US Business News

Health Experts Warns of a ‘Tripledemic’ Emerging Over the Holidays

As the holidays approach, health professionals, become concerned about the potential spread of Covid-19, which they refer to as a “tripledemic.”

Despite the United States’ declaration that Covid-19 is no longer a hazard, experts claim that humans risk several additional dangers. Numerous respiratory pathogens, both old and novel, require constant observation. They claim that some of them turn hostile when they locate a host.

These pathogens have developed, and an infected person may have more severe adverse effects. Additionally, a Thanksgiving gathering will allow these diseases to spread and enter other age groups.

“We’re facing an onslaught of three viruses — COVID, RSV and influenza. All simultaneously. We’re calling this a tripledemic,” said Vanderbilt University infectious disease specialist Dr. William Schaffner.

Several ancient illnesses once again infected the population, claim health organizations. For instance, early this year, health institutions saw an extraordinary increase in the respiratory syncytial virus or RSV. Babies and younger people without protection contracted the illness.

Across the nation, several pediatric hospitals are still concerned about RSV’s comeback. And many parents wait for their sick children in hospitals for longer periods.

“Intensive care units are at or above capacity in every children’s hospital in the United States right now. So it’s very, very scary for parents,” said Amy Knight, the Children’s Hospital Association president.

“Influenza has hit the southeastern United States. Then, it moved into the Southwest. Then, it’s going up the East Coast and into the Midwest with some ferocity,” Schaffner added.

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The threat of the tripledemic

Every week, health institutions nationwide witnessed an increase in flu cases. Due to the increase in flu cases and other respiratory illnesses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also issued alerts. And as the nation enters the Christmas season, which begins around Thanksgiving, the CDC becomes more anxious.

There will be an increase in interstate travel, leading to the spread of illnesses like the flu.

“Flu activity is high right now and continuing to increase. The good news is that the vaccines this year are well-matched to the currently circulating viruses, and there is still time to get vaccinated,” said CDC’s influenza division epidemiologist Lynnette Brammer.

“These holiday celebrations, with all their travel and close contact, usually function as virus accelerators. We’re spending a lot of time with each other. We’re laughing and breathing deeply. And that’s an ideal environment for these respiratory viruses to spread to others,” Schaffner warned.

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Covid-19 subvariants emerges

The US repulsed Covid’s initial assault. New variations, though, have appeared. Additionally, studies show that these variations beat earlier ones in efficacy.

As a result, the CDC and the World Health Organization closely monitor new omicron variations that can potentially be more lethal than previous COVID-19 variants.

“What is this all going to mean for COVID? Will we see a January/February resurgence of COVID that will be fairly significant? That may yet be coming,” said Dr. David Rubin from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“I’m hopeful, given where we are with COVID, that we’re not looking at something like last winter. But at the end of the day, Mother Nature gets the final word on these things,” added Dr. Ashish Jha, the Covid019 coordinator of the White House.

Photo Credit: Science Source/ NIAID

Source: NPR

OECD Reports that the UK’s Economy Performed Less than Other Countries

The United Kingdom performs less economically than other industrialized countries, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

According to statistics, the UK’s gross domestic product decreased from 2019 to 2022 by 0.4%. The OECD’s other members had a 3.7% growth over that time. All of the G-7 countries—Canada, Germany, France, Japan, Italy, the US, and the UK—saw economic growth except for the UK. The bad performance of the UK is made worse by the inadequate leadership of former UK Prime Minister Liz Truss.

“We think this happens mostly because of investment and consumption. Knowing the UK faces a difficult fiscal situation, we welcome what the government has done in the latest statement,” said Alvaro Pereira, the chief economist from the OECD.

“We think that it is very important to maintain fiscal prudence. And at the same time that you’re able to boost or try to introduce some kinds of reforms. To address some of the issues that have been plaguing the United Kingdom for a while. And that is very low productivity,” he added.

Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt revealed the nation’s spending plan in response to the grim economic situation in the UK. The idea is in opposition to Truss’s earlier one, which generated criticism from the public and finally resulted in her departure.

