Uber Ready to Make Concessions to Reverse London Licence

Uber

London- US taxi firm Uber is prepared to make concessions as it seeks to reverse a decision by London authorities not to renew its license in the city, which represents a potentially big blow for the fast-growing company, ‘The Sunday Times’ reported.

The newspaper also quoted sources close to London’s transport body as saying the move was encouraging and suggested the possibility of talks.

“While we haven’t been asked to make any changes, we’d like to know what we can do,” Tom Elvidge, Uber’s general manager in London, told the newspaper.

“But that requires a dialogue we sadly haven’t been able to have recently.”

A spokesman for Transport for London (TfL) declined to comment.

The newspaper said Uber’s concessions were likely to involve passenger safety and benefits for its drivers, possible limits on working hours to improve road safety and holiday pay.

TfL stunned the powerful US start-up on Friday when it deemed Uber unfit to run a taxi service for safety reasons and stripped it of its license from Sept. 30, although the company can continue to operate while it appeals.

Giorgio Armani: Colors Can Chase Away the Blues

Armani

Milan- Color is the answer in times of sadness and austerity, according to Italian designer Giorgio Armani who was showcasing his spring summer 2018 collection at Milan Fashion Week on Friday.

“I do not see why I have to dwell on sadness, making women even sadder.. I answer with colors in a time of sadness,” the 83-year-old designer told reporters after the show.

He added that the inspiration for the clothes did not come from a specific art movement or period but was more about “different strokes of color”.

The collection drew together most of Armani’s characteristic traits: crisp cuts, asymmetrical lines, bright colors side by side with black and strong geometric patterns.

But unlike past designs, Armani used a palette of pastel colors, with many of his creations in light blues and pinks.

Models wore chiffon flower-patterned skirts with elaborate tops, silk ankle-high trousers in vivid hues were matched with long coats with ginkgo leaf designs and sleek black short coats sat over graphic patterned tops.

Most of the looks were embellished with colorful geometric plexiglass earrings.

The Milan Fashion Week will run until Monday.

Six People Injured in Suspected London Acid Attack

London- Six people were believed to have been injured on Saturday after a group of males reportedly sprayed a noxious substance in a number of attacks in an area around a shopping center in east London, police said.

The incident was not being treated as terror-related, a police spokesman said.

The attacks occurred near the Stratford Centre, in Stratford, police said. Earlier they had said the incident took place around the bigger Westfield shopping center which is nearby.

“A number of people have been reported injured at different locations – believed to be six people. We await further details,” London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

One male was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm, the statement said.

The incident occurred around 8 p.m. (1900 GMT), it said.

Photographs posted online showed police officers crouching over an apparent victim of the attack as they treated him.

The number of acid attacks has increased in Britain in recent years, linked to robberies and gang-related violence.

The government said in July it would look at tougher punishments for people who attack others using acid, Reuters reported.

UN: Guatemala Emerges as Safe Haven for Other Central Americans

Guatemala is emerging as an unlikely safe haven for refugees fleeing rampant gang violence in El Salvador and Honduras, a new destination for Central Americans who have traditionally beaten a path to the United States, according to the United Nations.

Gang violence, poverty and few jobs, drives hundreds of thousands of people every year from El Salvador, Honduras, and to a lesser extent Guatemala, to seek refuge and a better life mainly in America.

Until recently Guatemala was a transit country for migrants and refugees, including women and children travelling alone, making the overland journey north.

But now more Salvadoran and Honduran refugees are regarding Guatemala – where asylum requests rose by more than 200 percent from 2014 to 2016, as a “country of refuge”, said Filippo Grandi, the head of the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR.

“There are many people who end up asking for asylum in this country, particularly from El Salvador and Honduras,” Grandi said during a visit this week to Guatemala and other countries in the region.

Guatemala has granted refugee status to 178 Salvadorans and Hondurans since 2014, the UNHCR said.

To enforce control, Central American street gangs, known as maras, rape women and girls, murder, force children to join their ranks, and extort money at gunpoint, according to UNHCR.

During his visit to Mexico this week, Grandi said on Twitter he was “shocked and sad” after hearing refugees speak of “horrifying” abuses carried out by gang members.

“The fundamental challenge is to address root causes, especially the root causes of the violence that cause so many people to flee,” Grandi said in a statement earlier this week.

While maras operate in the poor country of Guatemala, asylum seekers from Honduras and El Salvador say they see the country as a safer option for them.

“We heard only certain parts of Guatemala were violent, that it was much calmer here,” Salvadoran Juan Pablo, who fled to the capital, Guatemala City, with his family in May, told UNHCR.

“Every corner of El Salvador is dangerous. Guatemalans have been good to us and supported us,” said Juan Pablo, who did not use his real name for security reasons.

Guatemala does not detain asylum seekers but gives them temporary visas while their cases are reviewed, UNHCR noted.

Other Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, Belize and Mexico, have also seen asylum claims rise, mostly from Hondurans and Salvadorans.

According to UNHCR, last year Mexico received almost 9,000 new asylum applications, up 156 percent from 2015.

UAE Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant Scheduled to Launch 2018

At the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) in Abu Dhabi, dozens of employees are reviewing the 15,000-page application for the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, scheduled to launch next year.

The Barakah plant will make the UAE the first Gulf state to have a peaceful nuclear energy program.

By 2020, the UAE Peaceful Nuclear Energy Program will be in full gear, with four nuclear reactors providing nearly 25 percent of the UAE’s electricity needs, according to the state-run Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).

The first reactor was initially set to start generating power in 2017, but ENEC recently announced its inauguration would be delayed until 2018 for technical reasons.

“We received the application for reactor one in March 2015 and since then we have been studying it,” said Christer Viktorsson, director general at the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation which oversees regulation and licensing for the UAE’s nuclear programme.

