Uber backlash: Brussels taxi drivers bring EU capital to its knees (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)

The private sector is encroaching on what the city’s taxi drivers argue is a public utility. The CSC Trade Union, representing approximately 1,000 drivers, said Brussels Mobility Minister Pascal Smet was “not listening” to workers’ demands, adding that it “will take tough action,”The Bulletin reports.

The protests began at 5am local time and consist of go-slow convoys and roadblocks at busy intersections, in addition to planned disruptions on the Brussels Ring slip roads. Taxi drivers have also established positions at the South Station to prevent any Uber drivers from capitalizing on the situation. A demonstration at the city’s North Station is also scheduled to begin at 1pm local time.

“No, to the theft of our jobs, licenses and societies! No to the Uberization of society! No to social dumping!” reads one of the leaflets distributed by the taxi drivers.

The union maintains that the Brussels city council’s plan will marginalize the city’s taxi fleet by putting ride-sharing platforms on an equal footing with traditional taxis while also increasing the maximum number of taxi drivers allowed to operate within the Brussels metropolitan area. Drivers from other European cities are also protesting Uber’s practices in solidarity with the Brussels drivers.

“The right to demonstrate is not absolute. Limits should be set to maintain public order and ensure respect for other people’s freedoms,” Vincent De Wolf, head of the The Reformist Movement group in the Brussels parliament said. 

READ MORE: Police release video of fatal Uber driverless cab collision (GRAPHIC)

Separately, the US National Transportation Safety Board has launched an investigation into the death of a pedestrian in Arizona after she was struck by one of Uber’s driverless vehicles during a test.

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منبع مطلب : https://www.rt.com/news/422461-uber-taxi-protests-brussels/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Boris Johnson slapped down by Bercow over ‘sexist’ comments made in Commons (VIDEO)

Johnson, who has quite a history of making sexist or derogatory comments to women, referred to Thornberry as “the learned lady, the Baroness, whatever it is, of Nugee,” in reference to his rival’s husband, Christopher. 

READ MORE: ‘Tank-topped bumboys’ and ‘hot totty’ – BoJo’s sexist and homophobic journalism unearthed

Bercow was quick to pounce on Johnson’s use of the Labour MP’s husband’s surname – instead of her own. “We do not address people by the titles of their spouses,” Bercow said.

“The shadow foreign secretary has a name and it’s not ‘lady something.’ We know what her name is. It is inappropriate and frankly sexist to speak in those terms – and I’m not having it in this chamber.

“That is the end of the matter. No matter how senior the member, that parlance is not legitimate, it will not be allowed and it will be called out. I hope I’ve made the position extremely clear to people who are uninformed about such matters.”

MPs applauded while Bercow dressed down BoJo for his flippant comment.

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منبع مطلب : https://www.rt.com/uk/422460-johnson-bercow-thornberry-sexist/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

University safe spaces could be having ‘chilling effect’ on free speech, MPs warn

A parliamentary committee expressed serious concerns over higher education safe space policies, aimed at preventing controversial speakers from having a platform for fear their speeches may be offensive.

The Committee on Human Rights, chaired by former Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman, found that while there is no “wholesale censorship,” certain tactics to prevent controversial figures from sharing their opinions could have serious repercussions. “Safe spaces cannot cover the whole of the university or university life without impinging on right to free speech,” the report said.

“The concept of safe spaces is either too broad or very vague and therefore we do not find it helpful. University is an environment where a range of opinions should be heard and explored. Minority views should not be barred from student union premises.”

It added that while it has not found, contrary to media suggestions, an issue of “wholesale censorship,” there are “real problems” which could discourage people from “putting up challenging events.”

“Whilst most student union officers who responded to our survey [comprising 33 responses in all] say they are confident that they and their companions can speak freely, such disincentives could be having a wider chilling effect, which is hard to measure,” the report said.

The report comes amid a string of no-platforming protests levelled at those across the political spectrum. LGBT rights campaigner Peter Tatchell was kept from giving a speech at Canterbury Christ Church University amid allegations he held “racist” and “transphobic” views. Julie Bindel, writer and the co-founder of Justice for Women and a radical feminist, was also banned from speaking at the University of Manchester Students’ Union in October 2015 as students said her views on transgender people could “incite hatred towards and exclusion of our trans students.”

Most recently, King’s College London made headlines after a group of masked activists stormed an event where Carl Benjamin was appearing. Benjamin, who goes by the online moniker of ‘Sargon of Akkad,’ has been described by various outlets as a member of the so-called ‘alt-right.’ 

READ MORE: ‘Mini police state’: Students’ union employs ‘safe space marshals’ to control debates

In regards to such disruptions, the report said: “The right to protest does not extend to stopping events entirely. Intimidating people exercising their free speech rights is particularly deplorable when meetings are invaded by masked protesters seeking to intimidate.”

Harman said evidence shows free speech may also be hindered by university bureaucracy. “While media reporting has focused on students inhibiting free speech – and in our report we urge universities to take action to prevent that – free speech is also inhibited by university bureaucracy and restrictive guidance from the Charity Commission,” she added.

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منبع مطلب : https://www.rt.com/uk/422459-safe-spaces-free-speech/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS