OPEC PRODUCTION CUTS: Oil producers likely to continue curbs on production

Doha – VIJAY SHAH via Qatar National Bank and Investing.com

OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), a network of fourteen crude oil producing nations may be likely to continue maintaining its curb on production output for the foreseeable future according to commodity analysts at the Qatar National Bank, as reported by Investing.com today.

Record low oil prices, natural disasters and a rapidly shifting political landscape have given a bullish feel for the oil market. An oversupply of oil on the international market forced OPEC members to agree to limit their outputs in order to prevent a sudden decline in price earlier this year, with a provisional deadline of March 31, 2018, however the Qatari bank’s specialists say it is very likely that OPEC will continue with the production cut further into the new year.

 

The OPEC decision has also been influenced by higher output from non-OPEC affiliated countries. Non-OPEC output is expected to increase further in 2018, and it is predicted that OPEC will continue the curb till at least the end of next year.

In late September, oil prices reached a high of USD $59 per barrel, as the oil industry recovers from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey wrought upon oilfields in the Gulf Region of the US, and the likelihood of fresh sanction being imposed upon leading oil producer Iran by the Trump administration, who oppose closer links with the country due to its controversial nuclear programme.

Additionally, two OPEC members, Russia and Saudi Arabia had recently engaged in high-level talks aimed at keeping the extension of cuts in place for a long time, with Saudi unilaterally offering to cut its national output by 0.3 million barrels per day, which is over and above the cut it agreed with fellow members. Meanwhile, oil producers outside OPEC have increased their production by 0.7 million barrels per day, with the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicting a non-OPEC increase of 1.5 mbpd in 2018. Libya and Nigeria, though members of OPEC, are excluded from the cuts agreement and have in fact increased their oil exports, while OPEC members have been reported to be struggling to meet compliance rates.

SOURCES:

HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind

Dukascopy Forex (EN)‏, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/FXS_Forex_EN

“OPEC Likely To Extend Cuts Due To Higher Output From Non-OPEC” – Online News powered by Dukascopy/Dukascopy (15 October 2017) https://www.dukascopy.com/news/?languages=en&selectedId=5080556400065759342

“OPEC Likely To Extend Cuts Due To Higher Output From Non-OPEC” – Qatar National Bank, Investing.com/Fusion Media Limited (15 October 2017) https://www.investing.com/analysis/opec-likely-to-extend-cuts-due-to-higher-output-from-nonopec-200218787

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:OPEC-building-02.jpg” – Priwo, Wikimedia Commons (24 January 2010) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:OPEC-building-02.jpg

 

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AN ATM STICKUP: Two methods used to fleece cash machines

Philipsburg – VIJAY SHAH via TecNovedosos

Earlier this year, specialists working at Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab announced at a conference held in the Dutch Caribbean territory of Sint-Maarten that bank robbers have found two new, and quite ingenious ways to target ATMs and relieve them of their cash deposits. The IT experts made a presentation in front of delegates at the Computer Security Summit Summit, held on the 4th of April, 2017, where they warned that thieves were upping their game in their attacks on automated bank tellers and gone were the days when all it took was a rope, a heavy-duty vehicle and a small amount of explosives to break into an ATM.

 

According to a report published in Spanish language online magazine tecnovedosos.com, sophisticated robbers now have two tactics at their disposal, cases of which have already been reported by banks in Russia and Europe. In many of these cases, the robberies only took a matter of seconds.

The first tactic reported by security specialists involves a small hole being drilled into the ATM keypad without triggering the machine’s automatic security sensors. A hacker then uses special equipment to directly access the onboard computer. The hacker then decodes the machine’s electronic signals, essentially forcing the machine to electronically hand over all its cash. The ATM is emptied of its cash reserves by the robbers. This tactic exploits a vulnerability in a certain model of ATM, manufactured by a single company, though which company it was was not mentioned by the Kaspersky Lab researchers.

