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Thai And Filipino Workers Filling Labor Gap In Israel Get Caught Up In War Between Israel And Hamas

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BANGKOK  — On Thursday, the initial cohort of Thai laborers evacuated from Israel after the violent incidents in Gaza and southern Israel over the past few days arrived in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. Anxious family members and high-ranking officials awaited their arrival.

Hundreds of Israelis were murdered on Saturday by Hamas militants who breached a border fence and set fire to their homes, neighborhoods, and an outdoor music festival. In retaliation, the Israeli military has initiated massive bombardment and made readiness for a potential ground incursion. At least 2,600 lives have been lost on both sides of the conflict; some Southeast Asian laborers residing in Israel have been among them.

Two of the forty-one Thais who returned home on an El Al commercial flight were wounded men compelled to depart the aircraft in wheelchairs due to the violence.

In developed nations where semi-skilled labor is in limited supply, Thai agricultural laborers seek employment significantly higher wages than those they can earn at home.

Tens of thousands of foreign workers from the Philippines and Thailand, among others, transfer their wages back to Thailand to support their families. This money also stimulates the finances of their home countries.

However, the recent inclusion of Thai and Filipino nationals on lists of deceased, wounded, and missing serves as a poignant reminder that the lives of foreign employees are in imminent danger.

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Thai And Filipino Workers Filling Labor Gap In Israel Get Caught Up In War Between Israel And Hamas.

According to the Thai Foreign Ministry, approximately 30,000 Thais are employed in Israel, of which 5,000 reside in the southern region near the Gaza Strip.

Katchakorn Pudtason, one of them, stated that his employer at the farm where he worked initially escorted all employees into a shelter during the attacks on Saturday. However, once they exited the bunker for lunch, they continued to hear gunfire.

Katchakorn stated that as they were being driven back to their employment, he heard additional gunfire and felt an object strike his knee.

“At first, I mistook it for a boulder, but it managed to pass through. As a result, he collided with the vehicle and instructed the driver to depart. He further stated that four vehicle individuals were injured that particular day. Two of the returnees required the use of a wheelchair, including him.

Upon the arrival of the evacuees, the labor, defense, and foreign affairs Cabinet ministers of Thailand were present at Bangkok’s international airport. The government has pledged to ensure evacuees’ physical and mental health.

Officials are working around the clock to facilitate the 5,990 Thais who have registered to be evacuated, according to Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara.

“To eliminate the greatest number of individuals possible, we need a Plan B,” stated Defence Minister Suthin Klangsaeng. “People will be evacuated from the high-risk area to a third country, such as the United Arab Emirates, using military aircraft.”

When compiling lists of non-Israeli nationals impacted by the violence, the number of Thais implicated stood out. On Thursday, the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that 21 Thais are presumed deceased and 14 injured. It was estimated that sixteen individuals had been captured as hostages.

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Thai And Filipino Workers Filling Labor Gap In Israel Get Caught Up In War Between Israel And Hamas.

In 2019, Chatree Chasri departed from his residence in northeastern Thailand to seek employment as an agricultural laborer in Israel. His objective was to settle outstanding obligations and support his wife and two children in Nakhon Phanom. It is common for Thais from economically disadvantaged rural regions, particularly the northeast, to seek employment overseas.

The 38-year-old has cultivated tomatoes and cauliflower in the southern Israeli community of Mivtahim, less than 10 kilometers (6 miles) from Israel’s border with Gaza, under a government-to-government agreement for the past four years.

He told The Associated Press over the phone from Israel on Saturday that his life at the farm had been going well until Saturday, notwithstanding the intermittent shelling and missile assaults that forced him to seek shelter. He now declares that he wishes to return home and never again visit Israel.

Chatree sustained multiple gunshot wounds to the hip in the immediate aftermath of Hamas’ rocket assaults and surprise ground offensive into southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of individuals and the capture of over a hundred who were returned to Gaza in captivity.

Suddenly, while using the lavatory on the farm with other foreign laborers, Chatree heard gunfire.

“As the sounds grew closer, bullets passed through the toilet wall,” he recalled, evoking the instant he was struck. Subsequently, he observed two gunmen enter the living accommodations of the workers and open fire, prompting them to seek refuge outside.

Thai expatriate Vibhavadi Vannachai, who has spent nearly two decades in Israel and is collaborating with Israeli authorities to assist Thai employees, is concerned that the number of casualties may increase.

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Thai And Filipino Workers Filling Labor Gap In Israel Get Caught Up In War Between Israel And Hamas.

