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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.

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China is reacting against a flurry of US sanctions with new rules that protect its companies from “unjustified” foreign laws.

Changes announced over the weekend allow Chinese courts to punish companies that comply with such restrictions.

President Donald Trump has continued to target Chinese companies he believes are a threat to US national security.

Measures include punishing companies that supply parts to blacklisted companies.

On January 11, three large Chinese telecoms firms listed on the NYSE are expected to see their shares delisted based on alleged ties with its military.

The NYSE is removing China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom Hong Kong, based on an executive order signed by President Trump in November.

The de-listings follow a raft of actions against Chinese firms in recent months including TikTok, Huawei and microchip maker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC).

White House to Announce Sanctions against China over Theft and Transfer of Intellectual Property

US Launches Investigation into China’s Intellectual Property Policies

Last week, President Trump signed an executive order banning transactions with eight Chinese apps including popular payments platform Alipay, as well as WeChat Pay.

President Trump claims such tech companies share data with the Chinese government – allegations they have denied.

In a statement on January 9, China’s Ministry of Commerce introduced the new rules on “counteracting unjustified extra-territorial application” of foreign laws.

Bert Hofman, director of the East Asian Institute at the National University of Singapore, explained: “Legal persons that are hurt by the application of foreign legislation can issue legal proceedings in court and claim compensation for the damage done.

“The government can also take other countermeasures.”

The measures, which came into effect immediately, do not mention the US directly, although China has long complained about US sanctions and restrictions on trade.

However, legal experts say it is unclear how the new law will be implemented.

Angela Zhang, a Chinese law professor at the University of Hong Kong, said: “Consider a scenario that a European bank freezes the assets of a Chinese official that was sanctioned by the United States, the Chinese statute will allow the official to sue the European bank to recover his loss.”

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Image source: Twitter

Press release

Evan Holyfield says his dad is ready to take on former-rival Mike Tyson for the third time, who famously bit off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear in 1997.  Evan wants the next match to be a family affair with him fighting the preliminary match.

In Texas Evan Holyfield has another impressive knockout in his boxing career. Not in the ring, but in the courts and as a result he has his freedom back.

Evan Holyfield has successfully voided what his lawyers called a “fraudulent, dishonest, and unconscionable” management contract scheme contrived by Maurice “Termite” Watkins. Holyfield filed a lawsuit against Watkins in the 334th Harris County District Court in June 2020 after the pair entered a management contract that Watkins failed to uphold.

After signing the contract, Holyfield soon came to believe Watkins’ representations were lies.

The lawsuit alleges Watkins sought to take advantage of Holyfield’s talent and internationally recognized name as his manager. The contract was written by Watkins, who allegedly used his 52 years of boxing experience to take advantage of Holyfield. Watkins coerced the young Holyfield into the deal with a relentless pressure campaign.

Holyfield was represented by Houston attorney Andrew Cobos of The Cobos Law Firm. Cobos stated, “My client recognized that the Defendants in this case jeopardized his career and sought to take advantage of his name and talent. Then he took action. I am glad that the court recognized the situation for what it was and entered an order stating that this oppressive contract is void.”

The contract Holyfield entered promised extensive one-on-one training time with Watkins and a strength coach to prepare the boxer for upcoming matches: “thirty to forty-five hours per week refining the raw talent that Holyfield possessed.”

Holyfield received just a fraction of the time with Watkins and only three or four hours over internet or text message with the strength coach.

Attorneys for Holyfield state “it is unheard of in the boxing world for a promising young fighter—one with aspirations of becoming a world champion—to be virtually trained.

When Holyfield confronted Watkins about the training, Watkins made racially insensitive threats stating he would “sell Holyfield to the highest bidder”. The lawsuit also states Watkins stole earnings he had no entitlement to.

The most shocking part of the lawsuit—Watkins did not even have the legal capacity to act as a manager. Watkins is not licensed or registered with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation as required by law in professional combative sports such as boxing.

“This case should send a message to boxing managers everywhere, and that is, do what is right, do what is honorable, and do what is fair,” said Cobos.

Evan Holyfield will fight his 5th professional match this weekend on December 12 against Donnis Reed at Champion Boxing Gym in Jonesboro, Georgia.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Diego Maradona’s doctor is being investigated by Argentine prosecutors for possible manslaughter following the soccer legend’s death four days ago.

Police in Buenos Aires have searched the house and private clinic of Leopoldo Luque as they try to establish if there was negligence in Diego Maradona’s treatment following surgery.

Maradona died of a heart attack at his home where he was recuperating. He was 60.

Dr. Luque, 39, denies wrongdoing and says he is co-operating with the inquiry.

Diego Maradona had a successful operation on a brain blood clot earlier in November and had been due to be treated for alcohol dependency.

Some 30 police officers raided Dr. Luque’s house on November 29 – with another 30 going into his clinic in the capital Buenos Aires.

The raids were ordered by prosecutors trying to build a picture of Diego Maradona’s last days at home.

Diego Maradona Dies Aged 60

There are suspicions that Maradona’s convalescence at home might not have met the conditions of his discharge from the clinic, such as a 24-hour team of nurses “specialized in substance abuse”, the on-call presence of doctors and a stand-by ambulance equipped with a defibrillator.

Officials want to know how often Dr. Luque went to see Maradona at his house.

In an emotional press conference on November 29, Dr. Luque – who has been described as Maradona’s personal physician – cried, saying he had done all he could to save the life of a friend. He said Maradona had been very sad lately.

At one point, the doctor shot back at reporters: “You want to know what I am responsible for? For having loved him, for having taken care of him, for having extended his life, for having improved it to the end.”

Dr. Luque said he had done “everything he could, up to the impossible”.

Then addressing some of the concerns authorities are looking into, Dr. Luque cast doubt on what his role actually was. ”If you ask me, I’m a neurosurgeon and my job ended. I was done with him,” he said referring to November’s surgery – and insisting Maradona’s convalescence at home was not his responsibility.

“He [Maradona] should have gone to a rehabilitation center. He didn’t want to,” Dr. Luque said, calling the late star “unmanageable”.

Dr. Luque also said he did not know why there was no defibrillator or who was responsible for the fact that there was no ambulance outside Maradona’s house.

He added: Diego “was very sad, he wanted to be alone, and it’s not because he didn’t love his daughters, his family, or those around him”.

Diego Maradona was captain when Argentina won the 1986 World Cup, scoring the famous “Hand of God” goal against England in the quarter-finals.

He played for Barcelona and Napoli during his club career, winning two Serie A titles with the Italian side. He started his career with Argentinos Juniors, also playing for Sevilla, and Boca Juniors and Newell’s Old Boys in his homeland.

Diego Maradona scored 34 goals in 91 appearances for Argentina, representing them in four World Cups.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Soccer legend Diego Maradona, one of the greatest players of all time, has died at the age of 60.

The former Argentina attacking midfielder and manager suffered a heart attack at his Buenos Aires home.

Diego Maradona had successful surgery on a brain blood clot earlier in November and was to be treated for alcohol dependency.

He was captain when Argentina won the 1986 World Cup, scoring the famous ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the quarter-finals.

In a statement on social media, the Argentine Football Association expressed “its deepest sorrow for the death of our legend”, adding: “You will always be in our hearts.”

Declaring three days of national mourning, Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez said: “You took us to the top of the world. You made us immensely happy. You were the greatest of them all.

“Thank you for having existed, Diego. We’re going to miss you all our lives.”

Diego Maradona Accuses Claudia Villafane of Stealing $9 Million

Diego Maradona defends Luis Suarez as Giorgio Chiellini brands his ban excessive

Diego Maradona played for Barcelona and Napoli during his club career, winning two Serie A titles with the Italian side.

He scored 34 goals in 91 appearances for Argentina, representing them in four World Cups.

Diego Maradona led Argentina to the 1990 final in Italy, where they were beaten by West Germany, before captaining them again in the US in 1994, but was sent home after failing a drugs test for ephedrine.

