About 100 Uber drivers held protest on Monday in Lisbon due to a company's fare reduction announced after the New Year, which cut their margins of profit, according to the Lusa News Agency.
This is the third price reduction made by the electronic platform and it goes against Law No.45 regarding passenger transport services, said a Uber driver quoted by Lusa, "which says you cannot make trips below cost price."
According to a petition created online on Thursday, "Uber reduced its cut to pay to the drivers in 10 percent." The measure took place six hours after the fare reduction announcement was made.
More than 100 Uber drivers rode their cars in a slow march from Belem district to Uber green hub in Amoreiras neighborhood, Lisbon. Noting that the company's action is against the law, protesters ask for the intervention of the government and Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called on parties concerned to exercise maximum restraint to stop escalation of global tensions.
Warning that "geopolitical tensions are at their highest level this century," the UN chief told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York that he is "in constant contact" with leading officials around the world and his message is simple and clear: "stop escalation, exercise maximum restraint, re-start dialogue and renew international cooperation."
"The New Year has begun with our world in turmoil. We are living in dangerous times. Geopolitical tensions are at their highest level this century. And this turbulence is escalating. Even nuclear non-proliferation can no longer be taken for granted," the UN chief said.
"This cauldron of tensions is leading more and more countries to take unpredicted decisions with unpredictable consequences and a profound risk of miscalculation," he said.
"At the same time, we see trade and technological conflicts that fracture world markets, undermine growth and widen inequalities. And all the while, our planet is on fire. The climate crisis rages on," the secretary-general added.
"In many parts of the world, we see people frustrated and angry. We see increased social unrest and growing extremism, nationalism and radicalization, with a dangerous advance of terrorism, notably in Africa," said Guterres.
"This situation cannot go on," the UN chief said.
"Let us not forget the terrible human suffering caused by war. As always, ordinary people pay the highest price. It is our common duty to avoid it," said the UN chief.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Tuesday that the city faces multiple challenges in the new year, including "violence, economic tribulation and a health scare" as anti-government protests enter their eighth month.
"The government is determined to sail through the storm," Lam said.
Her administration's reluctance to concretely address political demands has angered demonstrators, who have called for electoral reforms and an independent investigation into accusations of police brutality.
When asked again about such an inquiry at a news conference Tuesday, Lam said, "We do not need to go down this road."
The mass protests began in June to oppose proposed extradition legislation that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be sent to stand trial in mainland China, where activists are routinely jailed. While Lam has since withdrawn the bill, demonstrations have continued around broader democratic demands, fueled by a distrust of the Communist Party-ruled central government in Beijing.
A former British colony, Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 under the framework of "one country, two systems," which promises the territory certain rights not afforded to the mainland.
At Tuesday's news conference, Lam also sought to quell fears around a respiratory illness that may have infected some Hong Kong residents who recently traveled to the central mainland city of Wuhan, where 59 patients are being treated for a form of pneumonia whose cause has not been determined.
Lam declined to comment on the new head of China's liaison office in Hong Kong, Luo Huining, who was appointed over the weekend.
Bolstered by cooler weather and desperately needed rain, exhausted firefighters in Australia raced to shore up defenses against deadly wildfires before the blazes flare again within days when scorching temperatures are expected to return.
The first hints of the financial toll from the disaster began to emerge on Tuesday. The Insurance Council of Australia said the estimated damage bill had doubled in two days, with insurance claims reaching 700 million Australian dollars ($485 million).
That estimate comes one day after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government was committing an extra 2 billion Australian dollars ($1.4 billion) toward the recovery effort in addition to the tens of millions of dollars that have already been promised. Morrison's funding announcement came amid fierce criticism from many Australians who say he has been too slow to respond to the crisis. He has also faced backlash for downplaying the need for his government to address climate change, which experts say helps supercharge the blazes.
The fires, fueled by drought and the country's hottest and driest year on record, have been raging since September, months earlier than is typical for Australia's annual wildfire season. So far, the blazes have killed 25 people, destroyed 2,000 homes and scorched an area twice the size of the U.S. state of Maryland.
In New South Wales state, 130 fires were still burning on Tuesday, around 50 of which were uncontrolled. The day's cooler, rainier weather was providing thousands of exhausted firefighters a "psychological and emotional" reprieve as they scrambled to strengthen containment lines around the blazes before temperatures rise again, said Shane Fitzsimmons, commissioner of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service.
"It really is about shoring up protection to limit the damage potential and the outbreak of these fires over the coming days," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
The rain was not heavy enough to extinguish the blazes. Victoria state Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville said on Monday at least 200 millimeters (8 inches) of rain would need to fall in a short time to snuff out the fires — around 20 times what has fallen across the region in the past day. And officials warned that Australia's wildfire season — which generally lasts through March — was nowhere near its end.
The rain was also complicating firefighters' attempts to strategically backburn certain areas, and was making the ground slippery for fire trucks.
Thousands of army, navy and air force reservists were being dispatched to battle the fires. On Tuesday, rescue crews were still trying to reach some affected communities. A barge was en route to Mallacoota, a coastal town in Victoria cut off for days by fires that forced around 4,000 residents and tourists to shelter on beaches over the weekend. About 300 people were still waiting to be evacuated on Tuesday. Heavy smoke squandered the navy's efforts to airlift the stranded residents out on Monday.
"We know it's frustrating for them," state response controller Gavin Freeman told Australia's Nine Network on Tuesday. "We made several attempts yesterday to get Blackhawks into them but visibility was too poor and it was too dangerous."
Rising tensions between Washington and Tehran are testing whether Joe Biden can capitalize on his decades of foreign policy experience as he seeks to challenge a president he derides as "dangerous" and "erratic."