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OECD sees more problems

In its Global Economic Outlook report, the OECD forecasts that global growth will slow down in 2023. However, the research also stated that the world economy will increase cumulatively by 2.2% in 2023 and 2.7% in 2014, preventing the next recession. According to OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann, nations must invest heavily in resolving their current economic issues.

“(The) world is facing substantial headwinds and substantial risks over the horizon. (And) countries also need to take bold steps. To address some of the longer-term challenges to lay the foundation for a stronger and more resilient economy,” Cormann said.

“We are facing a very challenging environment. I think one of the most dramatic pictures we have in our outlook is exactly how much countries are spending. In terms of energy as a percentage of GDP. And you can see that right now for OECD countries. It’s close to 18%, which is as high as we’ve seen in the oil crisis in the 70s and 80s,” Pereira added.

“We are facing a very large energy shock right now, which is lowering growth at the same time that it’s fueling inflation.”

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The energy crisis

The global economic crisis is being made worse by the energy issue. The OECD is concerned that nations may suffer severely due to the reductions in energy supplies if market prices surge.

“We expect that not only in the US but other parts of the world. So the decisiveness of monetary policy will start to have more and more of an impact. Therefore, our central forecast sees inflation peaking in many countries in the mid-half of next year or late this year. But mostly next year,” Pereira added.

“Particularly in 2024, we start having inflation rates much closer to target. So there is some light at the end of the tunnel. But we need not let go of monetary and fiscal tightening working hand in hand.”

Photo Credit: Ian Langsdon

Source: CNBC

NASA Successful in Launch of Artemis I Mission to the Moon

The Artemis I lunar mission commenced after months of deferral. The flight will serve as a trial run for the next manned mission to the moon.

Before successfully lifting off this month, the unmanned space trip faced different disruptions. At 322 feet tall, the rocket rises magnificently and operates under the Space Launch System. The Artemis rocket flew off the Florida ground at 1:47 AM, producing about 9 million pounds of energy.

It holds the Orion spacecraft, which, after it leaves the atmosphere of Earth, will finish its task of heading to the moon. Although Orion was built to carry people, NASA has to take precedence over the crew’s protection first.

Orion has unique mannequins that will enable NASA researchers to collect essential data to support humans after they fly for Artemis II. If everything works as expected, Orion will travel 1.3 million miles from Earth, the furthest a spaceship built for humans has ever flown.

The spacecraft will then perform one circle around the moon before returning to Earth. According to NASA, the route takes around 25.5 days, and Orion will re-enter Earth on December 11, close to the coast of San Diego.

Read Also: NASA Marks Another Step Forward in Planetary Defense with Success of DART Mission

Artemis I sustaining several issues

The team in charge of the Artemis I mission had several problems before finally launching. For example, NASA rescheduled its September takeoff due to engine leakage. Furthermore, two storms made landfall, causing serious delays with the mission. NASA must begin the launch under favorable weather conditions for the best chances of success.

Unfortunately, the problems lingered, forcing NASA to deploy its “red crew,” a group of experts authorized to resolve the rocket’s flaws.

“We do not launch until we think it’s right. These teams have labored over that, which is the conclusion they came to. I look at this as part of our space program, in which safety is the top of the list,” said NASA administrator Bill Nelson.

“The rocket, it’s alive, it’s creaking, its making venting noises — it’s pretty scary. So my heart was pumping. My nerves were going, but yeah, we showed up today. When we walked up the stairs, we were ready to rock and roll,” said a red crew member.

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A step further for humans

The achievement of the Artemis I flight constitutes another feat for humanity. It also secures another step toward NASA’s objective of completing the second manned voyage to the moon. NASA crews and staff marveled after launching Artemis into space.

“Well, for once, I might be speechless. I have talked a lot about appreciating the moment that you’re in. And we have worked hard as a team. You guys have worked hard as a team to this moment. This is your moment,” said Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, the launch director of the mission.

“As we embark on the first Artemis test flight, we recall this agency’s storied past, but our eyes are focused not on the immediate future but out there,” Nelson said months ago.