During the second half of his career, Diego Maradona struggled with cocaine addiction and was banned for 15 months after testing positive for the drug in 1991.

He retired from professional soccer in 1997, on his 37th birthday, during his second stint at Argentine giants Boca Juniors.

Having briefly managed two sides in Argentina during his playing career, Diego Maradona was appointed head coach of the national team in 2008 and left after the 2010 World Cup, where his side were beaten by Germany in the quarter-finals.

Diego Maradona subsequently managed teams in the United Arab Emirates and Mexico and was in charge of Gimnasia y Esgrima in Argentina’s top flight at the time of his death.

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Image source: Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay

The Sunshine State is Florida’s nickname. A lot of people want to move there. The reasons why this state is so attractive isn’t only the amazing coastline, incredible flora, and fauna, a beautiful climate, but also a great economic situation.

The largest cities in Florida are Orlando, Miami, Tampa, Tallahassee, and Jacksonville. This state is a combination of impressive nature and a wealthy economy. Unfortunately, the process of buying a property here may be confused for some people. Fortunately, this 5-step guide below will help you to purchase a home in Florida.

1. Examine Your Finances

Firstly, you need to check your finances and do thorough accounting. You need to examine your savings to discover what amount of money you can spend. If you decide to take a mortgage, you also need to take care of your income and credit score.

In case you’re not good with numbers and always used academic help at college, do not hesitate to hire an accountant.

If there are some negative records in your debt history, it will be hard to lend money for purchasing a property. Also, you should be sure that you’ll have a stable way of income to cover your monthly mortgage payments for the next 15 or more years.

Therefore, if you’re a student, don’t be shy to order assignments online, just tell, “I need help writing a paper?” appears. It will help you increase your college score and get a well-paying job after graduation.

2. Find a Property

Once you’re sure that you want to purchase a property in Florida, start your search. For sure, the most reliable way is to hire a regional representative who knows all ins and outs of this market. Also, you can begin exploring real estate listings and make posts on the Internet. If you want someone to create an engaging post for you, order it online from a writing service but make sure it is a reliable one. So, don’t hesitate to ask: “is speedypaper legit?”

To make the process of finding the best property easier and more straightforward, you should determine what you need at the very beginning. Consider the location, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, design, and other crucial components that the home of your dream should have to narrow your search.

3. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Unless you’re not going to use cash to buy a house, you have to get a pre-approval letter. It will confirm your willingness and ability to buy a property to a seller. Note that it is a final step before buying a place.

Since pre-approval requests negatively affect your credit score, you should get it when you are 100% sure that you want to buy a property.

4. Make an Offer

At this step, you can contact a seller and discover if there are any bids. If other people want to purchase a home, you should make a higher offer. Vice versa, if there are no bids yet, you are free to go lower. After this, a seller can confirm your request or send a counteroffer.

It may repeat until you both get satisfied with numbers. Therefore, if you’re getting higher education, don’t hesitate to ask your friends, “Don’t you know someone who can help me write an essay?” to free your schedule and find a compromise with a seller.

Also, don’t forget to inspect a property. If an inspector finds something that requires servicing, you should contact a seller to lower the price to cover extra expenses.

5. Close a Deal

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to pay for your home to move in. A large number of different fees, taxes, and charges may become a surprise for you. Therefore, you need to be ready to spend roughly 3% of a property’s price to cover all the additional expenses.

Helpful Recommendation

The process of getting a property in Florida may seem simple and straightforward. However, if you have zero experience buying property, hire a skilled and experienced real estate agent.

As well as services like papercoach.net that provide academic help to students, a real estate attorney will help you avoid a lot of problems and guide you through all the circumstances.

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Image source: Pexels

As human beings riddled with regret from life choices we’ve made in the past, there are lots of things we’ve said or done in the past that we wish we could go back and change, knowing what we know today. Unfortunately, there’s no way to turn back the hands of time but we can move forward making better and smarter choices, especially in terms of our finances and investing opportunities.

To be fair, investing isn’t something you’re taught in grade school, and you have to have a specific interest in it in college to even know if any courses on investing are even offered… But a lot of people who are what you would call “heavy hitters” in the investment industry, didn’t start until later in life simply because they weren’t informed or educated about it enough while they were younger.

Many didn’t know how lucrative investing in real estate was until becoming aware of how borrowing from a direct lender can help investors grow their portfolio of single-family rental properties. If only we knew then what we know now…

But there’s no sense in dwelling on the past. If you’re wanting to seriously get into the world of investing, there are a few “basics” you need to know about early on before investing a cent. From the “hows” and “whys” of investing to maintaining the ability to see the bigger picture amid uncertainty and turmoil, here are some aspects of investing you need to get acquainted with now.

“Need to Knows” of Investing

The Earlier You Invest, the Better the Return

One of the most important things to understand about investing is that it’s a long-term game, and the longer time you give yourself to play the game, the greater the rewards you’ll reap.

Let’s look at compound interest. Compound interest is the interest you’ve earned from your own personal contributions, plus, the interest you’ve earned already… So let’s say you start investing at 18 years old and don’t withdraw any money from the market until you’re 66… That means you’ve had 48 years for interest to grow on however many accounts you had since you were 18.

The older you will thank the younger you tremendously, especially when you get to retirement age. Reports have stated that the millennial generation and younger, shouldn’t expect to receive full social security benefits upon reaching retirement age. Not only has the pandemic wiped out future funding but the amount of social security money available prior to the pandemic had already been dwindling down to nearly nothing already. To secure your future when you’re older, you need to start making investment moves now because there’s a good chance that there won’t be any readily available money for you when you need it most… well, not from the government.

Have a Clear Understanding of Why You Want to Invest

As you know, investing is a long-term game, and because of that, you need to keep your why at the forefront of your mind to keep you motivated.

There will be times where you stop and ask yourself why you’re putting your money there and not spending it? Why not splurge now?

Your future is what you have to keep in mind. What will your life look like at 55? Will you be living paycheck to paycheck still or will you be able to live comfortably by then? You have to keep the big picture in mind constantly.

Adjust Your Investments With the Market

The market changes all the time, and while you may have conducted thorough research on various companies, products, and services, past performance doesn’t necessarily dictate future performance. But that’s not to say that you can’t mitigate the risks involved with a changeable market…

Pinterest is a stock to look out for in 2021 based on its current performance and how people are doing more crafts since being stuck at home due to coronavirus but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will keep its speed either.

To mitigate your risks in investing, you have the power to adjust your holdings or diversify your accounts… anything to prevent high fees, of course. The market isn’t something you “set and forget”… In fact, the market is something you want to continuously keep an eye on to see how your investment is paying off.

There are several mobile development tools accelerating enterprise deployments in 2020. Since COVID-19 lockdowns, business app usage has surged over 200% compared to 2019 data. As enterprises switch to remote settings, productivity, collaboration, and video conferencing software are in high demand. Similarly, some companies now need custom software to simplify the way you run your small business in the new work environment. With this rapidly growing market, mobile app developers need the latest tools to increase their delivery speed. This way, you can meet increasing customer demands as you grow your enterprise. Read on to learn about the most important mobile development tools accelerating enterprise deployments in 2020.

Native App IDEs

First, native integrated development environments (IDEs) are one of the most important mobile tools to boost efficiency. With native software, you can develop applications for a particular system, platform, or device. Typically, native development software integrates sophisticated code editing tools to increase your programming efficiency. For example, some iOS environments utilize live rendering interfaces to display your user interface code as you write it. This feature instantly reflects changes in your code, allowing you to notice functional errors quicker. Certainly, unified design and coding processes makes native IDEs a great tool to increase your development efficiency.

Application Design Templates

Next, application design templates are another tool that has dominated the app market in recent years. Undoubtedly, designing an application from scratch uses your enterprise’s time, money, and resources. Using a design template, you can develop attractive applications faster. In addition, templates often have a built-in user-friendly UI. Importantly, user-friendly applications tend to rank higher in the app store. In this way, you can actually increase your app’s exposure and usability together. Fortunately, many templates are easily customizable and free to use. Nevertheless, always check the licenses and terms of use before using any design. This is key to using them properly. Surely, application design templates are a perfect time-saving solution to accelerate your mobile enterprise deployments.

