For millennials ready to buy a home, the pickings are slim

For years, millennials looked at owning a home as a distant fantasy. Student debt and a weak job market seemed to conspire to keep this generation stuck in their parents’ basements, if not permanently locked out of the housing market.

But as millennials find better-paying jobs, start families and begin searching for their first homes, they’re encountering an unfortunate reality: Just as they’re finally ready to buy, the housing market has the fewest homes available for sale on record. And those that are for sale are increasingly priced at values inaccessible to first-time buyers.

As a result, the housing market is booming for those with cash to spare — but not for millennials looking to own their first home.

Keona and Cameron Morrison, both 31 and with a combined income of $150,000, have been looking to buy in Los Angeles for two years.

“There’s stuff that comes [on the market]; literally, a couple days later, it’s pending,” Keona said. “It’s crazy.”

Teree Warren, a 31-year-old forensic scientist who grew up in Prince George’s County, isn’t faring much better in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“The houses go so quickly,” she said.

Overall millennials are falling behind other generations in homeownership, with first-time home buyers, who usually consist of 40 percent of the market, stuck at 34 percent.

That could become damaging to this generation’s future prosperity. Housing experts say homeownership remains one of the primary ways for the middle class to build wealth, despite the ups and downs of the past decade. And with mortgage rates beginning to creep up, millennials who have to wait to buy could miss out on historically low rates.

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‘Urgent Action’ for Falun Gong Practitioner Facing Life Imprisonment in China


Human rights organization Amnesty International has issued an “urgent action update” for a Falun Gong practitioner who is facing life imprisonment.

Chen Huixia, who is around 60 years old, was arrested under dubious conditions and is now facing three years to life in prison. A previous report from The Epoch Times says she was arrested for practicing Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa.

Falun Gong is a traditional meditation discipline that was practiced freely by tens of millions in China before former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin ordered the discipline suppressed in 1999. Jiang’s brutal persecution campaign against the practice involves forced labor, brainwashing, torture, and even death.

The Chinese regime is also harvesting and selling practitioners’ organs for a profit, according to researchers. A 680-page report from a Canadian human rights lawyer, a former Canadian parliamentarian, and an American investigative journalist released last summer suggested that as many as 60,000 to 100,000 practitioners may have been killed for their organs each year since 2000.

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Prolonged Sleep May Be Early Warning Sign of Dementia

Older adults who started sleeping more than nine hours a night — but had not previously slept so much — were at more than double the risk of developing dementia a decade later than those who slept nine hours or less, researchers report.

The increased risk was not seen in people who had always slept more than nine hours.

“We’re not suggesting you go wake up Grandpa. We think this might be a marker for the risk of dementia, not a cause” of the illness, said Dr. Sudha Seshadri, a professor of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine and the senior author of the study, in Neurology.

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What happened when factory jobs moved from Warren, Ohio, to Juarez, Mexico

Chris Wade reached into the darkness to silence his blaring alarm clock. It was 4:30 on a frigid winter morning in Warren, Ohio, and outside a fresh layer of snow blanketed the yard.

Thank God, Wade thought to himself. He would be able to get out his plow and make some quick cash.

Money never used to be a problem for Wade, 47, who owned a house with a pool back when he worked at Delphi Automotive, a parts manufacturer that for years was one of the biggest employers in this wooded stretch of northeastern Ohio. But 10 years after taking a buyout as part of Delphi’s ongoing shift of production out of the United States and into Mexico and China, the house and the pool were gone.

Berta Alicia Lopez, 54, is the new face of Delphi. On a recent chilly morning, she woke before sunrise on the outskirts of Juarez, Mexico, and caught an unheated bus that dropped her an hour away at the Delphi plant.

Lopez earns $1 an hour assembling cables and electronics that will eventually be installed into vehicles — the same work that Wade once did for $30 an hour. A farmer’s daughter who grew up in an impoverished stretch of rural Mexico, Lopez is proud to own a used Toyota sedan and a concrete block house.

She frequently thanks God for the work, even if it is in a town troubled by drug violence, even if she doesn’t see many possibilities for earning more or advancing.

The two workers live 1,800 miles and a border apart and have never met. But their stories embody the massive economic shift that has accompanied the rise of free trade.

In the United States, that shift has contributed to the loss of jobs that once helped workers buy homes, pay for health insurance and send children to college. In Mexico, it brought jobs — though they didn’t create the kind of broad, middle-class prosperity they once had in America.