“It’s a future where NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the moon. And on these increasingly complex missions, astronauts will live and work in deep space, and we’ll develop the science and technology to send the first humans to Mars.”

Photo Credit: Eva Marie Uzcategui

Source: CNN

Wendy’s stocks surged following Trian Partners announcement to secure deals with the company

Image Source: Restaurant Clicks

Wendy’s is seeing a 15% surge in its stocks after Trian, the largest stakeholder of the company, announced possible future deals with them.

Billion-dollar investment firm Trian Partners filed a hedge fund for Wendy’s, saying it aims to “enhance shareholder value.” The firm holds about a 19% stake in Wendy’s restaurant chain.

In a statement, the firm said they were able to gather advisors together with Wendy’s higher-ups so they could discuss possible strategies and options.

Management at Wendy’s has announced that they are open to any proposal since their goal is to “maximize value for all stockholders.” They further state the board will carefully assess Trian’s pitches and strategic options.

“At that time, Wendy’s was one of America’s most beloved brands, but the business had lost its way after the passing of its founder Dave Thomas,” said the firm recalling how they purchase shares from the company. CEO and founder Nelson Peltz assumed bought the shares in 2005.

Currently, Peltz owns one seat on the board out of three that Trian Partners own.

Wendy’s has over 7,000 locations across the United States. During the first quarter this year, they had increased sales by 2.4%. The company has also declared a net income of $37.4 million, or roughly 16 cents per share). The recorded quarterly revenue is down by 10% less when compared to last year’s figure of $41.4 million.

Trian continues to help the fast-food chain develop its brand. According to Titan, Wendy’s should continue to improve its operations and solidify its brand among consumers.

Over the years, the company has tried to come up with a different menu to provide variety to its customers, including launching its own breakfast menu in March of 2020. However, the plan of the company to overtake fast-food giants like McDonald’s and Burger King was put to a halt after the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the recent lockdown restrictions by the US government, Wendy’s has been experiencing a decrease in sales like any other company across the country.

Despite a myriad of challenges, Wendy’s continued to cater to their customers, and now that the market has reopened, the possibilities are now opening for the company as well – one such is the recent announcement by their shareholder, Trian Partners.

While inflation rates continue to go up, BMO Capital Markets downgraded Wendy’s market stocks, lowering the price target from $28 to $22. Following the announcement by BMO, Wendy’s saw a 2.5% drop in its stocks.

The management at Wendy’s is hopeful that with the new development, they will be able to address some losses. However, it has not yet been announced how this fund might help them out in their current situation.

NASA Tests Planet’s Capacity to Deflect Space Debris Through DART Mission

A brave group of astronauts is often tasked with a mission that may mean the difference between life and death in movies, and their traditional foe is an asteroid.

These movies include, for instance, Deep Impact and Armageddon. The audience watches in the movies as the heroes use a nuclear bomb to prevent the asteroid from colliding with the Earth.

Contrary to common belief, however, scientists do not believe that a substantial rock mass traveling at a speed of 1,000 kilometers per hour or more toward space could be entirely disintegrated.

The solution, according to experts, is to simply use a tiny spaceship to nudge a piece of space rock off track. This method is safer and more delicate.

And NASA just accomplished that this week when one of their probes impacted an asteroid.

Before the asteroid eventually destroyed it, the machine’s photographs were captured and transmitted to the headquarters. A NASA device touched an asteroid named Dimorphos.

The crew believed their approach had been effective, and it would only be a matter of months before they could determine whether or not they had successfully pushed the asteroid from its path.

However, Elena Adams, the mission’s systems engineer, claimed that the group directly involved in the plan was overcome with fear and elation when the vessel ultimately collided with Dimorphos.

The mission is a component of the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), a seven-year-old NASA project.

The $300 million mission sent the spacecraft into orbit in November of last year, intending to execute a maneuver that would determine humanity’s capacity to shield the Earth from space debris headed for a collision with it.

According to scientists, the team wouldn’t get the desired outcomes for two months. The mission is a success if the asteroid is blasted off track. However, if it follows the same course, NASA will have to find another option.

“This really is about asteroid deflection, not disruption. This isn’t going to blow up the asteroid,” said the coordination lead of DART, Nancy Chabot.