Advanced Container Registries

In addition, you can also install an advanced container registry to accelerate your enterprise deployment speeds in 2020. Containerization software provides a single access point to organize your Docker images. For example, JFrog’s Container registries integrate into your build system to support your Kubernetes deployments. With this mobile app tool, you can avoid Docker Hub retention issues and increase your development efficiency. Additionally, advanced container registries are built to scale with your enterprise. As you take on more clients and develop more applications, it is essential to use a container software that supports your growth. In short, advanced container registries offer reliable scalable storage solutions to boost your mobile app development efficiency.

Open-Source Automation Frameworks

Moreover, open-source automation frameworks are also key mobile app development tools to accelerate your delivery speed. These powerful frameworks are powered by artificial intelligence, or AI. Many automation frameworks support code reuse across various native mobile platforms. This is essential to save time as you write your programs. In addition, some automation frameworks allow you to create user interface tests for your mobile app. Typically, these frameworks support multiple programming languages. Then, you can integrate these tests into your continuous integration (CI) server to automate your testing process. For this reason, open-source automation frameworks are great accessible mobile tools to increase your build, test, and deployment speed.

Low-Code Visual Development Platforms

Furthermore, low-code visual development platforms are another tool to increase your deployment efficiency this year. Namely, these platforms are designed to accelerate the development process. This allows your enterprise to evolve with tech industry trends. Typically, these platforms utilize user-friendly drag and drop tools, allowing you to develop apps quickly. Some low-code tools infuse AI and machine learning technology to reduce friction and errors as well. These features can also guide you throughout the development process and can even automate some of your build procedures. Definitely, low-code visual development platforms are another tools to accelerate your 2020 deployment times.

There are several mobile development tools accelerating enterprise deployments in 2020. First, you should utilize react-native IDEs, especially when coding for a specific mobile device. Next, application design templates offer user-friendly UIs, while increase build efficiency. In addition, you can install an advanced container registry to store your Docker images reliably and efficiently. Moreover, open-source automation frameworks are great resources for code reuse and continuous integration server integration. Furthermore, low-code development platforms utilize AI to reduce errors as you build. Implement these mobile development tools to accelerate enterprise deployments in 2020.

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Image source: Image by Peter H from Pixabay

When you own a business that needs to be able to safely transport heavy machinery and materials you owe it to yourself to have some commercial trucks in your arsenal. Having your own trucks means you can guarantee your clients and customers that everything will run as smoothly as possible. Here are a few reasons why renting your commercial trucks is so important to your business.

It Gives You Freedom To Do Business

The more freedom you have to conduct your business the way you need to, the more likely it will be successful. If your budget is limited, purchasing commercial trucks may not be possible. But renting them allows you to keep up with demand without needing to have a large amount of capital. Being able to save money is important, especially in the early days of your company.

Its Less Of A Financial Risk

When you purchase a commercial truck you are taking less of a financial risk than you would be if you purchased one. Owning your truck means any necessary repairs have to be paid for out of the company budget. You also have to pay for regular maintenance and replacement parts when necessary. Lastly, if your truck breaks down on the road, having it towed would be costly. Without a backup truck, you would be hard-pressed to make deliveries on time. But if your company doesn’t own the truck, the rental company always has to pay for the towing and provide you with another truck right away.

You May Not Always Need One

Depending on the nature of your company, you may not need to have a commercial truck at all times. If you don’t then owning one is a waste of money that could be earmarked for other uses. Buying a commercial truck that would be parked more often than not wouldn’t be a good financial decision for any company. Paying insurance and deprecation fees for a truck that doesn’t get much use is not practical.

It Pays To Shop Around

If at any point your company grows so much that you need to own a commercial truck, you may not know what to pick. Rather than purchasing one that doesn’t meet your company’s needs, it may be better to try renting a few different models, one at a time. This allows you to determine what you do and don’t need in your truck. You can then make a more informed decision about which one to purchase.

Commercial Truck Insurance

When you are ready to expand your company you’ll need to look at used dry vans for sale. As explained by the experts at Hale Trailer “Our used dry vans keep your cargo clean and dry, an ideal choice for shipping items that are sensitive to moisture.”

While this is one way to protect your company’s bottom line, it isn’t the only way. You’ll also want to obtain insurance for your commercial truck when you purchase it. There are some compelling reasons why you need to have it insured for your piece of mind.

Commercial truck insurance covers more than just the costs resulting from an accident. It also protects your company if a fire or theft occurs involving the truck. When your truck has to travel to areas that could be dangerous you can’t afford to overlook the importance of insurance.

No company wants to weather a financial loss that could have been avoided. Insurance provides you with liability coverage so that any expenses incurred don’t come out of the company’s budget. The newer your company is, the more important it is to have this kind of coverage.

Business continuity is extremely important in today’s competitive world and is another reason why commercial truck insurance is necessary. In the event your truck is involved in an accident while making a delivery, you’ll have a backup plan in place so that the delivery can be completed promptly.

Protecting your company and the image it projects is a crucial aspect of your success. When you have insurance for your truck you will be able to remedy negative situations before they have a chance to drag down your company’s reputation. As long as you can guarantee on time deliveries you are more trustworthy in the eyes of the public.

So before you purchase a commercial truck and insurance for it, you’ll want to try renting in the meantime. This gives you the flexibility to find what you need before committing to the truck you will use.

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Image by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images

Beads of sweat are rolling down your face. It’s a big day. You know you’ve worked for this. But wait, that may not help. You have to convince this person.. or else.. or else?

‘Well, do or die!’

Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration. But it’s a significant moment, nevertheless. And you don’t want to mess this up! What do you do?

‘..Panic and run!’

No, that’s not ideal. How about you read some negotiation tips instead?

‘That’s a real thing?’

Yes. Get your reading glasses. This might just save the day.

#1 Improve Your Listening Skills

It’s no secret that the number you mention first is a number that may not be the final one. The trick is to be quiet and let the other person do the talking. That doesn’t mean you’re not contributing.

While the other person is going on about how small his/her budget is, you can be racking your brains to let him know how you’re going to make a difference to his company and increase those numbers in the long run! Don’t interrupt them while they’re making their case. Let them speak. Once they have said all they have to, you take the floor and do your routine!

#2 More Information, The Merrier

When you pay attention to the person you’re negotiating with, you will want to know more to uncover the full picture. To discover everything that there is to the story, asking questions works like a dream. Finding out more about the subject will move the conversation forward.

The more details you have on their preferred negotiation strategies, the better you’ll be able to tackle them.

#3 What’s The Hurry? Don’t Rush It!

Haven’t we all been in negotiations where we said the right thing at the wrong time – making your point only to realize that the boss had a better one?

That does sound painful. Being alert to your surroundings and the other person’s mood is crucial to being in a negotiation. You can have any number of strategies or tactics up your sleeve, but if you don’t wait for the right moment – it could all go down the drain.

Make sure that you have the right timing with your words, actions, and offers. Who knows, you might just get what you were looking for!

#4 Sometimes you HAVE To Ask For It!

Here’s an idea – Take your nervousness and anxiety – roll it up into a ball, throw it high up in the air, and hit it out of the park. But here’s a more practical tip – How about you pen down all the reasons why you deserve to have what you are aiming for. Without considering yourself too ambitious or demanding, make a list of everything that can support your claim.

That was the easy part. Now comes the tough part. You have got to ask for it! Sure, it might be nerve-wracking and mind-boggling, sometimes you may not even get what you want, but the important thing is that you put your demand across. And sometimes, that can be rewarding in more ways than one!

#5 Don’t Forget Where You Are Coming From

Sure, the other person will have their problems – Not enough money, no available positions, no good enough opportunity, etc. However, one must have their morals and principles intact. Once you know what your reason for being in the situation is, you’ll rarely back down!

