World this week
Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa and her online news company were cleared of tax evasion charges she said were among a slew of legal cases used by former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to try to muzzle critical reporting. The Court of Tax Appeals ruled that prosecutors failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Ressa and Rappler Holdings Corp. evaded tax payments in four instances after raising capital through partnerships with two foreign investors. "The acquittal of the accused is based on the findings of the court that respondents did not commit the crime charge," the court said in its decision.
"We thank the court for this just decision and for recognizing that the fraudulent, false, and flimsy charges made by the Bureau of Internal Revenue do not have any basis in fact," Rappler said in a statement. "An adverse decision would have had far-reaching repercussions on both the press and the capital markets."
A plane making a 27-minute flight to a Nepal tourist town crashed into a gorge while attempting to land at a newly opened airport, killing all 72 people aboard. The twin-engine ATR 72 aircraft, operated by Nepal's Yeti Airlines, was flying from the capital, Kathmandu, to Pokhara, located 200 kilometres (125 miles) west. It was carrying 68 passengers including 15 foreign nationals, and four crew members, Nepal's Civil Aviation Authority said. The foreigners included five Indians, four Russians, two South Koreans, and one each from Ireland, Australia, Argentina and France.
Hours after dark, scores of onlookers crowded around the crash site near the airport in the resort town of Pokhara as rescue workers combed the wreckage on the edge of the cliff and in the ravine below. A witness said he saw the aircraft spinning violently in the air after it began descending to land, watching from the terrace of his house. Finally, the plane fell nose-first towards its left and crashed into the gorge.
Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian schoolteacher and a militant during a military raid in the occupied West Bank early Thursday (Jan. 19), Palestinian officials and media said, as Israeli-Palestinian violence continued to surge. The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the dead as Jawad Bawaqna, 57, and Adham Jabarin, 28. They were shot in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank. The official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, said Bawaqna was a secondary school teacher and a father of six.
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade - an armed militia affiliated with Fatah, the secular political party that controls the Palestinian Authority - claimed Jabarin as a fighter. The agency said Bawaqna was shot and killed as he was trying to offer Jabarin medical aid, after he had been shot outside his home. The Israeli military said it had no immediate comment. Thursday's deaths put at 17 the number of Palestinians killed by the Israeli military in the West Bank since the beginning of 2023.
Microsoft is cutting 10,000 workers, almost 5% of its workforce, joining other tech companies that have scaled back their pandemic-era expansions. The company said in a regulatory filing that the layoffs were a response to "macroeconomic conditions and changing customer priorities." The Redmond, Washington-based software giant said it will also be making changes to its hardware portfolio and consolidating its leased office locations.
Microsoft is cutting far fewer jobs than it had added during the COVID-19 pandemic as it responded to a boom in demand for its workplace software and cloud computing services with so many people working and studying from home. Microsoft's workforce expanded by about 36% in the two fiscal years following the emergence of the pandemic, growing from 163,000 workers at the end of June 2020, to 221,000 in June 2022. CEO Satya Nadella emphasised the importance of building a "new computer platform" using advances in artificial intelligence.
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