Wood Railing Or Metal Railings

The houses which have more than one story's absolutely require a stair case to travel from one floor to another. When it comes to the stairs the stair railings are a very important part of course which provide support as well as beauty.

One can make an extension when decorating, with wood, iron or any other material which is easy to install and will increase the overall worth of the home. Many people are also of the opinion that the stair railing is the earlier thing that people tend to see when they first enter a house. So when building or remodeling a staircase, it is important to get a good advice from someone who is qualified and will provide you with good ideas.

There are numerous materials from which a stair railing can be built. Wood railing were used long ago ago but are still sturdy in fashion. Oak wood is said to be the most beautiful ones. Without any doubt oak wood balustrade would be the star of the house. Matching the color of the stair railing with the color of the floor will bring extra beauty to your home.

As we know that the first thing to be noticed on the staircase is the railing. It is very essential as it gives security for going up and down the staircase. These things should also be considered while choosing the material of the railing. Wood railings are unique. They give a soft, perfect, graceful and charming look to your homes. They are strong and durable.

The stairs of houses, libraries and office building are usually made up of oak wood. It gives an extra elegance and charming look to any place with a warm color. If you think that using metal railroads will be a more suitable option than you should go for it. They have different display and decorative options.

Iron railings are used in many luxurious homes. They have a special grace and elegance. Modern buildings around the world are using iron railroads. They offer the same luxury as wood railroads does. They have different varieties. Metal railings tend to fit in any environment. All you need is a qualified person who will give you a good advice.

Although this is a very complicated process and by no means is an easy task but the end result will definitely satisfy you. The first thing to be kept in mind is if it is functional and safe to use. Then comes the style and after that things like the number of treads, the total number of steps to be made, and the distance between the stairs. If you keep these things in mind you will definitely have a very good staircase. All you need to do is be creative. Modern and traditional style makes your home a piece of art.

Introducing BDSM to Your Partner

So you are into BDSM or you think that you may be into and have a problem with introducing your desires to your partner. What if BDSM is not acceptable for her or him? What if you turn your partner away? A lot of questions arise and many people stop at that point. I would like to encourage you to go ahead and give it a try, some stats may give you more confidence.

Some interesting stats on BDSM

Unlike you could think bondage and pain are very common in bedrooms all other the world, several researchers show that up to 15% of population use BDSM practices on regular basis and almost 50% of people have a positive erotical reaction on pain. So the chances are your partner is craving for spanking and bondage even more than you do, but is hesitating just like you.

But how?

Ok, many people like it, but how do I ask my partner to try BDSM for the first time? The answer is as short as it's hard. Just talk to your partner. You should be prepared for the discussion. If you do not usually talk about sex and the things that turn you on, make it your habit.

Make a list of fantasies that you would like to try, keep it simple for the first time, and let your partner choose the things that may turn both of you on. Maybe you will have an additional list of you partner's fantasies that you also would like to try. Sometimes people we think we know surprise us.

Do not try it all at once. Yes, that latex whipping scene in metal bondage on a spaceship was very hot, but try to concentrate on one or two things that you desire most. You can try the sex on spaceship later anyway.

Safe words

Safe words are the other topic you should discuss before the BDSM session. Safe words in BDSM practice are used to stop or slow down the action. Sometimes the shouts "stop" and "no" can mean quite the opposite, especially during flogging or roleplaying, so you should choose the words that will not be commonly used during your sessions, something like "Japan" or "plum".

Bondage

First option is to try some light bondage. Forget about huge metal constructions and St. Andrew's cross you've seen in a movies on those sites. You do not want you partner to run away in fear, do you? Although handcuffs from an adult online store are a good idea but I personally recommend trying something like a scarf or piece of cotton rope. Do not use pantyhose or silk scarf. They are too thin and can cut the blood circulation, so do not use them until you got some expertise.

Tie your partner to a bedpost, a chair, a banister if you have one or just tie the hands behind the back. Bear in mind that in case of hands behind you can not lay the partner on the back, it's uncomfortable. Tease your partner with pain or pleasure, that's your choice, surprise is a part of fun, but do not forget the set limits.

Spanking

Most of pairs practicing BDSM use spanking at least as part of foreplay and it's accepted as a common practice even by those who are not into BDSM, so why do not you try it first. Bend you partner other the knees, or tie the partner to the bed to add tension and give a slap. Do not rush, spank slow and easy at first, pay attention to partner's reaction. Do not push your partner too hard, in best case you should slow down before you hear the safe word.

In fact some people can wait and end the pain just because they want your approval. Do not abuse these good feelings, you need to find the pain limits of your partner based on both verbal and nonverbal reactions.

Whipping

Whipping is a more complicated matter than spanking as it involves using the tools like floggers, belts, whips and so on. Adult stores nowdays offer a wide variety of devices that can look hot for you, but do not forget that they can scare off your partner. Try a soft flogger at first.

Choose the flogger with many wide tails, the wider the better. Make sure it's made of soft leather or suede and try it on your own hand. Remember, this is all to make your partner feel comfortable and get him used to the BDSM techniques. Show the device to your partner before the session, let him or her get used to it.

As with spanking start slow and easy as you are not professional yet, be careful. Try to focus on buttocks as they are less vulnerable to an accidental damage. Be sure to read some additional literature on whipping technique as it is very important for your partners health.

Go on and try!

To sum it all up starting practicing BDSM with your partner is rather simple, so go ahead and try. I've prepared a short list to show you how easy every step is.

  • Make a list of fantasies that you would like to try with your partner.
  • Discuss the list and choose the things that turn both of you on.
  • Set the safe words that will stop or slow down the session.
  • Choose and buy the equipment that clicks with both of you (if you need it).
  • Turn off the phones and try some BDSM action!
  • Discuss the session with you partner.

I recommend you write a list of desires right now, open Notepad, MS Word, OpenOffice or whatever you have and do it, do not waste your time. After that you can read some additional articles right here on EzineArticles. And do talk to you partner this week.

2010 BMW M5 Unveiled

The exterior style of the BMW M5 captures everyone's attention towards the model. The dynamic lines run through the impressive frontage, through the rear end of the car. Uniquely shaped taillights and the four chrome plated steel exhaust pipes prettify the rear side of the sports car, while the double kidney shaped front grille and sparkling xenon headlamps highlights the fascia. The occupants of the car are guaranteed with a comfortable and luxurious ride. Passenger safety and comfort is enhanced by featuring extremely resilient and stiff body shell. The model scores good results in the crash tests.

Apart from the exteriors, the sports model, is featured with high quality interiors. Some of the amenities provided in the interior region include white illuminated scope rings, center console, and leather wrapped multi function steering wheel. Not only the features, the sports car has roomy interior. The leg space and the head space are sufficient for any tall drivers. The controls and the buttons in the car are placed with the control of driver.

The new variant is also featured with all the needed safety amenities like central locking system, seatbelts, antilock braking system, engine immobilizer, collapsible steering column, anti theft alarm, child safety locks, seat belt pretensioners, safety electronics system activated to the air bags , deformation zones and side impact air bags.