Viktorsson says the federal authority has sent ENEC more than 1,000 questions seeking documented answers since 2015 — and the licensing process is not yet over.

“It’s a massive application,” he told AFP. “There are a few areas where we still have questions.”

“We have to verify… that they have security plans, like emergency plans, and if an accident happens they can deal with it.”

In the FANR offices, 300 kilometres west of the Barakah plant, Emirati and foreign employees are buried in licensing paperwork in a bid to meet next year’s deadline.

ENEC in April reported construction of the plant’s four units had been 80 percent completed, with reactor one at 95 percent completion.

Operations teams and contingency plans are also in place, according to ENEC, and Viktorsson says he has “no doubt” that the company will meet the 2018 launch date.

Much of the construction of the $25-billion (21.2-billion-euro) Barakah plant has been outsourced to the Korea Electric Power Corporation, the largest electric utility in South Korea, which won the project over French multinational group AREVA.

“We don’t think the nuclear power plant will cause any problems in the region,” said a South Korean diplomat in the UAE, requesting anonymity.

“The Barakah nuclear power plant will play an important role for the UAE’s economic development and will be a role model for the other Arab countries, proving that nuclear power can be used for peaceful purposes.”

“Our country is and will remain a forerunner,” a UAE official said on condition of anonymity.

UAE ally Saudi Arabia has also said it aims to develop a peaceful nuclear energy programme.

Australia Unveils Safety Plan against Vehicle Attacks

Sydney- Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull revealed Sunday projects to prevent terror attacks, especially those done with vehicles in crowded public places.

Turnbull said the government and the police will help owners of public places and designers in incorporating safety features into their projects to boost safety measures.

“The best mitigation are done at the design,” he told reports in Sydney.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks in Cambrils and Barcelona, which killed 14 and injured more than a 100.

Turnbull said it can’t be 100 percent safe, however, “the most important thing is that, as you get new developments, new plans, that security measures are put in place at that time,” he added.

Steps include the installation of bollards along main streets, and at shopping centers and outside sporting grounds.

“The threat is constantly evolving, and so what we have to do is make sure that we too are constantly improving and updating the measures we have to keep Australians safe,” he added.

The strategy was initiated following initiated the attack in 2016 when a terrorist drove a truck into crowds in the French city of Nice killing 86 people.

In January, a man drove into pedestrians in the city of Melbourne, killing six.

Comedian, Civil Rights Activist Dick Gregory Dies at 84

Washington – Dick Gregory, who played a prominent role in the 1960s civil rights movement after died on Saturday at age 84, his son said.

“It is with enormous sadness that the Gregory family confirms that their father, comedic legend and civil rights activist Mr. Dick Gregory departed this earth tonight in Washington, D.C.,” his son, Christian, wrote on Instagram.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Gregory received his first chance to perform his first real act when Playboy founder Hugh Hefner saw Gregory’s act and hired the comedian to perform at his nightclub in 1961.

Gregory’s stand-up comedy tackled racism, and he took part in demonstrations in the 1960s, befriending the late Martin Luther King Jr.

In the early 1970s, Gregory left stand-up comedy to spend more time on political activism and in the 1980s turned his focus to promoting healthy eating .

Thirty-seven Inmates Killed in Government Raid on Venezuelan Prison

Venezuela

Caracas- The governor of Venezuela’s southern jungle state of Amazonas said on Thursday that thirty-seven inmates were killed during an overnight raid by government security forces on a prison.

Human rights advocates have long complained that violent gangs exercise de facto control over many of the chaotic country’s prisons and have ready access to automatic weapons and even hand grenades.

The government seeks to reassert control over understaffed prison facilities by sending in special forces from time to time, but deadly confrontations often ensue.

“There was a massacre,” tweeted Liborio Guarulla, the Amazonas governor, who said 37 prisoners had been killed.

He added that the raid on the prison in the state capital Puerto Ayacucho started around midnight.

Venezuela’s state prosecutor’s office said later on Wednesday that it was investigating 37 deaths in Amazonas. It added 14 officials had been injured

Venezuela’s Information Ministry, which processes media requests for the government, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But a city council member, Jose Mejias, said gunshots were heard all night.

“The government went in to try to regain control of the jail. The prisoners resisted,” Mejías told Reuters.

Venezuela is one of the world’s most violent countries and inmates often plan kidnappings and robberies from their cells.

More than 80,000 Hit Sydney Streets in Aid of Charity

Sydney- More than 80,000 runners took part in Sydney’s annual City2Surf race on Sunday, with 2016 champion Harry Summers defending his title in 42 minutes and 16 seconds, media reported.

Celia Sullohern was the first woman to complete the 14-km (8.7 mile) run from the Sydney central business district through to Bondi Beach in a time of 47 minutes and 11 seconds, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Three-time Paralympic Gold Medallist Kurt Fearnley won the wheelchair event.

The City2Surf started in 1971 and raised over A$4 million ($3.16 million) this year for hundreds of charities, according to the official race website.

Korean Company Inks 641 billion-won Contract with Boeing

korea

Seoul – South Korea’s aircraft maker, and the only one in South Korea, said Tuesday it inked a 641.1 billion-won contract to supply a key wing component to US aerospace company Boeing for the next 13 years.

Yonhapnews news agency reported that the latest deal is equal to 20.7 % of KAI’s consolidated sales last year.

The contract will be valid till 31 December 2030.

The Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) said it will be the exclusive supplier of wing ribs for Boeing’s new series “B777x”, until the end of 2030. Ribs are forming elements that create the structure of the wings.

The company then said it inked another 79 billion won contract with Boeing to supply pivot bulkheads for its popular B787 Dreamliner.

This contract will be effective from January 1 2022 till December 31 2028.