The second tactic involves a more elaborate and far-reaching approach targeting the bank itself. Malicious cybercriminals target the bank’s IT systems with a powerful virus that targets the part of the network that manages the ATMs. Once the virus is entrenched, it is remotely activated by the criminals using the bank’s own systems. A command is sent out by the virus to the ATMs to release their cash reserves. The robber needs then only to pay a visit to the compromised ATM and withdraw all the money, a procedure that takes only a few minutes and will not arouse the suspicions of bank security staff, and also cuts out the risk associated with traditional bank robberies involving ‘stick-ups’, in the eyes of criminals.

The ATMs are compromised by robbers quite easily and once the heist is complete, the hackers wipe out the virus to cover their tracks. The virus, known as ATMitch, has been reported by banks hacked into in Russia and neighbouring Kazakhstan.

In the UK, no such cases have yet been reported involving these tactics. Most ATMs are zeroued in on by less technologically savvy robbers who resort to blowing up cash machines or ripping them out of walls. In the past few years, some fraudsters have adopted a more scientific approach, involving attaching special skimming devices to the card reader slots of ATMs, which masquerade as part of the machine and catch people’s card details and PINs, which the robbers gather from the device and then empty the victims’ accounts. Others have been caught attaching pinhole cameras which watch people enter their PINs. ATM users are advised to always shield their PINs when using cash machines, and to be wary of people standing over them or observing them using the keypad.

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

Tecnología GM 🔹‏, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/TecnologiaGM

“Descubren dos ingeniosas tácticas para sacarle el dinero a los cajeros automáticos” – tecnovedosos.com/TecNovedosos (5 April 2017) https://www.tecnovedosos.com/metodos-para-robar-cajeros-automaticos/

IMAGE CREDITS:

“Free photo: Scam, Atm, Security, Bank, Money – Free Image on Pixabay – 2048851” – mrganso, Pixabay (4 February 2017) https://pixabay.com/en/scam-atm-security-bank-money-2048851/

“🇸🇽 Sint Maarten on Twitter Twemoji 2.0” – Emojipedia/Emojipedia Pty Ltd https://emojipedia.org/twitter/twemoji-2.0/flag-for-sint-maarten/

AIR MAURITIUS CRISIS: Fifty pilots from India drafted in to man ailing airline

Port Louis – VIJAY SHAH and ABHI RAMSAHAYE via LeDéfi Media Group

A team of fifty pilots from India are being sent to the island of Mauritius to help solve a staff shortage that has brought the island’s national air carrier to its knees, reports local French-language news agency LeDéfi Media Group.

The island’s national and most significant airline, Air Mauritius is currently undergoing a crisis caused by many of its pilots refusing to report for duty, for reasons unknown. Several flights by Air Mauritius have already been cancelled since last Thursday, a serious problem for Mauritius, a popular holiday hotspot and for which tourism is a vital component of its economy.

 

The Mauritian government, frustrated with the inactivity of some of Air Mauritius’ aviators, has struck a deal with the government of India, an important regional ally, to supply the fifty pilots from Asia, who Le Défi said are now ready and waiting to take orders and man Air Mauritius’ planes. The Indian contingent are currently on standby to take over controls should more Mauritian pilots refuse to enter the cockpit.

Mauritius’ prime minister Pravind Jugnauth condemned the unofficial strike by Air Mauritius’ flight crew, claiming they were betraying the country. The PM said at an inauguration of playing fields in Résidences Briqueterie, Sainte-Croix: I find it unacceptable that people can act against the interests of Mauritius,”

“There will certainly be repercussions, but they (the airline) have my support,”

The airline’s board of directors have already terminated the employment contracts of three pilots this past Friday. The dismissals were followed by a press statement from the board, in whixch it said  it had “taken note of the detailed report presented by management” whose initial conclusions “confirm a premeditated and concerted action”.

