3 Important Tips for Exchanging Currency

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Important Tips for Exchanging Currency

You’re all packed and ready to head off on your fabulous vacation abroad. You’ve planned everything down to the last detail, and you can’t wait to have some great adventures and bring home some cute souvenirs for your loved ones. But you’re going to need money for those souvenirs, and probably for those adventures too, and most foreign countries don’t accept the American dollar. Here are three important tips for exchanging currency abroad so that you can get the money you need without too much hassle.

Wait Until You Reach Your Destination

Credit: Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com

I know that for my first trip to Italy, I was chomping at the bit to exchange my dollars for euros. I wanted to have a wallet full of European money as soon as I landed in Europe, but this isn’t the way to go. According to expert travelers, it is best to wait until you arrive in your destination country to exchange currency because exchange providers in the United States tend to have a much worse exchange rate. I would also advise against rushing to the first currency exchange kiosk you see in the airport as well, because these businesses thrive on taking advantage of over-excited tourists and will also most likely have a bad exchange rate.

You Don’t Have to Exchange Currency at a Bank

Credit: ImYanis/Shutterstock.com

I have traveled abroad several times now, and in my experience, I have found that by far and away the best (and most convenient) way to exchange currency is to simply use an ATM in your destination country. You can go to a bank and make an exchange with cash, but you will lose a portion of the money in the exchange, and it can sometimes be inconvenient to find a bank that is open during your travels. By using an ATM to withdraw money in the local currency, there are still most likely going to be some fees (make absolutely sure that you check your bank’s policy on foreign transaction fees before you go abroad so you know what to expect), but you are more in control of the transaction, and there are ATMs on every corner. Plus it is just really, really simple: just put in your card, select the amount of euros or other currency you want, and hit “withdraw.”

Consolidate Your Exchanges

Credit: Billion Photos/Shutterstock.com

The best tip for exchanging currency is to try to make as few exchanges as possible by consolidating your transactions. Since there is usually a bank fee or related costs on every transaction, it is best to just make one big transaction instead of a bunch of little ones, so you only get charged those extra fees once. According to currency authorities like the XE Corporation, some foreign exchange providers might either waive their commission fee or give you a better rate if you make an exchange that is over a certain amount. The best thing you can do is look into this before your trip if you can, and try to plan out your expenses ahead of time so you can take out all or most of the money you will need in one withdrawal to avoid paying extra fees.

PM Modi rings in new year with mini-budget of sops, focuses on poor

 

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES)

PM Modi rings in new year with mini-budget of sops, focuses on poor

INDIA Updated: Dec 31, 2016 23:57 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Highlight Story

People watching live telecast of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at an electronic shop in Patna on Saturday. (PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a slew of schemes on Saturday evening to herald a prosperous 2017 for the urban and rural poor, farmers, small businessmen, senior citizens and pregnant women.Modi started on a sombre note. For the first 23 minutes, he mainly thanked his countrymen for braving the cash crunch, iterated why demonetisation was a necessary weapon in his fight against black money and corruption and warned of more action against the dishonest.

“The law will take its course with full force. The government will help the honest, protect them, and see that their difficulties are eased,” he said.

Read: Full transcript of PM Narendra Modi’s New Year’s eve speech

In his address made to the nation on the very day the demonetisation exercise ended, the Prime Minister did not say much about curbs on withdrawals. He only said everyone in the government has been told that banking operations must return to normal as soon as possible.

Then he switched to announcement mode, rattling out enough measures to make his speech sound like a mini-budget.

The first in his list for 2017 were two housing schemes under the Prime Minister Awas Yojana (PMAY). For the urban poor, home loans up to Rs 9 lakh will get 4% interest exemption, and loans up to Rs 12 lakh will get 3%. In villages, home loans up to Rs 2 lakh will get 3% interest exemption. This would apply not only to loans for building new houses but also those taken for renovating or expanding an existing one.

In all, Modi said 33% more homes will be built in rural areas under the PMAY.

There was more for the rural poor, who got the lion’s share of the announcements. The govt will pay interest for 60 days on loans taken by farmers for Rabi farming from district cooperative banks and societies. It will give the National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development (Nabard) Rs 20,000 crore, which the bank will use for giving loans to cooperatives at low interest rates. Some 30 million kisan credit cards will be converted to RuPay cards, so their holders can make non-cash transactions at a large number of places.

