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US calls for restraint on n-arms, NSA to visit Pakistan

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Washington: As tensions between India and Pakistan continue to escalate, US National Security Advisor Susan Rice is expected to arrive in Pakistan on Sunday, media reported on Saturday. The US, earlier, called for restraint in developing nuclear weapons and expressed concern over recent developments as well as rising tensions between the neighboring countries. During the visit, Rice is also expected to meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and her counterpart Sartaj Aziz. Rice is also expected to meet Pakistan’s political and military leadership over bilateral relations and the regional security situation, Dawn reported. A top military source also confirmed a separate meeting with the army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif, at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, where the regional security situation is likely to be discussed.

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Earlier, the US warned that speculation about the potential use of such weapons will not help reduce tensions between India and Pakistan, media reported. At a news briefing, US State Department spokesman John Kirby on Friday stressed the need for exercising restraint in developing nuclear weapons. “Obviously, we continue to urge all nuclear-capable states, including Pakistan, to exercise restraint regarding furthering their nuclear capabilities,” he said. He refused to get dragged into a media debate, claiming that some Pakistani officials had threatened to use the nuclear option if the current situation in South Asia led to an armed conflict with India. “I haven’t seen those comments, so I’d be loath to specifically address them,” Kirby said, “what we want to see are the tensions decrease”.
Asked if the US was working with Pakistan to bring it into the mainstream on the nuclear issue, Kirby said: “Obviously, these kinds of matters are matters we discuss with Pakistani leaders on a routine basis. “The nuclear issue, he said, was something that the US would continue to focus on, as it was consistent with President Obama’s vision of a world without nuclear weapons. Kirby said the US regularly held discussions with Pakistani officials on the country’s nuclear program but he refused to comment on a US think-tank report that Pakistan would have the third-largest nuclear stockpiles after the US and Russia in a decade. “I’m not going to have anything substantive to offer on the report’s findings,” he said.

The think tank report released on Thursday said that Pakistan should have the rights and obligations of a nuclear-weapon state recognized by the NPT. Countries recognized as nuclear-weapon states by the members of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are allowed to keep their weapons in return for meeting certain obligations.”It is in Pakistan’s national security interests and the interests of the international community to find ways in which Pakistan can enjoy the rights and follow the obligations of other nuclear-weapon states recognized by the NPT,” says the paper released by two think tanks, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Stimson Centre.

(IANS)

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Uber India Rolls Out Driver Reward Programme “Uber Plus”

Uber India has planned free doctor access and micro loans for drivers

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Uber
Uber has rolled out a reward programme for drivers in India. Wikimedia Commons

Global ride-hailing major Uber on Wednesday rolled out a driver rewards programme called “Uber Plus” in India that will let drivers earn points for rides so that they can win free doctor consultations, concessions on education modules, access to micro loans, faster airport pick ups and savings on vehicle maintenance costs.

These points will be earned by the driver partners in 13 cities over a fixed period of every three months and can be then accumulated to unlock higher rating tiers such as blue, gold, platinum and diamond which, in turn, will let them access better rewards, informed the company.

“Under the programme, the Uber drivers get access to four tiers. To unlock these awards, they need to maintain a certain threshold rating and keep a low cancellation rate to unlock access to these benefits,” Prabhjeet Singh, Head of Cities, Uber India and South Asia, told IANS.

Uber Plus
Under this programme, Uber drivers get access to four tiers. Pixabay

“We have always worked towards prioritising their welfare and making them feel valued, respected and appreciated. ‘Uber Plus’ is an effort in that direction and will enable our driver partners to access greater benefits during their everyday journeys,” he added.

The rewards and offers are only available to drivers who use the Uber driver app, are participating in Uber Plus and meet applicable criteria.

Asked if this initiative will help in bringing down the number of cancellations, Singh replied: “We encourage ri ders to flag such cases if the driver cancels because the mode of payment is not cash, etc. That will help us take strict action against such drivers.

“We want to encourage behaviour which helps improve the marketplace reliability. Less the cancellation, the chances of the trip getting completed goes up and, overall, the network efficiency increases.”

An initial pilot phase was carried out in Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh and Mumbai and now, Uber Plus is being rolled out across 10 new cities, including Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Pune, Kochi, Guwahati and Jaipur.

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“We also want to reward drivers who have lower cancellations,” said Uber.

Under the driver programme, Uber has partnered with “Ayushman Bharat” to provide access to free healthcare to its drivers, wherein they have access to free healthcare of up to Rs 500,000 in empanelled hospitals. (IANS)