The Air Mauritius debacle mirrors a similar situation in Europe, when the Anglo-Irish economy airline Ryanair was forced to cancel hundred of flights after senior management messed up pilot working hour rotas following a change in statutory holiday periods. Also in the UK, another air carrier, Monarch, went into administration with the loss of 1,900 jobs after losing £100 million of profits due to terrorism and the impact of Brexit on the travel economy.

SOURCES: 

Defimedia.info, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/www.defimedia.info/

“AIR MAURITIUS : 50 PILOTES INDIENS PRÊTS À PRENDRE LES COMMANDES” – Abhi Ramsahaye, LeDéfi Media Group (8 October 2017) http://www.defimedia.info/air-mauritius-50-pilotes-indiens-prets-prendre-les-commandes

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:Air Mauritius A330-200 3B-NBM HKG 2012-7-16.png” – Sergey Kustov, Wikimedia Commons (16 July 2012) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Air_Mauritius_A330-200_3B-NBM_HKG_2012-7-16.png

MANOR PARK SURGERY: Failing Newham medical centre shuttered by CQC

London – VIJAY SHAH via ALEX SHAW and Newham Recorder

A poorly performing doctor’s surgery in the London Borough of Newham’s Manor Park area, east London, was ordered to close down after an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) ruled it as inadequate, reported local newspaper Newham Recorder.

The Manor Park Medical Centre, in Romford Road, was responsible for 1,300 local patients. It’s closure came after it failed three inspection reports in a row, the last one carried out in July 2017, the Newham Recorder stated. The CQC, which ensures standards of medical facilities in the UK, was scathing in its appraisal of the Manor Park Medical Centre, rating it as ‘inadequate’ in five key areas. A notice was pinned to the surgery’s house-like varnished wooden door announcing its closure, and offering a map and address of an alternative medical facility in nearby Church Road. The notice was issued by the Newham NHS Clinical Commissioning Group.

 

The Medical Centre, headed by Dr Surendra Kumar Dhariwal, appealed against the closure decision, but the CQC and a court at a first-tier tribunal had the upper hand. The centre’s registration was terminated this past Monday, which meant the practice no longer is open to patients.

“I was very concerned about patient care at Dr Surendra Kumar Dhariwal’s practice and the lack of response or improvement we have witnessed since previous inspections,” said Prof Ursula Gallagher, CQC deputy chief inspector of GP practices.

The regulator was “left with no option” but to close the practice “in the interests of patients,” she added.

The Medical Centre had been running into trouble since November 2016, and later inspections revealed no improvement in the situation. CQC inspectors were shocked by the poor levels of staff appraisal and training, unclear staffing arrangements and there were noticeable gaps in background checking of new staff.

The inspectors also raised concerns about the physical state of the centre and its medicine stocks. The Newham Recorder stated that the premises were covered in dust and some pharmaceutical items were also dusty or expired.

A significant amount of medicines and equipment were not fit for use and there were no effective systems in place to address this,” read the report.

It stated there was “no evidence” of the duty of candour, the legal duty of health centres to inform and apologise to patients if mistakes in their care have led to harm.

Dr Dhaliwal was not available for comment at the time of the Recorder’s report, but previously he claimed that improvements were made to the Manor Park Medical Centre after the earlier inspections and it was a “really good practice”. He had been a member of medical staff at the centre for fifty years. The CQC said that the failings at the centre posed a great risk of harm to its patients. It is not known if or when the centre may reopen.

SOURCES:

Newham Recorder, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/Newham.Recorder/

“Three strikes and out for Manor Park GP surgery” – Alex Shaw, Newham Recorder/Archant (6 October 2017) http://www.newhamrecorder.co.uk/news/health/three-strikes-and-out-for-manor-park-gp-surgery-1-5225987

IMAGE CREDIT:

Google Maps https://maps.google.co.uk/

LONELY PLANET: Travel guide’s top destinations for 2017

This time last year, renowned travel and adventure guide Lonely Planet published a list of recommendations for travellers in 2017, for top countries and regions that the adventurous globetrotter just had to check out. Lonely Planet got together with people in the know, and spoke with numerous publishers, travel authors and members of its travelling subscriber community. It then compiled their recommendations in the magazine ‘Best In Travel’, listing the ten best cities, regions and countries the energetic and fun-loving trip junkie must visit for this year. Yes, 2017 is only good for three months more, but these destinations are planning to stick around for much longer, and are perfect for your 2018 travel plans.

