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experiences and viewpoint as my day unfolds

Archives for August, 2009

mortgage lending market

mortgage lending market

News said earlier, mortgage lending continues to rise according to the latest figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). Gross lending in July stood at £16bn, 26% higher than in June, though still more than a third lower than in July last year. Mortgage lending, house sales and property prices have all picked up in the past few months after a dramatic slump caused by the banking crisis. But the CML warned the housing market would slow down again later this year.

The latest “Trends in Lending” report, from the Bank of England, said there had been little sign of this rationing of the home loan market easing up. The Bank’s report pointed out that 90% mortgages had become much more expensive, relative to 75% mortgages, than they were before the banking crisis started in 2007. That was because of the increased risk of default associated with the larger LTV mortgages. But then, they said some lenders had indicated to it that if the risk of further house price falls eased off, they might make their 90% mortgages slightly less expensive compared to their 75% loans.

The news also sighted that the improvement in mortgage lending in July was due to the rise in house buying usually seen during the summer. But it warned against exaggerating the improvement. They also pointed out that lending in July was still at its lowest for that month since 2001 and far lower than the July average of £27bn recorded in the previous seven years. The bounce-back in activity from the extreme weakness around the turn of the year, coinciding with a seasonal bounce is limited in how far it can go against the current backdrop.

On the other hand, Andrew Montlake of mortgage broker Coreco said: “These latest figures support the general feeling that some parts of the lending market are slowly easing, particularly in the large mortgage loan sector however, there is still a big squeeze in terms of availability and competitive mortgage rates in the wider market, despite buyer demand being strong”.

social networking sitesI am a big fan of social networking sites like Friendster. I am a member of this network since 2007 and until now. But, I am not an active member because my schedule doesn’t permit me and stop last 2008. Sometimes I do visit my profile to check on the messages, but not to visit friends.

I have at least 168 friends in Friendster and I know them all personally. I just don’t get the idea of gathering too many friends that I do not know or even meet. My siblings used to accept invitations from strangers, and then call them all friends. That is strange for me.

One of my closest friends invited me to join Facebook. But, I decided not to. I could not even manage my Friendster account what more if I open a new account in a new social networking sites. It’s better not to accept it. Probably when my time permits me, I will. For now I am contented with my first social networking account.

Reynolds and Johansson

Reynolds and Johansson

Gorgeous Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds celebrate their 1-year marriage anniversary this September. While they have never publicly addressed the issue of having children, Ryan tells UK magazine adoption is in the cards for the future since his brother was also adopted and this is something that he wants to do.

Well, we all know that it’s not uncommon for celebrities to announce plans or even “parade” their intention of adopting children. However, for Reynolds this comes as a very personal choice since his older brother was also adopted and he couldn’t possibly be more grateful for getting to know him therefore he wants to give another child the same kind of chance he and his brother had when his parents made the decision.

Reynolds’ appeal with the public relies, aside from his good looks and acting skills, as fans must know, also on his ability to maintain that down-to-earth quality that makes him easy to relate to and seemingly very accessible as well. He is said to be among the most open and honest male stars of the day, which is why his recent statement on adoption has not failed to generate an incredibly warm response and wave of support from fans.

Spears Preparing for a Wedding AgainWe have seen that Britney Spears of today is miles away from the Britney Spears that had to be taken to hospital and involuntarily committed under the 5150 act for mental evaluation at the beginning of 2008. Partly responsible for the change is her agent, Jason Trawick, who helped her get her life back in order and career on track, and whom she’s been dating for many months. Now, the two are preparing for a wedding.

Tabloids story tells via HollywoodRag that Britney is determined to tie the knot with Jason and, more importantly, to make this marriage her third to date really work. The singer believes that she is now more emotionally mature and clearly more able to make a judgment call about long-term commitment than she ever was in the past, and that includes saying her “I Do” to then-backup dancer with musical aspirations, Kevin Federline.

Britney and Jason never even officially confirmed being an item in the first place. Speculation about a secret man in her life has been around for many months, but it wasn’t until June that some sort of confirmation emerged with photos of the two on vacation together. Also about the same time, the paparazzi that are always stalking Britney vouched for the media that she and Jason was definitely an item.

Russia's near monopoly on gas to Europe!

Russia's near monopoly on gas to Europe!

According to the news this morning, last Monday six country officials gathered in Turkey and signed a deal to build a U.S.-backed pipeline, aimed at breaking Russia’s near-monopoly on natural gas supplies to Europe. The proposed Nabucco pipeline would run from Turkey’s eastern border, through Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, to a key gas terminal in Baumgarten, Austria. Germany is also a partner in the deal, which is being signed in the Turkish capital, Ankara.

Russia controls the current network of pipelines that supply Europe with natural gas. To challenge the Nabucco proposal, Russia has proposed a competing natural gas pipeline to southeastern Europe. The South Stream pipeline would pass under the Black Sea and connect with Bulgaria. Russia and Italy would each control half of that pipeline. However, Nabucco got a boost after Russia turned off the gas to Europe in January, during the latest in a series of price disputes with Ukraine, according to industry analysts.

Since the idea’s inception in 2002, plans for Nabucco have languished amid disagreements among consortium partners and lack of commitment from natural gas suppliers. Turkey had demanded to retain 15 percent of the gas passing through the pipeline for consumption and export, which its European partners rejected.

Another thing, the energy minister of Azerbaijan is expected to attend Monday’s signing, a top Western government official said. Gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz 2 field will be a crucial component of the project. European officials have raised hopes that other gas producers, such as Iraq and Turkmenistan, also might contribute to the pipeline.

Big hurdles remain for the pipeline project named after an opera by Verdi. Consortium members must raise billions of dollars for the Nabucco project. Construction has not begun, and gas is not projected to be pumped through until 2014. Still, industry analysts called Monday’s intergovernmental agreement a significant development.

Swearing can Manage Pain?

Swearing can Manage Pain?

New research indicates that cursing could be a very way of coping with pain by relieving it on the spot. Thus, no one likes it when someone has some sort of public outburst and starts hurling insults at everyone and everything. While the exact connection between swearing and pain management has yet to be established, study marks a first step into that direction.

Researchers included volunteers who were asked to dip their hand in frozen water. As per their own choice, they were divided into two groups, one that could use a chant or a repetitive, non-offensive word throughout the entire duration of the test, and the other that included only members who chose one of their favorite cusses to repeat. At the end, researchers noted that the students taking part in the study who chose the latter option lasted an average of about 40 seconds more with their hand immersed in cold water than the members of the group who did not swear. At the same time, they also noted they had experienced comparatively less pain.

Through these study researchers state that, while cursing in public continues to be decried in our society, maybe it’s a practice that should not be banned altogether. Being a common response to pain for reasons not yet fully known, and simultaneously, being the first choice of more people than one could count must be a sign that it works on levels that go beyond verbal. As noted, this is not yet certain how swearing acts in pain management but researchers seem to believe that it has to do with activating a part of the brain that is not normally activated during speech. It also contributes to increasing the heart rate, which in turn makes the organism less sensitive to pain no matter its intensity, which is why the first reaction of many when stumbling upon an item of furniture or falling down is to involuntarily swear.