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The Delamere-International Newsletter ©

Edition of 31 January 2002 #105

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IN THIS ISSUE

1. Business: How Accurate is Your Credit Report?

2. Education: Choosing the Right Career for Your Aptitude and Personality.

3. What can you do with your old PC?

4. Election Time in Africa.

5. USA Increases Aid to South Africa.

6. Book of the Month.

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1. How Accurate Is Your Credit Report
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In the US the ability to obtain credit by Mr. and Ms Average is totally controlled by the nation's credit bureau systems which effects millions of financial transaction by consumers every single day.

The ability to instantly access your credit record allows banks, credit-card companies, and other lenders to speed up the process of approving loans for cars, houses and other purchases.

The big three credit bureaus; Equifax, Experian and Trans Union, keep files on over 210 million Americans. The files are updated every month with 1 billion bits of information, including whether you were late paying your Visa card last month.

With tons of information reported about so many people, mistakes are inevitable. When bogus information sticks to your record, it can be sent to all your creditors and turn your formerly good credit rating into a poor one.

Three years ago, the Public Interest Research Group in Washington looked at 155 consumer complains filed with the Federal Trade Commission. It found that 29 percent of the credit reports contained serious errors that could result in a consumer being denied credit. The credit industry natural disputes those figures. The Associated Credit Bureaus sponsored a study 10 years ago that concluded that less than two-tenths of 1 percent of credit reports contained errors.

Even so, Congress was concerned about widespread complaints of credit bureau errors that in 1996 it beefed up the Fair Credit Reporting Act to put more pressure on credit bureaus and on creditors to be more accurate.

Some of the most common mistakes found were:

  • Inaccurate reporting by creditors of personal information, such as name, address or Social security number.

  • Information mixed together by credit bureaus in files containing similar names of strangers, housemates or family members.

  • Lack of adequate systems for properly purging obsolete information or records that pertain to someone else.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1996 enforces the rights of consumers to dispute information they believe is mistaken. Among other things it provides that:

  • If you are denied credit, the creditor must tell you the name and address of the credit bureau that provided the information. You have a right to a free copy of your report if you request it from a credit bureau within 60 days of the denial.

  • If you dispute an inaccurate item, the credit bureau and the creditor that furnished the item have 30 days to investigate. If the information is wrong or cant be verified, it has to be erased. If the item is verified, it stays on your record.

  • If the creditor says a disputed item is accurate, you can require the creditor to include a statement that the item is disputed when the information is sent to credit bureaus.

  • You may file suit alleging willful non-compliance with the law and receive actual and punitive damages up to $1,000 for each violation, and also have you attorney fees paid also.

As an ongoing service to our clients and visitors we have researched many services, which claim to help you control your financial situation by good budgeting and handling the credit bureaus intelligently. For more information go to our Link:

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2. Choosing the Right Career for Your Aptitude and Personality
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Obtaining satisfactory employment in this world wide current recession is becoming more and more difficult. Taking advantage of this situation should give us the opportunity to review our goals and objectives.

In order to choose the right career that is best suited for your personality and aptitude, you require self-knowledge, and to obtain this we recommend using and completing an assessment of your aptitude, personality, and occupational and entrepreneurial slants.

Many of our clients have used the services of a career guidance councilor who operates this very important service, where you can complete various tests, through their on-line test center, and the report back will supply you with the knowledge of which career is best suited for you. One of our clients, a private college in Cape Town, South Africa, has successfully used this service for several years. For any individual desiring to target with confidence that they are choosing the right career, this service is invaluable.

Click this link

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3. What can you do with your old PC?
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A major problem now developing in some countries is how to dispose of their old or soon to become obsolete computers. Did you realize, for example that in the US alone, by the end of 2002, 55million PCs will become obsolete? But rather than send the old system to become land fill, why not choose from a host of organizations that can put that old computer to good use.

Many schools already benefit from computer donations. As we are fully aware many teachers have to dig into their own pockets for basic school supplies and there is little money in many school budgets for computers. Your outdated computer can be an invaluable learning tool for students. But before you donate your old PC to the local school consider the following steps. Make sure your PC is new enough to help rather than complicate the students' lives. The old machine should be at least 133MHz, Pentium 1. Make sure your old PC can be connected to a network and that its software licenses are transferable, and also if you want to protect your personal data, erase your hard drive with specialized software such as "DiskEraser" which will remove data permanently.

