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Sweet song by Al Capone being sold at auction

Artifacts connected to some of the nation's most notorious gangsters are being auctioned this weekend.

A handwritten musical composition by Al Capone, a letter written by John Gotti, and jewelry that belonged to Bonnie and Clyde are among the items up for bid Saturday in the "Gangsters, Outlaws and Lawmen" auction in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by Boston-based RR Auction.

The musical piece entitled "Humoresque" shows Capone's softer side. Written when Capone was in Alcatraz in the 1930s, it contains the lines: "You thrill and fill this heart of mine, with gladness like a soothing symphony, over the air, you gently float, and in my soul, you strike a note."

Gotti's letter, written about 1998 to the daughter of a mob associate, urges the recipient to tell her father "to keep the martinis cold."

Crime novelist Don Winslow takes out ad assailing Trump

A leading crime novelist has a few words, and then some, for the Trump administration's plans for a new war on drugs.

"The Cartel" author Don Winslow is taking out a full-page ad in Sunday's New York Times that calls President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions "woefully ignorant" about the causes of drugs and crime and about how to combat them. The ad shows a tweet from Winslow to Trump on top and an essay below.

Winslow has written often and sometimes prophetically about the drug wars. "The Cartel" was published in 2015 and featured a prison escape by a drug lord based on Mexico's El Chapo. Shortly after the book came out the real El Chapo escaped, but he was recaptured.

Sessions wants a return to the era of long prison terms for drug crimes.

Actress Mira Sorvino urges support for trafficking victims

Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino urged all nations and the business community on Friday to ramp up financial support for victims of human trafficking, saying the services such funds provide "mean the difference between life and death."

Sorvino, who has been a U.N. goodwill ambassador for the global fight against human trafficking, told a U.N. meeting that "government and private sector funding is sorely lacking in providing the life-rebuilding shelter, services and legal help survivors desperately need."

The session was part of the preparatory process for a high-level U.N. meeting in September to review the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.

Sorvino said world leaders need "to craft a better, more victim-centered response" that puts survivors at the negotiating table where the global plan is readjusted. Survivors know "exactly what policies are needed ... as well as how to attack underlying causes," she said.

More than 15 years after the protocol to prevent and punish human trafficking was opened for signatures by a U.N. General Assembly resolution, Sorvino said, "I do believe we stand ready to ramp up our response to effectively combat and ultimately stamp out human trafficking."

"But we must fully commit our political will and resources," she said.

Sorvino's Oscar-winning role as a prostitute with a golden heart in Woody Allen's "Mighty Aphrodite" might have cast the world's oldest profession in comic light. But she has become a crusader against the sex trade and modern-day slavery.

"Often the treatment of survivors inadvertently re-victimizes them, keeping them in an atmosphere of incarceration and re-traumatizes them as they must re-live their experiences ... multiple times," she said.

Adequate funding to groups that help trafficking victims means the difference between "slavery or the redemption of a free, productive life," Sorvino stressed.

Freshman series 'Downward Dog' canceled by ABC

ABC's freshman sitcom "Downward Dog" has been canceled by ABC, the show's executive producer said.

The last two of the show's eight episodes will air Tuesday, executive producer Jimmy Miller said Friday.

ABC "loved it creatively and wanted to do more, but could not figure out a way to get it done financially," Miller said in a statement.

The network didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Miller thanked critics and viewers who have expressed their support for the comedy, and said he hoped it would land on its feet elsewhere.

"Clearly this show has hit a nerve, and we are hell bent on finding a new home for our 'Downward Dog,'" he said.

The series stars Allison Tolman as the owner of Martin the dog, who talks directly to viewers about his feelings. The series centers on his sometimes conflicted feelings about his owner, loneliness and hatred of a neighborhood cat.

Series co-creator Samm Hodges is the voice of Martin.

Tolman was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2015 for her role on the FX series "Fargo."

‘Gen Z’ Off to Strong Start With Credit, Analysis Shows

The oldest members of “Generation Z” have barely crossed the threshold into legal adulthood, but they’re already demonstrating financial prowess, according to an analysis released this week by the Experian credit reporting bureau. In fact, Experian reports that 18 to 20 year olds are more likely to pay off their balances each month than younger millennials, those ages 21 to 27.

