Riders in Lebanon must haggle with drivers to take an Uber

Riders in Lebanon must haggle with drivers to take an Uber
Uber has been criticized in the past for increasing fares in Lebanon, with users calling for its boycott. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 27 May 2023
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Riders in Lebanon must haggle with drivers to take an Uber

Riders in Lebanon must haggle with drivers to take an Uber

Once known for quick and affordable on-demand rides, Uber is now struggling with pricing rides in Lebanon, leading the company to launch a “flex” option.

The new and seemingly only way to book an Uber in the country requires riders to “bid” for their ride. The rider suggests a price and the driver then accepts, rejects or counteroffers, and so on.

Lebanon adopted a new official exchange rate on Feb. 1, marking a massive 90 percent devaluation from its current official rate, which had remained unchanged for 25 years.

The currency fluctuation is so drastic — changing every day or even every hour — that Uber was unable to price a ride fair to the market, said Uptin Saiidi, journalist and content creator, in an Instagram video.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Uptin (@uptin)

 

Drivers were calling riders once they booked a ride and then negotiating over the phone before agreeing to pick them up, so Uber launched the “flex” ride so both parties could haggle within the app.

Uber has been criticized in the past for increasing fares in Lebanon, with users calling for its boycott. The ride-sharing app displayed fares in US dollars from its launch in Lebanon until 2021 when it switched to the local currency — but the fares were much more expensive.

“With the economic collapse in Lebanon, and the extinction of USD bank notes and the rendering of bank cards useless, pricing in USD is no longer possible,” Lebanese blogger Gino Raidy wrote in a blog post.

It seemed that Uber chose the 3,900 LL/USD exchange rate “that the governor of Lebanon’s central bank pulled out of somewhere,” which led to fares “increasing significantly, given they were being paid on the ‘official’ exchange rate of around 1,500 LL/USD,” Raidy said.

An Uber spokesperson told Al Arabiya at the time that it had only increased its recommended fares, which had nothing to do with the exchange rate.

Currently, it seems that riders must negotiate or bid to book an Uber. Meanwhile, many are switching to other services such as Bolt, which are cheaper and more efficient.


Nigerians protest mysterious death of Afrobeat star as police exhumes body for autopsy

Nigerians protest mysterious death of Afrobeat star as police exhumes body for autopsy
Updated 22 September 2023
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Nigerians protest mysterious death of Afrobeat star as police exhumes body for autopsy

Nigerians protest mysterious death of Afrobeat star as police exhumes body for autopsy
  • Ilerioluwa Aloba, one of Nigeria’s fastest-rising young pop stars, died last week in a Lagos hospital at the age of 27 after being admitted for an unknown illness

ABUJA, Nigeria: Thousands marched across Nigeria on Thursday over the mysterious death last week of an Afrobeat star whose body has been exhumed for an autopsy as authorities investigate the cause of his demise.
Lagos police said the body of the late Ilerioluwa Aloba, better known as MohBad, was exhumed Thursday afternoon in response to complaints about the unclear circumstances surrounding his death.
Aloba, widely known as one of Nigeria’s fastest-rising young pop stars, died last week in a Lagos hospital at the age of 27 after being admitted for an unknown illness.
Young Nigerians on Tuesday took to the streets in Lagos to demand justice for Aloba, but the protests swelled across the country amid an outpouring of grief – and questions about what caused his death.
The police in Lagos said it received complaints about the singer’s death, leading them to set up a criminal investigations team to “aggregate all allegations, suspicions and insinuations from various sources on the death of the singer.”
Lagos Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said Tuesday he had “instructed that all those who may have played any role whatsoever in any event leading to the death of MohBad be made to face the law after a thorough investigation.”
“I also appeal to all friends and fans of the deceased to stay calm and refrain from making inflammatory utterances and reaching prejudicial conclusions on this matter,” Sanwo-Olu said. “Staying calm and following the process will be our most solemn tribute to the memory of the departed talent.”
The death of the young artist has drawn people — and numbers — to his music.
In one of his songs titled “Sorry”, the late star spoke about coming from a poor background and his struggles to earn a living through music. In another, “Peace”, he spoke of himself as a “survivor... money chaser — faster than a bullet.”


King Charles, France’s Macron hope to build on personal bond

King Charles, France’s Macron hope to build on personal bond
Updated 18 September 2023
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King Charles, France’s Macron hope to build on personal bond

King Charles, France’s Macron hope to build on personal bond
  • Charles had meant to make France his first royal visit after his coronation, but the March trip was abruptly cancelled by violent French protests over pension reforms, much to Macron’s embarrassment

PARIS: After flames engulfed France’s Notre-Dame cathedral in 2019, Britain’s future King Charles III sat down to write to President Emmanuel Macron, describing his heartbreak and offering his help and advice on the restoration.
This week, more than four years on, the monarch will tour France on a royal visit and inspect the site of the inferno that stirred memories of the blaze that swept through his own family’s home of Windsor Castle in 1992.
The trip that starts on Wednesday will be filled with many such personal touches and moments of symbolism as Britain and France seek to rebuild ties tested by the bitter and chaotic years of Brexit.
Charles had meant to make France his first royal visit after his coronation, but the March trip was abruptly cancelled by violent French protests over pension reforms, much to Macron’s embarrassment.
On their second attempt, the 74-year-old king and the 45-year-old president will set out to build on a relationship already bolstered by their communications over Notre-Dame and their shared interest in climate and heritage, royal aides said.
Charles and his wife Queen Camilla are scheduled to visit Paris before heading southwest to the vineyards of Bordeaux.
The king, a fluent French speaker like his mother, is keen to walk in the late Queen Elizabeth’s footsteps and is likely to refer to his mother’s deep affection for France, officials said.