Read: Focus on poor, small businesses: 5 highlights from PM Modi’s New Year’s eve speech

There was also a fair bit for small businessmen, generally referred to as MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises). In a scheme under which the government guarantees loans raised by them, the limit has been doubled to Rs 2 crore. This will also cover loans from NBFCs. Banks have been told to raise the cash credit limit to small businesses from 20% to 25%.

Banks, the Prime Minister noted, tend to decrease interest payable on deposits when they are flush with funds – as they are now. The government will not allow them to pay senior citizens anything less than 8% on deposits up to Rs 7.5 lakh made for 10 years.

To reduce deaths during child birth, the government will deposit Rs 6,000 into the accounts of pregnant women. It can be used for registration and vaccination, among other things.

Modi also packed a punch for his political rivals. “The time has come for all political parties and leaders to respect the feelings of honest citizens and understand their anger. I urge them to move away from their holier-than-thou approach, and take actual steps towards reforming the system and getting rid of black money and corruption,” he said.

Read: BJP compliments, rivals criticise PM Modi’s New Year’s eve address

Can The People Of Iceland Take Their Country Back From The Political Mafia?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME)

ICELAND

Everything You Need to Know About Iceland’s Pirate Party

Iceland MP Birgitta Jonsdottir at Home
Giles Clarke—Getty ImagesBirgitta Jonsdottir, activist member of the Icelandic parliament representing the Pirate Party, stands in front of a sculpture at an Icelandic sculpture park on July 9, 2015

Will this insurgent party sail to victory in Oct. 29 elections?

Iceland’s Pirate Party is hoping to win the largest share of the vote in the country’s Oct. 29 general election, not even four years after the fringe political group formed.

Until this week the esoteric political party had led the polls in Iceland, though the latest opinion poll puts the group a single pointbehind the center-right Independence Party, which is currently a junior member in the country’s coalition government.

The Pirate Party’s rise against the perceived corruption of Iceland’s political elite is the latest— and perhaps most colorful— in a string of anti-establishment insurgencies throughout globe, from the far left to the far right. Here’s a bit more about the group:

Anchors aweigh

The Pirate Party formed in 2012, in the wake of the collapse of Iceland’s hugely over leveraged banking industry following the 2008 financial crisis. The Party and its motley group of of anarchists, libertarians and internet activists is led by Birgitta Jonsdottir. The 49-year-old former Wikileaks activists, web programmer and “poetician” has been an MP for different parties since 2009, but decided to help start the party, which part of an international anti-copyright movement that originates in Sweden, because “I’m often crossing paths with nerds as I’m such a nerd myself” she told the Financial Times.

Jonsdottir thinks Iceland’s population of about 300,000 are sick of corruption and “nepotism.” She also likens the country to Sicily and claims it is controlled by a handful of “mafia-style families” and their friends. “That might explain why, when the banks were privatized in 2005, stern laws and promises of professionalism were tossed aside and the banks were handed over to bosses who pleased the ‘mafia’ families” she writes in the New Internationalist.

This anti-establishment message resonated with some Icelanders and the Pirates gained a seat in parliament in 2013. Support for the movement surged to 43% in an April poll after the Panama Papers revealed that former Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson held investments in offshore accounts— which led to some of the largest protests the country has ever seen.

Gunnlaugsson stepped down as leader, and his replacement called early elections. His party, the Progressives, is now wallowing at 8% in the polls.

An ‘aye on power

While slim on policies, the Pirates espouse a set of core values, which include direct democracy, pushing civil rights and more transparency from companies and the creation of informed decisions. The party wants to be the “Robin Hood” of politics by handing power back to Icelanders, and seeks to make the country a haven for hackers and whistle-blowers (including Edward Snowden). It also hopes to make cryptocurrency bitcoin legal tender.

The Pirates have also created a crowd sourced draft of the constitution, which includes provisos to create new rules for governance and to re-nationalize the natural-resource industries of the small country. Like other European populist parties, the Pirates want a referendum on Iceland’s relationship with the E.U., but promise to not conduct the nativist, anti-immigrant stance seen in U.K.’s iteration. “We don’t want to make the same mistakes that happened in Britain” Jonsdottir told the Washington Post. “You have to make sure that it is an informed campaign. People need to know what [membership] implies.”