Of course, members of Gen Z have also had less time to make money mistakes and incur obligations. “They don’t have as much debt yet,” says Kelley Motley, director of analytics at Experian. Many still live with their parents and don’t yet have a mortgage or children to support. That might help explain why they’re good at staying on top of monthly payments.

Many members of Gen Z also have impressive credit scores: 37% already have at least a “prime” score, which Experian defines as 661 or better. On average, they have a slightly higher credit score than young millennials. Prime scores typically qualify borrowers for lower interest rates on loans.

The data is based on consumers ages 18 to 20 who have credit files, meaning their name is on a student loan, credit card, auto loan, mortgage, or other type of credit account that has been reported to Experian. In many cases, 18 to 20 year olds might have opened the account jointly with someone else, such as a parent.

Experian’s findings offer lessons from Generation Z for millennials and others:

Pay in full every month

Paying your credit card balance on time and in full each month keeps you out of debt and can save you hundreds of dollars per year in interest and fees. Two in three members of Gen Z who have credit cards pay them off in full each month, compared with fewer than half of young millennials.

Build a strong credit history

Members of Gen Z are most likely to have a credit file because of student loans, followed by auto loans and credit cards. By making regular payments on these accounts, they’re building a solid credit history. “Those decisions they make today are going to be important for their future credit behavior and access to lower rates,” Motley says.

Use online tools

“They are very savvy. They have the internet. Boomers and Gen X didn’t have that available,” Motley says. As a result, members of Gen Z have more resources to learn the basics of responsible credit use — or at least they know where to look.

Gen Z might be young, but their baby steps into the world of credit look firm.

Kimberly Palmer is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: kpalmer@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @KimberlyPalmer.

Video of gaming Seattle officer discussing shooting removed

After an online outcry, a Seattle Police Department video in which an officer playing a video game discussed the recent fatal police shooting of a pregnant mother has been removed from social media.

The video was part of a recent effort by the department to engage a new audience on Twitch.tv, a platform on which people can livestream themselves playing video games and talking.

Previous versions have included members of the department's public information office blasting aliens in the game Destiny while discussing law-enforcement related topics.

But a video posted Wednesday in which Sgt. Sean Whitcomb discussed Sunday's fatal shooting of Charleena Lyles struck many as inappropriate, although Whitcomb's video-game character just walked around rather than firing any shots.

Whitcomb began the stream by saying it was "going to be a little on the heavier side because of recent incidents here in Seattle."

"I wouldn't have done the stream knowing that it caused a lot of hurt," Whitcomb told the website GeekWire on Friday. "But at the same time the question has to be asked, 'What are the merits of this channel if you're not going to talk about the things people most want to hear about?' It just seemed really phony to not talk about the most significant and certainly one of the most tragic events in our city in years, on a stream that exists in a public space."

The video was initially linked on the department's official Twitter feed, but it had been set to private Friday. The department said it would no longer use Twitch.

Lyles' killing has prompted outrage among many, including her family, who questioned why the officers couldn't use nonlethal methods to subdue the diminutive 30-year-old and suggested that race played a role. Lyles was black; the officers are white.

The officers were responding to a burglary report called in by Lyles and knew she had a history of mental health issues, and that she had menaced two officers with metal shears in her apartment earlier in the month.

An audio recording released by police reveals that they calmly took her information until about two minutes into the encounter, when they said she suddenly confronted them with two knives.

The shooting remains under investigation.

Disneyland devotee visits park for 2,000 days in a row

If Disneyland is "The Happiest Place on Earth," Jeff Reitz may be its happiest citizen.

As of Thursday, Reitz had visited the park for 2,000 days in a row — every day for 5½ years.

Reitz, 44, of Huntington Beach began visiting the park on New Year's Day in 2012 with his former girlfriend. The unemployed Disney fans thought it would be a fun way to keep up their spirits if they visited every day during that leap year.

But after they got jobs and even after the relationship ended, Reitz kept going.

"It's become a living breathing thing along the way," he told the Orange County Register (http://bit.ly/2tDcbGS ).

The Air Force veteran now works at the VA Long Beach Healthcare System and makes time to visit the park daily, sometimes alone and sometimes with his current girlfriend, Karen Bell of Costa Mesa.

"I love walking around taking pictures, talking with cast members and guests," he said.

Reitz has tried virtually every ride and restaurant in Disneyland and the adjoining Disney California Adventure Park. His favorite restaurant is Pizza Port in Tomorrowland.

His favorite ride is the Matterhorn Bobsleds, which he first rode when he was 2.

