Brexit: UK ‘must not allow itself to be blackmailed’

The UK must not allow itself to be “blackmailed” by the EU over its Brexit settlement bill, the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has said.

Talks on the final settlement should begin as soon as possible “because that’s good for business”, he added.

EU negotiator Michel Barnier has said trade talks are still “quite far” away.

Both he and UK Brexit Secretary David Davis made clear on Thursday that the size of the UK’s Brexit “divorce bill” remained a sticking point in talks.

The UK wants to begin trade talks and discuss the future relationship between Britain and the EU as soon as possible, saying it would benefit both sides.

However, Brussels insists that discussions about the future relationship can only begin once “sufficient progress” has been made on the “divorce bill” – the amount the UK will pay to settle its liabilities when it leaves the EU – citizens’ rights, and the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish republic.

Mr Barnier said that at the current rate of progress, he was quite far from being able to recommend opening parallel talks on a future trade relationship.

No figure has yet been put on the “divorce” payment, but European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has suggested it could come in at about 60bn euros (£55bn).

Unconfirmed reports have put it as high as 100bn euros (£92bn).

Britain, which voted to leave the EU in June 2016, officially began Brexit talks on 19 June this year and is due to leave the EU on Friday, 29 March 2019.

Speaking in Japan on Friday, Mr Fox said everyone would benefit from Brexit if the outcome was free trade with no tariff barriers.

Asked whether it was time for the UK to name its Brexit price, he told ITV News: “We can’t be blackmailed into paying a price on the first part (the divorce fee).

“We think we should begin discussions on the final settlement because that’s good for business, and it’s good for the prosperity both of the British people and of the rest of the people of the European Union.”

Mr Fox and Prime Minister Theresa May have been holding talks with Japanese leaders about the future of trading relations between the two countries after Brexit.

‘Unlock some tension’

Speaking to the BBC at the end of the three-day visit, Mr Fox said: “It’s very clear that businesses, not just in Europe but investors in places like here in Japan, are getting impatient and want to see what that final shape of that [Brexit] arrangement is going to be.”

He said a willingness by the EU to negotiate on the future trading relationship now would “unlock some of the tension”.

He added that it was a “mistake” for the EU to think a delay in talking about the economy and the trading arrangement would not potentially damage them too.

But writing in the Daily Telegraph on Friday, Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt, who heads the European Parliament’s Brexit group, said the EU has been “fully transparent” about its negotiating positions and mandates since day one.

“This is not a ploy to derail talks, but an inevitable consequence of the Brexit decision,” he said.

Mr Verhofstadt called on UK politicians to “be more honest” about the complexities of Brexit negotiations, asking them to recognise that “other governments also have obligations to their own taxpayers”.

‘Sabre rattling’

Labour MP Chuka Umunna, who works with the pro-EU Open Britain pressure group, said Mr Fox’s comments were “sabre rattling from a trade secretary who is twiddling his thumbs because he cannot do anything until the trade position of the UK has been resolved with the EU”.

“Cabinet ministers like Liam Fox and Boris Johnson have been engaging in overblown rhetoric during the referendum campaign and ever since,” he said.

“Until the government makes progress on the divorce settlement bill there will be no progress on… any kind of trade arrangement.”

The European Council is due to meet in October and will decide whether sufficient progress has been made on key Brexit discussions to allow negotiations to move on to trade and the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

‘Duty to taxpayers’

If it has not, as Mr Barnier has suggested, the next opportunity would be the council’s meeting in December – meaning talks about the future relationship would be unlikely to begin before the end of the year.

Speaking on Thursday following talks in Brussels with Brexit Secretary David Davis, Mr Barnier said the UK did not feel “legally obliged to honour its obligations” after Brexit.

He said “no decisive progress” had been made on key issues, following the third round of talks.

Mr Davis said the UK had a “duty to our taxpayers” to “rigorously” examine the EU’s demands.

And he urged the EU to be “more imaginative and flexible” in its approach.

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Posted in BBC

Approval Voting System Vs. Plurality Voting System: Understanding the Polling Systems

The current democratic framework utilized by far most of the regions and all states is known as Simple Plurality. In simple plurality, the citizen picks one contestant per challenged position. The contestant with the most votes wins. Simple plurality is the least difficult and apparently most natural technique for casting a ballot. It does, however, experience several shortcomings discussed in this article

Plurality Voting

The plurality voting system experiences two genuine imperfections. The first flaw is the absence of popular rule. The second flaw concerns the “spoiler” issue: numerous citizens have motivation not to decide in favor of their number one applicant in light of the fact that doing so may prompt the appointment of the candidate that they favor the least. Subsequently, numerous electors decide not to endorse their number one contestant and instead vote in favor of a less preferable candidate with an actual possibility of winning the election.

