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Clyde K. Valle

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Clyde is a business graduate interested in writing about latest news in politics and business. He enjoys writing and is about to publish his first book. He’s a pet lover and likes to spend time with family. When the time allows he likes to go fishing waiting for the muse to come.

Senate leaders and the White House have agreed on a stimulus package worth more than $1.8 trillion to ease the impact of coronavirus.

The stimulus reportedly includes payments of $1,200 to most American adults and aid to help small businesses pay workers.

Full details of the deal, which Congress is expected to pass, are not known.

Financial markets around the world rose on news of the deal.

President Donald Trump has said he hopes the US will shake off coronavirus within less than three weeks.

However, the top US infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci, warned that “you have to be very flexible” about a timeframe for ending the crisis.

Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo warned the illness was spreading faster than “a bullet train” in his state, which is at the centre of the pandemic in the US.

After 802 deaths and 55,225 confirmed infections, the US is more than midway through a 15-day attempt to slow the spread of the virus through social distancing.

Around 19,000 people have died with coronavirus across the planet since it emerged in China’s Wuhan province in January, and more than 425,000 infections have been confirmed.

Southern Europe is now at the centre of the pandemic, with Italy and Spain recording hundreds of new deaths every day.

Governments around the world have responded by locking down societies in the hope of slowing the spread of the virus.

The stimulus agreement announced by Democratic and Republican senator leaders at 01:30EDT on March 25 includes tax rebates, loans, money for hospitals and rescue packages.

According to media, individuals who earn $75,000 or less would get direct payments of $1,200 each, with married couples earning up to $150,000 receiving $2,400 and an additional $500 per each child.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described the package as a “wartime level of investment” in the US nation.

If passed, it would be the largest government economic stimulus in US history.

The agreement must still be voted through the House of Representatives and the Senate before President Trump signs it off but it enjoys cross-party support.

One factor that may delay its passage is the question of how voting will be conducted, given that some members of Congress are off with coronavirus or are self-isolating having come into contact with infected people.

New York Governor Cuomo dismissed the plan as “terrible for the state” and called the proposed $3.8 billion “a drop in the bucket, as to need”.

He said New York was facing a $15 billion revenue shortfall, and estimated that $1 billion has already been spent on the coronavirus response.

The details of the stimulus bill have not yet gone to the House, making some lawmakers wary of signaling their early approval.

If any member objects to unanimous consent, lawmakers will be asked to return to Washington and vote over the course of an entire day, in order to limit how many people are present on the House floor at one time.

President Trump said he hoped America could get back to normal by Easter, which falls on April 12 this year.

He told Fox News: “We’re going to be opening relatively soon…

“I would love to have the country opened up and just rearing to go by Easter.”

However, the president later sounded more cautious, saying: “We’ll only do it if it’s good.”

President Trump added that re-opening could be limited to “sections” of the country such as “the farm belt”.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games have been postponed until 2021 because of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

The Olympics, due to begin on July 24, will now take place “no later than summer 2021”.

Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe: “I proposed to postpone for a year and [IOC] president Thomas Bach responded with 100% agreement.”

The event will still be called Tokyo 2020 despite taking place in 2021.

In a joint statement, the event’s organizers and the IOC said: “The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating.

“On Monday, the director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the Covid-19 pandemic is ‘accelerating’.

“There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.

“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today [Tuesday], the IOC president and the prime minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.”

The IOC had given itself a deadline of four weeks to consider delaying the Games but there had been mounting pressure from a host of Olympic committees and athletes demanding a quicker decision.

On March 22, Canada became the first major country to withdraw from both events, while USA Track and Field, athletics’ US governing body, had also called for a postponement.

International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parsons said the postponement was “the only logical option”.

Andrew Parsons added: “The health and wellbeing of human life must always be our number-one priority and staging a sporting event of any kind during this pandemic is simply not possible.

“Sport is not the most important thing right now, preserving human life is. It is essential, therefore, that all steps are taken to try to limit the spread of this disease.

“By taking this decision now, everyone involved in the Paralympic movement, including all Para-athletes, can fully focus on their own health and wellbeing and staying safe during this unprecedented and difficult time.”

The Olympics have never been delayed in their 124-year modern history, though they were canceled altogether in 1916, 1940 and 1944 during World War One and World War Two.

Major Cold War boycotts disrupted the Moscow and Los Angeles summer Games in 1980 and 1984.

The Tokyo 2020-IOC joint statement continued: “The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present.

“Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”

Image source: The Blue Diamond Gallery

Equal Pay

Women make up almost half of the workforce. In many instances, they are the sole or co-breadwinner in half of the American families with children. They receive more college and graduate degrees than men. Yet, on average, women continue to earn considerably less than men. Women, on average, earn less than men in nearly every single occupation for which there is sufficient earnings data for both men and women to calculate an earnings ratio.

Minimum Wage

The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour. There are 21 states and many cities that have a minimum wage higher than the federal level. Washington state has the highest at $9.32 and Oregon trails second at $9.10. Economic research firms have long argued that higher minimum wages cause firms to reduce employment, especially of low-wage workers, and thus they inflict damage on the U.S. economy. But two new papers provide powerful evidence that higher minimum wages in fact boost the conditions of workers—especially the least skilled and lowest paid among them—without doing broad economic harm.

Welfare Drug Testing

The goal of governments who provide these resources is to remove as much fraud as possible from the system. Then there is the eventual goal to help everyone find a meaningful job so that eventually the individual or household can be self-supportive.

Paid Sick Leave

A paid time off (PTO) policy combines vacation, sick time and personal time into a single bank of days for employees to use when they take paid time off from work. A PTO policy creates a pool of days that an employee may use at his or her discretion. At the height of the summer season, companies’ vacation plans are often put to the test. If your company experiences frequent issues when trying to handle the mass influx of requests that come in over the summer months, it may be time to consider a paid time off the bank as an alternative to a traditional vacation plan.

Welfare

In essence, welfare programs are a government subsidy that is paid directly to people with a qualifying income. In the United States, qualification requires a household income falls below a specific percentage of the poverty level. For several generations, benefits have been given out to people so they can have basic services, such as food access, without charge. The pros and cons of welfare show that it can be useful to help those who are in need, but there must be controls in place to limit abuse. There will always be a debate about who deserves to receive welfare benefits.

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Image source Wikipedia

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has announced that he supports sending money directly to Americans as part of a $1 trillion stimulus aimed at averting an economic crisis caused by the coronavirus.

He said: “We’re looking at sending cheques to Americans immediately.”

The $250 billion in cheques are part of a huge aid package which the White House is discussing with Congress.

The move follows widespread school and store closures as the number of coronavirus cases in the US passes 5,200 people.

The US has been debating how to provide relief as activity grinds to a halt in response to curfews and other measures intended to slow the spread of the virus.

Details such as the size of the cheques, and who would qualify for them, are still under discussion.

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A $1 trillion aid package would be larger than the US response to the 2008 financial crisis, amounting to nearly a quarter of what the federal government spent last year.

In addition to the $250 billion in cheques for families, the plan includes a bailout for airlines and hotels, among other measures. The proposal must be approved by Congress to move forward.

Separate from the $1 trillion package, Steve Mnuchin said the government would also allow companies and individuals to delay their tax payments for 90 days.

He said: “We look forward to having bipartisan support to pass this legislation very quickly.”

