Airlines Ban Laptops in Carry-on Luggage to Reduce Terrorist Attacks


America and Britain have now banned laptops in carry-on luggage as intelligence sources reveal that ISIS is seeking to put explosives on electronics. Other countries are also considering implementing a similar ban.

Eric Swalwell, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, explains this new aviation threat. Swallwell says, “We know that our adversaries, terrorist groups in the United States and outside the United States, seek to bring down a US-bound airline. That is one of their highest value targets. Moreover, we are doing everything we can right now to prevent that from happening.”

An0ther member of the House Intelligence Committee, Peter King, said, “It was based on intelligence reports that are fairly recent. The intelligence of something possibly planned.”

U.S. guidelines on this matter are broad and can affect any device that is not a phone. The guidelines do not provide measurements, and the list of gadgets are not exhaustive. Examples aside from laptops include tablets, cameras, and portable DVD players.

The airlines that are included in the US ban are Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Etihad Airways, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, Kuwait Airways and Etihad Airways.
The UK is also implementing a similar ban and in their list of airlines includes British Airways, Jet2, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson and Easyjet.

The UK has set parameters for devices that can be allowed in the cabin: nothing bigger than 6.3 inches long, 3.6 inches wide and 0.6 inches deep.

It is also watchful of flights entering the UK from Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Lebanon. These airlines and countries would have extra security checks.

UK transport secretary, Chris Grayling, said, “We understand the frustration that these measures may cause, and we are working with the aviation industry to minimize any impact. Our top priority will always be to maintain the safety of British nationals.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said, “The U.S. government is concerned about terrorists’ ongoing interest in targeting commercial aviation, including transportation hubs over the past two years, as evidenced by the 2015 airline downing in Egypt; the 2016 attempted airliner downing in Somalia; and the 2016 armed attacks against airports in Brussels and Istanbul.

Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items.”

Canada is considering a similar ban and will look to prohibit electronic goods on board from flights from the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey. Marc Garneau, Canada’s transportation minister, said, “We are looking at the information that has been presented to us, we will look at it carefully and have a fulsome discussion amongst our colleagues.”

However, some technical experts say these bans are unlikely to be effective. The experts say that checked in luggage that has laptops can also be used as explosives. They also argue that recent smartphones have the same capabilities as bigger devices that are part of the ban.

Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California, Berkeley, said, “If you assume the attacker is interested in turning a laptop into a bomb, it will work just as well in the cargo hold. If you are worried about hacking, a smartphone is a computer.”


Valenzuela Continues to Suffer from Hunger and Poverty


Valenzuela continues to be mired in a recession. According to studies done by three universities, 93% of Venezuelans are unable to buy enough food. Also, 73% of that 93% have lost weight in 2016.

People continue to join long lines in the hopes of getting some food which is highly scarce and subsidized by the government. For many years now, Venezuelans have endured these long lines which are guarded and guided by government security forces. Because of the long lines under the sun, people sometimes faint.

Ludy Berrio, a domestic worker, 48, said, “They want to stay in power, so they say that nothing is wrong. We are hungrier by the day.” Berrio has two children, and she has lost around 23kg as her food intake consists of only rice, plantains, and corn patties.

Maduro continues to be insensitive to the plight of his constituents. He lacks the charisma of his mentor Hugo Chavez, and he is no longer popular. Nicolas Maduro shows up on TV and treats people poorly.

His insensitive statements also put him in a negative light. For example, he once made a comment that he enjoyed chicken that was cooked in wine. When a hospitalized boy got out of the hospital and commented that he missed watching a soccer match, Maduro said to look it up on Youtube. The majority of Venezuelans cannot afford to get connected to the internet and purchase computers and smart phones.

Henrique Capriles, an opposition leader, said, “As much as they try and hide reality, it always gets out and hits them live on TV.” Capriles adds, “The only one gaining weight in Venezuela is Maduro. He hardly fits in the TV screen any more.” Maduro used to be a bus driver and a union leader.

However, the “Chavismo” platform still has a solid base mainly from the poor which views the opposition politicians in a negative way. They believe that they are elitists who will remove state welfare benefits once in power.

Nancy Moreno, a homemaker, 57, said, “Compared with those who came before him, he is a good president.” She enjoys a state-provided apartment yet complains that her pension is insufficient to get her more food.

Venezuela is a South American socialist country. It also holds the distinction of being the most reliant on oil exports. Despite the collapse of their oil revenues and now, hyperinflation, the Maduro regime continues to hang on to their power.

Gasoline shortage is now evident in the country. There is “rationing” and people are only given a limit of 20 liters of gasoline to purchase. Audit Mendoza, a cab driver, said, “Well, this is not fair, I drive a taxi, if I cannot get gasoline, I cannot work, and if I do not work I do not eat. So tomorrow I need to come by again, endure the same line again to load up on gasoline. This is all going to hell.”

Venezuela normally has 15 days of oil inventories, but oil union leader Frietes said that they now only have two days of oil inventory.


Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Calls it Quits


Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has stepped down. He will instead become the executive chairman so that he can focus on the high-end projects of Starbucks like Roasteries.

During his last meeting with the shareholders as CEO, he gave a passionate talk about the core values of Starbucks as well business and life principles. He then passed a key to his successor, Keven Johnson, who will be officially CEO starting April 3.

In their annual shareholder’s meeting, around 3,300 Starbucks employees and shareholders were present at McCaw Hall. Starbucks recapped their last year’s accomplishments and outlined its upcoming plans.

Starbucks has recently committed to hiring 10,000 refugees globally, and it had recently reached a milestone in hiring 10,000 U.S. military veterans and spouses. It is targeting to hire a total of 25,000 U.S. military veterans and spouses by 2025. Schultz noted that their leadership skills were highly valuable for Starbucks. Schultz said, “We are better because of them.”
Within the next five years, Starbucks seeks to open a hundred more military family stores. The staffs for these stores are military veterans and spouses. Currently, the company has 32 military family stores.

To achieve its employment of refugees, it has partnered with the UN Refugee Agency, and the Tent Partnership of Refugees.

Also, it has reached another milestone of getting 40,000 young Americans who are either unemployed or currently in school. It plans to boost this number to 100,000 by 2020.

Another goal of Starbucks within the next five years is to globally open 12,000 new stores that will at least 240,000 jobs. 60,000 of those will be in America.

Starbucks takes pride in its high investment in its employees. Schultz said that Starbucks has a moral obligation to be ethical and not just focus on profitability. Schultz said, “Not every decision in business is an economic one.”

One of the areas that Starbucks is innovating in is their lunchtime menu dubbed as Starbucks Mercata. It provides on-the-go fresh sandwiches and salads. It will debut in 100 Starbucks stores in Chicago and if successful will be implemented in other cities.

To keep pace with the digital revolution, Starbucks has collaborated with Ford to allow Ford vehicle owners to order via voice command. Starbucks has successfully tapped Amazon’s Alexa software to allow voice command orders.

During the shareholders’ meeting, three shareholders were voted into the board of directors. They include Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft and Jorgen Vig Knudstorp who is executive chairman of Lego.

At the end of the ceremony, Schultz took out the key of the Pike Place Starbucks store. This is the 2nd location of the first ever Starbucks store. Schultz said, “I am proud to give Kevin the key to the company and the Pike Place store.”

Schultz will be leaving a rich legacy to Starbucks. Nancy Koehn, a professor at Harvard Business School, said that Schultz “made a powerful brand, a powerful company with a set of values.” Koehn adds, “Particularly in this second round; he is continued to evolve the company as the world marketplace, the global residents, have changed.”

Starbucks has stores in over 75 countries.


Top 10 Cars with the Worst Resale Value


2017 Cadilla CTS

When you trade for that next car, you need to think about its resale value as well. The following cars may cause you to have a little more than sticker shock when you learn about their rate of depreciation.

#10 – The Cadillac CTS

This sporty mid-sized sedan has plenty in the way of interior upgrades and generous incentives when it comes to purchasing it. However, according to the latest news, the car depreciates about 34% after a year.

#9 – The Kia Optima

The predicted value of depreciation for this car for the first year is 35%. Also a mid-sized sedan, the Kia Optima, offers plenty of room and comfort as well as optimum fuel efficiency. While many owners love these amenities, trying to resell it is another thing.

#8 – The Mitsubishi Lancer

Mitsubishi Lancers like to show off their over-the-top spoilers and wings. Apparently, consumers are not all that fond of spoilers in today’s marketplace. Whiles sales are currently lagging for these souped-up autos, their depreciation value takes away from their sales value even more – 35% after just one year.

# 7 – The Chevrolet Express

Thankfully, the cargo van is not resold as often as the regular commuter vehicle. If you try to resell this hardworking vehicle in today’s marketplace, the car’s depreciation value sets the car’s resale value at 37% below its original price.

#6 – The VW Beetle

Although this once-iconic car was all the rage when it was first released, today, it is just another piece of metal on a dealer’s lot. While the Beetle is a great car, its predicted depreciation value lowers its price after a year by 37%.

#5 – The Hyundai Genesis

Initially, Hyundai had hoped it could introduce the Genesis as a luxury car. However, the company has not received much of an enthusiastic response. While the car has many of the same amenities as the Audi A6, Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5 series, the buyers are just not all that interested in what the car offers. However, if you are in the market for luxury and don’t care about the make or model, then you can buy a one-year old Genesis for 38% less than its original asking price.

#4 – The Chevrolet Camaro

A classic car, the Chevrolet Camaro is a strong seller. However, expect to lose as much as 39% on the car’s MSRP after a year. That’s because the Ford Mustang has been gaining in popularity and the newer redesigned Camaro for 2016 is making current Camaros depreciate more quickly.