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Altering the asteroid’s orbit

Since Dimorphos is 7 million kilometers from Earth, it is completely safe for Earth to test on it.

The asteroid is around 525 feet across, but what makes it more intriguing is that Dimorphos is orbiting another larger asteroid.

NASA said that the changes brought on by DART will not be significant enough to put Earth’s life in peril.

“There is no scenario in which one or the other body can become a threat to the Earth. It’s just not scientifically possible, just because of momentum conservation and other things,” stated Thomas Zurbuchen from the NASA science mission directorate.

Instead, DART wants to change how long it takes Dimorphos to complete an orbit around the larger asteroid. According to measurements, the smaller asteroid completes one spin in around 11 hours and 55 minutes.

Dimorphos ought to be making a complete orbit every 11 hours and 45 minutes if the DART mission is successful.

“The bottom line is, it’s a great thing. Someday, we are going to find an asteroid which has a high probability of hitting the Earth, and we are going to want to deflect it. When that happens, we should have, in advance, some experience knowing that this would work,” explained Ed Lu, Asteroid Institute executive director.

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More work needs to be done

The DART scientists at NASA are aware of the significance of their work and work harder to advance the project as a result.

“We’re moving an asteroid. We are changing the motion of a natural celestial body in space. Humanity has never done that before. This is stuff of science fiction books and really corny episodes of Star Trek from when I was a kid, and now it’s real. And that’s kind of astonishing that we are actually doing that, and what that bodes for the future of what we can do,” Tom Statler explained, a DART program scientist.

“It’s something that we need to get done so that we know what’s out there and know what’s coming and have adequate time to prepare for it,” added NASA’s Planetary Defense Officer, Lindley Johnson.

Photo Credit: NASA

Source: NPR

FBI Investigates TikTok for ‘Security Concerns’

The FBI director sends a public notice about the potential “national security concerns” that the Chinese-owned TikTok app may drag up.

During the lockdowns, the popular social media content-sharing platform grew in popularity. TikTok maintains a billion users globally, with media created and shared by individuals of all ages. However, American officials investigated the program and found that the platform may become a potential information weapon for the Chinese. TikTok has already made inroads into the United States, with millions of users throughout the country. As a result, the FBI issued warnings concerning the program’s dangers.

FBI Director Christopher Wray expressed reservations about TikTok’s privacy regulations before the Homeland Security Committee. The warning came only days after Republican senators proposed a bill prohibiting the program in the United States.

“They include the possibility that the Chinese government could use it to control data collection on millions of users or control the recommendation algorithm, which could be used for influence operations if they so chose, or to control software on millions of devices, which allows it to compromise personal devices potentially technically,” Wray said.

Chinese-owned ByteDance oversees TikTok. According to government investigations, ByteDance may be exploiting the information of American users. National security rules in China enable apps like TikTok to obtain user data. TikTok, on the other hand, disputed the accusations and stated that they could not access US-based data because it was still housed in the U.S.

Read Also: UK Inflation Reaches its Highest in 41 Years

TikTok defends itself from FBI

A TikTok spokesman rebuffed the FBI’s assertions. Furthermore, the spokesman promised the American government that TikTok would follow any privacy and information rules in the United States. However, even before Wray raised the alarm, TikTok received frowns from multiple high authorities, including former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden.

“As Director Wray specified in his remarks, the FBI’s input is being considered as part of our ongoing negotiations with the U.S. Government. While we can’t comment on the specifics of those confidential discussions, we are confident that we are on a path to satisfy all reasonable U.S. national security concerns fully,” the spokesperson said.

“In light of this new report, we ask that your agency immediately initiate a Section 5 investigation based on apparent deception by TikTok and coordinate this work with any national security or counter-intelligence investigation that the U.S. Department of Justice may initiate,” said lawmakers following a BuzzFeed leak sending TikTok under public scrutiny.

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A call to ban

TikTok is facing new challenges, with numerous authorities attempting to ban the app from the United States. A few months ago, politicians forced the federal authorities to prohibit TikTok from the United States. TikTok, on the other hand, went to court to have the claims dismissed. The problem went away for a while. Finally, with Wray bringing TikTok back into the headlines, many people felt empowered to demand a ban.