Approval Voting

Many democratic frameworks refine plurality voting. The approval voting system is an example of this framework. In the approval voting system, electors vote in favor of all the contenders they affirm. The contender with the most elevated vote count wins the political poll. This framework’s advantages are that the concept is easy and straightforward; hence voters can understand fast – guidelines basically state, “Decision in favor of at least one contestants” – and all current polling systems can indulge this framework.

Dr. Kenneth Arrow was awarded a Nobel Prize after demonstrating that no ideal democratic framework exists. This implies that all frameworks have imperfections, and all frameworks at times lead to results that disregard our sound judgment of impartiality. For instance, if two comparative contenders split a more significant part of the vote in a plurality voting system, the contender emphatically contradicted by a lion’s share of the citizens can be chosen. This disregards the significant standards of “the majority rule.”

Remembering that no framework is flawless and that all frameworks have their benefits and shortcomings, we accept that runoffs are better than approval polling systems for a few reasons.

  • Approval voting system challenges the idea of dominant rule: Using the approval voting system could cause the loss of a contestant who was the most preferred by 51% of the electors.
  • Approval voting system doesn’t take care of the spoiler issue. Voting for your subsequent option contestant can, at times, prompt the loss of your number one candidate. While this issue is less extreme than in the plurality voting system, the runoff polling system completely solves the spoiler problem.
  • Approval voting system dictates on citizens to project similarly weighted decisions in favor of applicants they affirm. Citizens can’t demonstrate a solid inclination for one applicant and a less solid inclination for another. Electors, truth be told, quite often will have various gradations of backing for the different contestants.

Conclusion

Currently, approval voting isn’t utilized in any open polls in the United States or anywhere else, even though in the earlier Soviet Union, a type of “dissatisfaction voting” was used where the electorates crossed out all applicants they were opposed to in the ballots.

Sunglasses by Any Other Name Are Still Sunglasses

A snapshot of oversized sunglasses with a black oval lens and a wide transparent yellow rim with black spots.

Have you ever noticed how frequently we refer to things by names other than their formally recognized names? For example, some people ask for a brew rather than a beer. There are times when people refer to their hats as lids. It is just something we do with language. So it is no surprise that there are so many slang terms for sunglasses.

Sunglasses‘ is the perfect term to describe the object to which it pertains. The ‘sun’ portion tells us the purpose of the object while ‘glasses’ makes it clear that they are worn on the face. ‘Sunglasses’ is one of those rare terms perfectly suited to describing what it names.

To borrow from Shakespeare, sunglasses by any other name are still sunglasses. Some of the slang terms make good sense while others do not. Below are five examples. You get to decide for yourself whether or not they are appropriate.

1. Eyewear

The first of the six terms is pretty generic: eyewear. According to Salt Lake City’s Olympic Eyewear, it is a term often used by marketers to avoid having to distinguish between sunglasses and prescription lenses. The term is a catch-all that covers any type of lens-based appliance you might wear on your face – prescription lenses, sunglasses, reading glasses, safety glasses, etc.

2. Sunnies

Some people refer to their sunglasses as sunnies. As you might have guessed, this term is an abbreviation of the formal name. Abbreviations are fairly common in English. It is just easier for us to say the shorter word than the entire term. And if there is one thing that we Americans love it’s taking the easy route.

The only challenge with this particular term is deciding how to spell it. If we were speaking in the singular, we would say ‘sunny’. A single pair of sunglasses is, by definition, singular. Yet we have adopted a plural form because there are two lenses per pair. That’s why we refer to a pair to begin with. So we remain as confused about sunnies as we are sunglasses.

3. Shades

Calling sunglasses shades was all the rage back in the 70s and 80s. The trend has continued, suggesting that this is a term we enjoy using. It is rooted in the fact that sunglasses provide shade for the eyes. It does not imply UV protection. Nonetheless, any pair of sunglasses worth buying these days offers full UV protection. That’s not normally an issue.