Close quarters

But forming a stable government could present a challenge for the company of radicals. Jonsdottir has no intention to become prime minister and the party has ruled out working with the current center-right coalition, which includes Gunnlaugsson’s Progressive Party. Jonsdottir has conceded in the past that once in power the Pirates might have to temper their idealism.

It currently looks like Saturday’s vote may leave Iceland with a center-left coalition of the Pirates and three, or possibly four, other parties. Iceland has historically never had a coalition government consisting of more than two parties survive a full four-year term says the BBC.

If the Pirates do plunder a win, it will be one more example of an outsider turning into the champion of establishment-weary voters.

South Korea: Is Hanjin ‘To Big To Let Fail’ Or Is Failure Exactly What Shipping Industry Needs

(This article is courtesy of the Shanghai Daily News Paper)

Hanjin Group vows US$90m to help resolve shipping cargo woes

HANJIN Group said yesterday it will inject US$90 million, including US$36 million from its chairman Cho Yang-ho’s personal assets, to help resolve disruptions to container cargo transport caused by Hanjin Shipping Co’s financial troubles.

The move follows South Korean government demands that the parent firm do more to help as Hanjin’s vessels remain stranded outside ports after the company filed for bankruptcy protection last week.

Hanjin Shipping is seeking protection from creditors in dozens of countries, hoping to minimize seizures of its assets. With its assets frozen, its ships are being refused permission to offload or take on containers at ports worldwide, out of concern tugboat pilots or stevedores may not be paid. Out of 141 vessels the company operates, 68 were not operating normally, were stranded or seized, as of Sunday.

The world’s seventh largest ocean shipper, Hanjin Shipping is part of the Seoul-based Hanjin Group, a huge, family dominated conglomerate, or chaebol, that also includes Korean Air.

The Hanjin Group said in a statement yesterday that it will provide its stakes in overseas terminals, such as the one Hanjin operates in Long Beach, California, as collateral to borrow 60 billion won (US$54 million).

That still falls short of the fees that Hanjin Shipping must pay for services it needs to offload cargoes already on its vessels. According to local media reports, that amounts to 600 billion won.

It was unclear if banks or the government might provide more financing to resolve the immediate crisis.

In the meantime, South Korean regulators said they are directing Hanjin Shipping vessels to unload cargoes in a few key ports, including in Singapore and Hamburg, Germany.

With the country’s largest ocean shipper idled and the shipbuilding industry also in crisis, a government task force is directing moves to salvage the container shipping sector, which like ocean shipping worldwide has been battered by weak demand and overcapacity.

“The government is making all-out efforts to minimize damage and loss of consignees,” Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho said late Monday. “Korean government-led response teams will be formed in the selected offshore ports to swiftly receive stay orders or guaranteed protection,” Yoo said in Hangzhou where he was attending a Group of 20 summit.

Officials appear set on a consolidation, without committing huge sums of taxpayer cash, of Hanjin and its smaller rival, Hyundai Merchant Marine, which already is being restructured.

Hanjin Shipping was handling nearly 8 percent of the trans-Pacific trade volume for the US market, and with its container ships marooned offshore, major retailers have been scrambling to devise contingency plans to get their merchandise into stores.

The shipping company has posted net losses every year since 2011. Last week, creditors led by the Korea Development Bank rejected a plan by Hanjin Group to spend another 500 billion won to rescue the shipping firm, way short of Hanjin Shipping’s more than 6 trillion won in debts.

Hanjin’s shares rose 20 percent yesterday on hopes for government help for the firm.

Is Ted Cruz (A) Anti-Christ? Or Is He Simply A Fraud And A Hypocrite?

 

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has first gone around the state of Texas and now the whole country lying to all he meets by saying he is a practicing Christian when he is by no means any such a thing. Lying, yes lying, plus add in other qualities like a fraud, and a thief. O, and let us not forget that as Mr. Trump said  about Mr. Cruz  when he refereed to him as a “very nasty person”, and Mr. Trump ought to know that quality very well, he has made a lifetime of being nasty to people for the purpose of his own personal gain. The Republican establishment chastised Mr. Trump for those comments even though they all know that he spoke truthfully about Mr. Cruz. The very recently retired Republican House Speaker  (John Boehner) shortly before he retired last year called Mr. Cruz “the biggest ass-hole in the Congress”. But then again when another now former Republican Senator Mr. Bob Dole was their Presidential Candidate they keep quiet that within the Senate he was known as ‘Mr. Nasty’. How does a political party whom claims the highroad claiming to be the most Christian Party put forth and then back people whom they know are very hate-filled people?

