Conamedis

The term “financial skills” covers a range of activities that a professional buyer or procurement executive needs to have if they are to deliver value for money and manage commercial risk for their organisation. However, these skills are not always covered by conventional training which means that a buyer could be creating needless exposure both for themselves and their career as well as their organisation.

There are six financial skills that everyone who works in procurement should acquire.

1. Financial analysis – this covers the use of financial ratios that enable you to identify suppliers who are under performing compared to their competitors or who might be financially vulnerable and so create a supply risk for you. Ratios compare one financial value with another in order to give you an insight into the way that supplier is run. For example, liquidity ratios look at the ability of a supplier to meet its short-term financial obligations by dividing the value of current assets (such as cash and inventory) with the value of current liabilities (such as creditors). Other ratios tell you how efficient the supplier is in turning sales into profit, generating sales from the use of assets and its ability to grow.

2. Activity based costing – this is a method that takes all of the costs of an organisation and assigns them to the products or services that the supplier sells. The big difference between this approach and more conventional costing methods is that it first allocates costs to the activities that create those costs and then to products or services in direct proportion to the amount of those activities that they use in their production or service fulfillment. What this means is that you get a clearer picture of the true costs of making a product or delivering a service than you get from conventional means. The importance of this for the buyer is that they get an understanding of what drives costs and so what actions suppliers can take to reduce them which in turn lets them reduce the price to the buyer and still make an acceptable profit.

3. Understanding profit and loss accounts and balance sheets – the profit and loss account shows a buyer a summary of all the transactions a supplier has made in a period of time (such as a year) with the resulting profit they make and the balance sheet is a snapshot of the financial position of the supplier at that point in time. Accounting policies that the supplier adopts can make a big difference to the declared profit; for example, a supplier can choose how much to charge each year to the profit and loss account for an asset it has bought and this can have a major impact on the profit in any one year. Knowing what accounting policies a supplier uses can help a buyer to understand their accounts and so make sure that the financial ratios that are used to get an insight paint an accurate picture.

4. Understanding cashflow – the lifeblood of any organisation is its cashflow as it can only pay its bills on time and remain solvent if there is cash in the bank. It is important to understand that this is not the same as its profit. For example, if you sell something for $100 now and give your customer 14 days credit then you will not physically receive the cash for another two weeks. If you have bought materials that have been used to make that product and your supplier has given you only 7 days credit then you will have to make a payment to them before you receive the cash from your sale. If you do not have the money in the bank then you may be in difficulties. Understanding the concept of cashflow and how to calculate and analyse it is an important tool in predicting the solvency of your suppliers and their vulnerability.

5. Understanding break-even analysis – this technique calculates the level of activity your supplier needs to have if it is to break even. Levels of activity above the break-even point result in a profit for your supplier and levels of activity below it means your supplier is operating at a loss. The importance of knowing this figure is in negotiations. If your supplier is already above its break-even point and has included your current level of purchases in its calculation, then any further business from you will provide a “super profit” (that is, profit over and above its expected amount as their fixed costs have already been covered). You should be able to negotiate a price reduction based on this information.

6. Price and cost modelling – one of the key questions that procurement people ask of themselves is “am I paying the correct price for this item?”. Price and cost modelling helps to answer this question. Price modelling involves comparing the price you pay against some yardstick of reasonableness such as the price paid last time or a benchmarked price. Cost modelling goes further and is a technique in which you build up an understanding of the cost of the materials, component and other costs that go into the items production or delivery (if it is a service) so that you can assess whether or not they are reasonable and whether the subsequent profit is fair.

The psalms of the Bible are a literary treasure chest of prayers for prosperity. Below is a list of which psalms to recite for common financial requests. In some Catholic and Santeria traditions, you say the prayer or write the prayer out after lighting a candle. You may also recite the prayer as many times as you want to transform it into a kind of a mantra.

Psalm 1: To disarm office gossips, discourage those who would harm your reputation

Psalm 3: To conquer fear of poverty

Psalm 5: To ask for a special financial favor

Psalm 6: To ask for mercy from creditors

Psalm 7: To ask that blocks to progress be removed

Psalm 8: To improve confidence, to bring customers to a business

Psalm 10: For encouragement, self-confidence and stamina

Psalm 11: For mercy, tenderness and compassion, to triumph over enemies when backed into a tough corner

Psalm 12: To over come gossip, bad rumors or attacks on reputation, to overcome anxiety

Psalm 13: To overcome anxiety, when backed into a corner

Psalm 14: To renew faith that the universe is unfolding as it should

Psalm 18: For protection of the home, deliverance from enemies

Psalm 19: To receive daily blessings, increase faith in the idea that the universe has a supply for every demand

Psalm 20: For a favorable verdict in court

Psalm 21: To increase one’s spiritual vibration to invite prosperity into one’s life.

Psalm 22: For deliverance from difficult financial situations, when you feel hopeless or backed into a corner

Psalm 23: For serenity, peace of mind and stillness of the spirit, to help access the higher self

Psalm 24: To calm disturbed thoughts, anxiety and still the subconscious and the spirit, relieve fears of the future

Psalm 25: For inspiration, to access the higher self

Psalm 26: For success in financial matters, to gain confidence

Psalm 28: To disarm adversaries, make peace with an enemy, invoke tenderness, mercy and kindness

Psalm 29: To raise your vibration, to purify the home

Psalm 30: For patience and acceptance of divine will, to understand that time brings what we need when appropriate, as a thank you for many blessings

Psalm 33: When feeling fearful

Psalm 35: For victory in a court case

Psalm 36: For when you feel cursed and for protection against the evil eye, to receive divine blessings

Psalm 37: To overcome jealousy, envy, resentment and disappointment, to become serene and still

Psalm 38: For protection in court

Psalm 39: For the courage to confront any problem, to conquer fear

Psalm 40: For the reinforcement of faith in God, to still the mind when you are feeling frustrated

Psalm 41: When feeling depressed or betrayed

Psalm 42: To reinforce the connection between your personality and the higher self; to open channels of opportunity

Psalm 43: For mercy when you find yourself in an unjust situation

Psalm 44: For mercy when you find yourself in an intolerable or unjust situation; to strengthen faith in God

Psalm 45: To increase one’s faith in the power of the subconscious to follow your stated words

Psalm 46: To elevate enthusiasm for spiritual matter, increase one’s faith in the guidance of the higher self

Psalm 47: To reinforce the four cornerstones of prosperity: health, freedom, happiness and love.

