Safety

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China announces transportation industry reform, days after murder of Didi carpooling passenger

The Chinese government announced it will reform the transportation industry to safeguard passengers, three days after a female passenger was allegedly raped and murdered by a Didi Chuxing driver last Friday. Provinces and autonomous regions are now tasked with setting up passenger safety committees by the end of this month and ensuring that incidents are investigated promptly.

The crime led to the suspension of Hitch, Didi Chuxing’s carpooling service, and the firing of two executives: Hitch’s general manager and Didi’s vice president of customer services. This is not the first time, however, that Didi has been forced pull back on Hitch. Earlier this year, it suspended night operations after a female passenger was allegedly murdered by an unregistered driver who had accessed the service using his father’s account. Nighttime Hitch rides then resumed in June after Didi put new safety measures in place, including a rule that prohibited drivers from accepting ride requests by passengers of the opposite sex during certain hours.

The latest incident took place on Friday in the eastern province of Zhejiang and is especially concerning because the driver had been flagged just one day before the murder by another female passenger who complained that he followed her after she left his vehicle. In a statement, Didi said a safety center representative failed to follow corporate policy and initiate an investigation within two hours. The company also admitted that its customer service procedures has “many deficiencies” and said it will “plead for law enforcement and the public to work with us in developing more efficient and practical collaborative solutions to fight criminals and protect user personal and property safety.”

China’s police and transport ministries have already said that Didi bears “unshirkable responsibility” for Friday’s murder. The company has already been accused of being too lax with passenger safety, leaving its users–particularly women–vulnerable to sexual harassment and assault.

What stunned me while reporting this was the numbers. According to Southern Weekly, at least 53 women have been raped or sexually harassed by Didi drivers in the past 4 yrs?! Caixin says there are 14 rapes linked to Didi drivers, citing court docs. https://t.co/Me0oBXRyxo

— Sui-Lee Wee 黄瑞黎 (@suilee) August 27, 2018

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the agency that enacts strategies for China’s economic and social development, posted its announcement, titled “Concerning untrustworthy behavior in the emerging transportation sector,” online on Monday morning.

In it, the NDRC said it will put measures into place to root out untrustworthy and dishonest operators in China’s transportation industry, which has grown dramatically over the past two decades. Provinces and autonomous regions must form committees and procedures to ensure passenger safety by August 31 and share information about violations and offenders with other municipalities.

While the NDRC mentioned all transportation sectors, including railways, airplanes and ships, it singled out passenger vehicles, including buses, shuttles and cabs, in one passage and ordered municipalities to investigate offenses in a timely manner. Operators that don’t take action quickly to fix “untrustworthy behavior” risk being placed on a blacklist and having their names published on government websites.

Facebook brings suicide prevention tools to Live and Messenger

photo-mark-zuckerberg-talking-about-his-letter-to-the-community-at-facebooks-internal-quarterly-all-company-meeting In Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s recent manifesto, he wrote about how Facebook is in a unique position to help prevent people from doing harm to themselves. Worldwide, there is a suicide attempt every 40 seconds, according to the World Health Organization. Among those aged 15-29 years old, suicide is the second leading cause of death. Today, Facebook is unveiling new tools to… Read More

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A bike helmet with turn signal lights will make rides a whole lot safer

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Cars have indicator lights for better safety — so why don’t bicycles too?

The Lumos helmet is a helmet for cyclists with a prominent red brake light, as well as yellow left and right turn signals, like what you’d see on motorised vehicles.

Created by Jeff Chen and Ding Eu-wen, the Lumos is currently getting built, after a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised $800,000 last July.

The helmet is controlled through a small wireless remote that you clip onto the handlebar. 

Image: Yvette Tan/Mashable

The remote also contains an accelerometer that triggers the brake lights when it detects a quick deceleration: Read more…

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Mobile recharge shops in India's largest state are selling phone numbers of young girls: Report

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A new safety issue has surfaced for young girls in northern India. 

Phone recharge shops in Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state by geography, are reportedly selling mobile phone numbers of innocent girls.

Local police say that prices depend on the ‘looks’ of the girls and vary between Rs 50 (74 cents) to Rs 500 ($7). Buyers include boys of the area who stalk these women with calls and obscene photos thereafter.

The shocking racket was busted when a 24X7 police helpline set up by the UP chief minister was flooded with complaints from women about unsolicited calls from boys. About 90% of those complaints dealt with harassment of women over phone calls, the Hindustan Times report added. Read more…

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'Even stray dogs have a right to live': India's Supreme Court rules

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India’s apex court has weighed in resoundingly on a petitioner who wanted all stray dogs killed. It has observed that “nobody can destroy stray dogs in entirety. They also have a right to live,” the Press Trust of India reported

However, a methodical culling is possible, it has said.

The apex court has been hearing a series of petitions filed by NGOs and civic bodies across the country on stray dogs that have become a menace, especially in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

The bench informed that a panel headed by a former Kerala High Court judge had received around 400 matters related to dog bites and it was working on it. Some deaths have also been reported.  Read more…

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