The base price of the sports variant starts at $ 203,500. The sports car is offered in various colors, including sapphire, interlagos blue, alpine white, Monaco blue, silver stone, sepang bronze, space gray and Indianapolis.

We Need Fake Building Like Those Fake Rocks to Practice Mountain Climbing

Not long ago, a buddy of mine invited me down to the gym to check out the new mountain climbing façade. It is one of those giant fake rocks with the holes in it, where you strap yourself onto a bungee cord, and start climbing up the side. It's actually harder than it looks, but it is a lot of fun. In case you fall, all you hurt is your pride as you slam onto the mats below. Indeed, I can totally understand why the owners of that gym put it in, because their customers love it and it increases the number of gym memberships.

After all, working out on free weights all day is more than I can handle, and I do not need a treadmill to do my walking, the weather around here is pretty good all year round. But this fake rock is fun to climb, no matter what age you are. Neverheless, after practicing on this fake mountain, I thought to myself would not it be nice to have a fake building façade, where you can practice climbing up the side of a brick building and pulling yourself up as you go.

Perhaps the building might have slats going vertical where you could put your foot in, and have places to grab hold, and sometimes between the various floors, and window ledges you could grab on as well? It would not have to be more than about two or three stories, to get a real workout. That's about all the taller the fake rock is anyway. I can indeed imagine that three or four hours of climbing up and down something like that would be a massively strenuous exercise, not to mention a lot of fun.

It also occurred to me that some entrepreneur that manufacturers these fake rocks, might wish to consider creating a fake building using a similar methodology. After all, people like to pretend that they are into extreme sports, and such a simulation would do just that. It's not every day that you get to play Spiderman and climb up a building, however these fake rocks, seem to be a dime a dozen these days. They have them at all the County fairs, and they're going into more and more gyms as well.

Indeed, hope you will please consider this, and think on it. If you have any comments, concerns, questions, or additional innovations and ideas along this concept please feel free to e-mail me. Perhaps we can exchange notes and sketches as well.

WES51 Weller Soldering Iron – Review

The WES51 is excellent soldering iron that is designed and manufactured by famous Weller company. It is perfect for all kinds of soldering projects including repairs, rework, industrial manufacturing, etc. Its economic price makes it also a good soldering iron for occasional users such as hobbyist or home electronics enthusiast. The WES51 is best-selling soldering iron on Amazon.

And Weller has been around for many generations. Weller has started designing and manufacturing soldering irons in 1940s. Even though Cooper Tools acquires Weller Soldering in 1970s, the Weller brand name is well-respected and recognized throughout the world as a best manufacturer of soldering equipment.

When you buy the WES51 Weller soldering station, you will receive the main power unit, the pencil, the pencil stand and a sponge attached to the pencil stand that you can use to clean the tip of the soldering iron. All of those tools combined into the soldering station setup, provide you everything that you need to start your soldering project.

Some of features of WES51 Weller station:

  • 50 watt iron is perfect for most soldering tasks
  • Temperature range at the tip of iron is adjustable from 350 to 850 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Non-burnable cord made of silicon rubber (cord length 4 ft.)
  • Temperature lockout control so you do not burn up your circuit board with a careless mistake
  • Easily switch between Fahrenheit and Celsius readouts
  • Electronic temperature control is accurate to within 9 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Station automatically powers down after 99 minutes of inactivity
  • Static proof so you do not destroy delicate circuit boards
  • Fast heat up of iron from cold to hot, even with bigger tips

The WES51 comes with PES51 soldering pencil that has a comfortable foam grip that improves the ease of use and reduces heat transfer from the iron into your fingers. I found the soldering pencil to be really quite comfortable to grip for extended periods. It features a stainless steel heating element which extends the soldering iron's life by minimizing corrosion. Soldering pencil PES51 uses ET series tips – Weller has a huge range of tips in ET series to suit all kinds of soldering jobs.

Main problem with most of soldering irons is that you need to wait for them to heat up from cold stage to ready-for-soldering stage, not only when you start using them, but also in between jobs if you leave them alone for a long period of time. For example, one of my soldering stations automatically forces down after 15 minutes of inactivity. Unfortunately, this particular setting is not adjustable so you can not customize it for your needs. In other words, you can not increase this time if you do little bit of soldering with a long periods of time between two soldering jobs. WES51 has a built-in activator that allows it to automatically powers down after 99 minutes of inactivity. That is right setting of this shut down time – you have enough time even if you have some longer interval between two soldering jobs.

Another great characteristic of the WES51 Weller soldering iron is that it has very accurate electronic temperature control. Temperature of iron can be adjusted with the front panel temperature control knob – you can strictly control the temperature of iron to within 9 degrees Fahrenheit. Electronic temperature control means you'll always know if the tip of the iron is hot enough for the material you are soldering. It makes your soldering task a whole lot easier. In addition, electronic temperature control allows precipitate control of the heat level at the tip of the iron. This means that you can rest assured that your iron is hot enough and ready for soldering, and at the same time you know that it is not too hot to burn some temperature-sensitive components on circuit board. If you do not pay attention on temperature of iron's tip you can accidently damage or ruin your soldering project by applying too much heat. For every soldering task you need enough heat to quickly and reliably melt the solder and apply it to soldering joints, but you do not want too much heat that can burn or melt discharge electronic components or circuit boards.

In conclusion, WES51 Weller soldering iron is solidly built, it has a very durable design and you can count on using one for many years with no problems. It comes in well known Weller-blue color. It is very comfortable to use this Weller soldering iron, even if you spend several hours of continuous soldering on your soldering task.

Weller WES51 analog soldering iron is very similar to Weller WESD51 soldering iron but does not have a digital display (digital display shows current temperature of iron's tip during operation or set-up).

Weller WES51 is an excellent low cost soldering iron. It is one of the best soldering iron on market that can be found under $ 100. It is one of the best soldering irons available in USA and Canada. I give 4 out of 5 stars for this soldering station, as it lacks a digital readout.

What to Do after a Tooth Extraction?

After an extraction, it's important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. That's why your dentist will ask you to bite on a gauze pad for 30 to 45 minutes after an extraction. If bleeding or oozing continues after you remove the gauze pad, place another gauze pad on the area and bite firmly for another 30 minutes. You may have to do this several times.

After the blood clot forms, it's important to protect it, especially for the next 24 hours. It's important to not:

o smoke and chew tobacco

o drinking alcohol

o suck through a straw

o rinse your mouth vigorously

o clean the teeth next to the extraction site

These activities could dislodge the clot and slow down healing.

Limit yourself to calm activities for the first 24 hours. This keeps your blood pressure lower, reduces bleeding, and helps the healing process.

After the tooth is extracted, you may feel some pain and have some swelling. You can use an ice bag (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off) to keep this to a minimum. The swelling usually starts to go down after 48 hours.

To control discomfort, take pain medication as recommended. Do not take medication on an empty stomach or nausea may result. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time, even if all symptoms and signs of infection are gone. Also:

o Drink lots of fluids.

o Eat only soft, nutritious foods on the day of the extraction.

o Do not use alcoholic beverages.

o Avoid hot and spicy foods.

