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Portugal among countries where Uber has exploited taxi driver violence for profit



Uber has used a strategy of using cabbie violence against Uber drivers in several countries, including Portugal, as a way to promote the company’s image and win concessions from governments, an investigative report reveals.

The plan began to develop in 2015, when the strategists of the North American company realized that they could capitalize on acts of violence against Uber driversafter winning the sympathy of public opinion, reveals the investigation of Uber Files, conducted by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ, its abbreviation in English).

One of the examples provided by the ICIJ investigation, cited by The Washington Post, one of the “media partners” in that investigation, took place in Portugal in 2015, when taxi drivers committed “acts of violence” against Uber drivers. several times, as a result of which several people were injured and one of them was hospitalized.

According to The Washington Post, Rui Bento, who was Uber’s manager in Portugal in July 2015, is quoted in an “email” to colleagues saying the company is “considering” providing information about the attacks and injuries. local media at a time when ANTRAL, the largest association of taxi drivers in Portugal, was looking to counter Uber’s expansion strategy.

According to Rui Bento, in the messages, the idea behind spreading the word about taxi driver attacks on Uber drivers was as follows:create a direct link between the public statements of violence by the president of ANTRAL (Florencio Almeida) and these actionsto humiliate their public image.”

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In response to Rui Bento’s post, Yuri Fernandez, public relations manager for Uber, suggested: explore Florencio Almeida’s past: “To see if we have anything ‘sexy’ for the media,” the documents cited by the investigation say.

The Washington Post reports that Bento and Fernandez did not respond to requests for comment on the case.

The controversy against Uber in Portugal and its lack of regulation escalated during the first half of 2015, culminating in late June with the confirmation of an injunction filed by the National Association of Carriers. Roads in cars (ANTRAL) with the Central Court of Lisbon on the suspension of the technology platform.

The actions of the Portuguese taxi drivers followed one another throughout the second quarter and gained momentum again in September and October, when demonstrations took place simultaneously in Lisbon, Porto and Faro.

At the time, Portugal was on the eve of legislative elections that led to a change of government.

The regulation on technological platforms for passenger transportation will come into force in 2018.

The ICIJ investigation presents similar cases in other countries, such as Switzerland, where a Geneva taxi driver’s violent attack on an Uber driver was analyzed as a potential benefit from the Berne government.

The investigation found that this Sunday, one of the company’s lobbyists, Kristian Samoylovich, was quoted in a message sent to a colleague in March of that year, where he admits that Uber may use violence against company drivers to its advantageafter an adviser to the European Commission wrote on the social network Facebook that the Uber in which he traveled was attacked by taxi drivers.

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That week, four Uber drivers were attacked on the same night by taxi drivers in the Netherlands who were protesting the benefits enjoyed by the American company, prompting Nick van Leeuwen, the organization’s manager for that European region, to report the situation. then CEO Travis Kalanick.

With the approval of the company’s general management, Leuwen expressed his outrage at these incidents to the media in the Netherlands, reporting the incident to the media and issuing an internal report in which he stated:We must save this tale of violence“.

Since then, Uber has begun advising drivers to stand up to taxi driver violence, reminding them that this is the best way to protect the interests of the company they work for.

Travis Kalanick appears in several posts defending Uber drivers standing up to taxi drivers even at the risk of physical attack and advising to keep the “narrative of violence” alive.

A spokesman for the former CEO told a consortium of journalists that the claims were taken out of context and that Kalanick never wanted to put the lives of Uber drivers at risk, but current company executives are outraged by the practice.

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Suitcases containing the remains of two children sold at auction in New Zealand



New Zealand police said the remains of two children were found in suitcases bought at an auction in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city.

Inspector Tofilau Faamanuia Waaelua said that the bodies of the victims, aged between five and ten years, were probably hidden for several years in two suitcases of the same size.

“The nature of the discovery makes the investigation challenging, especially given the time that has elapsed between death and discovery,” Waaelua said.

The family found the bags after purchasing a trailer full of items sold in bulk from a warehouse, with an official stating that the family in question was unrelated to the death but “understandably distraught at the find.”

Police, who also called Interpol, are searching the trailer for other household items and personal items to identify the victims.

The warehouse and property where the bags were found were thoroughly inspected by a forensic team.

“We are doing our best to identify the victims” in order to bring to justice the perpetrator or perpetrators of the deaths of these children, Waaelua said.

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