The Rise of Digital Wallets and Mobile Payments

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – More businesses and countries worldwide are embracing digital payments as a way to make e-commerce more efficient and create a smoother transaction experience for consumers.
Digital wallets, such as uBUCK, offer a dollar-backed stable token built on Waves blockchain technology, one of the fastest blockchains available. uBUCK’s technology allows for the management of both digital and traditional currency, and both online and offline purchasing power.
“Piloted by an all-star management team, uBUCK is looking beyond carving out a niche to become a disruptive player in this ever-changing payments industry,” according to the company’s website.
The uBUCK digital wallet allows for instant transfers of funds, and unlike some digital wallets, uBUCK is not limited to the United States. Transfers can occur globally, with no transfer fees and no cost to the end user.
The elimination of transfer fees is one of uBUCK’s strongest selling points, as it is an option for those who don’t have traditional bank accounts, such as migrant workers looking to send money home, or for anyone else, such as parents sending money to kids at college who want to avoid the additional fees associated with some financial transfers.
Users of uBUCK can transfer funds, make online purchases, or withdraw cash at an ATM, although reports on digital wallet use suggest that the expanded technology may ultimately replace the need for bank branches and ATMs.
Sending money with uBUCK is a simple, four-step process:
* Buy the voucher. Users download the uBUCK app and purchase a voucher.
* Buy uBUCK cash. Users redeem a PIN to purchase uBUCK cash.
* Select recipient. Users without a uBUCK account will be invited to the app via email.
* Send payment. Users can then enter the payment amount, send, and confirm.
“Our mission is to put honesty, transparency, and trust back into software,” according to Ashik Karim, CEO of LiteLink Technologies, the parent company of uBUCK Technologies. LiteLink was recently featured in a Forbes magazine article, “10 Blockchain Companies to Watch in 2019.”
LiteLink is publicly traded on the Canadian Securities Exchange and OTC Markets. Their symbols are CSE:LLT and OTC:LLNKF.

Esports Popularity Piques Investor Interest

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – The Esports and global gaming industry has exploded in recent years as people of all ages turn to video games for entertainment over movies and music. In fact, the annual revenue from the gaming industry was higher than music and movies combined in 2018 and is expected to more than double in the next two years.
Esports involve multiplayer video games that are played competitively by both professional and amateur gamers for spectators. These can be first-person shooter games (FPS), multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games, real-time strategy (RTS) games, sports games, fighting games – the list goes on.
As with other professional sports leagues, Esports has its own universe with a full range of opportunities for smart investors looking for the next wave.

Deception Road Takes Viewers on a Thrill Ride

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – What do you get when you combine the acting chops of Thomas Haden Church (Sideways, Spiderman 3, Divorce), Alice Eve (Before We Go, She’s Out of My League), and Finn Wittrock (La La Land,The Big Short, Unbroken, American Horror Story) with a twisted tale of deceit, passion, and dark humor?
Deception Road, an upcoming film set for production in the summer of 2019.
The story gets rolling when the character of Oscar (Wittrock) is traveling through the American Southwest. He hitches a ride with haunted war veteran Hal (Church), but all is not as it seems, and a simple car ride is only the beginning of a complex and mysterious journey. Instead, Oscar finds himself in the middle of a game of cat and mouse with Hal, his lovely, young wife, Jessie, and the situation goes from bizarre to dangerous, but with a dose of dark comedy. The cast is rounded out by newcomer Jack Tynan.
The film is being produced by Wild Invention Pictures along with George Parra and Michael Goodin. It will be shot on location in Utah, where the stark, stunning landscape serves as an ideal background for the mystery and danger that unfold. The screenplay was written by Dallas Mitchell Brennan and and the film will be directed by Max Mayer, whose credits include Adam and As Cool as I Am.
“I look forward with great joy to working with such a dynamically gifted team to tell a story I find so darkly funny, compelling, and emotionally truthful,” says Mayer.
The film will be distributed domestically by Smith Global Media, headed by CEO Harry Smith.
“The Smith Global team is excited to have acquired the domestic distribution rights to Deception Road. This quirky thriller will entertain diverse audiences and the wonderful cast is bound to deliver exceptional performances,” says Smith.
The film is financed by executive producer Neil Shroff and has an excellent shot at artistic and commercial success based on its combination of stellar acting and tight plot. Early analytics suggest that it will be popular with a large range of audiences, which makes the film a great opportunity for investors.
Investment opportunities are available at deceptionroadmovie.com.
“We are excited to bring this film from script to screen as it has the potential to become an enduring classic working with Max Mayer and this talented production team and cast,” says Brennan.
Visit deceptionroadmovie.com for more information about the movie, the production team, and investment opportunities.

