1. The Independent Free Press: July 2016

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Tips on determining fair market value in advertised used car prices

When you're in the market for a used car, it's important that you do a little research in order to make a fair determination of whether advertised used car prices are in line with the fair market value of the make and model of the vehicle you have in mind. The research involved doesn't take much effort or time and can help prevent you ending up with a lemon or paying too much for what you're getting.

One way to avoid the vagaries of the used car market though is to lease a car. Check out www.leasingexperts.co.uk  for some amazing deals.

No matter who you're buying from, you'll always want to consult the Kelly Blue Book(TM). If you don't have a copy on hand, it's easiest to go to the Kelly Blue Book(TM) website. Be prepared with a list of any options, such as power windows, air conditioning or leather seats that come with the vehicle in question. Also make note of the general condition and mileage. The Blue Book value chart takes all of these factors into consideration when establishing used car prices.

Another investigation you'll want to make online is to check out used car rating websites. While you may love the looks of a certain used car, looking at used car ratings by car magazines and individuals who have owned the model of the year you're looking at may reveal problems you aren't willing to take on when you purchase. Used car prices for such a vehicle may seem attractive, but there may be a good reason why. On the other hand, another vehicle may have great ratings on safety features. You'll want to weigh all of your priorities against what your budget allows and used car prices which satisfy your most important priorities.

If you'll be financing the car, your bank or credit union will base the loan amount on this dollar figure. Remember too, that banks don't loan on a vehicle that's too old. Check with your financial institution to establish both the age limit and percentage of the selling price on which they're willing to loan.

If you intend to pay cash, this gives you a powerful edge in negotiating the sales price, particularly with private parties.

Ascertaining fair used car prices depends on more than the price you can establish through the Kelly Blue Book(TM). There can always be hidden problems with a used vehicle that can only be discovered by a mechanical inspection. If you don't already have a reliable mechanic, ask a friend for a recommendation. Before you finalize any deal on a used car, be sure the seller is willing to allow your mechanic to look the car over – if the seller is unwilling, you should certainly think twice before parting with your money. You don't want to discover that you need a new transmission, or some other expensive repair, a month after your purchase.

Buying from a friend or through the classifieds is usually your best bet. In either of these cases, your ideal vehicle has been well maintained. If maintenance records are available, that sweetens the pot for you. The lower the mileage, the better. The one-owner vehicle completes the ideal situation. Private sellers also tend to price, represent the vehicle fairly and not balk at the mention of a mechanical inspection. They just want to sell the car and be done with it. However, you'll seldom find a private seller willing to give a guarantee, but if your mechanic gives a thumbs up, this factor shouldn't interfere with your decision to purchase.

You can see that establishing fair used car prices requires a bit of foot work on your part, but the steps involved are fairly straightforward. If you do your homework before you go shopping, chances are good that you'll find a vehicle that suits your purpose and wallet equally well.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Practical solutions to global warming.

Just as every human being is in one way or another responsible for the creation of factors contributing to global warming, we are also responsible, by default, to negate them and counter the adverse effects of global warming. Some of the little things we do have contributed to the accelerated global warming could in fact be used to create solutions to global warming. It is therefore evident that individual choices can have an impact on global warming.

Reducing your family's heat-trapping emissions does not mean forgoing modern conveniences; it means making smart choices and using energy-efficient products, which may require an additional investment up front, but often pay you back in energy savings within a couple of years.

Another factor that can be a solution to global warming is being conscious of what you use for your transportation needs. Do you walk the short distance to the shop or do you drive? Do you take a bus to work?  Do you insist on your own car? These choices, though seemingly trivial, determine the amount of fuel we burn hence controlling the amount of greenhouse effect gases in the atmosphere.

When you buy your next car, look for the one with the best fuel economy in its class. Each gallon of gas you use is responsible for twenty five pounds of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. Better gas mileage not only reduces global warming, but will also save you thousands of dollars at the pump over the life of the vehicle. Compare the fuel economy of the cars you are considering and look for new technologies like hybrid engines.

Apart from the car you buy, solutions to global warming also include using clean power. When you leave a light bulb burning, remember that even if you do not see the smoke it emits, a good percentage of electricity is generated by nuclear power, or fossil fuels which there and then generate the global warming gases.

Saving electricity will range from unplugging unused power appliances to buying electronics with the Energy star. Replace regular light bulbs with energy saving bulbs which will give as much light for less energy.

Consider the fact that our elected officials need to know that you are concerned. This will motivate them to be more eco-friendly oriented in any legislative steps they undertake. It is one of the easiest solutions to global warming.

Lastly, plant as many trees as you can. Get a group in your neighborhood together and contact your local arborist or urban forester about planting trees on private property and public land. In addition to storing carbon, trees planted in and around urban areas and residences can provide much needed shade in the summer, reducing energy bills and fossil fuel use.

The conflict in the Middle East: will it ever end?

For many decades, there has been continual conflict in the Middle East. When the State of Israel was formed, in 1948, partially in response to the Holocaust, it was hoped that peace would ensue. This has obviously not been the case.

The Palestinians who had lived on this land for centuries, were suddenly displaced. Some became refugees in neighboring countries, but weren't exactly welcomed with open arms by the various countries that granted refugee status. Some Arab countries refused them entirely. Many formerly prosperous Palestinians were cast into ghettos and instant poverty. It's no wonder that resentment and hatred flourished.

The Holocaust survivors now had sovereign land and many emigrated to Israel to begin a new life, free of the persecution they'd suffered for centuries, all over Europe and in Russia. For a while, many Israelis and Palestinians lived in a semi state of peaceable, but difficult harmony. The Israeli economy prospered and the society solidified, somewhat.

However, ever since 1948, there has been a variety of dissident points of view, some pushing for war and others for peace. However, the conflict in the Middle East has never truly subsided. In fact, over the years, more and more Arab countries have taken a role which has ultimately expanded this conflict in the Middle East. Today, almost every country in the Middle East has taken a hard line position in opposition to Israel.

Despite efforts by the United Nations and a panoply of so-called peace plans and road maps, the conflict in the Middle East continues, at great cost in lives, wounded on both sides and human misery. The United States has long been involved in diplomatic efforts towards a lasting resolution, without results. America has supplied weaponry to Israel for a very long time. As a legal point, when America supplies aid in the form of weapons and technology, it is only to be used in defense. Aggression is not allowed in these agreements. This has become a sticking point today, partially responsible for fueling this terrible conflict in the Middle East region.

Prisoner exchanges between Israel and certain Arab countries were the norm, for a period of time. This was standard operating procedure when each country wanted to regain a captured citizen. There was a radical departure from this peaceable practice when two Israeli soldiers were captured in Lebanon by Hamas. What ensued was the virtual destruction of Lebanon, which had only recently begun to achieve prosperity. It's notable that the U.S. essentially looked the other way, diplomatically speaking while this three week war continued. The destruction was massive.

Most recently, in response to rockets fired into Israel from Gaza, Israel launched a massive attack on Gaza, killing a thousand people to date.

It's not difficult to see why the hatred between the two factions continues to grow, perpetuating the long days of conflict in the Middle East. From an ordinary person's point of view, it's hard to understand why diplomacy seems to take a back seat to killing. Surely there are many gifted diplomats who might bring everyone to the table of peace. We can only hope for the future generations.