Vibhavadi, a native of Nong Bua Lamphu’s northeastern province, is an interpreter at a legal office whose cases primarily concern resolving conflicts between Thai employees and their employers.

She stated that exploitation and violations of their rights are prevalent, with many being obligated to long-term contracts but having their wages deceived. Many individuals who refuse to work lengthy hours are subjected to physical abuse. “Some individuals are required to reside in quarters unfit for human habitation,” she stated.

Vibhavadi assisted in locating temporary housing for Chatree and Padoong Bootmo, a 26-year-old Thai laborer who was fatally shot on Saturday and whose Yesha potato and yam farm was twice ransacked by assailants before being destroyed by fire, via temporary accommodations. Padoong stated during a telephone interview that he had been able to send home 1,100 baht (40,000 baht) per month. Although he might earn less than half that under ideal conditions performing the same duties in Thailand, he has stated that he no longer wishes to remain in Israel.

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The assassination of at least two Filipino foreign employees in Israel highlighted the dangers these workers encountered.

Approximately 30,000 Filipinos reside and work in the country, the Foreign Ministry of the Philippines estimates, with many providing care for the elderly, the ailing, and those with physical disabilities. The enormous quantity of money they send back home—$36.14 billion in the previous year—has been instrumental in sustaining the country’s fragile economy.

According to the Philippines Embassy in Israel, one of the two Filipinos slain on Saturday was a carer who was shot alongside her employer inside their home by Hamas gunmen. Uncertain circumstances surround the death of the other.

At least three Filipinos are still missing, according to embassy representatives.

Despite this, Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Eduardo de Vega stated on Wednesday that no Filipino has requested repatriation from Israel.

In a Wednesday telephone interview with The Associated Press, Jeremiah Supan, a 34-year-old Filipino carer in Israel, stated that he informed Philippine officials that he had no intention of returning home. He transfers his earnings as the primary provider for his family, allowing his 10-year-old son to continue his education and support other dependents.

Supan stated, “The rocket firings continue.” “However, all that assistance I send to my family back home will be lost if I depart.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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Nike Is Cutting About 1,700 Jobs

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Nike will lay off approximately 2% of its employees, or almost 1,700 people, as the sportswear titan seeks to save up to $2 billion in expenditures.

“The actions we’re taking put us in a position to right-size our organisation to pursue our most promising growth opportunities,” a Nike (NKE) representative said in a statement Friday. “While these changes will impact approximately 2% of our total workforce, we are grateful for the contributions made by all Nike teammates.”

According to its most recent annual report, the corporation employs around 83,700 individuals globally as of May 31, 2023.

nike

Nike Is Cutting About 1,700 Jobs

Nike lowered its revenue projection and announced cost cuts in December, citing rising fears that consumers worldwide are cutting back on spending. The corporation aimed to save up to $2 billion over the following three years.

Customers are shifting their spending habits, preceding discretionary purchases of things such as pricey trainers and athletic apparel in favour of necessities and experiences like concerts and travel.

Nike Is Cutting About 1,700 Jobs

Nike also faces stiff competition from emerging companies like Hoka and On Cloud.

When presenting the company’s latest financial results in December, Nike finance boss Matt Friend said its gloomier forecast reflected “indications of more cautious consumer behaviour around the world” and “increased macro headwinds in China and Europe.”

Nike Is Cutting About 1,700 Jobs

China, the world’s second-largest economy, is confronting significant hurdles, including dissatisfied customers, a real estate collapse, and decreased exports.

Meanwhile, according to official statistics released Wednesday, Europe narrowly averted a recession in the final three months of 2023, with its economy flatlining. Germany, the region’s largest economy, contracted last year for the first time since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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Birkenstock Spooks With Cautious Outlook Even As Its Sandals Stay On Trend

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Birkenstock, a popular footwear manufacturer, startled investors with a cautious view in the New Year despite its pricey-yet-folksy sandals being popular among buyers of all ages.

The German shoemaker, which went public in October, released its first quarterly results after the IPO on Thursday. Despite good sales, the business issued a cautious view for 2024, predicting a “modest headwind to impact margins.”

Birkenstock shares fell about 8.5% on Thursday following the news.

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Birkenstock Spooks With Cautious Outlook Even As Its Sandals Stay On Trend

The company forecasts adjusted earnings for the year to be roughly 30% lower due to “planned ramp up costs” compared to 32% in 2023.

It also expects sales to increase by 17% to 18% in 2024, compared to the previous year, as the company expands into new areas and invests in more retail outlets and delivery systems.

