Mobile Tech Industry Mobile Apps Uber You may be able to use the Uber app to see when your bus is coming. On Thursday the ride-hailing giant rolled out its first integration with public transit. Users in Denver will now see end-to-end directions and real-time information for public transit in the app, thanks to a partnership with the Regional Transportation District. “Our customers want their trips to be as seamless as possible, and a collaboration like this one allows them to plan for travel from end to end, including additional first mile and last mile options,” said David Genova, CEO and general manager of RTD, in a blog post. “RTD is pleased to work with Uber as we present riders with additional, complementary options to most efficiently reach their destination.”This isn’t Uber’s first attempt to become the one-stop shop for transportation. In September, the company launched a new feature called Mode Switch, an in-app tool that lets people see what modes of transportation the company offers in that location, including cars, bikes and scooters. From there, users can choose what transportation they want to use. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the ride-hailing giant wants “to be the Amazon of transportation.”Riders will see “Transit” next to UberX, Uber Pool and other available options from the ride-hailing company once they enter their destinations. When they select the option, they’ll be able to view available transit routes along with real-time departure and arrival times. Users will see walking directions to and from the transit stations. They’ll also soon be able to buy and use RTD tickets, Uber said.Uber integrated this public transportation information through a partnership with the urban mobility app Moovit, which provides real-time transit data and route planning around the world. Uber said that with this partnership it’ll expand the feature to more cities in coming months.First published Jan. 31, 11:56 a.m. PT. Update, 2:06 p.m.: Adds information on Moovit partnership.Best Super Bowl TV deals: Buying a new TV for the big game? These are your best choices.How to watch the Super Bowl: Watch the game in the US for free, on TV or online. Tags Comment Uber Share your voice 1
*The piece originally came up in Prothom Alo print edition is rewritten in English by Ayesha Kabir Monirul IslamOn the one-year anniversary of the militant attack on Holey Artisan Bakery, Prothom Alo speaks to the police’s Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit chief, Monirul Islam. He speaks in detail about the government’s anti-militancy programme.Sohrab Hossain and Sheikh Sabiha AlamProthom Alo: How strong is the counter-terrorism unit at present?Monirul Islam: The counter-terrorism unit was launched on February 2016, but actually began functioning from the last week of May. If we make an assessment of the past year, then we are quite ahead of what we had aimed to achieve in this span of time. We did not imagine that the events would take place so rapidly. They Holey Artisan Bakery incident pushed our backs to the wall. That is why, in addition to increasing our efficiency, we are also placing emphasis on operations.Prothom Alo: Where does the capacity of the counter-terrorism unit stand at present, particularly when it comes to training and personnel?Monirul Islam: The capacity of just a counter-terrorism unit is not enough to contain militancy. We have the manpower, more or less. There is training at various levels too. The officers are being trained at home and abroad. As this crime is of a different nature, the relevant persons are being given regular training. The militants use the internet, they deftly utilise cyberspace and our personnel are being trained accordingly. But we do have problems when it comes to the hardware and software required for cyberspace policing. These are being arranged.Prothom Alo: According to the media, the US and the European countries no longer extend cooperation to the Bangladesh government’s anti-militancy programmes because of human rights violations.Monirul Islam: That does not apply to us. The US is extending cooperation to us in the field of capacity building. We have held talks with the UK on this issue too. Australia and Canada have also provided quite a lot of training. Japan has extended cooperation too. We have to keep in mind that these countries will move away if any human rights violation takes place.Prothom Alo: Have you asked for assistance from neighbouring India to tackle militancy?Monirul Islam: We have coordination with India. We have real time intelligence sharing with India. Many of our officials have been trained there. There is an exchange of experiences.Prothom Alo: With which other countries does Bangladesh have real time intelligence sharing?Monirul Islam: Mostly with our neighbour India. None at all with Myanmar. With China, to an extent, but that does not entail intelligence sharing. If the need arises, we will have that with China too.Prothom Alo: The operation at Holey Artisan Bakery was launched 11 hours after the attack. Experts contend that many lives could have been saved if the operation was launched earlier. Was this a mistaken decision, then?Monirul Islam: Taking everything into consideration, I do not think this was a wrong decision. We had never faced such a situation before. This was the first such incident in Bangladesh. When the hostage situation emerged, we had no information at that moment as to how many persons were inside, what strength they had, what their aim was. Later investigations revealed that the killings had taken place before the first team of police reached there. So even if the operation was launched earlier, the people couldn’t have been saved. From the eye-witnesses who were rescued and from the planners of the Holey Artisan attack who were arrested alive, it was confirmed that the militants killed everyone except one within 10 to 15 minutes of entering the place.Prothom Alo: Who was that one?Monirul Islam: He was a Japanese national. He was hiding in the chiller. But later he was killed too.Prothom Alo: At the conference of police heads from various countries held in Dhaka a few months ago, terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna said that IS had carried out the attack on Holey Artisan. What would you say?Monirul Islam: He is an academician. He perhaps drew this conclusion from his academic research. But those who were caught here, some of them saying they were involved in 22 or 23 incidents, did not say they had connection with IS. Even those who are being caught now are not speaking of any IS connections.Prothom Alo: How can you be so sure that the attackers had no connection with IS?Monirul Islam: All the militants killed inside Holey Artisan Bakery were Bangladeshi nationals and none of them had dual citizenship. Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury has dual citizenship. He came from Canada and organised neo-JMB and used these militants for the Holey Artisan killing. Even back in 1992 when Harkatul Jihad was created, they too followed foreign militant outfits.Prothom Alo: So is neo-JMB an organisation that follows IS?Monirul Islam: They accept many interpretations of IS. It can be said that militant organisations of Bangladesh follow IS, Al Qaeda models, they believe in their philosophy. But they do not have direct organisational contact.Prothom Alo: Have anyone else in neo-JMB, like Tamim Chowdhury, come from outside?Monirul Islam: No one of Tamim’s level. After Tamim was killed, a certain Mainul Islam alias Musa reorganised the group. But all their preparations were destroyed in the operations last March and April.Prothom Alo: Is Major (retd) Ziaul Huq under your surveillance?Monirul Islam: Major Zia hasn’t been apprehended as yet. We learnt seven years ago that he was in Bangladesh. We do not have any information regarding him in the past few months. He may have gone abroad. But what we can say is that he is not active at present. We would have received information had he been active.Prothom Alo: Have you noted any change in the militants’ strategy before and after the Holey Artisan attack?Monirul Islam: The militants have changed their strategy. Prior to the Holey Artisan attack, they carried out many individual attacks. They killed many persons in North Bengal and in the southwest. They had a significant supply of arms at the time. After the Holey Artisan incident and our continued operations, their arms supply was disrupted and now they lean more towards put more emphasis on explosives. They are now more concentrated on organising themselves and gathering new members rather than launching attacks.Prothom Alo: Has your strategy undergone any change?Monirul Islam: We have a research cell. The cell reviews everything after each operation, the cell carries out a review and determines the next strategy based on information received from the the arrested militants. We always want to catch the militants alive because this provides us with a storehouse of information.Prothom Alo: The mode of every operation is almost identical, giving rise to doubts in public mind regarding the efficacy of the operations.Monirul Islam: The militants use the same strategy. So when one side uses a certain strategy, is has to be countered accordingly too. They had weapons before, they fought, now they have no weapons, they use explosives. They have been told that death is better than being caught. And if they can take someone along with them when they die, it’s all the better.Prothom Alo: Before the Holey Artisan Bakery attack, the militants had been killing writers and bloggers. At a policymaking level and from the law enforcement agencies, it was laid out what should be written and what shouldn’t. Didn’t that go in favour of the militants?Monirul Islam: In the long run, the law enforcement moves did not go in favour of the militants. After April last year, they couldn’t carry out any more killings. Many of them have been caught over the past one and a half years. The mystery behind many of the killings has been unearthed. Enough evidence has been found to be produced before the court. Even the names of those who haven’t been caught have been revealed. Son their organisation is now shattered.Prothom Alo: There seems to be a lack of coordination is some instances of the anti-militancy drive.Monirul Islam: Coordination is a relative matter. A commission had been formed after the Twin Tower attack. It came up with a 400 or 500-page report. It was evident from the report that one agency had no communication with another agency. We are better than that in a sense. However, there is room for improvement.Prothom Alo: Don’t you feel that any anti-terrorism operation should be conducted under the unit formed to counter terrorism?Monirul Islam: A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is being prepared. The SOP will determine the responsibilities assigned to concerned units.Prothom Alo: A commission was formed after the Twin Tower attack. Why wasn’t any such commission formed in Bangladesh?Monirul Islam: We have the National Committee for Intelligence Coordination (NCIC). They recommended that the SOP be prepared.Prothom Alo: Over the past one year, militant dens were uncovered in Sylhet, Jhenidah, Chittagong, Chapainawabganj, doesn’t that suggest that they have a nationwide network?Monirul Islam: They haven’t spread to a dangerous extent. They built up their hideouts in a few specific districts where they carried out their recruitments. They have had their activities in certain districts in North Bengal such as Bogra, Sirajganj, Gaibandha, Rangpur, Kurigram, Dinajpur (relatively less), Rajshahi and Chapainawabganj. And they had some activities in Chittagong Hill Tracts in December last year, particularly in Naikhangchhari of Bandarban and in the southwest, basically in Jhenidah.Prothom Alo: In many cases though political leaders are not granted bail, militants are often released on bail. Why?Monirul Islam: The matter of bail depends on the strength of the case. Someone may have committed 22 murders or may have been directly involved in the Holey Artisan attack. But someone may have just supported this. That can’t be given the same treatment. Those who have been granted bail recently, had lent their support. Even such support is a crime in the eyes of the law.What we haven’t been able to do so far in this regard, is carry out a de-radicalisation process within the prisons, so that these persons can emerge as normal individuals after they spend six months or a year in jail. And as for those who are released on bail whom we deem important or we apprehend may get involved in militant activities, we try to keep them under surveillance.Prothom Alo: Who are more active in militancy in the country, IS followers or al-Qaeda followers?Monirul Islam: Ansar Al Islam to an extent follow al-Qaeda ideology. They are basically involved in killing bloggers and atheists. They have become inactive since April last year. Neo-JMB, which do not IS follow per se, but accept their interpretations, have displayed the most brutality. After the Holey Artisan Bakery attack, their only successful operation was in Sylhet. That organisation too is now shattered. But there is no room for complacence. The drives against them must continue.