You can begin eating normally the next day, or if not by then, as soon as it's comfortable. Gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water three times a day (put a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, and then gently rinse, swish, and spit). Also, rinse gently after meals. This helps keep food out of the extraction site.

It's very important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours. This should include brushing your teeth and tongue and flossing at least once a day. This will speed healing and help keep your breath and mouth fresh. Call your dental office right away if you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling after two or three days, or a reaction to the medication. After a few days, you'll be feeling fine and can resume your normal activities.

Dry socket is an infection in your tooth socket after a tooth is extracted. The condition usually develops when a blood clot fails to form in the socket, or if the blood clot comes loose. Dry socket occurs in approximately 5 percent of all tooth extracts.

Normally, the blood clot that forms after a tooth is removed promotes healing, laying the foundation for the growth of new bone tissue. When dry socket occurs, this blood clot is lost and the infected, inflated socket appears empty – hence the name. Nerves are exposed, and sometimes the bone is visible in the empty socket.

You may not have symptoms until 3 to 5 days after the extraction. Then, the condition will manifest itself as severe pain that does not subside, often accompanied by what feels like an earache. You may also have an unpleasant taste in your mouth, and bad breath. Call your dentist right away if you notice any symptoms of dry socket. Treatment for dry socket typically includes a gentle rinsing of the socket and wearing the socket with sedative medication.

Money Laundering

Money laundering is the process of moving money from the illegitimate to the legitimate economy. The crime of money laundering consists of knowingly disguising the source, origin or ownership of illegal funds.

Any criminal transactions are carried out in cash and the function of the money launderer is often to translate these small sums into a larger, more liquid sum which will be difficult to trace and more easy to invest. Money laundering has emerged on a massive international scale with the globalization of the world economy and the internationalization of organized crime.

Money earned in one region can, with increasing facility, be transferred to another part of the world, preventing its eventual recovery by law enforcement. With the globalization of organized crime activity, money is earned in all regions of the world and must be collected, consolidated and moved.

 This growth has been facilitated by new technologies, the increasing movement of goods and people globally and the declining significance of borders. A large number of professionals, including lawyers, accountants and bankers, have emerged to provide services to this criminal and corrupt clientele with large amounts of money at their disposal. Not involved in the original act, these professionals help perpetuate criminal and corrupt activities through their services. Organized crime groups have particularly benefited from the expansion of global financial markets. They have exploited the differential regulatory regimes and the possibility of moving money across jurisdictions rapidly in order to hinder detection by taking advantage of the discrepancies between country based regulatory systems.

They seek out locales that are less regulated with respect to international anti-money laundering laws. These havens, frequently offshore banking centers, provide both banking and corporate secrecy. They also provide secrecy for the trusts, which are used to hide large-scale assets that are often illegally diverted from the companies controlled by organized crime groups. In 1996 economists of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggested that 2 percent of global GDP (gross domestic product) was related to drug crime and the laundered sums associated with corruption and tax evasion would be an even larger percentage. The share of the world’s economy would be even higher today for several reasons as many forms of organized crime have grown in this period and the countermeasures have failed to dent the profits of this activity except at the margins.

Much laundered money has been invested in dollarized accounts and other strong currencies where it has escaped significant losses through currency devaluations in origin countries. In offshore regimes where financial capital is untaxed, its growth is faster than that of money that is part of taxed and regulated regimes. The range of businesses and financial institutions used to launder money has proliferated with the profits and the growing sums which need to be laundered. Among the institutions employed are large banks, offshore banks and financial institutions, currency exchange and wire transfer businesses, stock brokerage houses, gold dealers, casinos, insurance and trading companies.

The ability to safeguard the proceeds of transnational criminal activity, tax evasion and corruption have served as significant incentives for the growth of this activity. There is limited risk and few deterrents for the money launderers and the professionals who aid their activities. The limited seizures that do take place are merely “one more cost of doing business.” The international efforts sponsored by the Organized for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to limit offshore havens and to sanction countries that facilitate money laundering have yet failed to sharply curtail money laundering.

Sources of Laundered Millions

Laundered money derives from the full range of illicit activities linked to organized crime such as narcotics and arms trafficking, trafficking in human beings, extortion, gambling, counterfeiting of money and goods, trafficking in endangered species and stolen art and automobiles. Often, corrupt government officials move the bribes they have received or the money they have embezzled to offshore locations for security. Much of this cannot be treated as laundered money in many countries because these corrupt activities are not predicate offenses to money laundering.

 The need to have a pre-existing criminal offense under many criminal codes, is a major deterrent to effective money laundering investigations. The laundering techniques of organized crime groups have become increasingly sophisticated. Experts are retained who have the capacity to disguise the source of funds and make them look legitimate. For this reason organized crime groups have increasingly penetrated into legitimate economies and financial markets.

Such operators have laundered the assets from these diversified investments as well as from the original illicit activities. The money laundering associated with high level governmental corruption has received more attention in the post-Cold War era. Corrupt leaders launder money derived from multiple sources: siphoned out of the national treasury; diverted from foreign assistance; pay offs from foreign investors or contractors working on development loans from multilateral organizations and proceeds from privatization.

The wave of privatizations in the 1990s in many parts of the world has contributed to the increased deposit of funds in unregulated offshore accounts. In the transitional period from governmental ownership to private ownership when there is limited transparency, many of the insiders have managed to appropriate significant resources of privatizing firms and have through elaborate trust agreements, consistent with the laws of the locale, parked very valuable national resources in financial tax havens. The money laundering associated with the privatization process has also resulted in large and visible cases of international money laundering investigated such as the Raul Salinas case from Mexico and the Pavel Lazarenko case from Ukraine. Investigations into each of these cases, by Swiss and American authorities, as well as other governments, has totaled in the hundreds of millions of dollars. In the Salinas case, pay offs from drug traffickers were commingled with pay offs for beneficial privatizations of key state-owned industries.

A major question is whether mechanisms will be made available in the future to deter such deposits and whether procedures will be established to make such sums more easily recoverable by the source country. As the corruption issue is no longer a taboo issue for employees of multilateral financial institutions, the significant money laundering associated with project and structural adjustment loans have become permissible topics of discussion.

For example, researchers at the IMF now acknowledge that they could observe the financial flows out of Haiti immediately after international loan funds flowed into the country. An investigator examining the diversion of a World Bank loan to Pakistan traced $30 million to a Swiss bank. Increasingly, the investigators of corruption in these international financial institutions must be trained to find money laundering because both bribe money and actual project loans wind up in the banking centers of Western countries.

Banks and Other Financial Institutions Engaged in Money Laundering

The types of financial institutions exploited for money laundering have proliferated as the reporting requirements on major banks have increased. Offshore banks have sprung up in many locales to service the demands of affluent clients who seek secrecy and an absence of reporting requirements. By the end of 1997, offshore locales housed more than half of all cross-border assets held globally. Very few countries have been active in taking measures to seize laundered assets.

The exceptions are the United States and Switzerland. However, the amount they have managed to freeze and confiscate has been very limited compared to the overall total of illegal monies in their financial markets. Many other major banking centers, such as those located in England and Germany, have thousands of suspicious transaction reports yet have comparatively few successful criminal prosecutions or confiscations of assets. Therefore, while there are significant risks of getting caught for smuggling drugs, there is much less chance of getting caught and losing the proceeds of drugs or other criminal proceeds. Most money laundering occurs in offshore banking centers, many of whose operations are less highly regulated than those in major banking centers.

