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EL ESPECTADOR

Uber v. Taxis, The Battle Arrives In Bogota

Taxis in Bogota
Taxis in Bogota

-Editorial-

BOGOTA — Some residents of the Colombian capital are indignant at recent police checks on white cars thought to be carrying passengers through Uber, an Internet application that links users with private drivers.

Passengers using Uber can pay by credit or debit card beforehand and can be picked up anywhere. Cars are clean and the drivers cautious, no small feat in a city where a taxi driver might mug you or worse.

Whether the service is illegal is open to interpretation. A 2001 decree allows such transportation by companies legally constituted to carry specified types of passengers. Literally read in the current debate, it would allow Uber cars to carry not just anyone, but “specific” groups such as guests of a particular hotel chain or children who attend a particular school. At least that’s how the city Transport Secretariat, which ordered the checks, sees it.

It is a rigorous attitude that is unfortunately not applied to other, truly bothersome situations: taxis spurning passengers during rush hour, drivers of illegal taxis mugging passengers, or the informal taxis prowling around university premises in central and northern Bogotá that crowd five passengers into a small car for a flat fare.

A spokesman for taxi company Taxis Libres says the problem is that Uber drivers fix fares as they please, and are neither qualified professionally or regulated by authorities. Frankly, he could be talking about one of his own drivers.

The debate on the legalities and effects of the application is far from over. For now, the Transport Ministry has the last word.

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Geopolitics

Modi Is Wrong: Russia's War Also Creates Real Risks For India

By shrugging aside Russia’s aggression, India has shown indifference to fears that China could follow Russia’s example.

Photo of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi Visits Russia

Anita Inder Singh*

-OpEd-

NEW DELHI — India is wrong to dismiss Russia’s war in Ukraine as Europe’s problem. The illegality and destructiveness of the invasion, and consequential food and energy crises, have global ramifications.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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This explains why 143 out of the 193 member-states of the UN General Assembly voted against recognizing Russia’s illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions after holding sham referenda there. Ninety-three voted in favor of expelling Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.

India has abstained from every vote in the UN condemning Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. The reason? Moscow is India’s top arms supplier and some 70% of India’s military platforms are of Russian origin.

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