Fomentando empatía a través de la tecnología

(NewsUSA) – San Juan, Puerto Rico – 23 de mayo de 2019 – El huracán Maria fue la tormenta más letal en la historia moderna de Estados Unidos. Casi dos años después personas siguen afectadas, incluyendo a muchos jóvenes puertorriqueños. "La única manera de crear conciencia sobre un problema, y motivar a los demás a ser empáticos sobre el mismo, es cuando lo vivimos o lo observamos directamente," explicó Jan De La Paz, maestro de español en la Escuela Especializada en Matemáticas, Ciencias y Tecnología de San Juan y Profesor Innovador Experto de Microsoft.Varios de sus estudiantes fueron afectados por el huracán, inspirándole a desarrollar el proyecto "Lluvia, truenos, estragos y esperanza" que fomenta la empatía entre sus alumnos mientras estimula el aprendizaje de forma innovadora.Durante el proyecto, sus estudiantes de onceavo grado realizaron entrevistas a sus compañeros, identificados por una trabajadora social, quienes habían sufrido más por los efectos del huracán. Después los estudiantes redactaron historias y crearon cortos documentales acerca de las experiencias de los estudiantes afectados.El proyecto no podía terminar ahí. "Era necesario lograr que la sensibilidad hacia el prójimo se extendiera," dijo De La Paz. Después de ver los documentales, los estudiantes sugirieron demostrarles los videos a otros grados. Con el uso de Microsoft Forms, se ofreció una encuesta a los estudiantes antes y después de ver los videos."Los resultados fueron sorprendentes. Ellos no imaginaban que sus compañeros a quienes ven cada día habían pasado por estas situaciones," explicó De La Paz. "Había casos en que los hogares habían perdido el techo o el suelo."Después del huracán Maria, se estima que más 130,000 personas abandonaron la isla, y se fueron a Florida, Nueva York, Texas, entre otros estados. Por esta razón, De La Paz se unió con la escuela pública Ascher Silberstein en Texas para llevar este aprendizaje fuera de Puerto Rico. Los estudiantes participaron en el mismo ejercicio, creando empatía y conciencia sobre la situación."La tecnología tiene la capacidad de no solo crear el mundo de mañana pero también darle vida al presente," dijo De La Paz. "Necesitamos ver la tecnología como una herramienta que nos ayuda a mostrar lo que estamos viviendo, usándola de forma empática y humana."Acerca de Microsoft Latinx Microsoft Latinx es una plataforma de comunicaciones que celebra a la comunidad Latina y sigue la misión de la compañía de empoderar a cada persona y organización a lograr más. Para más información contacta a Edelman at (305) 358-9500.

Millennial Successfully Relocates And Buys Second Home at Age 25

(NewsUSA) – Amy bought her first house in Grand Rapids, Michigan at age 23. Fast forward two years and she has since sold that house and relocated to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Two houses in two years at age 25: Here’s one Millennial who isn’t sacrificing homeownership for mobility. The relocation shuffle Although Amy was perfectly happy with her first little house and made lots of friends in Grand Rapids, a job opportunity popped up that was too good to turn down. She recently relocated to Pittsburgh, where she serves as a regional sales manager for a major food distribution company.Before her move, she experienced the ups and downs of both buying and selling houses in two different states. Selling a first home in Michigan "Lucky for me, Grand Rapids has a shortage of homes for sale and a lot of buyers. I didn’t have a chance to make any improvements on my house, a farmhouse built in 1904, but I did add a simple deck and lots of flowers and new bushes. It has more curb appeal than when I bought it," Amy says. She says that the hardest part about selling a house was making sure it was clean all the time and ready for prospective buyers to tour.Amy ultimately sold her house for $161,000, $21,000 more than what she paid in 2017. Even in that time, she accumulated some equity and walked away with a total of $28,000 when the sale closed. Buying a new house in Pennsylvania The next step was to find a house in Pittsburgh. Home prices are higher there, compared to Grand Rapids, Amy notes. She wanted to buy a nicer, more expensive home this time around."I found one that was a little bit above my price range at $200,000. But it’s in perfect condition. I don’t have to worry about repairs or anything," Amy says. Plus, coffee shops and restaurants are within walking distance.She explains, "I could have used all of the proceeds from the sale of my house as my down payment. But I didn’t want to drain my savings account. I used private mortgage insurance (PMI) again, so I could put less money down. I could have put 10 percent or $20,000 down, but I opted for a 5-percent down payment of $10,000 instead. My monthly payment is a little bit higher, but still affordable. Thanks to PMI, I could buy a bigger, better house and still have money in the bank."Are you ready to buy a house right now? Or should you wait to save more for a down payment? Check out this calculator to find out: mgic.com/buynow. And for more information on how mortgage insurance can help you put less money down, go to readynest.com