4. Blinders

People familiar with horses and equine sports are familiar with blinders. Blinders are small straps of leather affixed to the side of a horse’s harness in order to prevent side or rear vision. The idea is to keep the horse’s eyes fixed firmly ahead so as to avoid spooking it.

For some reason, people have taken to calling their sunglasses blinders as well. Perhaps this began with the emergence of wraparound sunglasses. As you know, wraparounds can inhibit peripheral vision to some degree. At the very least, they block sunlight coming at your face from the sides.

5. Blinkers

‘Blinker’ is just another term for a blinder. It is most often used in the horse racing environment. It is not clear why those involved in horse racing prefer blinkers over blinders, but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that some people call their sunglasses blinkers as well. As to why that is curious, see the previous section.

We have all sorts of slang terms for describing sunglasses. The ones listed here represent just a small sample. Whatever you call yours, just remember one thing: sunglasses by any other name are still sunglasses.

A Beginner’s Guide to Air and Ocean Shipping

When looking to move commodities from one place to another, whether for business or personal reasons, one must seek the services of a shipping company. Most of the world’s commodities are transported using either air or water transport since these mediums are suitable for long distances. Roads are mostly used in cases where goods need to be transported locally over a short distance. For most people, handling the processes involved in shipping can be quite intimidating. Apart from the many fees that need to be calculated and paid, there are a few other confusing factors that need to be addressed as well. 

Fortunately, there are many credible agencies that can help make your shipping experience less cumbersome. You can get all sorts of services regardless of whether you’re using air or ocean shipping. What’s more, you can even request a free quote from some agencies, which will go a long way in making your work even easier. Still, knowing the nitty-gritty when it comes to shipping will enable you to have peace of mind when your goods are enroute. Although it may seem like a very intimidating topic to cover, following the simple guide below will help you know all that’s required to ship goods. 

Choosing Between Ocean and Air Shipping

The type of transportation you choose for shipping your goods is arguably the most important decision you have to make. For the most part, your choice will largely depend on the type of commodities you wish to transport. Air transport works best for low volume cargo of high value and since it’s much faster than ocean transport, it’s also suitable for goods of high urgency. Ocean transport is best suited for bulky and heavy goods since ships are capable of carrying a lot more weight than airplanes. Even so, both of these modes of shipping have their pros and cons, and picking the perfect one for you requires a deeper look into them. 

Air Freight

Shipping goods using the air is best for low volume goods, preferably those that occupy less than one cubic meter. In addition, air freight is probably the best form of shipping when you require commodities to be quickly transported. Air shipping is almost ten times faster than ocean shipping, meaning that a shipment that would take approximately 30 days using ocean transport will only take two or three days using air transport. Some of the goods that are shipped using air transport are electronics, pharmaceuticals, and apparel. However, the major downside to air freight is the cost of shipping.

Types of Air Shipping

There are typically two ways in which one can choose to transport their cargo via air shipping. The first method is known as International Air Freight and is the less expensive alternative. Rates range between two and five dollars per kilogram depending on the type of cargo that’s being transported and the amount of space available in the vessel. Another thing to note about International Air Freight is that it may involve the services of multiple carriers during shipment. The other method is called Express Air Freight or commonly referred to as Courier services; it involves door-to-door shipping and is normally handled by one carrier such as FedEx or DHL. 

Air Freight Shipping Costs

Weight and volume are of the utmost importance when determining the total cost of air shipping. Given that the space in cargo planes is limited, calculating the cost of shipping goods usually depends on both the volumetric weight and actual weight of the cargo. For instance, transporting 50 kilograms of leather will definitely take up more space than transporting batteries of the same weight. Thus, to determine the cost of air shipping, one has to calculate the volumetric weight of the cargo and compare it to the actual weight. To get the volumetric weight, the total volume of the cargo has to be multiplied by 167, which is the air shipment volumetric weight constant. The chargeable weight is the greater one between the volumetric weight and actual weight. 

Sea Freight

For those looking to transport heavy and bulky goods, sea freight is probably the best option for them. Sea freights are best suited to transport cargo that occupies more than one cubic meter and weighs more than 100 kilograms. There are two options when transporting goods using sea freight, Full Container Loads (FCL) and Less than Container Loads (LCL). 