President Donald Trump initially proposed a payroll tax cut, which would reduce the money the government automatically withholds from worker pay to pay for social programs.

However, critics said that relief would come too slowly and leave out those without jobs. Several high-profile economists had urged more direct assistance, including $1,000 payments, winning support from lawmakers such as Republican Senator Mitt Romney.

President Trump said he had come round to the view that faster, more direct relief is necessary.

He said: “With this invisible enemy, we don’t want people losing their jobs and not having money to live.”

The president added that he wanted to target the relief to those who need it.

Steven Mnuchin said he hoped to send the cheques within two weeks.

He said: “Americans need cash now and the president wants to give cash now and I mean now, in the next two weeks.”

Global stocks have plunged again despite central banks around the world announcing a coordinated effort to ease the effects of the new coronavirus.

The Dow Jones index closed 12.9% down after President Donald Trump said the economy “may be” heading for recession.

Meanwhile, London’s FTSE 100 ended 4% lower, and other major European markets saw similar slides.

On March 15, the Fed cut its interest rates by 100 basis points to a target range of 0% to 0.25% and said it would offer at least $700 billion for support to the markets in the coming weeks.

The move was part of coordinated action announced alongside the eurozone, the UK, Japan, Canada, and Switzerland.

It comes as local officials across the US shut schools, restaurants and bars, sports leagues cancel tournaments, and retailers such as Urban Outfitters, Nike, and Gap announce hundreds of temporary store closures.

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Speaking after the announcement, Fed chairman Jerome Powell said: “The virus is having a profound effect.”

Investors are worried that central banks now have few options left to combat the impact of the pandemic.

In New York, steep falls as markets opened triggered another automatic halt to trading, which is meant to curb panic selling. Before last week, such halts, known as circuit breakers, had not been used in more than two decades.

However, the sell-off continued after the 15-minute suspension, with the Dow losing nearly 3,000 points or 12.9%, its worst percentage drop since 1987.

The wider S&P 500 dropped 11.9%, while NASDAQ dropped 12.3%. All three indexes are now down more than 25% from their highs.

In London, companies in the travel sector saw big falls. Share in holiday company Tui sank more than 27% after it said it would suspend the “majority” of its operations. BA-owner IAG fell more than 25% after it said it would cut its flight capacity by at least 75% in April and May.

The FTSE 250, which includes a number of well-known UK-focused companies, ended down about 7.8%.

All the main European share indexes fell sharply, though they later regained some ground. France’s Cac 40 index fell more than 5.7% and Germany’s Dax dropped more than 5.3%.

In Asia, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 closed down 2.5% and the Shanghai Composite in China ended the day 3.3% lower.

Oil prices, which have been shaken by a price war between exporters, fell again. Brent crude dropped by more than 10% to less than $32 a barrel while West Texas International crude fell more than 8% to less than $30 a barrel.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The Tokyo Olympic Games will go ahead as planned in July, despite coronavirus concerns resulting in the postponement of sporting events, Japan PM Shinzo Abe said.

The prime minister added the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would have the final decision whether Tokyo 2020 goes ahead.

He said: “We will overcome the spread of the infection and host the Olympics without problem, as planned.”

Japan has had more than 1,400 cases and 28 deaths resulting from coronavirus.

According to organizers, the Tokyo Games is expected to cost about 1.35 trillion yen.

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The Japan section of the Olympic Torch relay is due to start in Fukushima on March 26. The recent torch-lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia was held without spectators, before the rest of the relay in Greece was suspended to avoid attracting crowds.

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike said: “We’re taking thorough infection measures with regards to the torch relay domestically.”

Several Olympic trials events in the US have been postponed, including wrestling, rowing and diving.

The Tokyo Olympic Games will go ahead as planned in July, despite coronavirus concerns resulting in the postponement of sporting events, Japan PM Shinzo Abe said.

The prime minister added the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would have the final decision whether Tokyo 2020 goes ahead.

He said: “We will overcome the spread of the infection and host the Olympics without problem, as planned.”

Japan has had more than 1,400 cases and 28 deaths resulting from coronavirus.

According to organizers, the Tokyo Games is expected to cost about 1.35 trillion yen.

The Japan section of the Olympic Torch relay is due to start in Fukushima on March 26. The recent torch-lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia was held without spectators, before the rest of the relay in Greece was suspended to avoid attracting crowds.

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike said: “We’re taking thorough infection measures with regards to the torch relay domestically.”

Several Olympic trials events in the US have been postponed, including wrestling, rowing and diving.

Image by Oli Hale from Pixabay

London’s FTSE 100 index is facing its worst day since the financial crisis after it fell 8% in early trade, wiping billions off the value of major companies.

The UK’s top share index drop follows global falls as a row between Russia and Saudi Arabia saw oil prices plunge by more than a fifth.

Shares were already reeling from fears of the impact of the coronavirus as cases globally continue to rise.

March 9 has already been dubbed “Black Monday” by analysts who described the market reaction as “utter carnage”.

The FTSE 100 index fell more than 8% in the first few minutes of trade, before recovering slightly.

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Oil prices are down more than 20% with Brent crude trading at $35.98 a barrel.

Oil companies saw the biggest falls, with shares in Shell and BP both down by about 15%, while Premier Oil saw its shares more than halve in value.

The hefty falls were also seen elsewhere in Europe, with stock markets in France and Germany also opening more than 7% lower. Norway – a major oil exporter – saw its main stock exchange fall 12% in early trade.

The price of oil had already fallen sharply this year as the coronavirus disease began to spread internationally, with demand for fuel expected to decline.

Last week, oil exporters’ group OPEC – which includes Saudi Arabia – agreed to cut production in order to support prices.

However, it also wanted non-OPEC oil producers such as Russia to agree to cuts, and on March 6 Russia rejected the plans.

In response, Saudi Arabia has cut its official selling prices for oil and plans to increase production. The move is seen as Saudi Arabia flexing its muscles in the oil market to make Russia fall into line.

Asian investors also reacted to a slump in Chinese export figures and the shrinking of the Japanese economy.

In China, the benchmark Shanghai Composite share index fell 3%, while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index sank 4.2%.

On March 7, China released import and export figures for the first two months of the year. Exports fell by 17.2% while imports dropped by 4%. This gave the Chinese economy a trade deficit of $7.1 billion as it struggles with the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, Japan’s economy shrank at a faster rate than initially estimated in the final three months of 2019, according to the latest official figures.

Image source: Wikipedia

Former soccer player Ronaldinho Gaucho and his brother, Roberto Assis, appeared in court on March 7 over allegations the pair used fake passports to enter Paraguay.

Prosecutors say they were given the false documents when they landed in the capital Asuncion on March 3.

Ronaldinho and his brother were taken into custody on March 6, just hours after a judge refused to uphold a prosecutor’s proposal for an alternative punishment.

The prosecutor argued the brothers had been tricked. They deny any wrongdoing.

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The Brazilians, who were questioned by police, said they thought the passports were a courtesy gesture. Officers later searched their hotel.

A judge now has to determine whether Ronaldinho Gaucho and his brother should be freed or remain in custody while further investigations are carried out.

In July 2019, Ronaldinho, now 39, reportedly had his Brazilian and Spanish passports confiscated over unpaid taxes and non-payment of fines for illegally building on a nature reserve in Brazil.