Junior Achievement Program Supports Girls in STEM

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – There is a well-known gap between girls and boys when it comes to interest in STEM careers. And evidence shows that that gap may be widening based on a survey from Junior Achievement, a non-government organization that prepares youth for future jobs.
What is interesting is that, according to a study by the British government, girls do better than boys in exams in STEM subjects, which suggests that girls’ self-confidence in their ability may be what’s holding them back.
According to Junior Achievement’s survey, only 9 percent of teenage girls are interested in pursuing STEM careers, and many cite a lack of support and mentorship. The survey was conducted from April 16-21, 2019, and included 1,004 students ages 13-17 in the United States.
The reported interest in STEM among girls is down from 11 percent in a similar 2018 survey. Among boys, interest in STEM careers increased from 24 percent in 2018 to 27 percent in 2019.
“The decline of interest in STEM careers is disappointing given how much emphasis is being placed on promoting STEM to girls,” says Jack Kosakowski, president and CEO of the Junior Achievement USA.
“One element that may need to be emphasized more is ensuring that STEM professionals are serving as role models and working with girls in educational settings as part of these initiatives,” he notes.
To help support and encourage girls as well as boys to maintain their interest in STEM careers, Junior Achievement brings STEM professionals to classrooms to provide career readiness programs. These volunteers share their experiences and detail the steps they took to achieve their current positions in STEM fields. So students see real-life examples of the value of acquiring skills in math, science, coding, and composition.
In addition, the organization offers a JA Job Shadow program for high school students. The program involves three 45-minute classroom sessions and a four-to-five-hour visit to a professional work environment.
From a STEM perspective, this experience could have a significant impact on girls.
A survey conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows that many teens feel they don’t have mentors or role models for STEM careers. A job shadow program that gives girls a chance to see female STEM professionals in action may be the boost they need to stay motivated to pursue similar careers themselves.
In a survey of the Junior Achievement alumni conducted in 2016-2017, 1 in 5 respondents reported that they have worked or currently work in the same field as a Junior Achievement professional volunteer who mentored them in high school.
Visit ja.org for more information about the Junior Achievement and the job shadow program.

