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Ride-hailing major Uber has introduced a new in-app safety feature that will allow drivers as well as riders to record audio during trips.
Initially, the firm announced a feature called Audio Recording in Latin America as a way to make people using Uber there feel more safe. The feature is now available in more than a dozen countries throughout Latin America, including Brazil and Mexico.
"To help protect privacy, the audio file is encrypted and stored on the rider and driver's devices and by default no one can listen to the audio, including Uber. If either user submits a safety report to Uber, they can attach the audio file to their report," the company said in a statement.
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Once riders and drivers enable this feature, they can choose to record audio by tapping the shield icon on the map screen and selecting "Record Audio".
Riders and drivers can choose to record individual trips, and drivers will also have the option to leave the feature on while they are online.
Throughout Latin America this feature has been a popular way to promote safe, comfortable interactions while on a trip. For instance, nearly 70 per cent of riders and drivers surveyed in Rio de Janeiro told the brand this feature helped them feel safer when using Uber.
In addition, the company has expanded the capabilities of our RideCheck technology to detect when a trip takes an unexpected route or when a trip ends unexpectedly before the rider's final destination.
Uber first introduced RideCheck in 2019, using GPS data and sensors in the driver's smartphone to detect possible crashes or an unusually long stop during a trip.
Also read: Uber Redesignes its Uber Fleet App in India
Based on feedback from drivers, the firm will soon launch a new proactive, audio seat belt alert that reminds riders to buckle up at the start of a trip.
The audio alert will come from the driver's phone and will be accompanied by a push notification to the rider's phone reminding them to buckle up.
"We believe this new feature, which will be available nationally early next year, will increase seat belt use and help drivers ensure a safe environment while on a trip," the company noted.
Uber's new featureUnsplash
Keywords: Uber, Latin America, India
The number of people suffering from hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) rose by 13.8 million in 2020, or by 2 per cent points, to reach 59.7 million people, according to a UN study released in Santiago in Chile.
The report titled "Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2021: Statistics and Trends", published on Tuesday, shows regional hunger is at its highest level since 2000, following a 30 percent jump from 2019 to 2020 in the number of people suffering from hunger, Xinhua news agency reported.
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"We must say it loud and clear: Latin America and the Caribbean face a critical situation in terms of food security," regional representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Julio Berdegue said in a statement on Tuesday.
Rossana Polastri, the regional director of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said that while the pandemic aggravated the situation, hunger in the region has been on the rise since 2014.
"We must correct the deep vulnerabilities of our food systems, make them more inclusive and sustainable, and ensure that they provide well-being to the people who feed our societies," Polastri said.
LAC's hunger rate currently stands at 9.1 per centUnsplash
Also read: 39 million people suffering from hunger in Latin America
LAC's hunger rate currently stands at 9.1 per cent, the highest in 15 years, although slightly below the global average of 9.9 per cent.
The study is a joint publication of the FAO, IFAD, Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation, World Food Programme and UN Children's Fund. (IANS/PR)
Keywords: Latin America, Hunger
Uncertainties in modern life like millions of people are now witnessing amid the pandemic can make them believe more in supernatural powers and experience miracles, an interesting study has revealed.
People who experience threats to their existence — including economic and political instability — are more likely to experience miracles, according to a study by Baylor University in the US.
While many sociologists have studied the effects of religious experiences, what causes a person to have miraculous experiences has received little attention, said Baylor University sociologist Ed Eschler.
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“There’s a societal assumption that wealthy and educated people favour scientific, more ‘rational’ explanations for these events,” he said.
“However, there is rising evidence that it has more to do with the security that being rich and educated brings. People who experience fewer existential threats do not rely on religious explanations of events”.
To reach this conclusion, Eschler investigated the prevalence of miracles in Latin America. Data were analysed from 15,400 respondents from 16 countries.
Eschler chose Latin America for his research because
“people assume miracles are a rare occurrence in developed nations despite the fact most people have had some sort of supernatural experience”.
For the study, he defined a miracle as any experience in which a person believes an event or outcome was influenced by supernatural agents.
The first major finding was that 57 per cent of respondents believed they had experienced a miracle of some kind.
Second, he found that education had no relationship with experiencing miracles.
The third finding was that the income does not influence the likelihood of experiencing a miracle, although “absolute poverty” — not being able to afford food, clothing or medicine — does.
“Respondents with no formal education were just as likely to experience a miracle as those with a college degree,” Eschler said in the study published in the Review of Religious Research.
The findings go against the idea that societies become less religious as science and rationality replace religion, but they support the theory that people become more religious when their existence is threatened and less religious when their life is stable.
“The richest and most well educated are still more likely to experience miracles if their life becomes uncertain or is threatened,” Eschler said. (IANS)
By Siddhi Jain
After a long stretch of staying-at-home, consumers are quick to show willingness to go out and travel again, albeit within driving distance and with all necessary precautions.
According to a new research study from Oracle and Skift, just over half (51 percent) of people surveyed in both North and Latin America plan to book trips in the next six months, while 38 percent of those in Asia-Pacific and Europe are planning getaways. People, however, are opting to stay closer to home with driving distance (47 percent) or domestic trips (44 percent) being favored.
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The global study also explored hotel executives’ attitudes and outlook on travel, and found that more than 30 percent of executives surveyed said they expected to see a few more or significantly more domestic travelers, and over 60 percent were expecting fewer or significantly fewer international travelers. Closer home, Bengaluru-based Vidhi Mehra found working from home for over three months was cramping her productivity and patience, and found time for a workation.
“While browsing through CRED, I fell in love with the images of Ayatana in Coorg, and booked a stay immediately as it was a limited offer. Working while overlooking the mountains during the day and enjoying chef-crafted meals without cleaning or chores has restored well-being. Unlike Bengaluru, staying in a resort allows me to enjoy the outdoors and get some sun in a safe and rejuvenating environment. The kids can also safely run around with staff to watch over them, while I take conference calls. Look forward to taking my next workation very soon.”
Although long form travel has hit a pause, everyone right now desires to get away from the monotony that has set in with almost half a year at home. “Hence, we decided to partner with responsible, hygienic and safe luxury properties as they were opening up, to offer our members a chance to refresh and recharge with short workations and staycations,” said a spokesperson from CRED.
With so much uncertainty facing us, the study found that consumers are also demanding flexible cancellation and refund policies (76 percent) and are more open to considering hotels offering discounted rates (65 percent).
Consumers’ willingness to plan trips also comes with heavy caveats for hotels in terms of advancements in cleaning and technology. In response, 70 percent of hotels already are or are planning to adopt contact-less technology for check-in, food ordering, concierge services and more. Ninety percent have or are planning to also increase cleaning and disinfecting frequency and training for staff on these procedures and safer guest interactions. (IANS)