Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Woods drawn with McDowell, Oosthuizen at Muirfield

Tiger Woods plays a shot during a practice round ahead of the British Open Golf Championship, Muirfield, Scotland, Monday, July 15, 2013. The British Open begins on Thursday, July 18. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

Tiger Woods plays a shot during a practice round ahead of the British Open Golf Championship, Muirfield, Scotland, Monday, July 15, 2013. The British Open begins on Thursday, July 18. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

GULLANE, Scotland (AP) ? Tiger Woods is getting a late start to the British Open at Muirfield.

Woods plays the opening two rounds with former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell. They tee off at 2:45 p.m. local time (9:45 a.m. EDT), with a 9:44 a.m. (4:44 a.m. EDT) start on Friday. It's the first time Woods has been drawn with either of them on a weekday of a major.

Woods is the betting favorite to end his five-year drought in the majors.

Rory McIlroy plays with Scottish Open winner Phil Mickelson, along with Hideki Matsuyama of Japan.

Nick Faldo, returning to Muirfield one last time, is in a group with five-time Open champion Tom Watson and Fred Couples.

U.S. Open champion Justin Rose plays with defending champion Ernie Els and Brandt Snedeker.

Associated Press

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Central Bank of India to Hold Board Meeting

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Obama: Martin's death a tragedy, asks nation to respect call for calm (CNN)

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Coach Purse ( Ottawa ) $40.00

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Financing India?s Small Hydro Capacity

India's scope for hydropower development is vast. Close to 150 GW of theoretical potential exists in the country today, with an estimated 84 GW of economically exploitable capacity, according to figures from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA). Simultaneously, there is a large population of rural poor with no access to grid electricity, an existing peak load deficit estimate at around 10 percent and a rapidly growing economy ?and with it an associated increase in power demand.

This article can be found in our completely redesigned Renewable Energy World digital magazine. Subscribe here to recieve a free copy.

Indeed, India's economy reportedly grew at its slowest pace in a decade during the 2012-2013 financial year, but still clocked up a 5 percent growth rate over the year. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reportedly expressed confidence that the country's economy would bounce back to an "8 percent growth rate."

CEA projects electricity demand to increase by around 40 percent by 2016-2017 and just about double by 2021-2022.?

However, there are a number of structural issues that impact on the country's ability to develop large capital-intensive projects like large-scale hydropower and as a result a good deal of attention has been focused on the development of small hydropower capacity, deemed projects with a nameplate output of 25 MW or less.

Authorities report that there is significant potential for hydropower development on this scale. Figures from the responsible agency, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), estimate the potential for power generation in the country from such plants at over 15 GW.

Recognizing that small hydropower projects can play a critical role in improving the overall energy scenario of the country and in particular for remote and inaccessible areas, the Ministry aims to harness at least half of the potential in the country over the next decade to bring the installed capacity of small hydro to about 7 GW by the end of 12th Plan in 2017. In August 2012, the Minister of New and Renewable Energy, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, said that during the 11th Plan, a capacity of 1,419 MW of small hydro was added compared to 536 MW during the 10th Plan.

Some 967 small hydro projects with an aggregate capacity of 3,632 MW have been installed in India to the end of April 2013, with 24 states announcing a policy to invite private sector bodies to set up projects. In addition, 281 small hydro projects with an aggregate capacity of 1,061 MW are also under construction in various states.

MNRE said it is providing Central Financial Assistance to set up small/micro hydro projects both in the public and private sectors while financial support is also given to the state governments for the identification of new potential sites, including surveys and the preparation of detailed project reports, and renovation and modernization of old projects. In 2012-2013 some Rs.1.6 billion [US $28 million] of funding was released under the Small Hydro Power (SHP) Program.

Driving Private Investment

Given the vast potential and obvious drivers for demand, why has India been so hesitant when it comes to execution? While some would point to the strength of country's coal lobby, a more pertinent point is the key to all energy development: economics.

Shedding light on this theme, the recent HydroVision India Conference and Exhibition heard from Anchit Gupta, director of business development at Focal Energy, a global investment group specializing in small hydro and solar installations with more than 300 MW of projects in its pipeline. Gupta said the company is primarily looking at a steady cash flow from income generating assets.

When considering investing in a hydropower development, Gupta explained that a good partner with honesty and integrity is the most important element, together with projections and adequate contingencies within the project plan.