 

COUNTRIES:

Canada – The land of the maple leaf, ice hockey and scrummy Tim Horton’s doughnuts made the number one slot in Lonely Planet’s guide. According to the guide, Canada’s rise to the top was helped by the election of its prime minister Justin Trudeau, whose arrival in Ottawa heralded a wave of national optimism. Other factors cited included the favourable exchange rate for Canadian dollars and the festivities the country is organising to celebrate 150 years of confederation which created Canada as a single political entity.

Colombia – after decades as a no-go zone due to an ongoing civil war, Colombia recently saw the signing of peace treaties between the government and far-left jungle rebels, and finally after 50 years of conflict, things are looking up for this undiscovered South American locale. This hope and the country’s outstanding natural beauty, vibrant culture and friendly people means Colombia takes the runner-up prize.

The top 10 countries – 

  1. Canada
  2. Colombia
  3. Finland
  4. Dominica
  5. Nepal
  6. Bermuda
  7. Mongolia
  8. Oman
  9. Myanmar
  10. Ethiopia

CITIES:

In first place for the best cities to visit in 2017, is the picturesque southern French city of Bordeaux. Lonely Planeters rated Bordeaux for its fine gastronomy, and no surprises, its vineyards and wine-making. After Cape Town in South Africa in second place, Los Angeles in the US came third, for its cultural, gastronomic and commercial diversity. Neighbouring Mexico’s Merida appears in fourth position, buoyed by its nomination as American City of Culture 2017, and its food culture.

The top 10 cities – 

  1. Bordeaux, France
  2. Cape Town, South Africa
  3. Los Angeles, USA
  4. Mérida, Mexico
  5. Ohrid, Macedonia
  6. Pistoia, Italy
  7. Seoul, South Korea
  8. Lisbon, Portugal
  9. Moscow, Russia
  10. Portland, USA

REGIONS:

Latin America has done favourably well in the most rated regions by Lonely Planet. Leading the pack is the Peruvian region of Choquequirao (Apurimac Valley), which was lauded by travellers for its unique opportunities to immerse oneself in the local Inca culture. Latin America is also represented at sixth place, with Chile’s Aysén in southern Patagonia, home to breathtaking glacial waterfalls fuelled by the snow-capped mountains of the Andes. The water in Aysén is said to be so fresh and cool, it imparts a unique flavour to the local beer.

The top 10 regions – 

  1. Choquequirao, Peru
  2. Taranaki, New Zealand
  3. Azores Islands, Portugal
  4. North Wales, United Kingdom
  5. South Australia
  6. Aysén, Chile
  7. Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia
  8. Georgia Coast, USA
  9. Perak, Malaysia
  10. Ring of Skellig, Ireland

Best in Travel also showcases the top 10 value-for-money destinations globally as well as rankings of places to experience in Asia, Europe and the United States, as well exploring 2017’s newest travel trends.

You can see Lonely Planet’s recommendations at lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel

DISCLAIMER: Lonely Planet has not endorsed or commissioned this article. This feature is based on a Spanish-language article from a third party.