#3 – The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

Evidently, this comfortable sports car bleeds quite a bit of money the moment it is driven of the dealer’s lot. That is because beginning prices are set at $84,000. However, if you want to save a whopping amount of change, it is better to opt for one of the older 2000 models that has been well-maintained. They usually sell for around $10,000.

#2 – The Dodge Charger

This full-sized sedan and muscle car loses its punch once it is driven for a year, depreciating as much as 45%. As a result, many car buyers, who are looking for a full-sized car, have opted for a truck or SUV.

#1 – The Nissan Leaf

The car with the highest depreciation is the Nissan Leaf, signifying that the auto’s once-popular hold is now over. While its fully electric system and $7,500 tax credit piqued buyer interest, the car still depreciates about 48% after a year’s time.

If you bought any of the above vehicles, you definitely have not made an ideal investment. However, if you are looking for a newer car at a low cost, any of the cars on the list may capture some interest.


Blacks and Hispanics Use Payday Loans More than Asians and Whites


Diverse People

Although plenty of households in the United States still have a way to go when it comes to their finances, a large number of Americans have done a good job escaping from the doldrums of financial destitute during the economic collapse. Many are paying their bills and saving.

Unfortunately, it isn’t all sunshine and lollipops, says a new 2016 National Financial Capability Study by FINRA Investor Education Foundation. According to the report, debt remains a huge burden to many Americans, particularly minorities, youth and those without an education.

One specific area that is turning heads is payday loans. A considerable number of U.S. consumers are still taking out payday loans in order to pay for their daily necessities.

The personal finance literacy survey found that blacks and Hispanics will apply for an online payday advance more than those who are white or Asian. The results from the research show that 39 percent of blacks and 34 percent of Latinos had borrowed a payday loan at least once in the last 12 months. This is compared to 21 percent of Asians and whites.

“The data tell us the what, but not the why,” said Gerri Walsh, president of the FINRA Foundation, in a statement. “Access to traditional banking services can be one factor. Access to credit is also challenging. Even with the economy recovering, we’ve seen a tightening of credit, and so some individuals who might have been able to use credit cards to float past a financial shock might have to turn to other, alternative banking systems.”

Payday loans have been a contentious since the Great Recession. Last month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced plans to rein in the payday loan industry at the federal level by limiting how many payday loans a customer can take out in a short period of time, increasing the ways payday loan stores conduct income checks and other options.

Consumers are also doing a better job today paying off their monthly credit card balances. However, 40 percent of Americans are still partaking in very expensive spending habits. Some of them include taking out a payday loan, applying for a cash advance or only paying the minimum balance on a credit card. All of these are costly mistakes that hurt your personal finances.

It’s true that more Americans saving today than they were four years ago. The main problem, says Walsh, is the fact that 41 percent plan their spending and budgeting for just the next several years as opposed to the long-term.

“Only about 40% of Americans are spending less than their income (meaning) they have something to set aside and save,” Walsh says. “When you’re not able to make ends meet, you probably do tend to focus more on the here and now.”

The report concludes that financial education is becoming one of the most important issues of our time. Policymakers, scholars, financial educations and even the private sector “need to work together” to ensure that people are properly educated when it comes to all things money. If not then people, especially the most vulnerable, can enter into “endless cycles of debt from which it’s difficult to emerge.”


What Happens When Your Debt Catches Up to You



Many people are not quite sure how to proceed when their debt catches up with them and they are faced with collection. According to financial experts, if your debt is about to go to collection or has just gone to collection, now is the time to pay it off if you can.

However, if your debt is old and you have not been sued by a creditor, it is usually better to do nothing. That’s because, according to financial experts, most negative data on a credit report falls off after seven years. Therefore, sometimes it is better not to pay off a debt that, technically and legally, is outside the statute of limitations. If the debt has traded hands a number of times and you do not know whether or not the amount is correct, you are better off letting it go.

For example, if you have an old debt that is outside a state’s statute of limitations and try to pay it off, you may find that is has been padded with fees and interest charges. If you cannot pay the entire amount, as a result, you could, once again, open yourself up to a lawsuit. Therefore, paying off an old debt can actually be risky business. If an account, for example, is very close to aging off your credit history, wait to pay that debt last, if you pay it at all.

If you are paying off debts, now in collection, the general rule of thumb is to pay off the newest of the debts first and then work your way to the oldest debts. While this type of financial advice may be controversial, it is still a reality in the collections business. In fact, according to financial consultants, some creditors do not sue for collection. Therefore, sometimes debtors are encouraged to wait until they are sued to settle a debt and an account.

Consultants add that most creditors accept payments that are a part of an unpaid balance after an account has generally gone unpaid for about six months. However, most consumers typically cannot negotiate a settlement directly with their credit card company.

If an account is three or more months overdue, then most settlement offers come in from third-party collectors at that time. At this point, a collector will frequently accept a minimum of 70% of the overdue balance. The longer an account is in collection, the lower the settlement offer. However, it is also important to note that the more a debtor pays, the bigger the discount offered by a creditor.