"I love sitting in the front row, holding the handle and leaning into the turns," Reitz said.

But "there's nothing I would turn away from," he said.

Reitz has some advice for Disneyland visitors: Get the Disneyland app for smartphones to keep up with wait times and ride closures and use the FastPass system to reserves times for the most popular attractions.

"The number one thing I tell people is to bring your patience," Reitz said. "With the summer time crowds and the heat I tell people to relax and have fun."

Reitz doesn't know how long he'll keep making daily visits to the park but notes his current annual pass is good until next January.

"I've gotten to experience so much of the magic of Disney that it continues to be fun for me," he said. "And that's why I've still chosen to keep coming every day."

Schwarzenegger talks climate change with French president

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says the environment shouldn't be a partisan issue.

The actor-turned-Republican politician told reporters in Paris on Friday that he had a "wonderful" one-hour meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. Schwarzenegger says he and Macron, a centrist, discussed climate change.

"We all breathe the same," he said after Macron saw him to the steps of the presidential Elysee Palace.

Schwarzenegger has publicly sparred with U.S. President Donald Trump, a fellow Republican and "Apprentice" host who is withdrawing the U.S. from a global climate accord reached in Paris and taken jabs at Schwarzenegger's TV ratings.

Before leaving the Elysee, the former Hollywood star went back up the palace steps to give first lady Brigitte Macron a kiss on the cheek.

Schwarzenegger received France's Legion of Honor in April.

The Latest: Trump welcomes man who said Clinton be shot

The Latest on Johnny Depp's remarks about assassinating President Donald Trump during an appearance at the Glastonbury Festival (all times local):

8:15 p.m.

An adviser to President Donald Trump's campaign who called for Hillary Clinton to be shot visited the White House just hours before the White House press secretary Sean Spicer denounced a play for seemingly urging violence against the president.

Al Baldasaro attended a veterans event Friday. Baldasaro, who advised Trump on veterans issues, said last summer that he believed Clinton "committed treason" for putting American lives at risk while secretary of state.

He then said "anyone that commits treason should be shot."

Baldasaro attended an East Room ceremony Friday as the president signed a bill into law that will make it easier for the Department of Veterans Affairs to fire employees.

Spicer criticized a New York stage production of "Julius Caesar" that dressed the assassinated Roman leader like Trump. It also was the same day Johnny Depp apologized for comments he made about assassinating Trump


5:15 p.m.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer says "the lack of outrage" over Johnny Depp joking about assassinating President Donald Trump is "a little troubling."

Depp asked a crowd in England on Thursday when was the last time an actor assassinated a president. He answered that it's "been a while, but maybe it's time." He later apologized.

Spicer during a briefing Friday suggested that artists' attacks on Republicans are somehow deemed more acceptable than those on liberals.

Spicer said: "The president has made it clear that we should denounce violence in all of its forms."

He added: "And if we are going to hold to that standard than we should agree that that standard be universally called out."


2:30 p.m.

Johnny Depp has apologized for joking about assassinating President Donald Trump and says he meant no malice.

The actor released a statement to People magazine Friday in which he called his remarks Thursday night at the Glastonbury Festival a bad joke and said it was in poor taste.

Depp's statement said he was trying to be amusing when he asked the crowd when was the last time an actor assassinated a president. He answered that it's "been a while, but maybe it's time."

Depp's statement said he was trying to be amusing.

The Secret Service said Friday it was aware of Depp's remark but declined further comment.

The actor's publicist did not respond to an inquiry from The Associated Press about the report in the magazine.


7:30 a.m.

Johnny Depp has asked a crowd at the Glastonbury Festival when was the last time an actor assassinated a president. The remarks came during a segment Thursday in which Depp was speaking about President Donald Trump.

He asked the question at the annual festival that celebrates the performing arts.

The 54-year-old "Pirates of the Caribbean" star followed by saying that he is not an actor, but someone who lies for a living.

However, he said, it's "been a while, and maybe it's time."

Actor John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.

Depp was at the festival to introduce a screening of his 2004 film "The Libertine."

He played Trump last year in a Funny or Die video parody of the businessman's 1987 book "The Art of the Deal."

7 Questions with – Mika

How to Assess Your Credit Card Needs After Divorce

Of all the things that need your attention after a separation or divorce, credit cards are probably low on your list. But making the right moves early on can set you up for a smooth return to managing credit as a single person.

In a recent survey by the Experian credit reporting firm, 50% of divorced people surveyed said their former spouse ran up credit card debts on joint accounts, and 59% said finances played a role in their divorce.

To get started on the road to financial recovery, you need to get a handle on the accounts you have and evaluate your credit card needs.

Don’t worry — we’ll walk you through the process.

How many accounts do you have?

Even if financial infidelity — dishonesty in the handling of joint money — was not a factor in the breakup, it’s still a good idea to be aware of all the credit card accounts with your name on them. You can request a credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies once a year for free. You can also sign up to get a free credit score from NerdWallet.

Go over those reports carefully. They’ll show a complete list of your credit cards and loans, along with each account’s status. The account balances shown on the credit report may be a little out of date. To get current balances, you may need to log in to the online accounts or call the credit card issuers.

Once you know what’s there, work with your ex to figure out who will be responsible for which accounts.

Who keeps the existing credit cards?

The impulse may be to close all the shared credit card accounts and start from scratch, but consider the implications before cutting up the plastic.

The average age of your credit card accounts is part of how your credit scores are calculated. Older accounts, especially if they’re in good standing, are valuable for boosting the average age of accounts.

So consider removing one person from each account and letting the other keep it open. The easiest way to do this is for the primary account holder to keep the account and revoke the other person’s authorized user status. Even if it’s a joint account, the issuer may still be willing to remove one of the account holders.

When removing the former spouse from a credit card account, ask the issuer to change the account number at the same time. That way, the existing account stays open, but even the sneakiest of exes won’t be able to use the old account numbers to make purchases.

How will spending change after divorce?

Your budget will probably change as much as your living room decor once you’re on your own. For example, you may spend less on fuel now that your ex’s gas guzzler is parked across town instead of in your driveway.

Once you’ve removed yourself from some joint cards and removed your spouse from others, track your spending for a few months. That will give you an idea of what kind of credit cards will best suit your needs. You may be just fine with the cards you have, or you may want to add a new one.

Here are a few cards that may work well for the new you:

  • If you spend a lot on groceries and gas: The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express pays 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in spending at U.S. grocery stores each year and an unlimited 3% back at U.S. gas stations and select department stores. Terms apply.
  • If you love to travel: The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card is a flexible travel rewards card that allows you to redeem miles on any airline. Enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel. The card has an annual fee of $0.
  • If you have a credit card balance to pay off: The Chase Slate® doesn’t charge a fee to transfer your balance within the first 60 days, as long as you’re not transferring a balance from another Chase card. It offers an introductory annual percentage rate of 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.74% - 24.49% Variable APR.
  • If you don’t carry a balance: The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer pays an unlimited 1% back on every purchase and another 1% back when you pay those purchases off. It has an annual fee of $0.

» MORE: Use our credit card tool to find the best card for you.

How many credit cards is too many?

We generally recommend that people shoot for three to five cards to maximize rewards and keep their credit score healthy. But if it’s been a while since you were in charge of managing the household finances, it might be better to stick with just one card. That way, you’re less likely to forget to make a payment, something that can deal a heavy blow to your credit score.

If you do have older accounts that you want to keep open to help your credit score, that’s a great plan, especially if those cards don’t have an annual fee. If it’s expensive to keep the accounts open, though, it may be better to close them and use the money saved for something more worthwhile.

Virginia C. McGuire is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: virginia@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @vcmcguire.

Are You Cut Out for a Work-From-Home Job?

Telecommuting has become synonymous with convenience, flexible schedules and, yes, pajamas. You don’t have to commute, spend money on transportation or dress up. But despite the appeal and laid-back reputation, there are challenges.

“Not everybody is cut out for working from home,” says Jack Aiello, a psychology professor at Rutgers University.

From your work style to your work space, here’s what to consider before working from home.

Your personality

Certain personalities make effective at-home employees.

“Above all else, two things are required to be a successful work-at-homer: the ability to be a self-directed, focused planner and a healthy dose of introversion,” Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist and professor emeritus at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, said in an email.

Yarrow says extroverted workers prefer more person-to-person contact than many at-home jobs provide.

Telecommuters interact less with co-workers than their workplace counterparts. After all, you can’t chat at the water cooler on your break or stop by a colleague’s desk on the way to lunch. That solitude can be hard for those who are sociable, Aiello says.

