Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Morning Brief: All eyes on Egypt, again; WiFi on the tube

Thunderstorms and temperatures near 60 in the Chicago area in January. Something is just not right. Which is kind of what I was thinking about the situation over at The New York Times where last week the word was that if enough employees didn't come forward to accept voluntary separation packages there would be pretty massive layoffs. Last night we learned from NYT executive editor Jill Abramson that the paper would layoff "far fewer" people than anticipated. Fishy.

"I wanted to let you know quickly that we are through the process of offering voluntary buyouts and cutting staff," Abramson told staffers yesterday. "In the end, we had to layoff far fewer people than we anticipated, having achieved most of our savings through the voluntary process."

This is how the relationship between a newspaper and its staff turns sour.

One year ago yesterday the headline on 'Morning Brief' was "All eyes on Egypt". Things have not change much, have they?

Today Gen. Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi, head of the army in Egypt, said that the "continuation of the conflict between different political forces and their disagreement on running the affairs of the country may lead to the collapse of the state and threatens the future of the coming generations."

The latest crisis began when rioters were sentenced to death in Port Said, leading to protests, violence, and at least 45 more deaths. Those deaths have escalated the situation and now protests have reach Cairo as demonstrators have returned to Tahrir Square, the center of 2011 protests.

If you're on the London Underground you are probably aware that Virgin Media WiFi's free service has come to an end – or maybe not.

Virgin Media, Vodafone, EE, T-Mobile and Orange customers get continued served thanks to a wholesale agreement, others get continued free access to the WiFi portal which provides travel information, news and entertainment.

For full access for other travelers, the price is £2 per day, £5 per week, or £15 for a month of WiFi access. If you sign up for the monthly service during February Virgin Media will actually give you three months for the price of just one – not a bad deal.