle, his uncle has used his personal Twitter account to defend his daughters.

And it’s significant that the princely views were disseminated this way and not through an official Buckingham Palace statement.

There will be those at the palace who will have questioned the wisdom of this move.

Not least because there has been tension between Prince Andrew and Prince Charles over the future king’s plans to slim down the monarchy when his time comes.

Read more from Peter Hunt

The Duke of York’s statement was issued in response to reports claiming he intended to persuade the Queen or Prince Charles to make any husbands of Eugenie or Beatrice earls.

In October, there were claims of a row between Prince Andrew and his brother, said to have been sparked by a wish for his daughters to be given more significant roles within the royal family in future.

The statement also comes just over a month after Prince Harry took the decision to issue a statement attacking the media for subjecting his actress girlfriend Meghan Markle to a “wave of abuse and harassment”.


Japan tests innovative magnetic tether for slowing space junk

Space debris

Japan has launched a cargo ship which will use a half mile- (700m)-long tether to remove some of the vast amount of debris from Earth’s orbit.

The tether, made of aluminium strands and steel wire, is designed to slow the debris, pulling it out of orbit.

The innovative device was made with the help of a fishing net company.

There is estimated to be more than 100 million pieces of space junk in orbit, including discarded equipment from old satellites, tools and bits of rocket.

Many of these objects are moving at high velocity around the Earth at speeds of up to 28,000km/h (17,500mph) and could cause catastrophic accidents and damage to the world’s orbital telecommunications network.

  • The growing problem of space junk
  • Could lasers remove space junk?

The junk has accumulated in the more than 50 years of human space exploration since the Soviet-launched Sputnik satellite in 1957.

Collisions between satellites and the testing of anti-satellite weapons have made the problem worse.

The HTV6, an unmanned cargo spacecraft, Image copyrightAFP
Image captionThe automated cargo ship – called Stork or Kounotori in Japanese

The automated cargo ship – called Stork or Kounotori in Japanese – which is carrying the junk collector is bound for the International Space Station and blasted off from Tanegashima Space Center in the North Pacific.

Researchers say the lubricated, electro-dynamic tether will generate enough energy to change an object’s orbit, pushing it towards the atmosphere where it will burn up.

A 106-year-old Japanese fishing net maker, Nitto Seimo Co, collaborated with Japan’s space agency to develop the mesh material, Bloomberg reported last month.

BBC space junk

The experiment is part of an international initiative designed to make space safer for astronauts by getting rid of space junk.

It is hoped that it will also provide better protection for space stations and weather and communications satellites worth billions of dollars.

Employees knit knotless nets during processing at a Nitto Seimo Co factory in Fukuyama, Hiroshima (06 September 2016)Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe 106-year-old Japanese fishing net maker Nitto Seimo helped produce the tether

The junk collector is the latest in a series of ideas put forward to tackle the problem, including harpooning, sweeping, lassoing and dragging debris into the atmosphere for burning.

Experts say there are big financial benefits in reducing the risk for the multi-billion dollar space industry, but they caution that the Japanese scheme will only work for bigger pieces of junk.


HRD Ministry to award educational institutes that promote demonetization

Promoting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s idea of demonetization in a major way, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has now given a deadline to all educational institutions to go completely digital for payments, and the institute that makes the best effort will be awarded by the ministry.

According to sources, a road map on how e-payment mode should be adopted has been given to various institutions, and by January 12 all institutions should complete the first step of going completely cashless. A circular in this regard was sent to all colleges and universities recently. Institutes are also required to submit the details of the steps taken by them till January 12, and the number of student volunteers that have been enrolled, a source in the ministry said. The ministry wants students to spread the message of demonetization in the community.

“Among the various instructions that universities have been given include vendors in universities, and colleges should be asked to open bank account and shop owners should adopt POS machines. The entire system should be made cashless by January 12. During this time, institutions have also been asked to enroll its students as volunteers to spread the message,” said the source.

NSS units in colleges have already been asked to adopt marketplaces and visit nearest establishments to teach people about digital modes of payment. While the ministry is actively promoting demonetization through educational institutions, other important tasks like New Education Policy have taken a back-seat. A new committee to review the New Education Policy was supposed to be set up by the ministry by end of November, but no steps have been taken so far. According to sources in the ministry, demonetization is the main focus right now.

