Egypt court suspends Uber, Careem licenses — judicial sources

The Uber logo is seen outside the Uber Corporate Headquarters building in San Francisco, California. (AFP)
Updated 20 March 2018
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Egypt court suspends Uber, Careem licenses — judicial sources

CAIRO: An Egyptian court ordered the suspension of licenses for ride-hailing companies Uber and Careem on Tuesday, ruling on a lawsuit filed by taxi drivers seeking to shut down the two firms’ operations in the country, judicial sources said.
Forty-two Egyptian taxi drivers filed suit a year ago against the two companies, arguing that they were illegally using private cars as taxis and that they were registered as a call center and an Internet company, respectively.
Khaled Al-Gammal, a lawyer acting for the taxi drivers, said the court suspended the two companies’ licenses, banned their apps and suspended the use of private cars by the two ride-hailing services.
Tuesday’s decision was effective immediately, meaning the companies must suspend services pending a final ruling, but the companies have 60 days to appeal, the judicial sources said. It was not immediately clear when a final ruling would be issued.
Careem, a Dubai-based competitor to Uber, said it had not yet received any official request to stop operations in Egypt, and continued to operate as normal.
Uber intends to appeal any court decision to suspend ride sharing licenses in Egypt, a source familiar with the matter said. Uber had not been officially informed of the ruling, the source said.
Uber said last year it was committed to Egypt despite challenges presented by sweeping economic reforms and record inflation. Uber in October announced $20 million of investment in its new support center in Cairo.
The San Francisco-based company has had to make deals with local car dealerships to provide its drivers with affordable vehicles and adjust its ride prices to ensure its workers were not hit too hard by inflation.
Uber had two million users in Egypt in 2016, giving jobs to 60,000 drivers, it said.
Egypt is one of Uber’s fastest-growing markets, its general manager in the country, Abdellatif Waked, has said, according to state news agency MENA.
Egypt’s investment ministry said last year a draft law regulating web-based transport services would provide a legal framework for companies like Uber, but did not say when that bill was likely to be passed.
Uber has faced regulatory and legal setbacks around the world amid opposition from traditional taxi services. It has been forced to quit several countries, such as Denmark and Hungary.
Last year, London deemed Uber unfit to run a taxi service and stripped it of its license to operate. Uber is appealing against the decision.


Lebanon president: negative rumors about the economy harm country

Updated 19 September 2018
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Lebanon president: negative rumors about the economy harm country

  • Lebanon has been without a government for four months since a national election
  • “The Lebanese pound is not in danger and Lebanon is not on the road to bankruptcy," Aoun said

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s currency is not in danger and rumors about the economy are causing harm, President Michel Aoun said on Wednesday, amid concern that a political deadlock has blocked urgent reforms and left the heavily indebted country vulnerable.
Lebanon has been without a government for four months since a national election. The central bank has issued repeated assurances about the soundness of the Lebanese pound’s peg to the dollar and the size of its foreign currency reserves, in response to speculation over the currency’s future.
“The Lebanese pound is not in danger and Lebanon is not on the road to bankruptcy. The economic situation is difficult but the things being spread as rumors are harming Lebanon,” Aoun said, in comments published by his office.
“We do not deny that there is a crisis,” Aoun said, but added that the country was working to address it.
Lebanon had the world’s third highest debt-to-GDP ratio, at over 150 percent, at the end of 2017. The International Monetary Fund wants to see immediate and substantial fiscal adjustment to improve debt sustainability.
The failure of politicians to form a government needed to undertake the necessary reforms following the parliamentary election in May has added to concern for the economy.
Leaders from across the political spectrum have in recent months said the political stalemate is harming the economy and a government needs to be formed. Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri this month said the country was in “intensive care” and the economic situation was “very dangerous.”
While politicians have stopped short of saying the peg is in danger, some economic analysts abroad have been considering the possibility of a devaluation.
“Lebanon’s ongoing political stalemate has renewed market concerns over the country’s frail balance sheets which could propel the government to devalue the Lebanese Pound ... Under this scenario, the authorities would find it increasingly challenging to service their large foreign currency debts,” Japan’s MUFG Bank said in a report on Wednesday.