Not all-offshore banks are laundering money. The most flagrant abusers are those offshore locales without any financial infrastructure or any regulatory mechanisms to monitor the banks or to track the transactions, which pass through their locale. In these situations individuals and businesses are exploiting the possibility of bank and corporate secrecy that these locales provide. Many parts of the Caribbean have established large legitimate banking services that are providing services to a large international clientele of legitimate businesses. This offers evidence to indicate that size and location are not absolute determinants of whether a financial institution is used as a laundering facility for the cleansing of questionable proceeds.

At present, there are different niches for different categories of money laundering. Drug dealers have the widest range of assets to dispose of and continuous financial flows, therefore they use all available financial instruments. There is significant differentiation in the market. For example, wire transfer businesses are used primarily by street level drug dealers, whereas the private banking services of major banks are available only to large-scale clients.

Offshore banks are used by individuals and groups engaged in a wide range of illicit and licit activities. There are increasing controls on large financial institutions, but recent cases have revealed that it is still possible to launder vast sums through major banks and through these banks offshore branches. Major American banks such as Citibank, the Bank of New York, and Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS), as well as their offshore branches, have figured prominently in recent investigations of money laundering. As one of the minority congresswomen on the United States House of Representatives Banking and Finance Committee commented, during the Bank of New York hearings, it was the failure to sanction Citibank in the Salinas case of drug money laundering which has perpetuated the problem. While such actions as a Geographic Targeting Order in the New York area has limited wire transfers out of small businesses, it remains continually possible to move large, questionable and illegal sums through the private banking operations of major banks.

The profits for the institutions and particularly for the officials of these divisions have made bankers often turn a blind eye. A recently released U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) report, conducted by the investigative branch of the agency, examined the possibility of laundering money in the United States. The investigators traced US$800 million of such funds that had been moved into U.S. banks by one Russian. He did this by registering companies in the “offshore location” of the State of Delaware, which protects the anonymity of corporations. The money was subsequently moved into accounts in the private banking sector of Citibank. No legal action had been taken against the banks, any of the account holders or against the individual who had managed to move these funds of unknown origin through the American banking system. This investigation reveals how sophisticated money launderers can exploit significant loopholes in United States to move large amounts of questionable money through a leading American institution.

Money Laundering in the Mercosur

Money laundering is becoming an increasingly serious problem in several of the countries of the Mercosur. Part of this is related to the need of Colombian and Mexican drug lords to launder their money, and the greater facility with which they can do this in Spanish speaking countries. It also is due to the proliferation of offshore banks in Latin America and the Caribbean, which now represent 43% of the international total. The most visible manifestation of this phenomenon has been the construction of the resorts of Cancun that was done with drug money. Yet the use of hotels through which to launder money is not confined to Mexico, as the proliferation of luxury hotels in Argentina with limited clientele is further visible evidence of this problem. More difficult to detect and investigate is the money laundering through the Mercosur banking sector, shell companies, commodities brokerages and currency exchanges.

A joint investigation conducted by the Brazilian Federal Police, Central Bank and other entities reported that between 1998-99, US$18 billion was laundered through Brazil. Brazilian money launderers, according to the U.S. Department of State, dispose of drug money and the profits of white-collar crime. Much of the arms and drugs trade occurs through the border town of Foz de Iguacu. The proximity to Paraguay, which is a major money-laundering center for Latin America, exacerbates the problem. Approximately, 20% of Paraguayan money laundering is related to drugs, while the vast majority emanates from smuggling and contraband.

No major scandal has disrupted the Uruguayan banking system but the dependence of the Uruguayan economy on its banking sector has failed to make it very vigilant in reviewing the source of client funds. A major money laundering scandal erupted in early 2001 with the Argentine Central Bank President Pedro Pou accused of covering up illicit cash being moved through local and foreign banks. He tried to hide from the Argentine congress information on these illegal transactions. This public scandal emerged after a report by an U.S. Senate Subcommittee on money laundering traced drug money from Citibank back to an Argentine bank. As much as US$10 billion may have been laundered through Buenos Aires. In response to these problems, the South American Financial Action Task Force (Grupo de Accion Finaciero de Sudamerica contra el Lavado de Avisos-GAFISUD) was established on December 8, 2000. Its member states’ include Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecudor, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. The vital function of this organization is to improve coordination in monitoring and combating money laundering in the region.

Why has it been so hard to move against money laundering?

Until recently it has been difficult to undertake measures against money laundering due to the absence of a necessary political will and the cumbersome international legal mechanisms which presently exist. Furthermore, the profits of this activity, particularly within private banking, have been very lucrative for financial institutions and the registration and associated services. The offshore locales have provided an incentive for many locales without alternatives. Money laundering on a large scale has existed since the 1960s. Dictators have moved money to safe havens and with the rise of the international drug trade since the late 1960s, there has been an increasing need to move large amounts of money into the legitimate financial system. Covert arms sales have been facilitated for decades by money laundering. Even though many knew this was going on, the fight against money laundering has been treated as a secondary concern to the preservation of influence within a particular geographic region. With the end of the Cold War, the desire to protect certain dictators who were key figures in this strategy collapsed.

There was no longer a need to “protect our dictator,” whose corruption became an embarrassment to the states and consequently multilateral lending institutions. The massive money laundering out of the states of the former Soviet Union, in the 1990s, has revealed that the budgets and economies of entire countries can be devastated by the ability to launder money to major financial centers and offshore locations. The credibility of such multilateral institutions as the World Bank and the IMF has been called into question. This tolerance of corruption has been a highly significant factor in the reduced legitimacy of these institutions that have not been necessarily vigilant in monitoring the diversion of the loans they have made overseas.

Their new emphasis on corruption is an attempt to reverse this trend. The rise of the Internet and the speed of financial transactions facilitated by computers have expanded money laundering opportunities and activities in the latter half of the 1990s. There are increasing number of Webs sites that solicit money for transfer offshore, the rise of internet gambling and of virtual banking have made it possible to launder money without any infrastructure to run or regulate international banking operations. Instead, the rise of information technology and the growth of untraceable encryption have provided the possibility of laundering money with greater facility and with almost perfect anonymity. All that is needed is a computer. The rise of the new information technology has facilitated an incredible communications revolution, but it has led to the proliferation of money laundering in some of the most remote destinations in the world. Such locations include Vanuatu, Nauru, and the Marshall Islands through whose “banks” billions have been laundered in the last couple of years.

