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California is making it much harder to use your smartphone while driving

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It’s time to use that Amazon gift card for a phone mount for your car — California is cracking down. 

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Starting Sunday a new law is making it even harder to use your phone in the car. Throughout the state you already can’t text, scroll around, click or look at messages on your phone while driving, and we’ve been long trained to never bring our phones to our ears while talking.

But starting Jan. 1 2017, you can’t even have your phone in your hand or out to click or swipe something. It will have to be mounted to your windshield or dashboard — only then can you tap your screen to make sure that that new Google Maps route delivers you out of traffic hell.

The bill, AB 1785, is one step closer to making motorists comply with completely hands-free cellphone laws which first went into effect in 2008. California Highway Patrol public information officer Mike Martis told Mashable that the new mounted rule “clears it up for a lot of drivers” who were unsure about what they could or couldn’t do in the car. 

With this new law, drivers will likely use way more Siri and voice-operated services. So let’s hope that technology can keep up with our demands and increased usage. 

California is one of many states with pretty strict cellphone laws for texting, talking and other uses while driving. Martis said he’s already pulled over many drivers…

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Myanmar

Digital Revolution and Repression in Myanmar and Thailand

Activists have also proactively published social media content in multiple languages using the hashtags #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar and #WhatsHappeningInThailand to boost coverage of events on the ground.

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By Karen Lee

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Following the February 1 coup, Myanmar’s netizens became the latest to join the #MilkTeaAlliance, an online collective of pro-democracy youth across Asia.

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How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?

Oxford Business Group

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How will oil prices shape the Covid-19 recovery in emerging markets?
– After falling significantly in 2020, oil prices have returned to pre-pandemic levels
– The rise has been driven by OPEC+ production cuts and an improving economic climate
– Higher prices are likely to support a rebound in oil-producing emerging markets
– Further virus outbreaks or increased production would pose challenges to price stability

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A combination of continued production cuts and an increase in economic activity has prompted oil prices to return to pre-pandemic levels – a factor that will be crucial to the recovery of major oil-producing countries in the Middle East and Africa.

Brent crude prices rose above $60 a barrel in early February, the first time they had exceeded pre-Covid-19 values. They have since continued to rise, going above $66 a barrel on February 24.

The ongoing increase in oil prices, which have soared by 75% since November and around 26% since the beginning of the year, marks a dramatic change from last year.

Following the closure of many national borders and the implementation of travel-related restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, demand for oil slumped globally.

In the wake of the Saudi-Russia price war in early 2020, Brent crude prices fell from around $60 a barrel in February that year to two-decade lows of $20 a barrel in late April, as supply increased and demand plummeted. The value of WTI crude – the main benchmark for oil in the US – fell to record lows of around $40 a barrel last year on the back of a lack of storage space.

While global demand for oil remains low, one factor credited with reversing the trend is the decision to make significant cuts to oil production, which subsequently tightened global supplies.

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How the Rural-Urban Divide Plays Out on Digital Platforms

It is one thing for entrepreneurs, whether urban or rural, to create and operate an online store, as some digital platforms have made it relatively easy to manage an e-store – even by using just a smartphone.

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In the West, villages are emptying out due to the lack of economic opportunities. Consider Italy where, in a bid to attract newcomers, a handful of municipalities have turned to selling houses for €1.

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