Pret A Manger Cut 2,800 Jobs In Virus-Linked Restructuring

 Elon Musk said on Thursday that Tesla Inc’s (TSLA.O) factory in Nevada was a target of a “serious” cybersecurity attack, confirming a media report that claimed an employee of the company helped the Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI) thwart the attack.

News website Teslarati said that the electric carmaker was the unnamed company in a statement issued by the U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday about a Russian national's arrest, in connection with a planned attack on an unidentified company.

“This was a serious attack,” Musk said in a tweet, in response to the Teslarati article.

The Justice Department said that Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov, 27, a Russian national, was arrested and charged with conspiracy to intentionally cause damage to a protected computer by trying to recruit an employee to introduce malware into a system.

The malware was aimed at extracting data from the network and then to threaten the company for ransom money, the statement said.

According to the Justice Department, Kriuchkov had promised the employee an incentive of $1 million upon introducing the malware into the system.

But the employee alerted the FBI, who were successful in thwarting the attack, a complaint filed by the FBI’s Las Vegas Field Office showed.

 Pret a Manger Ltd. cut 2,800 jobs in U.K. shops, about a third of its store employees there, in the latest sign that the pandemic is hurting the retail industry.

Sales at British stores are down about 60% from a year earlier and are now roughly the same level as in August 2010, Pret said in a statement on Thursday. A further 1,000 U.K. positions have been saved as employees have taken fewer weekly hours, the company said.

Restaurants and other businesses that depend on walk-in business have been suffering around the world as countries use social restrictions to fight the pandemic. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has been offering diners across the U.K. a state subsidy to eat out in an attempt to help the struggling industry.

Pret said in July that it would permanently close 30 U.K. shops and cut at least 1,000 jobs in the restructuring. The chain has 367 shops in the U.K., and the company is also discussing terms with its landlords, according to the statement. The Press Association reported the news earlier.

The airline industry's collective SOS grew louder on Thursday as United Airlines signaled it would have to furlough as many as 2,850 pilots when federal aid designed to protect jobs expires in October.

In a memo to pilots, Bryan Quigley, United's senior vice president of flight operations, pointed to a greatly reduced demand in travel as the reason United needed to become "much smaller effective October 1."

United remains optimistic that Congress will negotiate an extension to the Payroll Support Program that kept tens of thousands in the airline industry employed, Quigley wrote but added that it must also be prepared for a different outcome.

If the furloughs come to fruition, the unpaid time off would begin for some at the start of October, with layoffs continuing through the end of November, the executive's memo said.

United's decision came in the same week that American Airlines predicted layoffs of 19,000 of its own workers in October, and Delta Air Lines told its pilots that nearly 2,000 of them would be furloughed.

The industry is attempting to stay aloft amid catastrophic losses stemming from COVID-19, which imposed a near-total shutdown on travel.

The big airlines weeks ago warned they'd have to furlough more than 80,000 pilots, flight attendants, and other airline workers once  $25 billion in government aid runs out at the end of September. The money, which covered wages, was first granted in March as part of a larger economic aid package and was intended to help carriers survive the pandemic until the public health crisis ended.

But as the deadly virus has continued its rampage, so has the industry's decline. In addition to vacationers too cautious to travel afar for fear of contracting coronavirus, the large U.S. carriers have also lost money-generating business travelers to the pandemic.

Goldman Sachs is laying on perks for staff members that return to work in its London offices as the US bank looks to bring workers gradually back to the City.

The lender is offering perks including protective gear, free food, and use of an on-site nursery for all employees who choose to return to its Square Mile bases.

It has also increased the amount staff members are allowed to spend on bicycles through the government’s cycle to work scheme in a bid to ease fears about commuting.

Financial News reported that senior members of staff have been issued an “invitation” to get back to the office as part of a push to get back to normal.

A spokesperson for Goldman Sachs denied that any invitation had been issued and said returning to the office was still an “individual choice” for staff.

Roughly 15 percent of staff are already said to be back in the office after a gradual return to work kicked off in June.

“We continue to take a people-first approach and stay consistent with UK government guidelines,” the spokesperson said.

“Our people are encouraged to adopt an approach that works for them and their own personal circumstances.”