Some values cannot be compromised – and you should know what those are. Whether they are settling for a lower designation of not receiving a good enough offer or not enough perks. Know where your bar is and don’t go lower – because it may become a habit, and not by choice!

Conclusion

Phew! That was one tough negotiation, wasn’t it? But, it was a good experience.

Hopefully, you’ve learned something for the next negotiation!

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Housing Markets

By now, you’ll have heard of the Financial Crisis of 2007 to 2008. Financial crises are rarely caused by one thing. They are usually a culmination of several things. For example, the main reasons for this crisis were the stock market crash and the housing market crash. Why did the housing market crash occur? Here is what you need to know.

The Players

In the beginning, there were three leading players in the housing market. There was the homeowner who wanted to buy a home, the bank which lent the homeowner the money to buy the house, and investors with a lot of money who wanted to invest in an asset or assets that had high returns. The general assumption was that the price of homes was and would always be going up.

Then, what went wrong when the housing market crash happened?

Home Owners Borrowed from a Bank

When the average citizen decided that they wanted to become a homeowner, they saved the amount needed for the down payment and found a home they liked. They then approached a bank that would be willing to lend them money to buy the house. For the bank to have the money to lend to homeowners, they had to take loans from federal reserves. They paid them through the interest rates on the mortgages. Initially, the banks only offered loans to prime borrowers. They had good credit, proof of income and proved that they would pay back the money they borrowed.

Investment Banks Bought Loans from Banks

Investment banks approached the banks about buying the mortgages from them. The banks agreed to this because it transferred most of the risk to the investors. The investment banks took loans and bought many mortgages from the banks. Banks used this money to pay off part of their loans. The investment banks then package the mortgages into structured products called collateralized debt obligation, which they sold to investors. They were sold in slices to investors with different risk appetites.

Banks Started Giving Loans to Subprime Home Buyers

There were no more prime buyers; therefore, the banks started giving loans to subprime home buyers. They had bad credit, no proof of income and sometimes no papers. The idea was that if a person defaulted on their payments, they could sell the house again to someone else. However, more and more people – particularly the subprime buyers – were unable to pay their premiums; therefore, more and more homes become foreclosed.

Houses Foreclosed, House Prices Fell

With more houses foreclosing, the supply for houses began to exceed the demand. This consequently led to the fall in prices of the homes. When prime buyers saw these lower prices, they saw no value in paying premiums for overpriced houses, and they too stopped paying their premiums. Now, investment banks had CDOs they would like to sell off to investors who don’t want to buy. Banks also had mortgages they wanted to sell to investment bankers who didn’t want anymore.

Banks and Investment Banks Went Bankrupt

A crash occurred because banks and investment banks could no longer pay the money they owed and declare bankruptcy. The investors informed the homeowners that they had no money to pay them back as the value of the assets had dropped, and the investment banks could not pay them back. In the end, a lot of people lost their money, people and institutions went bankrupt, and it was a while before the economy recovered.

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Some entrepreneurs aren’t in business to present a new idea; they’re there because they love the thrill of entrepreneurship. These individuals aren’t necessarily looking to revolutionize anything. All they want is a business resistant to the ebb and flow of the economy. For some, the current events in the US are feeding fears of an impending recession. Reasonable or irrational speculation, only time will tell. In this article, Adam Ferrari – CEO of Ferrari Energy – details seven industries considered recession-resistant.

Technology

Innovative technology is at the forefront of the global economy. We love our widgets, and technology holds out the promise of making our lives evermore productive, enjoyable, safe, and healthy. A prolonged recession could be expected to dampen high-end, less essential technology products. Still, household and business staples such as phones, TVs, and computers will continue to sell with additional competitive pressure.

Energy

Our need for reliable energy is constant. This reliance is not dependant on economic conditions. Innovative energy solutions can be expected to experience waning interest. Still, legacy energy sources such as oil, natural gas, coal, wind power, and solar will continue to meet the country’s needs.

Pet products

Maybe not the most obvious candidate for this list, but people are not any more likely to stop caring for their pets under poor economic conditions than they are their family members.

Healthcare and Senior Services

Hopefully, even more than pets, people will not decrease their healthcare expenditures under anything less than the direst economic conditions. People continue to age and become ill and will need medical services. These are the least discretionary services.

Construction

Even in an economic recession, construction will continue. It may look different than it does under bright financial news, but it will continue nonetheless. If new homes sales slump, upgrades and remodel work usually increases.

Security

Poor economic conditions affect scofflaws just as they do law-abiding citizens. Poor economic conditions historically have been accompanied by an increase in crime. The need for security, both physical and cyber, will not decrease in a financial downturn. The more cost-effective a security solution is, the better it will fair in these conditions.

Food and Beverage

People need to eat no matter the stock market. Every other category will suffer before food and beverage. The more basic the food item, the more stable it will prove to be. Exotic items are more susceptible to economic conditions.

To find the common denominator for all of the above industries or to identify others, ask, “what will people need, even if the economy tanks?”

About Adam Ferrari

Adam Ferrari is an accomplished petroleum engineer and is the founder of a private oil and gas company, Ferrari Energy. Throughout various roles in the oil and gas industry, Adam was inspired to learn more about property rights and the inner workings of petroleum exploration and extraction. After gaining expertise in the energy sector, Adam obtained knowledge of the financial industry through his time at an investment banking firm. He then pivoted to bootstrapping his own business from the ground up as he blended his energy and finance knowledge. 

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Image source Max Pixel

With many hundreds of millions of people around the world looking forward to the end of 2020 and the uncertainty that it has brought to the global arena, investors are likewise turning their sights towards 2021. It has understandably been an up and down year when it comes to investments. It has been difficult to make sense of it all. That is why it is important to look for solid investments that have the potential to bring many of those portfolios back into positive territory relatively quickly. With that in mind, here are some stocks to look out for in early 2021.

Pinterest

People are spending more time at home these days. That means that many people are finding that they have more time to spend on hobbies and crafts. This renewed interest in that sector of the economy is what Pinterest has capitalized on. It is such a simple concept, but they have developed a visual search engine that craft lovers have found so useful. It is possible to find advice on a range of home decor items, fashion, and even beauty. In just the past year, Pinterest has seen the number of active users each month increase by 39%. This means that 416 million people spent a significant amount of time on the site last year. That translates into tremendous revenue growth. This has occurred mostly by way of advertising space.

Blue Apron

Blue Apron is another major company in this sector. While it has spent the last few years losing revenue, that is starting to show signs of a reversal. This is a gourmet meal kit company that will send food right to the doorstep of the consumer. This is yet another way that a company is capitalizing on the fact that people are staying home more and are less willing to go out. Not everyone has the time or the knowledge to cook at home, so this is a concept that appears to be catching on. In the last quarter alone, Blue Apron has seen an increase in sales in the neighborhood of 10%. If this continues, then it is definitely a stock to look out for in early 2021.

Bumble

This is a technology stock that seems to be shunning the Corona Virus slump that many businesses find themselves in. In fact, the Bumble IPO might just be one of the hottest startups to invest in over the course of the coming year. According to Money Morning, “Bumble has been one of the winners of this post-pandemic economy”. That means you can count on this company to make some waves entering 2021. Bumble is essentially a dating app with a twist. They have created a unique spin on the sign-up process that users love. In the post-pandemic world, people will be looking for ways to meet new people without putting themselves out in massive crowds just to do so. Bumble appears to be on the cutting edge of taking advantage of this new movement, so it is an investment that you will want to consider making.

Invitation Homes

It seems that the trend of younger families and couples shunning the suburbs for urban areas is starting to reverse the other direction once again. However, home prices are often out of reach for this segment of the population. This has resulted in high demand for rental homes in areas across the country. Invitation Homes has capitalized on that and is buying up single-family homes at a record rate. They have been known to own as many as 5,000 homes in a city. This translates into enormous revenue growth in areas where the rental market is tight.