President Trump has pledged to bring factory work back. But it may be too late to turn back the clock on the powerful forces shaping the lives of Wade and Lopez and two cities, one American and one Mexican, that remain inextricably linked by the geography of global economics.

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Long-winded speech could be early sign of Alzheimer’s, says study

Rambling and long-winded anecdotes could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease, according to research that suggests subtle changes in speech style occur years before the more serious mental decline takes hold.

The scientists behind the work said it may be possible to detect these changes and predict if someone is at risk more than a decade before meeting the threshold for an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Janet Cohen Sherman, clinical director of the Psychology Assessment Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, said: “One of the greatest challenges right now in terms of Alzheimer’s disease is to detect changes very early on when they are still very subtle and to distinguish them from changes we know occur with normal ageing.”

Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston, Sherman outlined new findings that revealed distinctive language deficits in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a precursor to dementia.

“Many of the studies to date have looked at changes in memory, but we also know changes occur in language,” she said. “I’d hope in the next five years we’d have a new linguistic test.”

Sherman cites studies of the vocabulary in Iris Murdoch’s later works, which showed signs of Alzheimer’s years before her diagnosis, and the increasingly repetitive and vague phrasing in Agatha Christie’s final novels – although the crime writer was never diagnosed with dementia. Another study, based on White House press conference transcripts, found striking changes in Ronald Reagan’s speech over the course of his presidency, while George HW Bush, who was a similar age when president, showed no such decline.

“Ronald Reagan started to have a decline in the number of unique words with repetitions of statements over time,” said Sherman. “[He] started using more fillers, more empty phrases, like ‘thing’ or ‘something’ or things like ‘basically’ or ‘actually’ or ‘well’.”

Worsening “mental imprecision” was the key, rather than people simply being verbose, however. “Many individuals may be long-winded, that’s not a concern,” said Sherman.

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Traffic study ranks Los Angeles as world’s most clogged city

DETROIT (AP) — When it comes to getting stuck in traffic on the way to and from work, Los Angeles leads the world.

Drivers in the car-crazy California metropolis spent 104 hours each driving in congestion during peak travel periods last year. That topped second-place Moscow at 91 hours and third-place New York at 89, according to a traffic scorecard compiled by Inrix, a transportation analytics firm.

The U.S. had half the cities on Inrix’s list of the top 10 most congested areas in the world and was the most congested developed country on the planet, Inrix found. U.S. drivers averaged 42 hours per year in traffic during peak times, the study found. San Francisco was the fourth-most congested city, while Bogota, Colombia, was fifth, Sao Paulo ranked sixth and London, Atlanta, Paris and Miami rounded out the top 10.

Being stuck in traffic cost the average U.S. driver $1,400 last year and nearly $300 billion for all drivers nationwide, Inrix said.

Study authors said a stable U.S. economy, continued urbanization of big cities, employment growth and low gas prices all contributed to increased traffic and congestion worldwide in 2016, lowering the quality of life.

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All Renters Should Do These 10 Things

You’re a renter and you appreciate the lifestyle. Ask any homeowner who has received an unexpected roof repair bill, or had to call a plumber — or had to move to accept a job offer — and you’ll appreciate it even more — especially all of you “all inclusive” renters. Have you heard the news about hydro prices these days? Or do you enjoy your luxury of not having to pay attention to that issue.

 But rental living has a few demands that can be easily met by every resident, ensuring that their rental experience should be nothing but maintenance-free and smooth sailing.

1. Understand Your Lease

You signed it and you’re bound by it. Whenever you’re about to sign a contract – and yes, your lease is a legally binding contract – read it and make sure you understand it. If there is anything you don’t agree with, ask.If there is any wrong info, have it corrected. Leases can be negotiated, changed and rewritten. Once it’s signed, those are the rules.

2. Know Your Rights

Each province and territory has its own set of rental rules and there will be a landlord and tenant board or government office that enforces them. Know how to access them and understand the basics. If anything in your lease contradicts the rental law, the rental law overrules. If you have issues during your tenancy, these are a great place to start to find out what your rights are and how to resolve them. You’ll also need to know how your deposits work and how to give proper notice. If you do that wrong you might find yourself on the hook for a lot of money you weren’t expecting to spend.

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