Facilitating the rise of virtual banking in offshore locations has been the willingness of major banks to receive funds that have been routed through these locales. While well-written software could screen these transactions and prevent the absorption of these funds into mainstream banking centers, this has not occurred. The legal institutions to combat money laundering are much slower than those constructed on an order before the information age. Therefore, a wire transfer which is moved among four jurisdictions in an hour, a typical move for a money launderer, will take law enforcement in the United States a year to unravel because of the need to present documents to four different jurisdictions to obtain information on the transaction. Law enforcers in countries without such resources as the United States may never be able to trace these transactions. In some cases, it is either legally impossible or physically impossible to obtain needed information on the money movement because of the bank secrecy or the presence and protection of trusts. In the United States, a predicate offense is needed to prove money laundering. However, this requires cooperation of law enforcement in the source country. In cases where the money is associated to a high level official or his/her associates, or where domestic law enforcement has been neutralized by corruption from crime groups, that crucial cooperation will never be forthcoming. In many countries, many categories of crime are not predicate offenses for money laundering or there is an absence of money laundering law, leaving many financial transactions outside the reach of American law enforcement. A novel situation now exists.

The complexity of the cases of money laundering means that the number and expertise of the enforcement required to address these crimes is so vital that even well staffed American law enforcement can address only a few major law enforcement cases annually. Furthermore, between the corruption of domestic law enforcement in many countries and bank secrecy in others, most money laundering investigations are condemned to failure from the start. As the amounts of money laundered grow, the capacity to address the problem remains perpetually behind.

Why the current campaign against money laundering?

A growing consensus is developing in many developed countries that the problem of money laundering must be addressed both within their economies and in offshore locations. Much of this is proceeding on a diplomatic level and is aimed at financial institutions because the previous legal strategy has inherent limitations. Focus is now on prevention rather than on legal remedies. The present movement against money laundering is the result of a convergence of mutual interests rather than as a consequence of a unified view of the harms of money laundering. For the United States, the driving force has been the rise of the international drug trade, a trade that has enormous financial and social implications for the United States. American policy makers have become increasingly concerned that money laundering permits the perpetuation of the drug trade and terrorism.

The possibility to park funds in offshore havens gives these illicit operators the working capital to perpetrate and perpetuate their activity. But money laundering is not confined to offshore locales. American authorities now estimate that US$9 billion in narco dollars is laundered in New York City and US$30 billion dollars of drug money is laundered in Texas. For European countries, the opening of borders and the establishment of the Euro in 2002 have placed their territory and financial systems at greater risk. The threat of transnational crime is not only higher rates of violence, unwanted immigrants but also large scale financial crime and money laundering within the European financial system. The movement of capital to offshore locations has had severe consequences for Europe’s revenue collection. The increasing amounts of capital sheltered in offshore locations is preventing the collection of needed taxes, making the maintenance of offshore accounts an even greater problem for European countries that need substantial revenues to maintain expensive social welfare systems and take care of aging populations. Therefore, revenue concerns are more of an impetus for European than American action against offshore havens.

What is the current campaign against money laundering?

In 1989 the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was established to coordinate a response to the problem of money laundering. The following year FATF issued 40 recommendations against money laundering which were subsequently revised in 1996. FATF, now consists of 29 countries, and two international organizations and represents the larger developed countries as well as some of the more affluent developing countries. The first recommendation requires that countries become signatories to the Vienna Convention against money laundering. The Vienna convention only concerns the proceeds of money laundering related to the drug trade.

However, it does not include the other serious categories of crime with which money laundering may be associated. Consequently, the recommendations also suggest that prohibitions against money laundering be extended to other serious offenses. This discretion has led to many countries differing legislative measures. Some have not made human trafficking, one of the fastest growing forms of organized crime, a predicate offense for money laundering. Likewise, corruption remains in most countries, including the United States, outside the list of many serious crimes, which are predicates to money laundering.

The recommendations also deal with measures to identify, trace and confiscate laundered assets. Various measures must be taken by financial institutions to ensure that they maintain proper record keeping, know their customers and keep records for at least five years time to permit reconstruction of financial transactions. Bank officials are required to monitor large and questionable transactions and to report suspicious transactions to competent authorities without advising the customers in question. These principles are applied not only to the domestic banks but also to their subsidiaries that are located outside of the country. Signatory countries are to intensify controls at the borders with the purpose of limiting the movement of large amounts of cash. Furthermore, countries are expected to develop modern methods of money management such as checks and direct deposits that reduce reliance on a cash economy. Effective regulatory bodies are to be established to ensure that there are adequate measures and sufficiently trained personnel to realize the implementation of these regulations.

Regulators must take efforts to ensure that criminals do not acquire or achieve significant control over financial institutions. International cooperation must be extended as regards to suspicious transactions, confiscation, mutual assistance and extradition. Cooperative investigations should be encouraged and launched when possible. To ensure cooperation among states, there must be decisions made as to the best venues in which to prosecute offenders. Annual Reports are issued by the FATF within which the country teams have monitored the progress of member states and issues typologies. The Typologies Report follow an annual meeting in which law enforcement, legal, financial and regulatory experts discuss recent trends in laundering criminal proceeds, emerging trends that arouse concern and countermeasures which have proved effective. In June 2000, the FATF listed a group of 15 jurisdictions with serious deficiencies in anti-money laundering efforts. This “blacklist” was based on extent of compliance with 25 published criteria.

Three of the fifteen jurisdictions are located in the Caribbean and include Dominca, St. Kitts-Nevis and St. Vincent. According to the Annual Report issued at the same time, the member countries of the FATF group are largely in compliance with the regulations. This evaluation is based largely on the mutual evaluations of the member states. A dichotomy exists between the perception of the developed countries and the offshore centers. The tax havens or international financial centers claim that the legislation and infrastructure are in place and most money laundering occurs through large financial centers. On the other side, the mainland countries perceive that money laundering is occurring in offshore locales. The problem remains that money laundering persists in both kinds of locales. The FATF is now turning its attention to such problems as money laundering through on-line banking, trusts and other non-corporate vehicles, the professionals who facilitate money laundering, the role of cash vs. non-cash activities and the money laundering of terrorists. The FATF is only one of several visible multilateral bodies working on money laundering. It has regional task forces that include the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force and Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering. The United Nations and its Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP) has a program against money laundering.

The Organization of American States (OAS) Inter-American Commission on Drug Control, as well as the Council of Europe, have launched special initiatives on money laundering. Much has also been done at the national level. The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement of the U.S. Department of State releases annually its International Narcotics Control Strategy, approximately a quarter of it is devoted to actions against money laundering and compliance with money laundering regulations. The report assesses not only drug-related money laundering but that related to other offenses. A significant group of countries are identified as of primary concern based on their failure to meet a wide range of criteria concerning asset and information sharing, as well as the deficiencies of their legal framework. Individual countries have established domestic Financial Intelligence Units to address problems of financial crime in order to formulate more effective countermeasures.

These countries share some information within the framework of the Egmont Group. This informal alliance includes over 45 countries facilitating the exchange of records and evidentiary materials among member states. The United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, was signed in Palermo, Italy by 123 countries (December 12-14, 2000). It contains provisions to combat money laundering as it is related to organized crime. These include adequate system of internal regulation within the signatory countries, cooperation on the regional, international and multilateral levels, and the mechanisms needed to detect the cross border movements of capital. Furthermore, it requires customer identification, record keeping, reporting of suspicious transactions. Money laundering in this convention is tied not only to traditional forms of organized crime but also to the corrupt practices facilitating it.

