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Thousands of striking taxi drivers protest in central Madrid

by admin   |   Posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

Thousands of protesters at Sol Square in Madrid, Spain seen from top shot on January 28, 2019 | Reuters

Thousands of Madrid taxi drivers staged a protest on Monday (January 28) at Sol Square in central Madrid against the online ride-hailing sector, including companies like Uber and Cabify which they say ignore regulations and pose unfair competition.

The protest joined by taxi drivers from across Spain and Portugal ended a day of demonstrations that started with the blockage of Madrid’s most iconic avenue earlier in the day.

Spain’s government agreed to pass new regulations in September guaranteeing a cap on licences for Uber and similar services at a ratio of just one permit for every 30 taxi permits.

The regulation also permitted Spanish regions to adopt their own restrictions on the services as they see fit.

But taxi workers demand further restrictions such a law that would force customers of ride-hailing services to order transport an hour beforehand.

Taxi drivers have been on strike since Monday (January 21). — Reuters

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Spain is 2019’s healthiest country – Bloomberg

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, March 1st, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The 2019 Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index named Spain as the healthiest nation in the world.

The data company ranks 169 economies according to factors that contribute to overall health based on data from the World Health Organization (WHO); United Nations Population Division (UNDP); and the World Bank.

Spain, which placed sixth in the previous report published in 2017, scored 92.8, surpassing Italy which slipped from number 1 to number 2 spot with 91.59.

Other nations in the top 10 include:

Iceland (3rd) with 91.44;

Japan (4th) with 91.38 climbing from seventh spot in 2017;

Switzerland (5th) with 90.93;

Sweden (6th) with 90.24;

Australia (7th) with 89.75;

Singapore (8th) with 89.29 dropping from 4th spot in 2017;

Norway (9th) with 89.09;

and Israel (10th) with 88.15.

Variables weighed include life expectancy, while imposing penalties on health risks i.e. tobacco use and obesity, plus environmental factors like access to clean water and sanitation.

Based on data from the UNDP, Spain is forecast to have the highest lifespan in 2040 at almost 86 years having the highest life expectancy at birth among European nations, followed by Japan, Singapore and Switzerland.

The main factor for Spaniards and Italians being the healthiest, according to researchers from the University of Navarra Medical School, is their eating habit – a “Mediterranean diet, supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts, had a lower rate of major cardiovascular events than those assigned to a reduced-fat diet”.

The United States, meanwhile, ranked 35th, a 1-point drop from 34th in the 2017 results as life expectancy in the country on downtrend due deaths from drug overdoses and suicides.

Bloomberg analysis focuses in its final index nations with at least 0.3 million population and sufficient data and 169 WHO states met such criteria. – Marje Pelayo

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Aerials of Toddler rescue efforts in Spain

by admin   |   Posted on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

Aerial shot of rescue operation in Totalan, Spain on January 21, 2019 | Reuters

 Local police released aerial footage of rescue efforts on Monday (January 21) to reach a two-year-old boy who fell into a borehole in southern Spain more than a week ago.

The toddler, Julen, fell down the shaft as his family walked through a private estate in Totalan, Malaga on Jan. 13. There have been no signs of life since.

Miners have been drilling day and night to create a parallel shaft, hoping they will be able to cut across by Tuesday to find the child.

Rescuers found that the borehole – 100 metres (300 feet) deep and just 25 cm (10 inches) wide – was blocked with earth, raising fears that soil had collapsed onto the child.

Spanish miners and engineers have been joined by workers from a Swedish firm who helped locate 33 Chilean miners rescued after 69 days underground more than seven years ago. — Reuters

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PCC slaps Grab, Uber with P16-M fine for violating merger provisions

by admin   |   Posted on Thursday, October 18th, 2018


MANILA, Philippines — Ride-hailing service firms, Uber and Grab are facing penalties anew over its merger deal.

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has fined Grab Philippines and Uber a total of P16 million for allegedly violating key provisions of the interim measures order (IMO) during the merger review period of the anti-trust body.

The IMO was issued to the parties to maintain pre-transaction conditions to prevent actions that may prejudice the ability of the PCC to review or impose appropriate remedies.

The PCC explained that the imposition of the fine is due to the failure of the two firms to keep their operations separate pending the approval of their merger deal.

In a breakdown provided by the anti-trust body, Grab PH and Uber are ordered to pay P4 million for executing their agreement even during the review period.

Grab was also fined with P8-million while Uber with four million for failing to maintain the pre-merger business conditions.

“Dahil sa pagcomply nila sa LTFRB order ay kinailangan naming i-reduce ang fines ng Uber which is why makikita natin eight millon po ang na impose sa Grab pero para sa uber naman ay four million pesos lamang,” said PCC Commisioner Stella Quimbo.

Grab and Uber merged their operations on March 25. The anti-trust body launched a motu propio review on the merger on April 3 and three days later, the agency issued the seven interim measure for Grab and Uber.

The PCC also noted that Grab Philippines and Uber violated two of the seven interim measures. Ten counts of violations were detected on two of the conditions set for the merger.

Under the Philippine Competition Act, a P2 million maximum fine will be imposed on every particular violation on its provisions.

“This establishes the fact that PCC has its own jurisdiction and mandate when it comes to competition-related concerns,” said PCC Commissioner Johannes Bernabe.

The PCC warned that if the two firms fail to comply within 45 days, they will have to pay a fine of P16 million each day.

In response, Grab PH said in a statement that they will study the order before giving further comments. — Mon Jocson | UNTV News & Rescue

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