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Arizona governor suspends Uber’s ability to test self-driving cars

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The governor of Arizona on Monday suspended Uber’s ability to test self-driving cars on public roads in the state following a fatal crash last week that killed a 49-year-old pedestrian.

The decision to block Uber Technologies Inc’s is a blow to the ride-hailing company, which sees its future success reliant on driverless vehicles, and trails competitors such as Alphabet Inc’s Waymo in developing the technology.

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Arizona had been a key hub for Uber, with about half of the company’s 200 self-driving cars and a staff of hundreds.

In a letter sent to Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi and shared with the media, Governor Doug Ducey said he found a video released by police of the crash “disturbing and alarming, and it raises many questions about the ability of Uber to continue testing in Arizona.”

Police and safety regulators are investigating the March 18 fatality in which a woman crossing a four-lane road at night was struck and killed by an Uber self-driving SUV. The incident has focused new attention on the lack of clear safety standards for such vehicles.

Ducey called the crash “an unquestionable failure.”

“In the best interests of the people of my state, I have directed the Arizona Department of Transportation to suspend Uber’s ability to test and operate autonomous vehicles on Arizona’s public roadways,” Ducey said.

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The letter strikes a dramatically different tone from late 2016, when Ducey invited Uber to his state with celebration, saying “Arizona welcomes Uber self-driving cars with open arms and wide open roads.” At the time, a banner was hung on a building in Phoenix welcoming Uber.

Uber moved its driverless cars to Arizona from San Francisco after California regulators shut down the self-driving fleet for not having the proper permits.

Uber, which had already pulled its self-driving cars off the road after the accident, said in a statement on Monday that it will “keep a dialogue open with the Governor’s office to address any concerns they have.”

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Reporting by David Schwartz; Writing by Heather Somerville; Editing by Sandra Maler and Michael Perry


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Buffalo has a long history of protecting cops from criminal charges: report

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On Saturday, The Daily Beast documented the recent history of use of force in the Buffalo Police Department, which is reeling from controversy as two officers face assault charges for shoving a 75-year-old protester to the ground.

"As shocking as this all may be to outsiders, the shoving of demonstrator Martin Gugino and the defiant response of officers to an effort to discipline two of their own is indicative of the state of police affairs in Buffalo," wrote Jim Heaney. "Has been for a long time, not that you have to go back too far to find other episodes of brutality that have been captured on video."

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Internet disgusted after Buffalo first responders cheer cops charged with assaulting 75-year-old protester

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Commenters on Twitter expressed both contempt and disgust for Buffalo firefighters and police officers who turned out in front of Buffalo City Court to support two suspended police officers with applause and cheering.

Moments after officers Aaron Torglaski and Robert McCabe were charged with second-degree assault and then released without having to post bail, they were greeted as heroes outside the courthouse.

After a video was posted showing the celebration, commenters on Twitter vented at cops and firefighters for defending the two officers who assaulted the 75-year-old man who had to be rushed to a hospital after they shoved him to the ground where he sustained a head injury.

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Donald Trump’s lurch toward fascism is backfiring spectacularly

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

During the 2016 campaign, as Donald Trump railed against "Mexican rapists" and other "criminal aliens," pollsters found that the share of Americans who said that immigrants worked hard and made a positive contribution to our society increased significantly, and noticed a similar decline in the share who said they take citizens' jobs and burden our social safety net. After Trump was elected and began pursuing his Muslim ban, the share of respondents who held a positive view of Islam also increased pretty dramatically. I'm not aware of any polling of the general public about transgender troops serving in the military before Trump decided to discharge them, but Gallup found that 71 percent of respondents opposed his position after he did.

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