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Why is Russia and China missing from a vital world economic forum?

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Leading economists from around the world have been meeting in Davos this week with two countries being notably absent – Russia and China

Amid a backdrop of fears about recession caused by coronavirus and the war in Ukraine, economic leaders have been gathering for the World Economic Forum.

It’s been two years since the world’s business and political elite have been allowed to attend the summit in person, due to COVID.

The reunion has been marred with warnings of “dire human consequences” of global slowdowns as the war in Ukraine exacerbates rising inflation. 

Central banks have been raising interest rates to try and dampen the rising cost of living but that’s now leading to a rise in global inflation.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine has also led to a severe disruption of key food supplies of wheat and sunflower oil.

The supply shock is expected to last into next year.

Business

Instagram introduces new process to crack down on underage users

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The majority of social media platforms have an age limit of 13 years old, but how is this really being regulated?

Instagram is exploring new ways for teenagers to verify their age and comply with platform rules.

The gram is turning to video selfies to crack down on minors editing their date of birth to make them appear over 18.

The Meta-owned app is testing video selfies with facial analysis software as a new age-verification method.

For a U.S. teen who wants to join insta, they will need to upload ID, ask three adult users to vouch for them or take a video selfie.

Meta says it hopes the new methods will ensure teens have an “age-appropriate experience” on the content sharing app.

Video selfies have become a popular way for digital platforms – such as online banking apps – to verify users’ age or identity.

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Business

U.S. firms to pay staff travel expenses for abortions

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Major companies have reassured staff that if they require an abortion, they will cover their travel expenses

Disney, JP Morgan, Amazon and Meta are among the companies to announce similar moves for women.

This comes as millions of US women face restricted access after a landmark ruling by the US Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion.

A growing number of companies have confirmed they will cover travel costs through their health insurance plans for employees who leave their home state to get an abortion.

Disney employs around 80,000 people at its resort in Florida, where the governor has already signed into law a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which is scheduled to take effect on 1 July.

Banking giant JP Morgan and another leading US investment bank, Goldman Sachs, also said it would cover travel expenses for employees.

Social media company Meta said it intended to reimburse travel expenses where permitted by law.

Other companies which have indicated they will take similar steps include Vogue publisher, jeans brand Levi and ride hailing companies Lyft and Uber.

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Business

Management shake up at under fire Qantas

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There’s been a management shake up at Australia’s flag carrier airline Qantas, which has come under fire for cancellations and delays

Jetstar CEO and longtime Qantas executive Gareth Evans has resigned.

He was touted as a potential replacement for controversial Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

Gareth Evans has been with Qantas for 23 years.

He has been chief of Jetstar since 2017, but has worked across the group and has now “decided this is the right moment to move on”.

This comes as the aviation grapples with the higher fuel prices and staffing issues at airports that are affecting much of the industry globally.

Strong demand

Qantas has also updated the market, saying it’s on track to record second half earnings of just over 500 million dollars.

Underlying profit is set to return in FY23, while debt levels are now well below pre-pandemic levels.

Qantas says this is due to continued strong domestic and international travel demand.

Qantas has come under fire for long delays and cancellations
Qantas has come under fire for long delays and cancellations

After peaking at more than $6.4bn at the height of the pandemic, net debt is expected to fall to around $4bn by June 30, an improvement of around $1.5bn in the past six months.

The airline has come under sustained pressure, with many passengers complaining about long queues, cancellations and delays.

Qantas is calling for patience ahead of the winter school break rush as it hires more staff to manage increased demand at airports.

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