Kuehne+Nagel owner sees about 20,000 job cuts: Die Welt

ZURICH (Reuters) – Freight-forwarder Kuehne+Nagel (KNIN.S) may cut more than 20,000 jobs, with warehouse workers most affected, as the coronavirus-caused economic crisis hits shipping, controlling shareholder Klaus-Michael Kuehne said in an interview.

Kuehne+Nagel, which employs 83,000 people, will likely cut jobs in locations such as the United States that unlike some European countries does not have a system of short-time working to fall back on to prevent massive layoffs, he told Germany’s Die Welt in an article published on Saturday.

He sees globalisation slowing, with a trend towards regionalisation.

“The group could have 20-25% fewer workers than before the crisis,” he said. “We will emerge from the crisis smaller.”

The 2020 result will definitely be worse than a year ago, said Kuehne, adding nobody knows how long the crisis will last and how deep it will be. The company has already scrapped its dividend.

“The moments of truth come in the April to June period,” he said. “Transport volumes have declined significantly. The decisive question is, will the world economy begin a gradual recovery in June.”

“I expect that economic production will be lower for years to come,” Kuehne told the newspaper.

China is unlikely to emerge weakened from the crisis, he said, even though it is the origin of the coronavirus, likely in a seafood and live animal market in Wuhan.

“This crisis was started by carelessness within the Chinese food supply. For me it is unbelievable such primitive conditions still exist,” he said. “And still, China — with its readiness to invest in projects like the new Silk Road — has an unbelievable strength. I wish we had a strong United States as a counterweight, but it is poorly governed by Donald Trump. This could be an opportunity for a strong, courageous Europe.”

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Wildfires rip through Polish national park

Wildfires are ripping through Poland’s largest national park.

Around 6,000 hectares of the Biebrza National Park – roughly 10% – are currently in flames as hundreds of firefighters attempt to get the blazes under control.

The Environment Ministry said the fire was most likely caused by farmers illegally burning grass.

The situation is worsened due to the fact Poland is currently experiencing its worst droughts in decades.

” It is not possible now for fire to ignite itself – this is not the middle of summer, there is no heat or storms,” said park director Andrzej Grygoruk. “I don’t know what to call it. Stupidity? Irresponsibility?”

“Spring is an abrupt explosion of life. It is impossible to calculate the loss. This is a tragedy, it cannot be described,” Janina Agnieszka Zach, a tour guide at the park, told TVN broadcaster.

“We may have to fight this fire for months.”

Biebrza National Park is located in the north-east of the country, near the border with Belarus. A low-lying area, it is known for its peat bogs and wetlands, inhabited by rich birdlife, beavers and elks.

All photos subject to copyright.

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Coronavirus: Tony Blair sees no end to lockdown without mass testing – as he calls UK response ‘slow’

Boris Johnson’s government was “probably slow” in its early response to the coronavirus, Tony Blair has said.

The former prime minister also told Sky News that he “can’t see any way out” of the COVID-19 lockdown without mass testing of the public.

It comes as his Tony Blair Foundation for Global Change laid out a possible exit plan for easing the coronavirus restrictions brought in last month.

Mr Blair, who was in office from 1997 to 2007, said the coronavirus outbreak was the “most complicated and difficult challenge I have ever seen in politics”.

And he said his intention in publishing a possible exit strategy was done in the spirit of offering “constructive advice” to Mr Johnson.

More follows…

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Twenty sailors remain in hospital after French navy coronavirus outbreak

PARIS (Reuters) – Around 20 French sailors remain in hospital following a large outbreak of the coronavirus in the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle’s naval group, a spokesman for the French navy said on Thursday.

“There are about 20 at the moment in hospital. Out of the 20, one is in the re-animation ward and in a stable case,” spokesman Eric Lavault told RMC radio.

On Wednesday, the French armed forces ministry said 1,767 marines – nearly all from the Charles de Gaulle carrier itself – had been evaluated and at least 668 had tested positive for the virus.

The Charles de Gaulle set sail for the eastern Mediterranean on Jan. 21 to support French military operations against Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria, before deploying to the Atlantic and then the Baltic.

There it participated in exercises with northern European navies in the Baltic Sea before returning to Toulon two weeks earlier than planned after crew members showed signs of COVID-19 symptoms.

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