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Infos: Job cuts in tech sector spread, Microsoft lays off 10,000

FILE – This July 3, 2014, file photo, shows the Microsoft Corp. logo outside the Microsoft Visitor…   –   Copyright © africanews Ted S. Warren/Copyright 2016 The AP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu By Rédaction Africanews with AP Last updated: 20 hours ago Microsoft Microsoft is cutting 10,000

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Infos: Job cuts in tech sector spread, Microsoft lays off 10,000
FILE – This July 3, 2014, file photo, shows the Microsoft Corp. logo outside the Microsoft Visitor…   –  

Copyright © africanews

Ted S. Warren/Copyright 2016 The AP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu

Microsoft

Microsoft is cutting 10,000 workers, almost 5% of its workforce, joining other tech companies that have scaled back their pandemic-era expansions.

The company said in a regulatory filing Wednesday that the layoffs were a response to “macroeconomic conditions and changing customer priorities.”

The Redmond, Washington-based software giant said it will also be making changes to its hardware portfolio and consolidating its leased office locations.

Microsoft is cutting far fewer jobs than it had added during the COVID-19 pandemic as it responded to a boom in demand for its workplace software and cloud computing services with so many people working and studying from home.

“A big part of this is just overexuberance in hiring,” said Joshua White, a finance professor at Vanderbilt University.

Microsoft's workforce expanded by about 36% in the two fiscal years following the emergence of the pandemic, growing from 163,000 workers at the end of June 2020, to 221,000 in June 2022.

The layoffs represent “less than 5 percent of our total employee base, with some notifications happening today,” CEO Satya Nadella said in an email to employees.

“While we are eliminating roles in some areas, we will continue to hire in key strategic areas,” Nadella said. He emphasized the importance of building a “new computer platform” using advances in artificial intelligence.

He said customers that were accelerating their spending on digital technology during the pandemic are now trying to “optimize their digital spend to do more with less.”

“We're also seeing organizations in every industry and geography exercise caution as some parts of the world are in a recession and other parts are anticipating one,” Nadella wrote.

Other tech companies have also been trimming jobs amid concerns about an economic slowdown.

Amazon and business software maker Salesforce earlier this month announced major job cuts as they prune payrolls that rapidly expanded during the pandemic lockdown.

Amazon said that it will be cutting about 18,000 positions and began notifying affected employees Wednesday in the U.S., Canada and Costa Rica, with other regions to follow, according to emails from executives. The job cuts, which began in November, are the largest set of layoffs in the Seattle company's history, although just a fraction of its 1.5 million global workforce.

Also Wednesday, the U.K.-based cybersecurity firm Sophos confirmed it had laid off 10% of its global workforce — 450 employees — on Tuesday. Sophos, known for threat intelligence and detection, was acquired in 2020 by the private equity firm Thoma Bravo for $3.9 billion.

Facebook parent Meta is laying off 11,000 people, about 13% of its workforce. And Elon Musk, the new Twitter CEO, has slashed the company's workforce.

Nadella made no direct mention of the layoffs on Wednesday when he put in an appearance at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting happening this week in Davos, Switzerland.

When asked by the forum's founder Klaus Schwab on what tech layoffs meant for the industry's business model, Nadella said companies that boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic are now seeing “normalization” of that demand.

“Quite frankly, we in the tech industry will also have to get efficient, right?” Nadella said. “It's not about everyone else doing more with less. We will have to do more with less. So we will have to show our own productivity gains with our own sort of technology.”

Microsoft declined to answer questions about where the layoffs and office closures would be concentrated. The company sent notice to Washington state employment officials Wednesday that it was cutting 878 workers at its offices in Redmond and the nearby cities of Bellevue and Issaquah.

As of June, it had 122,000 workers in the U.S. and 99,000 elsewhere.

White, the Vanderbilt professor, said all industries are looking to cut costs ahead of a possible recession but tech companies could be particularly sensitive to the rapid rise in interest rates, a tool that has been used aggressively in recent months by the Federal Reserve in its fight against inflation.