HRD Minister’s address to higher educational institutes and colleges has also been only about demonetization in the recent times. The minister addressed VCs of all Central Universities on Thursday through video conferencing to make an appeal to them for going cashless.


New UGC norms restrain educational institutes from keeping original document of students


In a bid to lessen student’s burden, the commission issued a directives to ensure no higher education institutes shall nag students for submission of their original documents such as mark sheets, school leaving certificates and other related documents during the admission process.

The Union Grants Commission (UGC) in the recent times has put a new measure to restrain educational institutions from profiteering and other extremities faced by the students especially during the admission season, remittance of fees and refunds.

It comes before the commission notice that numerous students are tormented during the verification of documents.

In a bid to lessen the students’ burden, the commission issued a directive to ensure no higher education institutes shall nag students for submission of their original documents such as mark sheets, school leaving certificates and other related documents during the admission process.

Any institutes found not meeting the norms shall liable for punitive action, read the norms.

New rules

  • The new rules enforce the institutes to verify student’s documents while submitting the admission forms and duly return them after verification
  • The institutes are advised to kept only the attested copies of the documents
  • According to the new rules, the commission laid out that no applicants shall be mandated to buy prospectus
  • The institutes are allowed to charge fees in advance only for a specific semester the students has decided to engage in academic activities
  • “Collecting advance fees for the entire program of study or for more than one semester or year in which a student is enrolled is strictly prohibited as it restricts the student from exercising other options of enrolment elsewhere,” the norms read, as reported by The Indian Express
  • A four-tier system shall be followed by the institutes for refund of fees if the students who had enrolled for a programme wishes to withdraw
  • The institutes are allowed to deduct not more than 10 per cent of the fees in case the students fails to render notification for withdrawal 15 days before the formally-notified last date of admission
  • As per UGC (Grievance Redressal) Regulations, 2012, it is mandatory for all institutes to constitute ‘Grievance Redressal Committee’ to address the complaints duly.

[Source:-India Today ]

UGC: Educational institutes can’t hold students’ original document

To safeguard student’s interests, Union Grants Commission has come up with new rules to put an end to “coercive and profiteering” practices by educational institutes regarding verification of certificates during admission, remittance of fees and refunds.

Therefore, no higher education institute shall insist upon a student to submit the original academic, personal certificates and testimonials like mark-sheets, school leaving certificates and other such documents while submitting admission form.

As per the new norm, institutes shall physically verify the original documents at the time of admission and return those immediately. However, the educational institutes can keep the attested copies.

UGC has also clarified that it will not be mandatory for applicants to purchase the institute’s prospectus at any time during the course of the study programme. The institutes can charge fees in advance only for the semester or year in which a student is to engage in academic activities.

“Collecting advance fees for the entire program of study or for more than one semester or year in which a student is enrolled is strictly prohibited as it restricts the student from exercising other options of enrolment elsewhere,” the norms say.

According to the new norms, if a student chooses to withdraw from the programme of study, in which he or she is enrolled, the institute shall follow a four-tier system for refund of fees remitted by the student.

If the withdrawal notice is served 15 days before the formally-notified last date of admission, not more than 10 per cent of the aggregate fees as processing charges from the refundable amount can be deducted.

READ: Consult before scheduling exams: EC to 5 school boards

Under the new UGC norms, as the day for admission nears or passes, when notice of withdrawal of admission is served to the education institute, the amount that can be deducted from the refundable deposit also increases.

It is mandatory for all universities to constitute a ‘Grievance Redressal Committee’ as mandated by UGC (Grievance Redressal) Regulations, 2012 to address and effectively resolve complaints, the norms state.

Any act of retention of original certificate or non-refund of fee by any college shall be deemed to have been committed by the affiliating university which shall only be liable for punitive action by the UGC, the rules add.

[Source:-The Indian Express]

Differentiate between ‘good loans’ and ‘not so good loans’


I have outstanding loans of Rs42 lakh. Of these, Rs20 lakh is from relatives and there is no urgency to clear immediately. There is a Rs8.5 lakh home loan with an EMI of Rs13,000; home equity loan of Rs6.4 lakh with an EMI of Rs10,000; personal loan of Rs1 lakh with an EMI of Rs22,000 and two gold loans of Rs3 lakh each.

