New England Malayalee Association’s blog

February 23, 2009

And the Oscar goes to …

Filed under: Movies,News — nemausa @ 4:18 am
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Oscar

2 Indian talents were recognised tonight at Kodak Theatre LA, one of them Malayalee – Resul Pookutty for sound design/mixing.  And AR Rahman, who as most most of us thought got much delayed recognition.

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February 19, 2009

Salient features of Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan

White house yesterday released the details of $75 Billion  Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan.  Here’s a Washington Post article with the details:

1. Affordability: Provide Access to Low-Cost Refinancing for Responsible Homeowners Suffering From Falling Home Prices

* Enabling Up to 4 to 5 Million Responsible Homeowners to Refinance: Mortgage rates are currently at historically low levels, providing homeowners with the opportunity to reduce their monthly payments by refinancing. But under current rules, most families who owe more than 80 percent of the value of their homes have a difficult time refinancing. Yet millions of responsible homeowners who put money down and made their mortgage payments on time have — through no fault of their own — seen the value of their homes drop low enough to make them unable to access these lower rates. As a result, the Obama Administration is announcing a new program that will help as many as 4 to 5 million responsible homeowners who took out conforming loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to refinance through those two institutions.

* Reducing Monthly Payments: For many families, a low-cost refinancing could reduce mortgage payments by thousands of dollars per year:

* Consider a family that took out a 30-year fixed rate mortgage of $207,000 with an interest rate of 6.50% on a house worth $260,000 at the time. Today, that family has about $200,000 remaining on their mortgage, but the value of that home has fallen 15 percent to $221,000 — making them ineligible for today’s low interest rates that now generally require the borrower to have 20 percent home equity. Under this refinancing plan, that family could refinance to a rate near 5.16% — reducing their annual payments by over $2,300.

2. Stability: Create A $75 Billion Homeowner Stability Initiative to Reach Up to 3 to 4 Million At-Risk Homeowners

* Helping Hard-Pressed Homeowners Stay in their Homes: This initiative is intended to reach millions of responsible homeowners who are struggling to afford their mortgage payments because of the current recession, yet cannot sell their homes because prices have fallen so significantly. Millions of hard-working families have seen their mortgage payments rise to 40 or even 50 percent of their monthly income — particularly those who received subprime and exotic loans with exploding terms and hidden fees. The Homeowner Stability Initiative helps those who commit to make reasonable monthly mortgage payments to stay in their homes — providing families with security and neighborhoods with stability.

* No Aid for Speculators: This initiative will go solely to helping homeowners who commit to make payments to stay in their home ¿ it will not aid speculators or house flippers[Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan – Obama Administration’s Home Mortgage Crisis Fact Sheet].

Where are the jobs?

Filed under: News — nemausa @ 4:20 pm
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Here’s the trend of job opportunities across various industry segments. But the available opportunities is much smaller than previous years.

indeed-job-trends

Even so, IT job listings are down 43 percent from a year ago. Again, healthcare is holding up the best with only an 8 percent decline. Job postings in banking and financial services are down 48 percent (to 144,569), and media and newspaper job listings are down 47 percent (with only 24,104 postings)[Read the whole article in TechCrunch].

Also, here’s the trend of accelerated trend of Tech layoffs. The article also gives company wise breakup of layoffs.

Layoffs in the tech sector are accelerating.  It took exactly three weeks for tech layoffs to surge to 300,000, according to our Layoff Tracker. Since late January, when the tracker hit 200,000 layoffs, another 100,000 job eliminations have been announced or completed. In contrast, it took five weeks for layoffs in the tech industry to hit the 200,000 mark, and four months for layoffs to hit 100,000 last December. The total number of layoffs since we began tracking since the financial crisis began in late August is 300,093[Tech layoffs surge to 300000].

Crazy Gopalan visiting Belmont

Filed under: Movies — nemausa @ 3:53 pm
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crazy Gopalan

This fun movie is set to screen at Belmont theatre on Saturday February 21st. Dileep stars in this fun filled comedy thriller.  Crazy Gopalan attracted lot of families and had a very successful run in Kerala box office.

Date: 21st  feb 2009

Time: 4 PM

Venue:  Studio Cinema, 376 Trapelo RD, Belmont Ma 02475

Tickets: $10 per person, children free.