“This hits tech companies a little harder than it does industrials or consumer staples because a huge portion of Microsoft's value is on projects with cash flows that won't pay off for several years,” he said.

Among the projects that have been attracting attention recently is Microsoft's investment in its San Francisco startup partner OpenAI, maker of the writing tool ChatGPT and other AI systems that can generate readable text, images and computer code.

Microsoft, which owns the Xbox game business, also faces regulatory uncertainty in the U.S. and Europe delaying its planned $68.7 billion takeover of video game company Activision Blizzard, which had about 9,800 employees as of a year ago.

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              Infos: Bomb injures at least 12 people near a market in north-eastern DR Congo

              Congolese Defense Forces soldiers inspect the scene of an attack near the town of Oicha, 30 kms (20 miles) from Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo, Friday July 23, 2021.   –   Copyright © africanews Al-hadji Kudra Maliro/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved. By Rédaction Africanews and AP Last updated: 5 hours ago Democratic Republic Of

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              Infos: Bomb injures at least 12 people near a market in north-eastern DR Congo
              Congolese Defense Forces soldiers inspect the scene of an attack near the town of Oicha, 30 kms (20 miles) from Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo, Friday July 23, 2021.   –  

              Copyright © africanews

              Al-hadji Kudra Maliro/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved.

              Democratic Republic Of Congo

              A bomb exploded at a market in eastern Congo on Wednesday (Jan. 25), injuring at least a dozen people, authorities said.

              An unknown person detonated a bomb inside a bag in North Kivu's Beni town, said Tharcisse Katembo, a local official.

              “Damage was documented (and) at least 12 people were injured. They were injured in the lower limbs, others in their upper limbs and others were hit in the head,” he told reporters in Beni.

              The victims were taken to the hospital and an investigation was underway, Katembo said.

              No one claimed responsibility for the bomb. However, attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces, which is believed to be linked with the Islamic State extremist movement, have been increasing in North Kivu, according to the United Nations.

              Deadly violence

              Earlier this month, at least 14 people were killed and dozens injured in an attack on a church in Kasindi town, which was claimed by Islamic State. It said in its Aamaq news outlet that it planted an explosive device inside the church and detonated it while people were praying.

              Since April, attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces have killed at least 370 civilians, and the group has abducted several hundred more, including a significant number of children, the U.N. says.

              The explosion Wednesday (Jan. 25) occurred in a local market next to a cassava mill, witnesses said.

              Danny Syaghuswa, 16, said he was sitting on his motorcycle when a man in a striped shirt put a small bag behind a door, saying he would come back for it, according to an interview with local reporters heard by The Associated Press. “Less than five minutes after he left the bomb exploded,” Syaghuswa said.

              Images of the attack circulating on chat groups show people lying on the floor. One woman in blood-stained clothes was carrying a small child.

              Violence has wracked eastern Congo for decades as more than 120 armed groups and self-defense militias fight for land and power. Nearly 6 million people are internally displaced, and hundreds of thousands are facing extreme food insecurity, according to the United Nations.

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                          Infos: South African farmer warns of ‘lots of food shortages’ amidst ongoing power cuts

                          South African farmer warns of 'lots of food shortages' amidst ongoing power cuts   –   Copyright © africanews Cleared By Rédaction Africanews and AFP Last updated: 4 hours ago South Africa From dairy farms unable to keep milk refrigerated, to chickens suffocating en masse as ventilators fall idle, an energy crisis is taking a heavy toll

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                          Infos: South African farmer warns of ‘lots of food shortages’ amidst ongoing power cuts
                          South African farmer warns of 'lots of food shortages' amidst ongoing power cuts   –  

                          Copyright © africanews

                          Cleared

                          South Africa

                          From dairy farms unable to keep milk refrigerated, to chickens suffocating en masse as ventilators fall idle, an energy crisis is taking a heavy toll on South Africa's food sector, industry groups said.

                          Record power cuts have caused shortages of some staples, threatening price rises that could make some popular items too expensive for poor families, agricultural industry body AgriSA said.

                          “The affordability of food is going to be a challenge particularly to the lower income household, especially with chicken which is one of the cheapest protein staples in the country,” AgriSA's chief economist, Kulani Siweya, said.

