Top moments of the Beijing Olympics

August 25, 2008

Usain Bolt breaks the 100 metres world record.

Bolt already owned the record and in front of a packed Bird’s Nest stadium he ran 9.69 seconds.

Michael Phelps roars in triumph and relief after American team mate Jason Lezak overtook France’s Alain Bernard on the final leg of the 4×100 freestyle relay.

Liu Xiang dejectedly walks away from the track as he realises he has to withdraw from the defence of his 110 metres hurdles title because of a leg injury.

Liu was the most popular sportsman in China and his grimacing departure clouded the Games for millions of home fans.

Russia‘s Yelena Isinbayeva turns the Bird’s Nest into her private theatre with a gold medal and world record-breaking pole vault performance that captivated the 91,000 crowd.

The Opening Ceremony. It emerged that some of the performance seen on television had been enhanced by computers, a child singer was replaced by a supposedly prettier face to mime to her voice and representatives of China’s ethnic minorities were no such thing.

German weightlifter Matthias Steiner kisses a picture of his late wife Susann on the gold medal podium, choking back tears over the promise he made to her that he would keep their Olympic dream.

American Matt Emmons blows a 3.3-point lead on the very last shot of a 120-shot competition to throw away the gold medal in the “marathon” event of shooting.

Rohullah Nikpai wins Afghanistan’s first Olympic medal with a bronze in the men’s 58-kg taekwondo.

Estonian Gerd Kanter celebrates his discus gold medal by sprinting down the 100 metre track at the Bird’s Nest and mimicking Bolt’s marksman routine.

Source: Rediff


Taking personal loan to finsh your outstanding Credit card bills is worth?

August 25, 2008

Credit card users, who have overspent on their card, have a new option – conversion of the outstanding into a personal loan. Banks are willing to do so because they are worried that any non-payment of dues would increase their non-performing assets, which in turn, could hurt their balance sheets quite badly.

Such an offer also implies that many customers, who were finding it difficult to pay off the amount, can use this method to ensure that they do not become defaulters.

One of the biggest benefits of this kind of conversion is that the rate of interest will be much less on personal loans. As far as credit cards go, there is huge interest burden (between 36-44 per cent per annum) that is climbing with each passing month. A personal loan comes much cheaper at 16-22 per cent, lesser by almost 40-50 per cent.

However, things are not that simple. There is an additional risk that even when the interest burden goes down, it could lead to a situation where it becomes very difficult for the consumer to manage his finances.

Regular payment: In case you opt for a personal loan, regular monthly payments have to be made and for a specific time period. While this is good because it will mean a disciplined payout, for some, the situation could worsen.

This is because while the credit card company allows a minimum payment of 5 per cent per month, in case of a personal loan the outgo could be higher, especially if one opts for a smaller tenure.

For instance, if a person has an outstanding of Rs 200,000, the monthly outgo at the rate of 5 per cent will be around Rs 10,000. In case the amount is converted to a two-year personal loan at say 18 per cent, the outgo will be around Rs 18,000. Clearly the sudden rise in the repayment amount by 40-50 per cent could lead to a situation where the budget goes completely haywire.

Also, in such situations, investments are the first one to take a hit because other expenses are more difficult to control. And if this happens, the safety net that you are creating for the future could get reduced. When faced with such a situation, it is important to select the right tenure so that the burden does not increase dramatically.

Prepayment problem: Also, many times when you go for a personal loan, the bank puts a clause where prepayment is allowed only after a certain number of months or only so many times in a year. In some cases, there is even a hefty prepayment penalty if you were to exercise this option. This is because the bank is losing out on the interest income.

Individuals facing a temporary glitch as far as their finances go, should take a step back and give the situation some serious thought. If they get a sudden cash flow, in terms of bonus or any other source, they could use that to wipe off the outstanding credit card bills.

Yes, it will mean temporary pain because of high interest rates, but it would be a better option to clear the entire loan instead of coughing out equated monthly instalments for a long time.

Continued spending: The biggest risk is that the person could actually sink further into a debt trap, if he continues to hold and spend on the card. Now that the outstanding on the credit card is converted to a loan, there is no outstanding. This could easily lure a spendthrift to use it again.

In this situation, the balance on the card will rise again leading to financial crisis as the consumer would now they have a personal loan and more credit card bills that need to be paid.

Source: Rediff


CBE Rule on Drugs, Biologics Labeling Change Finalized

August 25, 2008

The FDA is finalizing a rule telling companies when they can modify physician labeling without prior agency approval, according to a Federal Register notice.

Under the new rule, which takes effect Sept. 22, manufacturers can add or strengthen the contraindications, warnings, precautions or adverse reactions sections of labeling via a supplement called changes being effective (CBE) without prior FDA approval only when such modifications are based on newly acquired information and evidence of a causal association between the product and a safety signal is present.

The FDA proposed the rule earlier this year. The final rule incorporated only two changes — a technical correction and a clarification regarding what the FDA considers newly acquired information.

The final rule defines newly acquired information as data, analyses or other information not previously submitted to the agency, including but not limited to new clinical studies, reports of adverse events or new analyses of previously submitted data.

Such new information “must reveal risks of a different type or greater severity or frequency than previously included in submissions” and include meta-analyses, the new regulation states.

“The codified section of the January 2008 proposed rule suggested that this limitation applied only to data derived from reports of adverse events. Instead, it applies to data derived from new clinical studies, reports of adverse events and new analyses of previously submitted data,” the FDA says in the preamble to the final rule.

“If a sponsor submits data or analysis to FDA as part of a discussion of the kind of labeling change that would be appropriate and decides as a result of that discussion to prepare and submit a CBE supplement, then the supporting data or analysis will not be considered ‘previously submitted to FDA’ — even if it was not first submitted on the same day as the CBE supplement,” the agency says.

Source: FDAnews