Full Container Loads

When someone ships using FCL, their goods will be shipped in a container that is solely for them. Therefore, commodities transported using FCL will not be packed with other importers’ goods during shipment. This method of sea shipping is best suited for goods that occupy more than 15 cubic meters since, at this point, the freight cost per unit is relatively lower than LCL. There are three main types of shipping containers that can accommodate 28, 56, and 68 cubic meters respectively. Thus, for commodities that occupy more than 10 cubic meters, it would be shrewd to increase the shipping order to occupy a whole container in order to reduce the freight cost per unit. 

Less than Container Loads 

These refer to commodities that don’t occupy the full space inside a container. Therefore, in this case, the commodities of one individual will be consolidated with other peoples’ shipments. For this reason, goods being shipped using LCL are usually grouped into different categories for easier accessibility. The cost of transporting goods using LCL is primarily determined by the volume that the shipment occupies; the more the volume, the higher the cost. Although weight is also a consideration, container ships can easily handle heavy loads, thus volume is usually given chief priority. In most cases, the total cost of LCL shipping includes five main charges namely pickup fees, origin fees which are paid at the container freight station, main leg charges, destination fees, and delivery charges. When it comes to picking between LCL and air freight services, the wise option would be to choose LCL if you have the luxury of time. 

Conclusion

Although international shipping may seem like a complex undertaking, it’s actually a lot simpler than people think. Knowing the basics is a great way to ensure that you make informed decisions whenever you’re handling shipping for your business. There are also several freight forwarders who will work side by side with you to ensure that all goes well. 

3 Benefits Business Can Get From Using Technology

Technological developments have increased a competitive nature in the business world. Entrepreneurs have used computers, the internet, and software to change their businesses, ranging from local to global and national market competitors. Most businesses have responded positively to some of the changes by capturing industry-related information and automating their business process.

Technology has also found a way into layers of society, and most of the areas have deeply affected the industry’s developments. It is likely that entrepreneurs, including you, will continue to see these changes, and you may stand a chance to use technological advancements on a deeper level. Therefore, it is important to know the implications of these developments for your business, because using them will offer you benefits, such as:

  1. More Security

The statistics of online fraud, cybercrime, and data theft have increased exponentially for the past few years. According to Federation Small Businesses (FSB) survey, cybercrimes cost businesses around $4,000 per year. However, the effects of such crimes may go beyond financial loss and working disruption.

A major catalyst for malware, adware, Trojans, and virus is email attachments. With email being an important method of communication, this is an important area to address. Working with an email provider, which emphasizes security through spam and antivirus protection, is a smart move and needs to considerably minimize risks. Apart from email, you must also improve the security of:

  • Browser
  • Wireless network
  • Internet
  • Boost Productivity of Employees

To improve employees’ productivity, you need to understand the work clock. This means that you need to know the time wasted during working hours. To achieve that, you may use technology like time tracking to improve efficiency and the involvement of employees. Using time tracking tools may make your workers more conscious of their deadlines, thus increasing their engagement and productivity. 

In addition, you can ignite your team sales through email tracking software for Outlook and Gmail. You can get an email template, which works properly and allows you to measure your workers’ performance.

  • Enhance Communication and Training

Many individuals connect to the internet more than ever. Communication between clients and workers is no longer confined to phone calls and written messages. Thanks to technological developments, you can now receive and send messages at any time of the day. In addition, the traditional office is not an important requirement anymore for workers to work productively, contribute efficiently, and communicate effectively. 

With access to technological services, workers may learn new skills easily and faster than before. Instead of spending cash on tuition and sending individuals out to classes, workers may sign up for free lessons online, covering various topics, like:

  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Analytics

Final Touches!

Technology enables businesses to work effectively in different ways. Whether this means texting clients to request a Google review or collaborating with remote colleagues through video-conferencing, technology allows your business to effectively achieve its goals. 

Regardless of your business’s size, technology can also offer you intangible and tangible benefits, which may help you produce good results and make money. Such benefits may include improving communication, security, or productivity, just to name a few.

Reasons why you Must Hire a Wedding Planner

Not one wedding is identical to another. This special day brings people together in celebration and festivity, while the couple shouts to the world that they were meant to spend their lives as a loving unit. However, before all this joy can play out, planning a wedding can make even the most eager bride and groom become quite nervous and regretful.

Regretful for deciding to do everything alone because this goal is not easy to accomplish, especially on a tight budget. But there is someone who can follow through the couple’s vision better and more efficiently, and fight until everything is just perfect. That is right, the power of a wedding planner can make dreams come true and save the excited wedding pair of exhaustion and a budget leak.

