World
Victorious Obama says healthcare law 'here to stay'
As the US Supreme Court handed President Barack Obama a huge victory by upholding his signature healthcare law that opposition Republicans have tried to repeal countless times, he vowed to make it even better.
 
"Five years ago, after nearly a century of talk, decades of trying, a year of bipartisan debate, we finally declared that in America, healthcare is not a privilege for a few but a right for all," Obama said from the White House on Thursday shortly after the verdict.
 
"Americans would have gone backwards and that's not what we do, that's not what America does, we move forward," he said praising the apex court's decision to uphold the subsidies in the law, nicknamed "Obamacare".
 
"The Affordable Care Act is here to stay," Obama said of the law that has extended cover to more than 15 million Americans who didn't have health insurance before it was signed into law in 2010.
 
In a 6-3 decision, the court held the Act authorised federal tax subsidies to help poor and middle-class people buy health insurance nationwide and not just in states with their own exchanges to shop for them.
 
Only 16 states and the American capital of Washington have set up their own health insurance marketplaces and over 6.4 million Americans living in 34 Republican-ruled states which did not create such market places are dependent on Federal exchanges.
 
"Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them," Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative, wrote in the majority opinion joined by another conservative and the four liberal justices.
 
"If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter," he said.
 
In a dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia said "we should start calling this law SCOTUScare," referring to the two times the Court has saved the law.
 
Challenge to the Act hinged on just four words in the law that they argued made subsidies available only to people buying insurance on "an exchange established by the state".
 
Congress made the distinction, the challengers said, to encourage states to create their own exchanges and when that failed on a large scale, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tried to "fix" the law.
 
The income-based subsidies are crucial to the law's success, helping to make health insurance more affordable and ultimately reducing the number of uninsured Americans.
 
All the Republican presidential candidates have vowed to repeal it with Louisiana's Indian American governor Bobby Jindal making it the second of his top four objectives after "secure our borders".
 
"I will replace Obamacare with a healthcare system that focuses on reducing costs and restoring freedom," Jindal declared on Wednesday as he became the first Indian American and 13th Republican candidate to jump into the 2016 White House race.
 
Several other Republican presidential candidates quickly denounced the ruling with a "disappointed" front runner Jeb Bush saying "this decision is not the end of the fight against Obamacare".
 
But Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton took to Twitter to praise the decision.
 
"Yes!" she tweeted. "SCOTUS affirms what we know is true in our hearts & under the law: Health insurance should be affordable & available to all."

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'Smartphones: 30 percent of time spent on communication'
A new global report released by Ericsson on Thursday claims that 30 percent of time spent by users on all smartphone apps is on communication.
 
As per the report, though smartphones have a wide range of functions such as entertainment, games and photography, communication continues to be the dominant activity with users spending time on communicating through voice, instant messaging, voice over internet protocol (such as Skype), emails and social networking.
 
"We found that 40-50 percent of data consumption for communication apps uses mobile broadband, whereas the corresponding figure for video is just 20 percent," says Swetleena Swain, senior advisor at Ericsson ConsumerLab.
 
The report also claims that culture and language influence communication patterns and the adoption of communication apps.
 
Smartphone users in Britain and the US make more voice calls while the Japanese and South Koreans prefer to text message and use locally-developed communication apps.
 
"Typically, the US apps are designed for an English-speaking audience, so it's not surprising that these are predominant in English-speaking countries," says Swain.
 
According to the report, Indian users spend aroung 47 percent of their smartphone-usage time in communication including voice calls with utility and productivity tools claiming 14 percent of the time. Entertainment and gaming follows close behind with 11 percent and 10 percent respectively.
 
While voice calls account for 21 percent of the total time spent on communication, voice call over Internal and instant messaging (IM) accounts for 66 percent of the total time. Social networking comes in third with 11 percent followed by Email which accounts for just 2 percent.
 
WhatsApp Messenger was the most used of all IM apps followed by HIke, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts and WeChat.
 
The report titles Ericsson ConsumerLab was released after conducting a global consumer research programme based on interviews with 1,00,000 individuals, in more than 40 countries and 15 megacities.

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Monetary stance of advanced economies may impact markets: RBI
India's apex bank on Thursday said the foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) inflows might be impacted by the spill-over effect from the monetary policy stance in advanced economies.
 
"While foreign portfolio flows to India have been strong during the past year, unexpected changes in AEs monetary policy may lead to slowdown, reversal of such flows with implications for segments of financial markets," the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said in its financial stability report (FSR) for June 2015.
 
Data with the National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) showed a whopping increase of 437 percent in the total investment inflows last fiscal which stood at Rs.277,461 crore from Rs.51,649 crore in 2013-14.
 
The FPIs invested Rs.111,333 crore in equity and Rs.166,127 crore in debt markets during 2014-15.
 
"India is though better prepared to deal with the volatility, as compared to previous episodes," the report said.
 
The RBI has been building up its foreign reserves to counter any future financial shocks and slide in rupee value like the one which was witnessed in 2008 and June 2013.
 
India's foreign exchange reserves stood at $354.28 billion for the week ended June 12.
 
The report cited threats from a possible Greek debt default and uncertainty over the timing of rate increases by the US Federal Reserves.
 
At present, parleys are continuing to resolve the Greek debt crisis as the deadline for Greece to make debt payments to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is scheduled for June 30. 
 
The RBI is also cautious about the US Fed's stand that the rate hike might take place later in the year. 
 
With higher interest rates in the US, the FPIs are expected to be led away from the emerging markets such as India.
 
The report pointed out significant improvements in the macroeconomic environment and economic performance is expected to be better.
 
On the banking sector, the apex bank noted that concerns remain over the continued weakness in asset quality indicated by the rising trend in stressed advances ratio of scheduled commercial banks (SCBs), especially of public sector banks (PSBs). 
 
"Macro stress tests suggest that current deterioration in the asset quality of SCBs may continue for a few more quarters, and PSBs may have to bolster their provisions for credit risk from present levels, to meet the ‘expected losses’ if macroeconomic environment were to deteriorate," the report elaborated.
 
The bank stressed on the need to focus more on the agricultural insurance sector in the wake of frequent episodes of weather related calamities and their impact, particularly on small and marginal farmers. 
 
"There is a need to harmonise the regulation of physical commodities market and strengthening the linkages between the derivatives markets and physical (cash) markets, mainly in agricultural commodities," the report added.

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