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10 things in tech you need to know today, September 11

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The iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
Lisa Eadicicco/Business Insider

Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Wednesday.

  1. Apple announced three new iPhones at its event on Tuesday: the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. The new iPhones retain their same prices as last year’s designs, but Apple made some significant improvements to each of its top-of-the-line phones.
  2. Apple also unveiled the Apple Watch Series 5, which comes in new titanium and ceramic casings and has an always-on display. Like the name suggests, the always-on display allows you to view information at a glance without moving your wrist to turn the screen on.
  3. Tim Cook announced that Apple’s streaming service Apple TV Plus will launch November 1 and cost just $5 a month. The $5 pricepoint ranks Apple TV Plus among the cheapest of streaming services out there, although Apple’s service won’t include any licensed content beyond its original content.
  4. Uber fired more than 400 product and engineering employees in its second major round of layoffs this year. In a statement, Uber said the move was about staying nimble as a 27,000-person, global company.
  5. Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Sergey Brin, and Marissa Mayer reportedly attended an elite private dinner with Jeffrey Epstein just two years after he served a prison sentence for soliciting sex from a 14-year-old girl. The elite dinner party known informally as the “billionaires’ dinner” was held in 2011 during the TED Conference in Long Beach, California.
  6. California approved a landmark bill to reclassify contractors for companies like Uber and Lyft as employees. The Assembly Bill 5 passed in a 29 to 11 vote in the State Senate and now heads to the State Assembly for passage.
  7. Peloton plans to raise as much as $1.3 billion in an IPO that would double its valuation to $8 billion. The maker of internet connected fitness equipment said it intends to sell 40 million Class A shares in the offering.
  8. WeWork may soldier on with its IPO despite reports that it’s slashing its valuation by more than half. WeWork could begin its IPO roadshow as soon as Monday, September 16, based on a report from CNBC.
  9. A party planned for the millions of Facebook users signed up to storm Area 51 is raising concerns it could become “Fyre Fest 2.0.” Organizers of the Facebook event turned it into a music festival called Alienstock, and thousands of people are expected to flood the town near Area 51 later this month.
  10. Elon Musk said he wants to buy The Onion after his satirical startup shut down earlier this year. The Daily Beast reported in 2018 that Musk considered buying The Onion in 2014 and hired several former staff members for a satirical startup, Thud, that folded in May after Musk stopped funding it.

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WeWork reportedly planning to layoff at least 4,000 people: NYT

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  • WeWork is planning on laying off at least 4,000 people from its workforce, The New York Times reported on Sunday.
  • A person with knowledge of the matter told The Times that the company’s core office-sharing business would slash 2,000 to 2,5000 employees from its global ventures, along with other employees from its non-core businesses and maintenance employees. 
  • A second source with knowledge of the matter said the number of layoffs could be as high as 5,000 or 6,000, which would represent about a third of WeWork’s workforce. 
  • The company is recovering from major losses after a failed IPO in September and reported a loss of $1.25 billion in the third quarter. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

WeWork is planning on laying off at least 4,000 people from its workforce, The New York Times reported on Sunday. 

According to The Times, the company — which is recovering from major losses after a failed IPO in September — is expected to announce the cuts as early as this week. 

A person with knowledge of the matter told The Times that the company’s core office-sharing business would slash 2,000 to 2,5000 employees from its global ventures. The source added that around 1,000 maintenance workers will be transferred to an outside contractor and 1,000 employees from noncore businesses will exit the embattled real estate startup.

According to The Times, this exodus represents roughly a third of the company’s 12,500 employees. 

A second source with knowledge of the matter said the number of layoffs could be as high as 5,000 or 6,000. 

The announcement will be part of the company’s five-year plan to completely overhaul the business recovering from the brink of bankruptcy, the sources said. The announcement could be presented to staff as early as Tuesday, they added.

A spokesperson for WeWork declined to comment on the report. 

WeWork received a $10 billion bailout from Japanese investment firm SoftBank, which took control of the company in October after it failed to go public. SoftBank also gave CEO and cofounder Adam Neumann $1.7 billion to step down from his position as chairman of the board at WeWork.

Last week, WeWork said it lost $1.25 billion in the third quarter. 

SoftBank also took a massive hit in the July to September period while injecting money into WeWork, losing a record $6.46 billion. 

 



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Photos: Violence erupts on Hong Kong Polytechnic University campus

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  • Clashes between Hong Kong police and protesters escalated on Monday, as police stormed the Hong Kong Polytechnic University campus. 
  • Police faced off against protesters near the campus over the weekend and fired tear gas and water cannons filled with blue dye which stains clothes and irritates the skin.
  • Protesters then barricaded themselves in the university and responded by firing molotov cocktails and other makeshift weapons at police. 
  • By Monday morning, protesters appeared to leave the university en masse amid threats from police to use live rounds and other forceful dispersal methods.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Clashes between Hong Kong police and protesters escalated on Monday, as police stormed a university campus that had been occupied by protesters over the weekend. 