 


BBC is ‘urgently looking’ into issues raised by Brand report

BBC is ‘urgently looking’ into issues raised by Brand report
Updated 18 September 2023
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BBC is ‘urgently looking’ into issues raised by Brand report

BBC is ‘urgently looking’ into issues raised by Brand report
  • Brand, accused of sexual assault, denied all allegations
  • Incidents allegedly took place while the British comedian and actor worked at BBC between 2006 and 2008

LONDON: Britain’s BBC said on Sunday it was “urgently looking into the issues” raised by allegations of sexual assault made against the broadcaster’s former employee, British comedian and actor Russell Brand, who denies the accusations.
Brand, 48, the former husband of US singer Katy Perry, worked on BBC radio programs between 2006 and 2008.
He issued a denial on Saturday to unspecified “very serious criminal allegations” hours before the accusations of sexual assaults, including rape, were published online by the Sunday Times newspaper and later aired on Channel 4 television.
The Times and documentary show Dispatches reported that the alleged incidents had taken place between 2006 and 2013 and said one woman had made an allegation of rape, while another said Brand assaulted her when she was 16 and still at school.
Two of the accusers reported that the incidents occurred in Los Angeles, the paper said.
A BBC spokesperson said in a statement: “The documentary and associated reports contained serious allegations, spanning a number of years. Russell Brand worked on BBC radio programs between 2006 and 2008 and we are urgently looking into the          issues raised.”
Banijay UK, the production company behind a television show once hosted by Brand, said it had launched “an urgent internal investigation.”
“In light of the very serious allegations raised by Dispatches and The Times/Sunday Times investigation relating to the alleged serious          misconduct of Russell Brand while presenting shows produced by Endemol in 2004 and 2005, Banijay UK has launched an urgent internal  investigation,” it said.
Women’s charity Trevi, which helps women affected by violence and abuse, said it had ended its association with Brand, and Tavistock        Wood, a talent agency, said in a statement it “has terminated all professional ties to Brand.”
“Russell Brand categorically and vehemently denied the allegation made in 2020, but we now believe we were horribly misled by him,” it      said.
London’s Metropolitan Police said it had not received any reports in relation to the allegations.
“If anyone believes they have been the victim of a sexual assault, no matter how long ago it happened, we would encourage them to contact the police,” the police said in a statement.


Dinosaur known as ‘Barry’ goes on sale in rare Paris auction

Dinosaur known as ‘Barry’ goes on sale in rare Paris auction
Updated 18 September 2023
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Dinosaur known as ‘Barry’ goes on sale in rare Paris auction

Dinosaur known as ‘Barry’ goes on sale in rare Paris auction
  • Camptosaurus known as Barry that dates from the late Jurassic period some 150 million years ago, will go under the hammer in Paris next month

PARIS: An unusually well-preserved dinosaur skeleton, a Camptosaurus known as Barry that dates from the late Jurassic period some 150 million years ago, will go under the hammer in Paris next month.
The dinosaur, which was first discovered in the 1990s in the US state of Wyoming, was initially restored in 2000 by palaeontologist Barry James, from whom it got its name.
Italian laboratory Zoic, which acquired Barry last year, has done further restoration work on the skeleton, which is 2.10 meters tall and 5 meters long.
“It is an extremely well-preserved specimen, which is quite rare,” said Alexandre Giquello, from Paris auction house Hotel Drouot where the sale will take place.
“To take the example of its skull, the skull is complete at 90 percent and the rest of the dinosaur (skeleton) is complete at 80 percent,” he said.
Dinosaur specimens on the art market remain rare, with no more than a couple of sales a year worldwide, Giquello said.
The skeleton, which will be shown to the public in mid-October before the sale, is expected to fetch up to $1.28 million.


One in 10 Japanese are older than 80, new government data shows

One in 10 Japanese are older than 80, new government data shows
Updated 18 September 2023
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One in 10 Japanese are older than 80, new government data shows

One in 10 Japanese are older than 80, new government data shows
  • Japan's current population count is at 124.4 million, of which around 12.59 million are 80 or older while 20 million are 75 or older
  • Japan has seen its population shrink and grow older as young people delay marriage, resulting in ballooning costs for elderly care

TOKYO: More than 10 percent of Japanese people have crossed 80 years or older for the first time, new official data showed, as the nation faces a rapidly greying population.

Government data released on Sunday, ahead of Monday’s “Respect for Aged Day” national holiday, also showed that the share of Japan’s population at 65 or older expanded to a record 29.1 percent from 29.0 percent a year ago.
The level compared with second-ranked Italy’s 24.5 percent and third-ranked Finland’s 23.6 percent, according to the internal affairs ministry.
“Japan has the highest percentage of elderly population in the world,” the ministry said in a press release.
For decades, Japan has seen its population shrink and grow older as young people delay marriage and children largely due to unstable jobs and economic difficulties.
As a result, Japan has seen ballooning costs for elderly care with not enough young people to fill jobs and pay for various social and welfare programs.
The ministry said that with the baby boomer population turning 75 or older, Japan’s 124.4 million people are continuing to grow older.
Around 12.59 million people are 80 or older while 20 million are 75 or older, it said.
As a result, Japan is relying on an elderly labor force.
More than nine million elderly are working, accounting for 13.6 percent of the workforce, or one in seven workers in Japan.
A quarter of all elderly in Japan have jobs, less than South Korea’s 36.2 percent, but far ahead of other developing countries such as the United States at 18.6 percent, and France at 3.9 percent.
More than a third of people between70 to 74 have jobs in Japan, the data showed.
By 2040, Japan’s elderly population is projected to account for 34.8 percent of the population.