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Eurozone situation much better than reported says EFSF chief

According to EFSF chief Klays Regling, eespite the lack of confidence of market participants and scepticism, the member-states of the Euro area have made significant progress on national level in reducing macroeconomic imbalances

Mumbai: Contrary to the mainstream media perception and market beliefs, economic situation in the troubled Eurozone is improving on the back of significant measures taken up by the member-nations, European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) Chief Executive Klaus Regling said, reports PTI.

 

Stating that at the macro level much has improved since the soverign debt crisis broke out five years ago following the fall of some leading American banks, he defended the concept of the euro and said both fiscal and current account deficits have improved and are already better than many other developed countries.

 

"Despite the lack of confidence of market participants and scepticism, the member-states of the Euro area, hence the European Union, have made significant progress on national level in reducing macroeconomic imbalances," Regling said in Mumbai last evening.

 

Regling was delivering the first International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS)-Oberoi lecture on 'The Euro and the future of Europe' here. The IISS is a leading London-based institute dealing with geo-political and economic issues.

 

Explaining some of the measures taken up by the Eurozone nations and their impact on key economic indicators like improving fiscal and current account deficits, moderate inflation among others, Regling said the indicators show sound improvement from the debt crisis.

 

According to the EFSF chief, fiscal deficit in the Eurozone was only 4% in 2011, which is down from around 6 percent from the previous year.

 

"This fiscal deficit is half that of the deficit of the US or Japan. Also, the Union (EU) has projected 3% fiscal deficit next year," he said, adding macroeconomic stability in member-nations like Spain, Italy, and Greece are stabilising.

 

Regling also said the current account deficit, which was negative for many crisis-ridden economies, are also improving and have turned into current account surplus for some nations like Ireland.

 

He also said the Eurozone economies have strengthened their economic surveillance mechanisms, apart from providing more cushion for market provisions along with bridging the institutional gaps.

 

"Reforms taken up on the national level along with strengthening of economic governance with steps to improve economic growth at the EU-level, have started to deliver results," Regling said.

 

According to the EFSF head, if the adjustments and reforms are duly implemented, the Eurozone is likely to come back to its potential growth rate sooner than being projected.

 

"If the adjustments and reforms are duly implemented, then the Euro (zone) will be back on its long-term potency growth path of 1-2 percent growth," he said, adding this growth rate is sustainable taking into account the high per capita income and negative demographic dividend faced by Eurozone economies.

 

Also, competitive gap between the Northern and Southern economies in the continent is also coming down, he said.

 

Referring to the banking system, where many were bailed out with public money, the EFSF head said bank capitalisation has improved in the Eurozone after significant capital infusion from the European Central Bank.

 

"Inflation risk for the EU economy is low, which is just above 2%. Deflation risk is also low in my view," he said, adding devaluation of the euro will not work in favour of the economy and reduction in normal income is preferable to put the growth engine back.

 

Talking about future responses of the European authority, Regling said treaties like European Fiscal Compact, provision for penalty on member-nations on not adhering to economic adjustment provisions along with strong firewalls would make the economic fundamentals of Eurozone stronger.

 

"Steps in the direction of bank unions, strong fiscal union, strong economic union and political union will make Euro area stronger," he said.

 

He also said the EU is working on steps like single deposit guarantee fund, one banking regulation, national supervision, single fiscal union, higher market union to make the fundamentals of the economy stronger.

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MGAE to ink more deals for MRO facility at Hyderabad airport

The MRO facility has already signed five customers- Go Air, Spice Jet, Bank of China Aviation and another two undisclosed key companies

Hyderabad: The Malaysia Airlines Systems Berhad (MAS) and GMR Aerospace Engineering Company Ltd (MGAE), joint venture is in talks with three more domestic and international airlines for offering aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad, reports PTI.

 

MGAE is a 50:50 Joint Venture partnership between GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL) and Malaysian Aerospace Engineering Sdn.Bhd (MAE), a subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines Systems Berhad (MAS).

 

RV Seshan, CEO, MGAE said the MRO facility has already signed five customers- Go Air, Spice Jet, Bank of China Aviation and another two undisclosed key companies.

 

"There are few other companies in the pipeline as well. I cannot divulge the names at this time. We will for sure close another three customers in this quarter. It is both Indian and international," Seshan told PTI.

 

"All of them will be medium to long term contracts," he added.

 

The MRO complex which was set up with an investment of Rs350 crore and can perform base maintenance 'C' and 'D' checks for A320s, ATR 42s, ATR 72s and the new generation Boeing 737s to begin with. It will build its capability gradually to provide maintenance services for Airbus 330s and Boeing 777s.

 

Currently, the facility has the capacity to do an estimated 200 aircraft checks annually, according to a statement issued by GMR earlier.

 

The facility has already obtained regulatory certifications from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for domestic airlines, as well as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for international flights, Seshan said.

 

The MRO facility is expected to help airlines deploy their aircraft back to operations in the fastest possible time, since it is located within the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) near Hyderabad airport, he added.

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Facebook to remove content that incite violence or hate speech

Facebook's stern warning to its users comes in the wake of the Indian government bringing to its notice the posting of contents, including inflammatory matters and doctored pictures and videos to create social unrest in the country

Washington: In the backdrop of appeals by India to remove hate posts, world's largest social networking website Facebook said it will remove content, block pages or even disable accounts of those users who upload contents that incite violence or perpetuate hate speech, reports PTI.

 

Comprehending the gravity, Facebook's stern warning to its users comes in the wake of the Indian government bringing to its notice the posting of contents, including inflammatory matters and doctored pictures and videos to create social unrest in the country.

 

"Facebook will remove content which breaches our terms as set out in our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Content or individuals can be removed from Facebook for a variety of reasons including issuing direct calls for violence or perpetuating hate speech," a Facebook spokesperson told PTI.

 

"We have received requests from Indian authorities and agencies and are working through those requests and responding to the agencies. We encourage people to continue to use our tools to report content they are concerned about so that we can investigate and take action fast," the spokesperson said when asked about the actions being taken by the company.

 

Given the gravity of the situation, which the social networking site officials term "an emergency situation" a large number of Facebook employees are working round the clock in both India and the US to review and monitor the content and take necessary action, which the company says is part of its social responsibilities. .

 

In fact, Facebook has already removed quite a significant number of such "inflammatory" and "hate" contents from its website and in some cases blocked pages.

 

However, because of the company policy and privacy reasons, its official would not quantify the number of such actions.

 

If any user repeatedly tries to upload such hateful content, Facebook can even disable the account, said an official requesting anonymity as he was not allowed to speak to the press on this issue.

 

Expressing serious concern over the current situation in India wherein people have tried to use Facebook as a tool to incite violence or spread hate, the official said Facebook has taken a number of measures to prevent this.

 

The company is taking a cue from its 2010 experience of riots in London wherein it closely worked with local police to prevent its website being used by hatemongers for either gathering purposes or spread rumors.

 

The Facebook, the official said, is "pretty aligned" with the views of the Indian government on this and have "not run into any issues" with the government.

 

"We understand the gravity of the situation," the official said, adding that the company has intensified the monitoring of such content related to India.

 

Facebook has some 50 million users in India. Company officials urged users to remain alert on any such inflammatory or objectionable posting and keep it informed.

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