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SpaceX to lay off 10 percent of workforce

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LOS ANGELES: SpaceX plans to lay off 10 percent of its more than 6,000 employees, a source familiar with the decision said on Friday.

“To continue delivering for our customers and to succeed in developing interplanetary spacecraft and a global space-based Internet, SpaceX must become a leaner company,” the California-based company, headed by Elon Musk, said in a statement.

“Either of these developments, even when attempted separately, have bankrupted other organizations,” it added.

“This means we must part ways with some talented and hardworking members of our team.”

It added that the trim down was “only due to the extraordinarily difficult challenges ahead.”

Citing an email sent to employees on Friday, the Los Angeles Times said the company was offering those affected a minimum of eight weeks’ pay and other benefits, including career coaching and resume assistance.

The announcement came as SpaceX on Friday launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California carrying 10 communications satellites.

Founded by Musk, SpaceX makes most of its money from multibillion dollar contracts with NASA and satellite launches.

SpaceX in November won authorization from US officials to put nearly 12,000 satellites into orbit in order to boost cheap, wireless internet access by the 2020s.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that the company was raising $500 million from investors to help launch its satellite internet service.

 

 

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Pakistan among top countries where Facebook restricted most content

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KARACHI: Pakistan ranked second in the list of countries where social media giant Facebook restricted maximum content.

The total content curbed in Pakistan by the platform doubled between July and December 2018, according to Facebook’s latest transparency report released on Friday.

4,174 items were restricted in Pakistan during the second half of 2018, as compared to 2,203 pieces from the first half of the year.

According to the breakdown of the content restricted in Pakistan, Facebook suspended 3,811 posts, 343 pages and groups, 10 profiles and one album. On Instagram, the platform restricted a total of nine items — seven posts and two accounts.

 

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China slams US ‘lies’ about Huawei-government ties

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BEIJING: Beijing on Friday accused the United States of spreading “lies” about Huawei after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the telecom giant was not being truthful about its ties to the Chinese government.
Huawei has been thrust at the centre of escalating tensions between the world’s two top economies, with President Donald Trump saying Thursday the fate of the company could be included in any deal to resolve their trade war.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he was not aware of the “specifics” of Trump’s comments and repeated that dialogue must be based on “mutual respect”.
The Trump administration has infuriated Beijing by blacklisting the smartphone and telecommunications company over worries that China uses it as a tool for espionage and allegations of breaking Iran related sanctions.
Huawei has repeatedly denied that it works with the Communist-led government.
“To say that they don’t work with the Chinese government is a false statement,” Pompeo said.
Lu said US politicians have spread rumours about Huawei without providing evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

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SpaceX launches first satellites of its internet network

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WASHINGTON: SpaceX on Thursday launched a rocket containing the first 60 satellites of its “Starlink” constellation, which is intended to provide internet from space and could one day number 12,000 satellites.

One of the company’s Falcon 9 rockets took off without incident from Cape Canaveral in Florida around 10:30 pm (0230 GMT).

The second stage of the rocket will begin to release them one hour after launch, at an altitude of 270 miles (440 kilometers), and then the satellites will use their thrusters to take up their places in a relatively low orbit of 340 miles (550 kilometers).

That’s slightly higher than the International Space Station, but well below the majority of terrestrial satellites, the highest of which sit in a geostationary orbit of 22,400 miles (36,000 kilometers).

The launch was originally scheduled for last week but was postponed, first due to high winds and then due to the need for a software update.

Billionaire Elon Musk’s firm, which is leading the private space race when it comes to rocket launches, is now looking to seize a chunk of the future space internet market.

The launch will make it an early forerunner, along with rival OneWeb, a startup, but well ahead of Amazon’s Project Kuiper, the brainchild of Musk’s space rival Jeff Bezos.

Each of the satellites weighs just 227 kilograms (500 pounds) and was built in-house in Redmond, near Seattle.

Starlink will become operational once 800 satellites have been activated, which will require a dozen more launches.

 

 

 

 

 

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