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Massive Cuts at CNN Affects Roughly 200 Journalists

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Massive Cuts at CNN Affects Roughly 200 Journalists

CNN is laying off hundreds of employees in a cost-cutting effort highlighting the financial challenges that many media companies face as the economy approaches a possible recession.

The layoffs began on Wednesday and ended on Thursday, with employees affected notified in person or via Zoom.

“It is incredibly difficult to say goodbye to any one member of the CNN team,” CNN CEO Chris Licht wrote in a staff memo obtained by The Washington Post on Wednesday, describing the layoffs as a “gut punch.”

Chris Cillizza, who joined CNN in 2017 as a political reporter and editor-at-large, confirmed his dismissal from The Washington Post. Susan Glasser, a CNN global affairs analyst, said she was “one of many” part-time commentators laid off. Rachel Metz, a senior technology writer, expressed her “devastation” at being laid off on Thursday.

Other television networks are planning to cut costs this winter. According to a Business Insider report, NBCUniversal, NBC News and MSNBC’s parent company will lay off employees in January, though a news division spokesperson declined to comment Thursday. Disney, ABC News’ parent company, is also planning layoffs under the leadership of Bob Iger, who recently returned as CEO.

Gannett, the country’s largest newspaper chain, is planning a round of layoffs that will affect approximately 200 journalists at newspapers large and small over the next two days.

CNN Layoffs

CNN off approximately 400 employees in August and halted hiring for hundreds more positions.

“While extremely difficult, implementing these efficiencies and responding decisively to the ongoing macroeconomic volatility will continue to propel Gannett’s future,” said Lark-Marie Antón, a spokesperson for Gannett.

Rachel Axon, a USA Today sports investigative reporter who has reported on sexual abuse in competitive sports, was among those laid off. “I’m grateful to everyone who has trusted me with their stories,” she said on Twitter. “I’ve never forgotten the honor of showing their triumphs or holding those who harmed them accountable.”

One Gannett publication journalist told The Washington Post that he was laid off because of Zoom, leaving a newsroom of less than a dozen reporters behind. “They read from a script and thanked me for my service, which I find amusing,” the person said on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly.

According to CEO John Lansing, who addressed employees on Wednesday, NPR is also facing a financial shortfall that will necessitate $10 million in budget cuts over the next ten months. Sally Buzbee, the executive editor of the Washington Post, informed employees on Wednesday that the company’s weekly print magazine would be closed, citing The Post’s plans for “global and digital transformation.”

“A lot of media companies like CNN are looking at the economy right now and saying to themselves, ‘We’re about to go into recession, and we’re going to need fewer people,'” said Chris Roush, dean of Quinnipiac University’s School of Communications.

CNN Plus

CNN employees are no strangers to layoffs this year, as Licht moved quickly to shut down the network’s expensive new streaming service, CNN Plus, just three weeks after it launched in April.

A network spokesperson said that about 350 employees would be affected at the time, though some of the service’s star journalists, including Chris Wallace, Audie Cornish, and Kasie Hunt, have remained with the network.

CNN management also decided to part ways with media correspondent Brian Stelter and the staff of his weekly “Reliable Sources” show in August and White House correspondent John Harwood earlier this year.

According to an audio recording obtained by The Post, at a companywide meeting last month, Licht defended the need for layoffs while pledging to minimize the impact on newsgathering operations.

He explained that the cuts are part of a “strategic reimagining of how we do business” and an effort to better position the network for 2023. When asked if he expected more layoffs next year, he replied, “not at this time.”


Licht announced in a memo on Thursday afternoon that sister network HLN — formerly known as Headline News — will cease producing live programming, including the morning show hosted by Robin Meade, who has also been laid off. The network now primarily airs unscripted crime and mystery shows.

“These are difficult choices. “They’re nerve-racking for everyone involved,” said digital media executive Jon Klein, who oversaw CNN in the United States from 2005 to 2010. “The only advantage is that you’ll better understand where the value is in your organization.”

He claims that cutting costs “forces executives to look hard at their business and understand what the audience values.”

According to Quinnipiac University’s Roush, some media companies “grew way too fast” and over-invested in talent before developing a sizable audience and business model. Klein said that the “cord-cutting” trend had hard-hit television news.

The industry struggled to offset the loss of cable subscription revenue and advertising dollars with gains in digital subscriptions.

Although the impact on journalism is difficult to predict, Victor Pickard, professor of media policy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, believes the cuts come at the worst possible time for American democracy.

In an interview, Pickard stated, “This is about maximizing profits for shareholders.” “These are rash business decisions that do not consider the implications for a democratic society.” At this point in our country’s history, any layoffs in the media are a step back.”

Last month, at the company’s town hall meeting, Licht urged CNN journalists to keep reporting and developing sources but to do so cost-effectively in what he called a “tough economic environment” that could last into next year.

“Of course, you should do source dinners,” he explained. “Perhaps not with a bottle of Dom Pérignon.”

Source: Washington Post, VOR News


India, At UN, Is Mum About Dispute With Canada Over Sikh Separatist Leader’s Killing

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UNITED NATIONS — As he addressed world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, India’s top diplomat avoided addressing his country’s dispute with Canada over the assassination of a Sikh separatist leader. However, he indirectly criticized how other nations respond to “terrorism.”

Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar devoted most of his speech to praising India’s rising global stature and aspirations for leadership, highlighting its recent tenure as chair of the Group of 20 industrialized nations and presiding over a substantial summit meeting last month.

However, he also stated that the international community must not “allow political expediency to determine responses to terrorism, extremism, and violence.”