But don’t count yourselves out, social butterflies. Yarrow says personalities aren’t black and white. The “mildly extroverted” can make telecommuting work if they have an after-work social life, for instance. Renting a co-working space can also provide a social outlet for remote employees.

Your environment

If you live with other people, Aiello says, it’s essential to have a separate space where you won’t be interrupted. You need at least a door that closes you off from the rest of the house.

Be realistic about potential distractions. “Some people can’t help but go on eBay,” Aiello says. “Some people can’t help themselves from playing computer games. There are all kinds of things that get in the way when they don’t have someone over their shoulder.”

And while society may paint a picture of at-home workers on the couch binge-watching Netflix, some telecommuters have a tendency to work too much because they never leave their work environment. Many check their email at night, Aiello says.

Remedy this with boundaries, says Cassidy Solis, senior adviser for workplace flexibility with the Society for Human Resource Management, a trade association. Solis, a telecommuter herself, sets expectations; she won’t respond to emails outside regular working hours unless there’s a pressing deadline.

Your employer

Finally, your employer and supervisor will have a lot to do with your success at home.

IBM made news in May when it called telecommuters back to the workplace. As companies re-evaluate telecommuting, so should employees.

Ask about whether you’ll be included in meetings and how frequently you’ll get feedback from management. Teleconferencing and regular check-ins can help alleviate feelings of isolation by fostering a team environment, Aiello says.

You’ll want to discuss your schedule as well. You may work more efficiently in a position that allows for time at home as well as in the office.

Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report found that employees who spend at least some of their time working remotely have higher engagement than employees who never work remotely. The magic formula for engagement happens when employees spend 60 percent to 80 percent of their time working off-site, the report found.

Solis says it’s important to build in time for face-to-face contact. “I think it’s good to show your face,” she says. “It’s good to see your co-workers. It’s good to feel connected. It’s good to feel part of a community of work.”

It’ll also keep you in the eye of leadership, she adds.

Will it work?

If you fit the criteria and want to explore telecommuting, Solis recommends checking your company’s existing policies, drafting a proposal and starting with a trial period.

Even if you don’t check every box on the ideal-telecommuter checklist, working from home could still work for you.

“Most people, with the right mindset, can actually enjoy … not having to put that suit on for the day or do that commute,” Aiello says.

If not, there’s always the office.

Email staff writer Courtney Jespersen: courtney@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @courtneynerd.

This article was written by NerdWallet and first published by The Associated Press.

Olympic spectacle upstages menswear Fashion Week in Paris

It's rare that an event can upstage a top Paris Fashion Week show taking place in the French capital's ornate Grand Palais.

But guests arriving at the Cerruti display witnessed one — and flocked to take in a major aquatic spectacle happening on and below the gilded Alexandre III bridge as Paris tried to woo Olympic officials in its bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Here are the highlights of Friday's spring-summer 2018 menswear collections at Paris Fashion Week.


Fashionistas gathered around cheering crowds Friday as synchronized divers plunged off diving boards on Paris' famous Alexandre III bridge, twisting in the air before splashing into the cool water.

To boost the city's 2024 Summer Olympics bid, Paris created an ephemeral Olympic swimming pool in the River Seine.

"It's an incredible distraction," said Flaunt magazine fashion editor Long Nguyen, spectating. "Paris is a global capital for fashion, wouldn't it be great if it were the same for sports and athletics?"

High-divers plunged, while trampoline athletes somersaulted inside the Petit Palais art museum. Runners raced on a floating track as the City of Light turned some of its world-famous landmarks over to sports for two days in the hopes of wowing the International Olympic Committee.



"Chief Creative Officer" Jason Basmajian of Cerruti 1881 brings as much a business approach to his fashion designs as an artistic one. Friday's saleable collection was a case in point.

While the 49 looks didn't break any molds— barring the odd gold tuxedo — they were elegant, masculine and highly wearable.

Loose suits with baggy, sometimes Bermuda, shorts and wide-pleated pants defined the pared down aesthetic — rendered crisper by the show's bright white medical lighting. Slicked back hair, round shades, belt straps hanging from the waist and tassels accessorized these styles alongside large wide-toed leather shoes or sneakers.

This display was very much tailored for a masculine man who's not interested in modern menswear's flamboyant excesses.

Despite this, Basmajian was not afraid of using color. Yellow-green, coral, pale peach, navy, burnt caramel, cream and dusty ultramarine all made it into Cerruti's menswear fashions — but they were always handled with restrain.



