' WELCOME TO MY NEWS READERS '
Wednesday, 17 July 2013
We are told that we need to be more vigilant against terrorism, vagabonds, cheats and liars! Those people that will try to convince us to buy their goods and services! If it seems too good to be true, it usually is and somewhere hidden in the small print is the con!
The real con is not what you see coming, but what you do not see until you part with your money! The person conning you is aware you will be cautious about buying their wares, so always ask this question! Can l try it out first and if l find out it does what you say it does, then can l pay you then! It is then that the person who is conning lets their guard down, by words such as you could, or you can with the immediate but - followed by a pause and the words, but my boss would not like it, its not company policy!
Of course you cannot apply this in your local shop but then you have adequate protection in the UK of the "Sale of Goods Act" not so from a door-to-door stranger, who you do not know from Adam!
So listen for the tell tale signs and if in your heart you have doubts, do not buy and say no!
A lady l was with the other day who is 84 was given a quote for an amount l thought was extortionate for the type of job, having quoted for similar jobs myself, as a management consultancy agency! When l eventually checked out the list of jobs, 3 were not needed and one was completed for less, she saved £560.00 on that day! This person came to me because she had been conned twice and l promised to provide a skilled and capable trades person at the right price and she would not pay me until she was happy with the works, and l had checked the job myself! I also assured her that she not part with one penny, until the job was completed!
This is my organisation and its way to do business and it should be the same with anyone, who visits your home!
Remember : Be safe and secure from the con-men at your door!
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Thank you, Ian [Editor]
Monday, 12 March 2012
Pretend you're 16 and pregnant, but you haven't told anybody yet. Suddenly, you start receiving coupons in the mail for diaper cream and baby snot suckers. Weird, right? Turns out, it's just part of a new stalking trend - by major US corporations. Target made news recently with this Forbes expose on how they "track" consumers via their credit and debit cards, but it gets even creepier. WalMart even puts RFID Tags in all their clothing (enabling them to watch your route through the store, including how much time you take in each aisle).
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
• 112 companies accused of years of price fixing
• Balfour Beatty and Kier Group listed as offenders
More than 100 British construction firms, including Balfour Beatty and Kier Group, face fines totalling more than £200m tomorrowwhen the Office of Fair Trading concludes its investigation into bid rigging.
The OFT will announce to the stock exchange the results of its five-year investigation into the cartel behaviour which it claims has artificially inflated the cost of £3bn of public and private sector contracts.
The watchdog has accused 112 firms of colluding to artificially drive up the price of contracts put out to tender between 2000 and 2006. The contracts investigated include several public sector projects to build social housing, schools, hospitals and universities.
The OFT has the power to fine the companies up to 10% of their turnover. One lawyer who has been involved in the investigation said: 'The headline fines will be high.' He added that the OFT, which has devoted dozens of investigators and lawyers to the inquiry, will also be under pressure to justify going to such lengths and levy suitably high penalties.
The OFT may allow construction firms hit by the property downturn to pay the fines in instalments.
About half of those accused, thought mostly to be smaller firms, have admitted their guilt to reduce their fines to 1% or 2% of turnover. The Local Government Association (LGA) is demanding that the authorities that have fallen victim to the scam receive the proceeds of the fines, which could total as much as £1bn.
An LGA spokesman said: 'There can be no excuse for any form of cover price or bid rigging which leaves councils and taxpayers picking up the bill.'
The construction industry has warned that fines could be disproportionately high because the industry typically has high turnover and small profit margins. The National Federation of Builders (NFB) – which represents about 1,500 small and medium sized companies – also warned that many of the smaller offending firms could go out of business, especially if blacklisted by local authorities.
Julia Evans, chief executive of the NFB, said: 'There are a lot of people out there waiting with bated breath to find out the extent of the fines levied by the OFT. As well as the size of the fines themselves, the other area of concern for us is that local authorities could end up unfairly blacklisting these firms. If this happens, many of the smaller contractors affected could go out of business.'
The Office of Government Commerce, which gives advice on public spending, will also set out guidance to local authorities on how to respond to the OFT's findings and whether to tender contracts to guilty firms.
Privately, the industry has admitted that the practice of bid rigging and cover price fixing was widespread for some time before the OFT intervened. The most serious practice of bid rigging involved companies that had no intention of winning a contract colluding to place deliberately high bids to make a rival's lower bid appears more competitive.
The more common practice of cover pricing involved companies tabling artificially high bids for contracts they had no intention of winning. They would do this if they did not have the resources to carry out the work, but wanted to remain on the client company's list of preferred bidders for future tenders.
Both practices had the effect of inflating the final price of the contract. The industry claims that firms no longer engage in such practices, which were more effective when the lowest priced bids – rather than 'best value' benchmark used now – typically won the business.
The OFT said last year that in the course of its investigation, which began in 2004, it found evidence of cover pricing in thousands of tender processes in the construction industry involving many more companies than the 112 named. But it focused the investigation, the largest of its kind, on 240 alleged infringements in England and raided the offices of 57 named firms.
The list of 112 companies investigated include large firms such as Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Kier Group, Henry Boot and Interserve. Many others are small family-run businesses.