Psalm 48: To become a “smile millionaire”, reinforce happiness and faith

Psalm 49: To overcome envy of the prosperity of others

Psalm 50: To reinforce the idea that the universe is benevolent and that all is unfolding as it should

Psalm 51: To quell feelings of guilt or self-criticism

Psalm 52: To correct an unjust situation

Psalms 53: To conquer skepticism and restore faith in the higher self and God

Psalm 54: To master doubts and negative thoughts

Psalm 55: To conquer anxiety and fear

Psalm 57: For when justice, compassion, kindness, tenderness or mercy is needed

Psalm 60: To put the past behind you, for a clean slate in the subconscious

Psalm 61: For help in finding a new home, when in trouble with creditors

Psalm 62: To reinforce faith in the higher self and strengthen spiritual values

Psalm 63: For anxiety, fear and discouragement

Psalm 64: To increase confidence, decrease fears of hidden enemies, to ask to be in the right place at the right time

Psalm 65: To give thanks for blessings that have been received

Psalm 66: To give thanks for an answered prayer and display an attitude of gratitude

Psalm 67: To give thanks for what one has, to eliminate discontent

Psalm 69: For deliverance in times of suffering

Psalm 70: To repel negative thoughts and attitudes of others

Psalm 71: For liberation from limiting thoughts or situations that seem like a trap, for confidence and persistence

Psalm 72: To improve financial conditions in general

Psalm 73: To eliminate those feelings and emotions such as anger, jealousy and resentment that take away our opportunities for our own enrichment and good

Psalm 74: To attract good fortune and repel enemies

Psalm 75: To encourage a job promotion or a hiring

Psalm 76: Traditionally, for luck winning the lottery or luck at gambling

Psalm 77: To restore lost faith in yourself and God

Psalm 78: To tune into the higher self and the resources of the Divine Imagination’

Psalm 81: To increase faith in the goodness of God, faith in the higher self and that we live in a universe filled with endless supply

Psalm 82: To eliminate fear of poverty and injustice; to help get organized and make a “to do” list

Psalm 84: To develop a more optimistic view of the future and attract prosperity

Psalm 85: To find inner stillness, serenity and peace with God

Psalm 86: When feeling despair or discouraged

Psalm 87: To promote chances for success in the arts; to be read out loud before an audition, interview, exhibition or a pitching session

Psalm 89: To ease all pain and suffering, including that of a financial nature

Psalm 90: To express thanks for the blessings received each day, for justice

Psalm 95: To remove prosperity blocks, to be inspired to follow the path that is for your highest good

Psalm 96: To strengthen wavering faith in the face of opposition to your plans

Psalm 97: To resolve problems with creditors

Psalm 98: To keep a joyful heart and an attitude of gratitude for what you do have

Psalm 99: For mercy in legal proceedings

Psalm 100: To repel negative energy and harmful influences

Psalm 101: To get off a treadmill or break bad habits such as overspending

Psalm 102: To receive an answer to a specific problem

Psalm 103: To engage one’s willingness to change for the better, for stillness and serenity and grace

Psalm 105: For forgetting and forgiving oneself for the mistakes of the past, for clearing the subconscious so you can have a clean slate

Psalm 106: For trust in the higher self and renewed optimism for the future

Psalm 107: As thanks for receiving deliverance from a hopeless situation, to break bad personal habits that affect prosperity (laziness, drunkenness, overspending)

Psalm 108: For success in business.

Psalm 111: To find the right job or career path

Psalm 112: To enlarge one’s perspective, see the big picture and to allow one to grasp the significance of all their options

Psalm 113: To receive honors, applause, awards, rewards or accolades

Psalm 115: To resist naysayers and uncooperative people, for success in business

Psalm 116: To maintain a daily attitude of gratitude

Psalm 117: To conquer self-pity

Psalm 118: When problems are overwhelming, as a prayer of thanksgiving for blessings received

Psalm 119: (Gambol: Verses 17 to 24) To attract money

Psalm 122: To prosper in business

Psalm 123: To assure the free circulation of kindness as energy in your life

Psalm 126: To understand that problems are temporary and that this too shall pass

Psalm 128: To have a happy and peaceful home

Psalm 129: For deliverance against financial oppression

Psalm 131: To cast off pride, which is thought to attract the evil eye, jealousy and misfortune

Psalm 132: To acquire material goods and property

Psalm 135: To strengthen the heart and will so that one is led to their highest aspirations in life

Psalm 138: For confidence in times when you feel overwhelmed, to lose fear and anxiety about the future

Psalm 139: To instill confidence in God and the Divine Plan that is in store for you, when feeling lost confused or sad

Psalm 141: To receive answers for specific financial requests, for confidence and peace of mind

Psalm 143: To restore faith in your path and renew confidence that there will be a joyful, hopeful tomorrow

Psalm 144: To express gratitude and thanks for blessings

Psalm 145: For when you feel overwhelmed by financial problems and need answers

Psalm 147: For a peaceful heart and serenity during times of conflict and turmoil

Psalm 149: To help understand the timing of divine providence and to understand that there is a supply for every demand

Psalm 150: To obtain blessings and express gratitude for blessings

A simple prayer:

“Dear Lord guide me to honor you with my talents and treasures. Amen.”