Why You Need a Wedding Planner

Someone whose profession is to make sure the wedding goes according to a plan should never be underestimated. Although many question this decision, at the end of the day, wedding planners are always a worthy investment. Benefits that come from having an experienced person by your side is a choice no one ends up regretting, so let’s see some of the vital perks wedding service provides.

  • Planners Can Stretch the Budget

One of the hardest things of planning a wedding is budget management. Often, couples can get confused about who’s paying what and what the real costs are until seeing a total sum when the bills arrive. This where planners shine because they are financial advisers specialized in weddings. They already know the rough costs and how much will be spent on each service and products. Furthermore, wedding planners know how to talk with vendors and maybe get a discount even on things like wedding jewellery.

  • The Planner is On Your Side

In the process of planning, the bride needs someone on her side to take charge and deal with technicalities so he can enjoy the day stress-free. The person who shares the same idea and focuses on it will push toward each and every necessary part and aspect and make sure that the family and friends stick to the planned timeline.

  • Ceremony and Reception Planning Time

For the majority of couples, the wedding ceremony and reception include two different locations, but how can one wedding planning bride be in two places at once? She will definitely need someone with good people/timing/planning skills to help her out.

Even on the same location the couple requires an additional pair of hands to handle the process and avoid wasting time. Whereas juggling locations and time-consuming events are in the wedding planner’s resume.

For this joyous occasion that happens once in a lifetime to go over smoothly, the couple has to be 100 percent ready. Otherwise, the stress will take over and they will not be able to have fun on what is supposed to be the happiest day of their lives.  wedding planner may also help to analyse the latest wedding rings trends for both men and women wedding pieces . The pre-planning process already takes away a lot of energy, time, and resources; hence, this is the time to celebrate what both of them have created.

Mandatory Department Of Transportation Drug Testing For Drivers

Safety Tips and Traffic Rules That Every Truck Driver Should Know -  Communal News

Before a company hires you as a driver, you need to make sure that you have fully understood their policies because you are going to sign a contract and that is proof that you agree to the rules as was discussed during the interview. I supposed it is clearly stated there that you are going to comply with the requirements where one of these is to perform a drug as well as alcohol testing since this is a rule that the Department of Transportation implements. As a driver, it is a must for you to have a clean record and no traces of substances like THC.

It is also important to have a valid driver’s license without DUI charges recorded because your employer will perform a background check and this may be one of the reasons that will take away the opportunity of having a job. Keep in mind that there are employers who are very meticulous when it comes to criminal offenses and since you are applying as a driver, then it is very important to have a clean history. With the DUI or DWI, alcohol and drugs are involved while you are driving so it may lead to unemployment as well. 

So before applying for a job that is related to your driving skills, you have to make sure that you can commit to the DOT drug test policy because this is a big factor that can greatly affect your employment. You should also know that the employer has a reputation to protect so they also need to follow the rules that the Department of Transportation is strictly mandating for them to continue operating their business. If you think that you cannot conform to this, then you may have to think of other vacant positions, though most applicants today are already required to perform this type of screening.

Why are you tested?

As a driver or a passenger, you may have been already in a car accident or have witnessed one. This could be a traumatic experience for some people, while it may lead to someone’s impairment or inability to live normally. I supposed you would not like any member of your family to be in this situation when on the road.

This is one of the reasons why there is a law in the US that instructs companies with employed drivers or any motor vehicle-related positions to undergo the DOT drug and alcohol testing. This is for the safety of the working environment and employers in the field of trucking, railroads, aviation, and pipelines.

Keep in mind that the employer should not allow you to start working without the result because once reported that you have not yet conducted this pre-employment requirement, then your employer will be fined. However, when already employed and has undergone a post-accident as well as a random testing, you may still drive while waiting for the result. And then, when you are verified to be positive, you will be fired from work. Get more info from https://www.ehstoday.com/health/article/21127681/dot-modifies-transport-employee-drug-testing to know the modified rules due to the pandemic.

Drug & Alcohol Regulation Updates for 2018 – Alia Drug Testing

Screening Rules

According to the Department of Transportation, before the employer hires a certain employee, he must comply first to this screening. Aside from that, the DOT-related agencies must also require the employees to take perform this type of laboratory examination randomly every year.

You also need to undergo this clinical testing once you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, especially when someone is injured or depending on the fatality of the situation. He has to perform the 5-panel test of a urine sample to check for the presence of THC, cocaine, amphetamines, PCP, and opiates.