The enormous growth of money laundering results from several factors simultaneously: the rise of transnational organized crime, the globalization of corruption and the competition for capital in an increasingly globalized international economy. The major actors in this essentially criminal business practice are major banking centers and offshore locales, although many other institutions and businesses participate. The possibility of laundering money in so many regions of the world has resulted in the massive transfer of resources from developing and transitional countries to safe havens in the more developed countries and more protected offshore locations.

Placement of money overseas, allows criminals and corrupt individuals to evade the control of local authorities, avoid the instability of domestic banking institutions while securing access to their funds internationally. Combating money laundering requires a multi-faceted approach. It is necessary not only to target the recipients of the laundered money but also to recognize the instability of the financial system in the source country. The capacity of different states to combat organized crime and money laundering must also be enhanced. This is a difficult problem in states that often do not have the sufficient resources to provide for the basic educational, medical and social needs of their citizenry. The international actions against money laundering are now focused more on prevention and sanctions rather than the multi-faceted strategies needed to address the actual causes of the problem.

Prevention works more effectively in the international financial community than in a single country where corruption and coercion by crime groups or high level corrupt officials may prevent the implementation of needed controls. Sanctioning may work in embarrassing major banking centers into greater compliance but the enormous profits of private banking services make many institutions adhere to the letter but not the spirit of money laundering controls. Their internal audit rules screen out some of the most blatant violators but the proliferation of trust agreements and front companies make it very difficult to screen clients effectively. Many larger financial systems, such as Switzerland, which have served as major repositories for drug kingpins, corrupt officials, and oligarchs are evaluated as in compliance of money laundering provisions.

Yet they do not provide enough law enforcement resources to investigate the vast amounts of money and the diversity of actors who are laundering money through their financial system. Therefore, the probability of successfully laundering large sums may be greater and there are many jurisdictions that are considered medium or high risk for money laundering by the FATF. In developing countries, which house many offshore locations, there is desperate competition for capital. Some Caribbean nations suggest that the drive against offshore locations is not motivated so much by the desire to combat money laundering but to counter the competition for financial services. In the absence of development alternatives, there is often little incentive to get out of the money laundering business. The sanctioning regime that has been instituted is being executed without equity. Countries placed on the high-risk list, otherwise known as the “black-list,” by the FATF are not necessarily the worst offenders. Some countries with very significant problems of money laundering have escaped sanctioning because of their political connections. Some small countries in the Caribbean or territories of larger countries do not have the public relations or the regulatory capacity to prevent their sanctioning have been exposed to the full force of the FATF. Whereas a country like Liechtenstein has the abundant resources to put towards the hire of lobbyists to clear its name and also address some aspects of the problem.

Window Blinds Supply a Fanciful Answer to Illumination Issues in Tall Buildings

When considering window treatments for your condominium, you might want to make your first consideration be that of vertical blinds. These types of window treatments are the most popular of choice, particularly for condominiums.

Condominium homeowners associations generally like these great window treatments because they create a uniform, clean look to the building from outside. Another reason why they are also popular with this sect is that they offer privacy and noise reduction to the owners of the unit. The condo unit owners like them to better control lighting while enhancing the decor of the unit.

Most condominiums typically have a large sliding glass door, which leads out onto a balcony or patio. Because of this large window-type door, vertical blinds make the best choice. These blinds can be opened full and folded out of the way to either either sides or to one side. When entertaining, such as a cocktail party or dinner party, guest can flow freely in and out without the annoyance of other types of window treatments. The mechanism to operate these is located at one end of the vertical blind, so making it easy to reach and operate. During the day these vertical blinds and be fully closed to block direct sunlight and heat from coming into the unit, or fully opened for maximum light, or anywhere in between.

For the other windows in the unit, vertical blinds are the same great choice. Like the large ones used for the large glass sliding door, vertical window blinds offer the same use and design for the unit owner. The control of light, privacy, and style are all the same. Vertical blinds and vertical window blinds come in a variety of choices including thickness, and design. They can be covered in fabric, faux finishes, or any other decorating features that you can dream up. When choosing vertical blinds be sure to look for quality construction. Nylon or delrin are the features you need to look for in and window blinds. This will ensure that your blinds will last a long time.

Installation of vertical blinds is really a "do it yourself" project. You will need to decide if you want your window blinds to be outside mounted (which means they attach to the outside of the window box), or inside inside mount (going inside the window box.) Measure the inside of the window box to see how large of a vertical blind or vertical window you will need. Most any hardware store or your local home improvement store will have a window treatment center with a special vertical blind and vertical window blind section. These vertical blinds and window blinds can be cut to fit right in the store. The blinds come with a complete set of instructions on how to install them quickly and easily.

Because vertical blinds and vertical window blinds hang vertically, cleaning is a snap. Dirt and debris falls off them and so just a quick wipe with a damp cloth or using a vacuum cleaner with attachments makes up-keep very easy.

One of the most important features of vertical blinds and vertical window blinds is that you should ever decide to change your decor or need replacement blinds, the blinds themselves can be purchased separately. Holding each blind is a "clip" if you will, which allows the owner to snap the blinds out to replace the new ones. Having this sort of convenience and versatility makes vertical blinds and vertical window blinds one of the best, inexpensive ways to make your condominium a home for years of enjoyment.

LED Lighting – The Future of Energy-Efficient Lighting

LED Lighting is one of the most popular forms of residential and commercial lighting in the market today. It has many advantages associated with it, which contributes to its growing popularity. Compared to the conventional incandescent lighting, LED lighting is far brighter, and the LED bulbs used have a longer life. LED lighting is also environment-friendly form of lighting as it emits less amount of carbon-dioxide than traditional bulb lighting.

LED lighting is being increasingly preferred for a variety of purposes, including home lighting, office lighting, vehicle lighting, landscape lighting, and public safety lighting. The LED technology is being increasely used in flashlights, lanterns, head lamps, and book lights. These small LED lights have become an integral part of our lifestyle that we have begun to use them without being of it. For example, indicators on appliances such as coffee makers that convey to the users that the appliance is ready to be used are LED lights. Small lights on cell phones indicating active power are LED lights.

LED is an abbreviation for Light Emitting Diode, which is a semiconductor that converts electricity into light. LED lights do not require a filament as conventional bulbs do to generate light. LED lights have diodes as their sources of power. Each diode has a diameter of about 1 / 4th inch and consumes about ten milliamps of current to give out light at about 1 / 10th of a watt.

These diodes are well-protected by plastic bulbs that contain them. LED lights operate on power generated by the motion of electrons, and emit white light. Despite their smallness in size, LED lights work wonders when used in combination, for high-intensity applications.

LED lights are available in various efficiencies. LED lights for residential purposes are about 20 lumens / watt. However; with latest advances, LED lights with capacities as much as 160 lumens / watt are also being developed. It is not harsh; they emit soft lights. The less intensity of brightness is due to the usage of sodium lamps of low pressure.

Capabilities of LED lighting are many. One is the unidirectional illumination LED lighting enables. This property of LEDs makes them very useful for various applications where light needs to be focused in a single direction. They are more durable than conventional light bulbs as they are resistant to impact by thermal influences and vibrations.