SOURCES:

HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind

Tweet Hispano, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/TweetHispano

“Los mejores destinos turísticos para viajar en 2017 según ‘Lonely Planet’ ” – GrandesMedios.com/Grandes Medios (26 October 2016) https://www.grandesmedios.com/mejores-destinos-turisticos-2017/

“Best in Travel 2017” – Lonely Planet http://www.lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Free photo: Luggage, Holiday, Travel, Summer – Free Image on Pixabay – 1149289” – stux, Pixabay (29 December 2015) https://pixabay.com/en/luggage-holiday-travel-summer-sea-1149289/

AFGHANISTAN ROADSIDE BOMB: Official states 2 dead in terror attacks

Herat – VIJAY SHAH via Associated Press and Fox News

Two people are confirmed dead after a number of bombs exploded in roads in the Herat province of Afghanistan, according to statements by an Afghan official and reported in Fox News via the Associated Press agency today. Another bomb was also detonated at a market several miles from Kabul, the capital, as well today.

 

One of the victims is believed to have been a local police officer, killed by the blasts in the western part of Herat. Gelani Farhad, a spokesperson for the provincial government, said that one bomb triggered by a moving police vehicle in the Adraskan district, also injured another police officer. Farhad also stated that a second device in Shindand district blew up a motorcycle, killing one ordinary citizen and injuring another.

In Kapisa province, close to the Afghan capital Kabul and the US military encampment in Bagram, a bomb attached to a bicycle exploded at a bazaar, injuring nine shoppers, all civilians. Two young children were among the casualties, one of them critically, according to Qais Qaderi, a spokesperson for that province’s governor.

No group has come forward to claim responsibility for the blasts in Herat and Kapisa provinces. However the Taliban, who governed Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, when they were overthrown by an US allied invasion after the September 11 attacks in the United States, have long maintained a lethal campaign of stationary and suicide bomb attacks against both US/NATO and Afghan forces as well as civilians. Al Qaeda, Daesh and various warlords and militant groups are also highly active in Afghanistan.

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

Chris 🇺🇸‏, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Chris_1791

“Afghan official: 2 people killed by roadside bombs” – Associated Press via FOX News/FOX News Network, LLC (30 September 2017) http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/09/30/afghan-official-2-people-killed-by-roadside-bombs.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:Car Passing on Highway in Herat.jpg” – koldo hormaza, Flickr via Wikimedia Commons (13 September 2005) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Car_Passing_on_Highway_in_Herat.jpg

STRATFORD CENTRE: Six people hurt in fight and acid attack near shopping mall

London – VIJAY SHAH via ALIA ROPUN, ALAN MCGUINNESS, IAN FRANCIS and Sky News

Six men were reported injured after a ‘noxious substance’ was thrown in a street fight near the Stratford Centre shopping arcade in Stratford, east London yesterday at around 8 pm, Sky News said today.

The incident occurred near to a Subway restaurant on the Broadway, close to Stratford’s bus station and the Westfield Stratford City retail complex. Three of the individuals needed hospital treatment after having a chemical thrown on them during the mêlée between two separate groups of males, Sky News reported. A 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm.

 

Shoppers saw one man in agony as friends called for help by shouting “it is an acid attack, his skin is burning”. People rushed to the scene with water to ease the man’s chemical burns, according to the broadcaster.

One eyewitness, an assistant manager of a local Burger King restaurant who only gave his name as Hossen, told Sky News that he saw a victim and another male believed to be the victim’s friend, run into his restaurant and then to its washroom, desperate to wash off the corrosive chemical. Hossen said “There were cuts around his eyes and he was trying to chuck water into them”

The area where the fight took place was quickly cordoned off and treatment offered to the victims. Police, paramedics and fire crews all attended within 10 minutes. Paul Gibson, an assistant director of operations with the London Ambulance Service, said: “We treated six patients in total  and took three to London hospitals”.

Stratford administratively falls under the London Borough of Newham, and the borough’s police chief superintendent, Ade Adelekan, said: “I would like to be very clear concerning this incident.

“What initially may have been perceived as a number of random attacks has, on closer inspection, been found to be one incident involving two groups of males”.

Sky News reports that none of the men suffered serious harm in the street fight.