However, the cost of debt and the interest rate on capital is a major influence, and Gupta said that even though the company is an equity investor, it maintains focus on capital rates rather than equity returns. This, he says, is the most pressing issue for renewable energy and infrastructure development in India.

"With a larger operating portfolio we can go out and get much cheaper debt, but until then the focus is on projects which are profitable with adequate cash flow, considering the risks involved," he explained.

He presented a typical example of a project deal with a debt-to-equity ratio of 70:30, a typical interest rate of 14 percent and a repayment period of eight years. In this case "around 22 percent of total project cost in the first year is outflow to service debt. Most projects are not generating that kind of cash flow in the first few years," he said. "That is one of the most pressing issues for renewable energy in India."

He added that a realistic assessment of revenue is critical. "One of the challenges [is that] projects are more often than not over-advertised with under-estimation of revenue project costs and over-estimations of energy production potential. We have a benchmark for a 30 percent haircut and so far we been spot on. You could say that Indian developers are consistently inconsistent in over-estimating generation potential."

Valuing Projects

Aside from the cost of debt, Gupta also points out that project valuations can be an issue in the small hydropower sector. "The other challenge we face is the valuation expectations by developers. They expect they're going to get the same valuations as projects they may hear about in the market," he said. Focal Energy, he added, "focuses on a very thorough and aggressive due diligence process. For example, developers may say, 'the tariff is going to be increased in two months' ??well, we can wait for two months and see what happens. Whatever is there and can be supported is what we rely on."

Giving further insights into the company's due-diligence process, Gupta explained that they keep an eye on projects that they didn't invest in "to give us a benchmark for evaluating the opportunity we have come across," he said. "We also know that there are enough projects available for us to invest in, and if we walk away we don't sweat it."

Gupta explained how to create a win-win situation in developing small hydropower. "We do spend a lot of time on the ground in order to fully understand the developer and local issues," he said, adding that key issues are a strict adherence to budgets and timelines, reliable cash flow and accurate project valuations. He also addressed the changing nature of small hydro developers, saying that there are very good and hard-working entrepreneurs in India who are prepared to stand behind agreements no matter what, but there is a need to overcome the family business approach, accepting that experts can come in and that standards need to change with a different perception of the risks involved, which comes from experience.

"Most [developers] plan so that everything is going to be perfect, but we say 'not everything will be perfect you need to plan for contingencies,'" Gupta said. "Working with a long-term partner some say, 'initially it was very hard for us, but now we see the value on this approach.'"

In terms of attracting foreign investment to small hydropower projects in India, Gupta said that a fundamental issue is the regulatory environment that "keeps changing from time to time." But he also said that there are potentially big gains for companies who can take the risk. "There is a big need for foreign capital looking for credible income generating assets. And there are huge capital needs for infrastructure projects in India; I believe there is the groundwork for creating win-wins."

Lead image:?The confluence of the Alaknanda River and Bhagirathi River in Uttarakhand, India via Shutterstock

Source: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2013/07/financing-indias-small-hydro-capacity?cmpid=rss

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The RoundUp Indian Scientists Use Neem Protein to Fight Cancer

Latest researches has changed the medical field, through treatment, prevention and diagnosis. Every Friday we look at how these latest scientific studies and researches and decode them. This week the studies are based on cancer, skin care problems and heart health, which can affect anyone.

*Images courtesy: ? Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images

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Washington's newest power couple: Max and Dave

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) ? Welcome to the "Max and Dave Show," a campaign-style swing around the country featuring two of the most powerful members of Congress rallying support for their effort to overhaul the nation's tax laws ? and, just maybe, change the way Washington works.

Sen. Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana, and Rep. Dave Camp, a Republican from Michigan, are Washington's newest power couple ? and an odd one during these politically deadlocked days in Washington. They are lawmakers of different states, different parties and they're a decade in age apart. Yet, Camp and Baucus are developing a close friendship as they try to rally other lawmakers to their cause.

Their secret: Burgers, beer and a culture of working toward public policy answers that Americans seem to want in Washington ? even when there's no solution in sight.

"Dave's my buddy," Baucus told a gathering of workers at 3M, the Minnesota-based maker of everything from Scotch tape to electronic touch screens. "My comrade."

These days, you don't often hear Democrats talk that way about Republicans, or see campaign-style events for a topic as dry as tax reform. But the pair have a common goal for an overhaul they believe is long overdue. And tax policy, to them, is exciting for all that is wrong and could be improved about it. So beginning last week in Minnesota, Baucus and Camp began barnstorming the country, employing a similar burgers-and-beer strategy that's worked for them with colleagues in Washington.