The major expense is Rs7 lakh for my sister’s medical education, due in 2016 and 2017. My rent and other expenses are Rs30,000 per month. I have just started a job that pays Rs60,000 in hand. My wife gets Rs20,000 in hand.

Apart from repaying the loans I want to buy term insurance for myself and my wife. If there is money to spare, a health insurance cover too. My corporate health plan covers my wife and parents and I’m more inclined to take one for my sister. My father has just landed a job after a short stint of unemployment, and is taking care of the home and home equity loans, but I’m not sure for how long. He is 50 years old.

—Alexander Thomas

The loans can broadly be divided into three categories. The equated-monthly instalment (EMI)-based loans: housing, house equity loans and personal loans, which are also of longer tenures. Gold loans: where only the interest is being paid now and principal is to be serviced at loan repayment; these are of shorter duration. And loans from family and friends: they don’t have any fixed time line for payment of principal or interest but they carry a risk of reputation so they should not be taken for granted.

Loans can typically be classified as ‘good’ loans and ‘not good’ loans. Simply put, loans that offer an interest rate lower than earnings rate—which is the rate of interest that your investments can earn on an appreciating asset—are classified as good loans. These loans, such as for housing and education, also offer tax arbitrage.

All other loans, where the net cost of borrowing is higher than the yield on investments, will be ‘not good’ loans, as this means that you have not been able to match your income and expenditure.

There must be valid reasons for so many of loans. However, except the housing loan, no other loan can be classified as a good loan. Prima facie it seems that most of the loans were taken to manage personal cash flows. One reason for this could be your father’s unemployment. Going forward, all expenses should be provided for with regular and disciplined savings.

First, determine your monthly surplus. Preferably, include all your incomes in a single pool. All EMIs need to be paid regularly. Check whether you can move into the home on which you have a loan. If not, check when you can move in, and save on rent. Invest any surplus you can generate, on a regular basis. To start with, invest in debt asset classes, such as bank fixed deposits and ultra-short-term and short-term debt mutual funds.

The money for your sister’s education is required in the near future. You may not be able to save the corpus in time. The best option would be to go for an education loan. This offers deduction under section 80E of the income tax Act, as well as a repayment holiday over the course period thereby, not putting too much burden on your cash flows.

About insurances, you should buy a term life insurance for yourself and your spouse; and buy a separate health plan for your sister. Do not increase your coverage now, as this will put additional pressures on your cash flow.


Fitch Takes Actions on Education Lending Group, Inc. – CIT Education Loan Trust 2005-1

Fitch Ratings has taken rating actions on Education Lending Group, Inc. – CIT Education Loan Trust 2005-1 (CIT 2005-1) as follows:

— Class A-3 notes affirmed at ‘AAAsf’; Outlook Stable;

— Class A-4 notes affirmed at ‘AAAsf’; removed from Rating Watch Negative and assigned a Stable Outlook;

–Class B notes upgraded to ‘AAsf’ from ‘A+sf’; removed from Rating Watch Negative and assigned a Stable Outlook.


U.S. Sovereign Risk: The trust collateral consists of Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) loans, with guarantees provided by the transaction’s eligible guarantors and reinsurance provided by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) for at least 97% of principal and accrued interest. Fitch’s U.S. sovereign rating is currently ‘AAA’, Outlook Stable.

Collateral Performance: Fitch assumes a base case default rate of 13.75% and a 41.50% default rate under the ‘AAAsf’ credit stress scenario. The base case default assumption of 13.75% implies a constant default rate of 1.97% (assuming a weighted average life of 13.5 years). Fitch applies the standard default timing curve in its credit stress cash flow analysis. The claim reject rate is assumed to be 0.25%.

The TTM average levels of deferment, forbearance, income-based repayment (before adjustment) and constant prepayment rate (voluntary and involuntary) are 4.12%, 9.33%, 8.99% and 10.00%, respectively, which are used as the starting point in cash flow modelling. Subsequent declines or increases are modelled as per criteria. The borrower benefit is assumed to be approximately 0.37%, based on information provided by the sponsor.