Teladoc Health and Livongo Health

With more and more people today turning to Telehealth as a way to see the doctor, it is not surprising that these two stocks are worth watching. In fact, these are two companies that have just recently joined forces. While these companies lost money last year, the fact that they are joining forces speaks well to the future. Look for revenue to increase substantially in the coming year.

These are just a few of the stocks to look out for in early 2021. You just want to make sure that any stock you choose fits within your overall investment strategy. You want to feel comfortable with the mix that you have in your portfolio, so take time in the coming months to determine what moves you want to make as the calendar gets ready to turn the page on another year.

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Image by HeungSoon from Pixabay

Golf is one of the world’s biggest sports and is a great way to stay healthy and keep fit. It is also an amazingly competitive sport that lets you compete with yourself as you try to get a lower and lower score on your local courses. Here we have five strategies that should help a golfer of any level of ability to improve their golf game.

Know Your Clubs

The chances are you have the right club in your bag for every shot you need to make. Many golfers, even semi-professionals, don’t know enough about their clubs and the distances they are capable of reaching. Practice with your clubs at the driving range to get a better idea of the distances and shots you can make with your clubs, so you are better informed when you are on the course.

Know Your Hazards

The biggest challenge on the golf course for many golfers is getting past the hazards like sand bunkers and lakes and streams.

Hazards like bunkers are usually man-made and have been put there intentionally to make a hole more difficult to play. These bunkers are usually placed before the green to make your approach more challenging, so a good technique is to over hit your shot to fly over the hazard and work back to the green from the far side.

Be careful with water hazards. Many golfers will plan an overhit shot to make sure they land comfortably clear of the water, but then have to hit back towards to get back on the fairway or green. Don’t go with too much club when you are near water; give yourself enough range to get to the other side, just. The worst thing about facing a water hazard is hitting so hard you have to face the same hazard twice to stay on the course.

Practice Makes Perfect

Getting out to the course can be difficult. Weather and family commitments can often prevent you from practicing your shots and getting the extra time you need to improve your game. A golf launch monitor lets you practice at home and provides very precise ball data that can help you correct mistakes and develop your shots.

The Most Important Yard is in Your Head

If you don’t have your head in the right place when you golf, you are going to have a bad day on the course. Golf should be relaxing and fun, and a place you can go to get away from the stresses and strains of life. Taking your trouble to the golf course will cause you trouble while you play.

Don’t play angry is great advice. Use golf as a way to clear your mind and concentrate on one thing – and do that thing well. Your greatest competitor on the course is yourself, so get your head in the right place to play. You will see your game improve and reduce the number of strokes it takes you to get around the course.

Analyze Your Game

The biggest mistake most golfers make is not analyzing their game, replaying their best and worst shots in their head, and looking for places they can improve their technique.

Think about your best shots and what made them work. Posture and swing are important in every golf shot, so you need to know what you did right so you can bring those elements to other areas of your golf game. Know your weaknesses too. You could spend hours practicing your drive, but if your putting lets you down, you are not going to improve. Take some time to strengthen the weaker aspects of your game to reduce the number of shots you have to take.

With these five tips, you should be able to knock some strokes off your game and sink your balls in fewer strokes when you go out on the course.           

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Market research is one of the most valuable methods to gain insight and data to your target market. By conducting market research, you learn exactly how your customers think, what their habits are, how much they are willing to spend, and how you can stand out from your competition.

With all of this data, you are guaranteed to create a killer strategy for your business and increase your revenue year after year. These are some of the most effective market research methods for your business.

Interviews

There is no better way to gain insight to your consumer market than sitting down face-to-face and interviewing them. Have a list of questions ready to ask them about their spending habits, where they get their news, and what they think about your product.

This insight will help you understand the wants and needs of your customers so you can tailor your product or service to meet them. It also gives you insight on how to position your brand to stand out to your customers.

While this process may be time consuming and tedious, it is worth the effort.

Surveys

How many survey opportunities do you come across every day? There are millions of surveys available online just waiting to collect data. Take advantage of the survey culture and create your own for your market research.

There are a few different ways to go about collecting data from surveys.

The first is to have an online survey with an incentive. This incentive can be a coupon for your product or a free piece of literature.

The second is interactive voice response surveys done over the phone. This allows you to reach consumers directly and gives them an easy way to answer your questions.

Lastly, send out surveys by referral to your own network and your team or employees’ network.

Competitive Analysis

Know where you stand in your industry with a competitive analysis. This type of market research studies your competitors and how they are conducting business within your market.

This data will give you insight on what you need to do for your business to stand out from your competition. Take what your competition is doing and do it better!

Pricing Research

Another essential market research method is to study the pricing aspect of your consumers. You can include these questions in your interviews and surveys or take data from studies that have already been done.

This data will tell you what your target market is willing to spend on your product. With this data, you can price your product or service accordingly to appeal to customers and increase your sales.

Secondary Research

If you are running a small business or startup and don’t have the budget to spend on large market research studies, you can always take data from secondary sources. There are thousands of studies done each year on different markets and this data is available to you either for free or for a minimal cost.

Nigeria has the second biggest Forex market in Africa. The local trading community is robust and ever-expanding. Last year, it was estimated to include 200,000 active Forex traders. In the future, the region may forge ahead and lead the industry.

Facts and Figures

Today, online trading comprises different avenues of financial speculation. The most popular instrument in Nigeria is Forex. The global foreign exchange is the largest and the most liquid market in the world. Its daily volume is spectacular — close to 6 trillion US dollars.

Retail traders account for a fraction of this volume. The market is also assessed by large institutions like banks, hedge funds, and businesses. Until the 1990s, the foreign exchange was off-limits for individuals. Today, FX trading is all the rage.

The BRICS nations account for the largest share of daily trading. On the African continent, South Africa is the leader. Last year, according to Forexbrokers.co.za, its traders bought and sold 20 billion US dollars per day. Nigeria came second with 314 million USD.

Despite the difference in volumes, the two African countries have a similar number of traders. South Africa has 190,000 — slightly fewer than Nigeria. Nigerian traders make deposits of $514.42 on average (it is $742.04 for their South African peers).

Overview of the Markets

The global currency market has no physical centre. It is classified as over-the-counter, which means that buyers and sellers connect directly. Today, foreign exchange has a colossal turnover. World currencies flow between institutional and retail traders. Individuals use digital terminals and gain access through brokers.

Through a live trading account, clients may assemble diverse portfolios. Global brokers give access to Forex, stocks, spot metals, and derivatives. The more instruments are managed — the lower the overall risk.

A sophisticated system like MetaTrader 5 allows convenient trading of different asset classes. Here are the most common options:

  • currency pairs (Major, Minor, and Exotic);
  • spot metals (gold and silver);
  • stocks of US corporate giants;
  • stock CFDs;
  • cryptocurrency CFDs;
  • commodity CFDs;
  • CFDs on market indices.

Through an online trading account, a client may buy and sell different instruments. Stocks allow you to profit from the performance of US-based corporations. It is possible to choose the biggest household names like Apple and Facebook.

Contracts for Difference (CFDs) are virtual derivatives linked to underlying assets. They are highly leveraged, which means that trading volumes can be increased by the broker. The holder does not own the asset: instead, they bet on the direction of the market. The broker pays the difference between entry and exit points.

Regulatory Landscape

Despite its rapid growth, the Forex market in Nigeria lacks regulation. Traders may use local or foreign brokers for connection to the marketplace. Due to its popularity, Forex is a gold mine for scammers. Traders must choose providers very carefully.

The safest choice is global brands licensed by foreign regulators. For instance, the ForexTime broker is part of a group which has licenses from different jurisdictions: Cyprus (the CySEC), the United Kingdom (the FCA), and South Africa (the FCSA).

Regulated brokers have to comply with industry requirements. They provide negative balance protection, so traders never lose more than they deposit. In the event of bankruptcy, their clients are eligible for compensation.