Ronaldinho had traveled to Paraguay to promote a book and a campaign for underprivileged children.

He was the 2004 and 2005 World Player of the Year and reached the prime of his career at Spanish giants Barcelona.

Ronaldinho won the World Cup for Brazil in 2002 alongside fellow superstar forwards Ronaldo and Rivaldo.

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Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

For those of you out there who don’t really know this, until 2013 the SEC push restrictions on group funding of real estate deals through general solicitation, but due to the passing of the Jobs Act, it lifted those restrictions and really paved the way to the growth of crowdfunding, which is probably why you’re starting to see more and more of these crowdfunding websites popping up such as RealtyMogul, Crowdshare, fundrise, Realtyshare, Oberlo and oberlo alternatives. These sites open up new opportunities for investors to participate in deals that they probably really worried to before on their own (just like they’re worried in taking part in high ticket dropshipping). Property generally speaking is just a way of spreading out the risk as well as the reward among a larger pool of investors and these websites like to buy into these investments in smaller chunks, that makes it a lot more accessible for the average investor, rather than, say, having to put an entire lump sum down for one deal or having to fund an entire development from start to finish on your own. Both options are very expensive, but crowdfunding helps alleviate that. What are the overall advantages and disadvantages of crowdfunding you might be asking? So to get things started to talk about some of the advantages for all my eight to five hours out there who want the benefits of real estate investing but just don’t have the time. This may be a good option for you, crowdfunding is more of a capital investment. You’re a silent investor, you’re getting all the benefits of investing. You just don’t have a say in how the money is allocated. One of the major benefits is that you get to broaden your investment options (including via the use of shopify chrome extension), rather than put $50,000 into one deal you can spread that among two, three four deals using crowdfunding and create multiple streams of income. So that’s another way of thinking about it.

Also you have accessibility to accredited investors. Some of these websites will even vet their members to make sure that they have the right amount of income that they continue to fund the deals, because some of these sites have minimums of a hundred thousand, not everybody can do that. But if you can participate in these networks, you have a possibility of connecting with some of these other highly successful investors, which is very valuable.

Most of this is done online. You can track your progress, track where your Investments go there’s not much of a paper trail, of course in the digital error that always makes things a lot easier at least for some of us. The next thing too is because you’re not managing, you’re not landlording – you don’t have to deal with tenants, toilets and trash huge relief, which is a huge relief. And of course, there’s lower fees which means better returns. Some of these websites provide the removal of the middleman – no agents, no brokerage. You could save on those fees, which definitely adds up across several deals saving you money and of course depending on who you crowdfund with, you could potentially say goodbye to indefinite holding periods. Unlike the money market, mutual funds we get penalized for pulling them out, pulling money out early for crowdfunding is a little bit more flexible. But yet there are still some hoops you got to jump through. But of course, you don’t have to wait until 65 to pull your money out. In any case, it is still of vital importance to learn how to drive traffic to your shopify store.

Now, let’s talk about some of the cons. Most crowdfunding requires a minimum investment. So if you’re thinking you can get involved with a few hundred bucks or maybe a thousand, two thousand you may not be able to participate. Most websites have a minimum of $5,000. Okay, one of the other disadvantages, depending on the deal, the chances are you may not see any type of return for a few months, 6 even 12 months, especially if you’re investing in one of those development type deals, where you just have to wait for it to be built first and cross your fingers that it’s going to be a successful deal. But make sure you pay attention to those types of Investments. Next one is if you’re a control freak, this is not going to be a good fit for you and what that means is,

again, you’re a silent investor. So if for any reason you had an emergency where you need immediately pull this money out, it could be rather difficult depending on the deal and if it’s a deal that’s failing going down and you’re trying to pull out, more than likely you’re not going to find anybody to take over for you and you could potentially lose your money. So lack of liquidity is a big one for some investors. That’s one risk of investment default from real rstate developers is higher in crowdfunding than peer-to-peer. Any situation where you have a management company who go there is doing good or not. It’s going to be a lot harder for you to control it than say a peer-to-peer, one-on-one, where your input is actually being heard and executed next less experienced investors are more likely to get stuck in a crowdfunding campaign that they cannot afford, purely to the fact of lack of due diligence, many new investors will get blindsided by the amazing appeal of ROI on these websites and just put their money in, without really doing the necessary research and homework and in that sense, you’re going to set yourself up to potential heartbreak.

So always remember to do your due diligence and your homework, to alleviate some of these risks, research the track record for some of these companies, next the taxation regulations of crowdfunding can be difficult for some, whether you’re investing through an entity or sole proprietorship. Crowdfunding is relatively new, so we’re still trying to figure out the details unless you were up to date with these tax laws this can definitely slow you.

Down to the last but not least – if a company’s due diligence process is not extensive enough, it’s like some of these newer companies that are popping up, it could cause for poor vetting and allow some of these deals to get through that aren’t quality and you won’t know they’re bad until you put your money in and it goes, which can be scary. So it all comes down to how much research you put in. Crowdfunding real estate is like any investment strategy. It’s essential for you to do your homework and research, report putting any of your hard-earned cash into a deal. This means looking at the experience, the track record of these real estate developers, who are soliciting crowdfunding money from you. Don’t be immediately fooled by the ROI or the returns – these sites are designed to flash in front of you, so you do put your money in, so don’t be distracted by any of the shiny object and all the promises and guarantees you got to get down to the numbers, get down to the facts, get down to the details and assess your risk because remember there’s no such thing as a sure thing, especially in real estate.

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Maria Sharapova has decided to retire from tennis at the age of 32.

In an article written for Vogue and Vanity Fair, the five-time Grand Slam champion said her body “had become a distraction” after a struggle with shoulder injuries.

Maria Sharapova won her first Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 2004 at the age of 17 and completed the career slam – all four major titles – by winning the French Open in 2012.

In 2016, the Russian served a 15-month ban after testing positive for meldonium.

After returning from her ban in 2017, Maria Sharapova struggled to recapture her best form and suffered from a number of injuries.

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The former champion has dropped to 373 in the world, her lowest ranking since August 2002, and has lost in the first round of her past three Grand Slam tournaments.

In announcing her retirement, Maria Sharapova said: “I’m new to this, so please forgive me. Tennis – I’m saying goodbye.

“Looking back now, I realize that tennis has been my mountain. My path has been filled with valleys and detours, but the views from its peak were incredible.

“After 28 years and five Grand Slam titles, though, I’m ready to scale another mountain – to compete on a different type of terrain.

“That relentless chase for victories, though? That won’t ever diminish. No matter what lies ahead, I will apply the same focus, the same work ethic, and all of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

“In the meantime, there are a few simple things I’m really looking forward to: A sense of stillness with my family. Lingering over a morning cup of coffee. Unexpected weekend getaways. Workouts of my choice (hello, dance class!)”

Maria Sharapova said her 6-1, 6-1 first-round defeat by Serena Williams at 2019 US Open was the “final signal”.

She did not play again in 2019 after that defeat at Flushing Meadows and has played just twice in 2020, including a straight sets loss to Croat Donna Vekic in the Australian Open first round, her last competitive appearance..

Maria Sharapova shot to stardom in 2004 aged just 17 when victory over Serena Williams saw her become the third-youngest woman to win the Wimbledon singles title.