Attacks on people by assailants with chemicals such as sulphuric acid, bleach and drain cleaner were once associated with honour attacks in places like South Asia, but have become increasingly common in London, due to the ease of buying and carrying around dangerous chemicals, and the punishment for such attacks is less severe than assaults with knives or guns.

In June, 21-year-old student and model Resham Khan was travelling in Newham’s Beckton area with her cousin, Jameel Mukhtar, when an assailant flung acid in their faces while they were waiting at traffic lights. Even as far as back as 2011, a mother had acid splashed at her while walking her two children home from school in Upton Park. Latest figures published by the Evening Standard suggest a quarter of all acid attacks in London this year have occurred within Newham’s boundaries.

SOURCES:

Alia Ropun.

upday for Samsung UK http://www.upday.com/en/

“Six hurt in ‘acid attack’ at Stratford Centre in London” – Alan McGuinness and Ian Francis, Sky News/Sky UK (24 September 2017) http://news.sky.com/story/six-hurt-after-being-sprayed-with-noxious-substance-at-westfield-in-stratford-11050889

“Acid attack on school-run mother in Newham” – BBC News/BBC (4 May 2011) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-13282439

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Stratford Centre, Stratford” – N. Chadwick, geograph (20 January 2009) http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1128397

 

UBER: Disruptive taxi app firm stripped of licence by London’s TfL

London – VIJAY SHAH via SARAH BUTLER, GWYN TOPHAM and The Guardian

San Francisco-based taxi app company Uber has had its application to renew its public carriage licence turned down by Transport for London (TfL) after its business practices and safety record were called into question by critics, the Guardian newspaper reported today.

The company, founded by Travis Kalanick in 2010, operates in 400 cities around the world and is well known for its cheap prices, its large pool of contracted drivers and its ease of use. But the company has come under fire in London its ‘lack of corporate responsibility’, and its disruptive effect on the city’s indigenous ‘black cab’ licensed minicab trade. Uber has been accused of not properly vetting its drivers’ criminal records and for not doing enough to investigate alleged sexual assaults by contracted taxi drivers.

The move by TfL has created a massive shock in London, with many customers and drivers of Uber condemning the decision not to renew the firm’s licence, which enables it to operate on the city’s streets. Black cab drivers and motoring safety groups however, have expressed support for the decision, blaming Uber for increasing traffic and stealing trade from established cab firms.

 

TfL is said to have rejected Uber’s licence renewal on the basis that it is not a “fit and proper” private car hire operator, according to the Guardian newspaper. The current Uber licence will expire on the 30th of September and the company’s UK arm plans to launch an appeal against TfL’s decision.  Uber works with 40,000 drivers and 3.5 million users, called ‘riders’ in London alone.

Uber’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi in a message to the app’s staff issued yesterday said: “The truth is that there is a high cost to a bad reputation,” he wrote. “It really matters what people think of us, especially in a global business like ours.

“It’s critical that we act with integrity in everything we do, and learn how to be a better partner to every city we operate in. That doesn’t mean abandoning our principles – we will vigorously appeal TfL’s decision – but rather building trust through our actions and our behaviour. In doing so, we will show that Uber is not just a really great product, but a really great company that is meaningfully contributing to society, beyond its business and its bottom line.”

TfL was supported by London’s city Mayor, Sadiq Khan, employment rights campaigners and a federation of black cab firms. Uber has in the past been slated for not giving its drivers full employment status and not paying them a living wage, according to its critics. Uber’s customers and drivers have expressed dismay, along with Trade Minister  Greg Hands.

TfL said it had rejected the company’s application to renew its licence because “Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility” in relation to reporting serious criminal offences, obtaining medical certificates and driver background checks. TfL has also accused Uber of employing special cloaking software to make it difficult for authorities to access the app and records for such purposes as law enforcement.

Khan said he fully supported TfL’s decision, saying all companies needed to “play by the rules”.

He said: “I want London to be at the forefront of innovation and new technology and to be a natural home for exciting new companies that help Londoners by providing a better and more affordable service.

