'India fared well during financial crisis'

Washington: India fared comparatively well during the recession that had engulfed the world, mainly due to inherent strength of its economy, reports PTI quoting a Congressional oversight panel report.

"Because the financial crisis originated in domestic housing bubbles, and was transmitted by highly leveraged multinational financial firms, countries that were shielded from those forces fared comparatively well," said the panel in its 162-page report for the month of August.

India fared comparatively well, the report said.

"Brazil, India, China, Australia and Canada, for example, generally avoided the banking crises that plagued US and much of Europe; nonetheless their economies felt many of the after-effects of the global financial crisis."

Brazil, the report said, is one of the countries that has fared best during the global financial crisis.

"Its highly regulated banking sector had limited operations outside India, and therefore very little exposure to subprime lending in the US," the report said, adding that although India did feel the follow-on effects of the crisis, though.

Its export-driven economy suffered when global demand dropped; its financial sector suffered from the global liquidity squeeze, which led to a fall in lending; and its stock market lost roughly 50% of its value between June and December 2008.

"Although the Indian government did not provide capital to Indian banks, it did respond to the crisis with fiscal stimulus equal to about 2% of gross domestic Product (GDP), and it shifted from a tightening monetary policy to an expansionary one," the report said.

The Congressional Oversight Panel said China's financial system also fared relatively well during the crisis, though it should be noted that China's state-owned banks have benefited from repeated government rescues in the recent past.

China maintains capital controls that limit foreign investment by individuals and businesses; these controls had beneficial effects during the crisis, since Chinese investors had little exposure to troubled parts of the US and European financial systems, it said.

Banks in China had invested heavily in US securities, but those investments were generally not in sub-prime securities, but rather in safer Treasury bonds and securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which the US government stepped in to backstop during the crisis, it said.

"Therefore, the China's financial system, like Brazil's and India's, did not sustain major damage from the crisis.

China's export-driven economy did suffer, though, from the sharp downturn in global demand and the slowdown in foreign investment," the report said.

China's explosive growth slowed during the crisis, but the government countered the effects of the slowdown by increasing bank lending, lowering interest rates, and introducing fiscal stimulus spending that was among the largest in the world as a percentage of GDP.

"Australia also suffered relatively little from the crisis. Its only decline in GDP occurred in the fourth quarter of 2009, meaning that Australia did not enter into a recession," the report said.


Cairn Energy unlikely to exit Indian arm, says official

New Delhi: Cairn India today clarified that its UK-based parent Cairn Energy Plc is unlikely to exit completely from the company, reports PTI.

"To me it looks like they (Cairn Energy Plc) are not exiting completely," Cairn India CEO Rahul Dhir said after a meeting with oil secretary S Sundareshan.

Mr Dhir may have briefed the oil secretary about the transaction as owner change of Cairn India will require the government approval.

Billionaire Anil Agrawal-owned mining firm Vedanta Resources yesterday said it is in talks to buy a stake in Cairn India, the company that owns the nation's largest onland oilfield.

Mr Dhir, however, did not divulge details of the discussion between Cairn Energy Plc and Vedanta Resources.

"I am not aware of that. The discussions are taking place between majority shareholder and Vedanta. I am not part of those discussions."

Cairn Energy holds a 62.37% stake in Cairn India.

Mr Dhir said the company is currently producing 1,25,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Rajasthan fields which have a potential to go up to 2,40,000 barrels per day (bpd).

In addition, the Bhagyam field in the same block has the potential to produce 40,000 bpd and the Aishwariya another 10,000 bpd.

The company owns a 70% stake in the fields, while the rest is held by state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).

It also owns interest in Ravva oil and gas field off the East Coast and Block CB/OS-2 in the Cambay Offshore Basin.


India among the most popular malware destinations

Dubai: India features among the countries where malware spam, or anything that comes with a virus or Trojan attachment urging you to visit an infected website, is the most popular, reports PTI.

According to the McAfee Threats Report, which was simultaneously released here, Colombia, South Korea, Russia and Vietnam are the other countries in this category.

Argentina had the most variety in spam, with 16 different topic areas, ranging from drugs to lonely women to diplomas. Italy came in with the least variety, with just six types of spam, it said.

The report uncovered that malware has reached its highest levels, making the first six months of 2010 the most active half-year ever for total malware production.

At the same time, spam levelled out with only 2.5% growth from Q1 2010. Malware continued to soar in Q2 2010, as there were 10 million new pieces catalogued in the first half of this year.

Consistent with last quarter, threats on portable storage devices took the lead for the most popular malware, followed by fake anti-virus software and social media specific malware.

With approximately 55,000 new pieces of malware that appear everyday, globally AutoRun malware and password-stealing Trojans round out the Top Two malware threats, the report said.

After reaching its highest point in Q3 2009, with nearly 175 billion messages per day spam rates have hit a plateau.

Cybercriminals took advantage of anticipation on and hype of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, and used various methods to promote scams and search-engine "poisoning".

Globally, the most popular types of spam varied from country to country with some interesting findings.

For instance, delivery status notifications, or non-delivery receipt spam, were the most popular in United States, Italy, Spain, China, Great Britain, Brazil, Germany and Australia.

Malware spam, or anything that comes with a virus or Trojan attachment urging you to visit an infected website, was the most popular in Colombia, India, South Korea, Russia and Vietnam.

"Our latest threat report depicts that malware has been on a steady incline in the first half of 2010," said Mike Gallagher, senior vice president and chief technology officer of Global Threat Intelligence for McAfee.

"It's also obvious that cybercriminals are becoming more in tune with what the general public is passionate about from a technology perspective and using it to lure unsuspecting victims", he added.


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