She would go on to become one of the most high-profile names in women’s sport, winning 36 singles titles and earning more than $38 million in prize money.

In 2005, Maria Sharapova became the first Russian woman to become world No 1, and won her second Grand Slam singles title at the US Open in 2006.

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Vanessa Bryant, the widow of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, is suing the owner of the helicopter that crashed last month, killing her husband and 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.

Kobe Bryant, Gianna and seven others died when the helicopter they were in crashed in fog on January 26.

In the lawsuit, Vanessa Bryant says the pilot was negligent for flying in such poor weather.

The lawsuit was filed shortly before a memorial service held in Los Angeles.

It says that Island Express Helicopters and the pilot, Ara George Zobayan, had a “duty to use that degree of care that an ordinarily careful and prudent pilot would use under the same or similar circumstances”.

The lawsuit alleges that the pilot – who died in the crash – did not assess weather data before taking off.

It also says the pilot did not abort the flight despite the treacherous conditions.

Island Express Helicopters authorized the flight “with full knowledge that the subject helicopter was flying into unsafe weather conditions”, the complaint says.

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Vanessa Bryant is seeking undisclosed compensatory and punitive damages.

The company has suspended operations.

The aircraft – a Sikorsky S-76B – went down into a hillside outside the city of Calabasas.

Conditions were foggy when the flight took off, and local police had grounded their helicopters due to the poor weather.

The pilot asked air traffic controllers for a special clearance, known as Special Visual Flight Rules, to fly in less than optimal weather, said NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy, who went to the crash scene to collect evidence.

The helicopter, she added, circled in the air for 12 minutes before being given the clearance. The pilot then asked controllers for “flight following”, an assistance given to helicopters to avoid collisions, but was told the craft was too low to be picked up by radar.

Minutes later, the pilot said he was “climbing to avoid a cloud layer”, she added. The helicopter climbed and began a left descending turn, according to radar data, before communication was lost. All those on board were killed.

Kobe and Gianna Bryant were remembered in a “Celebration of Life” memorial at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 24.

Beyoncé opened the service with her 2013 hit XO, which she said was one of Kobe Bryant’s favorite songs.

Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Bryant’s former teammate Shaquille O’Neal were among those attending.

The Staples Center was Kobe Bryant’s home arena for much of his 20-season career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Speaking at the event, Vanessa Bryant said of her husband: “He was mine. He was my everything,” and called her daughter Gianna an “amazingly sweet and gentle soul” whose smile took up her entire face.

Island Express Helicopters was limited to operating when the pilot was able to see clearly while flying.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Despite the hyper-partisan political landscape in Washington, on January 16, 2020 the Senate approved the USMCA trade deal. Congress had previously passed the legislation on December 19, 2019 by a vote of 385-41, and Mexico’s Senate passed the legislation on June 19, 2019 by a vote of 114-4. That leaves only Canada’s Parliament left to ratify the successor to NAFTA — which may not be as straightforward as once expected.

That’s because the Canadian government is currently led by the Liberal Party, which has a minority of seats in the House of Commons (a.k.a. Parliament). For those unfamiliar with the Westminster system, this basically means that the Liberal Party — which was in power during the extensive and often thorny negotiations that brought about the USMCA — does not have enough votes to unilaterally ratify the new trade deal. As such, it must “reach across the aisle” and get support from at least 13 Parliamentarians from other parties; namely the Conservatives (right-leaning), the New Democrats (left-leaning), or the Bloc Quebecois (based in the Canadian province of Quebec, and mandated to exclusively focus on promoting legislation that benefits Quebec).

However, those who have been eagerly waiting for the trade uncertainty to end — everyone from cross-border shoppers buying organic kratom, to giant logistics and manufacturing companies — can probably afford some cautious optimism, given that there are likely enough votes among the pro-business Conservatives to push the USMCA through the Canadian parliament sometime during 2020.

While NAFTA was not wholly beloved in Canada — particularly across labor groups — the USMCA is even less popular. Among the most vocal opponents is the country’s small, yet politically powerful dairy producers who have historically benefited from strong protective quotas (which Canadians call “supply management”) to keep U.S. dairy producers from tapping into the lucrative Canadian market valued at $16 billion annually. While these protective quotas still exist in the USCMA, they have been significantly weakened — fulfilling a longstanding Trump campaign promise.  Another major change is the sunset clause, which calls for the USMCA to expire 16 years after trilateral ratification. However, to avoid trade chaos, the deal is subject to review every six years, at which time the three countries can mutually agree to extend it if they wish. Considering that it took more than two years to negotiate the USMCA, it’s hard to imagine that any potential extensions will be any less complicated, confrontational or controversial. Time will tell, and we’ll be watching closely.

In a televised address on September 11, 2019, President Donald Trump dropped a bombshell on the U.S. vaping industry by announcing his intention to ban e-liquid across the country in all flavors except tobacco. The stated reasons behind the ban were twofold. First, a terrible lung illness relating to vaping had just begun to sweep across the country, and health officials didn’t yet understand that the illness was caused by the use of illegal cannabis products rather than legal nicotine products. Second, it had become obvious by 2019 that underage use of vaping products had taken hold across the country and wasn’t going to resolve itself any time soon. Members of the federal government felt that, without direct action, the number of teen vapers would only continue to grow.

What happened next was a firestorm that no one in the Trump administration – not even Trump himself – could ever have predicted.

Trump Underestimates the Importance of Vaping Voters

The first sign that President Trump potentially made a grave mistake on September 11 came in the form of widespread reports suggesting that Trump’s allies in the Republican party were unhappy about the proposed e-liquid flavor ban. As it turned out, Trump had failed to consider the number of people he’d be offending – and more importantly, where those people lived – before proposing the ban. In the 2016 Presidential election, Trump won by extremely narrow margins in key battleground states such as Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Georgia. The margins were smaller, in fact, than the populations of people who vape in those states.

Many of those who vape claim that they will vote based on that issue alone and will vote against anyone who limits their access to vaping products. If what those people say is true, banning all flavored e-liquids could easily lead to a loss of support in the battleground states in which Trump won in 2016 – and that could easily ruin Trump’s bid for reelection in 2020.

Trump largely went silent on the vaping issue after his September 11 announcement. News reports suggested that Trump hadn’t been aware before the announcement of the impact that a total e-liquid flavor ban would have on his support among voters or on small businesses across America. The loss of the country’s vape shops would also mean the loss of tens of thousands of jobs – not exactly the kind of event that Makes America Great Again.

Trump Administration Proposes a Compromise on the Vaping Issue

By the end of 2019, news reports suggested that the possibility of an all-out ban on all flavored e-liquids was no longer on the table. By that time, President Trump had met with representatives from the vaping and tobacco industries along with various public health advocates. The meetings gave Trump a better understanding of the impact that a flavor ban would have on the economy and on his support among adult vapers. In addition, it was very clear by then that the vaping-related lung illness had nothing to do with commercial nicotine e-liquid products.

In the end, the Trump administration did two things in an attempt to curb teen vaping.

  • The federal government raised the minimum age nationwide for buying tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21. That was done with the goal of preventing 18-year-old students from buying things like JUUL pods and giving them to younger students.
  • The FDA removed all pre-filled vape pods and cartridges in flavors other than tobacco and menthol from the market. Bottled e-liquid for refillable vaping devices remained legal in all flavors. Teen vapers overwhelmingly prefer the JUUL e-cigarette brand – which uses pre-filled pods – and in surveys, underage vapers have said that sweet flavors are a major part of what attracts them to vaping. In removing those products from the market, the government hopes that vaping will become less attractive to teens.

