Watch Out Uber; Car2Go Wants a Slice of the Ride Sharing Market

A photo of a Smart Car with a Car2Go logo painted on the front of it.

Photo credit: AR Pictures / Shutterstock

As car ownership continues to decline among Millennials, it’s creating a booming market for companies in the ride sharing business. That’s because despite not owning a vehicle, young people still need to get around town—it’s just that the way they get around town is changing.

Rather than spend thousands of dollars on a car, Millennials are opting for cheaper modes of transportation such as public transit and Uber. But there’s a newcomer to the playing field, and it’s slowly increasing its share of the market.

Car2Go, a German company founded in 2008, is definitely worth keeping an eye on. It’s already breached international waters, with services being offered throughout Europe and North America.

So what’s the appeal of using Car2Go as opposed to other ride sharing services like Uber or Lyft?

Perhaps the biggest perk is that it allows the costumer to do the driving. In fact, Car2Go is being described as a car sharing service as opposed to a ride sharing service like Uber and Lyft. That’s the key differentiator.

But there’s another neat factor: Car2Go vehicles are located throughout large metropolitan areas. Using the Car2Go app, all the customer needs to do is jump in and drive to their destination. Returning the car to its original location is not required.

Another cool perk? The customer never has to refuel the car.

Pricing is charged on a per-minute/per-hour basis. There’s also a one-time sign-up fee along with a $1 insurance fee for the first 91 rides.

So exactly how popular is the service? According to Market Watch, Car2Go trips increased by 21% from 2015 to 2016. What’s more is that memberships have risen by 43% to 2.2 million.

What this data shows is that the popularity of car sharing services is only going to increase as time goes on. That’s why it’s a good investment for those looking to capitalize on the ride sharing/car sharing market.

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Scalise Shooting Repercussions Ramp Up

A photo of congressman Steve Scalise.

Congressman Steve Scalise.
Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore at Flickr Creative Commons.

The drama around the shooting of four Republican congressmen in Alexandria last month, including Louisiana Representative Steve Scalise, continues. Scalise, who was the most seriously injured of the victims, recently returned to the hospital for more surgery—he’d already undergone several surgeries just after the injury. Meanwhile, conservative talk show host Bob Romanik took credit for inspiring the shooter, while Republican lawmakers, in a post-gun-violence twist, are actually advocating for less gun control rather than more.

When the shooting took place in June, Miami lawyer Kendall Coffey noted that the laws relevant to this kind of incident, particularly a provision called Section 351, make it a federal crime to kill or attempt to kill or assault a member of Congress. Section 351 went into effect after the murder of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona in 2011.

The law hasn’t calmed down any anti-Republican threats, however. Just this week a protestor was arrested after making an incendiary statement to Republican staffers that liberals would “solve the Republican problem” by “get[ting] better aim,” adding that “that last guy tried, but he needed better aim. We will get better aim.”

Over in the hometown of Scalise shooter James T. Hodgkinson, the “Grim Reaper of Radio,” Bob Romanik, actually took credit for inspiring Hodgkinson’s attack, despite the fact that Hodgkinson was a Democrat and Romanik is a conservative Republican and supporter of President Trump.

“I can’t say for sure if this Hodgkinson guy listened to me, but he probably did,” Romanik said in an interview. “If people would be honest about what drove Hodgkinson to the point of violence, you’d probably see a lot of people right on the same page with him all over the country.”

Romanik, known for lacing his diatribes with racist and homophobic slurs, inspires a frenzied hatred of all politicians in his listeners, so it’s not surprising that he would cross political party lines to support someone who perpetrated violence against several members of Congress.

Normally after a shooting event like this, lawmakers scramble to put more gun control efforts into place in hopes of preventing more violence. In this case, however, three new bills have been introduced in the House that would allow lawmakers to carry concealed weapons. Other recent bills involve concealed carry permits being allowed in Washington, D.C. and eliminating federal controls on silencers.

“I think what happened in Alexandria sharpened people’s resolve to make sure this right is protected,” said Representative Richard Hudson of North Carolina.

Democrats, however, aren’t likely to fall in line.

“Washington, D.C. is the last place you want to condone or allow concealed-carry weapons,” Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton said. “It says everything about my colleagues that they would use the occasion of a tragedy on one of our members to come forward the day after with one of these bills.”

Representative Joe Crowley of New York agreed with the Republican sentiment that congressional safety needs to be reevaluated. However, he did not agree that arming his fellow congressmen and women was a good idea.

“It makes it very difficult to slide into second base when you have a pistol on your side,” he said.

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Chinese Humanitarian Liu Xiaobo Dies

A picture of Liu Xiaobo with the words, "The face of Chinese democracy" written beside him.

Photo courtesy of Democracy Chronicles at Flickr Creative Commons.

Liu Xiaobo, China’s most prominent human rights activist, passed away today at the age of 61. Liu Xiaobo, a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer in May 2017. His cause of death appears to be a result of the disease.