“However, all companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect – particularly when it comes to the safety of customers.”

But Hands, who is also minister for London, said: “At the flick of a pen Sadiq Khan is threatening to put 40,000 people out of work and leave 3.5 million users of Uber stranded.

“Uber must address safety concerns and it is important there is a level playing field across the private hire market.

“But a blanket ban will cause massive inconvenience to millions of Londoners, all while showing that the Mayor of London is closed to business and innovation.”

Sam Gyimah, a Conservative justice minister and MP (Member of Parliament) for the East Surrey political constituency, said it was “possible to have effective regulation of Uber without penalising the consumers who benefit from more choice and lower prices”.

Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, which represents London’s black cab drivers, said the mayor had made the right decision.

“Since it first came on to our streets Uber has broken the law, exploited its drivers and refused to take responsibility for the safety of passengers. This immoral company has no place on London’s streets,” he said.

Uber said in a statement the decision would “show the world that, far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies”.

“3.5 million Londoners who use our app, and more than 40,000 licensed drivers who rely on Uber to make a living, will be astounded by this decision,” the company added.

Uber’s maverick business model have caused it to get in hot water in numerous world cities. There were protests against the app in places as far apart as Rio de Janeiro and Paris. Last year, its founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick was forced to step down after allegations of sexual harassment at the company’s headquarters and a fiery exchange with one of his company’s drivers, caught on camera. Many observers say that the decision by TfL could deal a fatal blow to Uber.

SOURCES:

Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/

“Uber stripped of London licence due to lack of corporate responsibility” – Sarah Butler and Gwyn Topham, The Guardian/Guardian News and Media Limited (23 September 2017) https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/sep/22/uber-licence-transport-for-london-tfl

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Uber app” – freestocks.org, Flickr (12 January 2016) https://www.flickr.com/photos/freestocks/23707913564

 

QUOTE MOMENT: A problem is an opportunity

 

Everyone hates problems. I do. You do. Hell, even your pet cat probably does. But in the name of positive thinking, it doesn’t hurt to think of a problem as an opportunity to learn, to self-improve and as a challenge to conquer. As strange as it may seem, encountering a problem gives you a chance to consider things from all angles and to find solutions to a) solve said problem; and b) get it out of the way and go back to living and enjoying life. Just as they say you should seize opportunities by the horns, so you must prepare to kick a problem in the rear end, as so to speak. Consider every problem that comes your way as a chance to really do your best and prove yourself. Remember, you may have 99 problems, but being the best certainly isn’t one of them.

SOURCES/IMAGE CREDIT:

HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind

Burton Brown Sr.‏, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/BurtonBrown

SCIENCE EXPERIMENT: Making plasma in the microwave

 

A cool science experiment you can carry out at home in your kitchen for next to nothing in cost, and a chance to see plasma in action. Plasma is a state of material that is rarely encountered naturally on Earth but is a core component of stars.

The plasma is generated by a combination of combustion and the microwave’s electric fields. Electrons are pushed back and forth, colliding with air molecules. It is these collisions that science says causes the formation of a ‘plasmoid’ which being hotter that the surrounding air, causes it to rise up to the top.

This experiment is quite easy to set up and uses things like jars and matches that you can find around the house. Be warned however, that you should do your research beforehand, as the plasma experiment can go wrong if not set up properly. Also it’s best not to use your flatmate’s expensive microwave just in case.

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

Elle Eff, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Elle_Eff247

Science GIFs, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/Learn_Things

Chemical Reactions, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/ChemistryReacts

“Make a ball of plasma in a microwave” – Amie, Wonder How To Science Experiments/WonderHowTo, Inc (6 September 2008) https://science.wonderhowto.com/how-to/make-ball-plasma-microwave-194331/

“Q & A: Plasma from a flame in the Microwave” – Tom, Ask the Van/Department of Physics – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (22 October 2007) https://van.physics.illinois.edu/qa/listing.php?id=819