Posted in improvements

Gov. J.B. Pritzker warns Illinois’ improvements have ‘cooled down’ as 2,818 more people test positive for COVID-19

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Lake County flagged at COVID-19 warning level as 2,818 more test positive statewide

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Illinois’ coronavirus testing positivity rate inched upward for a third consecutive day Friday as public health officials announced another hefty caseload of 2,818 more people testing positive for COVID-19.

They were diagnosed among 71,599 tests submitted, raising the statewide average positivity rate over the last week to 3.8%. That number indicates how rapidly the virus is spreading — and that’s as high as it’s been in almost a month.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker warned this week that the state’s improvement from a midsummer resurgence has “cooled down.”

And while over the last few months, the state’s COVID-19 problem areas have popped up well beyond the Chicago area — mostly in central Illinois and downstate — the Democratic governor’s health team singled out north suburban Lake County for being among 26 counties considered to be at

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Continue Reading Gov. J.B. Pritzker warns Illinois’ improvements have ‘cooled down’ as 2,818 more people test positive for COVID-19
Posted in home

Microsoft warns of Android ransomware that activates when you press the Home button

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A new strain of mobile ransomware abuses the mechanisms behind the “incoming call” notification and the “Home” button to lock screens on users’ devices.

Named AndroidOS/MalLocker.B, the ransomware is hidden inside Android apps offered for download on online forums and third-party websites.

Just like most Android ransomware strains, MalLocker.B doesn’t actually encrypt the victim’s files but merely prevents access to the rest of the phone.

Once installed, the ransomware takes over the phone’s screen and prevents the user from dismissing the ransom note — which is designed to look like a message from local law enforcement telling users they committed a crime and need to pay a fine.

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Image: Microsoft

Ransomware posing as fake police fines has been the most popular form of Android ransomware for more than half a decade now.

Across time, these malware strains have abused various functions of the Android operating systems in order to

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Continue Reading Microsoft warns of Android ransomware that activates when you press the Home button
Posted in home improvement loans

Australia should brace for a wave of business failures and growing mortgage stress, the RBA warns, as support measures fall away


Australia’s central bank expects the number of small business failures will “rise substantially” as income and loan pressure builds.

With income support measures and more than $200 billion in loan deferrals set to expire, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) says between 10% and 15% of businesses in hard-hit sectors won’t make it as they run out of cash.

“These businesses are in a tenuous position and are particularly vulnerable to a further deterioration in trading conditions or the removal of support measures,” the RBA wrote in its Financial Stability Review published on Friday.

“Survey evidence indicates that about one-quarter of small businesses currently receiving income support would close if the support measures were removed now, before an improvement in trading conditions.”

While the RBA acknowledged there was “a high degree of uncertainty about the magnitude and timing” of those failures, the prognosis doesn’t look good.

For one, the number

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Continue Reading Australia should brace for a wave of business failures and growing mortgage stress, the RBA warns, as support measures fall away
Posted in home

Pace of home-price growth is ‘unsustainable’ in many global cities, warns UBS

The view from a Brooklyn neighborhood on Tuesday. The UBS report gave a mixed picture for New York City real estate.


Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic may have triggered the worst global downturn in more than 60 years, but home prices in the world’s biggest cities still have shot higher into the stratosphere.

Instead of a plunge, it’s been four quarters in a row of home-price growth for major cities, as governmental fiscal support and central banks’ monetary policies have kept the party going, according to a new UBS Global Wealth Management report.

As a result, it still would take 20 years for a highly skilled service worker to be able to buy a 650-square-foot apartment near Hong Kong’s city center, according to its findings.

In Paris, it would take about 17 years of work to buy a similarly sized property, while in New York City it runs closer to

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Continue Reading Pace of home-price growth is ‘unsustainable’ in many global cities, warns UBS
Posted in home repair

Working From Home? The IRS Warns You May Not Be Eligible for This Tax Deduction

The coronavirus has millions of Americans working from home who never did before. If you’re one of them, you may be anticipating you’re entitled to some new tax breaks due to your new work location.

Unfortunately, the IRS has issued a recent reminder about an important rule that could affect your eligibility for one key deduction that new work-from-home employees may have been thinking about claiming. 

Man looking at 1040 form with laptop and pen.

Image source: Getty Images.

Don’t count on this tax savings

For those who have suddenly found themselves doing work out of their home, the home office deduction may seem like a natural new tax break to claim. There’s just one big problem with that. As the IRS recently reminded taxpayers, the home office deduction is only available to:

  • Self-employed taxpayers.
  • Independent contractors.
  • Individuals who are working in the gig economy.

Because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the deduction is not available to

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Continue Reading Working From Home? The IRS Warns You May Not Be Eligible for This Tax Deduction
Posted in home remodeling

Dow Jones Sinks as Analyst Warns on Apple and Microsoft Valuations; Home Depot Stock Slumps on Slowdown Fears

The stock market was broadly lower on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) down 0.13% at 12:05 p.m. EDT. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was the worst performer among the major indexes, hurt by an analyst warning about tech stock valuations.

That warning pertained to Dow components Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which are trading at historically high valuations after months-long rallies. Both stocks slumped on Friday, as did shares of Home Depot (NYSE:HD) following a separate analyst warning.

A risk dial turned to maximum.

Image source: Getty Images.

Barclays warns about big tech valuations

Mega-technology stocks like Apple and Microsoft have led the way since the market bottomed out earlier this year in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shares of Apple are up around 46% year to date, while shares of Microsoft have gained roughly 26% in the same timeframe.

This rally in tech stocks has pushed valuations to historically high levels.

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Continue Reading Dow Jones Sinks as Analyst Warns on Apple and Microsoft Valuations; Home Depot Stock Slumps on Slowdown Fears
Posted in improvements

Derek McInnes backs Aberdeen improvements as he warns rivals they are just getting started

Aberdeen made it five wins on the bounce but demanding Derek McInnes still wants even more from his on-form team.

The Dons warmed up nicely for Thursday’s Europa League clash against Viking Stavanger, as Ross McCrorie scored his first goal for the club, to claim this latest victory against Kilmarnock.

Aberdeen now sit well-placed in the top four, knowing if they can win their two games-in-hand that they could be right up there challenging at the top end of the Premiership.

McInnes said: “I was pleased with the speed in the team and quick support as some of the play was really impressive but I’m still looking for more.

“The exciting part is that I know that there is better in us even though that’s five-wins-in-a-row now.

“We have only lost two goals in all six games this season which is encouraging, but we would have liked to score a

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Continue Reading Derek McInnes backs Aberdeen improvements as he warns rivals they are just getting started