“This is not something you would normally hear me say. But Donald Trump was right on TikTok years ago if your country uses Huawei if your kids are on TikTok. So the ability for China to have undue influence is a much greater challenge and a much more immediate threat than any kind of actual, armed conflict,” said Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner.

Photo Credit: Graeme Jennings

Source: NPR

How Athlete’s Thread Is Leveling the Playing Field for NIL Monetization of NCAA Athletes

One of the ways modern society measures success is through popularity. As it stands, today’s most influential individuals are those with massive followings, especially in the digital sphere. And while there is nothing wrong with fame, it is not always an accurate measurement of one’s skills, talents, and abilities. Cognizant of this innovative enterprise, Athlete’s Thread, has made it their mission to promote diversity and inclusivity. 

How? 

I’m glad you asked. 

Athlete’s Thread is a platform that specializes in providing monetization opportunities for the Name, Image, and Likeness or NIL of NCAA athletes. However, unlike other companies that only work with the star players of each school, it promises to give all student-athletes an avenue to tell their stories and launch their personalized merch store, no matter what their team, gender, or social following are. 

What inspired the organization to take on such an admirable stance is seeing that the market is only focusing on the most beloved players with established fan bases, ultimately missing out on the impressive potential of those equally or even more qualified athletes simply because they are considered as “not worth marketing.”

On top of its inspiring culture, what makes Athlete’s Thread a cut above the rest is its exceptional use of technology. Created by esteemed entrepreneurs Luke McGurrin and Karthik Shanadi, the enterprise was designed to provide every athlete with an easy and straightforward experience in making money off their name, image, and likeness.

Furthermore, it utilizes tried-and-tested strategies from its parent company Greek House which is also the founders’ brainchild. The trailblazing brand is the leading name for ordering custom Greek life apparel. Since its inception in 2013, it has rapidly grown to cater to more than 500 colleges, solidifying its reputation as an industry authority.

Aside from Athlete’s Thread and Greek House, Luke McGurrin and Karthik Shanadi have created a couple of other ventures, including College Thread, which services various types of student organizations and college departments and Threadly, an initiative that creates custom apparel for organizations, such as businesses, 5Ks, creators, and churches.

Because of its stellar dedication to its clientele, Athlete’s Thread has become the go-to choice for schools and players. In fact, it has already launched 2,000 athletes across 12 colleges, with 58 other colleges waiting to be onboarded. Within the year, it is expected to welcome 8,000 additional athletes to its impressive roster. 

These outstanding accomplishments are a testament to the enterprise’s solid commitment to its vision and clients. “We’ve figured out how to take products, and athletes live in less than three days of getting signed on. Our platform has really simplified making officially licensed merchandise for both Athletes and Colleges,” Karthik explained.

Finally, Luke shared, “The best part about this is helping tell the unique story of every student-athlete. We believe that if you’re a student-athlete, even if ESPN isn’t telling your story, you’re already a hometown hero and have a huge community behind you that would love to support you. What we really want to do is help all of these students realize how much they have accomplished and be the driving force to not only get their story out but help them be successful.”

UK Inflation Reaches its Highest in 41 Years

October saw the highest level of inflation in the UK in 41 years. Households all around the nation are therefore feeling the strain from rising energy, transportation, and food expenses.

According to data, the country’s inflation rate increased by 11.1%, causing weariness in various businesses. Economists predict a 10.7% growth in the consumer price index year on year. September showed nearly the same percentage rise of 10.1%.

Meanwhile, the newly installed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s administration established the Energy Price Guarantee Program. The initiative will assist homes and companies in reducing their expenditure on gas and energy. First, however, the government initiative must catch up with the inflation rate.

“Indicative modeled consumer price inflation estimates suggest that the CPI rate would have last been higher in October 1981, where the estimate for the annual inflation rate was 11.2%,” said the Office for National Statistics.

Household bills, such as electricity bills, climbed by 11.7% compared to the same month the previous year and by 9.3% from September 2022.

