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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.”

CNN-HLN

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

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THAILAND: Rescue Dig Saves Toddler Trapped In Well For One Night

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BANGKOK, Thailand — A 19-month-old girl fell into a dry artesian well shaft at a cassava farm in northern Thailand 18 hours before she was saved. It took rescuers all night to get her out.

Rescuers clapped and cheered as the toddler, the daughter of Myanmar migrant workers, was pulled from the 15-meter (49-foot)-deep well shaft and placed on a stretcher that carried her to an ambulance waiting nearby.

“You guys did an excellent job. “We did it!” exclaimed one rescuer as his colleagues wept and hugged each other in Tak province’s Phop Phra district.

While her parents were working at the plantation, the child fell into the hole late Monday afternoon.

thailand rescue

Rescuers In Thailand Were On The Scene Quickly

The deep pit, dug by the landowner to be an artesian well, was left uncovered after it failed to reach groundwater, according to Phop Phra district chief Sanya Phetset on Tuesday.

According to local media, the first rescuers on the scene shouted down the hole and heard the child cry back. After lowering a camera into the hole to assess the situation, a tube was snaked to provide oxygen.

Using backhoes and other excavation tools, rescuers dug a 30-centimeter-wide trench alongside the pit overnight.

thailand rescue

The Child Is Now Safe And Sound

“At first, it appeared to be a simple operation because it appeared to be loose dirt, but once we started digging, we discovered rock, which made it difficult because excavators cannot dig through it,” Sanya explained.

He explained that the operation was risky because the digging could collapse the well’s sides onto the child.

After being carried to safety, the toddler was immediately taken to Phop Phra Hospital in Thailand.

“She is now safe. “She’s a little tired, but nothing serious,” Sanya explained.

SOURCE – (AP)

 

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Pope Francis Clarifies his Remarks on Homosexuality and Sin

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Pope Francis Clarifies his Remarks on Homosexuality and Sin

Pope Francis has clarified his recent remarks about homosexuality and sin, stating that he was referring to official Catholic moral teaching, which states that any sexual act other than marriage is a sin.

In a Friday note, Francis emphasized that even black-and-white teaching is subject to circumstances that may eliminate the sin.

Francis made the remarks in an interview with The Associated Press on January 24, stating that laws criminalizing homosexuality are “unjust” and that “being homosexual is not a crime.”

As he often does, Francis then imagined a conversation with someone who brought up the issue of the church’s official teaching, which states that homosexual acts are sinful or “intrinsically disordered.”

“All right, but first, let’s distinguish between a sin and a crime,” Francis said in the fictitious conversation. “It is also a sin not to be charitable to one another.”

pope

Pope asked for Clarification.

LGBTQ advocates hailed his comments calling for decriminalizing homosexuality as a watershed moment that would help end harassment and violence against LGBTQ people. However, his use of the word “sin” raised questions about whether he believed that simply being gay was a sin in and of itself.

The Reverand James Martin, an American priest who runs the Outreach ministry for LGBTQ Catholics in the United States, asked Francis for clarification and published the pope’s handwritten response late Friday on the Outreach website.

In his note, Francis reiterated that homosexuality “is not a crime” and that he was trying “to emphasize that criminalization is neither good nor just.”

“When I said it is a sin, I was simply referring to Catholic moral teaching, which states that every sexual act other than marriage is a sin,” Francis wrote in Spanish, emphasizing the final phrase.

However, in a nod to his case-by-case approach to pastoral ministry, Francis noted that even teaching is subject to the circumstances, “which may decrease or eliminate the fault.”

pope

Sex is a Sin, as is Any Sexual Act

He admitted he could have been more specific in his comments to the AP. However, he stated that he was using “natural and conversational language” in the interview, which did not necessitate precise definitions.

“As you can see, I was generally repeating something. ‘Sex is a sin, as is any sexual act outside of the bonds of holy marriage,’ I should have said. This is to speak of ‘the matter’ of sexual sin, but we all know that Catholic morality considers not only the matter but also freedom and intention, and this for all types of sin,” he said.

According to Human Dignity Trust, which works to end such laws, 67 countries or jurisdictions worldwide criminalize same-sex sexual activity, 11 of which can or do impose the death penalty. According to experts, even when laws are not enforced, they contribute to harassment, stigma, and violence against LGBTQ people.

According to Catholic teaching, marriage is a lifelong bond between a man and a woman. It restricts intercourse with married couples and prohibits artificial contraception.

During his decade-long pontificate, Francis has upheld that teaching while prioritizing outreach to LGBTQ people.

Pope Francis has emphasized a more merciful approach to applying church doctrine, preferring to accompany rather than judge people.

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US General Tells His Officers to Prepare for War with China in 2025

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US General Tells His Officers to Prepare for War with China in 2025

In an internal memo, a four-star general in the United States Air Force stated that the US and China risk going to war in two years and advised officers under his command to prepare, including with target practice.

According to NBC, General Mike Minihan, head of the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command, believes the fight will take place in 2025 but hopes he is wrong. He claimed that presidential elections in the United States and Taiwan in 2024 would allow China to take action against Taiwan.

According to NBC, a Defense Department official stated that the remarks do not represent the Pentagon’s position on China. According to an Air Mobility Command spokesperson, the memo is part of the command’s effort to prepare for conflict if deterrence fails.

The administration of President Joe Biden has repeatedly expressed concern about China’s military buildup and what the US perceives to be a more aggressive Chinese stance toward Taiwan.

According to the administration’s national security strategy, China is the only US competitor “with the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do so.”

China has slammed the latest US defense spending bill, which allows up to $10 billion in weapons sales to Taiwan, for exaggerating the China threat and meddling in its internal affairs.

china

Blinken Conerned Over Taiwan and China

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed concern about Beijing’s intentions regarding Taiwan as he prepares for a rare visit to Beijing, China.

When asked if the temperature had cooled with China during a visit to the University of Chicago, Blinken replied, “I think so because when you’re talking and engaging, it tends to have that effect.”

“The rest of the world anticipates that we will manage this relationship responsibly. “They understand that how we manage it will also impact them,” he said.

According to Taipei Times, Blinken will visit Beijing from February 5 to 6, marking the first US secretary of state visit to the rising Asian power since October 2018.

The trip was decided after US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping () met in November in Bali, Indonesia, to discuss wide-ranging disagreements between the world’s two largest economies.

Blinken, on the other hand, expressed concern about Taiwan, citing Beijing’s growing efforts to isolate the country and major military exercises conducted near it in August.

“What we’ve seen over the last few years is, I believe, China deciding that it was no longer comfortable with the status quo, a status quo that had prevailed for decades and had been successful in terms of our countries’ relationship and managing what a difficult situation is,” he said.

“What we say to China is that — they say this is a sovereign issue for us; we respond that this is an interest to the United States and countries all over the world,” Blinken said, referring to Taiwan’s dominance in semiconductors, which is critical to the global economy.

Any disruption of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait would be disastrous for the global economy, he said, adding that 50 percent of container ships operating around the world pass through the Taiwan Strait and that Taiwan manufactures 70 percent of higher-end computer chips.

Blinken was in Chicago for a trip that included a stop at the city’s historic Ukrainian community to discuss the response to Russia’s invasion.

By: Geoff Thomas

China Records 1st Population Drop In Decades As Births Fall

China Records 1st Population Drop In Decades As Births Fall

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