World
Eurozone reaches agreement to Greece crisis
Eurozone leaders on Monday reached a "unanimous" agreement after marathon talks over a third bailout deal for Greece, European Union (EU) President Donald Tusk said.
 
He tweeted that a bailout programme was "all ready to go" for Greece, "with serious reforms and financial support", BBC reported.
 
Details of the agreement are yet to be disclosed. 
 
Eurozone leaders have been meeting in the Belgian capital of Brussels for over 16 hours.
 
Greece is expected to pass the reforms demanded by the eurozone by Wednesday.

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When Wall Street Offers Free Money, Watch Out
Bankers and new accounting rules are emboldening governments to borrow-and-bet their way out of pension problems, a strategy that’s backfired in the past
 
This story was co-published with the Washington Post.
 
If there were ever a time not to bet the moon on the stock and bond markets, it's now, with U.S. stocks at near-record highs and interest rates on quality bonds at near-record lows. But Wall Street is urging state and local governments to do just that — and they're listening.
 
Despite the risks, governments are lining up to issue billions of dollars in new debt to replenish their depleted pension funds and, as a bonus, take some pressure off strapped budgets. In some cases, the borrowing makes their balance sheets look vastly better.
 
Bankers, who make fat fees for raising the money, are encouraging this borrow-and-bet trend. Their sales pitch is that borrowing at today's low interest rates all but guarantees a profit for the governments because they can invest the proceeds in their pension funds and for decades earn returns higher than the 5 percent or so in interest that they will pay on the bonds.
 
But there's a catch: If the timing is wrong, these so-called pension obligation bonds could clobber the finances of the government issuers. Pension funds and beneficiaries will be better off because pensions will be more soundly financed. But taxpayers — present and future — might be considerably worse off. They will be running huge risks and could get stuck with a massive tab.
 
"It's sold as a magic bean," said Todd Ely, a professor at the University of Colorado at Denver who has studied pension bonds. "But when it goes bad it's not free. Then it isn't really magic. If it could be counted on to work as often as it's supposed to, then everyone would be doing it."
 
Plenty of takers are bellying up to the borrowing bar. Governments sold $670 million worth of pension bonds through the first half of this year, more than double the $300 million raised for all of last year, according to deal-trackers at Thomson Reuters.
 
That total would more than double if Kansas completes a pending $1 billion deal, which would be its biggest bond issue. A $3 billion sale is under consideration in Pennsylvania, that state's largest as well. Lawmakers recently rejected record multibillion-dollar deals in Kentucky and Colorado, but those proposals are expected to resurface. And new proposals are being pitched to other governments.
 
Pension bonds have waxed and waned since the 1980s, but the current boom is different. An examination by The Washington Post and ProPublica found that it's being driven not only by the prospect of investment profits but also by a new accounting quirk that has largely escaped public notice while morphing into a major marketing tool for Wall Street banks.
 
The quirk stems from a rule change that, ironically, was meant to force governments to more clearly disclose the health of their pension funds. But a side effect is to allow governments with extremely underfunded pensions to slash reported shortfalls by $2 or more for each $1 borrowed.
 
Here's how: If a pension plan is so poorly funded that it is projected to run out of cash, the new rules require it to make less optimistic projections about future returns. That increases the reported pension shortfall. But if governments infuse a big slug of borrowed money into the fund, they can resume using optimistic projections, and the shortfall shrinks.
 
It's like getting a new credit card, borrowing on it to pay off part of an existing loan, then having the total amount owed magically shrink by more than what is borrowed. Sounds impossible — but it's true.
 
The impact can be dramatic. In March, the town of Hamden, Conn., reduced its unfunded pension amount by about $320 million with a $125 million pension bond and promises of future payments, according to an estimate by ProPublica and The Post. The Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System said it estimates that a $3.3 billion bond issue plus payment promises could carve $9.5 billion off its unfunded liability.
 
