Finance & Economy
  • Tax break on housing loans to be enhanced?
    • It looks like there is a case for enhancing the tax exemption limit on interest payment relating to a housing loan. There is a demand for enhancing it from the present Rs. 1.5 lakhs to Rs. 2.5 lakhs.
    • The existing tax exemption limit is considered inadequate because a two-bedroom house in big cities costs at least Rs 25 lakh. Considering a person takes a loan of Rs 20 lakh at an interest rate of 9.5%, he would pay Rs 1,88,493 towards interest alone in the first year. His annual interest payment in the first five years would be more than Rs 1.5 lakh.
    • If the exemption limit is hiked to Rs 2.5 lakh, then a person paying that much home loan interest in a year will save an additional Rs 31,000 in tax every year. This saving of over Rs 2,500 a month would be significant for most borrowers, making home purchases more affordable.
  • Government to slash small savings rate?
    • Millions of risk-averse Indians, a huge percentage of whom are senior citizens, invest in these savings plans that offer guaranteed returns and tax benefits, along with the government assurance of safety. The investment into these savings plans increased to Rs 143,668 crore in 2008-09 from Rs 123,652 crore in 2007-08.
    • Close to 55% of savings by Indians are in bank deposits, and a shift of 15-20% of these deposits to small savings schemes can be expected if the term deposit rates are cut further.
  • 26 new species frogs and insects discovered in India
    • As many as 12 new species of frogs and 14 insects have been discovered by scientists across the country in 2008, according to the latest report of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).
    • Since its inception in 1916, ZSI scientists have discovered 4452 new species and subspecies.
    • The discoveries include a frog which changes colour and spots (Rhacophorous subansiriensis) found in the forests of Subansiri district in Arunanchal Pradesh and the diminutive frog (Philautus manipurensis) from Tumzane river in Manipur.
    • Chirixalus senapatiensis is another frog species that has been found from the Mabing river bed in Manipur.
    • Two new species of Cladocera and one new record of Sea Spider were found in the Visakhapatnam inshore waters.
  • Titbits about the Paris air show
    • The Paris Air Show is marking its 100th anniversary, although because it alternates every other year with the Farnborough International Airshow outside London, it is only on its 48th edition.
    • It opens to industry and the press today, and then to the public June 19-21.
    • To mark the centennial show, 30 historic aircraft from various aviation epochs will be on display, including a Bleriot XI, a plane shown at the first Paris Air Show in 1909. Plane spotters will be entertained with demonstration flights — including an Airbus show Wednesday to mark the planemaker’s 40 years.
  • Our T20 campaign comes to a close
    • Handed out a three run loss by England, we will now have to sit and watch others play for the T20 cup. What a loss!!
Language lessons
  • quibble
    • Noun: An evasion of the point of an argument by raising irrelevant distinctions or objections
    • Verb: Evade the truth of a point or question by raising irrelevant objections
  • bloomer: Noun
    • Underpants worn by women; An embarrassing mistake
  • ad-libbing: Verb
    • Perform without preparation
    • eg: His successor, however, dried up the market, as lampooning him would make even the most reckless of night time chat show hosts think before ad libbing.
  • leitmotif
    • A melodic phrase that accompanies the reappearance of a person or situation (as in Wagner's operas)
    • eg: Stature, rather than height, has always been the leitmotif here, with most of the giants of the Indian political arena rarely topping Sarkozy’s height.