John Fingleton, OFT chief executive, said last year: 'Cartel activity of the type alleged today harms the economy by distorting competition and keeping prices artificially high.'This investigation, together with the OFT's previous decisions in the roofing sector, will hopefully send out a strong message to the construction industry about the seriousness with which we view suspected anti-competitive behaviour. Businesses have no excuses for not knowing and abiding by the law.'
The Roving Giraffe says that listening to this on BBC Radio 4 this morning l was alarmed to hear that companies contracted by the government of this country were found to have defrauded or is that too stronger word ? So shall we call it obtained by inflating their prices and maybe fined up to £200 million. This sounds bad already but the best was yet to come as stated by an official that it would be looked into but it would not stop any of these companies tendering for more contracts. It kind of smacks at jobs for the boys and even how to make money in the construction industry without even trying?
Well what is your opinion or is this how business should be conducted in this world discuss? Ian
" The Roving Giraffe News Report provided through Ace News Service
Sunday, 6 September 2009
The Grapes of Wrath revisited: a modern-day road trip through John Steinbeck's fiction to Barack Obama's reality
Seventy years after The Grapes of Wrath, Chris McGreal recreates John Steinbeck's famous fictional journey to reveal life in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression
Looking back on the past few weeks, Johnnie Levy can see how she was driven to the brink of death and didn't care.
The sharpest economic downturn of her 63 years stripped Levy of her beloved job as a seamstress and unravelled her world until she found herself sitting in a church hall in the black end of Tulsa waiting to see a nurse with a syringe in one hand and a Bible in the other.
Tulsa has seen its share of poverty and desperation over the years. In the 1930s, it saw a tide of hundreds of thousands struggling west along Route 66 to escape economic collapse in the north and the notorious dustbowl of drought and wind across the Midwest. Whether they had lost their land or their jobs, that flow of desperate humanity – chronicled so devastatingly through the fictional Joad family in John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath – struggled hard to find enough to feed and clothe their children as they trekked towards an illusory dream of prosperity in distant California.
To travel the old road today – stumbling across crumbling ghost towns and half-abandoned communities, across the sprawling Native American desert reservations, through cities where people work all the hours they aren't sleeping and still cannot afford to go to the doctor - is to encounter new despair, some of it still recognisable to the Joads.
The banks are once again evicting. Foreclosures plague the parts of northern Arizona and New Mexico traversed by the evicted 70 years ago.
But the monster – as Steinbeck described the financial system – has spawned modern beasts unknown to the Joads, such as the vast multinationals discarding American workers in favour of cheaper labour in Mexico and the health insurance companies that cut off the medical lifelines to the gravely ill.
For those who fall off the juggernaut of American capitalism, or who fail to find space on it in the first place, there are considerable challenges in a land with an inherent suspicion of people in need.
There were a dozen or more at Tulsa's Friendship Baptist Church – a young blonde mother grappling with two small children, an old Mexican immigrant with a gammy leg and a walking stick, elderly African American women – staring at a television with an animated preacher beseeching them to follow the word of God. Occasionally someone stood and made their way out the rear of the hall to a room where they were encouraged to pray for divine intervention.
But it was the other door, at the front of the church, that everyone had half an eye on. Periodically a name was called to a large van in the car park painted with an orange cross that formed the 'T' in the logo Good Samaritan. Inside doctors and nurses – all required to be good Christians – offered free consultations and medicines to those who Oklahoma's hospitals don't want to see because they can't pay.
The van perpetually makes the rounds of Tulsa's churches in run-down neighbourhoods, providing for the city's working poor, struggling pensioners and, increasingly, newly unemployed Americans when their health becomes one more burden on top of the daily trial to pay the rent and put food on the table.
'It affected me very emotionally when I lost my job,' said Levy, who shares a first name with her father. 'I'm a seamstress and I love to sew and I love to talk to people about sewing. That's one of the reasons I stopped taking the medications. I got to the point where I didn't care, and that's not right.'
Levy was cut adrift when the recession first reduced her hours and then wiped out her job in June. With the job went the medical insurance that paid the cost of the daily dose of insulin she needs to counter diabetes and for other treatments that come with age.
Although Levy has a pension, most of it is eaten up by rent on a one-bedroom flat and food and utilities. She shakes her head at her confused priorities but said there simply wasn't enough money left to meet the high cost of medicines and so, as she is still too young to qualify for the government's free medical care for the elderly, Levy stopped taking her insulin and other drugs.
'I didn't realise how badly it hit me and affected my health until I came here for treatment a couple of weeks ago. My blood sugar level was more than four times what it should be,' she said. 'I really have nothing else to lean back on.'
Like so many in Oklahoma and across the south, Levy has a visceral distrust of government – not just President Barack Obama's administration but any of them.
In the heart of the Bible Belt it is often religious organisations that step in to the breach. Evangelising courses through Oklahoma and charity healthcare comes with God thrown in.
The Good Samaritan clinic sits in the car park of a church in a mostly black, with some Hispanics, district of Tulsa. The city, like so many in America, remains racially divided with much of its African American population, poor or affluent, gathered in northern neighbourhoods separated from the shiny, soulless heart of Tulsa and its pristine riverside walks by an industrial area and railway tracks.