Scrabble is a popular family game for all ages, this article looks at the benefits of scrabble for kids and adults alike.

Scrabble was invented by Alfred Mosher Butts back in nineteen forty-eight, and since then it’s been a favorite game for generations of families. Not only is Scrabble a great educational tool to build word ability and comprehension, but it aids in lateral thinking and vocabulary enhancement.

Scrabble has surpassed several other competing word games in popularity over the years, and has found a new life in online word game such as Words with Friends for entirely new generations of people. With the advent of the internet, a whole range of additional tutorial, tip, and tricks have found their way into common availability. There are several experts who devote their time to producing a scrabble dictionary, word lists or cheat hints to develop players from beginners into advanced gamers who can compete in tournaments and online competitions.

The health benefits for children are numerous, from developing an excellent vocabulary to the ability to critically weigh different strategies. It’s a great skill to teach a child to think beyond the immediate gratification of creating a word now, versus holding your letters in order to play a longer and higher scoring word later. In addition to these benefits, the ability to patiently see a game through to the end is an invaluable asset which will help a child in life in general.

The mental concentration required to puzzle through different word options in Scrabble also puts the brain into a meditative state much like taking a class of yoga or meditating. Taking this time to deliberately relax and engage in some mental exercise is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. Although this is great for general relaxation in the evening, one recommendation that has been made is that you should not play scrabble too soon before retiring for the night, as it’ll leave your brain in a ‘puzzle’ state for an hour or two and make it more difficult to sleep. Scrabble is a very analytical game which is similar to solving a Sudoku puzzle or playing a pen and paper game such as hangman. Gradually absorbing the rules, and knowing when to consult the Scrabble dictionary builds confidence and vocabulary.

In addition to these benefits, it’s a great social outlet for older people who club together to play Scrabble. A lot of friendships have been forged by people who have met while playing Scrabble, be it in a home for the elderly or a youth group for teenagers. Taking the time to share some competitive play with another person is a wonderful ice breaker, and by carefully looking at the type of words a person makes you can determine their interests and viewpoints on the world. If you get really good you can enter tournaments, and extend your competition beyond just playing each other into the realm of expert play.

If you’re having trouble with your scrabble game, be sure to check online resources which can enhance your abilities with easy to remember word lists, articles and scrabble cheats to help you get a quick advantage over your opponent.

In this article, we aim to provide an educational means to understanding how to save a considerable amount of money when traveling with a family or large group. In the case study below, we’ll show how Ultimate Luxury Rentals vacation homes in Tucson, AZ have saved the vacationers coming to the area time, money, privacy, and a “home away from home” feel.

First off, you may be wondering, what is a luxury home rental? Well, we will get to that later in the article. Let’s start with some of the reasons people are now renting these vacation homes as opposed to

Many vacationers choose to rent a vacation homes for a variety of reasons. Economics is one of the primary reasons. A vacation home can replace 2-4 hotel rooms at a fraction of the cost. Vacationers can eat their meals at home or even cook up their favorite meals on the barbecue. Our average vacation rental customer saves over $2000 in a 1 week stay. Privacy is another major consideration when choosing a vacation rental home over a hotel or resort. Many vacation homes include enclosed back yards with private heated pools and spas. Guest can enjoy their gathering of friends and family without interruption. Amenities are probably the main reason vacationers continue to rent vacation homes year after year. Many vacation rentals offer amenities that are superior to many upscale hotels and resorts. Pillow top mattresses with sateen sheets, plasma TVs, free wireless Internet, pool or game tables, fully stocked gourmet kitchens, private heated pools and spas and some of the most spectacular city and mountain views in town.

In addition to the home itself, the destination you choose has its own attractions and amenities. Continuing with our case study of luxury homes in Tucson, Arizona, here is a little history of the Old Pueblo and some of the history that attracts people to this particular destination.

With its mixed cultural heritage and international population, Tucson’s traditions span centuries of habitation from prehistoric Indian cultures to recent immigrants from all over the world. Today Tucson has become a destination for many visitors particularly those looking to rent a vacation home in Sonoran Desert of Arizona.

True to its Old West beginnings, Tucson’s first inhabitants roamed the area hunting mammoth and bison between 12,500 and 6,000 B.C. Following them were the Cochise , who built pit houses and used stone tools, and the Hohokam, who began farming the valley in 300 A.D.

In 1692, Spanish missionaries arrived in the valley to find the Indian village S-tukson (“black base”). In 1775, the Spanish built an outpost, the Presidio of San Augustin.

By 1804, some 1,000 people lived in the adobe village – mostly Spanish, Mexicans, and Native Americans who made their living raising crops and livestock. After the Mexican Revolution of 1821, Tucson became part of Mexico.

Looking for a southern rail route, the U.S. negotiated the Gadsden Purchase with Mexico in 1854 and Arizona became a U.S. territory. In 1867, Tucson became the territorial capital for the 10-year period, which accelerated civic progress.

In 1885 , The territorial legislature approved $25,000 to build the University of Arizona. The city continued to grow rapidly, reaching 7,000. Around the turn of the century, Tucson began attracting thousands of tuberculosis victims seeking a cure in its dry climate. In 1912, Arizona became the 48th state to enter the union.

Fueled by Industries and tourism, the population of Tucson grew rapidly – at one point welcoming 1,000 newcomers each month. By 2000, the population had reached 800,000.

Vacation rental homes in Tucson, Arizona offer a wide range of choices to visitors from all over the world. Many different neighborhoods comprise the city and offer vacationers a large selection of accommodations and activities.