Basis and Interest Rate Risk: Fitch applies its standard basis and interest rate stresses to this trust as per the agency’s criteria.

Payment Structure: Credit Enhancement (CE) is provided by excess spread and overcollateralization. As of the September 2016 distribution date, total parity is 101.2% (1.20% CE) and senior parity is at 106.2% (5.8% CE). Liquidity support is provided by a reserve account sized at $2,000,000.

Maturity Risk: Fitch’s student loan ABS cash flow model indicates that the notes are paid in full on or prior to the legal final maturity dates under the commensurate rating scenario.

Operational Capabilities: Day-to-day servicing for the trust’s entire portfolio is performed by ELSC and Great Lakes. Fitch believes both are acceptable servicers of FFELP student loans.


‘AAAsf’ rated tranches of most FFELP securitizations will likely move in tandem with the U.S. sovereign rating, given the strong linkage to the U.S. sovereign by nature of the reinsurance and SAP provided by ED. Sovereign risks are not addressed in Fitch’s sensitivity analysis.

Fitch conducted a CE sensitivity analysis by stressing both the related lifetime default rate and basis spread assumptions. In addition, Fitch conducted a maturity sensitivity analysis by running different assumptions for the IBR usage and prepayment rate. The results below should only be considered as one potential model implied outcome as the transaction is exposed to multiple risk factors that are all dynamic variables.

Credit Stress Rating Sensitivity

–Default increase 25%: class A ‘AAAsf’; class B ‘AAsf’

–Default increase 50%: class A ‘AAsf’; class B ‘Asf’

–Basis Spread increase 0.25%: class A ‘AAAsf’; class B ‘AAsf’

–Basis Spread increase 0.50%: class A ‘AAAsf’; class B ‘AAsf’

Maturity Stress Rating Sensitivity

–CPR decrease 50%: class A ‘AAAsf’; class B ‘AAAsf’

–CPR increase 100%: class A ‘AAAsf’; class B ‘AAAsf’

–IBR Usage increase 100%: class A ‘AAAsf’; class B ‘AAAsf’

–IBR Usage decrease 50%: class A ‘AAAsf’; class B ‘AAAsf’

Stresses are intended to provide an indication of the rating sensitivity of the notes to unexpected deterioration in trust performance. Rating sensitivity should not be used as an indicator of future rating performance.


ABS Due Diligence-15E was not provided to, or reviewed by, Fitch in relation to this rating action.


Student Loan Marketplace Credible Partners with New Hampshire Higher Education Loan Corporation


Student loan marketplace Credible.comannounced that the New Hampshire Higher Education Loan Corporation (NHHELCO) will offer student loan refinancing through the site, expanding the range of options available to borrowers. An estimated 8 million Americans may qualify to refinance their student loans at lower rates, according to the platform. lets borrowers see personalized rates for which they’ll qualify with NHHELCO and other partner lenders in real time, without affecting their credit score or sharing their personal information with lenders until they see an offer they like.

 stephan-dash“With the addition of NHHELCO, there are now seven lenders competing to refinance student loans through the marketplace,” said Credible Founder and CEO Stephen Dash. “Bringing new lenders onto the platform helps us serve a broader range of borrowers, and we’re proud that NHHELCO shares our commitment to providing consumers with simplicity, transparency and meaningful choices.”

Available in all 50 states, NHHELCO’s EDvestinU Consolidation Loan lets borrowers combine multiple student loans, federal and private, into a new loan with a potentially lower interest rate and monthly payment. Borrowers refinancing with EDvestinU can choose a fixed- or variable-rate loan with a repayment term of 5, 10, 15 or 20 years. Variable-rate loans currently range from 2.47% to 6.07% APR, with fixed-rate loans available from 3.94% to 7.54% APR.

With the integration of NHHELCO’s EDvestinU loan, the marketplace now provides access to student loan refinancing options from seven lenders: Citizens Bank, College Ave, CommonBond, iHELP, the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA”), NHHELCO, and the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA). For borrowers who are still attending school, provides access to private student loans offered by Citizens Bank, CommonBond, College Ave, iHELP, RISLA and Sallie Mae. Sallie Mae and MEFA began offering loans through earlier this year.

[Source:-Crowdfund Insider]