“In October 2022, households are paying, on average, 88.9% more for their electricity, gas, and other fuels than they were paying a year ago. Domestic gas prices have seen the largest increase, with prices in October 2022 being more than double the price a year earlier,” the ONS added.

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High inflation rate

Food and beverage costs went up 16.4% in the year leading up to October. This was the most significant gain in the commodity since September 1997. According to the Bank of England, the UK is experiencing its longest-record recession. Meanwhile, in response to the issue, the central bank and the government are presently negotiating a strategy to assist the nation’s economy and residents. Their purpose is to keep inflation from worsening.

JP Morgan Asset Management’s Mike Bell contested the central bank’s choice to ‘modestly’ raise interest rates in response to inflation. According to Bell, the Bank of England’s existing rates may be ineffective in dealing with inflation and, ultimately, reining it into a 2% objective.

“We are not so convinced. What has been underestimated consistently has been the inflationary pressures stemming from the tight labor market,” he said.

“Although vacancies and employment eased marginally in yesterday’s labor market report, wage growth continued to push higher. With headline inflation expected to stay elevated for some months yet, workers may still ask for more pay to protect disposable income,” Bell added.

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The finance department’s fiscal statement

This Thursday, Jeremy Hunt, the country’s new Finance Minister, will announce the country’s new fiscal statement. The announcement will highlight the UK’s financial situation and the government’s intentions to address these challenges. Sources say the message would include a freeze on tax allowances and rates.

“While anything is possible tomorrow, if the government opts to rely on continuing high levels of inflation as expected, it would likely be a safe bet. “The dip in inflation seen back in August looks to have been a fluke. And it is unlikely that a fall in inflation will materialize any time soon,” said Quilter financial expert Rachael Griffin.

Photo Credit: Neil Hall

Source: CNBC

US Election: A Close Fight to Gain Control

Who would win a tight race for the Senate and House in the 2022 election is still too early to predict. But this is what we do know thus far.

Snatching a win in a crucial GOP-held state

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a member of the Democratic Party from Pennsylvania, claims victory over Dr. Mehmet Oz, a candidate for the Republican nomination for the Senate. The conclusion deals with a setback to the Republican Party’s strategy for taking over the Senate and House of Representatives. With 94% of the votes counted, Fetterman defeated Oz by a margin of 50.2% to 47.1%.

By winning a crucial state that the GOP had previously controlled, Fetterman will succeed retiring Republican Senator Pat Toomey. The fact that Fetterman won also meant that former President Donald Trump, who had backed Oz wholeheartedly and campaigned alongside him before the election, had suffered another defeat.

“It’s official. I will be the next U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania. We bet on the people of Pennsylvania – and you didn’t let us down. And I won’t let you down. Thank you,” Fetterman said in a Tweet.

“I’m so humbled. Thank you so much. We launched this campaign almost two years ago and had our slogan; it’s on every one of those signs right now — every county, every vote. And that’s exactly what happened. We jammed them up,” he added in a victory speech.

Read Also: Republicans and Democrats Compete to Control Senate, House

New York Republican candidate concedes election

In the New York governor’s race against Democrat Kathy Hochul, Republican opponent Lee Zeldin conceded. New York now elected its first female governor.

“This race was a once-in-a-generation campaign, with a very close margin in the bluest of blue states. However, our grassroots volunteers and supporters’ unrelenting passion and hard work made this incredibly close race possible and helped us win at least 49 of New York’s 62 counties,” Lee said.

He further advised the incoming governor to take note of New Yorkers becoming “sick of the attacks on their wallets, their safety, their freedoms and the quality of their kids’ education.”=

Senate race in Georgia going to a runoff

According to a Georgia election official, a runoff appears likely after the close race for the Senate seat. Gabriel Sterling said Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, lacked the support needed to win. Additionally, even though not all votes have been tallied, there are not enough for the Democratic candidate to receive 50% of the vote.

“By our internal estimates, we have less than 10,000 votes to go into the election reporting for the final counts. So there are not enough numbers out there to change the outcome of this race,” Sterling said.

Read Also: Elon Musk Suspends Blue Check Subscription Feature

Republican DeSantis wins Senate election, a bad sign for Trump

Ron DeSantis, a Republican running for Florida representative, wins with a massive victory, securing him a seat in the Senate. As a result, discussions about DeSantis possibly winning the Republican Party’s presidential nomination for the 2024 elections have started. DeSantis became the likely front-runner for the party after receiving more than 59.4% of the total votes and 99% of them being counted. In light of this victory, Trump’s 2024 campaign may suffer tremendously.

“I think if he runs, he could hurt himself very badly. I think the base would not like it – I don’t think it would be good for the party,” Trump said.

“We did not back down. So we had the conviction to guide us and the courage to lead. We made promises. And we made promises to the people of Florida, and we have delivered on those promises. And so today, after four years, the people have delivered their verdict,” DeSantis said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Source: CNN

Meta to Lay Off 11,000 Employees, Zuckerberg Apologizes

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, cuts back on over 13% of its staff. This means letting go of more than 11,000 employees.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote to his employees on Wednesday that it was the most challenging decision Meta had to make in its history. Moreover, the letter contained several steps to boost the company’s efficiency. Meta will reduce discretionary spending and freeze hiring until the first quarter of 2023. On the same day, Meta’s share increased by 7.7%.

The decision came after Meta’s unfavorable performance during the last quarter. The company lost over 20% shares due to investors’ uncertainty about the company’s future. Moreover, according to Meta investors, the company’s cost and expenses became overwhelmingly high, jumping about 19% yearly. And in the third quarter, the company’s cost reached around 22.1$ billion. The cost increase happens amid a 4% decline in sales.

“I want to take accountability for these decisions and how we got here. I know this is tough for everyone, and I’m especially sorry for those impacted,” said Zuckerberg.

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Meta reduces workforce

The CEO added that Meta intends to hire fewer people next year. As a result, the employees affected by the massive layoffs will receive compensation from the company. According to Zuckerberg, the 11,000 employees should receive 16 weeks’ worth of pay. Moreover, every year the employee worked for Meta entails an additional two weeks’ pay. Zuckerberg also promised to cover the health insurance of the impacted employees for six months.

“This is a sad moment, and there’s no way around that. So to those who are leaving, I want to thank you again for everything you’ve put into this place,” the CEO added.

“That means some teams will grow meaningfully, but most others will stay flat or shrink over the next year. So, in aggregate, we expect to end 2023 as either roughly the same size or even a slightly smaller organization than we are today,” he added.

Meta currently focuses on developing the metaverse. This new ‘universe’ contains another world accessible through augmented headsets and virtual reality tools. According to Zuckerberg, the development has already cost them $9.4 billion. And as far as completion is concerned, Meta anticipates that more finance is needed to complete the metaverse.

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Zuckerberg’s letter to the employees

Below are some of the excerpts from Zuckerberg’s letter to Meta employees:

Today I’m sharing some of the most difficult changes we’ve made in Meta’s history. I’ve decided to reduce the size of our team by about 13% and let more than 11,000 of our talented employees go. We are also taking a number of additional steps to become a leaner and more efficient company by cutting discretionary spending and extending our hiring freeze through Q1.

Everyone will get an email soon letting you know what this layoff means for you. After that, every affected employee will have the opportunity to speak with someone to get their questions answered and join information sessions.

Some of the details in the US include:

  • With no cap, we will pay 16 weeks of base pay plus two additional weeks for every year of service.
  • We’ll pay for all remaining PTO time.
  • RSU vesting. Everyone impacted will receive their November 15, 2022, vesting.
  • Health insurance. We’ll cover the cost of healthcare for people and their families for six months.
  • Career Services. We’ll provide three months of career support with an external vendor, including early access to unpublished job leads.
  • Immigration support. I know this is especially difficult if you’re here on a visa. However, there’s a notice period before termination and some visa grace periods, so everyone will have time to make plans and work through their immigration status. In addition, we have dedicated immigration specialists to help guide you based on what you and your family need.

Photo Credit: Meta

Source: CNBC