The Tucson Mountains are located approximately 8 miles west of Interstate 10. The proximity to Interstate 10 makes day trips to Phoenix, Tubac, and Nogales Mexico very convenient. Some of the most desirable luxury vacation rental homes in Tucson Arizona are located in this area. These vacation homes boast some of the best city and mountain views in the state. Most of the luxury vacation rentals are located on acre plus lots with private pools and spa and offer an experience that is one with nature. Vacation rental customers may have the pleasure of seeing many of the desert’s wildlife such as the javalina, coyote, bobcat and a wide variety of birds such as hawk, dove, quail, and the state’s official bird, the road runner . Vacation rental guests will also have a wide variety of attractions such as the Sonoran Desert Museum, Old Tucson Studios, Wildlife Museum, Gates Pass, and the Saguaro National Park West. The west side of town appeals to the business traveler as well. Many of the Ultimate Luxury Rentals vacation rentals are located less than 10 minutes from the Tucson convention center. These homes’ locations put you in the heart of the most beautiful desert in the world, the Sonoran Desert. During the first 2 weeks in February, The TCC is home to the Tucson gem and mineral show the largest gem and mineral show in the world. Parents of University of Arizona students choose west side vacation homes because they are very convenient for visiting their child during the holidays or celebrating a graduation.

The Catalina Foothills is the largest mountain range in the valley and a well sought after area of town for visitors looking to rent a vacation home in Tucson AZ. Several upscale resorts and spas have made the Catalina’s their home. The Catalina foothills area has a wide variety of restaurants as well as upscale shopping at La Encanta and St Phillips Plaza. For those looking for hiking and site seeing, the Catalina area offers the Sabino Canyon Recreational Park. For vacation visitors looking to escape the summer heat (temperatures average 20 degrees lower than the city), you can take a 25 mile drive up to the top of Mt Lemmon. The Tucson vacation rentals located in this area consist of a large selection of luxury vacation rental condominiums and single family vacation homes on ½ acre lots with excellent mountain and city views.

Oro Valley has been one on the most rapidly growing areas in Tucson. Many of the vacation rental homes and condominiums are new construction and offer very upscale accommodations. There are many fine restaurants to choose from as well as some of the best golf resorts in town. The is only disadvantage to renting a vacation home in Oro Valley is the traffic. Traveling to and from Oro Valley at the wrong time of day can be quite a chore. Travel times to other areas of town such as the Tucson mountains and the east side can take up to 45 minutes or longer.

As you can see for this particular destination, there is an entourage of amenities, attractions, scenery, and history. In order to make the most of your trip, it would obviously be to your benefit to have extra funds. Luxury vacation rentals are a win-win option for your trip. Aside from your destination, they are certainly something to look into. Obviously you’ll want to find the best deal with the most credible provider of luxury rentals.

Still curious what is a luxury rental? Ultimate Luxury Rentals is a starting point for you. With over 7 years in the luxury home rental business, they have continued to provide the highest quality of homes and services to customers worldwide. Visit them at Ultimateluxuryrentals.com and get a first hand look at homes in Tucson, AZ, Taos, NM, and Costa Rica!

 

A lot of people are enchanted by the idea of owning a pet fox. They’re charming, intelligent animals, and there is a lot of appeal in having a “special” animal that not many people have. While foxes can make decent pets for someone with the time and resources to care for them, a lot of people make the mistake of buying a pet fox thinking it is going to be just like a dog.

1. Foxes Are Difficult to Train

Dogs are born with a very strong pack mentality. A dog sees you as its alpha, and is hard-wired to want to obey the leader. They live to please you. A fox, however, lives to please itself. While they are very intelligent, the core motivation of a fox is different than that of a dog. The dog wants to please you and make you happy, the fox wants the treat.

2. Foxes Stink

Foxes have a very strong odor. While a dog can take a few weeks without a bath to work up a powerful stink, foxes smell skunky 24/7. This strong, musky odor can be lessened somewhat by having the fox neutered, but it cannot be eliminated entirely.

3. Foxes Are Shy

Many people picture a fox as an awesome pet that they can show off to their friends and neighbors. Unfortunately, the reality almost always falls far short of this. While foxes often become very attached and affectionate with their families, they remain impossibly shy around visitors and strangers.

4. Foxes Have Special Needs

Foxes have special dietary and exercise requirements outside that of a dog. They are extremely energetic, and require loads of exercise every day. A large, carefully-built outdoor enclosure is a must. Which brings me to my next point…

5. Foxes Are Escape Artists

Foxes are much more proficient at getting out of enclosures than even the most determined dog. They can leap six feet in the air, climb up fences, and even cling upside down to climb along a chain link ceiling for short distances. Any enclosure that is meant to keep foxes must not only be large, but impossible to dig out of and have a full roof.

6. Foxes Are Destructive

Many people buy a fox under the mistaken impression that it can be kept as an indoor pet, and left with free run of the house while they are away at work. Nothing could be farther from the truth, particularly with the larger species like red foxes. They will steal and hide anything small enough for them to carry, and shred just about everything they can get their teeth in to. It is nearly impossible to break even the best-trained fox of these behaviors. A dog can be taught not to chew things, a fox can only be taught not to chew things while you’re watching. While a fox is loose in the house, it requires constant supervision.

In conclusion, foxes can make fascinating pets for people who are prepared to care for them. If you are interested in a pet fox, go into it with your eyes wide open, do your research, and understand that caring for a fox is not like caring for a dog.

There have been many changes in fitness over the past 30 years. It’s human nature to reminisce about times past. That’s great but lets not forget that things change as well. This is certainly true in the area of health and fitness. “If you do what you have always done, you will get the results you have always gotten” is true, but what if the situation changes? Then what used to work is no longer a viable and effect way to get the results that we want. In this article I will outline seven items that have changed over the past 30 or so years that affect the way we view health, fitness, exercise and what is considered “best”. Let’s look at some of these changes in Fitness.

1. Activity level

This change in fitness is pretty obvious. We just don’t move around as much as we used to 30 years ago.

