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20 Dic 2016 

Madonna, Guy Ritchie settle child custody dispute: court official | Reuters

NEW YORK Singer Madonna and her ex-husband, director Guy Ritchie, have settled a custody dispute over their 16-year-old son Rocco, a court official in New York said on Wednesday.

It was not immediately announced with which parent the teenager would live.

Madonna, 58, and Ritchie, 47, have been in a legal battle over their son since December, when the teenager ignored a court order to fly back from Ritchie's London home to live with his mother in New York.

The "Material Girl" singer, who concluded her worldwide "Rebel Heart" tour in March, and Ritchie, director of 2009 film "Sherlock Holmes," married in 2000. After they divorced in 2008, they agreed that Rocco would live with Madonna.

In March, a New York judge and a British judge both separately urged the former spouses to find an amicable resolution for Rocco's sake.

Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for the New York State court system, confirmed lawyer near me the case was officially settled on Wednesday but did not immediately provide further information.

Details of the settlement also were not revealed in online court records. Attorneys for Ritchie did not immediately return calls for comment and a representative for Madonna's lawyers said they do not comment on cases involving children.

Madonna and Ritchie also have an adopted son who was born in Malawi.

Ritchie is now married to British model Jacqui Ainsley, with whom he has three children.

(Reporting by divorce lawyer Laila Kearney and Joseph Ax; Editing by Bill Trott)

20 Dic 2016 

Why Fiat Chrysler May Be Google's First Self-Driving Partner

Why Fiat Chrysler May Be Google's First Self-Driving Partner -- The Motley Fool


The first Google self-driving car consumers can buy might turn out to be a Chrysler Pacifica minivan. Reports say FCA and Google are on the verge of a major technology deal. Image source: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Multiple reports are suggesting that Alphabet's (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google Cars unit is about to sign a sweeping partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE:FCAU).

The deal, first reported by well-wired Detroit pundit Peter DeLorenzo on his Autoextremist blog last week, and since confirmed in follow-up reports by The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, could be announced as soon as this week, say the reports.

What the reports say about the deal: Talks between the two companies about a deal described as an "advanced technical partnership" have been ongoing for several months. Google is also believed to have approached both Ford (NYSE:F) and General Motors (NYSE:GM), but it appears poised to proceed with FCA.

The partnership would begin with the construction of several self-driving prototypes of FCA's new Chrysler Pacifica minivan. But that's just the first phase: Some level of Google technology could begin to appear in production versions of the Pacifica as soon as the fourth quarter of 2016, and the strong hint is that the deal will have several phases and continue for at least a few years.

Why would Google chose Fiat Chrysler?

Google Cars chief John Krafcik, an auto-industry veteran, has said repeatedly that Google doesn't want to get into the (expensive, low-profit-margin) business of manufacturing cars. Instead, it will look for opportunities to supply its self-driving technology to established automakers.

But why choose Fiat Chrysler, perhaps the least technically advanced of the major automakers? I suspect that's actually the reason: Ford and GM (and most of their European and Japanese rivals) have fairly advanced self-driving research-and-development programs of their own. They don't need Google -- and that means they don't need to agree to Google's terms.

Why might they balk? It's a safe bet that those terms include control of (or at least complete access to) the extensive data harvested by the self-driving systems. As with cell phones, the data collected by self-driving cars is expected to visit this site be quite valuable for (among other things) what it reveals about individuals' habits and preferences.

(That may sound sinister, but it's more likely to be about advertising opportunities: If your car tells Google that you favor a particular chain of coffee shops, Google [and the coffee-shop company] might offer you a coupon from time to time, or automatically point you to the company's nearest shop when you're in an unfamiliar area.)

Automakers are wary of the example set in the smartphone industry, where Google's control of the Android operating system has meant it's able to capture the bulk of profits associated with the sale and use of Android smartphones. No automaker wants to be reduced to an even-lower-margin commodity maker of hardware if it can avoid it -- and it's a safe bet that GM and Ford, run by executives who are well aware of the threat of "disruption" from Silicon Valley, were unwilling to turn over control of their cars' user experiences and data to Google.

Why Fiat Chrysler would embrace Google

FCA is in a much weaker position than Ford or GM. Right now, the company's finances and resources are stretched paper-thin while it implements CEO Sergio Marchionne's aggressive five-year plan -- a plan that does not call for significant investments in self-driving visit their website technology (or electric cars, for that matter).