Trader’s Arsenal

Modern systems are different from pit trading, which you can see in old Hollywood movies. In the past, the speed was slow. Clients had to call their floor brokers if they wanted to buy or sell shares. Each operation involved several people. Today’s systems offer 1-click trading, which allows you to capitalize on momentary changes.

Everything is managed through an app or a desktop terminal. Traders analyse the market using streaming prices, charts and news updates. They can customize their aids to pursue different strategies. Timeframes may be switched to highlight changes over a certain period, from one minute to one month.

The most popular trading terminals, such as the FXTM Trader app, are all-in-one products. Users can research the market, place trades and withdraw their profits. Every operation is a tap away. The largest global markets are now at your fingertips, and they can be monitored at a glance.

The Bottom Line

Today, the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the local economy. Nigerians are increasingly interested in opportunities for remote work. As the job market is shrinking, online trading is a viable choice.

By 2019, Nigeria had a vast army of online traders. Today, over 200,000 residents buy and sell financial instruments through the internet. Regulated brokers provide access to a broad choice of tools, from currencies to derivatives.

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Money

“Our innovative program will make all of your debt disappear in just a few months for pennies on the dollar. We’ll also stop all collection calls and lawsuits. This guaranteed method is sponsored by the US Consumer Financial Protection Board to help people get relief from COVID-19 related financial woes. Just send us $49.95 and we’ll get right to work for you.”

Each one of the four sentences above contains clues the paragraph is promoting a scam.  Here’s what you can learn from them to help you get better at recognizing debt settlement scams.

Certain Debts are Immune to Settlement

Unsecured debts such as personal loans, credit card debt and even medical debt can be negotiated and settled. However, secured debts, such as car loans, mortgages, boat and motorcycle loans are ineligible.

This is because the lender can repossess whatever asset was used to secure the loan if you can’t make your payments — thus the term “secured debt”. However, public student loans, alimony and child support are also immune to debt settlement.

Thus, anyone saying they can make all of your debt disappear is lying — and operating in violation of the law. 

There Are No Guarantees

One of the first things any legitimate debt relief  company will tell you is there are no guarantees. This is because every situation is different and therefore negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

What worked for one person might not work for another. Thus, anyone guaranteeing positive debt settlement results is lying — and operating in violation of the law.

Government Entities Aren’t Involved 

OK, well that one isn’t entirely accurate. The Federal Trade Commission does keep an eye on the debt settlement industry to make sure companies offering debt relief are on the up and up. The same is true for your state attorney’s general office and your local consumer protection agency.

However, no government organization promotes debt settlement. Nor do any of them offer debt settlement services. Anyone claiming to be working with any branch of government to settle debt is lying — and operating in violation of the law.

Upfront Fees Are Not Permitted

As part of its effort to protect consumers, the FTC has decreed debt settlement firms can only exact fees after they’ve settled debts on a consumer’s behalf.

Yes, you will be required to set cash aside to fund your settlement agreements as they are reached. However, that money is only to be used to fulfill the arrangements your creditors offer.

Any other use of that money is prohibited. Therefore, anyone saying you need to give them money before they’ve settled one of your debts is lying — and operating in violation of the law.

Creditors Will Still Make Inquiries

One of the premises of debt settlement is you’ll stop making payments to your creditors and instead deposit that money into an escrow account to be used to fund your settlement deals.

So you’d best believe your phone is going to ring when those bills go unpaid.

Yes, you can tell your creditors you’re working with a debt settlement program and they should get in touch with your agent there. However, that cannot stop them from calling you just the same. Anyone who says they can is lying — and yes — operating in violation of the law.

Recognizing debt settlement scams is relatively simple when you bear in mind the old adage; “If it sounds too good to be true — it probably is.” Don’t let desperation be a motivator, keep your wits about you. Understand that just as it took time for the debt situation to develop, unwinding it is going to take time too and you will come out of the situation OK.

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Japan’s Naomi Osaka has defeated Belarusian Victoria Azarenka in a compelling US Open final and claimed her third Grand Slam title.

The 22-year-old fourth seed Naomi Osaka won 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 for her second US Open title.

Naomi Osaka was overwhelmed in the first set and was in danger of trailing 3-0 in the second before recovering to win 10 of the next 11 games to take momentum.

Victoria Azarenka, 31, playing in her first major final since 2013, lost serve for 5-3 in the decider.

The Japanese shrieked with joy as she took her second match point, then calmly laid out on the court and stared at the New York sky as she contemplated her latest achievement.

Naomi Osaka’s level raised considerably as Victoria Azarenka was unable to maintain the intensity she showed in a one-sided opening set.

The fight back ensured Naomi Osaka, who won the 2018 US Open and 2019 Australian Open, maintained her record of winning every Grand Slam final she has played in.

Her maiden victory at Flushing Meadows in 2018 came in straight sets against Serena Williams in a hostile environment following the American’s infamous argument with umpire Carlos Ramos.

This second success could not have been more different.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

US Open 2020: Novak Djokovic Disqualified After Hitting Line Judge with Ball

This year, Naomi Osaka had to fight back from a set down against an inspired Victoria Azarenka – and navigate a tricky decider which could have swung either way – on a virtually empty Arthur Ashe Stadium because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Naomi Osaka looked a little lost as Victoria Azarenka overwhelmed her in a fast start, hitting 13 unforced errors and struggling to cope with the Belarusian’s proactive play and controlled aggression.

Eventually, though, the mental resilience which the Japanese says she has developed over recent months came to the fore.

That resulted in a major momentum shift in Naomi Osaka’s favor as Victoria Azarenka threatened to move 3-0 ahead in the second set.

The former world No 1 maintained that level in the decider to earn a 4-1 lead, but was unable to convert one of three break points to move 5-1 ahead.

That might have proved costly when Victoria Azarenka immediately put the set back on serve, only for Naomi Osaka to battle back again by winning what proved to be the final two games.

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Novak Djokovic has been disqualified from this year’s US Open after accidentally hitting a ball at a line judge.

In the fourth-round match, Novak Djokovic, 33 showed his frustration after losing serve to trail 6-5 against Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta.

The Serbian world No 1 took a ball out of his pocket and hit it behind him, striking the female line judge in her throat.

After a lengthy discussion, the top seed at the US Open was defaulted by tournament officials.

Coronavirus: Novak Djokovic Tests Positive for Covid-19

The Grand Slam rules state: “Players shall not at any time physically abuse any official, opponent, spectator or other person within the precincts of the tournament site.

“The referee, in consultation with the Grand Slam chief of supervisors may declare a default for either a single violation of this code.”

Novak Djokovic was the heavy favorite to win the men’s singles title at the US Open, which is being played behind closed doors and is the first Grand Slam to take place since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Going into the match against 20th seed Pablo Carreno Busta, Novak Djokovic had not lost a singles match in 2020.

Novak Djokovic was aiming for an 18th Grand Slam triumph to move closer to rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, who are not playing in New York, in the race to finish with the most men’s major titles of all-time.

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No professional sports team likes the idea of being viewed as a little brother. Unfortunately, since the Clippers relocated to Los Angeles, they have been in a pretty big shadow of the Los Angeles Lakers.

It is understandable for a team with 16 championships to overshadow a franchise without even one NBA Finals appearance, but that has not always been the case. In fact, in the first half of the 2000s, most notably before and after the Lakers’ title run, the flashiest team in the city was the Clippers. How did they pull that off? A slew of youngsters, some not even old enough to drink, were making waves as the upstart to the establishment winning titles.

Prior to the 2001-2002 season, the Los Angeles Clippers traded for Elton Brand. This move gave them one of the most exciting young nucleuses in basketball, as he was joining Corey Maggette, Darius Miles, Quentin Richardson, and Lamar Odom. The Lakers are winning championships with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, but this was the cool, young, and hip team grabbing the younger generation. For a franchise looking to make the rest of the league take notice, this was a beautiful opportunity.

