Hewlett-Packard to shed 30,000 jobs; Catastrophic 74% decline in tuna, mackerel; How chaotic India can change you

1 Hewlett-Packard to shed 30,000 jobs (Jack Clark in San Francisco Chronicle) Hewlett-Packard Co., the Palo Alto technology company splitting into two separate entities, said it will cut 25,000 to 30,000 more jobs as part of a $2.7 billion restructuring, primarily focused on its enterprise services division.

HP will incur a charge of about $2.7 billion, it said. The company had previously disclosed $2 billion in probable cost cuts at the services division within Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and has found an additional $700 million in savings across the business, said Tim Stonesifer, chief financial officer of Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

The cuts announced, in addition to 54,000 that have already taken place, are the most among North American companies this year. Hewlett-Packard is scheduled to break into two distinct entities in November. Hewlett Packard Enterprise will supply businesses with high-end technology, and HP Inc. will sell personal computers and printers. The split is designed to enable each company to be better positioned in their respective markets.

The company expects to generate $3 billion in sales relating to cloud computing this year, Whitman said, and sees that growing by 20 percent year-over-year for the next three years.


2 Catastrophic 74% decline in tuna, mackerel (Fiona Harvey in The Guardian) Tuna and mackerel populations have suffered a “catastrophic” decline of nearly three quarters in the last 40% years, according to new research.

WWF and the Zoological Society of London found that numbers of the scombridae family of fish, which also includes bonito, fell by 74% between 1970 and 2012, outstripping a decline of 49% for 1,234 ocean species over the same period. Louise Heaps, chief advisor on marine policy at WWF UK, said: “This is catastrophic. We are destroying vital food sources, and the ecology of our oceans.”

Attention in recent years has focused on species such as bluefin tuna, now on the verge of extinction, but other close relatives commonly found on restaurant menus or in tins, such as yellowtail tuna and albacore, are now also becoming increasingly scarce. Other species suffering major declines include sea cucumbers, a luxury food in Asia, which have fallen 98% in number in the Galapagos and 94% in in the Egyptian Red Sea. Populations of endangered leatherback turtles, which can be seen in UK waters, have plummeted.

Overfishing is not the only culprit behind a halving of marine species since 1970. Pollution, including plastic detritus which can build up in the digestive systems of fish; the loss of key habitats such as coastal mangrove swamps; and climate change are also taking a heavy toll, with the oceans becoming more acidic as a result of the carbon dioxide we are pouring into the atmosphere.

Although overfishing is a global problem, the Pacific is of particular concern, as the Chinese, Japanese and Korean fleets are among the world’s biggest, greater in size and fishing capacity than Europe’s. However, Heaps said there were solutions. “It’s not all doom-and-gloom. There are choices we can make. But it is urgent.”

Overfishing can be managed with better governance – Heaps points to the recovery in North Sea cod stocks as an example of how management can work. She also urged governments to adopt the sustainable development goals, proposed by the United Nations and including provisions for protecting marine life.


3 How chaotic India can change reformers (Eric Weiner on BBC) I first stepped on Indian soil some 20 years ago, determined to change the parts that I found exceedingly frustrating: the Darwinian scramble at bus stops and train stations, the freestyle driving, the liberal interpretation of a scheduled appointment, the noncommittal answers that were more than a “no” yet less than a “yes”. Determined to change all this, I considered myself a Reformer, and I went about my mission with the gusto of the naïve and misguided.

Reformers don’t last long in India. The Acceptor, on the other hand, knows that Indian civilisation has been around for a very long time and is not about to change because some baggy-pants wearing, camera-toting traveller wants it to. I arrived in India a Reformer but left an Acceptor. I came to realise that India was not going to bend; I was the one who needed to bend.

The greatest of these lessons is the crucial yet under-appreciated art of letting go. That means, first and foremost, letting go of expectations. Arrive not with high expectations, or low ones, but with no expectations. Let go of expecting anything.

In Kolkata recently, I experienced this firsthand. I was conducting research for my latest book. I had a schedule I expected to keep. When I eventually reached people, they were neither available nor unavailable. The hotel clerk took pity on me, pointing out that in Hindi, the word for tomorrow is the same as the word for yesterday. I began to see that I needed to let go of my rigid expectation of time as something linear and immutable, and I needed to relinquish the illusion of control.

That is not easy, of course, for it is a persistent illusion. We commute to work, pay bills, cook meals – and, yes, go on holiday – convinced that our actions have consequences, and that if we only manage the former “properly” then the latter will fall into place and all will be well. India strips this illusion bare. Here, any attempt at controlling the vagaries of fate, or bureaucracy – or pretty much anything else – is futile.

As the British economist Joan Robinson famously observed: “Whatever you can rightly say about India, the opposite is also true.” It’s been said that an indication of mental health is whether you can simultaneously retain two contradictory ideas without your head exploding. By that measure, India is the most mentally healthy place in the world.

Which is not, of course, to say it is easy. The fact is, India is hard, and it is this hardness that offers its appeal (two ideas, of course, that don’t typically go together). But if the point of travel is to challenge ourselves – to discover a “new way of seeing”, as Henry Miller put it – then naturally we should seek out the most “difficult” destinations, like India, not in order to change them but, rather, to change ourselves.



About joesnewspicks

This blog captures interesting news items from around the world for those strained by information overload and yet need to stay updated on global events of significance. The news items displayed are not in order of merit. (The blog takes a weekly off — normally on Sundays — and does not appear when I am on vacation or busy.) I am a journalist for nearly three decades.
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