The Hazards Most Likely to Damage Your Tires

(NewsUSA) – Beware of a spoon stuck in your tires?Well, yes. According to a new national survey of auto service professionals, this common kitchen utensil is a potential hazard – albeit one of the more unusual ones – likely to damage your tires if you’re not careful about your surroundings. The four tires on your car are the only thing connecting your vehicle to the road, and they also affect everything from handling to braking, playing a critical role in your safety. Given their part in keeping you safe on the road, it’s worth taking the time to take care of your tires – especially when there are so many potential hazards to look out for.Some of which, like a spoon, may surprise you. But more on that in a minute.The study from Cooper Tires conducted by Auto Service Professional magazine couldn’t come at a better time: Nearly 100 million Americans are expected to have taken a family vacation by year’s end, according to a recent AAA Travel survey, with upcoming spring and summer road trips topping many of their plans.With so many Americans on the road all year long, whether for a family vacation or their daily commute to work, tire damage is an unfortunate reality many have dealt with. According to the study, some of the most common causes of tire damage are running over something, like a curb (72 percent), nails (70 percent), and potholes (39 percent). Other common causes of tire damage are more easily preventable, such as driving with bald tires (48 percent) and driving on a tire with low air pressure (44 percent). It’s probably why checking tire pressure, rotating your tires and paying attention to the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) light are the top tips from auto service professionals on proper tire maintenance.And the one location you probably most want to avoid when driving? Construction zones, which are no doubt the culprit behind so many tires being punctured by spikes, wrenches, screwdrivers and pliers.Drivers need to contend with various road challenges throughout the year. In the winter, the top two sources of tire damage are potholes (72 percent) and unseen hazards hidden under that fresh blanket of snow (59 percent), which can be anything from cracks in the pavement to debris that has fallen off trucks. In summer, underinflated tires are the most common offender (88 percent), leading to overheating."The four tires on your vehicle are the only parts to come in contact with and keep you connected to the road," notes Jess Egerton, director of brand development at Cooper Tires, which has been making tires since 1914. "That’s why, for safety and performance reasons, you have to properly care for, maintain and inspect them."That means:* Checking tire inflation on a regular basis. Operating a vehicle with even just one tire underinflated by 8 psi can reduce the life of a tire by 9,000 miles and increase fuel consumption by 4 percent.* Replacing tires when worn to 2/32 inches tread depth anywhere on the tread face.* Visually checking tires for things like missing valve caps, uneven tread wear and any foreign objects that could spell serious problems should they become even more deeply embedded while driving.But back to those more unusual hazards.Pieces of toys. Porcupine quills. Pork chop bones. Spoons. It’s anyone’s guess – including the service professionals who recounted finding them jabbed in tires – how they got there."Auto service professionals have pulled a lot of unusual things out of tires over the years," says Greg Smith, publisher of Auto Service Professional magazine. "But, really, it might surprise people to know that a lot of tire damage is simply due to poor maintenance and wear and tear." 

Daily Dose of Reading Helps Boosts Brain Power

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – If, like many people, you are concerned about how much screen time you or your kids are getting, there’s an easy remedy which can also help boost your brain power: Reading a book – in print.
According to the American Library Association, students who are independent readers score higher on achievement tests in all subject areas and have a greater knowledge of content than those who rarely read.
Need ideas and inspiration? Check out the Read 15 Pages a Day program from the Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds campaign, funded by manufacturers and importers of paper and paper-based packaging. The program is designed to encourage reading in print at all ages and reading levels while promoting the benefits reading in print provides.
By reading books and other print materials each day, children and adults could improve their brain power in two ways:
– Improve memory and information recall. Research suggests that the physical sensation of holding a book helps readers retain more information and absorb more details than when they read e-books or material online. Reading on paper promotes concentration on what you read, so you are better able to remember it.
Other studies suggest that taking notes on paper in classes or meetings and re-reading them improves recall and retention of information.
– Improved language and mental development. The 15 Pages a Day Program encourages parents to read just 15 pages with their children each day. Regular reading of print books can help improve children’s language development and inspire them to become independent readers, a gift that will last a lifetime. Even when children can read their own 15 pages of a print book, reading aloud will increase their understanding of how knowledge is acquired and shared and encourages active listening.
In addition, studies of older adults show that those who read and write regularly experience significantly slower declines in memory compared with those who are not regular readers.
Another benefit? A print book needs no charger, and you can read in a cabin in the woods, on a plane without WiFi, on a sailboat, on a bus, or on a beach, so the 15 pages can fit in anywhere, anytime.
Learn more about the power of printed books and the benefits of just 15 pages of reading each day at howlifeunfolds.com/15pages.