Those figures don't reflect… Continue Reading…
 
Courtesy: ProPublica

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Controlling Your Mobile
You truly own your device only when you have root access and install a customised Android OS. Here is how to do it
 
If you want to control your mobile device, it literally means that you should be able to change its settings, parameters and themes (wallpapers too), according to your choice. Otherwise, what is the point of buying a device which is restricted? My point is simple. You own your mobile handset and should be able to do what you please with it, or use it as you please. 
 
It would be ideal if the manufacturer just supplied the hardware and installed the operating system (OS) as per the buyer’s choice. But this might take a few more years to become a reality. Almost all mobile handsets have certain limitations imposed by the manufacturers or mobile operators. Although it is done to protect the buyer, sometimes it also puts several restrictions on the usage.
 
Therefore, let’s see how you can take full control of your mobile device. The first step is rooting (for Android) which allows you to take control, like installing or using blocked apps and features or emulate some exclusive features. But, before proceeding further, let me warn you: rooting an Android device is not for the faint-hearted and you cannot hold anyone—including me—responsible if your device turns into a brick. (Don’t worry; there are ways to revive this brick, but more about this later.) One issue you need to be aware of is that rooting your device will void its warranty; unless the manufacture specifically allows it and all your data (on internal memory) will be gone, unless you had backed it up on an external SD card. Presently, Yureka from Yu Technologies (a unit of Micromax) allows device rooting without affecting the warranty. I would urge you to try this only on devices whose warranty has expired and the manufacturer is no more upgrading the OS or firmware. I am using Android KitKat (4.4.4) on my Galaxy SII that was left out in cold by Samsung at 2.3.6 without a chance for further updates.
 
Rooting can be done by using simple methods as well as using a command prompt and development interface known as Android Debug Bridge (ADB). Both methods are easy and there are plenty of detailed guides to follow. One of the best sites for Android-related devices is xda-developers.com. So, first search your device (exact name or model number is a must) on the portal and see if you can root or modify or install customised OS, like OmniROM or more popular CyanogenMod. From here, you need to download a custom recovery and the customised OS.
 
There are three steps involved in taking control of your Android device: unlocking bootloader, rooting and flashing customised read-only memory (ROM). Since several handset manufacturers these days are not locking the bootloader or selling devices with unlockable bootloaders, we can jump to the rooting task. 
 
Rooting needs a custom recovery image that can be flashed on the device. ClockworkMod (CWM) or TWRP are the two most popular ones. You need to copy either of the recovery images (in .zip file format), the customised ROM and Google Apps package to your device. You can even copy these files on the internal and external memory of your device. Every device is pre-set to enter into recovery mode. Use it to go into recovery mode. From there, select install .zip (from internal/external memory card) and choose the custom recovery file. Install the files. Reboot into recovery, install the ROM and Google Apps package using the same method. Reboot the device. 
 
And now you are a proud owner of your mobile handset. 
 
The steps I have mentioned here are most common; but please check detailed guidelines for your particular device on the website from where you have downloaded the recovery, ROM (OS) and Google apps files.

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COMMENTS

saravanan ramamoorthy

1 year ago

Rooting the device is good, but its effect last only 3-6 months only and thereafter it starts malfunctioning - slow execution of app commands, frequent 'hang' like 'windows', etc. Even resetting the device to factory status does not work becuase the device should be unrooted now, so that the minimum speed functioning is restored at the factory status. So, virtually every device rooted need to be unrooted after a few months' time.

REPLY

Yogesh Sapkale

In Reply to saravanan ramamoorthy 1 year ago

Thanks for your comment. Rooting is basically done to explore more features of the OS besides gaining control over the device. Rooting remains till you unroot. so there is no question of effects lasting for limited period. What you are trying to say is the devices becomes slow after some time. But is has more to do with installing several applications or using more features. It is applicable to any and every OS, depending upon the hardware present and software installations.
Hope this clarifies your doubts.

Pravesh Pandya

1 year ago

I look forward to a day when you could just buy your mobile and install OS of your choice - as we get to do in laptops.

At one point or other, tablets, phones and laptops will converge. Currently the only difference between tablet/phone and laptop is 1. keyboard, 2. bulk 3. screensize, 4. hardware architecture.

The first three might get solved, but that last one would require industry wide effort to use standardised hardware.

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