'You see a lot of children in need here,' said Veronica Banks, the minister at Friendship church. 'You see a lot of elderly in need, a lot of single mothers and a lot of the working poor. Even though they're working they cannot afford medical care, the cost of healthcare the way it is. They're on minimum wage jobs or only working part time. We know the faces, we know the names.'
Friendship church has a mostly black congregation. But the clinic draws white faces across boundaries that many in the city would not normally cross.
Among them is Harmony Banes, raised in poverty in what she describes as an abusive family without love by a mother who was eventually certified as clinically insane because of drug addiction.
'When I was in high school my family only had 60 bucks a month for groceries for five people. We lived in a trailer. I'm much happier here. I live in an apartment, around a lot of love,' she said.
Banes is 27 and a mother herself now. Her husband pulls in about £15,000 a year as a bartender. From that there's the rent, two young mouths to feed and clothe, and the interest on college loans to study at Oral Roberts university in Tulsa, led by a prominent Christian evangelist and described as one of the 'buckles on the Bible Belt'.
She cannot even begin to think about paying back the principal on the loans. That leaves nothing for medical insurance for Baines or her husband, although the children get free cover from the state of Oklahoma. So she's at the free clinic to get blood tests.
'I pretty much hold back from going to the doctor,' she said. 'I was raised in a very poor family and never had insurance all the way through high school so for me it's normal. Thank God I've never been really super sick. If ever I needed something somehow it was provided.
God willing, whatever way it came, it came. It was just one of those faith, trust in God kind of things. If the needs not met there's a reason, I guess.'
But Banes does worry and her lip quivers as she thinks about what would happen to her children if she ever did get really sick.
Banks says that as the financial crisis has deepened the free clinics are seeing more people like Banes.
'Everybody feels that economic crunch now. Generally in the past it was very rare we had to turn people away. But within the last eight months we've had to send them down the pipe to the next clinic because of the overflow. I walked in today and there was probably one of the largest lines I've seen at this clinic, and our clinic is a small clinic.'
The patients are encouraged to pray while awaiting treatment. The medical staff introduce God as part of what the organisation describes as holistic care.
'We find a lot of people who come to us with a medical need but wouldn't set foot in the door of a church,' said the mobile clinic's nurse, Lynn Hersey. 'They want to check and see if someone who is a Christian can be trusted with one little thing, if they're going to shove Jesus down their throat because they ate the bait and came in through the door.'
But there's another kind of evangelising at work too, involving a web of interests more focussed on Mammon than the Almighty. Much of Good Samaritan's work is funded by hospitals trying to keep patients who cannot pay out of emergency rooms, where they must be treated for any immediate health crisis by law whether they can pay or not. Those same hospitals have an interest in promoting charity as an alternative to President Obama's plans for government to take the lead in getting healthcare to the poor and the middle classes likely to be bankrupted by catastrophic illness.
Good Samaritan makes no secret of where it stands on the issue; the government has no business involving itself in healthcare.
'Governments treat you like a number,' said the organisation's director, Dr John Crouch. 'I really believe that there has to be a way to cover the folks who can't get care at all, and I think one of the ways is what we're doing. Maybe there's a different way of funding us, besides just funding us through our donations. We're emphasising that the more all the time.'
Hersey concedes that the present system can be a tragedy for the poor.
What happens to someone with a chronic disease and no insurance? A woman with cancer, say, who might get the surgery she needs thanks to Good Samaritan but not the medicines afterwards. Hersey hesitates.
'They go without,' she said.
You mean they die?
But Hersey quickly added that where there is no chemotherapy there is still God.
'I can say that even with the spiritual help they may die but for those of us who are Christians and believe in God intervening directly in peoples lives, we've seen many answers to prayer where medicine falls short. We have seen cancer turn around,' she said.
It's a message Banes and Levy are only to open to. There is no anger or bitterness on their part at their situation, only a sense of helplessness and suspicion of authority.
Banes might have been expected to support Obama as the president most likely to act to help the poor.
'I voted for the other guy. McCain,' she said. 'Something grated against me [about Obama]. I really don't know what it was. I'm not racist. It's just one of those things where he's a good speaker, he talks very very well, even better than Bill Clinton I would say. But I wasn't about to go there. I went the other way.'
Banes said she doesn't have confidence in the government to look after her interests even if the state of Oklahoma is providing free healthcare to her children.
'If for some reason Oklahoma state's healthcare failed then I would have something to worry about because of my children, I know. But I'm really not going to worry about it because that's one more thing to put on the plate. I don't really trust the government,' she said. 'The Lord has a plan and if anything happens, then it's meant to be'.
Levy, too, voted for McCain.
'There's a lot of people with health problems who really need help and they have no place to turn,' she said. 'But the government? People who run government don't care about people like us. And there's a lot of people need to know that there's someone who cares about them.'
The Roving Giraffe [ clippings file}says it makes us realise how lucky we are in the United Kingdom, but still we moan. G
" The Roving Giraffe News Report " provided through Ace News Service