 

Just like ‘we the people’ have learned that Hillary Clinton is an habitual liar and that there is no way to trust anything that comes out of her mouth, Ted Cruz is proving to be the same. Mr. Cruz ran his Texas Senate campaign as him being this staunch conservative Christian yet it has been proven that he  is a liar to the core of his being. He told all the people of Texas how he was the outsider whom was not beholding to the Wall-Street Bankers, that he was a poor man whom had to mortgage all they had to come up with the money to fund his Senate campaign, liar! He received a little over one million dollars from two Wall-Street bank, the biggest was for $700,000.00 from the very bank that his wife worked at. You did hear that correctly. Then by law and by Senate rules when he was elected to the Senate he had to tell them all of the loans that he had (because the people have a right to know whom they/he is beholding too) there too, he lied. He didn’t mention those loans from the Wall-Street Banks because it would have shown the people of the great state of  Texas that he was a liar and a fraud. Now in the first political pony show that was held in Iowa yesterday his personal staffers were calling up other people’s staffers telling them that his Christian opponent Dr. Ben Carson had suspended his campaign when he had done no such a thing. Cruz is the only candidate that pulled this dirty trick. It is said that all is fair in war and politics but this itself is a lie if you are really a Christian. Cruz knew very well that if Dr. Carson did drop out of the race that he (being he claims to be such a Christian) would pick up a lot of Dr. Carson’s Christian voters, thus helping himself and hurting a person whom is an actual Christian.

 

If a person is truly a Christian we are supposed to try our very best to walk after the heart of God, not be an habitual liar, fraud, thief, law-breaker, and a hypocrite. There is no way that a person whom is a Christian (we must try our best to walk that walk of light everyday of our lives) would ever be considered by those whom know him well as the “biggest ass-hole” in the Congress. Mr. Cruz has proven himself to be little more than an apostasy, at best. At worst, he is one of the Anti-Christs trying to fill the seat of the current Demon that sits in the Oval-Office right now. We the people deserve a lot better human being in the White House than this fraud and habitual liar. Is it possible for Mr. Cruz, Mr. Obama, or Mrs. Clinton to ever speak the truth to the people? They seem to be three of the worse overall quality people who the U.S. Senate has had to offer up as Presidential candidates since, well, Bob Dole.  I don’t mind these folks running for public office because we are all suppose to have that right here in America. My issue with some of these evil characters is when they are claiming to be a Christian when it is very plain that they are capable of anything, no matter how dirty or illegal or unethical they perform their lives. People like Mr. Cruz will say or do anything it takes to win, and friends that is not walking after the heart of Jesus. I believe that Mr. Cruz is a person whom will just make our country even more gridlocked because he refuses any comprise on anything. I am  a conservative Christian person but I am also a realist, if our country, our people, are to prosper and if the Nation is to be strong we can not have a person in the Oval Office whom will never negotiate or compromise in the effort to get our Nation back on our feet again.  This will not with such an habitual liar as Mr. Cruz in the Captains Chair.

Ted Cruz Not Beholding To The big banks: That Is A Huge Lie!

 

Within the last four years Ted Cruz is attempting to go from a political ‘who’ to being the President of the United States. So, who is this dude who in 2012 when he was attempting to become a U.S. Senator ran on the story-line of not being beholding to the ‘Big Banks’. Sir, even with you being born in Canada being an issue right now as to whether you are technically eligible to hold the Office, I believe let the U.S. Supreme Court just tell us one way or the other. Folks, make this issue be settled ASAP, so that it can become a non-issue, and possibly disqualify this man outright. I have never trusted this man personally, as a Christian I have just not felt good vibes coming from him, ever. Mr Cruz exploits his ‘Christian Faith’ to help him garner votes both in his Texas Senate Campaign and now in his Presidential Campaign, yet his ‘not beholding to Big Banks’ propaganda is evidently just a lie. It appears that Mr and Mrs Cruz did put everything up in hock to help support his Senate campaign and for those kind of guts I do commend both him and his wife. But, and a really, really, big but, Mrs Cruz was employed by a Wall-Street Bank and that bank as well as one other Wall-Street Bank gave the couple a cool Million-Dollars in loans to help fund the campaign. The lies get even better, he violated Congressional Law by not reporting these loans to the Congress when he was sworn in. If you or I lie to Congress the FBI comes and give us a visit, I doubt that Mr Cruz will be getting any bracelets anytime soon though.

