A MAJOR CENTRAL Bank report has found that more than 360,000 people are using licensed moneylenders.The most common loan amount is between €200 and €500 with people most likely to use the loans to buy goods or for major family events such as Christmas or birthdays.While the number of licensed moneylenders had declined and rates by some can be “very high”, the report said overall rates of interest have remained largely at 2007 levels.There report also said that some 69 per cent of people now understand the amount of interest charged on their loans, compared to a meagre 29 per cent in 2007. A report by the bank that year said that 71 per cent of customers failed to understand the amount of interest they were being charged.The report also revealed that more than three quarters of people have been refused loans from a credit union or bank despite more than half reporting having savings with these institutions.The Central Bank looked at the 43 licensed moneylenders across the country in drawing up the report, most of which are small or medium-sized firms which work on a local level.The number of people using moneylenders has increased by 60,000 since the last research was carried out in 2005; however despite this, the Central Bank said that the sector “has not changed significantly”.LoansThe report found 9 per cent of people borrow to pay bills or other debt.More worryingly, the report also found that 15 per cent of people are currently repaying two or more loans with their moneylender.The Central Bank said that a significant proportion – 25 per cent – of people surveyed experienced difficulties in making repayments in the past 18 months, with 63 per cent of those reporting this was caused by a drop in household income.However most people said they believed they were being “treated fairly” when in arrears.A majority of 65 per cent of customers reported that they have repaid a loan or line of credit early, though almost one in three of those recall receiving a rebate for doing so.Struggling with repaymentsDirector of Consumer Protection Bernard Sheridan said the Central Bank will “continue to monitor this sector closely and take action where necessary to protect borrowers’ interests”.“I would encourage consumers who are struggling with repayments on loans to seek advice from MABS who will help them consider their options,” he said.The Society of St Vincent De Paul was critical of the report today as it failed to include any recommendations for further regulation of the sector. The society said the report “shows worrying levels of acceptance of high cost loans from customers”.Brendan Hennessy said it also “fails to question adequately why so many people, mainly in low income groups, resort to such expensive forms of credit – people who are least able to afford high cost credit”.- Additional reporting by Christine BohanRead: Bank credit to businesses continues to fall>
Windows 8 continues taking shape at Microsoft, and pretty soon attendees to the company’s BUILD 2011 conference are going to get a first-hand look at the new OS on a mysterious quad-core tablet. For the rest of us, we’ll have to content ourselves with details posted on blogs like this one and Microsoft’s official Building Windows 8 Blog.Today, the folks in Redmond have posted an in-depth look at the changes coming to the Windows Explorer interface. As seen previously in leaked builds, Windows 8 will indeed feature Microsoft’s love-it-or-hate-it Ribbon UI, which you may have seen at work in Microsoft Office or the Windows Live apps.Microsoft states three main goals for the Explorer overhaul: optimize the interface for file management tasks (copy, paste, move, etc.), create a streamlined command interface, and respect Explorer’s heritage. That last one is a real key: the Windows user base likely wouldn’t respond well to a file manager interface that was completely different from what they’ve become accustomed to.The team working on the Explorer update is confident that power users won’t be put off by the change. Why? Because the Ribbon makes “hidden” Explorer features accessible without the need for third-party add-ins, it provides a vast number of keyboard shortcuts, and customization is coming back in a big way. In fact, Microsoft states that the Windows 8 Ribbon toolbar will be just as customizable as the Windows XP toolbar.Oh, and those third-party add-ins? They’ll still be able to integrate with the Explorer right-click context menu, but they won’t be allowed access to the Ribbon. That kind of integration may come along later, but with its focus on “getting things right” the team has decided it didn’t make the initial cut.There’s