India has frequently attacked Pakistan at the United Nations over what New Delhi perceives as Pakistan’s sponsorship of terrorism. This time, however, the remark could be interpreted as an attack on Canada, whose representative is scheduled to speak at the United Nations later on Tuesday.

As a result of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement last week that India may have been involved in the June murder of a Canadian citizen in a Vancouver suburb, relations between the two countries have reached their lowest point in years.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar, 45, was murdered by masked assailants, but Canada has not yet provided any public evidence of Indian involvement in the murder. India had designated him as a terrorist because he led the remnants of a once-powerful movement to establish an independent Sikh homeland, Khalistan.


India’s top diplomat avoided addressing his country’s dispute with Canada over the assassination of a Sikh separatist leader.

The Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs dismissed the allegation as “absurd” and accused Canada of harboring “terrorists and extremists.” It also asserted that the allegations were politically motivated, indicating that Trudeau sought domestic support from the Sikh diaspora.

“Such unsubstantiated allegations seek to divert attention away from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have found refuge in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the ministry said in a statement released last week.

However, they have long accused Canada of allowing Sikh separatists, including Nijjar, unfettered reign.

Even though the active insurgency ended decades ago, the Modi administration has warned that Sikh separatists are attempting a comeback. New Delhi has urged nations such as Canada, where Sikhs account for more than 2% of the population, to do more to prevent a separatist revival.

After the G20 summit, Canada’s allegation obscured India’s diplomatic moment. Jaishankar sought to refocus attention on his country’s ambitions in the international arena, noting that India is the world’s most populous nation and a growing economic superpower.

“When we aspire to be a leading power, it is not for self-promotion, but to assume more responsibility and make more contributions,” he explained. “The goals we have set for ourselves will distinguish us from those who rose before us.”


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Spain Charges Pop Singer Shakira With Tax Evasion For A Second Time And Demands More Than $7 Million

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BARCELONA, SPAIN — Spanish prosecutors have charged Colombian pop sensation Shakira with failing to pay 6.7 million euros ($7.1 million) in tax on her 2018 earnings, authorities announced Tuesday. This is Spain’s most recent fiscal accusation against the Colombian singer.

Prosecutors in Barcelona alleged in a statement that Shakira used an offshore company based in a tax refuge to avoid paying the tax.

According to the statement, she has been notified of the allegations in Miami, where she resides.

Shakira is already scheduled to be tried in Barcelona on November 20 for a separate case involving her residence between 2012 and 2014. Prosecutors allege she neglected to pay 14.5 million euros in taxes in this instance.

Prosecutors in Barcelona have asserted that the Grammy winner spent more than fifty percent of the 2012-2014 period in Spain and thus should have paid taxes in the country, even though her official residence was in the Bahamas.


Spanish prosecutors have charged Colombian pop sensation Shakira with failing to pay 6.7 million euros ($7.1 million) in tax on her 2018 earnings.

Last July, Spanish tax officials launched a new investigation against Shakira. Prosecutors have decided to file charges after reviewing the evidence compiled over the past two months. No trial date has been set.

Llorente y Cuenca, the public relations firm previously managing Shakira’s affairs, had no immediate comment.

Last July, it was stated that the artist had “always complied with the law and followed the advice of her financial advisors.”

Since she began dating the now-retired football player Gerard Pique, Shakira, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, has been linked to Spain. The couple, who have two children, resided in Barcelona until the end of their 11-year relationship last year.

In the past decade, Spain’s tax authorities have cracked down on football superstars such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for not paying their entire tax obligations. These athletes were found guilty of tax evasion but were spared prison time due to a provision that enables judges to forego sentences of less than two years for first-time offenders.


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Toymaker Lego Will Stick To Its Quest To Find Sustainable Materials Despite Failed Recycle Attempt In 2023

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Lego stated on Monday that it remains committed to its quest to find sustainable materials to reduce carbon emissions despite the failure of an experiment to use recycled bottles. Lego is the world’s largest toy manufacturer.

After more than two years of testing, Lego “decided not to proceed” with producing its trademark colorful bricks from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles because “the material did not reduce carbon emissions.”

Nonetheless, the toymaker remains “fully committed to making Lego bricks from sustainable materials by 2032,” according to the company’s website.

Two years ago, the private company that manufactures bricks from oil-derived plastic began researching a potential transition to recycled plastic bottles made of PET plastic, which does not degrade in quality when recycled.

The company stated that it had invested “more than $1.2 billion in sustainability initiatives” to transition to more sustainable materials and reduce carbon emissions by 37% by 2032.

The company reported that it was “currently testing and developing Lego bricks made from a range of alternative sustainable materials, including other recycled plastics and plastics made from alternative sources such as e-methanol.”


Nonetheless, the toymaker remains “fully committed to making Lego bricks from sustainable materials by 2032,” according to the company’s website.

E-methanol, also known as green methanol, is composed of residual carbon dioxide and hydrogen and is produced by splitting water molecules using renewable energy.

The company said it would continue to use bio-polypropylene, the sustainable and biological variant of polyethylene — a plastic used in everything from consumer and food packaging to tires — for elements in Lego sets such as leaves, trees and other accessories.

Long-term, “we believe that this will encourage increased production of more sustainable raw materials, such as recycled oils, and help support our transition to sustainable materials,” the report stated.

The company was founded by Ole Kirk Kristiansen in 1932. The name comprises the Danish words leg and godt, meaning “play well.” The brand name was created without knowledge of the Latin Lego, meaning “I assemble.”


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