The government conducts a yearly survey of students to gauge the effectiveness of its tobacco control policies. The results of that survey are released around the end of the year. As of late 2019, more than 5 million teens – about 27.5 percent of high school students and 10.5 percent of middle school students – reported vaping regularly. We will find out in late 2020 whether the government’s new policies have done anything to reduce teen nicotine use.

How Will Vaping Influence the 2020 Presidential Election?

In a private Oval Office meeting in early 2020, President Trump reportedly expressed regret over his involvement in federal vaping policy. Supposedly, he said that he “never should have done that [expletive] vaping thing.”

The reason for Trump’s unhappiness, however, has nothing to do with the infringement on vapers’ rights or the impact that the government’s policies may have on small business. The problem is that Trump unwittingly made himself the face of those policies when he could have easily left the decisions to Congress and the FDA and let others handle the political fallout.

The government’s new vaping policies are a compromise, and a compromise means that none of the stakeholders are completely happy. On one side, Trump is dealing with angry adult vapers who are upset over the lack of respect for their rights and angry about the fact that the government opted to punish everyone instead of going after the individual companies that obviously stepped over the line and marketed their products inappropriately.

On the other side, Trump is dealing with angry tobacco control activists who believe that the government’s new policies haven’t gone far enough – and, in terms of combating teen vaping, they are probably correct. Teens might say that the flavors the flavors of the products have enticed them to vape, but that isn’t really true. Youth-oriented marketing enticed those teens to vape, and the extremely high nicotine strengths of products like JUUL kept them coming back. Banning flavored pods isn’t going to stop teens from vaping when they’re already addicted to nicotine.

Tobacco control has always been a contentious topic, and the teen vaping issue is not going away. If President Trump loses his bid for reelection in 2020, it’s entirely possible that it’ll be because he “did that vaping thing.”

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finance-business

When the Clampetts moved from Tennessee to Beverly Hills in the 1960’s, the fictitious TV family had $83 million in the bank as a result of their backyard oil strike. Jed and his kin had no money worries, but most people who move to the big city find it hard to adapt to the much higher price levels. In places like New York City, Chicago, London, Tokyo and Los Angeles, the cost of living is escalated than in medium sized towns. If you have recently found yourself dwelling in one of the larger urban areas, here are some reliable tips for how to handle money and, hopefully, end up with some left when the last day of the month rolls around.

Use Public Transit

The golden rule of city life is using public transportation. Even if you own a car, it’s best to use it judiciously and take the bus, train or rapid transit to your destination. In New York, for example, you can spend as much as $2,500 more each year using your car instead of taking public transit. It’s not always a glamorous or convenient way to get from point A to point B, but buses and trains are cheap, and if you reside in the Big Apple or the big anything else, saving cash on in-city travel is a bargain you shouldn’t pass up.

Find No Cost Entertainment Options

One of the many great things about live in highly populated areas is free entertainment. It seems like whenever large groups reside near each other, they somehow figure out that it makes perfect sense to put on free concerts, circuses and public performances of all kinds. There are also museums, vast parks and lots of historic sites to see in the metropolis. That means you can spend at least the first couple years acting like a tourist and seeing the sights of the place you now call home.

Refinance Student Loans

Moving from a smaller town to a larger one entails cost-cutting. One of the most efficient ways to reduce your monthly expenses is by refinancing student loans. Not only will you have more available cash due to the lower monthly payments, but you’ll likely have a lower interest rate and much more time to pay off the entire debt. A refi makes solid sense for anyone contemplating a move to a major metro area.

Track All Spending

When you first arrive in your new residence, sit down and make a simple spreadsheet to track spending. It’s easy to leak money from your budget when you arrive in a place like Dallas, Miami or San Francisco. It’s important to watch every penny for the first month or two so you know where all the cash is going and what tourist traps you need to avoid.

Plan Meals a Week or Two in Advance

One of the most efficient ways to conserve your funds is to only eat out one or two times per week. Plan all other meals as eating in, and shop accordingly. Remember, a written weekly meal plan can save you more than any other lifestyle change.

Photo Getty Images

Kobe Bryant was among five people killed in a helicopter crash in the city of Calabasas, California.

According to reports, the 41-year-old Lakers legend was traveling in a private helicopter when it crashed and burst into flames.

Kobe Bryant, a five-time NBA champion, was widely considered one of the greatest players in basketball’s history.

Tributes from celebrities and fellow sports stars have been pouring in, many expressing shock at his sudden death.

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The identities of the other victims have not yet been released.

In a statement, the City of Calabasas said it was “with great sadness that we learn of the death of Kobe Bryant and four others in a helicopter crash”.

The statement added: “The aircraft went down in a remote field off Las Virgenes around 10:00 this morning. Nobody on the ground was hurt.”

Gavin Masak, who lives nearby, told CBS News of the moment the helicopter crashed.

He said: “It wasn’t exactly like an explosion sound but it was like a loud boom. It sounded like a helicopter, but it sounded like a jet, like it was loud, so I went inside and told my dad what was happening. So when I came out I saw smoke on the hill but it wasn’t like a big, black cloud of smoke, it was just grey.”

Other eyewitnesses told celebrity news site TMZ they heard the helicopter’s engine sputtering before it went down.

The LA County Sheriff’s Department shared pictures from the scene of the accident, showing a fire truck and smoke emerging from the hills.

The FAA identified the crashed helicopter as a Sikorsky S-76. It said it was investigating the accident alongside the NTSB.

Officials are set to give further details at a press conference at 2PM, local time.

Kobe Bryant played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He retired in April 2016.

His achievements include being the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP.

Kobe Bryant was also two-time NBA scoring champion and a two-time Olympic champion.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Boeing 777X, the world’s largest twin-engined plane, has successfully completed its first test flight.

It comes as Boeing attempts to boost its image after its 737 Max plane was grounded last year following two fatal crashes that killed 346 people.

The flight took off near Seattle and lasted four hours. Two attempts were called off this week due to high winds.

Further tests are needed before the aircraft enters service with Emirates in 2021.

The 252-foot-long passenger plane had been due to launch this year but has been delayed by some technical difficulties.

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The 777X is a larger and more efficient version of Boeing’s successful 777 mini-jumbo. Standout features include folding wingtips and the world’s largest commercial engines.

777X marketing director Wendy Sowers said: “It represents the great things we can do as a company.”

Boeing says it has sold 309 of the plane – worth more than $442 million each at list prices.

777X will go head-to-head with the Airbus A350-1000 which seats about 360 passengers.

Boeing has been in crisis since the 737 Max crashes, which occurred within five months of each other – first in Indonesia in October 2018 and then in Ethiopia last March.

The company is facing multiple investigations amid accusations that it sacrificed safety as it rushed to get its jets to customers. Boeing is attempting to have the plane re-approved for flight.

The grounding of the 737 Max, which had been Boeing’s best-selling plane, is estimated to have already cost Boeing more than $9 billion.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Tesla has overtaken Volkswagen as the world’s second most valuable automaker, after a dramatic rise in share price pushed its market value to more than $100 billion.