On a personal opinion, I as a fundamentalist Christian do not want anyone whom actually believe (as Mr Cruz) says he does, that the Earth was created in a literal six-human day event, is too stupid and to ignorant to be ever welcomed in ‘Our’ Oval Office! Can a person who was educated at among other places, Harvard Law, be so ignorant of what the Scriptures teach? If Mr Cruz is as lacking in knowledgeable of our Nations laws as he is in God’s Laws (don’t base your campaign on a lie)! What lie Mr Cruz? How about the not being beholding to big banks lie?

It’s Called Trickle Up Economics

 September 2009      (THIS POST IS AN ECONOMICS HISTORY LESSON REVISITED FROM 9 YRS AGO THAT NEITHER POLITICAL PARTIES POLITICIANS HAVE LEARNED WHAT THE BASIC TRUTH IS YET TODAY!!!)

 

    These days we are again hearing the old term in politics that I first heard from the Reagan era, people in Washington call it the Trickle Down Theory. The concept is being practiced by both parties, though they would probably deny it. Today these people tend to use the words “Stimulus Package”. If you remember, We tried this approach shortly before he (George W. Bush) got out of office. Then came Mr. Obama, he tried his own version of a stimulus package, bailing out the banks and Wall Street, the very people who caused almost all of the problems in the first place. The idea of this scam was to strengthen our country’s financial base from the top down. You see, neither party “get’s it”, you give the top one percent all the financial means and they just hold onto it. I have a question for you, how many of We The People have been able to get a loan, for personal or for small or medium size businesses since the banks got “our” money handed to them? Do you remember just a couple of years ago Mr. Obama was caught on camera at some conference table filled with his cronies and he said in reference to his stimulus package, “I guess that the country wasn’t as shovel ready as we had thought” and he and his cronies had a good laugh about it.

    Now Mr. Obama is prancing out another stimulus package under the cloak of it creating jobs in our country for our people. Odd isn’t it, the things these politicians try just before an election season fires up? Mr. Obama, and the Congress should have taken the other stimulus package a couple of years ago and put Americans to work then. I am a long haul truck driver by trade, a person sees and hears many things as we go around the country from the people and the local radio stations. Our nation’s roads and bridges are in lousy condition all over the country. Most all of our big cities are completely falling apart, above ground and below them. If the stimulus money from the past had been used to rebuild our country from the inside, which would have put many people to work all over our country. As you go around the country you see things like all these oil wells that are capped, even in the oil fields of West Texas. We have found lots of oil in Wyoming and the Dakotas, but as soon as they are drilled, there capped. You see, this country doesn’t have enough refineries to produce the products and we don’t have anywhere near enough storage facilities to store all the oil we already have here in our own country. These days we hear a lot about clean coal technologies and that we are the Saudi Arabia of Natural gas. Why are we selling oil abroad? People, why are we giving billions to people who use that money to finance means to kill all of us?

    Here is the simple economics behind this writing, if the money had been given out through work programs, the people of America would have been working several years ago, on good full-time jobs for good pay. Then the people would not have been losing their homes. People would have been able to have purchasing power which would have stimulated our economy putting even more people back to work. If this had happened, the Banks would have had earned a lot of money from the bottom up and the governments at all levels would have been reaping the benefits of increased tax revenue which would have keep our civil servants employed. What our country needs are politicians who are able to realize that there is nothing wrong if the bottom 99% have 95% of the money going through their hands. Then the top 1% of the population would still be getting about 5%, this would still make that small and very important group of people very, very wealthy. They are very important because they are the risk takers who have the ability to create many of our nation’s jobs, these people must be well compensated, five for one is very nice compensation.  Friends, this is what I call, Trickle Up Economics.

 

                                                                                  Thank you for your time,

                                                                                  Ted R Savage

 

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