If you are required to undergo this several times, then you cannot refuse because larger companies would like this to be performed multiple times in a year. Anyway, this will depend on the contract that you are going to sign, so you should know the company policy as well. This is to enhance public safety, anyway.

Random

Expect for unannounced follow-up as well as random screenings. Once you received the request to perform this testing, you should proceed to the accredited clinical laboratory right away for specimen collection. 

You will be scheduled for the procedure and do not consider delaying this because it will be considered as a refusal when you did not make it on time. The technician who is in-charged in the laboratory will contact your office and report your non-appearance.

Prescription

Under certain conditions, a driver is allowed to take prescription drugs as long as it is not included in the list of controlled substances provided by the FMCSR – find here the list of substances. There are substances that may affect your driving capability, but since you have a medical condition, then you have to be prescribed with the qualified treatments only.

By the way, a licensed medical practitioner must provide a prescription and he should know your work environment as well. He also needs to make sure that the effects of the substance will not affect his mental and physical qualifications to drive a motor vehicle. You will not be excused from the drug testing rules when the doctor has no insights about the industry or your field of work. 

Refusal

Company owners or the person in charge of the hiring process may disregard your application when you refused to do the screening or when you did not appear during the scheduled screening day, did not cooperate, contaminated the specimen, and when you left the clinical laboratory without completing the procedure. Remember that this is a part of the pre-employment requirements, so it is important for you to obey to show that you are interested in filling up the vacant position.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation prohibits the refusal of the said screening. Refusal means that you will be evaluated for alcoholism and drug abuse issues. This means that the authority will take away your chance to function in a safety-sensitive working environment. In my opinion, it would be great if you can discuss with your employer your reasons for refusal but during the screening period, you have should not interfere with the procedure.

Posted in Law

Extending the Vacation Indefinitely: Moving to Benidorm!

Benidorm is one of the most alluring travel destinations in Europe. The picturesque city is located in the province of Alicante, Spain, and is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to have a taste of the Mediterranean life. Apart from the dazzling cityscape, it also boasts of having stunning beaches. Perfect sunny weather is yet another feature that makes Benidorm a lovable tourist destination with travelers flocking the city all year round. Not only is it a home away from home, but it’s also a travel utopia for many foreigners who are looking to enjoy their downtime.

Many tourists usually fall in love with Benidorm’s lifestyle; consequently, they often opt to extend their visit. If you’re planning to have an extended stay in Benidorm, you’ll definitely have to find a suitable place to stay. Thankfully, there are plenty of places that offer great comfort; you can easily find a beachfront apartment on Kuhamia.com

Benidorm is a place that is known to have an innumerable number of skyscrapers; moreover, it also has three stunning beaches thus making it the quintessential seaside resort. The city has been meticulously planned, hence making it spacious. Whether you are planning on calling Benidorm your forever home, or just want to enjoy it for an extended period, you should definitely familiarize yourself with this place. Here are some interesting things you should know about Benidorm.

The Community

Benidorm is considered to be a culturally diverse city with its local population consisting of roughly 46%; the rest are foreigners who come from a diverse number of countries including China, Britain, Argentina, Morocco, among other countries. The entire population of Benidorm is about 70,000; the city has also managed to attract a significant number of the LGBT community. 

Property Landscape

When it comes to accommodation, there are plenty of places to stay in Benidorm. If you want to enjoy spectacular views of the city, then you should definitely stay in a penthouse; they usually come with a rooftop pool. Single bedroom apartments are also a great option for those who would like to have a more toned-down vacation. The city is parked with diverse living communities that range from lively neighborhoods to quieter places; they also cater to all budget sizes. Some of the tourists who plan on extending their stay prefer to stay in villas and bungalows since they offer a more tailored living.

Transportation and Amenities

Commuting around the city is very easy; this is because Benidorm has a great transportation system that is well connected to various parts of the city. You can either use the trams or buses that efficiently serve the entire region besides having reasonably priced fares. Since Benidorm is made up of a multicultural community, the cuisines found on various eatery joints are also diverse. You can find plenty of entertainment joints, some of which include theme parks, water parks, golf courses, casinos, free cabaret shows, etc. 

Cost of Living

The cost of living analysis is very crucial especially when you’re planning to stay in a new location for a prolonged period of time. Thankfully, the living expenses in Benidorm is 10% lower compared to other cities in Spain. Consequently, this makes it a place that is very livable and affordable. 