Currently, the average sedentary person living in an urban setting takes 900-3000 steps a day. Uh… that’s a puny number! In the journal of sports medicine existing literature was pulled together to set a general guideline of what a good number of steps per day would be

The author Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke translated different physical activity into steps-per-day equivalents. A rate of fewer than 5,000 is classified as sedentary, 5,000 to 7,499 is low active, 7,500 to 9,999 is somewhat active 10,000 or more is active and 12,500 or more is very active. So what does 900 make us? Close to dead! But its not hard to imagine. Get up from, take elevator to car park, drive car, take elevator to office, sit down, order fast food, reverse the process to go home and go back to bed. Just to note, 1km is about 1300 steps.

Its gotten to the point where we have to purposely inconvenience ourselves to get our activity level up. Here are some suggestions (that actually show us how pathetic our average activity levels have become).

Park at the far end of the car park and walk to your building Instead of dropping the kids off in front of the school, park a couple of streets before it and walk them the rest of the way… 10,000 is actually considered a LOW estimate for children.

Go round the shopping centre or supermarket in a random. With today’s super malls, this is a big thing!

Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator (well if you work on the 50th floor, maybe climb halfway to start)

Give the dog an extra 5 minutes on his walk (we need it even more than him)

Stop emailing colleagues in the same office, instead go over and talk to them (shockingly effective considering how much email we send each day!… great for team building as well)

Go for a walk during your lunch break, walk to get your lunch or to find somewhere to eat your lunch

Get up and do something, run up and down the stairs for example during TV ads (no excuses here!)

Walk to the corner shop instead of driving or popping in on your way home

Walk to friends houses instead of driving

Take public transport and walk from the train station

Dr. David Bassett studied an Amish community to see what things were like in the past. These guys have no cars, no electricity and do hard manual labor to put food on the table. Its like time travel to the past. They eat 3 large meals a day with lots of meat, vegetables and natural starches like potatoes.

The 98 Amish adults Bassett surveyed wore pedometers for a week. The men averaged 18,000 steps a day. The women took an average of 14,000 steps.

The men spent about 10 hours a week doing heavy work like plowing, shoeing horses, tossing hay bales, and digging. The women spent about 3.5 hours a week at heavy chores. Men spent 55 hours a week in moderate activity; women reported 45 hours a week of moderate chores like gardening and doing laundry. Wow that’s a lot of manual labor. Get a pedometer (its only like 20 bucks) and see how you fare.

2. Fat Percentages and Obesity

Activity level leads us right on to this point about obesity. The scary obesity rate is one of the most obvious changes in fitness.

The obesity rate among the participants in the study of the Amish population was 4 percent, as determined by body mass index, or BMI. The current obesity rate among the urban populations is 30% or more. OK the obesity percentages are a scary thing because obesity is already in the “VERY high risk of a lot of bad ways to die” category. There is still the overweight category (obviously fat but not hitting the medically obese range) to consider. These people are at a high risk already!

The total percentages of overweight + obese are really wild… hitting close to 70% in some cities. Compare this to the average in the 1980s. 10-15% obesity in most cities. It rose to the mid 20% in 1995 and its now at an all time high.

3. Diet

OK linked to point no.2 is of course diet. This is another obvious change in fitness. Its very simple actually. We now eat more refined foods (white bread, sugar, rice, flour, noodles). In the body these give pretty much the same response – FAT storage. The only time we should eat these items is immediately after hard training. As we can tell from point no.1, not much of any training is going on. But lots of eating is!

We also eat less fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. We eat more snacks like chips and cookies (which are also refined despite what advertisers claim).

These changes in fitness are made more troubling because even natural foods today are not as good for us as they used to be. Current farming methods make vitamin and mineral content in fruits and vegetables drop about 10-40% depending on the mineral. Corn fed meats don’t give us as good an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio as we used to get from grass fed and free range animals. (that means not so many healthy fatty acids for us)

And of course, we are also simply consuming more calories. The Amish people in the study in point no.1 ate about 3600 calories/day for men and 2100 calories/day for women. Many sedentary people consume this much and more! How? Well a fully “featured” gourmet coffee from coffee bean or Starbucks can add up to 500 calories in an instant of caffeine folly.

That’s 2 hours of walking for an average sized lady.

Just remember, calorie quality counts as well. 2000 calories of vegetables, meat and healthy fats is infinitely better than 2000 calories from french fries. Its close to impossible to get fat on the first, and nearly impossible not to get fat with the second.

I like this car analogy. If you had a 2million dollar dream car, would you put low grade or high grade petrol into it? High grade of course! Then why do some people put low grade filth into their bodies which are so much more important than the car we drive?

4. Games children play

The average child who grows up in an urban environment is a motor-skill weakling. As a hobby, I coach youth basketball. In our talent scouting, I have kids do a very simple drill of dribbling in and out and around cones. There are so many kids who can’t do it and some who I think might fall down if asked to RUN around the cones without the ball! This is in contrast to the past where kids ran around, chased each other, played physical games and sports of all kinds, where the playground was the center of fun for young kids. This lack of activity not only causes a change in fitness for the child in his/her youth, but has a profound long term effect as well.

Of course this change in fitness is a result of a combination of possible factors.

Parents who only consider academic success to be worth striving for, who only give a child recognition and praise when they do well in academic subjects.

An education system who also values book knowledge above other things and takes away physical education classes to put more academic lessons in.

Poorly taught PE lessons that don’t help a child develop motor skills in the key early years Busy double-income families where fathers are not free to play with their children (or don’t care enough to… money isn’t everything dads)

The maddening computer game addiction situation where virtual life is more important than real life. I believe this is the reason for all the empty basketball courts in my neighbourhood. It used to be that teams lined up to play there. Now only people my age (late 20s to 30s) play. No young kids are there any more.

But actually, so what? The issue is that if kids stink at sport and physical activity, the well known psychological factor of “competence” comes is. Simply put, in general, we do what we are good at. If our next generation is poor at sport and physical activity, they are even less likely to do any of it! Which combined with items 1 to 3, make for a deadly health crisis for many countries. Obesity costs the UK 7.4 billion in national health care per year! If we don’t help our kids, that’s only going to grow to be a bigger and bigger burden for everybody.