It comes amid calls for businesses to pump life back into the City after months of home working during the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called for people to return to their workplaces in recent weeks in a bid to reboot the economy.

However, Downing Street has stopped short of issuing a call for all Londoners to return to work, instead stating that it was up to employers to decide their own policies.

US banks have led the charge on returning to work, with JP Morgan kicking off a gradual return to work for its staff — albeit with greater flexibility over working from home.

It comes after the head of the CBI warned city centers were at risk of turning into “ghost towns” if the government did not do more to encourage people back to work.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Dame Carolyn Fairbairn said the return of office workers was as important as the return of school pupils.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, communities across the country have discovered a powerful resource that has stepped forward to make a difference: America’s teenagers.

They have delivered groceries to older adults, offered online tutoring, emailed sick children, helped feed the hungry. And then there are those like 15-year-old Valerie Xu, who raised money to buy masks to donate to a Dallas hospital and homeless shelter.

“People have a good heart and are willing to help, and are willing to contribute to our society,” Xu said.

Xu began raising funds in March. She was alarmed that some health care workers were having trouble getting masks, and disheartened to hear about unfounded animosity directed at Asian Americans over the virus that was first detected in China.

The response, she said, helped restore her optimism, and left her “very inspired.”

In Cupertino, California, 17-year-old Nelson Mu and fellow high school students started teaching online classes to younger children after schools closed in the spring. More than 2,500 kids from across the U.S. are now taking the free virtual courses on everything from math and science to art and dance, taught by a couple hundred teens through the organization YAPA Kids.

“People want to make a positive change,” Mu said. “That actually makes me extremely optimistic about the future.”

Early on in the pandemic, friends Dhruv Pai, 16, and Matthew Casertano, 15, of Silver Spring, Maryland, realized that they were both delivering groceries to their grandparents. They decided to reach out to friends to do the same for other older people who were self-isolating.

Teens Helping Seniors now has more than 650 volunteers nationwide and in Canada making free deliveries. The pandemic, Pai said, “has reignited the spirit of volunteering in our generation and within our community.”

Casertano said it has been rewarding to get to know the people receiving the grocery deliveries.

“It also provided a way for us to feel like we were making a difference in the world at a time when this pandemic was sort of disconnecting us from everyone else,” he said.

Xu started raising money to buy masks in March when supplies were scarce in the United States. Xu has relatives in China, a major manufacturer, and figured out that she could get quality masks from suppliers there at a good price. She found some whose products were approved by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and enlisted her Mandarin-speaking mother’s help to reach out to them.

Xu has so far has raised more than $23,000, which includes more than $12,000 from donations on her GoFundMe page, a $10,000 match from a company and $1,200 she contributed from her own savings. The 52,600 masks she’s purchased so far include surgical, FFP2, and three-layer varieties.

The first donation was in April to the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, followed by another in June to the same hospital and to a homeless shelter, where staff and clients alike wear them.

Dr. John Warner, executive vice president for health system affairs at UT Southwestern, said donations like Xu’s not only helped supplement their stock while the supply chain replenished, but also gave staff a much-needed morale boost.

Warner said it has been encouraging to see how many young people are pitching in in times of crisis.

“They’re so bright and so innovative,” he said, “so that’s been very fun to watch.”

 U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that if he was re-elected, his administration would impose tariffs on any company that leaves the United States to create jobs elsewhere.

“We will impose tariffs on any company that leaves America to produce jobs overseas,” Trump said in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. “We’ll make sure our companies and jobs stay in our country, as I’ve already been doing. Joe Biden’s agenda is Made in China. My agenda is Made in the USA.”

Trump portrayed himself as having been willing to challenge China on trade during his speech to the party faithful and asserted his Democratic rival in the November election, Joe Biden, would not be as tough.

The former real estate developer spent much of his first term waging a trade war against China over its trade practices, technology transfer and industrial policies, imposing punitive tariffs on $370 billion worth of Chinese imports.

In May, he threatened to impose new taxes on American companies that produce goods outside the United States, another move his administration could make to push supply chains away from China and raise new trade barriers.

Trump made a similar comment last week during a campaign event in Pennsylvania when he said: “We will give tax credits to companies to bring jobs back to America. And if they don’t do it, we will put tariffs on those companies and they will have to pay us a lot of money.”

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