News ID: 112203
Publish Date : 07 February 2023 - 21:21
TAIPEI (Dispatches) -- Taiwan will speed up development of drones for military use taking into account the lessons of the war in Ukraine and the perceived threat posed by China, the island’s defense ministry said on Tuesday. Taiwan Defense Ministry spokesperson Sun Li-fang told reporters that the island is speeding up the development and production of drones. “Responding to the present enemy threat and using the general experience of drones in the Ukraine-Russia war, in order to construct an asymmetric combat power for our country’s drones, the defense ministry is speeding up research and development and production of various drones,” Sun said. The military-owned National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology is taking the lead in the development push and will be including civilian companies, he added. In a report to parliament last year, the institute laid out plans for the missiles and drones it has in development, while the defense ministry has previously announced plans to start manufacturing unspecified “attack drones”.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Boeing Co expects to cut about 2,000 white-collar jobs this year in finance and human resources through a combination of attrition and layoffs, the U.S. planemaker confirmed. Last month, the Arlington, Virginia-based company announced it would hire 10,000 workers in 2023 after hiring 15,000 people in 2022, but said some support positions would be cut. The company confirmed a Seattle Times report Monday it expects “about 2,000 reductions this year primarily in finance and HR through a combination of attrition and layoffs.”  Boeing also confirmed it is outsourcing about one third of those jobs to Tata Consulting Services in India.
LONDON (AFP) -- BP slid into a net loss last year after its exit from Russia following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the British energy giant announced Tuesday, despite the surge in oil prices. The company posted annual losses after tax totaling $2.5 billion, compared with net profit of $7.6 billion in 2021.  Excluding the exceptional hit, profit more than doubled to $27.7 billion on soaring oil and gas prices -- mirroring huge 2022 earnings by BP’s rivals.  Oil and gas prices soared last year after the attack by major energy producer Russia on neighboring Ukraine triggered massive supply constraints. While consumers have faced soaring heating and electricity bills, fueling a cost-of-living crisis, energy majors have passed on large parts of ballooning revenues to shareholders in the form of dividend hikes and share buybacks. BP said its fourth-quarter dividend would rise 10 percent and announced a fresh buyback totaling $2.75 billion. 
TOKYO (AFP) -- Japan’s SoftBank Group on Tuesday reported a surprise $5.9 billion net loss in the third quarter, as a slump in the tech sector continued to hit the investment behemoth’s bottom line. The loss compared with the net profit of 29.0 billion yen ($219 million) the firm reported in the same three-month period last year. Its two Vision Fund investment vehicles alone lost 660 billion yen ($5 billion) in October-December, “reflecting declines in the share prices of a wide range of portfolio companies”, SoftBank said. The firm has made huge bets to find and grow hot new tech ventures around the world, but that has left its earnings vulnerable to fickle market forces, and its Vision Funds have reported losses for four straight quarters. Interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve and other central banks to tackle inflation have weighed on global tech shares, putting pressure on SoftBank.
ISLAMABAD (AFP) -- Wikipedia was back online in Pakistan on Tuesday, after the country’s prime minister ordered authorities to lift a block imposed on the online encyclopedia over “blasphemous content.” Minister of Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb tweeted a copy of the order that stated: “The Prime Minister is pleased to direct that the website (Wikipedia) may be restored with immediate effect.” Last week, that the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) gave Wikipedia 48 hours to remove content deemed “blasphemous”, before it blocked the website. An agency spokesman had said Saturday that Wikipedia would “remain blocked until they remove all the objectionable material”, without specifying what content was at issue. On Tuesday, the website was once again accessible. 
SYDNEY (Reuters) -- A vocal critic of China and leader of the most populous province in the Solomon Islands has been removed from office after a no-confidence vote by the provincial legislature on Tuesday, Australian state broadcaster ABC reported. Daniel Suidani, premier of the South Pacific nation’s Malaita province, is a longtime critic of the country’s deepening relations with China, which culminated in a security pact signed last April. He has banned Chinese companies from the province and accepted development aid from the United States. Malaita’s provincial assembly ousted Suidani in a unanimous vote on Tuesday, said the ABC. Police fired tear gas into a crowd of more than 100 after a scuffle in which stones were thrown at police, said eyewitness Samie Waikori, a reporter with Island Sun News. Waikori said protesters, all Suidani supporters, had dispersed and that things are calm.
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