The milestone sets the stage for Tesla’s chief Elon Musk to collect billions in pay tied to hitting that target.

The company’s share price has more than doubled since October, when it reported a rare quarterly profit.

Tesla shares rose 4% on January 22, making its valuation second only to Toyota.

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Although Tesla has some way to go to catch up with Toyota, the Japanese car making giant has a stock market valuation of more than $230 billion.

Some analysts say the rise in price reflects Tesla’s performance in recent months, during which it has opened a factory in Shanghai and met its production goals.

In January, Tesla said it had delivered more than 367,500 cars in 2019 – up 50% from 2018. Investors expect the new factory to act as a springboard that will allow it to capture more of the Chinese market.

Despite the increase, Tesla’s sales remain small compared to those of its competitors.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen delivered almost 11 million vehicles in 2019, while Toyota sold more than 9 million in the first 11 months of 2019.

Tesla has also never made an annual profit and it is facing investigations after complaints about battery fires and unexpected acceleration.

Elon Musk’s company is due to report its latest quarterly results to investors this month.

If Tesla sustains the $100 billion valuation, it could unlock the first piece of a $2.6 billion compensation package for Elon Musk.

The plans calls for Elon Musk to receive payouts in shares over 10 years, with the first award contingent on the company reaching $100 billion in market capitalization and sustaining that value over both a month, and six-month average.

Tesla also had to reach $20 billion in revenue and earn $1.5 billion, after adjusting for items like taxes – thresholds the carmaker reached in 2018.

Tesla was valued at about $55 billion when the pay deal was approved.

Image source Flickr

China and the US have announced a preliminary trade agreement.

The so-called phase one deal will see billions of dollars in tariffs removed or delayed.

US stocks hit a fresh record on hopes there will be a continued softening of trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

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A fresh wave of US tariffs on Chinese imports was due to take effect on December 15. However, this has been canceled for now.

President Donald Trump tweeted: “We will begin negotiations on the phase two deal immediately, rather than waiting until after the 2020 Election.

“This is an amazing deal for all.”

If the new, higher tariffs had gone ahead, Chinese-made goods such as clothing, smartphones, and toys would have become more expensive for Americans just ahead of Christmas.

US negotiators are reportedly offering to significantly reduce existing tariffs on about $360 billion worth of Chinese imports.

In return, China has promised to buy large quantities of US soybeans, poultry and other agricultural products.

The agreement is a deal in principle, which means if China breaks any part of the agreement, the Trump administration has the ability to re-implement tariffs.

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Many of us had never had the chance or opportunity to slam our fists down on a desk and cry out “I need my lawyer!” Not just because we’ve likely never been in a situation where we’d require one and having a lawyer on retainer is incredibly expensive.

Also, there are many different types of lawyers in various situations. You wouldn’t hire an environmental lawyer to handle a criminal case. Just like Baskin Robbins and their 31 flavors of ice cream, there is a lawyer for every occasion.

In some cases, you may need a personal injury lawyer. Deciding if you need a lawyer is one thing but how do you know if you’re going to need a personal injury lawyer?

Below, we run over a few situations and reasons where you might want to hire a personal injury lawyer to help you out.

You Have a Serious Injury

When it comes to personal injury, there has to be some form of negligence by another party. That means tearing your ACL in your men’s basketball league after trying a between the leg dribble move isn’t going to work.

Another party has to have failed in performing its basic duty. You will see this written as the party breaching their duty of care. That’s why many personal injury cases stem from workplace accidents, car crashes, medical accidents, or product liability instances.

So if you’ve suffered a serious injury from negligence or a failure in duty of care, then you might have a strong case on your hands and reach out to personal injury lawyers.

Your Insurance Company Is Acting in Bad Faith

Many times, the first place people will turn to after suffering personal injury is their insurance. After all, that’s why we have insurance, to protect us from those ugly moments.

Insurance companies are rarely easy to deal with and anyone that has had a minor fender bender can attest to this fact. Even though the insurance company may be following their policy and acting within their rights, they still may not be helping you as much as they should.

That’s why having a personal injury lawyer can help navigate you through the difficult paperwork and confusing times to give you the best representation possible.

You’ve Been in an Accident

Once again, the above phrase doesn’t apply to all accidents and scenarios. You can’t hire a personal injury lawyer after you ran into a mailbox while texting and driving.

It has to happen because, once again, another party was negligent. Even if you don’t suffer a severe injury, any kind of injury can apply in this situation. It’s also important to note that the accident couldn’t have been your fault.

So if it was the fault of the machine equipment, hazardous working areas, or a coworker, you might have a strong case this time around.

Legal Experience

As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of different types of lawyers and as someone who may not have the legal wherewithal, trying to navigate your way through paperwork, the legal system, and other lawyers is going to be an impossible uphill climb.

With this legal experience, personal injury lawyers know how to deal with anything that may be thrown your way and can look for creative ways to reach a solution amongst all parties involved.

Plus, having a lawyer on your side can lead to the best outcome, like avoiding trial and being able to settle out of court. Even though roughly 90% of personal injury cases are settled out of court, you want to avoid falling into that 10% category.

It’s a Time Saver

Legal matters aren’t like they are in the movies. Jury decisions take days instead of minutes and settlements usually aren’t reached that quickly. Settling a personal injury case is no small thing and trying to do it alone is going to take a ton of your precious time.

Having a lawyer is likely to speed up the process, not because they’re superhumans, but because they know how to navigate the system and what processes to look out for.

So if you find yourself in an accident or injured because of negligence, make sure you do the right thing and hire a personal injury lawyer.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Although the DevOps concept is just a decade old, the philosophy has found its way into the offices of corporations around the world—and especially among newer businesses and startups. DevOps isn’t just a singular notion; it’s a philosophy and culture movement built upon the foundation that companies should have processes in place to integrate communication between development and operations team. 

The overarching goal is to deliver quicker, and in a more secure way. DevOps tools are designed to automate many of the processes involved in development work. Today, there are even platforms like JFrog that help businesses run a fully automated DevOps pipeline from code to production. Overall, you’ll benefit from better company culture, a higher level of transparency, and quicker deliverables. 

Since DevOps hit the scene, many companies have attempted to nix their traditional, siloed approach to development in favor of this trending, integrated approach. And while big businesses like Amazon and Netflix are succeeding with DevOps, other companies are still strongly to bring it into their organizations. Here’s why: 

Fear of Change

The development world is experiencing a major culture shift, but for many organizations and developers, this level of change is scary. This is especially true for software businesses that have been around for quite some time. They trust their processes, and are accustomed to running the business a certain way. However, it’s important to understand that businesses that don’t adopt and embrace new technology will quickly find themselves left behind in the dust of their tech-savvy competitors. 

Fear of change is normal, but it’s important to address those fears head on—particularly when the future of the company depends upon it. This might mean you have to do some restructuring and hire leaders who understand DevOps and can facilitate its integration. Businesses should be careful not to move too quickly, which can cause further unrest as employees across different departments struggle to learn and catch up. 

Not Focusing on Building DevOps Architecture 

One of the biggest reasons companies fail with DevOps is because they don’t set up the technology and processes that fuel it correctly. DevOps is about much more than a mindset centered around conjoining business operations. You’ll also need the tools in place to carry your goals through. Many companies believe that if they start investing in technology that aligns with DevOps, they can simply push code quicker right away. This isn’t the case. Like anything else, you have to build your foundation before it can hold anything at all. 

