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TOPIC: work


What It Means To Be A Journalist In Gaza

Journalist Noor Swirki writes about what its like for Palestinian journalists working from Gaza, with everything on the line, every night and day.

KHAN YOUNIS — On the morning of the 20th day of war, I received a call from my husband, Salem, a journalist who has been covering this war since its very first moments. He asked me to delay coming to our makeshift workplace; we are both reporters, and we have been camping at the Nasser Medical Complex. An Israeli air strike had targeted the area behind the medical complex, causing massive destruction, claiming lives and injuring many.

Two hours later, he showed up in his press vest, stricken, barely able to speak, and sticky with sweat and debris. He described to me how the place had been crawling with ambulances and civilian cars transporting the injured, while others still carried dead bodies and the remains of their children and family members wrapped in blankets. “I’m tired. We saw the rockets come towards us. We counted them. When will this end?”

Salem and I are but two among many. In the press tent, dozens of journalists converge to perform their duties. Salem spends the night there, while I make a daily trek to our workplace at noon. Before the sun has set, we depart towards the safe house, where I will spend the night with our two children.

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A Train Journey With Bengal Migrants Looking For A Living Far Away

Finding a seat on the Karmabhoomi Express is close to impossible. A closer look at why so many migrant workers travel on it, and out of Bengal, offers a grim picture.

WEST BENGAL — Welcome aboard the 22512 Kamakhya-LTT Karmabhoomi Express — a metaphor, if any, of the acuteness of Bengal’s unemployment problem.

It is 10.28 pm at north Bengal’s Alipurduar Junction and the crowd has swollen to its peak. This is when the Karmabhoomi Express appears at the station. It is bound for Mumbai. Finding a seat on it is close to impossible. It is always chock full and there are always hundreds struggling to get a spot in the unreserved general compartment.

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How Nepal’s “Left-Behind” Children Of Migrants Hold Families Together

Children left to fend for themselves when their parents seek work abroad often suffer emotional struggles and educational setbacks. Now, psychologists are raising alarms about the quiet but building crisis.

BARDIYA — It was the Nepali New Year and the sun was bright and strong. The fields appeared desolate, except the luxuriantly growing green corn. After fetching water from a nearby hand pump, Prakash Jaisi, 18, walked back to the home he shares with his three siblings in Bardiya district’s Banbir area, more than 500 kilometers (over 300 miles) from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. As it was a public holiday in the country, all his friends had gone out to have fun. “I’d like to spend time with my friends, but I don’t have the time,” he says. Instead, Jaisi did the dishes and completed all the pending housework. Even though his exams are approaching, he has not been able to prepare. There is no time.

Jaisi’s parents left for India in December 2021, intending to work in the neighboring country to repay their house loan of 800,000 Nepali rupees (6,089 United States dollars). As they left, the responsibility of the house and his siblings was handed over to Jaisi, who is the oldest.

Just like Jaisi’s parents, 2.2 million people belonging to 1.5 million Nepali households are absent and living abroad. Of these, over 80% are men, according to the 2021 census on population and housing. The reasons for migration include the desire for a better future and financial status.

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"Bossware" Boundaries? How Employers Monitor You At Home Depends On Where You Live

Eye-tracking webcams, keystroke recorders, screen captures of visited sites. With the rise in remote work, employee monitoring software has become the norm in the U.S.. But in Europe, things are more complicated.

PARIS — Is there a spy in your computer? If you work in the U.S., chances are the answer is 'yes.' According to several studies conducted by Gartner and Digital.com, around six out of 10 employers use software to monitor their remote workers. The Americans have even come up with a name for this kind of tool: "bossware".

As the Covid pandemic forced millions of people to work from home almost overnight in 2020, many employers were "buying panic" monitoring equipment, Bloomberg reported at the time. The lockdowns have passed, but remote working has not. Nor has surveillance software.