Image courtesy: NowRunning.com

February 13, 2009

Malayalee’s Gulf dream

Filed under: Events,News — nemausa @ 1:54 pm
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Kerala’s biggest source of  income – Gulf – is in dire straits.   Any disruption in the flow of money from  Gulf countries would be devastating to already troubled Kerala economy.  Is Kerala ready to face the the socio-economic impact of  possible global recession?  Empty roads, slowing construction activities, abandoned cars in airports, sinking islands  – here’s a New York Times article on effects of Global recession in Dubai.

With Dubai’s economy in free fall, newspapers have reported that more than 3,000 cars sit abandoned in the parking lot at the Dubai Airport, left by fleeing, debt-ridden foreigners (who could in fact be imprisoned if they failed to pay their bills). Some are said to have maxed-out credit cards inside and notes of apology taped to the windshield.

The government says the real number is much lower. But the stories contain at least a grain of truth: jobless people here lose their work visas and then must leave the country within a month. That in turn reduces spending, creates housing vacancies and lowers real estate prices, in a downward spiral that has left parts of Dubai — once hailed as the economic superpower of the Middle East — looking like a ghost town[Laid-Off Foreigners Flee as Dubai Spirals Down].

February 12, 2009

Stimulus is coming

Here’s summary of goodies  in ‘American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’, popularly known as StimPak, as summarised by Marc Ambinder of Atlantic.

To accomplish these goals, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides $311 billion in appropriations, including the following critical investments:

Investments in Infrastructure and Science – $120 billion

  • Investments in Health – $14.2 billion
  • Investments in Education and Training – $105.9 billion
  • Investments in Energy, including over $30 billion in infrastructure – $37.5 billion
  • Helping Americans Hit Hardest by the Economic Crisis – $24.3 billion
  • Law Enforcement, Oversight, Other Programs – $7.8 billion

Investments in Infrastructure and Science include:

Infrastructure Improvements

$7.2 billion for Broadband to increase broadband access and usage in unserved and underserved areas of the Nation, which will better position the U.S. for economic growth, innovation, and job creation.

$2.75 billion for the Department of Homeland Security to secure the homeland and promote economic activity, including $1 billion for airport baggage and checkpoint security, $430 million for construction of border points of entry, $210 million for construction of fire stations, $300 million for port, transit, and rail security, $280 million for border security technology and communication, and $240 million for the Coast Guard.

$4.6 billion in funding for the Corps of Engineers.

$1.2 billion for VA hospital and medical facility construction and improvements, long-term care facilities for veterans, and improvements at VA national cemeteries.

$3.1 billion for repair, restoration and improvement of public facilities at on public and tribal lands.

$4.2 billion for Facilities Sustainment, Restoration and Modernization to be used to invest in energy efficiency projects and to improve the repair and modernization of Department of Defense facilities to include Defense Health facilities.

$2.33 billion for Department of Defense Facilities including quality of life and family-friendly military improvement projects such as family housing, hospitals, and child care centers.

$2.25 billion through HOME and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program to fill financing gaps caused by the credit freeze and get stalled housing development projects moving.

$1 billion for the Community Development Block Grant program for community and economic development projects including housing and services for those hit hard by tough economic times.

$1 billion for the Bureau of Reclamation to provide clean, reliable drinking water to rural areas and to ensure adequate water supply to western localities impacted by drought.

Transportation

$27.5 billion is included for highway investments

$8.4 billion for investments in public transportation.

$1.5 billion for competitive grants to state and local governments for transportation investments.

$1.3 billion for investments in our air transportation system.

$9.3 billion for investments in rail transportation, including Amtrak, High Speed and Intercity Rail.

[Click here to read the whole post- StimPack Summary]

February 5, 2009

Transcript – U.S. Airways Flight 1549

Filed under: News — nemausa @ 5:50 pm
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Click here to read the transcript of cockpit to control tower transmissions of U.S. Airways Flight 1549 which  landed safely in Hudson river.

February 3, 2009

Amazing Obama inaugural picture

Filed under: News,Photos — nemausa @ 3:47 pm
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Big!  1,474 megapixels big!   Photographer, David Bergman created it out of 220 separate photos. This is a photo taken using a panorama image capturing device called gigapan created by the Carnegie Mellon university and a Canon g10 camera. Other gadgets used were a Apple Macbook Pro, final image size was over 2 Gigs. It took 7 hours to process the final image.

Click here for the Gigapan picture.

And here’s another one – this gives 360 degree view.

February 2, 2009

Effects of recession in Kerala

Filed under: Fun,News — nemausa @ 5:29 pm
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One thing became clear – Keralites drink to celebrate, not to down their sorrows – as illustrated by this report.

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