For Marchionne and his team, a deal with Google could represent a quick way to put FCA in the forefront of self-driving innovation without having to spend billions of dollars on research and development. As he scrambles to keep pace with much more financially secure rivals, that potential might well make any concerns about data control seem trivial.
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20 Dic 2016 

Divorce Lawyer

The rate of divorces has increased drastically in recent years, not just in Australia but in many parts of the world. This is due to many reasons but most will agree that the change to no-fault divorces has increased the rate of divorce. Whereas years ago, couples had to prove the their spouse was "unfit" or did something wrong, with a no-fault divorce couples can obtain a divorce by merely stating they no longer wish to be married. Regardless of the reason a couple chooses to get a divorce, it's in their best interest to find a good divorce lawyer.

Australia has very clear and relatively easy-to-satisfy divorce laws. The only requirements are that you be domiciled in Australia, be an Australian citizen or an Australian resident for at least 12 months. If you meet these requirements, and have been separated from your spouse for at least 12 months, you can file for a divorce in Australia. In certain cases, the spouses are not required to attend their court hearing. One of these situations is if there are no children under the age of 18. If you do have children under the age of 18, and both you and your spouse sign a joint divorce application, you will not need to make a court appearance unless the court waives this requirement for some reason.

In spite of how easy it is to obtain a divorce in Australia, it will still be beneficial for you to have a divorce lawyer, particularly if minor children and/or property are involved. A good divorce lawyer can help you with separation, divorce, property settlement, child custody, maintenance and defacto property settlement. Occasionally, a couple will choose to handle a divorce themselves without the assistance of a divorce lawyer. This is not recommended unless there are no children or assets and both spouses are in full agreement of the simplicity of the divorce. In all other cases, a divorce lawyer is highly recommended to help stand up for your rights regarding the many issues involving family law and divorce.

Australia has made every effort to make divorce as easy, inexpensive and pain free as possible for the couple by requiring the using of arbitration in divorce cases. The private arbitration system for divorces was implemented by the federal Attorney-General of Australia to help eliminate the many disputes brought on by divorce. Divorce lawyers authorized by the courts will handle the arbitration. The couples seeking the divorce can choose their own divorce lawyer from the court-appointed list. The main purpose of the arbitration is to help resolve money issues. Arbitrators, however, have no authority to rule on disputes involving child custody.

Many people confuse arbitration with mediation or believe they are the same thing when they are actually quite different. A good divorce lawyer can explain the divorce an assist you with your needs during your divorce proceedings. A mediator cannot make a decision for or against a wife or husband but is there to listen to both sides and offer suggestions on how they can both compromise to come to an agreeable solution. If the couple cannot come to an agreement, the job of the mediator is over and an arbitrator is brought into the case. In some cases, however, the mediator is asked to come to a decision for the couple, although this is not recommended because it's often difficult for a mediator to suddenly switch roles and become an arbitrator.

Arbitrators are divorce lawyers set by the court and can set their own fees, which can often be quite expensive. Couples have the choice of choosing their own arbitrator if they're not happy with the one chosen by the court. A divorce can be a small matter between two individuals but can also be a huge court case involving a couple, their children and jointly owned property. In such a case, you will want a good divorce lawyer. You will want to make sure you have a lawyer that is experienced enough to help you in your divorce. Because there are many circumstances in divorces, you may need a checklist of questions for your divorce lawyer to help ensure you are getting the best possible divorce lawyer for your needs, some of which may include:

1. How many divorces have they handled? You do not want a divorce lawyer with little or no experience in divorces. Unless they've actually handled a divorce, they're not going to know what to expect or if there courts lean towards any certain trends. 2. What is their specialty in divorces? Although some divorces may be simple, some involve property settlements, custody battles, child support, maintenance, etc. You'll need to know your divorce lawyer has experience that will meet your needs. 3. What kind of reputation do they have in divorce cases? You may notice in divorces of wealthy couples, women seeking large settlements often seek the same divorce lawyer or couples seeking custody will use divorce lawyers that are successful in these issues. Find out what your divorce lawyer's success rate is. 4. What are the costs? The cost of divorce can be as low as hundreds (doing it yourself) and as high as thousands of dollars. Have your divorce lawyer explain what the expenses will be. Find out if there are any expenses that can be lessened or eliminated without hurting your case. 5. How many arbitrations have they been involved in? If they are a court-appointed arbitrator, as is customary in Australia divorce cases, they've probably been in arbitrations before. Find out how many and how they resulted. 6. What type of arbitrations has your divorce lawyer been involved in? If you suspect your divorce is going to become a nasty fight for custody, you want a divorce lawyer that's experienced and successful in child custody cases. 7. What does your divorce lawyer hope to accomplish in your divorce? Have him explain the most and least he hopes to get for you. Don't be afraid to compare divorce lawyers if you don't feel the first one you see can help you. 8. If asked, would your divorce lawyer be willing to work as an arbitrator and mediator? The answer you get from your lawyer may determine if he's the right divorce lawyer for you. Lawyers compared is a handy online guide for individuals seeking the services of a lawyer in Australia. This online guide covers such areas as divorce lawyers, family lawyers, commercial lawyers and more.
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15 Dic 2016 