5. Social Support

This is a more subtle change in fitness. People are communal animals. We stick with things because there is a supportive community behind us. Even drug and alcoholism rehab centers recognise this. We all need social support. But social links are getting weaker. And no, Friendster and MySpace links don’t make up for it.

In a more connected but less close world (I know so many people who are only comfortable behind a computer screen and not in front of a real person) there is less social support than in the past (extended families, communal living, strong friendships within a neighbourhood etc) and its hard to stick with something which requires dedication and sacrifice like an exercise program. I’m not a sociologist but I do believe there is a reason that exercise classes do better in terms of membership than individualized training. Most of them certainly are not as effective as great individual coaching. But the social factor does come in when sustaining a lifestyle change is involved.

6. Free Time

This subtle change in fitness is pretty clear. We just have less time that we “own”. Bosses, social, family and other commitments make free time a very precious commodity and it adds difficulty to the fact that time is our only non renewable resource. When we choose to exercise or spend time cooking to keep a healthy lifestyle, we are competing with movies, games, TV and other things for free time. We know that exercise is good for us, but it not only has to be good for us, it has to be BETTER in our minds than the latest episode of desperate housewives, or the latest computer game. That’s the issue. We need to prioritize long term health over temporary fun.

7. Training methods

OK here is where we are doing well. 30 years ago the aerobics craze took the western world by storm. Its not a very good training method both in terms of results, and in terms of results per unit of time. Add that to the fact that we have such minimal time to train, we can’t afford to train in a sub-optimal way. We know a lot more now. Fortunately for us, there are good methods that smart coaches use to improve training efficiency and get RESULTS even with less training time. Some of these include smartly designed resistance training programs, interval training and good assessment techniques to determine individual needs. If you have a coach like that in your corner, you can turn back the clock and avoid becoming one of the ever growing statistic of people who’s health is headed in the wrong direction. Stay fit and strong and good luck!

Here Comes the Bride may be played at every wedding you attend, but that’s not the case around the world. Wedding music traditions vary from country to country, and even from one religion to another within the same country.

America

Here Comes the Bride is still a favorite for the bride’s walk down the aisle, but Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major has become a close contender. Songs include hymns, popular music, and classic music…basically whatever the couple desires, as long as the event venue doesn’t prohibit it. In America, weddings may be held anywhere, as long as a minister or justice of the peace conducts the ceremony and proper paperwork is filed with the government.

England

Just like in America, Here Comes the Bride is the song of choice for the bride’s entrance. English weddings are very stepped in custom and tradition, so many brides may choose to employ a harpist. In England, law requires weddings to be held in an approved place-mostly churches. Like Americans, British weddings may have a mix of music, but British ceremonies are usually very traditional and formal.

Australia

Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major is popular here, along with many of the traditional love ballads used at wedding ceremonies in America. One thing that differs in Australia is the signing ceremony, which also can involve music. At the end of the ceremony, the couple signs the wedding certificate while everyone watches. British ceremonies may incorporate musical instruments such as bagpipes and a didgeridoo.

Japan

The traditional Japanese wedding is called a shinzen shiki, a ceremony conducted by a Shinto Priest and a shrine assistant. The bride and groom may either wear a gown and tux or traditional Japanese wedding garb, which includes a kimono and hakama. These traditional weddings use flutes and drums. Summer Candles and Dolphin Ring by Anri are both popular wedding songs. Similar to American and British weddings, Japanese weddings include sappy love songs.

Mexico

While the Mexican wedding ceremony may be serious and traditional, the reception is a full party, with salsa and mariachi music getting everyone on their feet. Mariachi music involves a wide variety of music, including guitars, drums, and even violins. Canon in D Major is also popular for the bride’s processional here.

Ireland

It should be no surprise that bagpipes are popular in Irish weddings. Many couples are choosing to honor their country’s rich tradition, so Celtic music is very popular in Irish weddings. The Irish Wedding Song is often played at receptions and Danny Boy and Irish Eyes Are Smiling are always popular at gatherings in Ireland.

India

White gowns have no place at a Hindu wedding. The bride traditionally wears a beautiful red sari and covers her feet and hands in henna tattoos, known as henna staining in India. Music plays a prominent role in the Hindu wedding ceremony and many popular wedding songs (including Aaj Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai) have been used in Bollywood movies. The wedding ceremony and post-ceremony are very involved and may last a few days, including the bride leaving her groom to join her new family and the wedding party welcoming the bride to her new home.

Conclusion

Music provides the backdrop for all wedding ceremonies. No matter where your wedding is set, the feeling of rich tradition is still the same. From Here Comes the Bride to Aaj Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai, brides all over the world are celebrating their love with music.

What does the term ethnic food mean to you? To me, I think of the different countries and the cuisines they have to offer. One such type of food that greatly prevails all others is Indian Food. Well what does Indian cuisine consist of you may ask? Indian food is derived from India and uses a blend of subtle herbs and spices. In this form of cooking, there is a great amount of variation in the meat, vegetables, and spices used. The majority of Indian cooking is made up of vegetables and yet there are several meat and poultry dishes as well. Within India, there are two main yet distinct methods of cooking seen in both North India and South India.

Common Food Found in Northern India:

– roti: a traditional Indian flat bread eaten with Indian curries or cooked vegetables

– naan: resembles the western “pita” bread and is eaten with Indian curries or cooked vegetables as well

– kulcha: another form of tasty flat bread, usually found from Punjab

– tandoori chicken: form of chicken that is marinated in yogurt and tandoori spices, it is cooked in a large clay oven

– palak paneer: cooked spinach with minor cheese cubes and marinated with curry powder

– channa masala: chickpeas smothered in zesty sauce and marinated with curry powders and masalas

Common Food Found in Southern India:

– dosa: a type of South Indian crepe and made from rice and black lentil

– idli: a small spongy cake made from rice and black lentil

– vada: a small snack made from lentils and containing small pieces of onions as well as green chilies

– sambar: a thick spicy soup consisting of lentils and vegetables

As you can see, the above dishes are quite unique from western foods such as hamburgers and fries. In Northern India, there is a considerable amount of curry powder used in specific items. Whereas in South India, the spices are not strong and are much less filling than North Indian food.