Health and Education 

There are numerous health facilities in the city comprising of a huge public hospital and various public health clinics. You can also find a couple of private health facilities that have staff who can communicate in English. This can be of great benefit especially if you need to access medical services and you aren’t familiar with the Spanish language. If you’ve planned to move with your family, you can find a number of great schools that can give your children a solid foundation in academics. You can either choose a Spanish speaking school or opt for an International learning facility that teaches a different syllabus such as the British Curriculum. 

Conclusion

Benidorm is truly a holiday destination that is one-of-a-kind; it offers numerous fun adventures besides being a great place to unwind. Before making the big step of moving to this place, ensure you’ve done your due diligence to facilitate a smooth transition. Following the guidelines provided above will definitely help you to find a nice place and get acquainted with Benidorm’s culture. 

Choosing The Right Energy Plan

Choosing the right energy plan is easier than you might think. Once you understand the basics, you can make a well-informed decision about which gas or electricity plan to pick. Selecting your energy plan provides the ability to compare two or more energy companies and take advantage of fixed or variable rates, customer benefits, and unrivaled customer service. 

Are you interested in a gas plan and a true apples-to-apples gas Ohio comparison? Keep reading for tips on how to find the right energy plan in your area. 

Know Your Energy Use

When choosing a gas plan, the first thing you need to do is understand your energy usage. One of the simplest ways to work out how much gas energy you consume is to check your bills. If you have a consistent energy consumption level each month, you can create a rough picture of how much energy you need a month. 

Your bill may fluctuate based on who supplies your electricity and gas. Information like this can make things complicated in terms of calculating energy use, but it isn’t impossible. 

There are a few things that all energy bills have:

  • Energy used: The amount tells you how much energy you used in one month, but it is calculated in dollars, not energy units. 
  • Billing period: The interval over which you are being charged tells you how much you are paying for the energy you use in one month or year. 
  • Usage: The most significant figure when it comes to calculating how much energy you use in kWh. It is stated in kilowatt-hours and shows you how much you are paying per kWh for a clear comparison. 

Another way to determine your energy use is to go directly to your electricity or gas meter and take direct readings for the record. 

Know The Difference between Fixed and Variable Rates

A fixed rate means that your energy price for gas will not change for the duration of the energy plan. A variable rate means the opposite, with prices potentially fluctuating each month. 

Each option has its merits. If you are on a fixed energy tariff and your gas or electricity provider announces a rise, your rates will not change. 

Fixed rates provide security and are some of the cost-effective options. Although you will be stuck for a year, you know how much you will pay each month. If you want to break the deal, you will need to pay additional fees. 

Variable rates are more flexible, and you can usually get out of your contract without paying extra fees. 

The most obvious benefit of a fixed rate deal is knowing how much you will pay each month. You can budget your monthly costs and plan your finances. Most energy suppliers offer a fixed tariff, so the market is competitive. 

When comparing apples-to-apples, gas Ohio companies let you should choose between the cheapest monthly cost, the longest fixed contract, or a provider that allows you to exit the fixed deal without a fee. The biggest drawback is that if the price for gas drops, you could get stuck paying the higher rate. 

When choosing between fixed and variable rates, consider your monthly income, your current financial situation, and how often you will have the time to compare the gas market for cheaper deals. 

Shop Smart 

Shopping for the right energy plan shouldn’t be complicated. Some plans have hidden fees, others wrongly advertise monthly savings, and some plans are just misleading. You’ve probably tried a few websites looking for comprehensive information on which provider will save you the most money on your energy bill.

For example, Texas has been deregulated since 2002, meaning you can choose your electricity provider. More than forty retail electricity providers in the state offer fixed, variable, and other plans. 

With deregulation, you can select free electricity at specific times, fixed tariff plans, prepaid energy, 100% renewable energy, and more. Whether you are running a business or looking for a new energy provider for your home, getting the right plan can make a vast difference in your monthly bills. 

Deregulation gives residents the power to choose their providers and while having the ability to choose is a good thing it can seem like a daunting task initially. Make it easier on yourself and check out comparison websites that do the research and hard work for you by comparing rates, plans and prices. Making sure you have the best rate is only one click away. 