Chicago Bulls NBA star Dwyane Wade and his actress wife Gabrielle Union joined fashion power couple model Natalia Vodianova and husband, LVMH luxury group heir, Antoine Arnault at Berluti's splashy evening fashion show.

Inside the storied stone courtyard of Paris' former mint, guests basked in the last rays of sunlight and hobnobbed with the stars before Friday's last major show got off to its tardy start.

Men's, and some women's, styles (on models of both sexes) fused effortlessly in the color-rich and saleable display.

But this collection remained firmly masculine in its unfussy shapes, boxy silhouettes and simple color palette of sienna, blue gray, stone and white.

Gently pleated pants — baggy and loose on the hip — touched on one of the season's trends — and provided the collection's leitmotif: a thick colored waistband that bisected the body.

A standout was the outerwear: one sienna leather jacket with crisp geometry had guest snapping their cameras.



Fashion houses are blurring the lines between male and female styles to the point that it has become a tangible runway trend.

As major labels such Saint Laurent and Givenchy make an editorial decision to showcase menswear designs in the fall's womenswear season, other houses this week have opted to do the opposite.

South Korean designer Juun J. opened his Friday menswear show with a female model in a diaphanous male-female shirt dress. Elsewhere in his show, waiflike male models had intentionally feminine faces, styled with long tousled hair.

Berluti mixed up the genders.

And Rick Owens, too, chose androgynous waiflike models with long feminine hair and skirt silhouettes for his menswear show.

It is little wonder that stars like Lily Allen have cottoned on. The British singer turned up to Paris Fashion Week dressed in an oversize menswear shirt.

"I'm quite wide on the hips, so I buy a lot of men's clothes," Allen told The Associated Press, laughing.



Juun J. took his signature pinstripe and subverted it in a gender-bending show of oversize proportions and myriad ideas.

The white pinstripe shirt was blown up into a floor-length gown with surreally long cuffs that obscured the model's hands. And then, in a nod to the 1930s U.S. gangster styles the designer uses as a creative touchstone, dark pinstripe pants peeped out from under the long shirt silhouettes.

This was a conceptual show in many ways. Styles had a purposefully unfinished, deconstructed or thrown-together feel — evoking the middle phase of the creative process of designing a fashion collection. The show's decor — large image boards on stands — evoked a fashion atelier, bringing home this idea of the unfinished design.

But the best ideas in the 29-piece collection were found in looks that playfully merged the East and the West. One oversize "Western" gray pinstripe suit sported a one shoulder black sweater on top that evoked an Asian wraparound. Elsewhere, a black fanny pack was worn to look like a Japanese Obi belt.


Thomas Adamson at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_K

Ron Howard hopes to honor 'great work' done on Han Solo film

Ron Howard says he hopes to honor the great work that's already been done on the Han Solo film and help to deliver on its promise.

The Oscar-winner has only been in the pilot's seat on the Star Wars spinoff film for a day but is not wasting any time making his passion for the franchise known.

Howard tweeted Thursday night that he was "beyond grateful" to add his voice to the Star Wars universe after being a fan since May 25, 1977, when the original hit theaters. He saw it twice that day.

The "Apollo 13" helmer was announced as the replacement director after Phil Lord and Christopher Miller left the project over creative differences deep into production. Filming will resume July 10 for a May 2018 release.

Making a Will Online: 3 DIY Options

A will ensures your possessions go to the right people after your death. You must compose yours carefully, but if your personal situation and estate aren’t complicated, you might be able to create your own without help from an attorney.

Even if you go it alone, it’s important to have trustworthy guidance. Here are three ways to create a do-it-yourself will with online resources, along with the pros and cons of each method.

(Not sure how wills work? See our will-writing primer.)

1. Use an online will template

Type “will writing” into your browser and you’ll find many sites offering templates. This is one step up from typing the full document on your own, as you might if you were using a will-writing book.


  • Many sites offer templates tailored to your state’s regulations and your personal needs
  • Templates are often free
  • You can complete your will on your own schedule


  • Templates might be outdated. Double-check current laws to make sure the one you’re using is valid.
  • Some template providers require you to register or enter personal information. If you’re concerned about privacy or future sales calls, this could pose a problem.
  • Most templates are free, but if you need a special form, it could cost you
2. Use will-writing software

Your online search will probably also turn up software such as programs offered by Rocket Lawyer or LegalZoom. These guide you through the will-writing process in a more supportive way than a plain-text template might.