While the goal of DevOps is to shorten development lifecycles, spearheading DevOps for the first time requires you to take a step back and slow down. Analyze areas of your workflow and identify bottlenecks and communication gaps. From here, you can decide which tools contribute to solutions. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” The same concept can be applied to DevOps. Even the strongest man would have trouble chopping a tree with a dull ax. Similarly, put in the necessary steps to ensure you have the proper workflows in place to progress. 

Not Treating It Like a Product

As previously mentioned, a foundation is necessary to propel with DevOps successfully. It helps to treat DevOps implementation just as you would a product build. First thing’s first: you need a road map. A big bang approach can quickly spiral out of control. With a detailed pipeline and micro steps, you’re less likely to run into issues or overburden your team. 

For example, you might break down your DevOps goals by quarter. In one quarter, you might focus on shifting company culture and preparing the organization for what’s to come. In the next, you might integrate database administrators into the DevOps process. After that, you’ll focus on the technology necessary to automate your deployments. 

Failing to Measure

Any time you start a new project or goal, there needs to be a method in place for measuring progress. For instance, if you want to lose weight, you should measure your starting weight and come back to compare new results. But it’s not just about the starting and ending numbers: everything in between matters, too. Creating SMART goals is crucial here. Do you want to push applications to the frontline quicker? Improve code quality? Reduce the amount of bug fixes? These are all metrics you should be able to come back to later on to determine how DevOps played a role in those goals. Understanding where your successes are also motivates you to continue on. 

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Because your home is a special place where you and your family can relax while feeling secure. We know that buying your first home comes with plenty of overwhelming responsibilities. So, if you’re planning a big investment, homeowner insurance is exactly what you need to maintain and protect what you already have and gain a sense of security. For those who want to avoid the risk of a huge financial loss in the event of a tragic event or even natural disasters, homeowner insurance is what they need. Protecting your home should be a vital aspect of your investment plans. When it comes to your family’s future and safety this should be necessary, but as other huge investments in your life, this requires planning and patience.

Dwelling Coverage

The best thing about homeowners insurance is that even though something happens to your home, you can avoid huge repair costs. It might take the burden off your shoulders knowing that your home insurance can cover the costs of repair or rebuilding after a natural disaster or a burglary. Sometimes such events are unavoidable therefore looking for signing with the right insurance company is the wisest decision you’ve made. 

It depends very much of the place you live, a reason why you should know what type of insurance you actually need. If you live in Florida, then you’ll be more likely to encounter hurricanes, sinkholes or flood damage. You should consider wind insurance in Florida if you want to assure your family’s safety and peace of mind when it comes to their future. Ensuring your home for such disasters is what you can do best if you want to avoid huge financial losses. 

Other Structures 

Another great aspect of home insurance is that not only your house is covered, but other structures on your propriety too. Because everything can be possible at some point signing homeowner insurance is a smart move. It doesn’t matter if you have a backyard fence, a tool shed, a swimming pool or a detached garage, signing other structures coverage, will cover a fragment of the insurance you have on your dwelling, which is usually 10% of your total coverage. It doesn’t matter where you live as long as your goods and structures are insured. Having your garage covered will make you feel much safer in the event of a natural disaster or robbery.  

It Covers Your Personal Belongings

Because we all valuable items in our home, being afraid of unexpected future events it’s not a solution. Homeowner insurance will protect your goods such as electronics, clothes, fine art pieces and jewellery you certainly don’t want to lose. Before anything, the smartest move would be to plan an inventory. Whenever you sign insurance you want to be sure they pay you fairly for whatever you’ve lost. After an unfortunate event, you should make a list of every valuable item and validate the value of that loss. Your insurance company wants to make sure you’re honest about you loses and their value therefore, the following steps might help you build an idea on what you can do. 

  • Collect all your available receipts or cancelled checks that prove the value of your items. 
  • Most important, create a list with every damaged item and the degree of damage of each possession. You can even photograph or videotape the damage.
  • If possible, collect every surviving photo or video taken with your valuable goods before the damage.

Protects your Liability 

Having liability protection on your home insurance is considered by many a smart investment. Anything can happen on your propriety, maybe the neighbor slips on your icy stairs or maybe your dog bites the mailman. These small unexpected events may cost you more than you think, a reason why you should consider signing home insurance. This will help you cover your essential medical expenses, lost wages and legal fees. This will even allow you to preserve your house equity. Whenever you plan to make renovation and upgrade something in your house, the value of your home will increase. If you wish to protect your investment you should consider this liability protection as being a smart move. 

Additional Living Expenses 

Additional living expenses are an important part of your home insurance policy. It is perfectly developed to help you overcome financial loses and stay safe while your house is under repairs after a disaster. It covers restaurant and hotel bills and even the moving costs you encounter after an unexpected event. This additional living expenses will offer you great comfort in trying times. 

Your Lender May Require It

Even though you don’t have a proprietary yet, planning to invest in home insurance may offer you plenty of benefits. Given the unexpected events, more lenders require proof of your insurance. This should be a necessary move because it protects your home from damage caused by natural disasters, robbery or fire. In case you don’t have insurance, your lender can buy one on your name. But as you probably know, this will add the costs on your monthly expenses. Homeowner insurance will not cause a hole in your budget if you find the option that’s right for you. In most cases, its value adapts with the quality so this will offer you huge satisfaction. 

Because it doesn’t matter if you’ve just bought a house or you’ve just rented, insuring your home it’s a necessary investment. Just thinking about a catastrophic event like a tornado or a fire can be a nightmare. Those who already experienced such unfortunate events know very well what it takes to endure all those repair costs. Fortunately, these things can be avoided if you plan to invest in home insurance. This should be a wise decision if you wish to ensure your financial stability and your family’s safety. Having homeowner insurance will offer you’re a sense of comfort regarding your future and it will take a burden off your shoulders. 

 

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Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

A mortgage note is a financial document detailing the payments for a loan used to buy a property. Those who hold one for a home, business, or other property can sell it and get a lump sum of cash. While that sounds enticing, before leaping in, you’ll want to know how to make money with mortgage notes and get the maximum amount you can.

The average mortgage loan as of January 2017 was $309,200, according to The Motley Fool’s Million Acres site. Still, no matter what the principal of your mortgage is, you won’t be getting that exact amount. The better news is that you can still receive a significant offer – and you can get the highest amount possible by following some industry tips.

Selling Your Mortgage Note

First, you’ll want to know how to sell your private mortgage note. While it might sound complicated and require quite a bit of time and effort, the process is relatively simple. There are plenty of companies out there willing to purchase your mortgage note, taking on the risk as the notes are backed with collateral. You’ll need your trust deed or mortgage, and to find the best company to work with. Typically, you’ll complete an online form or make a phone call to get an offer. The offer is based on the current market, the terms of the note, property appraisal, and the company’s rates. Most companies will provide an attorney, so you don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars for a real estate lawyer.

Getting the Best Value For Your Note

Insider industry experts say there are several ways to get the best possible value for your mortgage note.

Your buyer has decent credit. The higher the credit score of your borrower/property buyer, the more money you’ll be able to get for your mortgage note. Most notes that are owner financed are completed because the buyer has less than stellar credit, which is okay. Still, if it’s below 580, the note might be challenging to sell. Again, the higher the score, the higher your offer is likely to be for the note.