5 Interior Design Tips for a Brighter Home

Is your home in serious need of a makeover? If it’s too dull and dark it can not only be unattractive, but uncomfortable to sit in. With spring just around the corner, why not try brightening things up. Don’t worry though, if your budget is tight, as there are several easy to do things to bring a bit of light into your home and brighten it up.

Check out these 5 great tips for starters.

Make Use of Metallic Finishes

When you have reflective surfaces in your home, you can create the illusion that the room is brighter and more expansive than it is. Metallic finishes on surfaces work in a similar way to mirrors, it’s just that they are much sleeker and smaller and therefore, you need more of them to get the desired effect. Are you in the process of refurbishing or renovating your living room, bathroom or kitchen? Think about adding elements with metallic finishes. Even if you are not doing anything major, the addition of metallic finishing to your dining table or a mirrored vanity unit or even just a glass coffee table that has metallic legs can make all the difference.

Mirrors

Following on nicely from the above, we want to talk about mirrors. Mirrors are one of the best things you can add to all the rooms in your home. Rather than just being something, you can look in to check your hair or makeup, they help (as noted above) to create the illusion of a lighter and roomier space. They can be either placed on various pieces of furniture or mounted on a wall. The most important thing is to make sure they are firmly secured and unlikely to slip or fall.

Decorative Pieces With Cool-Tone Colors

You can give each room in your home a very calm and cool feel by using furnishings and accessories to decorate them with whites, creams, pastel greens, and light blues. You’ll find a good selection on Kalusto. Do you have those trendy terracotta plant pots? Get rid of them and replace them with glazed varieties with lighter colors. Updating your home’s accessories is one of the easiest and quickest ways to bring a bit more brightness into the property.

White and Cream Paints

Although it may not sound like the most thrilling prospect, if you are looking to brighten your surroundings, it may be worth refreshing the walls of your home with lighter colored paints, even going as far as to choosing creams and whites. This will provide a blank canvas that will reflect light and heat into your home, making it feel brighter and warmer. 

Reassess Your Windows

The best way to brighten your home is to look at how much natural light is getting in as possible. Assess your windows. Are they allowing the maximum amount of light? Or are they shaded, worn out or tired-looking? If they are, it may be time to change them. If you don’t want to do anything as drastic, think about the curtains and blinds you have now. Could they be the problem?

There you have it, if you are looking to brighten your home, it doesn’t always need a lot of work. With the above tips, you will have a brighter and cheerier home that is ready for spring and summer.

3 Great Ways to Extend Your Home

If you are looking for a great way to add value and maximise the space available while creating more in the process; then you should consider extending your property in some way. When this is done properly, it can be an exceptionally good investment.

Loft extensions have become increasingly popular in the last couple of decades as it is the best way to get a bigger living space without selling your home and moving to a new one. But you may be wondering if another type of extension is best for your home. In the following article, we will look at three great ways.

Three of the most common extension types that we will look at and offer some advice about include:

  • Single Storey Extension
  • Two Storey Extension
  • Garage Extension
  • Single Storey Extension

One of the most common and popular types of extensions is the single storey house extension. This can be done either using a pre-existing garage or outbuilding or using the side or rear of your property. Usually, people opt for single storey extensions from the rear of their building. The style of roofing you would choose for this kind of renovation would depend on what your existing house has. Pitched tiled or flat roofs are what most people seem to favour. As it offers a better look, feel, and lasts long, the pitched tiled roof is recommended. However, you need to think about access to higher points of your home for maintenance and repairs on the gutters, roof, and even upper floor windows. You also need to be careful that the design does not interfere or impede emergency escape plans and routes you may have in place.

Two Storey Extension

Although this is also a common choice for extending homes, whether it is possible depends on factors such as the design and type of property you have, as well as obtaining planning permission. The main challenge with designing an extension that is two or even more storeys high is to design the upper storeys considering how they will impact the light for any adjoining buildings and homes. That is, an extension should not cause any sunlight loss to gardens or principal rooms and living spaces in your neighbour’s homes.

A well-designed extension is one that matches the rest of the home and does not stand out too much from neighbour’s homes.

Garage Extension

You can use an existing garage to build an extension over and around it. This requires a lot of careful consideration. For instance, if the garage is situated back from the house, it is less likely that you will be able to form an extension with a roof that matches the slope and eaves line to give a terracing effect. However, more commonly. The garage will be level with the front of the house, and in this situation, you should set the first floor back by at least 1m, with a pitched roof incorporated over the setback.