"You have to have some basis to deal with each other to work together," Camp said in an interview. "What we're trying to do is create that foundation so that we are going to be able to work together on a very important bill that could have profound beneficial effects for the country."

At issue is a tax system that many inside and outside of Congress say is too complicated for individuals and too onerous for businesses. The broad goal of tax reform is to simplify the code by eliminating or reducing tax breaks and using the additional revenue to lower tax rates for everyone.

Lawmakers in both political parties are convinced that simpler, easier-to-understand tax laws would spur economic activity. One problem is that many of the biggest tax breaks, including those for owning a home or contributing to retirement plans, are very popular.

And there are significant differences among Democrats and Republicans over how much tax revenue the government should raise and who should pay it. Democrats generally want reform to generate more revenue; most Republicans in Congress are opposed to raising taxes.

Camp and Baucus also are working in a toxic partisan environment in Washington that makes it difficult for Congress to pass routine legislation, let alone a monumental package like tax reform.

"I don't see how we get anywhere, candidly," said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who is up for re-election in Kentucky next year.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wasn't much more optimistic. "We're a long way from getting something on paper as to what we're going to go forward on," Reid said.

Still, Baucus and Camp are pressing forward.

Camp, 60, grew up in Midland, Mich., and was first elected to the House in 1990. A close ally of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Camp chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, which has authority over tax laws.

Its Senate counterpart is the Finance Committee, chaired by the 71-year-old Baucus. For him, it's legacy time. Baucus grew up on a ranch near Helena, Mont., was elected to the Senate in 1978 and has become an independent voice generally more conservative than many of his Democratic colleagues. He's announced plans to retire next year, and tax reform would be his swan song.

Face time is key to the effort in Washington and beyond.

The Montana senator says he is on track to meet individually with every member of the Senate by the end of the month. Camp is trying to forge bipartisan relationships on the Ways and Means Committee by pairing small groups of Republicans and Democrats to develop options for addressing different parts of the tax law.

Every few weeks, Baucus and Camp invite about a dozen lawmakers to lunch at a Capitol Hill pub, always a mix of Democrats and Republicans, senators and House members.

Camp and Baucus have dubbed their lunches "burgers and beer," and the location ? a pub called Kelly's Irish Times ? has historic significance. Former Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., is credited with helping to rescue the 1986 tax reform package with a plan he devised over two pitchers of beer at the pub. At the time, Packwood was chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, a position now held by Baucus.

"Part of it is, we've been so polarized in this town, this Congress for so many years, many of us don't know each other," Baucus said. "A burger and beers makes a lot more sense to me than a fancy dinner."

Camp and Baucus have held two lunches so far. The latest was Tuesday, and Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kansas, was there. She said Camp and Baucus are setting a good example for other lawmakers.

"There was a time when members of Congress moved their families to Washington, and they got to know each other. Their kids went to school together, they went to church together, they socialized together," Jenkins said. "We don't do that anymore. Our constituents demand that we be in church with them on Sunday."

Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., was at the lunch, too.

"It's when preparation meets opportunity that something can happen, and that preparation just happens to coincide with knowing your colleagues," Larson said. "And knowing them not like, 'Hey, let's go out and have a beer.' I'm talking about knowing them in terms of going through what the issues are."

Camp says he is committed to passing a tax reform bill out of the Ways and Means Committee by the end of the year. There is no guarantee the full House would vote on a bill. But Boehner has signaled his support for the effort by reserving the prestigious bill number HR 1 for a tax overhaul measure.

In the Senate, Baucus is teaming with Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, to write a new tax code, almost from scratch. Instead of trying to figure out which tax breaks to scrap, Baucus and Hatch are starting with a blank slate and inviting other senators to make the case for restoring various deductions, credits and exemptions.

In a question-and-answer session with 3M workers, Fred Palensky, the company's chief technology officer, hit on a theme that Baucus and Camp will have to deal with.

Palensky said he has met with members of Congress in the past and, on an individual basis, they seem like reasonable, sensible people. What happens to them when they get together back in Washington? Palensky asked Camp and Baucus.

"We're trying to break, frankly, the Washington method of operation," Baucus said. "Most people in the country want us to work together. Not the Washington way, which is gridlock, but the American way, which is work together and get things done."


Follow Stephen Ohlemacher on Twitter: http://twitter.com/stephenatap

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/washingtons-newest-power-couple-max-dave-090608902.html

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