There are no UV rays or Infrared rays resulting from LED lighting. This makes them ideal for outdoor lighting as UV rays attract bugs. There is no mercury in LEDs; so, it does not get hot on usage. LED lighting does not disrupt radio or TV signals as there is no ballast in an LED. But it should be noted that they are heat-sensitive; exposure to surplus heat can damage not only the quality of light emitted but also the lifetime of the light.

Owing to its numerous advantages, the application of LED lighting has increased dramatically. It can be used for focused lighting in dark interior areas such as cupboards, areas under kitchen cabinets, garage interiors, and overhead lighting. It is extensively used for lighting walkways, art lighting, landscape lighting, lighting reading areas, and night lighting.

Top 5 Barriers to Effective Teamwork

For teams to work together successful they often need to overcome a number of barriers. The basic benefit of team is many minds and bodies working together to accomplish a common goal. Truly successful teams take advantage of the unique strengths and perspectives of the individuals that make up the group. However, often the differences themselves preclude effective communication and connection to get the very advantage that isought. The following is a quick list of combatants that teams must overcome to function together successful and some notes how to overcome the barrier:

1. Can not take in what others are saying because they say it differently.

· Have team members practice actively listening, where they repeat back what they heard. The individual who is communicating the original idea can correct the understanding and both members and those observing can see where the differences originate and have a deeper understanding of how to communicate more effectively.

2. Individuals approach things differently so they do not know where their team mates are coming from so they do not develop trust.

· Have team members work through a simple problem and document the steps that they would take to solve the problem. Then have each member review with the group how and why the approach it in their unique way. The group should see there are many ways to work through things and gain an appreciation for different approaches.

3. The process by which they make decisions is different so they can not make consensus decision.

· Decisions should not always be made through consensus but there are times when all team members need to have a say to buy in and carry the decision through. So if the team is having trouble making decisions look into that that is, challenge the team to identify why they are having trouble and brain storm on suggestions on how to improve.

4. The group is highly interdependent but they do not understand what the rest of the teams roles are, they just know that they need something from them to do their role.

· If time and skills permits, allowing the group to swap roles for a day or an hour. Often we think we know what someone else does until we are actually challenged with doing it ourselves. If time or skills do not permit, take time out of each team meeting to have individuals give a little review of their role and how they go about it.

5. The common goal is not clearly defined or bought into by all team members.

· Some people enjoy the social interaction of team so naturally adjust well to working in a team, others however would prefer to be individual contributors. If individuals do not understand the common goal they are less likely to stretch themselves to work together as a team to accomplish. Ensure the group understand the goal they are trying to achieve as a team and the benefits of working together as a team.

So to summarize the combatants that teams need to checkout are:

1. Unclear or unproductive communication

2. Different approaches result in individual being untrusting of others

3. The team can not make consensus decisions when required

4. Team does not understand their other team members roles

5. Team is not clear and bought into the common goal

Evaluate your teams effectiveness and see if one or multiple of these barriers are holding your team back from being a truly high functioning team. Take steps to correct, one at a time, too much change will just through the group into chaos.

A Forty-Five Gun Fireproof Gun Safe – The Hollon Safe PDORG-45

With a storage capacity of forty-five long guns the PDORG-45 fireproof gun safe is the largest of the safes in the Hollon Safe Republic Series of gun safes. Like the PDORG-16, PDORG-22 and PDORG-39 gun safes the PDORG-45 is built to secure weapons and ammunition in the event of a fire and to withstand the attention of burglars attempting to force the safe open. At seventy-two inches high, forty-two inches wide and is twenty-eight inches deep the PDORG-45 fireproof gun safe has an internal volume of thirty-two and a half cubic feet of space for storing up to forty-five long guns . The number of guns secured may vary and is of course dependent on the size of the rifles and accessories.

Weighing in with an empty weight of one thousand and twelve (1012) pounds is proof that the safe's construction is of heavy gauge steel and not the lightweight gauges being used in many of the safes on the market. Like many other fireproof safes on the market the PDORG-45 fireproof safe boasts a door thickness of four and a quarter (4 1/4) inches and body thickness of one and a quarter (1 1/4) inches. While many other safes boast these dimensions the steel used in constructing the door and body can be as thin as one sixteenth of an inch. The entire door of the PDORG-45 has quarter inch solid steel plate added for pry bar resistance and the body construction is one eighth inch solid steel.

To prevent unauthorized entry were the perpetrator tries to break into the gun safe using punch attacks the PDORG-45 is fitted with an active spring loaded re-locker. Re-lockers are designed to either block the main bolt work from retracting or block the door from opening. Typically, the first point of attack by burglar's breaking into a safe is the lock. Protecting the lock of this fireproof safe is a drill / ballistic resistant armor hard plate.

The PDORG-45 comes has been constructed with external hinges allowing the gun safes door to open one hundred and eighty degrees and for the door to be removed for servicing. The down side of having external hinges is that burglars can cut the hinges off and gain entry by removing the door. Gun safes with hinges on the outside must have locking bolts on both sides of the door. If the safe does not have bolts on hinge side of the door and the hinges are cut off the gun safes door can be removed. To prevent this the PDORG-45's construction includes three way active locking bolts on all four sides of the door.

Without fireproofing, a steel safe would act like an oven in a fire with the interior reaching temperatures that would cause irreparable damage to weapons secured inside the safe. Fireproofing the PDORG-45 using fireboard totaling one and half inches thick in the door and one inch thick in the body provides the PDORG-45 with one hour of fire protection at one thousand two hundred and fifty (1250) degrees F. A heat activated intumescent door seal designed to seal out smoke and water provides further protection of valuables stored in the gun safe.

For gun enthusiasts with an expensive gun collection the PDORG-45's construction combines pry bar and punch attack protection by burglars with fire, smoke and water protection to ensure guns and valuables are protected.

Removing Wallpaper

You are ready to redecorate your house, or perhaps just a room in that house and you are wondering how to get rid of that out-dated wallpaper. Some do-it-yourself decorators choose to cover the wallpaper with new paper or paint, but this is not usually the wisest decision. Moisture in adhesives can cause new coverage to peel and lap marks maybe visible through your new paint or wallpaper. Simply put, new coverings and paint will apply more easily on clean, stripped-down surfaces so your best to expend a bit of elbow grease and remove that unwanted paper.

Some wallpaper is strippable and will peel from the wall quite easily. Unfortunately, unless you put the wallpaper up yourself, the only way to tell if your wallpaper is strippable is to try peeling it off the wall. Start in an inconspicuous corner and pry the paper away from the wall with a utility knife. Pull at the corner of the paper being careful to keep the pressure from pulling as close to the wall as possible. With steady, moderate pressure strippable wallpapers should peel away from the wall.

If the paper starts to tear or does not come away from the wall easily, your old wallpaper is probably the non-strippable type and you will need to soak or steam it to get it off the wall. However, take care as it is not advisable to soak or steam wallpaper that has been attached to drywall as moisture can moisture can soften and damage the drywall. In these cases, you will need to use a dry-strip method for removing wallpaper.