Home Decorating Tips On A Budget

A Fresh New Look

When spring is on the way and your home is in dire need of a fresh new look to compliment the season you can easily achieve this however restrictive your budget. Rest assured, home improvements don't necessarily mean vast expenditure. The interior décor in the accompanying photo was easily completed well within a limited budget. Paint is by far your best ally; you can achieve the same streamlined professional look with cheap paint as you can with brand names. You don't need to spend a lot. A few super-sized tubs of emulsion in neutral colours really can transform the entire look of any home for absolute peanuts. Low-key colour schemes can vastly improve more tips here the appearance of your home and whether you care to call these shades 'vanilla variations', 'ivory inventions' or 'cappuccino creations,' you will find they give your home interior a relaxing atmosphere. Trade paint can cost next to nothing and provides a professional finish that is just as smooth as pricier products.

Browse before you buy

Before you do anything else, take a browse round your local home improvement centre or DIY outlet such as The Home Depot in the US or Home Base in the UK and you will be pleasantly surprised by the choice and affordability of the products available. If you have no set ideas in mind you may even find some inspiration! There are usually informative leaflets available to encourage your proposed project.

Make a list of all the essential items you will need to find carry out your improvements and only then once these have been purchased should you think of incorporating a few luxuries into the equation.

If you are still stuck for ideas watch a few home improvement programs and even view neighbouring properties to see what neighbours have done with the same amount of space. You won't be accused of being a copycat; you can still incorporate the ideas of others and adapt things to your own requirements.

Costs can be saved by buying end of range and clearance stock at greatly reduced prices.

Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

Your home improvement schedule need not be daunting or entail any great upheaval in your household. You can always concentrate on one specific room or area at a time in order to keep mess to a minimum and to stay within your budget.

The key to effective décor is preparation. Make sure all areas you want to change are clean and free of debris. Pack away all paraphernalia and unnecessary equipment that will cause an obstruction.

If you are unsure of anything always experiment with a smaller area first. Another skilful way to transform a room is with clever use of lighting; you will find that paint and light can work together to achieve the harmonious look you want. Making the best use of natural light is always good but where this is not possible in dimly lit areas you can use mirrors or light fitments made from reflective materials to maximize space and give a bright and airy feel to a previously dismal room. Clever use of stylish mirrors will also enhance the appeal of any newly decorated room and need not cost a fortune.

Altering things gradually is the way forward if money is tight and it may be an idea to save for a few expensive focal points to add to your central theme once alterations have been completed. The trick is to have an idea that you stick to and don't overspend or complicate things to the extent that you become overwhelmed. Simple ideas are often the most effective and can still provide the 'wow' factor that is needed to give your home the makeover it so badly needs.

View your interior walls as a showcase for a few interesting larger features rather than swamp them with smaller items that are merely dust catchers.

Making best use of available space and giving every area in the home a designated purpose will also help in creating the atmosphere you deserve. Storage spaces are much needed in every home nowadays with all the paraphernalia a modern family will accumulate. This or other household items should never be on permanent display so be careful when choosing an open plan design to your living space. Is there still somewhere to store things like your ironing board, vacuum cleaner and stepladder etc?

A streamlined look is always the best idea especially in smaller spaces; you will find it easier on the eye and on the pocket.

Don't Forget the Outside

Applying the same principles to your outside space will also work wonders. You can transform your home exterior with paint too and use products such as wood varnish and metal paints to enhance exterior fittings such as railings, fences and window frames. Enhancing and working with what is already there is always the solution when funds are low.