Serenity Awaits at Calabash Cove Resort & Spa St Lucia

(NewsUSA) – Travelers who are seeking serenity as part of their quintessential Caribbean luxury resort experience will find their perfect getaway at Calabash Cove.With a secluded beachfront location on the northwest (or Caribbean) side of the coast of the island of St. Lucia, Calabash Cove offers privacy and luxury for adults only.The Calabash Cove guest list includes singles and couples, some honeymooners, some celebrating an anniversary or other special event, and others looking for a simple but elegant getaway with some personal space and well-prepared meals. Visitors come from the United States, Canada, Europe, and around the world.The resort and spa is a full-service resort: the optional Unconditional All-Inclusive package covers all food and drinks including room service, daily specials, an in-room bar, lobster when in season, and more than 20 wines by the bottle from the resort’s extensive wine list. Tips and Wi-Fi are included as well.Part of the resort’s appeal is its promise of intimacy – only 26 suites, all with a king bed, Jacuzzi, double vanity, rain shower, private balcony or patio, ocean view and cable TV. The resort is built along a sloping hill and was designed to complement and harmonize with the natural surroundings and offer guests full benefit of ocean breezes and sunset views.The property includes a private beach with nearby coral reef, as well as tropical gardens and groves of trees to set the scene for reflection and relaxation.Calabash caters to a quieter crowd, says owner Konrad Wagner"If guests like a large, noisy, and ordinary resort, Calabash Cove Resort & Spa may not be best for them," he explains."A crowd for many of them is when three couples decide to charter a boat for the day to visit the Pitons for snorkeling."Calabash guests "enjoy dinner music every night at a volume suitable for a conversation," he adds.However, guests looking to sprinkle their serenity with activity can take advantage of a Cybex cardiovascular fitness center, or get out on the water with kayaks, paddle boards, and snorkeling gear, all available at no additional charge.Calabash Cove is ideally situated five minutes north of Castries and five minutes south of Rodney Bay Village, with approximately 40 bars and restaurants to cater to a range of tastes when guests crave a change of scene.Visit calabashcove.com for more information. 

The Best-Kept Secret: 529 Education Savings Plans

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – What you don’t know really can hurt you when it comes to paying for your child’s college education.
Yes, we’re talking 529 plans. They’ve been around since 1996 – longer than most Generation Zers have been alive – but a new survey from Edward Jones found that a whopping 67 percent of Americans don’t have a clue that they provide a tax-advantaged way to save money for tuition, books and other qualified education-related expenses at most accredited two- and four-year colleges, universities, and vocational-technical schools. Worse still, that 67 percent figure is 5 percent higher than the first time the survey was done in 2012.
“It’s a concerning trend,” says Tim Burke, a principal at the financial services firm Edward Jones.
“Concerning” because of the current average price tag of a four-year degree, including tuition, room and board: $21,370-a-year at public schools, according to the College Board, and $48,510-a-year at private schools.
And just how do those surveyed think they’re going to handle that freight?
* Personal savings accounts (38 percent). Alas, the national average interest rate on such accounts is a measly 0.09 percent. Try covering even the more than $1,200 the average college student spends on books and materials over the course of a year with that.
* Scholarships (35 percent). Is your kid a bona fide child prodigy or football star? Because Sallie Mae’s “How America Pays for College” 2018 report found that only 17 percent of college costs were paid this way.
* Federal or state financial aid (33 percent). Pell Grants are the largest source of federally funded grants, and they max out at $6,095 for the 2018-19 academic year. That would cover about 28 percent of one year’s $21,370 average cost at a public college – except that, as the College Board explains, “most students receive smaller grants because they are enrolled part time or because their family income and assets reduce their aid eligibility.”
* Private student loans (20 percent). According to the Brookings Institution, parents who take out loans – not the financially strapped Millennials we’ve heard so much about it – do so to the tune of $16,000 a year on average, and nearly 10 percent are on the hook for $100,000. “College debt is increasingly becoming a parent problem, too,” ConsumerReports.com just warned.
Given all that, you can see why Kyle Andersen, another principal at Edward Jones, says that “by relying on scholarships or federal or state financial aid that a student may or may not receive, Americans leave themselves vulnerable.”
Which brings us back to 529 plans.
Kudos to the 18 percent of those surveyed who said they’d implemented this strategy, which Edward Jones and others call “an attractive and practical way to save.” How so? Remember when we said they’re tax-advantaged? That means that (unlike personal savings accounts) the earnings in these plans – typically comprised of a portfolio of funds – accumulate tax-free, and that qualified withdrawals are exempt from both federal and state income taxes.
The federal gift tax exclusion allows a contributor to give up to $15,000 per year, per beneficiary, or $30,000 for married couples. Though almost every state has its own 529 plan – with total limits sometimes reaching more than $500,000 – there’s no “home-town restriction,” so you might want to work with a local Edward Jones financial advisor to compare plans and review your situation.
Oh, one other thing less than half of those surveyed knew: 529 plans can also be used to pay for qualified K-12 tuition.