Still, first we should talk about methods for soaking or steaming wallpaper for removal. One of the most common methods is called slitting and soaking. Using this technique, you will use a utility knife or razor blade to make horizontal slits on the surface of the old wallpaper. Slits should be spaced eight to ten inches apart and will allow warm water or liquid wallpaper remover to soak the back surface of the wallpaper and loosen the glue.

After making slits over the surface of the old wallpaper, apply water or paper remover with a large sponge and let it sit for a few minutes. Using a wall scraper with a flexible blade, you can slide the blade under the edge of one of the horizontal slits and push up on the wet wallpaper. Continue applying consistent pressure as you push the wall scraper up and the wallpaper should come free. For stubborn sections of wallpaper, simply make a few more slits and apply more warm water. Dry-stripping is essentially the same method but without the water. Dry-stripping may be more time consuming and you will need to sand surfaces more thoroughly before applying your new covering.

Another alternative for removing old wallpaper involves steaming. Tool rental and wallpaper stores will often rent electrical steamers for removing wallpaper. Heat the water in the wallpaper steamer before applying the plate against the wall. As the wallpaper becomes moist, you will notice the color darken and wrinkle. Use a wall scraper to peel away the wallpaper. Once the paper has been steamed thoroughly, you may be able to peel it away from the wall as you would with strippable wallpaper.

Why You Should Purchase Fireproof Boxes

Accidents are thieves. Thefts are accidents, too. They come in times when you least expect them. That is why they are called accidents in the first place. Fire outbreaks and thefts are just some of the most devastating disasters a home can ever have. One can optimistically think that the lost marriages can be replaced by exerting extra effort. But how about the things which are irreplaceable, such as your jewelries, documents, pictures, and everything that has sentimental value? Each one of us has something at home and in our office that will make us very devastated once we lose them. Fireproof boxes are made to ensure these irreplaceable marriages even in the event of fire and theft.

Preventing the occurrences of fire outbreaks and thefts is the first thing to do. Next to that is to prepare for their sudden occurrence. In case fire or a thief unexpectedly attacks, you should at least be able to save your most valuables from being lost forever. The modernization of science and technology has made it possible to have a box that can guard your most important possessions. Such boxes, called fireproof boxes, come in different designs and features such as the digital fire safe, the lockable fire chest, and the versatile firebox.

Whatever their built and materials are, they are intended to keep your valuable belongings from being taken away by fire or by thieves. Some of these boxes, however, have locks that are not that sturdy- burglars can break them. The best fireproof boxes that have locks that can not be broken by robbers and materials that can not be easily penetrated by fire. The best choice of boxes is the box that can withstand fire for two hours and has a combination lock. The combination lock is not easily opened by thieves and you can change it to make it even safer.

To save you from such hassle in case of fire outbreak, you must out in your box your birth certificate, social security card, insurance policies, current passport, property titles, a list of bank and credit card numbers, and spare car keys. Then where should these fireproof boxes be placed? The best location is the attic. The truth is, the survival of the box depends on the temperature of the fire, how long the box is exposed to fire, and how fire are the contents of the box. Remember that these boxes can not stand the fire for a very long time. Putting them in the most protected place will maximize the safety of your most valuable allies.

There are essential things in our homes and offices that will certainly be a hassle once we lose them. It can be because it is a hassle to replace them or it is a hassle thinking that we can never replace them. To save us from such hassles, equip your place with fireproof boxes that contain all the most valuable things. Moreover, the box must be placed in the best location, in the attic. In case of fire outbreak or robbery, you have at least saved your essential things.

What Causes Acid pH?

We use too many drugs, which are acid-forming; and we use artificial chemical sweeteners like NutraSweet, Equal, or aspartame, which are extremely acid forming (not to mention the neurotoxin characteristics!). One of the best things we can do to correct an overly acid body is to clean up the diet and lifestyle. Stress and physical activity (insufficient or excessive amounts) also cause acidification.

Research shows that when food is metabolized and broken down, it leaves certain chemical and metallic residues, a noncombustible "ash" which, combined with our body fluids, yields either acid or alkaline potentials of pH. Certain foods are "acid-forming" in nature, where others are known to be "alkalineforming."

Note that a food's acid or alkaline-forming tendency in the body has nothing to do with the actual pH of the food itself. For example, lemons are very acidic; although the end-products they produce after digestion and assimilation are very alkaline so lemons are alkaline-forming in the body. Likewise, meat will test alkaline before digestion but it leaves very acidic residue in the body so, like almost all animal products, meat is very acid forming.

The body becomes imbalanced and overly acidic primarily as a result of five things:

1. An acidic, low-oxygen environment in the body which is a result of eating diets that are heavy in sugars, dairy, meats, refined grains, fast foods and processed foods. These foods are all lacking in essential micro-nutrients; they leave behind an acidic ash following digestion.

2. A lack of the proper building blocks for the cell membranes that do not allow for the transfer of oxygen and nutrients into the cells. Cell membranes are made up of lipids (fats), and the body will use whatever form of fats that you are consuming, even if they are toxic and will clog the cells. Eat healthy fats, such as hemp seed oil, coconut oil, olive oil and butter.

3. A lack of permeability of the cell membrane will cause a build-up of cellular toxicity which further damages the respiratory mechanisms within cells; not allowing the cell to breathe and remove waste, forcing the cell to switch over to the fermentation process of energy production in order to survive.

4. Poor blood and lymph flow due to the lack of movement and exercise.

5. Extended indulgence in toxic emotions.

Which Foods Are Acid-Forming And Which Ones Are Alkaline-Forming?

Researchers find that most people are at least slightly acidic; their pH is low. Most of us habitually consume a diet high in meat, high in carbohydrates, high in fat and very little, if not completely inadequate amounts of fruits and vegetables. That means that most of us will experience a continuous acid pH and the older we are, the more "acid" we tend to become.

How Do I Know If I Have Acid pH?

pH measures the balance between positively and negatively charged ions in the body fluids, ie blood, urine and saliva. A low pH number indicates that your body fluid is on the acidic side. A high pH number indicates you have alkalinity. This delicate balance is an important indicator of overall health.

Blood pH should be slightly alkaline (7.35 – 7.45). Below or above this range means symptoms and disease. A pH of 7.0 is neutral. A pH below 7.0 is acidic. A pH above 7.0 is alkaline.

Urine pH levels can indicate how well your body is assimilating minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. These are called the "acid buffers" because they are used by the body to control acid levels. When acid levels begin to increase, the body becomes less capable of excreting acid. It must either store the acid in body tissues, or buffer it-that is, borrow minerals from organs, bones, etc., in order to neutralize the increase in acidity. Urinary pH should fluctuate between 6.0-6.4 in the morning and 6.4-7.0 in the evening.

Test Strips can determine your urinary pH. When urinary pH is continuously between 6.4 and 7.0 (depending upon the time of day), you're functioning in a healthy range.

Saliva pH – The results of saliva testing can indicate the activity of digestive enzymes in your body, especially the activity of the liver and the stomach. This reveals the flow of enzymes running through your body and shows their effect on all the body systems and your tissues. Some people will have acid pH readings from both urine and saliva-this is referred to as "double acid." Salivary pH should stay between 6.4 and 6.8.