Every player brought something different to the table, as the Clippers looked to do more than make headlines. They wanted to compete, and they did that for the first time in decades.

Elton Brand

When the Chicago Bulls traded Elton Brand to the Los Angeles Clippers, the franchise believed that they had their centerpiece. He was a dominant force for the Chicago Bulls in his first two seasons in the NBA, and the Clippers needed the go-to guy to throw the ball to in the post.

Brand played like a number one player for the Clippers from the beginning. He only had one season where he took over the scoring load, but he was a consistent 20 points and 10 rebounds type of guy almost every single night. Injuries started to catch up to him after a few years, but he was a major reason why the Clippers became relevant once again.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Lamar Odom

The left-hander from New York City was viewed by many as a guy who had no flaws. He was a 6’10” forward who could point guard if he needed to. Another top-five pick on the team, he hit the ground running with the Clippers in his very first season. There were times in which he would run the offense, and there were also times in which he would be looked at as a scorer.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Corey Maggette

Brand and Odom might have had more hype, but Corey Maggette was the glue to the Los Angeles Clippers team of that era. He was the one guy who ended up sticking around for the majority of his prime, and he was able to have quite a bit of success. He was capable of playing multiple positions, and that allowed him to stay on the floor when going up against nearly every team.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

What happened to Corey Maggette?

It is hard for younger players to swallow their pride and fill in where needed, but Maggette was fine coming off the bench if that made the most sense. His ability to give many different players a breather and play multiple positions added to roster flexibility. Today he runs a children’s basketball league and has taken over responsibilities for the community to fill the void when Kobe Bryant tragically left this world. We’re all thankful and lucky to have such an amazing human being like Corey Maggette still.

Darius Miles

The excitement surrounding Darius Miles when he came out of high school in the 2000 NBA Draft certainly had Clippers fans excited. He had all the potential in the world, but it was never truly developed with the Clippers. He would have some highlights here and there, but he was mostly a guy at the bench still learning the game of basketball at the highest level. That is expected for a guy who only played two seasons of the Clippers, and was with the Cleveland Cavaliers by the time he was 21 years old.

Quentin Richardson

Used mostly as a bench player for the Los Angeles Clippers, Richardson was able to provide some scoring punch when he caught fire. He was perhaps the most unheralded of the younger players that helped make up the exciting core, but he became a fan-favorite with his ability to get on a roll.

Shooting was always a major part of the game, as he shot 35% from three-point land during his four seasons with the team. In his final season with the Clippers, he was able to average over 17 points per contest.

An exciting time for the franchise

There are no championship banners for the Los Angeles Clippers during this era, but they were still exciting in the eyes of many. They just missed out on the playoffs in the 2001–2002 season, and there was finally the breakthrough they needed in 2005-2006. The younger core started to mature by then, which led to a 45-win season. Only Brand and Maggette were still around for the playoff appearance, but it showed just how exciting that collection of talent was during that time.

For a franchise with no NBA titles and very few bright spots overall, fans still remember these guys decades later. Not all of them panned out, but the Clippers turned into a team that had just as much attention from casual fans as the Lakers for the first time.

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Photo Getty Images

Before the worldwide COVID virus pandemic hit in early 2020, retail gasoline prices were already relatively low compared to the prior four years. But once the historically unique economic impact of the virus sank in, the cost of a gallon of fuel dropped by about 50 percent for most consumers. Plus, that entire and massive plunge in value took place within a four-week window of time. Necessity of the mother of invention, as the old saying goes. In this case, millions of individual investors started thinking about investment opportunities in oil, assuming COVID wouldn’t last forever and that per-gallon costs would eventually bounce back.

It’s important for every investor to understand the way the health crisis affect the fuel market, who some of the key players are, how the overall economic shutdown is continuing to change the world, and what at the pump prices are likely to do in the near future. The good news for people who wish to turn a crisis into an opportunity is that oil prices still have room to rise before they’re back at pre-crisis levels. Anyone who wants to know how to buy crude oil should consider such diverse methods as ETFs (exchange-traded funds), corporate stocks, futures, options, and CFDs (contracts for difference).

The COVID Effect on Recent Prices

Why did a worldwide virus lead to a huge drop in the price of crude, and by extension, gasoline? The primary factor was economic shutdown, which took place in most developing and developed nations. With millions of people either not working or doing their jobs from home, there was a gigantic drop in the need for vehicle fuel, which meant an over-supply situation. Like a 1,000-pound boulder in a pond, the value of the world’s most preferred fossil fuel sank about 50 percent within a couple of weeks.

The Iran Effect

Political turmoil in producer nations can lead to unusual changes in the energy markets, as the recent Iranian situation clearly demonstrates. After the U.S. pulled out of a large international coalition and decided to impose trading sanctions on Iran, the market reacted quickly, anticipating a possible oil shortage if Iran decides to cut production in retaliation for the U.S. move. For at least 30 years, the volatile leadership in Iran has wreaked havoc on the worldwide energy markets, which is one reason investors always keep a close eye on that nation’s financial news.

OPEC+ and Russia

There has been a recent change at the top of the global energy-producing hierarchy. For decades, Saudi Arabia, as the leading member of OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), was in near-total control of international supply. However, OPEC is now only number three in a trio of the globe’s top petroleum producers, which includes the U.S. at the top and Russia in the second spot. But investors should remember that OPEC still has a lot of power because its members act in unison, while U.S. and Russian producers do not.

The Economic Shutdown

In the second half of 2019, the per-barrel cost of crude petroleum sat at about the $55 mark. Now that the virus effect is slowing, that $55 level is still about $12 above the current $43 cost. That’s good news for anyone who still wants to take part in what could be a rise back to the normal, or at least pre-crisis values.

Prices at the Gas Pump

For consumers who worry about their monthly transportation budgets, there is an upside and a downside. As the national and world economies rebound and employment numbers get back to financially healthy levels, the price of petrol at the pump is also going back to its 2019 averages, slowly but surely.

For Investors to Consider

Before heading to your favorite trading platform to place orders for fuel-based CFDs, futures, and industry stock shares, consider some key facts about recent price activity and industry behavior, including the following:

  • Since 2014, the price, in U.S. dollars, of a barrel of crude oil dropped from $104 to $30.
  • The huge fall in per-barrel values were only partly due to COVID-related factors.
  • The new trio of top producers, the U.S., Russia, and OPEC are the predominant influencers behind global production and supply.
  • When the world economy is doing well, per-barrel prices usually go up due to increased industrial demand.
  • Natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes can have profound temporary effects on the industry.
  • At-the-pump costs for consumers are affected by at least a half-dozen factors, including retail demand, inflation, supplies, economic headlines in producing countries, and political turmoil. That makes it difficult to predict future market behavior.

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car-insurance

When looking into car insurance plans, the variety of options, prices, and coverage may cause confusion. The overwhelming amount of information can cause car owners to not fully understand the coverage that works best for their car, causing them to either be too covered or undercovered.

As you go through the car insurance process, you’ll need to ask a few questions to yourself and a representative to get the full picture. We’ll go over five of those questions in this article to help you better understand exactly what coverage you need and what you are able to afford.

What type of driver are you?

There are car insurance plans that cater to all types of drivers. When purchasing your plan, you need to ask yourself what you’ll be using your car for primarily. Do you use it for long road trips? To commute to work daily? Casually? Or, is it a car that needs a special type of coverage, such as an antique car?

Whatever your circumstances are, you’ll need to ask an insurance representative which type of coverage is best for you. For example, people who tend to drive on the safer side prefer a plan from Nationwide car insurance, as they offer benefits for those who drive safely.

How much can you afford?

Depending on your car and circumstances, your auto insurance premiums can increase or decrease. Typically, the nicer car you have, the more your premiums will be. Or, if you have a past accident on record, your premiums can increase as well. Other factors for price increases may include the type of coverage you choose, your location, the number of drivers on your policy, and more.

Make sure you can afford the coverage you choose before purchasing a plan. But, don’t cheap out on insurance either just to save a few dollars every month, as an accident can end up costing you more in the long run.