lots more to absorb in the blog post. The Windows 8 Explorer Ribbon features five tabs: file, home, share, view, and manage. Each tab contains a set of related tools, just like you’d find in Microsoft’s existing apps that use the Ribbon UI. Explorer will also adapt the toolbar based on the content of the folder you’re currently browsing. Custom views are built-in for libraries, pictures, and disks.The Explorer experience has also bee retooled to better suit widescreen displays, which have become ubiquitous in recent years. How? By moving the details pane from the bottom of the window to the right, where Windows 7 was already showing previews for supported file types. It’s a much better way to utilize the space.More at Building Windows 8
Les vendanges désormais supervisées par des satellitesAfin d’obtenir un meilleur cru, de nombreux exploitants français ont recours à la technologie spatiale. Des satellites tournant au-dessus des vignobles prennent en effet des photographies des sites, et aident grandement les viticulteurs à réaliser des vins de qualité.Des satellites tournent depuis plusieurs jours autour des vignobles du pays, rapporte le site Sciences et Avenir. Les exploitants utilisent cette technologie spatiale pour photographier leurs cultures, et ainsi récolter de précieuses informations qui leur permettront de réaliser de meilleurs crus. C’est au moment de la véraison, quand le raisin gonfle et change de couleur, c’est-à-dire un mois environ avant le lancement des vendanges, que deux satellites, le Spot-5 et le Formosat-2, réalisent leurs clichés infra-rouges des vignobles.À lire aussiPourquoi le champagne fait-il des bulles ? Découvrez les secrets du breuvageComme l’explique Jacques Rousseau, responsable des services viticoles de l’Institut coopératif du vin (ICV), ces photographies offrent aux viticulteurs une cartographie de la “couverture foliaire”, à savoir la “végétation verte” des pieds de vigne. Cet élément est de grande importance pour déterminer la vigueur des pieds et le poids des raisins. “Un des points importants en viticulture, c’est d’évaluer la qualité du raisin en fonction du type de vin qu’on veut faire, car on n’utilise pas le même raisin pour faire un vin de table et un grand cru” explique M. Rousseau, cité par Sciences et Avenir. “Le second objectif, c’est de fixer les dates de maturité le plus exactement possible pour les vendanges” souligne-t-il.Déjà 6.000 hectares photographiés Baptisé Oenoview, ce système de photographies par satellite existe depuis quatre ans. Mis au point par EADS Astrium, il est adopté par de plus en plus d’exploitants. Ainsi en 2010, 6.000 hectares de vignes ont été photographiés dans le pays, le prix de ce service étant compris entre 50 et 70 euros par hectare. “Un coût extrêmement raisonnable pour la vigne” estime Henri Douche, responsable du département agriculture chez Geo-information Services, une filiale d’Astrium. Le 30 juillet 2011 à 17:29 • Maxime Lambert
Sophie TurnerGetty ImagesOkay, so Sophie Turner had a post-wedding getaway with her best friend Maisie Williams. Now we don’t want to read too much into it, but fans apparently are, they think it was a bachelorette party. Which is a fair assumption. A post-wedding bachelorette party perhaps, since Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas were married in a surprise Las Vegas wedding.However, the getaway might be a start to the celebrations leading up to Sophie’s second wedding with Joe. There are quite a few clues that have made fans suspicious of Sansa and Arya Stark’s activities abroad. For one, the pair took a private jet from London to Spain!Reportedly Sophie’s crew posed for group shots inside and outside the sleek aircraft, which The Spanish Princess star Nadia Parkes also shared to her Instagram. The ladies’ destination was Benidorm, a seaside resort town in Spain, which friend Maddie Spalding revealed in her Instagram post. Maisie Williams and Sophie TurnerGetty ImagesHowever, it is still hasn’t been confirmed if the trip was indeed a bachelorette party, but it sure looked like a fun trip. This Spain trip comes on the heels of Joe and his pals jetting off to Ibiza. So, it is reasonable to think that the couple was hoisting their respective bachelor and bachelorette parties with their friends.Sophie and Joe seem pretty excited for their second wedding, the newlyweds seem to be having a lot of fun being married. Reportedly after Sophie and Joe were married in Vegas, their in-law Priyanka Chopra, 36, confirmed that there would still be an “amazing, beautiful” wedding to follow while speaking with Access.
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