Never try to rush things. Home makeovers on TV may be done in the twinkling of an eye but when you consider the number of people who contribute their time and expertise to such projects, the single householder can only hope to complete things over a more realistic time scale.
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15 Dic 2016 

10 remodeling mistakes to avoid

(MoneyWatch) Remodeling a home is more stressful for many people than buying one, according to a new


A whopping 85 percent of

homeowners say remodeling is stressful, which edges out the number who say

taking out a mortgage is stressful by 5 percent, according to a Harris

Interactive study commissioned by Bolster, a New York-based company that offers

remodeling insurance in the state.

Budget woes, problems with

contractors and even relationship home improvement ideas near you issues plague homeowners looking to remodel.

Nearly half of remodelers went over budget. With that much money at risk, and

that level of disruption to your home, no wonder remodeling is the most

stressful thing a homeowner can do.

Don't make it any harder

than it has to be by making these stress-inducing mistakes:

1. Not understanding your project

"The first thing a

homeowner can do in their favor is understand their own project as much as

possible," said Bolster founder and CEO Fraser Patterson, who has been a

contractor for 12 years. "Learn as much about what they need and lay that in a

brief 'scope of work' that gives as much detail as possible before going out to


This isn't just about

fixtures and finishes (though those are important too) -- it's about

understanding all the invisible work that might be involved as well. If you

want an overhead light where there currently isn't one, for instance, you will need new

wiring behind the walls.

2. Remodeling without a budget

Thirty-seven percent of

remodelers don't set a budget for the work they want done, according to the survey, but that's a surefire

way to stress yourself out both during and after the remodel. Whether you start

with the vision and add up costs or remodel according to what you can afford, "whatever you think it is early on, you can almost double it,"

Patterson said.

3. Not setting expectations

You probably have

expectations for your contractor, but what about for yourself, your spouse and

your family? Frederic Medway, a professor of psychology at the

University of South Carolina, recommends

talking through everyone's role, their responsibilities and the expectations

you have for each other during the remodeling process, as well as for the project as a whole. Thorough communication

helps things go smoothly, but revisit this conversation as time goes on.

4. Waiting until the last minute to make detailed


This is about fixtures and finishes. You want to avoid being forced to make

a decision overnight on the tile you're going to stare at for the next decade,

so think the details through ahead of time.

"In carpentry they say, 'You

measure twice and you cut once,'" Patterson said. "I think that applies to a

project as a whole. Make all the decisions in advance and execute it or you can

go hugely over budget."

You're also less likely to

regret a well-thought house renovation kerala out decision than one that is made in a time crunch.

5. Not getting true apples-to apples comparison

The National Association

of the Remodeling Industry recommends getting three bids from contractors as a rule of

thumb, so start there. But when they come in, they won't be the same, making

comparing them difficult, if not impossible.

"Different contractors are

bidding on different things, so there's no real way to establish if you're

getting value or not," Patterson said. "Be as specific as possible -- try and

compare like for like. The devil really is in the details in remodeling


When your bids come in,

take all their comments and compare the offers. Then go back to the first

contractor with the comments from the next two in order to rectify all three

bids, and so on. Your goal is to get all three bids to include a very similar

scope of work.

6. Letting your contractor worry about money

Remodeling can be

stressful for contractors, too. Nearly 20 percent of remodelers said they have

withheld payments on such projects, and not getting paid is one of the

contractors' biggest fears. Consider handing them a sanitized bank statement

proving you have the funds to cover the project.

"Alleviating the concerns

of the contractor is good way to get them to be motivated and marshal their

resources," Patterson said.

7. Not getting a fixed-price contract

When it comes to home improvement projects, you want fewer surprises

and changes, not more. A fixed-price contract binds your contractor to the deal

you made, rather than the more loosely constructed "time plus materials" agreement.

You may have to make changes along the way, either because you changed your mind

or the contractor encountered an unexpected problem, but even these are


8. Only vetting a contractor's clients

"Very often you'll vet the

contractor by asking for previous work and previous clients, but you should

also talk to their subcontractors and suppliers, and very few people do that,"

Patterson said. "It's very telling information."

9. Not discussing or discussing the process in detail

Medway recommends finding out what is going to happen

during the remodeling project and sitting down as a family to plan ahead. That

means talking to your contractor about process, timing and disruption to your

regular activities and communicating that with everyone involved.

10. Not preparing for the unexpected

Have contractors lay

out exactly where they think plans can go awry. What problems are they likely to find? What kind of work changes have

they encountered on similar projects? What could go wrong?

Also prepare financially. The remodeling association recommends setting aside an extra 10 percent over the contract price

to account for costs coming in higher than expected.
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