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Taxi drivers block streets of Rio in protest against Uber

More than a thousand taxi drivers protested in Rio de Janeiro on Friday against ride-sharing company Uber [UBER.UL], blocking roads and stalling traffic during morning rush hour as tensions rise in the city over the mobile app ride service.

Uber Technologies Inc responded by offering free rides to customers to help alleviate transport issues on what it called a "difficult day for getting around."

The company has come under fire in countries around the world, with local taxi drivers complaining that Uber drivers are not properly regulated and have fewer overhead costs, which makes them unfairly competitive.

Lawmakers in Sao Paulo, Brazil's biggest city, and capital city Brasilia have already voted to ban Uber after protests by local taxi drivers. The bills still require executive approval before taking force.

In Rio, cabbies parked their yellow taxis in a chain stretching for 5 kilometers (3 miles) along one of the city's main thoroughfares that connects the affluent south zone with the central business district. Taxi drivers honked their horns and chanted.

"We want to combat the illegal (drivers). We are the official ones, we have a responsibility, we are professionals who have families," said Alexander Campos, a taxi driver from Belo Horizonte who drove the 400 kilometers (248 miles) to Rio for the protest.

Nevertheless, Uber said it defends customer choice and that "innovation is crucial" in a city like Rio, "which has a population in need of more options and receives millions of tourists a year."

The company also offered people in Rio two free rides up to the value of 50 reais ($15) each from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time, with an accompanying Twitter hashtag #RIONAOPARA or "Rio doesn't stop.”

1. According to the text,

a. Uber Technology inc. is offering free rides to alleviate problems during rush hour.

b. Uber drivers only work during rush hour when they are most needed.

c. According to cab drivers Uber drivers are not regulated, they have fewer cost what makes unjust to compete with them.

d. #rionaopara is a hashtag created by cabbies to protest against the ride app.

e. Legislators in Sao Paulo have passed a bill which allows Uber Technology Inc in the city.

2. The word affluent in …”that connects the affluent south zone with the central business district" is closest in meaning to.

a. influential
b. rich
c. poor
d. influent
e. unsuccessful

3. Which question cannot be answered according to the text?

a. Why are cabbies protesting?
b. What is Uber?
c. How did Uber Inc. reacted to the protest?
d. Where did the protest take place?
e. How can taxi drivers and Uber drives get along?

4. Nevertheless in "Nevertheless, Uber said it defends customer choice and that "innovation is crucial" in a city like Rio” represents the same idea as in:

a. however
b. in addition to
c. furthermore
d. besides
e. therefore

The Future Of Social Media? Forget About The U.S., Look To Brazil

In villages in the remote Brazilian state of Para, deep in the Amazon rainforest, running water is a luxury and paved roads are few and far between. But there is Facebook.

Earlier this year, indigenous groups fighting a new hydroelectric dam under construction along the Xingu River turned to the social network to vent their frustrations. The Xingu Vivo Facebook Page, which now counts 310 followers, logs their grievances against the project, keeping activists abreast of the struggle.

South America’s most populous country, Brazil is also emerging as one of the region’s most social-media savvy. Seventy-nine percent of Bra­zilian Internet users (some 78 mil­lion people) are now on social me­dia, according to a newly released report from analysts eMarketer, fast approaching adoption rates in the U.S.

Brazil already counts 65 million Facebook users, second only to the U.S. It’s the world’s second-biggest user of Twitter (with 41.2 million tweeters and counting) and the largest market outside the U.S. for YouTube. Meanwhile, a range of homegrown and foreign networks – from Google-owned Orkut to Ask.fm – keep social media users logged in for 9.7 hours a month, according to a 2013 comScore report.

Moreover, all signs indicate Brazil is just hitting its social stride. Average time spent on Facebook among Brazilians increased 208 percent last year, to 535 minutes per month. By comparison, global use declined by 2 percent during the same period.

With social media saturation looming in the U.S. and Europe, China’s citizens stuck behind the Great Firewall (with no legal access to Twitter and Facebook) and India still in relatively early stages o” the Internet revolution, Brazil suddenly seems poised to hold an unlikely distinction: social media capital of the universe.

5. According to the text:

a. Running water is a luxury and paved roads are common in the state of Pará.
b. Brazil is number one in the world with 65 million Facebook users.
c. The internet revolution in India is pretty advanced.
d. Brazil might soon became the social media capital of the planet.
e. Facebook is not common compered to its rival Orkut.

6. According to the text, indigenous people from Xingu have used Facebook to:

a. fight against discrimination
b. keep themselves connected
c. get more followers
d. fight against a hydroelectric dam construction
e. claim their rights.

*César Lira é professor do CERS Cursos Online

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