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23 killed as terror strikes Brussels
Brussels : At least 23 people were killed as two deadly explosions rocked the Zaventem airport and another the main metro station here on Tuesday, four days after the arrest of the Paris terror attack suspect in the Belgian capital.
 
In what looked like a coordinated terror strike, a suicide bomber was apparently involved in the airport carnage where two quick explosions just after 8 a.m. left a part of the departure hall looking like a war zone. At least 13 people were killed and over 30 injured, Belgian media said.
 
Even as Belgium raised its terror alert to the maximum, a third equally powerful blast occurred -- at the Maalbeek Metro station near the European Union building killing at least 10 people.
 
An Indian woman crew member of Jet Airways, which had just landed at Brussels, was injured and rushed to a hospital, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted. The plane had taken off from Delhi. 
 
It was not immediately clear how the crew member got wounded. An hour earlier, another Jet plane had landed -- from Mumbai.
 
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel appealed to people to "avoid any movement". The airport was hurriedly evacuated and both the airport and Metro station were shut down.
 
Belga news agency reported that shots were fired and shouts in Arabic were heard before the two blasts, BBC said.
 
People were seen coming out of the airport building with blood on their faces.
 
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: "News from Brussels is disturbing. The attacks are condemnable. Condolences to the families of the deceased. May those injured recover quickly."
 
Initial reports said the blasts were centred at the American Airlines check-in desk. The false ceiling in that building came crashing down while all the glass windows, furniture and machinery were shattered. 
 
A later report said one explosion occurred at the departure area, where public access was easy, and another at the runway.
 
BBC and most media outlets said several people were killed at the airport. Belgian broadcaster RTBF quoted hospital sources to say that 10 people had been killed and 30 injured. Daily Mail of London put the death toll at 13.
 
Pictures showed the terminal windows blown out from the force of the explosion and plumes of smoke rising high into the sky. Video also showed terrified passengers running for their lives out of the terminal. 
 
Sky News Middle East correspondent Alex Rossi, who was at the airport, told the channel: "I could feel the building move."
 
The incident came as the Belgian capital was on a state of high alert following the arrest of Paris terror attack suspect Salah Abdeslam in the city last week. 
 
On Monday, Belgium's Interior Minister Jan Jambon said the country was braced for a possible revenge attack following the capture of the 26-year-old Abdeslam.
 
CNN quoted a tourist, Anthony Barrett, as saying that he heard the explosions from his hotel across the terminal building. "When I opened the curtains and looked out, I could see people fleeing," he told CNN.
 
Barrett said he saw 19 or 20 stretchers carrying people. Luggage trolleys were also used to transport the wounded. "It is clearly a very serious incident."
 
The Brussels airport, which was originally built in 1944 and has three runways, said there were two explosions at the building and everyone was asked to leave. 
 
France is seeking Abdeslam's extradition so he can stand trial for his alleged role in the November 13 rampage of gunfire and suicide bombings which killed 130 people in Paris.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Brace for hotter, drier, wetter future: Researcher
New Delhi : There is strong evidence that the Earth is already one degree Celsius hotter than at the start of the 20th century - and the past four years have been the hottest on record. All this is a a foretaste of a hotter, drier and wetter future, says an international researcher.
 
He said climate change is already happening and will continue to happen as more heat-trapping greenhouse gases and short-lived climate pollutants accumulate in the atmosphere.
 
"While mitigation is necessary to control climate change, adaptation is essential to face the hotter, drier, wetter future," Kathmandu-based ICIMOD's programme manager Arun B. Shrestha told IANS.
 
At the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 in Paris last year, the governments agreed to "hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees".
 
Shrestha said these commitments are highly ambitious but the plans developed so far cannot avoid a rise of three degrees Celsius.
 
UN weather agency the World Meteorological Organization said in terms of global averages, each of the past several decades has been significantly warmer than the previous one.
 
The period 2011-2015 was the hottest on record and 2015 -- because of a powerful El Nino phenomenon -- was the hottest since modern observations began in the late 1800s.
 
Along with the rising temperatures, climate change is disrupting the seasons and increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme events such as droughts and heavy rainfall.
 
And when it comes to the mountains, the indications are that changes will manifest in much stronger ways.
 
The Mountain Research Initiative, a scientific organisation that addresses global change issues in mountain regions around the world, warns that warming will be much stronger in high elevation areas, such as the Hindu Kush Himalayas, where the impact will be compounded by biophysical fragility and socio-economic vulnerability.
 
Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), along with its partners, has been conducting scientific research on climate change to support policy and action to reduce climate impacts and vulnerabilities.
 
According to a climate and water atlas, "Mapping an uncertain future: Atlas of climate change and water in five crucial water basins in the Hindu Kush Himalayas", the mountain range extending west of the Himalayas are warming significantly faster than the global average.
 
The atlas, published last year by ICIMOD, and two Norwegian entities - GRID-Arendal and the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO) - said the temperatures across the Hindu Kush will increase by about one to two degrees Celsius, in some places by four to five degrees, by 2050.
 
The atlas also warns that precipitation will change, with that in summer increasing in most parts of the region. The number of rainfall events is expected to decrease, but with more water falling during each event, causing both floods and droughts.
 
