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Photo: Jaap Arriens / Getty Images

A U.K. appeals tribunal ruled on Friday that Uber can't classify its drivers as independent contractors, but rather as workers which means providing them with certain benefits like minimum wage. The ruling affirms a similar court decision last year and is the second blow to Uber in recent months in the U.K. after London's transport authority decided not to renew the ride-hailing company's operating license (Uber is appealing).

Why it matters: This will be a big problem for Uber, whose business model is fundamentally built on its drivers being contractors — both because it saves the company the expense of providing benefits and allows for flexible supply of drivers. "One of the core elements of our service is that you get to be your own boss... the drivers like it—they don't want to be employees," new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said on Thursday at the NYT's DealBook conference in New York.

"The tribunal relies on the assertion that drivers are required to take 80% of trips sent to them when logged into the app," said Tom Elvidge, Uber UK's acting general manager, in a statement. "As drivers who use Uber know, this has never been the case in the UK." The company intends to appeal the decision.

The story has been updated to show that the tribunal has ruled that Uber's drivers should be treated as "workers," not "employees," and with a statement from the company.

Go deeper

35 mins ago - World

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

Sullivan speaks with Israel's national security adviser for the first time

Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat U.S. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/Getty Images. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Photo: Chandan Khanna/Getty Images

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke on the phone Saturday with his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben Shabbat, Israeli officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is the first contact between the Biden White House and Israeli prime minister's office. During the transition, the Biden team refrained from speaking to foreign governments.

Biden speaks to Mexican president about reversing Trump's "draconian immigration policies"

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

President Biden told his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on a phone call Friday that he plans to reverse former President Trump’s “draconian immigration policies.”

The big picture: The Biden administration has already started repealing several of Trump’s immigration policies, including ordering a 100-day freeze on deporting many unauthorized immigrants, halting work on the southern border wall, and reversing plans to exclude undocumented people from being included in the 2020 census.