  • The software should include your state’s legal requirements
  • The standardized language that programs use helps to remove any confusion about your wishes
  • A guided approach helps ensure you don’t overlook any information or steps
  • As with a template, software lets you write your will when it’s convenient for you


  • Software isn’t free, though it’s generally cheaper than hiring an attorney
  • You’ll need to research online reviews and other resources to find reputable software
  • Will-writing programs might not account for special situations, such as naming someone to care for your pets or safeguarding a special collection
3. Go the hybrid route

With this option, you start writing your will yourself, using either a template or software, and then ask an attorney any lingering questions.


  • By starting the process, you’ll have answered or anticipated most questions a legal adviser would have
  • You’ll be able to discuss your concerns with a professional — and learn about concerns you might not have considered
  • Because you’ll have done much of the work before consulting the attorney, your fees might be much lower than what you’d have paid if you started with a visit to the lawyer’s office


  • Even a partial lawyer’s fee is more expensive than the other will-writing methods
  • Working with a professional is more time-consuming. You’ll have at least one appointment at the attorney’s office, which might mean taking time off work or other inconveniences.

Regardless of the method you choose, the most important thing is to complete the process. Virtually any kind of will is better than nothing. Remember, too, that you’ll need to update your will, either on your own or by contacting your attorney, whenever your life circumstances change (think having a child or getting divorced).

If your estate is complex or large, it might be worth your time and money to consult an attorney right away. For more tips on distributing your estate efficiently, see NerdWallet’s estate planning basics.

What to Buy (and Skip) in July

July is nearly here, and as temperatures rise, you can expect prices to drop on popular products.

Make the most of midsummer sales with our guide to what you should buy (and skip) during the month of July.

Buy: Patriotic items

Each year around July 4, stores pledge allegiance to the red, white and blue with sales on just about everything that has stars and stripes on it. Expect clothing discounts at department stores and decoration discounts at party supply shops. Wait until close to the holiday to buy your items at the best possible price.

Some stores extend their sales to other products. Last year, we located Fourth of July deals on food, appliances, mattresses and more. Keep your eyes peeled for star-spangled savings.

» MORE: What to buy every month of the year

Skip: Back-to-school supplies

We know: While you’re working on your tan, school is the last thing you want to think about. And you don’t have to. Retailers begin their back-to-school sales as early as July, but you’ll save more if you don’t buy your backpack or laptop just yet. School-oriented deals historically reach their peak in late August and early September, when stores are more motivated to clear shelves.

In August 2016, for example, Best Buy offered up to $100 off select Dell computers. Carter’s took up to 50% off school apparel styles, and Wayfair dropped dorm supply prices by as much as 70%.

Buy: Summer apparel

By July, tank tops, shorts and flip-flops have been on display for several weeks — and in some cases, several months — so it’s finally time to stock up.

By this point of the season, don’t settle for anything less than a sale price on summer apparel. Look for storewide discount events and coupons specifically for clothing departments. Designer brand Coach, for instance, has already launched its Summer Sale, as have apparel and accessory shops Forever 21 and Old Navy. And July 21 marks the beginning of Nordstrom’s anniversary sale.

Skip: Lawn mowers

July isn’t an ideal time to purchase large, outdoor items, such as lawn mowers. After all, you aren’t the only one thinking about tending your yard, and higher demand traditionally means higher prices.

By the time August and September roll around, outdoor items will see steeper discounts, so hold off for another month or two.

Buy: Travel

July’s a great time to book your travel — as long as you’re planning a trip for later in the summer. On average, buying a flight for August travel will be 7% cheaper than buying one for July, according to a 2017 report of expected daily flight rates by CheapAir.com, an online travel agency.

If you absolutely have to fly this month, CheapAir recommends traveling on Tuesdays and Wednesdays instead of weekends. And July 4 flights are expected to be more affordable than flights on the days before and after.

Bonus: Black Friday in July

If last year is any indication, expect Black Friday-esque deals this month in an assortment of categories, such as apparel and electronics. Retailers often offer these discounts in an attempt to boost typically sluggish summer sales — but they can also spell real savings for consumers.

Last year, Amazon hosted its second annual Prime Day on July 12, with limited-time deals on products across the site. Walmart, Target and Forever 21 have hosted Black Friday in July blowouts in past years.

Keep an eye out for similar midsummer blowout sales again this year. They could be a solid opportunity to buy things you’ve been holding off on for a while.

And … ice cream

July 16 is National Ice Cream Day. Use it as an excuse to indulge in your favorite flavor. If you work it right, you can get your cone on the house.

Last year, some ice cream shops offered free or discounted treats. PetSmart PetsHotel locations even gave dog-friendly ice cream to four-legged friends. You’ll usually be able to find promotional announcements and coupons on social media.

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: courtney@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @courtneynerd.

Updated June 23, 2017.

Credit Counselor Accreditation

MoneyTipsIf you are having trouble with understanding and managing your credit, perhaps you would benefit from the expertise of a credit counselor. Credit counselors can help you in a number of ways, from basic financial education and budgeting to debt management. Many communities have free or reduced cost services available at credit unions, religious and non-profit organizations, and other locations. However, it's important to make sure that you seek credit counseling from a qualified source. Anyone can claim to be a credit counselor. How can you be sure that qualified counselors will deliver your advice? Start by asking for the certifications and accreditations of any credit counseling service before you decide to use their services. In particular, look for membership in one of two organizations: the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) or the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA). Both organizations require that their member agencies receive periodic accreditation by independent third parties. The accreditation process verifies that member agencies meet certain operating standards. For details on accreditation and standards, look here for NFCC and here for the FCAA. Third-party accreditation is preferred to avoid potential conflicts of interest with affiliated organizations. There are a variety of certification titles and acronyms such as Accredited Credit Counselor (ACC), Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC), and other designations that can be confusing to those outside the industry. Further, there are multiple sources for certifying counselors. The National Association of Certified Credit Counselors (NACCC) and the Association for Financial Counseling, Planning, and Education (AFCPE), among others, offer specific credit counseling certifications, but do not necessarily use the same curriculum (just as degree programs can vary at different universities). If you are not comfortable with certification and accreditation, ask the counselor for the source of their qualifications and to explain them in greater detail. You cannot necessarily assume that a higher-level certification is best for your needs. For example, Certified Financial Planners (CFPs) receive some of the most extensive training possible, but that training is weighted toward those with greater financial resources. Accredited Financial Counselors or Accredited Credit Counselors deal more with consumer debt management, credit score improvement, bankruptcies, and other issues more pertinent to those needing basic assistance. As a general rule, Accredited Credit Counselors will have a greater focus on training to help those having difficulties with credit and debt management, as well as the counseling skills necessary to help those with lesser financial backgrounds understand their options. If you want to reduce your interest payments and lower your debt, try the free Debt Optimizer by MoneyTips. For a final check, investigate the agency with your state Attorney General's office and any local consumer protection agencies. Look for any pattern of complaints that have been registered. You can also check with the US Trustee Program's list of agencies that are approved for pre-bankruptcy counseling. Any reputable agency should be willing to supply you with information about their services without asking for any of your financial details. Beware of this and any other red flags such as fees for basic information services or an early insistence on a fee-based Debt Management Plan (DMP) before your financial situation is thoroughly reviewed. We applaud you for taking the first step in managing your credit, but don't lose the momentum by making an unwise choice of credit counselor. Simple research can save you from potentially bad advice and an even worse financial situation. If you want to settle outstanding debts for less than what you owe, or check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes, check out Credit Manager by MoneyTips. Photo ©iStockphoto.com/leopatrizi Originally Posted at: https://www.moneytips.com/credit-counselor-accreditationChoosing a Debt Payoff StrategySaving Money vs Retiring DebtIs Your City Suffering From High Credit Card Debt?

NY-based Sloop Clearwater cancels voyage to Washington, DC

The Sloop Clearwater has had to cancel its scheduled voyage to Washington, D.C., to lobby on environmental matters because of rough conditions on the Atlantic Ocean.

The Hudson River sloop set sail Monday from Croton-on-Hudson for the nation's capital to deliver petitions and municipal resolutions urging Congress to protect New York's rivers and other American waterways.

But severe weather along the East Coast forced Clearwater senior captain Nick Rogers to call off the trip. The sloop is a replica of vessels that hauled cargo on the Hudson and isn't designed for ocean-going voyages in severe conditions.

Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, a group inspired by folk legend Pete Seeger, says the information it collected will be delivered to Capitol Hill for a June 29 forum on clean water.

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