Xiaobo was a writer, literary critic, and professor. He later became a human rights activist. He made a name for himself in 1989 when he became a key leader in the Tiananmen Square protests.

“As a survivor of the Tiananmen Square democracy movement, I feel I have a duty to uphold justice for those who died in that event,” Liu Xiaobo once said in a video interview.

Due to his involvement with the protests, Liu Xiaobo was arrested and expelled from Beijing Normal University, where he once taught literature. The Chinese government also banned his work. He was convicted of “counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement” nearly two years later.

Liu Xiaobo was an outspoken critic of China’s communist rule and was vehemently opposed to Confucianism. He believed in the Western principles of democracy, which put him at odds with traditional Chinese values. Here’s one of his most famous quotes:

I look forward to (the day) when my country is a land with freedom of expression, where the speech of every citizen will be treated equally well; where different values, ideas, beliefs, and political views … can both compete with each other and peacefully coexist; where both majority and minority views will be equally guaranteed, and where the political views that differ from those currently in power, in particular, will be fully respected and protected; where all political views will spread out under the sun for people to choose from, where every citizen can state political views without fear, and where no one can under any circumstances suffer political persecution for voicing divergent political views. I hope that I will be the last victim of China’s endless literary inquisitions and that from now on no one will be incriminated because of speech.

Liu Xiaobo died while in Chinese custody. He was serving an 11-year prison sentence for actively supporting a pro-democracy manifesto titled “Charter 08.”

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Meet Amancio Ortega: The Fourth Richest Person in the World

A photo of a Zara clothing store.

Billionaire Amancio Ortega owns the Zara clothing enterprise.
pio3 / Shutterstock

Did you know that eight of the ten richest people in the world are from the U.S.? Perhaps that’s why not a lot of Americans know who Amancio Ortega is, despite the fact that he’s the fourth richest person in the world.

Ortega, who is originally from Spain, is worth a mind-boggling $71.3 billion. How did he accumulate all that wealth? For starters, he is the founder of Inditex, the world’s largest clothing retailer.

If you’ve never heard of Inditex, perhaps you’ve heard of Zara—a popular clothing and accessories chain based in Arteixo, Spain. Inditex owns Zara.

According to Bloomberg, Inditex operates more than 7,000 stores worldwide. In 2016, the company’s reported sales were at $25.7 billion.

Impressive, and yet, Ortega is worth more than double that. So where else does his wealth come from?

According to Forbes, Ortega earns more than $400 million in dividends a year, with the majority of his investments being in real estate. Cities he’s taken an interest in include Madrid, Barcelona, London, Chicago, Miami, and New York.

As for the secret to his success, Ortega has a formula that boils down to five key points:

  1. Outpace the competitor
  2. Focus on the customer’s want
  3. Control the supply chain
  4. Remain humble
  5. Never become complacent

It’s surprising that most Americans haven’t heard of Amancio Ortega, considering that his life is a true rag-to-riches story. Growing up, his father was a railroad worker and his mother was a housemaid.

At the young age of 14, Ortega dropped out of school to start working. Those closest to him describe him as being a highly motivated problem-solver who loves to explore new ideas.

According to CNBC, at 80-years-old, Ortega still goes to the office most days and is constantly trying to improve his business. In many ways, he embodies everything that is the American dream.

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Massive G-20 Protests Erupt in Germany

A photo of German riot police.

Photo credit: Jannis Tobias Werner / Shutterstock

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the 2017 Group of 20 (G-20) Summit, which is taking place in Hamburg, Germany.

G-20 is an international conference in which leaders from the world’s strongest 20 economies gather to discuss issues related to global financial stability. With less than 24 hours until the summit kicks off, protestors in Hamburg have already taken to the streets to voice their dissent.

The massive protest is called the “Welcome to Hell” march. Participants are protesting corporate greed and capitalism.

But what started out as a peaceful protest quickly turned violent. According to The Guardian, police asked a group of protestors to take off their masks. The protestors refused, and began hurling bottles and stones at police in response.

That’s when police used water cannons and pepper spray to separate the hostile group from the rest of the peaceful protestors. However, multiple protestors who weren’t part of the hostile group also reported being attacked with water and pepper spray.

But for as chaotic and as violent as it sounds, G-20 protests are nothing new. In 2009, about 4,000 people protested the G-20 Summit in London. Things got ugly when riot police raided a sit-down protest that took place in the city center. Afterward, several officers were reprimanded for using too strong of force.

A similar scenario took place at the 2010 G-20 Summit in Toronto. More than 1,000 people were detained, making it the biggest mass arrest in Canadian history. It was later discovered that police detained some protestors illegally and violated civil rights.

But for as big as the previous protests were, this one might be even bigger. Julia Kulik, a researcher at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, says that this demonstration has the potential to be the largest G-20 protest in history for one for one key reason: Germany is easily accessible to protestors throughout Europe.

“Because of Germany’s history, it’ll be very hard to stop people from assembling,” Kulik told The Guardian.

Stay tuned for more updates on this developing story.

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