The note includes land and a home or building. Contracts that include both are generally more likely to be approved.

The down payment. The cash that you received from the buyer at the time of the sale, or down payment, determines if the note can be sold. The note will sell for more money, the higher the down payment is. If the buyer only put down 5%, for example, you’re unlikely to get much of an offer, and you may not get one at all. Typically, it should be at least 10%, but you’ll get a more significant offer if the down payment is between 20% and 30%.

Shorter terms. Mortgage notes with shorter terms will get you a larger offer.

Current interest rates. If the current interest rates are low, the value of your note will increase. If they’re higher, you may want to wait until they start to dip. If the interest rate attached to the note exceeds the maximum usury law amount where the property is located, the note will be worthless to note investors.

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Image source Wikimedia

US insurance might be the most expensive thing in the market if you don’t have any knowledge about how this system actually works. If you don’t have any experience in this field then there is a higher probability that the companies will rip you off before giving you any advantage. In this article you will learn a few steps which you need to take before going for any insurance which will help you to get the lowest insurance quotes in US.

  1. Gather Information:

This is one of the major rules of life which you should apply on everything before taking any step. When it comes to insurance, there are multiple companies who are waiting for you to join their company so that they can ruin your life. You need to gather information first, get multiple quotes from different companies and when you have surveyed in the market then sit down and chose the best option. You cannot get the perfect choice in the first place; you need to work hard for it and once you have don’t it you will be able to see the result yourself.

2. Ask for Discounts:

There are multiple companies who have the discount options for new clients but they won’t bring it out until you ask them for it. Ask from people in your social circle who have got the insurance from the same company and get more discounts through referrals which is one of the most effective ways of getting bonuses. Always go for the bigger payments because the more you pay the more you will save. It is very obvious that the package which will you get annually will be much cheaper than the one which you will get on a monthly basis or quarterly.

3. Keep Your Record Clean:

In US people having the clear record get the most benefits. Many companies don’t even entertain their clients if they have any criminal background or have a criminal record. They consider it very risky and they take these matters very seriously. Even if they would agree to entertain you then the quotes or packages which you will get will be much higher than an average person.

4. Maintain Your Balance and Credit History:

This factor is considered as the backbone in this field. There are chances if you have a very good bank balance then the insurance company will be reaching you out with their latest exciting offers so that they can bring you in their company. The second part is your credit history which is also very important. If you are not paying your dues on time, then every company will be thinking twice before giving out any plan to you and it is expected that they would be coming up with high insurance quotes. On the contrary, a person having a good credit history who is paying his dues on time that person is known as a golden client for any company and they will go to their extreme so that you can join their company.

Conclusion:

These are the few steps or measures which you need to keep in mind at all times when you would be going for any insurance in US.

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Are you always ready for the winter when the season begins to change? If not, you may want to pay close attention to this information, especially as it pertains to preparing your furnace properly in advance. A big part of this preparation is to anticipate what could go wrong with your furnace before you are stuck with a big emergency repair bill and a very cold frigid home.

That being said, you may want to start by reviewing some of the most common reasons why your furnace needs to be repaired. Once you know this information, you can be proactive by contacting your local HVAC technician to inspect your heating system to identify any potential problems that could surface during the coldest months of the year. So, let’s get started with this list.

1. Neglected Furnace – Homeowner Doesn’t Schedule Regular Maintenance

Sometimes the biggest problem that a homeowner may encounter with their furnace is often related to the lack of maintenance and furnace repair. Maintaining your furnace problem should be on the top of your priority list since experts in the HVAC industry are skilled in identifying issues with your furnace that can be prevented. For instance, if you do not call in an HVAC professional regularly, the filter inside of these units can easily become clogged. Once these filters get too dirty, it has to work harder to keep your home warm. Also, if the homeowner and the HVAC technician do not clean these filters as they should, a number of different Furnace repair problems can occur, including extensive damage to the furnace and constantly rising energy bills.

To prevent problems with regular maintenance schedules, you should make sure that you implement an annual practice of having your heater serviced. The recommended time frames for you and other homeowners are usually before the winter months arrive or right after the end of the winter season. These are considered to be the best times for an HVAC Technician to complete maintenance and any repairs that need to be done. By being faithful to these regular schedules,

2. The Heating System Begins to Make Odd Noises

Another common heating repair problem that many homeowners and their family experience involve the sound of odd noises radiating from their unit. Based on what is happening, these noises can differ in sound. For instance, the furnace may begin to squeal loudly or make a loud, humming noise. In either case, these sounds tend to indicate that a huge problem is occurring. If you do not recognize these sounds or what they mean, you need to hire an HVAC technician that knows what these noises mean. For instance, if you begin to hear loud humming or buzzing coming from your heating unit, you may find that the blower motor is giving out, and the failure is inevitable. These are common problems that can be prevented and repaired if you address them as early as possible.

3. The Furnace Is Blowing Out Cold Air

When you turn on your furnace, you may hear the motor kick on strong, and it looks like everything is really alright. However, when you begin to observe the unit closer, the air that is blowing is no longer warm or hot, but cold instead. Unfortunately, this is a repair problem that may be related to a variety of issues. So, you or your HVAC technician may need to start troubleshooting to determine what is really going on. For instance, you may discover that there is an issue with the pilot light not coming on. Or, you may see an issue that involves unclogging the condensate line. In some cases, this line may not be properly insulated, which can lead to ice blocking the line.

Whatever the case or situation, the simplest test to solve is checking the thermostat to see if the temperature is set at a warm temperature.

4. The Blower is Constantly Running Non-Stop

You or someone in your family may notice that the furnace is constantly running. In fact, there are no signs that the unit is going to cut off. Normally, when this occurs, this problem can be traced to a bad limit switch. When you contact your HVAC technician to take care of this repair problem, one of the first things that they may do is to inspect and identify the problem and then replace the bad limit switch with a new one. This is a problem that needs to be repaired as quickly as possible to avoid other extensive damage from occurring.

5. Cracked Heat Exchanger

If you have a gas furnace in your home, there are some problems that you cannot ignore. One of the most notable is a cracked heat exchanger since this device can lead to toxic gases seeping out into your home. Sometimes it may be difficult to determine if the heat changer is actually damaged with the naked eye, so it is best to call a professional to inspect for hidden cracks.

In some cases, a damaged heat exchanger may be discovered from other signs and symptoms that your family may begin to notice. For instance, if someone in the family smells a strong odor that gives off hints of formaldehyde, it is important to call a technician right away. These smells can be so harsh that it can make your family’s head hurts.

6. Heating System Unit Turns On and Off Frequently

If you notice your unit turning on and off frequently, this is also a common sign that repairs need to be performed. Here are at least three causes that a technician will need to correct when they enter your home, according to Pure Air Solutions Furnace Repairs:

  • Bad thermostat setting
  • Airflow in the unit is improper
  • Clogged Filter that Needs to be Cleaned

7. Faulty Ignitor

When you have problems with the heating systems ignitor, it needs to be corrected as soon as possible. There are several different reasons for these types of problems to occur, and they need to be corrected once the issue has been identified. For instance, if there is a draft in the room where your furnace is located, it will make it very difficult for the pilot light to remain on. In some cases, to correct these issues, it may be just a matter of closing windows to prevent the drafts from flowing in.