Microsoft says the U.S. Labor Department is scrutinizing its efforts to boost Black employment and leadership at the tech company

Microsoft says the U.S. Labor Department is scrutinizing its efforts to boost Black employment and leadership at the tech company.

Microsoft disclosed in a blog post Tuesday that it received a letter from the agency last week asking about the company’s June pledge to double the number of Black and African American managers, senior individual contributors and senior leaders by 2025.

“The letter asked us to prove that the actions we are taking to improve opportunities are not illegal race-based decisions,” said Dev Stahlkopf, Microsoft’s general counsel. “Emphatically, they are not.”

CEO Satya Nadella made the June hiring commitment in response to Black Lives Matter protests around the country and as part of a broader message to employees about racial injustice and promoting a culture of inclusivity at the Redmond, Washington-based company.

It’s not uncommon for tech companies to publicly tout efforts to increase staff diversity, given the industry’s longstanding dearth of Black, Latino and female workers in technical and leadership positions. But this time they are running into scrutiny by a Trump administration that has sought to intervene with universities and other institutions over their approach to race and discrimination.

In a statement sent to The Associated Press, the Labor Department said it “appreciates Microsoft’s assurance on its

(Bloomberg) — TUI AG’s finance chief will leave at year-end in a setback for the struggling tour operator as it works on plans to raise more cash.



The TUI AG logo is seen in the company's travel shop in Berlin, Germany.


© Bloomberg
The TUI AG logo is seen in the company’s travel shop in Berlin, Germany.

Chief Financial Officer Birgit Conix told the company she won’t extend her contract, TUI said Wednesday. Sebastian Ebel, who is already a member of the executive board, will take over on Jan. 1, according to a statement.

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Conix, 55, who joined TUI in 2018 from Belgian telecom firm Telenet Group Holding NV, played a key role in maintaining liquidity at the company, which has been hard-hit by the coronavirus crisis and, before that, the grounding of Boeing Co.’s 737 Max. Ebel, 57, runs the hotels division and held finance positions before.

The change comes amid uncertainty about TUI’s plan to bolster cash after topping up a German government bailout during the summer. Chief Executive Officer Fritz Joussen said last week that the company, stung by a drop-off in holiday travel, would raise about 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion) through a combination of asset sales and a rights issue.

The company then sought to clarify, saying the capital increase would be below 1 billion euros. That prompted criticism that the amount wouldn’t be enough.

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TUI, which owns hotels across the Mediterranean and operates fleets of aircraft and cruise ships, was one of the first companies in Germany to get a large government bailout, an amount increased over summer to 3 billion euros.

With the 2020 summer season pretty much wiped out by the virus, TUI — like other travel firms

(Bloomberg) — TUI AG will replace its finance chief at year end, moving to swap executives in a key role as the struggling tour operator works to raise cash.

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Chief Financial Officer Birgit Conix will leave the company at year-end, TUI said Wednesday in a statement. Sebastian Ebel, who is already a member of the executive board, takes over on Jan. 1.

The decision comes amid confusion over the past week about TUI’s fund-raising plans. Chief Executive Officer Fritz Joussen said last week that the company, hurt badly by a drop-off in summer travel, would raise 1.5 billion euros through a combination of asset sales and a rights issue.

The company then sought to clarify, saying the capital increase would be below 1 billion euros. That prompted criticism that the amount wouldn’t be enough.

In addition to the rights offer, TUI will look at selling some of its 400 hotels and U.K. cruise arm Marella, Joussen said at the press briefing event in Frankfurt. A rights issue would also require a recovery in the share price, he said then.

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PANAMA CITY (AP) — A commission in Panama charged with identifying the remains of some victims of the 1989 U.S. invasion of the country said Friday it is in danger of running out of funding.

The effort that began with exhumations in January has lifted the hopes of Panamanians who had relatives die or disappear and have lived with unanswered questions about their fate for 30 years.

José Luis Sosa, the executive secretary of the December 20 commission, said the group is X-raying and extracting DNA samples from about 33 remains. But Sosa said the work could be interrupted when funds run out in November. About 514 Panamanian soldiers and civilians were killed in the invasion, as well as 23 U.S. troops. Human rights groups believe the number of Panamanian dead could be higher.

“There is no sense in having the commission open if it is not able to perform its functions, and that is the situation we face,” said Sosa. Plans for further exhumations could also be put on hold.

Authorities gave the approval for exhumation of the bodies after a truth commission in 2016 documented about 20 disappearances due to the U.S. military action to topple strongman Manuel Noriega.

The daughter of a lieutenant in Noriega’s military said the family still has no answers about a coffin that they contend was mistakenly identified as containing his remains.

“I am in tears, because I can’t believe this is happening,” said Brenda Bethancourt, 60, daughter of Braulio Bethancort. “Every time we get near the end, something comes up..”

DNA testing is expected to take months.

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LONGMEADOW—Responding to the need for diapers, wipes, tampons, pads and incontinence items among area people in need, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church and Temple Beth El are conducting another Longmeadow Loves Donation Drive through October.

“We’ve heard from our partners that they’re seeing an increase in demand, and food pantries seeing increased demand have told us they don’t have space for personal care items as they try to keep up with demand for food,” said the Rev. Charlotte H. LaForest, St. Andrew’s rector and one of the founders of the drive. “Public schools and public libraries are another place where people might seek out this kind of assistance. They were completely shut down last spring, and though some school districts have reopened in a reduced capacity, supplying these products often falls to the nurses to supply out of their own pocket. We would love to help supply schools and libraries and are exploring partnerships in these areas.”

There is a donation bin at St. Andrew’s behind the church near the back parking lot throughout October, and there will be an information booth and collection site at the St. Andrew’s Annual Pumpkins and Pets on the Hill on Oct. 10.

Anyone who brings a Longmeadow Loves donation to Pumpkins and Pets will receive a free raffle ticket for the raffle basket.

People can support the project also by shopping online at tgt.gifts/longmeadowloves.

“Different types of products needed are listed on the Target registry,” LaForest said. “We’ve chosen to list primarily Target brand on the registry because they are the best value, but any brand would be great.”

Contributions to the May Longmeadow Loves Donation Drive exceeded expectations with donors from throughout Western Massachusetts. “Anyone with the link can order from the registry, so participation is easy, and those who preferred to