Biden is expected to deliver lengthy remarks Tuesday about President Donald Trump's decision to approve an airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. His remarks, which would follow several days of campaigning in which he seemed uncertain of how much to highlight his foreign policy resume, would be among his most high-profile efforts to articulate his vision for world affairs and would come less than a month before the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses begin 2020 voting.
But the moment presents challenges for a two-term vice president who was elected to six terms in the Senate. While his resume is longer than any of his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, it comes with complications.
Progressives hoping to make American foreign policy less militaristic point to Biden's 2002 vote to authorize the U.S. invasion of Iraq, suggesting it muddies his recent warning that Trump could push the U.S. into another of the "forever wars." Alternately, Trump and Republicans cast Biden as indecisive or weak, seizing on his opposition to the 1991 U.S. military mission that drove Iraqi forces out of Kuwait and his reluctance about the raid that killed Sept. 11 mastermind Osama bin Laden in 2011, when Biden was vice president.
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a Vermont senator who voted against the Bush administration's Iraq war powers request, calls it "baggage." In a quote that Republicans recirculate frequently, former Obama Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote in his memoir that Biden, though a "man of integrity," has been "wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades."
Biden himself has sometimes been inconsistent about driving home his pitch to voters, seemingly confident that searing criticism of Trump and implicit contrasts with his less-seasoned Democratic rivals are enough to earn another stint in the West Wing.
"I've met every single world leader" a U.S. president must know, Biden tells voters at some stops. "On a first-name basis," he'll add on occasion. On Chinese President Xi Jinping: "I spent more time with him face to face than any other world leader." On Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who helped persuade Trump to withdraw U.S. special forces from Syria over widespread opposition in Washington and elsewhere: "I know who he is."
The Biden campaign's most viral moment came last month with a video, titled "Laughed At," showing world leaders mocking Trump at a Buckingham Palace reception held during a NATO summit in London. Biden says world leaders, including former British Prime Minister Theresa May, have called him to ask about Trump.
He told reporters last month that foreign policy isn't in his Democratic opponents' "wheelhouse," even if they are "smart as hell" and "can learn." Trying to demonstrate his expertise, Biden veered into explaining the chemistry and physics of "SS-18 silos," referring to old Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles. "It's just what I've done my whole life," he said.
He's since touted endorsements from former Secretary of State John Kerry and members of Congress with experience in the military and intelligence community.
Yet Biden doesn't always connect the dots with an explicit appeal to voters.
In Iowa last weekend, Biden called the Iran crisis "totally of Donald Trump's making," tracing Soleimani's killing back to Trump withdrawing from a multilateral deal in which Iran had agreed to curtail its nuclear program. The deal "was working, serving America's interests and the region's interests," Biden said. Now, with Iraqis and Iranians galvanized against the U.S., Biden continued, "I don't see any evidence so far that Mr. Trump has any plan for how to handle what comes next."
Biden told a quiet audience that Americans need "a president who provides a steady leadership on Day One," but during a 20-minute soliloquy, Biden never reminded the assembly of his role in the Iran deal or President Barack Obama's foreign policy generally. Days before, prior to the Soleimani strike, Biden didn't mention the embassy attack at all as he campaigned in Anamosa, Iowa.
The former vice president laments that lack of foreign policy emphasis in a Democratic primary contest that has revolved around the party's internal ideological tussle over domestic issues including health care, a wealth tax and college tuition assistance. The international arena "isn't discussed at all" on the debate stage, he told reporters last month, despite what he said is a deep concern among voters.
"Foreign policy, commander in chief is a big deal to people," he said, less because of a single issue and more because of Trump generally. "They just know something's not right. It's uncomfortable."
Biden in July offered perhaps his most sweeping foreign policy declaration to date, with a speech touting the U.S. as the preeminent world power, but one that must lead international coalitions and focus on diplomacy. He pledged to end "forever wars," but did not rule out military force, and made clear he values small-scale operations of special forces, while being more skeptical of larger, extended missions of ground forces.
As vice president, Biden was at Obama's side for every major national security decision during their eight years in office. Obama tapped him as the point man on a range of issues, including efforts to help Ukraine counter Russian aggression. He also took the lead on Iraq as the Democratic administration moved to bring the war it inherited there to an end, shuttling to the Middle East for meetings with leaders numerous times.
But Biden wasn't always in lockstep with Obama on major issues. He was among the advisers who argued against the attack on al-Qaida mastermind bin Laden. Biden's explanation of those debates has changed over the years, varying from saying he was among advisers telling to Obama to wait for a clearer identification of bin Laden at the Pakistan compound where he was killed to later saying he privately told Obama to go ahead. Biden aides maintain that he was never against pursuing bin Laden, as some Republicans attest.
Biden also lost an initial debate during lengthy deliberations on Afghanistan shortly after Obama took office. Biden was opposed to the idea of sending surge forces, pushing instead for a focus on counterterrorism that would have required a smaller military footprint on the ground. Obama ultimately ordered 30,000 troops deployed to Afghanistan.
That could be viewed as a lesson learned after Biden initially voted to support the Bush administration's 2002 request to use force in Iraq. Biden aides, though, insist he didn't necessarily change his philosophy. His 2002 vote, they said, was based on Bush arguing that he needed the war power only as leverage for Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to accept international weapons inspectors.
Biden aides say voters are more interested in candidates' overall profiles than in litigating old debates. They point to the 2004 Democratic primary.
Progressive Howard Dean held momentum for much of 2003. Weeks before the Iowa caucuses, the U.S. captured Saddam, with Dean declaring that the military victory "has not made America safer," after having spent months blistering Kerry for backing the Iraq resolution just as Biden did. Kerry, a Vietnam veteran who praised Saddam's capture, went on to win Iowa and steamrolled to the nomination.