During the recent years many people have started doing exercise, taking yoga classes and also following strict diet in many countries. The reasons behind these activities are many, like work-stress, people suffering from diabetes, people taking lots of fats in their food and due to the pollution and the ongoing urbanization. Most of the people living in the cities suffer from heavy pollution due to heavy intakes of carbon monoxide in their bodies. Due to this heavy intake there are many side effects involved in this process.

Most of the people are also addicted to smoking and alcohol, recent studies by an organization out of 100 people 60 percent drink significantly more than is healthy. Also in most of the countries even the percentage of the female population abusing alcohol is increasing. Due to this many of the doctors suggest people take regular exercises and also play sports in their leisure time. In the last ten years heart diseases has increased enormously from 35% to 70%. In recent years most of the children are born with diseases, a result of their parents poor health and lifestyle. So in these times it is necessary to follow some rules so that our health as well as our younger generations will be healthy.

Keeping healthy is nothing but keeping our body clean with healthy habits like taking regular exercise. First of all a regular jog of 2 km is enough for an individual of an average age. During the school days till college everyone is involved in one or other sport, but when people find a job they forget about health and they soon become busy in their work. One should consult their doctor every 3-4 months for a regular checkup’s. They should not be stressed – if they find stress they should take yoga classes every day, so that their blood pressure will be normal. Otherwise that would lead them to hyper blood pressure or hypo, which may lead to heart disease. Most of the corporate companies in USA as well as rest of the world are employing dietitians, physiotherapists, and also good doctors to take care of their employees.

The next thing I want to discuss is the diet because the intake food which we are taking is responsible for all the fats, carbohydrates,proteins and necessary enzymes which will be useful for the energy conversion or utilization in the human body. We should follow the diet very strictly by avoiding the junk food available in the market. A recent survey states that most of the people fall ill by consumption of junk food. A food with little fat is advisable because by taking more fat content the fat will be accumulated in the veins and arteries in the human body which result in high blood pressure which may lead to heart disease. In order to reduce the fats in the human body we should take less oil or cheese or butter in our food there by controlling the fats in the human body. Regular exercise will be helpful to control the fat in the human body.

By playing sports it will be a good exercise in the human body. Swimming is also a good sport. We should maintain our body weight according to our height. There we can reduce our health problems to most of the extent. I conclude my discussion to the above topic by saying that a regular exercise or yoga and a strict diet and playing sports and regular check ups we can keep our body healthy after all there is an old saying “Health is Wealth”.

Introduction to the Topic

Australia is one of only a few countries with the capabilities to design cars from scratch and manufacture in significant volumes. Car sales in Australia are also an important factor of the Australian Automotive Industry and the Australian Economy in total.

The Australian Auto Industry (A.A.I. in short) can be divided into two interrelated sectors, the Production ( Manufacturing) sector and the Car Sales (or Import-Sales) sector, both equally important for the total performance of the A.A.I. On one hand, the Manufacturing sector refers to the market conditions under which Australian Manufacturing businesses compete, by producing vehicles and related products, with the main aim of maximizing profits. On the other hand, the Sales sector refers to the market conditions under which car representative sale businesses compete, by the sale of cars and related products, having the same aim with businesses within sector one.

It is very important to state the distinction between these two sectors within the A.A.I., as we will be talking about two different market structures, business strategies, competition conditions, e.t.c. In order to analyse these market structures it would be appropriate to develop two economic models, one for each A.A.I. sector.

1.1-Analyzing the Manufacturing Sector

There is only one market structure that can best describe the market conditions in the Manufacturing sector if A.A.I., this is Oligopoly. As there are only two organizations that produce cars in Australia, and these are Ford and Holden, the competition methods and pricing strategies are based between these two organizations. The following economic model shall help define the competition and economic conditions for the Australian Automotive Manufacturing market.

The first important characteristic of Oligopoly that needs to be stated is that prices between competitors tend to be “sticky”, which means that they change less frequently than any other market structure. This statement will be explained in more detail later on, when we will be developing the Game-Theory model, as it is a very important concept of competition. The second most important characteristic is that when prices do change, firms are likely to change their pricing policies together. These two characteristics can boost up competition within the market. Firms will either try to match rivals’ price changes or ignore them. This is depended on the Game-Theory that is explained bellow.

However, the recent market conditions for the Australian Automotive Industry and the actions of the Australian Government have worsen the competition conditions and possible pricing options available for firms in the market. The production and maintenance costs for a manufacturing business in Australia are already high and rising, mostly due to lack of economic resources and advance of technology. That is, as Holden and Ford try to compete each other, given that prices tend to be “sticky”, they are forced to focus on technological advantage and marketing. Both of these business sectors produce high costs. Furthermore, the Australian government has made it clear that is unwilling to further subsidize automotive organizations in the market. All these factors stated above produce a negative effect on the competitiveness of both firms. In other words, rising costs alongside with decreased revenue push firms in experiencing lower and decreasing levels of profitability.

Profitability and the level of competitiveness are highly interrelated in an oligopolistic market structure, being the two most important factors, alongside with product differentiation, in the competition policies that the firms follow. When we say that the level of competitiveness of a firm is very low, we mean that the firm cannot react effectively to any price changes or competition changes or even changes in production costs. This may leave the firm depended on its’ competitor’s pricing and competition actions, not being able to affect the market competitiveness at all. The firm is then exposed to external danger and can be pushed out of the market, or even worse to shut production and declare bankrupt.

1.2- The Game-Theory Model for Oligopoly

The Game Theory model is used to explain the pricing and competition policies of firms in an oligopolistic market structure. Furthermore, it can show the few different competition policies based on pricing that the two firms can follow, that is High and Low as stated above. All firms in this market structure follow a Game-Theory model, although it is surely more detailed than our example, in the process of trying to forecast competitors’ pricing and competition movements and also keep track of the competition levels in the market and market share. But how does this happen?

For example, let’s say that there are four different fields, each divided in half. These fields represent the pricing strategies that Holden and Ford may use in the process of competing each other. Field A and C represent a High-Pricing policy for Holden, while fields A and B represent a High-Pricing policy for Ford. Lastly, fields B and D represent a Low-Pricing policy for Holden, while fields C and D represent a Low-Pricing policy for Ford. When both firms decide to follow a High-Pricing policy they share a profit of, let’s say, $12 million. If Holden decided to move to a Low-Pricing policy it will experience a maximum of $15 million profit, while Ford’s profitability will fall to $6 million. The exact opposite may also occur, while if both firms decided to follow a Low-Pricing policy they would realize a maximum of $8 million of profit.

What we can identify from the above example is that firms in an oligopolistic competitive market rarely change their pricing policies because this may produce a negative effect on their profitability levels. However, Holden and Ford, being the only two firms in the Australian Automotive Industry, they will focus on competing through product differentiation and marketing. That is, they will try to compete by differentiating their products, for example by producing vehicles with different features, or even base their production on technological advantage. Marketing plays an important role here, as it is the main tool that delivers and connects the customer with product. For example, if Holden introduces a new driving technology that improves driving experience and safety and produces this technology alongside with a newly designed vehicle, it is quite likely that Holden will effectively differentiate its newly designed vehicle from a relative vehicle of Ford and lure more customers in the store. Holden may also use marketing techniques to deliver this technology to the public, in the form of knowledge; hence try to boost sales without changing its pricing policy. However, it is important to state that this new technology may produce higher production costs, if not evaluated properly; hence Holden can only rely in increasing its market share to gain greater profitability. The sales part, however, will be analyzed in more extend within the next chapter of this report.

The Game-Theory is not just a theory for the Automotive Industry in Australia, it’s a fact. It shows us that auto manufacturers in Australia have based their competition strategies on all the factors stated above and as much as they possibly can on pricing strategies. They may advertise that they have low prices, but in fact their prices are very stable. If we have a close look at Holden’s or Ford’s websites, we will identify that there is a huge variety of products and each firm competes in that. However, the new market conditions stated before have greatly changed the way auto manufacturers think of the future and this in turn may change their pricing and competition policies, or even determine their existence in the market.

2.1- Analyzing the Import/Sales Sector

While the auto manufacturers are considered to be operating in an oligopolistic market structure, importing and selling vehicles or relative products is a different story. The import and sale of vehicles is the second and equally important business sector of the Australian Automotive Industry. There are many different car selling businesses and we shall only consider first-hand sales, as second-hand sales in general are not included in economics and more specifically in GDP measurements. To enter the industry hard at all as there are not many barriers to entry, however someone who is interested needs to consider of the high costs in setting up an automotive dealership. All businesses in this market are mostly based on product differentiation to compete and while prices are not “sticky”, pricing competition is set up by the market mechanism and tends not to be considered a regular phenomenon. Lastly, cost analysis and cost management play a very important role. All of the above characteristics refer to the Monopolistic Competition Market Structure. In this market structure we will focus on two phases, the short-run phase and the long-run phase, each with different competition characteristics and outcomes.

An important factor that we need to state here is that when the costs of developing a vehicle in the manufacturing sector rise, then the cost for selling the vehicle for a dealership may rise as well. This is always depended of course on if the vehicle was produced in Australia and if it was produced overseas, under what economic conditions was it produced. Price might be “sticky” for manufacturers, however prices will change much easier in this sector if needs be. Here firms will change their pricing policies if costs either rise or fall and this is always depended on the market mechanism. The amount of competitiveness along with the amount of price elasticity of demand will depend on how many rivals the monopolistic competitive firm will have to face.

In such market the following situation is very common, a situation that helps us distinct between short-run and long-run:

Stage One

In this stage the firm experiences economic profits. However, this fact will draw new firms in the market causing the profits to be competed away.

Stage Two

The economic losses indicated in this stage will cause many firms to exit the market, as they cannot keep selling under these market conditions.

Stage Three

In the final stage, the market clears-up, or reaches equilibrium point. As all firms that needed to exit the market have done so, the market mechanism comes to the point where no economic profits/losses are realized by the firms. This is the point where the market is most stable.

Studying the situation above we can identify one very important fact for any monopolistic competitive firm in the Australian Automotive Industry/ Sales sector. That is that in this market structure, in the long run, firms will realize only normal profits and the market mechanism will eventually reach an equilibrium point. Hence, in the long-run firms will compete mostly through product differentiation. However, in the short run firms may experience economic profits or losses and this is what causes firms to enter or exit the market and “shows” firms how to compete and when to apply pricing competition policies.

Conclusion

The Australian Automotive Industry may be experiencing rough market conditions, mostly because there is no more government support; however competition and profit maximization is still possible. Thinking of moving overseas is not always a good option for the manufacturing businesses, as the Australian Economy needs the manufacturing sector, as it represents a reasonably big part of GDP.

Market competition conditions are well defined for every manufacturer or car dealership, hence any business in the market ought to use the available to them competition strategies and achieve higher market share and profitability level or stabilize its profitability levels. Either way, these are the main goals for almost every profit-motivated business in any market type under any market structure. However, every business ought to define the market structure that is operating in, so that it can then clearly define its goals, strategies and policies. The market mechanism is in all cases responsible for all the above strategies and most of the cases responsible for setting up pricing policies or indicating pricing and marketing strategies.