The company stated that a 6% increase in unit sales and a 14% increase in average selling price would result in a 20% increase in revenues for 2023 compared to the previous year.

“Their sales did exceptionally well in the quarter. The full-year sales guidance for the coming year was also higher than expected. In an interview with CNN, Abigail Gilmartin, a retail equities research analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence, stated that their margin statement was the primary cause of the stock’s decline.

“They have extremely great profitability, which was a major issue during and after their IPO. This year, margins declined primarily due to inflation, and they advised a little more conservatively.

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Birkenstock Spooks With Cautious Outlook Even As Its Sandals Stay On Trend

Because of the brand’s consistent demand, she claimed the company did not have to resort to significant discounting throughout the holiday season. Gilmartin stated that this year’s distribution centre investments represent a “near-term headwind” required for future growth.

“We expect margins to reaccelerate as additional capacity comes online,” she said. “Overall, the brand is healthy, with significant sales growth in the fourth quarter and promising first-quarter trends thus far. The company produces extremely high-quality items. Once you put on a Birkenstock, you realize how pleasant the footbed is.”

Birkenstock sandals, which range in price from about $50 for a low-cost waterproof foam version to well over $200 for its iconic premium leather styles, are popular among both older comfort-seeking consumers and younger TikTok-inspired shoppers, according to Beth Goldstein, a footwear analyst with market research firm Circana.

“It is a premium product, but compared to other luxury items, Birkenstocks are fairly accessible,” she said.

birkenstock

Birkenstock Spooks With Cautious Outlook Even As Its Sandals Stay On Trend

Birkenstocks, she said, experienced a rebirth about ten years ago, owing to collaborations with high-fashion labels and new additions such as fur-lined versions. Then the pandemic struck.

“The ease of these sandals matched with the informal comfort dressing trend, which was already in place prior to the pandemic and accelerated during it. Birkenstock was at the vanguard of it,” Goldstein explained. And it could remain there for the time being.

“There is no evidence that consumers are gravitating toward dressier styles. “Consumers still value casual comfort,” she said.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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Uniqlo Takes Legal Action Against Shein For Copying ‘Mary Poppins Bag’

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TOKYO — Uniqlo Co. has sued rival shop Shein over a small shoulder bag, which the Japanese retailer claims is an inferior and illegal duplicate of its hit product known as the “Mary Poppins bag.”

The complaint asked that  the company stop selling the product, which Uniqlo claimed looked too similar to its Round Mini Shoulder Bag.

TikTok and other social media users laud the Uniqlo bag for its spaciousness while remaining lightweight and compact. The Mary Poppins nickname is based on the 1964 musical starring Julie Andrews, in which a nanny pulls almost anything from her magical carpet bag, including a hat stand.

Is to slow its growth.

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Uniqlo Takes Legal Action Against Shein For Copying ‘Mary Poppins Bag’

Shein, founded in China but now headquartered in Singapore, has yet to respond to a request for comment. Tokyo-based Fast Retailing Co., which operates Uniqlo stores, filed the complaint in Tokyo District Court on December 28.

Uniqlo filed a lawsuit on Thursday against the three firms that operate Shein, Roadget Business Pte, Fashion Choice Pte, and Shein Japan Co, seeking damages of approximately 160 million yen ($1.1 million).

Uniqlo said Shein’s offering was a copyright violation of lower quality, undermining customer trust in the Uniqlo brand.

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Uniqlo Takes Legal Action Against Shein For Copying ‘Mary Poppins Bag’

Uniqlo’s bag has inside pockets and is described as robust and water-resistant. It costs 1,500 yen in Japan and $19.90 in the United States and is available in various colours, including light blue and violet.

Uniqlo has roughly 2,500 locations in 26 countries and is behind popular budget casual clothing items such as HeatTech thermal underwear.

Shein primarily engages clients through its app. The organization claims to employ digital technology to respond quickly to consumer preferences and prevent waste.

shein

Uniqlo Takes Legal Action Against Shein For Copying ‘Mary Poppins Bag’

Uniqlo is a Japanese casual wear brand known for its high-quality basics at affordable prices. The brand focuses on simple yet functional designs that prioritize comfort and versatility.

Uniqlo’s clothing lines encompass a wide range of wardrobe essentials, from classic t-shirts and jeans to innovative heat-retaining and moisture-wicking fabrics.

With a commitment to sustainability and ethical production, Uniqlo has become a popular go-to for individuals seeking accessible, well-made clothing that seamlessly integrates into their everyday style.

SOURCE – (AP)

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