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Uber fights for its London survival in court

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Uber will defend its right to operate in London in a court hearing on Monday after the app was deemed unfit to run a taxi service and stripped of its license in its most important European markets.

Regulator Transport for London (TfL) shocked the Silicon Valley firm by rejecting its license renewal bid in September, citing its approach to reporting serious criminal offences and background checks on drivers.

Uber’s 40,000 drivers, representing around one in three of all private hire vehicles on the British capital’s roads, can continue to take passengers until the appeals process is exhausted, which could take years.

The legal battle pitches one of the world’s richest cities against a tech giant known for its forays into new markets around the world that have prompted bans, restrictions and protests, including by drivers of London’s famous black cabs.

Uber’s lawyers will begin their appeal at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday, in what is expected to be a largely administrative hearing designed to set a date for a fuller hearing next year.

Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi has apologised to Londoners and met TfL Commissioner, Mike Brown, in October for what both sides described as constructive talks.

Brown said in November that “there are some discussions going on to make sure they are compliant.”

Months of legal wrangling are likely unless the Silicon Valley app, valued at around $70 billion with investors including Goldman Sachs (GS.N), can come to a new arrangement with the regulator.

“We continue having constructive discussions with Transport for London in order to resolve this,” an Uber spokesman said ahead of the hearing.

“As our new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has said, we are determined to make things right.”

Losing its London license was just one of many blows to Uber this year as a stream of executives left amid controversies involving allegations of sexual harassment and issues surrounding data privacy and business practices.

In Britain, Uber is looking to appoint a new boss after Jo Bertram announced her departure less than two weeks after London’s decision

It also faces potential problems in the northern English city of Sheffield where its license has been suspended and in Brighton, southern England, where local officials extended the firm’s license for only six months to give them more time to consider the outcome of the dispute in London.

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Qatar to withdraw from OPEC come January 2019

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The Gulf nation’s Energy Minister Saad Sherida al-Kaabi has confirmed that Qatar is set to withdraw from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC),



The decision to quit the bloc of 15 oil-producing countries that account for a significant percentage of the world’s oil production was confirmed by Qatar Petroleum, the state oil company, on Monday.

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Al-Kaabi stated their goal when speaking at a news conference in the capital Doha “The withdrawal decision reflects Qatar’s desire to focus its efforts on plans to develop and increase its natural gas production from 77 million tonnes per year to 110 million tonnes in the coming years.”

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Qatar is the first Gulf country to leave the bloc of oil-producing countries.

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Trump says China agree to mitigate tariffs on US cars after trade war ceasefire

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Chinese President Xi Jinping has agreed to cut tariffs below the 40 percent level currently in place on US-made vehicles after the two countries had talks in Argentina.



Trump confirmed the situation on his tweeter handle stating that: “China has agreed to mitigate and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S. Currently the tariff is 40%”.

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During the meeting in Buenos Aires, the US agreed not to increase tariffs on January 1, as had been planned, while China agreed to immediately buy more agricultural products from US farmers.

If no broader deal is reached within 90 days, the US said it would hike tariffs on $200bn of Chinese goods from 10 to 25 percent.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said last week that he was examining all available tools to raise US tariffs on Chinese vehicles to the 40 percent level that China was charging on US-made vehicles.

A source reports that the Chinese state media on Monday cautiously welcomed the trade war truce on Monday, without mentioning the US January 1 deadline.

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Asian stock markets opened higher on Monday in the wake of the truce, with Tokyo rising by one percent and Hong Kong and Shanghai rising by more than two percent.

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