New Zealand moves to three days a week mail service

Times are changing with postal services around the world thanks to people's reliance on smart phones and email. New Zealand recently agreed to cut its mail delivery to three days a week in urban areas and five days a week in rural areas, since they're more reliant on mail, by 2015. Normally, mail is delivered six days a week. The New Zealand Post fought for the change since it currently barely breaks even. If the normal delivery schedule continue, the service would be put it in the red, according to the Telegraph. During the last 10 years, the amount of mail sent has dropped by a quarter and it's expected to continue rapidly dropping. The nation continues to lose another eight per cent each year, the communications minister told the Telegraph. Anyone looking for daily mail deliveries can sign up for a premium courier-type service, but it will be interesting to see how businesses and newspapers adjust to this change. Meanwhile, Canada Post looks like it is in a boat that is steadily sinking. The Crown Corporation saw a $104-million loss in Q2 of this year and it expects a huge loss in 2013. As if that was not enough, they are expected to face a yearly loss of $1 billion by 2020, according to a report produced by the Conference Board of Canada. It's important to point out that its letter delivery dropped by 51 million pieces since Q2 of 2012, while parcel packages have grown thanks to more online shopping. Unfortunately, the letters, otherwise known as transaction mail, which includes bills and statements, account for 50 percent of the company's revenue. Tough times are ahead, especially with companies pushing paperless billing. At least there is some hope for Canada Post's parcel delivery. Canada Post recently announced a partnership with Walmart, Best Buy and Indigo to try same-day delivery. Anyone who orders items by midday can expect to receive it in the evening. A pilot program is being tested in Toronto. Some of the cost-cutting options floated around include getting rid of door-to-door delivery mail in urban areas, which is available to one-third of Canadians, which could cut the bleeding by about half, the Conference Board told the CBC. Canada Post is also looking into consolidating mail processing, implementing new technology for sorting and shortening hours at slower retail locations. While residential owners might not mind a shift in the number of deliveries a week, apparently it will be a bigger issue for small business owners who are more reliant on the regular postal service. But let's face it, drops in mail service are being felt around the world. The U.S. Postal Service planned to cut Saturday mail service, but it faced resistance, while Britain recently privatized its mail service, Royal Mail. Who knows if other countries' mail services will follow New Zealand's route. Would you mindless frequent mail

Man discovers dead body in newly purchased France apartment

It's a surprise that we hope never happens to us. The new owner of an apartment walked in to find the hanged body of the previous owner behind the front door when the locksmith opened up his newly purchased property. While it's odd that the body wasn't found earlier, you think the buyer would have visited the property before signing any papers, apparently the body was undisturbed for eight years, according to a local France newspaper. Thomas Ngin, a security guard, had been fired from his previous job, dealing with court proceedings with his employer in legal court and facing debt issues. The bank seized his property and sold it at an auction where it was bought for 415,000 euros (about $598,889) in early October. It explains why the owner never saw the property in advance, but he's likely regretting that decision now. Meanwhile, police are conducting an autopsy to determine a specific date of death. As for the unfortunate new owner, his properly value will likely drop since no one wants to live in a house that someone died in. There's a negative stigma that you just can't shake off and you're better off demolishing and rebuilding the place. You would think that disclosing a death in the property would be required, but in provinces other than Quebec, this isn't the case. While real estate agents and sellers don't have to tell a potential buyer this information, Ontario real estate agents are required to “discover and verify the pertinent facts relating to the property and the transaction” as a part of the rules by the Real Estate Council of Ontario, Toronto Star. It likely isn't their fault that a death happened in their homes, but it seems wrong that they wouldn't let potential buyers know all the information about a place. There are a few court cases where a buyer purchased the property and discovered the house's history later, neighbors do talk. If you want to avoid all this trouble, there's a simple solution: do a quick Internet search before purchasing the property. You'll likely conduct one to figure out about the crime rate or education in the area and this should be an extra precaution you should take to ensure your future property's value. Once you've signed the dotted line, the place becomes yours and it's your problem to deal with. In the United States, DiedInHouse.com will tell you who died in your home, if anyone, for $11.99 U.S. While this service isn't available in Canada, hopefully it'll become available soon or real estate agents and sellers will be required to disclose this information. Do you think sellers should be required to disclose a death that happened on the

Should live kidney donors receive $10,000 for an organ donation?

If governments and hospitals want to attract more kidney donors, they might want to consider paying living donors $10,000, according a recent study released by the University of Calgary. This would raise the number of transplant surgeries by five per cent and it would help save an overall $340, since the patient would no longer be on dialysis while adding an extra 0.11 years to a patient's lifetime compared to our current donor system. If kidney donations were to go up by 10 per cent, patients would save $1,640 and add 0.21 years to their lifetime. And if rates improved to 20 per cent, we can always hope for the best, patients would save $4,030 and add 0.39 years to their lifetime. Time is money and in this case, patients could gain time and spend less money. There would be wins all around. Canada faces an unfortunate shortage in organ transplants. It leaves some patients on waiting lists for years as they undergo treatment and hope that they will be next in line for a donor organ, but it also contributes to a demand for black market organs overseas. Unfortunately, the number of donors hasn't changed over the last decade, which means it leaves many people out of luck. In 2011, there were 4,500 Canadians waiting for an organ to save their lives, while about 250 people died while waiting, according to the Canadian Health Institute for Health Information. There's a lot of debate surrounding the use of financial incentives to attract more donations. While we expect that they'd likely bring in more donations, the idea brings up many moral and ethical issues. Naysayers say this could exploit the poor since many people in poverty could see selling their organs as another income stream. Of course, that would only work if they were healthy and didn't run out or organs to sell. It's understandable that it can be tricky to encourage donors because it's not as simple as giving away money and walking away. If you were to donate an organ, there'd likely be a recovery period, which not everyone can afford, but also, how would the financial incentive apply to someone who died and donated their organs? Meanwhile, instead of financial incentives, another idea that's been floated around is an opt-out plan. This means that any Canadian resident could be automatically registered to donate their organs, unless they choose to opt-out of the program. Prince Edward Island considered this option and countries such as Greece, Spain and Luxembourg currently practice this idea. But that doesn't solve everything. The Economist attributes Spain's high deceased donor rates to the smooth organ donation process, along with the country's marketing of the importance of organ donations. Donating an organ isn't like donating blood and because of that there are many more issues to consider before someone goes ahead and makes that choice. But there's one thing we know for sure, Canada needs to improve its system, not only to save more lives but to relieve some of the burden on our healthcare