What type of coverage do you need and who is covered?

There are different types of coverage for auto insurance plans. The main types include:

  • Auto liability coverage
  • Collision coverage
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage
  • Personal injury protection
  • Medical payments
  • Comprehensive coverage

You can learn more about the specifics of each coverage by researching the basics of auto insurance. Based on where you live, some types of coverage may be required — or not. There are also different minimum coverage amounts required in every state. As you get ready to purchase an auto insurance plan, make sure you have all the coverage you need for your car and driving habits.

Are there any possible discounts?

Many auto insurance companies offer a variety of discounts for their policyholders. Some discounts may include student discounts, safe driver discounts, military discounts, bundled discounts, low mileage discounts, training discounts, auto-pay discounts, and more. Simply ask a representative what discounts may be available.

What is your risk assessment?

You should understand what your risk assessment is before purchasing an auto insurance policy. Risk assessment is the way policymakers determine how much of a risk you and/or your car holds as a policyholder. This is based on demographics, driving records, the car itself, and more. Your risk assessment will help the insurance company determine how much to charge you every month.

Once you determine the answers to these five questions, you’ll be able to understand what auto insurance policy you’re purchasing much better. The more you know about auto insurance plans, the easier it will be to make claims, changes, and payments in the event of an accident.

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Apple has become the first US company to be valued at $2 trillion on the stock market.

The tech giant reached the milestone just two years after becoming the world’s first trillion-dollar company in 2018.

Apple’s share price hit $467.77 in mid-morning trading on August 19 to push it over the $2tn mark.

The only other company to reach the $2tn level was state-backed Saudi Aramco after it listed its shares in December 2019.

However, the oil giant’s value has slipped back to $1.8tn since then and Apple surpassed it to become the world’s most valuable traded company at the end of July.

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Apple’s shares have leapt more than 50% in 2020, despite the coronavirus crisis forcing it to shut retail stores and political pressure over its links China.

In fact, the iPhone maker’s share price has doubled since its low point in March, when panic about the coronavirus pandemic swept the markets.

Tech companies, which have been viewed as winners despite lockdowns, have seen their stock surge in recent weeks, even though the US is in recession.

Apple posted strong Q3 figures towards the end of July, including $59.7 billion of revenue and double-digit growth in its products and services segments.

The next most valuable US company is Amazon which is worth around $1.7tn.

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Have you been trying to apply for a small business loan without any glimpse of success? If so, then you should know that thousands of others are undergoing similar experience across the globe. Actually, research shows that 74% of small business loan applications are rejected by many lending institutions especially the banks and some alternative small business loans lenders. This might be a high figure but not surprising at all. This is because, a couple of reasons exists to justify the reluctance of lending institutions to give loans to small businesses. Therefore, if you want to increase the odds of approval, you ought to familiarize with these reasons and how to lessen the risks.

  1. Your business lacks a significant history

Lenders usually feel comfortable when extending loans to those enterprises which have been operating for a relatively long period.  This way, the lender is able to assess the credit worthiness of a business as well as its ability to repay back.  Therefore, for a new company, it is difficult to convince a lender with a word of mouth or a mere business plan without a compelling operation history. However, this should not discourage new entrepreneurs as they can seek funding from other sources which usually don’t dwell much on operation history. Some of such lenders include the Venture Capitalist Investors, crowdfunding, and many others.

2. Your business is in a high-risk industry

Traditional lending institutions have got strict rules which they usually prioritize while gauging the qualifications of loan applicants. One of such rules is the assessment of a business   failure rate. This is whereby a bank will determine whether the business to be funded is likely to thrive or fail in future depending on various micro and macro economy factors as determined by the lender. Therefore, once a bank has considered your business to have high failure rate, the chances of receiving funding is almost zero. The solution to this is seeking alternative lenders and also seeking for recommendation from other entrepreneurs in the same industry.

3. Weak cash flow

When your business lacks a solid and strong cash flow, chances of having your loan approved are very minimal. The reason for this is that lenders will question the ability of your business to service the loan on full and also on time. Therefore, prior to delivering the application, make it your priority to assess the financial statements of your business and come up with a plan on how you will be repaying the loan on monthly basis. To boost the financial flow of your business, make sure all the goods or services delivered are paid on time if not promptly.

4. Poor Credit score

Lenders usually check the personal or business credit score to determine the worthiness of extending a loan. If the business is new, some lenders will go for the personal credit score especially if the business has no long history. Therefore, if the score happens to be below a certain acceptable threshold, then the chances of having loan approved is very low. To address this, usually check both personal and your business credit reports and ensure any existing anomaly is fixed before applying for a loan.

5. Lack of Plan

While applying for a small business loan, it is prudent to build a strong case which will remove doubts from a lender on your capability to repay. One of such ways of building a solid case is having a candid plan on how to use the loan as well as the repayment plan. If this plan lacks, or is not strong enough to convince the lender, then chances of approval are very low. Therefore, always develop a solid plan and perhaps let a friend have a look at it before you go for the loan.

6. Applying for very low amount

I know you are wondering how asking for too little will affect your chances of securing a loan. Well, it depends from where you are sourcing the loan.  Usually, commercial banks prefer issuing large loans since they obtain more profits from them as opposed to the small ones. Since the resources and efforts required to service both the small and large loans are the same, banks will often be reluctant to offer a loan of less than $250,000. However, applying for a very large amount without a solid plan on how to repay will also get you rejected.  Therefore, always purpose to understand the standard amount which you can get from the bank by perhaps asking friends.

Being aware of the above reasons why a small business loan application might fail is the first step towards securing a successful funding. Therefore, keep note of the above points and they will surely help you in your future small business loan application.

The US jobs growth slowed sharply in July as the country struggled to control the coronavirus pandemic.

1.8 million jobs have been added last month, down from a record 4.8 million in June.

The US unemployment rate fell to 10.2%, continuing to improve from the high of 14.7% seen in April.

The figures reignited calls for Washington to approve further economic stimulus, though the slowdown was not as bad as many economists had feared.

The US Labor Department report, “confirms that the resurgence in new virus cases caused the economic recovery to slow, but also underlines that it has not yet gone into reverse,” said Andrew Hunter, senior economist at Capital Economics.

The job gains in July came from many of the sectors hit hardest by shutdowns, including restaurants, bars and retail outlets.

Photo Getty Images

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Economists have said this kind of hiring, happening as states around the country allow establishments to reopen, represents the “easy” part of a long recovery ahead.

Since February, the US has lost more than 12 million jobs and seen unemployment spike from a roughly 50-year-low of 3.5%.

In Q2 of 2020, the US economy was hit by its sharpest quarterly contraction in more than 70 years of record-keeping, shrinking at an annual rate of 33% or nearly 10% year-on-year.

The 10.2% unemployment rate the Labor Department reported for July is higher than the worst of the 2007-2009 financial crisis, when the jobless rate peaked at 10%.

This week, nearly 1.2 million people filed new claims for unemployment. More than 31 million people – roughly 1 in 5 American workers – continue to collect the benefits.

Economists have said the loss of momentum last month is a sign of the peril facing the economy, as health concerns put a dampener on consumer spending and temporary measures passed in March, including bans on evictions and a $600 emergency boost to unemployment benefits, expire.

While Washington lawmakers have been trying to negotiate further stimulus, many Republicans oppose a deal of the size Democrats say is necessary.

“The most responsible thing we can do is to take proactive measures to allow people to return to work safely, instead of continuing to lock down the economy,” Republican Congressman Kevin Brady said after the report.

Republicans want a deal to include legal protections for employers against virus-related health claims from workers.

They are also pushing to reduce the $600 emergency supplement to unemployment benefits, which expired last month, and have proposed far less aid to local governments than Democrats want.

Their stance has presented a challenge for President Donald Trump, who had hoped to use a strong economy as his calling card to voters in his campaign for re-election in November. He has said he may act unilaterally to extend some aid.