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Migrant Lives
Basile Dekonink

Albania, The Brutal Demographics Of A Neverending Exodus

Since the fall of communism in 1991, the small Balkan state has been slowly but inexorably emptying itself, at the pace of incessant waves of emigration. With an aging and declining population and a birth rate in free fall, it is facing all kinds of challenges.

MEMALIAJ — It is 1 p.m. on a summer Saturday, and only the barking of a dog breaks the silence in the street of this small Albanian town. The sun illuminating Minatori Square doesn’t change a thing: there’s not a soul to be seen in this former mining town in Southern Albania. On the steps leading up to the cultural “palace," there is no one. Behind the drawn curtain of the old kepuce italiane ("Italian shoe") store, no one. In the red-brick buildings that threaten to crumble into ruin: no one.

“There’s nothing here anymore. No work, no money, no bread. Everyone left after the end of the dictatorship," says Stefan Arian, a 60-year-old man who speaks rusty Greek, sitting at the Café Qazimi, one of the few businesses still open. It’s hard to picture that, not so long ago, this abandoned town was one of Communist Albania’s great working-class centers. Built from scratch in 1946 to exploit the nearby coal mine, the city counted up to 12,000 inhabitants in its heyday. Barely more than 1,000 remain.

Memaliaj isn't the only one: Kukës, Zogaj, Përmet, Narta — there are dozens of such towns and villages in Albania. From North to South, the small Balkan state is criss-crossed by semi-ghost towns, with few or no inhabitants. It is the mark of a unique demographic phenomenon: since the fall of the communist regime 30 years ago, the country has been slowly but inexorably emptying itself through incessant waves of emigration.

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In The News
Yannick Champion-Osselin, Valeria Berghinz and Marine Béguin.

Prigozhin Presumed Dead, Six More BRICS, Brain-To-Speech Breakthrough

👋 Aloha!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin is believed to have died in a plane crash north of Moscow, six new countries (including Iran) are invited to join the BRICS bloc, and a brain-to-speech breakthrough allows a paralyzed woman to speak for the first time in 18 years. Meanwhile, Worldcrunch’s very own Emma Albright reflects on the impacts of global warming that go beyond the natural disasters, including the added burden of working through the rising heat of summer.


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Ahmed Bakr

What The BBC Strike In Egypt Says About Local Wages And Press Freedom

BBC's office in Cairo is on strike for the third time in three months, demanding higher wages. The British broadcaster has long een able to recruit at lower rates because it could offer editorial freedom that is difficult to find in Egypt.


CAIRO — The Egyptian staff at the BBC’s Cairo office entered a 10-day strike on Monday, demanding higher wages amid an ongoing economic crisis.

This is the staff’s third strike in as many months. They are protesting against management discrimination against Egyptian nationals who are paid at rates far below their foreign colleagues in Cairo and are struggling as the cost of living soars.

Staff at other regional BBC offices had their salaries raised amid similar economic events, the staff say, yet the BBC’s administration has refused to hike wages.

But wages for BBC Cairo office staff were low even before the current crisis, set at rates far beneath other major foreign press organizations, former staff members and journalistic sources told Mada Masr.

Instead, the broadcaster was able to recruit on the basis of an unspoken deal: you accept the low salary, but in turn, you receive a quality professional education that helps you toward a better-paid career option afterward; and, in the meantime, you enjoy editorial freedom that is difficult to find in Egypt’s constrained media landscape.

“It is known among those who worked for or cooperated with the BBC office in Cairo that their wages are lower than other foreign press," the journalist source explained. "IT is treated as a vocational school, a starting point for journalists to obtain greater opportunities in other places in the future, many times the salary, because they are a graduate of the BBC.”

But, as the sources noted, shifts in the political and economic lines delimiting the media over the past decade have rendered this deal all but null.

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Wojciech Karpieszuk

Early Signs Of Business In Poland Shifting Away From Warsaw

As the Polish capital is outpaced by cities such as Kraków and Gdańsk for earnings, the question is posed of what the future holds for the Polish job market and Warsaw.