                          Scheduled blackouts, known as load-shedding, have burdened Africa's most industrialised economy for years, with state-owned energy firm Eskom failing to keep pace with demand and maintain its ageing coal power infrastructure.

                          But the outages reached new extremes over the past 12 months.

                          Poultry farmer Herman Du Preez, said at least 40,000 of his chickens were asphyxiated last week with disruptions in power supply causing the farm's ventilation system to stop working.

                          “It wasn't a pretty sight to see how much money we lost due to the fact that Eskom is so unreliable,” Du Preez said on Monday at his farm in the North West province.

                          Power cuts have also slowed down operations at slaughter houses, triggering chicken “shortages”, said Izaak Breitenbach, general manager of the South African Poultry Association.

                          “The milk industry is also having challenges with processing their milk and the load shedding does impede on their cold storage facilities,” added Siweya of AgriSA.

                          In a Monday newsletter, president Cyril Ramaphosa said he was aware of the “farmers that are unable to keep their produce fresh” as a result of blackouts.

                          But he offered no promise of ending the scheduled cuts, anytime soon.

                          “We must be realistic about our challenges and about what it is going to take to fix them. While we all desperately want to, we cannot end load shedding overnight,” he wrote.

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                                      Infos: Ahead visit to DR Congo, Pope Francis denounces “colonialist mentality” towards Africa

                                      Pope Francis   –   Copyright © africanews AP Photo By Rédaction Africanews Last updated: 3 hours ago Democratic Republic Of Congo In an exclusive interview with the Associated Press at the Vatican, just a week ahead of his scheduled trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, Pope Francis denounced a “colonialist mentality” of

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                                      Infos: Ahead visit to DR Congo, Pope Francis denounces “colonialist mentality” towards Africa
                                      Pope Francis   –  

                                      Copyright © africanews

                                      AP Photo

                                      Democratic Republic Of Congo

                                      In an exclusive interview with the Associated Press at the Vatican, just a week ahead of his scheduled trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, Pope Francis denounced a “colonialist mentality” of the international community toward Africa.

                                      “There is a historical, geographical reality. In Italian it is said 'Africa va fruttata', that is, Africa is meant to be exploited. And that is a kind of colonialist mentality that remains,” said Francis on Tuesday.

                                      He pointed to a problem of attitude toward the African continent.

                                      “A kind of colonialist mentality…remains,” Francis said.

                                      “That is a problem of our attitude and of not yet (having the) courage of total independence on their part.”

                                      Earlier in January Francis had sent his condolences to the victims of a bombing on a Pentecostal church in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

                                      Islamic militants claimed the attack, which killed at least 14 people and injured more than 60.

                                      Francis is due to arrive in the capital of Congolese Kinshasa on Jan. 31 for a three-day visit.

                                      When it was originally scheduled for July, the trip was supposed to include a stop in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province.

                                      The Vatican scrapped that leg of the trip, amid a new wave of attacks in parts of North Kivu.

                                      Continent afflicted by “internal wars”

                                      Violence has wracked eastern Congo for decades as more than 120 armed groups and self-defence militias fight for land and power.

                                      “Africa is in turmoil” said Francis talking about the “internal wars” afflicting the continent.

                                      “And is also suffering from the invasion of exploiters” he added.

                                      In The AP Interview on Tuesday, Francis also addressed what he called a problem of “tribalism” in Africa.

                                      “The tribalism is also very strong, for example to appoint a bishop in a diocese, one has to look carefully, that he belongs to the group – not to say tribe – that he belongs to the group,” he said adding that during a visit to Kenya, a crowd chanted repeatedly “no to tribalism.”

                                      “It was a scream from the whole stadium. They themselves feel that difficulty, it is a people that is consolidating itself more and more in freedom.”

                                      The fighting has exacerbated eastern Congo’s dire humanitarian crisis.

                                      Almost 6 million people are internally displaced and hundreds of thousands are facing extreme food insecurity, according to the United Nations.

                                      While he won't be going to Goma, Francis will meet with some residents from the east and victims of the conflict in Kinshasa.

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