The Hindu Kush Himalayan region is home to 210 million people and provides water to over 1.3 billion people - more than the entire continent of Europe.
 
To counter mitigations of climate change, Shrestha, who is ICIMOD's programme manager for the river basins and cryosphere and atmosphere regional programmes, said adopting climate smart villages models, along with flexible and integrate farming with weather information is the right approach.
 
At the catchment scale, he said, community-based flood early warning systems like the one implemented in Assam by ICIMOD and its partners have increased the resilience of the people.
 
In addition to floods, droughts also need to be addressed through integrated drought management, the researcher added.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Can P2P platforms become the first choice for small ticket loans?
By 2025, the value of loans disbursed globally under the peer-to-peer lending module is expected to reach $1,000 billion mark. Will this mode be the first choice for small ticket loans?
 
The peer-to-peer lending (P2P) concept is receiving overwhelming response and the world is going gaga over the ease with which loans are being forwarded via these platforms. The pace at which these platforms are growing is worth mentioning and it is estimated that the by 2025 the value of loans disbursed globally will reach $1,000 billion mark. The following graph shows value of loans disbursed globally between 2012 and 2015 and also shows the expected volumes by the end of 2025.
 
 
 
It seems that intermediation can change remarkably in future and these P2P platforms may become the first choice for small ticket loans. Now that we are hopeful that the coverage of P2P lending is likely to extend in times to come, we can say that there will be a consequent rise in the structured transactions as well. Already a lot of activities have taken place in the segment and this makes us all the more optimistic about the growth of the segment. A snapshot of the deals already executed has been shown in the table below.
P2P deals so far
 
 
 
The online marketplace of financial intermediation i.e. Peer to Peer lending (P2P) has received unprecedented support world over. The concept of P2P is simple yet very attractive and interesting part lies in the fact that the world’s largest P2P platform The Lending Club, with no physical existence has been able to disburse loans around $15 billion as at 31 December 2015. The concept has taken over the whole financial intermediation space and this is apparent from the fact that the number of P2P platforms has grown exponentially since 2006 when the fist P2P platform Prosper Market Place commenced its operation.
 
While the concept is still at the nascent stage in many countries, developed countries like the US have gone a step ahead to apply securitisation to the loans originated through these platforms, thus, adding more liquidity in the current structure. 
 
The P2P platforms provide attractive return on the loans and this being a profitable proposition has more recently been attracting institutional investors. The institutional investors and originators have been purchasing loans listed on these platforms so as to earn excessive interest spread by securitising these high yield generating loans. 
 
The first of such transaction was carried out by Eaglewood, which securitised loans worth $75 million originated via Lending Club and completed in the year 2014. Though the transaction was a non-rated one but it was first of its kind. Following the footsteps, Blackrock Financial Management Inc (BlackRock) in 2015 successfully securitised loans originated via Prosper Market Place Inc. 
 
In short, the matter has been an upbeat in the recent times and certainly deserves a bit of discussion. Here in this article, we have analysed one of the recent transactions in order to understand the mechanics of the same.
 
CCOLT 2015-1 (Consumer Credit Origination Loan Trust 2015)
 
Consumer Credit Origination Loan Trust 2015-1 (CCOLT 2015-1) is a securitization of unsecured consumer instalment loans originated and serviced through the online platform operated by Prosper Funding LLC, (Prosper), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Prosper Marketplace, Inc (PMI). CCOLT 2015-1 is a special purpose vehicle created by BlackRock. The special purpose vehicle on behalf of BlackRock, has been purchasing loans originated via platform since November 2013. 
   
Parties to transactions
 
 
Steps involved in the securitisation of loans originated through Prosper Transaction structure
  1. The loan is first originated through Web Bank, designated bank of the platform, which holds the loans for one day and subsequently sells the loans to Prosper funding LLC.
  2. Prosper funding LLC, wholly owned subsidiary of the Prosper Market Place (PMI), in turn sells the loan to Prosper Holding LLC and then loans are further transferred to peer to peer consumer credit LP by Prosper Holding LLC.
 
The above is a typical structure that PMI follows with any consumer loan that it provides and the securitisation process starts from this phase.
  1. The CCOLP (Administrator) purchases loans from Peer to Peer Consumer LP and in turn passes the loan to the Depositor i.e. Consumer Credit Origination Loan (Depositor) LP 2015-1.
  2. The Depositor then purchases notes and certificates from the CCOLT 2015-1 (issuer) and in turn sells the notes to the investors. While the payment obligation on notes lies on the issuer i.e. CCOLT.  
 
The above structure depicts that how notes are issued but there still lies an important question as how notes come into existence and this has been explained below -
  1. The CCOLT 2015-1 before issuing notes to the CCOLP 2015-1 (Depositor), contributes the loan to the CCOLT 2015-1 Grantor trust which in turn issues trust certificates to the issuer i.e. CCOLT 2015-1against the loans.
  2. The issuer then pledges these certificates to the indenture trustee i.e. Indenture CCOLT (trustee). The Trustee then issues notes to the issuer against the grantor trust certificates and bank loans and notes backed by the indenture trustee come into existence.
 
Securitisation structure
 
 
Provisional Ratings given by Moody’s
 
 
(Kanishka Jain works at Vinod Kothari Consultants Pvt Ltd)

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