WARSAWPoland's capital is no longer the highest-earning city in the country, and has fallen behind Kraków and Gdańsk in terms of workers’ earnings. Is a revolution in the Polish job market taking place?

“This might be the first sign that we will stop being a Warsaw-centric country,” said Dr. Piotr Maszczyk, head of the Department of Macroeconomics and Public Sector Economics at the Warsaw School of Economics.

His comments come after the latest release of data by the Central Statistical Office on the average salary in the business sector, which looks at companies with more than nine employees.

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Work In Progress
Yannick Osselin-Champion and Bertrand Hauger

Work → In Progress: AI, The Pros And Cons Of Your New Sort-Of Colleague

Will it help you, control you ... or replace you?

It seems like Artificial Intelligence is all we read about these days, with some newspapers even suggesting its rapid expansion poses “existential threats to humanity.” But even if we do have a lot of questions about AI, it also opens up opportunities to help human activity for the better – in particular in the world of work.

We’re hearing more about “future-proof careers,” which will survive the advent of AI. A recent report from consulting firm Challenger, Grey and Christmas found that AI was behind nearly 4,000 layoffs in the U.S. last month. That’s almost four times the impact of outsourcing – although cost-cutting still accounted for double the job losses.

Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023 brings positive news about jobs created by AI and technological advances in the next five years. There’s some nuance around this new tool – which, like any revolutionary invention, will have a lasting impact on many industries.

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Guadalupe Rivero

Rise Of "Slave Grandparent" Syndrome — When Child Care Is Unloaded On Grandma

Grandparents are increasingly forced into caregiving duties that leave them exhausted and can even affect their health. This is especially true for women.

BUENOS AIRES — Terms such as "grandparent slaves" sound like another world, but they are closer to home than we care to imagine. Do we ever stop to think who is caring for the carers?

Taking care of others — a task that generally falls to women — has effects that are under-appreciated if not made invisible. The duty is also often imposed without prior consent and distributed unfairly.

Obligations, economic issues, internal and external pressures and other factors can all create a work overload that degrades quality of life and can even harm one's health.

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Sabine Delanglade

The Smartwatch May Be The True Killer Device — Good Or Bad?

Connected watches don't just tell the time, they give meaning to life.

PARIS — By calculating the equivalent in muscle mass of the energy that powers gadgets used by humans, engineer Jean-Marc Jancovici, a Mines ParisTech professor and president of the Shift Project, concluded that a typical French person lives as if they had 600 extra workers at their disposal.

People's wrists are adorned with the equivalent power of a supercomputer — all thanks (or not) to Apple, which made the smartwatch a worldwide phenomenon when it launched the Apple Watch in 2014, just as it did with the smartphone with the 2007 launch of the iPhone.

Similar watches existed before 2014, but it was Apple that drove their dazzling success. Traditional watchmakers, who, no matter what they say, didn't really believe in them at first, are now on board. They used to talk about complications and phases of the moon, but now they're talking about operating systems.

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Alice Facchini

No Green, I'm Gone — Meet The Climate Quitters

Climate quitting is a lasting residue of the larger mass resignation since the pandemic. The phenomenon mostly involves young people who change or quit their jobs if they consider it harmful to the planet.

ROME — When Andrea Grieco returned to his native Italy, he found a job for a consulting firm on what he'd been told were "sustainability budgets." The work was interesting, with a permanent contract and a good salary.

"One day I was asked to work on the green strategy of one of Italy’s largest oil companies," the 31-year-old recalled. "I said I disagreed, but they told me that this was a client they couldn’t do without. So I decided to quit.”

Grieco is what we call a "climate quitter," a young person who has chosen to quit his job for reasons related to protecting the planet.

Climate quitters are part of the phenomenon of the Great Resignation, in which thousands of people quit their jobs beginning in early 2021 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic for various reasons. In this case, the specific motivation is to reduce one's environmental impact and devote oneself to areas such as the circular economy, sustainability and renewable energy.

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