The vice-presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan dwelt on foreign policy and the issue of abortion, among others. But a new poll shows that Romney has caught up with the president. Let’s see who wins...
Joe Biden’s left-right was answered by Paul Ryan’s right-left as the two contestants went toe-to-toe for an hour and a half in a debate moderated by Martha Raddatz of ABC News who conducted the debate ably giving both contestants time to speak and also interrupting them when they went on too long. Paul Ryan was wearing a red and blue tie which I thought was a sign that like the governor, he too would be moving to the Centre. While Paul Ryan softened his tone, sometimes considerably, he held onto his views.
Joe Biden went for Paul Ryan from the word go and particularly drew a chuckle and a laugh when he pointed out that Paul Ryan himself had asked for some stimulus money for his constituents in Wisconsin, a stimulus which he opposed, and Paul Ryan had to admit that that was the case. He seemed a little bashful. Paul Ryan deflected Governor Romney 47% comment rather adroitly by saying that as the vice-president knows sometimes words don’t come outright referring to the vice-president’s proclivity for gaffes. And Biden came back by saying but I always mean what I say.
The debate was quite heavy on foreign policy, given that the moderator was from ABC News and does a lot of war reporting and Paul Ryan held more than his own when it came to showing his mastery of foreign policy. He was well-informed and took the attack to vice-president Joe Biden, particularly on the mess in Benghazi, but on many occasions had to agree that Romney-Ryan would do the same things as Obama-Biden. Joe Biden put Paul Ryan on the back-foot when it came to ending one war in Iraq as also ending the war in Afghanistan saying that Romney would have kept 30,000 troops in Iraq and wasn’t sure he would end the war in Afghanistan by 2014. Ryan criticised Biden for his inability to negotiate a long-term pact with Iraq and sounded less hawkish when it came to Israel and Iran and the nuclear bomb. He thought that sanctions would be the best way to go forward but accused the Obama administration for weakening sanctions and resisting them. This sounded a little disingenuous as Ryan postponed the deadline and did not talk about a possible war with Iran.
But the most interesting and possibly most important part of the debate was the issue of abortion—both Biden and Ryan are Catholics. The moderator asked as to how their Catholic faith has formed their view on abortion. Paul Ryan said that the policy of Romney-Ryan administration would be to oppose abortion except in the case of rape, incest and where the life of the mother was at stake. He said he was pro-life but these exceptions were part of the policy. He further hinted that he was in favour of a reversal of the iconic Supreme Court case of Roe Vs Wade which has been called a constitutional right to abort in the first trimester of pregnancy. He said that he would prefer to leave the issue of abortion to the legislature of various states, which would be a reversal of the position since 1973. Though conservative pollsters opine that this is not the most important issue for women and is only fifth on their list of priorities I think in an election which is going to be decided by women it could play a crucial role. After 1973, Roe Vs Wade would has come to be regarded almost a fundamental right and Paul Ryan offered them no solace during the vice-presidential debate. As Joe Biden pointed out that Roe was a vote or two from reversal and another Scalia appointed by Romney could change the majority in Roe. This was of course the fear also when Sandra Day O’Conner was appointed and she and justice Antony Powell controlled the court.
The New York Times said in its editorial that it could end up criminalising abortion in much of the United States. But Ryan made it personal. He said that when nine-and-a-half years ago when their son was conceived, he and his wife went for a sonography when the foetus was eleven weeks after conception and was as small as a bean. Ryan said, “You could hear the heart beat”. The words put like that were a powerful pro-life statement.
A new Gallup poll shows that Governor Romney has caught up with President Obama as far as the women’s vote goes. If that is indeed true President Obama’s re-election will be in trouble.
(Harsh Desai has done his BA in Political Science from St Xavier's College & Elphinstone College, Bombay and has done his Master's in Law from Columbia University in the city of New York. He is a practicing advocate at the Bombay High Court.)
Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit steps down with immediate effect and the Board has named Michael Corbat as his successor
Banking major Citigroup said its cheif executive Vikram Pandit has resigned and its board has named Michael Corbat as the new chief executive.