Hong Kong Polytechnic University, located in Hung Hom, became a battleground for pro-democracy protesters against riot police as demonstrations enter into their sixth month and have seen a major uptick in violence in recent weeks. 

Police faced off against protesters near the campus over the weekend and fired tear gas and water cannons filled with blue dye which stains clothes and irritates the skin. Protesters then barricaded themselves in the university and responded by firing molotov cocktails and other makeshift weapons. 

According to The Washington Post, protesters have accumulated a range of weapons to combat police, including javelins and bows and arrows that were likely taken from the university’s athletic department. 

In a statement, university authorities said they were “gravely concerned that the spiraling radical illicit activities will cause not only a tremendous safety threat on campus, but also class suspension over an indefinite period of time.”

Police on Sunday evening threatened to arrest protesters for rioting, an offense which carries up to 10 years in prison. By Monday morning, police stormed the campus and threatened to use live rounds if protesters did not “stop assaulting the police using cars, gas bombs and bows and arrows.”

By Monday morning, video appeared to show protesters leaving the campus en masse. 

 

Last week, black-clad protesters occupied the Chinese University of Hong Kong near Tai Po for days and clashed with police, hurling bricks and building massive bonfires to prevent authorities from entering the campus. On Tuesday, police said they were working towards reaching a “peaceful solution” but the situation on the ground “[continued] to intensify.”

“Such violence has reached a deadly level, posing a serious threat to Police officers and everyone at scene. The rioters threw hard objects and petrol bombs onto Tolo Highway, endangering road users’ safety. The rioters also hampered emergency services including ambulance services,” Hong Kong Police Force said in a statement. 

Police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. 

Last week saw a major increase in violent responses from both protesters and police. On Monday, police officers fired live rounds at protesters at point-blank range, injuring one man. On Tuesday, police appeared to pepper-spray a woman directly in the face during a tense standoff near Hong Kong Polytechnic University. 

A 57-year-old man on Monday was set on fire during a disagreement with protesters in Ma On Shan. On Wednesday, police say a 70-year-old pedestrian sustained head injuries and later died after being hit in the head with a brick in Sheung Shui. On Sunday morning, police say an officer was injured in the leg after a protester fired off a bow and arrow near The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Here are 13 striking photos which show how Monday’s violence unfolded. 



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George Takei dream dinner is ‘Star Trek’ cast minus ‘one exception’

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  • In a Q&A with The Guardian, actor George Takei was asked who he’d invite to his dream dinner party, and he said he’d pick his colleagues from “Star Trek,” “with one exception.”
  • The tongue-in-cheek remark was probably about Takei’s infamous decades-long feud with William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk to Takei’s Sulu.
  • In his 1994 autobiography “To the Stars,” Takei claimed Shatner would act like he didn’t know who he was on set. He also said Shatner changed a script to prevent Sulu for receiving command of a starship.
  • Shatner has fought back against those accusations before, especially after Takei didn’t invite him to his wedding in 2008. Takei reiterated his dislike of Shatner on “Real Time with Bill Maher” in 2014.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

If George Takei had a dream dinner party, he’d invite his colleagues from “Star Trek,” minus one.

In a Q&A with The Guardian, the actor, best known for his social media presence and for originating the character of Sulu on “Star Trek: The Original Series,” said there would be “one exception” to getting the cast back together.

Takei didn’t specify who wouldn’t make the cut, but it was probably a tongue-in-cheek reference to the long-running feud he’s had with William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk.

According to Takei’s 1994 autobiography “To the Stars,” he claimed that Shatner would act like he didn’t know who Takei was on set. He even accused Shatner of changing a script so that Takei’s character Sulu wouldn’t receive command of a starship in an episode of “Star Trek.”

George Takei


Brad Barket/Getty Images


Shatner has been accused of being difficult to work with before, including by other “Star Trek” cast members like Walter Koenig (Chekov) and James Doohan (Scott). He refuted Takei’s accounts in an online interview after Takei didn’t invite Shatner to his wedding in 2008. 

The feud got particularly nasty then, and Shatner went so far as to call Takei’s comments “a sickness” and “a psychosis.” Shatner claims to have never read “To the Stars” but did say he didn’t know Takei very well, and made a disparaging comment about how his role was small and he’d only come in to shoot for a day or two.

On “Real Time with Bill Maher” in 2014, Takei brought up the feud again, when he was asked why he doesn’t like Shatner. 

“Canadians have a certain image of being even-tempered and friendly and all that,” Takei said on “Bill Maher.” “Well, he is a person who is that way with himself. He is very self-centered.”



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