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Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

San Francisco legislators have a new idea to tackle all the new tech that roams around their streets: an Office of Emerging Technologies that would dole out approvals to startups and companies wishing to unleash new gadgets and services on the city.

Why it matters: San Francisco is home to many tech companies that aim to reshape urban life, but the city has often seemed ill-prepared to deal with them, whether by welcoming or regulating them.

The details: The office, established by a bill proposed last Tuesday by Board of Supervisors president Norman Yee with the support of City Administrator Naomi Kelly, would be housed in the Department of Public Works.

  • Companies would have to get permission from the office before they can test any new products in San Francisco.
  • The office would coordinate with various departments to assess the positive and negative effects a proposed product or service would create and issue an approval or denial.
  • Ideally, it would also help companies better understand the city's relevant rules and regulations from the outset. Small startups with limited regulator experience have often struggled to do more than apply for basic business permits.

Be smart: Because it's housed in the Public Works department, the office's jurisdiction would be limited to sidewalks, storefronts and the like. It's not clear that it could regulate, for example, ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft or home-rental outfits like Airbnb.

Go deeper: SF officials want to regulate cutting-edge tech. Would their plan stifle innovation?

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Reports: Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport to "drop off some members" and were due to travel to another destination when the gang struck in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.

5 hours ago - World

Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Melbourne's stay-at-home orders will end five days earlier than planned, officials in Australia's second-biggest city announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The capital of the state of Victoria has had six lockdowns totaling 262 days since March last year. That means Melbourne spent longer under lockdown than "any other city in the world" during the pandemic, Reuters notes.

Venezuela suspends talks with opposition after Maduro ally extradited to U.S.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, in June. Photo: Gaby Oraa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key ally of Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro was extradited from Cape Verde to the U.S. on Saturday to face money laundering charges in Florida, Bloomberg first reported.

Why it matters: Venezuela's government called off negotiations with opposition officials that were scheduled for Sunday in Mexico in response to the extradition of Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman and financial fixer for Maduro. Security forces placed six U.S. oil executives under house arrest hours later, per AP.