The Board namee Corbat as successor after Pandit steped down with immediate effect
Yesterday, Citigroup reported 88% plunge in net profit to $468 million in the July-September quarter due to $4.7 billion loss related to the joint venture brokerage business, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.
Citi said excluding the loss on its brokerage unit, a one-time accounting charge and credit adjustments, the bank reported earnings of $3.27 billion in the quarter under review up from $2.57 billion same period a year ago.
The banking entity's total revenues fell by 33% from the year-ago period to $13.95 billion in third quarter of this year.
While depositories and stock exchanges have already been asked to take necessary actions against defaulting companies, SEBI is of the view that certain regulations need to be amended to empower the depositories to take penal actions in such cases
New Delhi: Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has decided to empower depositories to take penal action against companies that do not properly reconcile their demat and physical shares and thus expose the equity market and investors to possible frauds, reports PTI.
The depositories have the mandate to help the companies convert their physical shares into de-materialised or demat form and thereafter maintain those shares, while the companies are required to reconcile their total share capital, including physical and demat shares, in a proper manner.
However, discrepancies have come to light in share capital reconciliation of hundreds of the companies, a senior official said.
While depositories and stock exchanges have already been asked to take necessary actions against defaulting companies, SEBI is of the view that certain regulations need to be amended to empower the depositories to take penal actions in such cases.
A proposal to this effect has been approved by SEBI board and the necessary amendments would be made soon to SEBI (Depositories and Participants) Regulations, the official said.
The proposed amendment would allow depositories to take action if a company or its agent contravenes any provision of the relevant regulations and/or fails to furnish any information relating to its activity as an issuer of shares.
Besides, SEBI can take action against an issuer that contravenes any of the relevant regulations, fails to provide the information sought from it, does not co-operate in any inspection, investigation or enquiry conducted by any person authorised by SEBI and fails to comply with SEBI directions.
For the purpose of enabling issue of demat shares, the issuers enter agreements with the depositories and their agents and these agreements lay down obligations to comply with the provisions of the relevant SEBI regulations.
However, it has been observed that there is no provision for action which can be taken by depositories in the event of non-compliance by issuers or their agents.
One of the obligations requires proper reconciliation of share capital by the issuer company.
"The non-reconciliation of share capital undermines the integrity of the market," SEBI has said in a memorandum presented before its board.
"In order to ensure protection of investors and market integrity, there is need to have measures in place to prevent issuer companies/promoters and issuer's agents from introducing fraudulent shares in the market or borrowing against such shares or accessing banking system for loans etc," SEBI said.
Under the existing regulations, a company needs to reconcile its share capital on daily basis and send an quarterly audit report to the stock exchanges on reconciliation of the total issued capital, listed capital and capital held by depositories in demat form.
In case of discrepancies, the issuer is obligated to bring it to the notice of the exchanges and depositories.
One of the challenges observed in the present depositories framework is that in case of some issuers, issued capital or listed capital does not reconcile with the actual capital (demat and physical shares), thereby indicating non-compliance with D&P Regulations.
As per reports submitted by the stock exchanges to SEBI, some companies have failed to submit quarterly audit report or have reported discrepancies in share capital reconciliation.
Further, in some cases, the discrepancy is explainable whereas in some cases, the issuer is unable to provide justification for the discrepancy.
NSE and BSE have reported discrepancies in share capital reconciliation of 329 and 695 companies respectively for the quarter ending March 2012.
To curtail the transfer of additional issue of shares by listed companies, SEBI has asked the depositories to devise a mechanism so that such newly created securities are frozen till final listing/trading permission by the exchange.
Depositories have also been asked to create a database of distinctive numbers, to be implemented in phases -- first phase by 31 October 2012 and the second by 31 December 2012.
In second phase, the issuers and their agents would provide information on listed capital, number of shares in demat and physical form and number of shares pending final approval.
The interface of database would be common across both the depositories, exchanges and the companies and would enable all the stakeholders to view the status of shares issued, listed and dematerialised on a common interface.
The database would enable all issued shares to be accounted for through their distinctive numbers and would require periodic updating and monitoring by the depositories.