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Uber may have global ambitions, but the Mexican city of Guadalajara offers an example of how local resourcefulness can still hard to beat. By welding on extra features, including passenger seats, some Guadalajara entrepreneurs are turning electric rickshaws and scooters brought in from India and Italy into bike taxis that are giving Uber a run for its money.

Enhancing, or even assembling, ramshackle vehicles is nothing new in Mexico as anyone who has used a microbus in the capital will know. These buses and bike taxis, including many enhanced versions of the Italian scooter brand Piaggio, thrive in a country where millions can only afford cheap transport.

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A rickshaw in Oaxaca, Mexico (2010) — Photo: Antti T. Nissinen

One seller in Zapopan, a western suburb of Guadalajara, told El Informador that a remodeled rickshaw can earn you 300 pesos ($16.50) a day, which can recoup the initial investment in just six months. Each one costs around 64,000 pesos ($3,500).

This mode of transport is not tightly regulated, and requires little paperwork for now; and while many avoid them for safety fears, they are already making some 46,000 trips a day in and around the city of some 1.5 million, reports El Informador, which is based in Guadalajara.

A salesman in Tlajomulco south of the city toldthe paper: "It's simple. If you buy an Uber, the car costs 160,000 pesos ($8,800). You have to pay for the application and rent the car out. The (motorized rickshaws) require so much less in startup costs, are three times more profitable ...and carry almost twice as many people as Uber."

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Geopolitics

New Probe Finds Pro-Bolsonaro Fake News Dominated Social Media Through Campaign

Ahead of Brazil's national elections Sunday, the most interacted-with posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Telegram and WhatsApp contradict trustworthy information about the public’s voting intentions.

Jair Bolsonaro bogus claims perform well online

Cris Faga/ZUMA
Laura Scofield and Matheus Santino

SÂO PAULO — If you only got your news from social media, you might be mistaken for thinking that Jair Bolsonaro is leading the polls for Brazil’s upcoming presidential elections, which will take place this Sunday. Such a view flies in the face of what most of the polling institutes registered with the Superior Electoral Court indicate.

An exclusive investigation by the Brazilian investigative journalism agency Agência Pública has revealed how the most interacted-with and shared posts in Brazil on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Telegram and WhatsApp share data and polls that suggest victory is certain for the incumbent Bolsonaro, as well as propagating conspiracy theories based on false allegations that research institutes carrying out polling have been bribed by Bolsonaro’s main rival, former president Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, or by his party, the Workers’ Party.

Agência Pública’s reporters analyzed the most-shared posts containing the phrase “pesquisa eleitoral” [electoral polls] in the period between the official start of the campaigning period, on August 16, to September 6. The analysis revealed that the most interacted-with and shared posts on social media spread false information or predicted victory for Jair Bolsonaro.

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