The school system in Canada has an arrangement where an organization has been formed which handles donated computers, called "Computers for Schools", an association of 34 independent organizations. Check their link at http://www.schoolnet.ca/cfs-ope/

If any other country is interested in setting up a similar organization or programme, why not contact "Computers for Schools" for guidance or suggestions, or contact our firm if you need further help.

Several other organizations in the USA will accept computers for charity. The National Christina Foundation donates up to 40,000 used PCs each year to local agencies for refurbishing and reuse.

The wisdom of recycling computers is very important because of the potential damage to our environment from the careless disposal of computers. According to the information supplied by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in the US, old computers contain toxic ingredients such as lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium and flame-retardants, which can leach from landfills into soil and drinking water. If the computer is really past its lifespan, recyclers can use its components to make everything from new computers to plastic goods, while at the same time disposing of the toxic wastes responsibly. To the help with this serious problems computer manufacturers are now setting up their own recycling programmes. You can visit the website of for a map of PC and electronic recycling and donations centers throughout the United States. Go to www.eiae.org

We strongly encourage other countries to also follow the example of the USA and make their own contribution to preserving the planet. Go to our web page for an example of other ways you can help to Save the Planet. Click Here

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4. Election Time in Africa
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A report from our Partner in Southern Africa.

"Over the past couple of weeks, a new president has been elected in Zambia with under 30% of the popular vote to cries of "foul" from the opposition which now commands parliament; there have been protests in Madagascar where the opposition candidate defeated the incumbent president but has not yet been appointed president; and the election in the Congo Republic which entrenched the ruling party.

To be competitive in the global economy, African countries can't just do things as well as first world countries, they have to do them better. Fortunately, when it comes to elections, the standards aren't very high. The USA is governed by a president elected in controversial circumstances and voted for by less of the electorate than his closest contender. North America, Europe and Japan have all been plagued by campaign funding irregularities, with corporate funders able to ensure their candidate gets into power and uses that power to further their ends. The only difference from Zimbabwe, where the government takes land from opponents and gives it to loyal lackeys, is the sheen of legitimacy African leaders haven't yet learned to apply.

So it's deeply ironic that it should be observers from North America and Europe that are calling the shots on whether African elections are fair or not. The people who should be calling the shots are Africa's democratically elected leaders. This week South Africa's Thabo Mbeki made several excellent speeches in which the revival of the African economy was a recurrent theme. Alas, his speeches did not spell out that African elections involving voter disenfranchisement, intimidation, denial of access to the media, restrictions on the press, edicts against presidential criticism or ballot box fraud would be declared null and void and must be rerun. President Mbeki desperately needs to down the law on this to his African counterparts because, without real democracy, the Nepad initiative to empower Africa is doomed to failure.

The other keen unofficial observer of the elections in Madagascar and, particularly, Zambia, will have been President Mugabe. After all, if the ruling parties in those countries can get away with irregular election practices, why shouldn't an old hand like him, specially now that the head of the Zimbabwe defense force has said he will not allow an opposition candidate to come to power? As for the threat to throw Zimbabwe out of the Commonwealth, well he'd much rather rub shoulders anyway with the presidents of Libya and North Korea who provide him with oil and defense assistance and don't meddle in his affairs.

All in all it's a strange world we live in. Here we have Africa with all these wonderful people and huge business opportunities - if only we could rid ourselves of the politicians who fiddle while Africa burns and are too busy listening to their own music to notice the smoke! "

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5. USA Increases Aid to South Africa
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The US Agency for International Development will increase Aid to South Africa by 8 percent, now up to R618 million ($51 million) for 2002. Will this Aid be used wisely? Read full story on our Global Trade Page, International Trade News. Click Here

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6.Book of the Month
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The concern of most individuals today, is preserving the world's environment. We highly recommend the new publication, "PRESCRIPTIONS FOR A HEALTHY HOUSE." This guide to healthy building identifies the full range of potential indoor health problems and then offers solutions. The book is organized around the CSI Master format and, throughout; the authors provide specification language for construction documents. For details of this book go to our link on the environmental considerations involved, which our firm promotes, please visit our web page

 

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Disclaimer

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Although great effort has been made in compiling and checking the information contained in this Newsletter is accurate, the publisher shall not be held responsible for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies in this electronic publication, or for any consequences arising there from. Editorial materials published herein are provided for information only. The publisher expressly disclaims any and all liability to any person, whosoever, in respect of any loss, damage, death, personal injury or other consequences, by their use of, or reliance upon in any way, the information contained in this electronic publication.

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Copyright Notice

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Copyright 2001 by "Delamere-Pennine Associates - International Business Consultants" All Rights Reserved.

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