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Telstra to line up 6,000 jobs to cut by end of fiscal year



Telstra releases HTC 5G Hub and Samsung S10 5G to be available May 28
Pricing to start from AU$70 a month for 10GB of base data.

Telstra has informed the ASX that “as a result of good progress” on its T22 plan, it will be bringing forward talks on job cuts. 

As a result, the company will flag 6,000 jobs to go by the end of the financial year.

“Telstra is also ahead of plan on the simplification of its structure and ways of working announced as part of T22, which as previously announced is expected to lead to a net reduction of around 8,000 employees over three years,” the company said on Wednesday.

“Telstra today commenced consultation with employees and representative unions on proposed job reductions previously expected to be announced in the first half of FY20.”

Consequently, the Australian telco said it would need to raise its FY19 restructuring costs from AU$600 million to AU$800 million, and would have AU$350 million in restructuring costs after its 2019 financial year.

“While impacted employees will not be leaving the organisation until early FY20, consultation is expected to conclude in mid-June and therefore the costs will be included in Telstra’s FY19 results,” Telstra said.

At the same time, Telstra said it would write down the value of its legacy IT assets by AU$500 million.

Telstra CEO Andy Penn said the company had a potential AU$50 million transition program for affected workers, and that by the end of the fiscal year, it would have completed 75% of its “direct workforce role reductions”.

“We will continue to see role reductions as we replace our legacy systems, digitise and simplify how we work, and respond to things like declining NBN and call volumes, but if a final decision is made on the proposal announced today we expect the majority of our T22 restructure will be behind us,” Penn said.

“Overall we are on track in relation to our T22 program.”

Under the T22 plan announced in June 2018, Telstra projected it would cut 9,500 jobs, remove 25% of executive and middle management roles, and create 1,500 new jobs largely in software and cybersecurity roles.

“This simplification is crucial to Telstra’s competitiveness, and we expect it to lead to a 30% reduction in our labour costs,” Penn said at the time.

Telstra’a long-promised simplified mobile plan structure is set to be announced next month.

Last week the telco announced it would charge AU$15 a month for 5G connectivity after customers are given the first 12 months free.

In December, Telstra announced new small business plans.

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Chevrolet Bolt production stoppage extended until mid-October



GM has announced that it will extend its production stoppage for the Bolt electric vehicle through at least mid-October. The announcement marks an extension of its production stoppage announced in late August due to a massive battery recall for the electric vehicle. The defective battery packs have caused 12 fires.

Most recently, a Bolt caught fire in the owner’s garage, destroying the vehicle, damaging the home, and causing damage to another vehicle stored in the garage at the time. GM has confirmed that Bolt production at the Orion Assembly plant will not commence until at least October 15. The massive battery recall has already cost around $2 billion, and GM says it will recover most of that money from battery supplier LG.

Chevrolet’s latest production stoppage for the Bolt comes in the middle of a massive chip shortage that has forced production on other vehicle assembly lines to stop. Sales and production of the Bolt won’t begin until the automaker has a confirmed fix for the battery issues.

An investigation laid the blame on misaligned robots at the battery assembly factory. According to that report, the misaligned robots caused a torn anode tab placing it closer to the cathode leading to short-circuiting and fires. After another fire that happened this month, GM issued a new warning to owners of the small electric vehicle.

The new warning tells Bolt owners to keep their vehicles at least 50 feet away from homes, offices, and other vehicles. Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely that any owner who heeds the warning and parks 50 feet away from homes or offices would be able to charge their vehicle, essentially making them useless until a fix is available. Defective battery packs have led to three injuries and multiple fires.

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2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L gets over 75 factory Mopar accessories



As if configuring a 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is not confusing enough, Mopar has released over 75 factory-backed accessories for Jeep’s first-ever seven-seat SUV. The highlights include new 21-inch Mopar-specific five-spoke wheels with a Jeep center cap and integrated side steps that install cleanly without drilling holes in your precious Grand Cherokee L.

“The all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee L presents a great opportunity for customization and personalization, said Mark Bosanac, North America Vice President, Mopar Service, Parts & Customer Care. “ The side steps mentioned above are made of black galvanized stainless steel with a chrome overlay, perfectly matching the premium vibe of the Grand Cherokee L. In addition, the powder-coated finish ensures durable protection against friction, bumps, and UV rays.

The 21-inch Granite Crystal wheels start at $500 each, while the side steps are $750. Other notable accessories include a roof-mount cargo basket ($350) with a 150-pound maximum load capacity, roof-rack crossbars ($300) that allows attachment of all Mopar roof carriers, and a $200 watersport carrier and bike carrier (sold separately) to accommodate kayaks, surfboards, and a bicycle.

Mopar’s rear-seat entertainment system ($1,625) has a roof-mounted DVD player and a 10-inch screen with two Bluetooth headphones to entertain the kids on long journeys. If you have pets, Mopar has a $190 collapsible kennel with a carrying handle. “Across the entire Jeep Grand Cherokee L lineup, we offer 75 factory-backed, quality-tested accessories,” added Bosanac.

Least to say, you won’t be running out of options when buying a 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L. The standard powerplant is a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with 293 horsepower, 260 pound-feet of torque, and up to 6,200 pounds of towing. You can have this engine in 2WD or 4WD, and both have an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

However, you can have a 5.7-liter V8 in the Jeep Grand Cherokee L Limited, Overland, and Summit 4×4. Pumping out 357 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque, V8-equipped Grand Cherokee L models have a maximum 7,200-pound towing capacity.

If you choose all-wheel-drive, you have three drivetrains to think about: Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II, and Quadra-Drive II. Also, the cabin is configurable with six or seven seats. The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L has base prices at$38,690, while the range-topping Summit and Summit Reserve trims are $58,690 and $66,985, respectively.

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2022 Genesis GV60 EV to arrive with facial recognition like a smartphone



It seems the incoming 2022 Genesis GV60 EV will arrive with more than just love-it or hate-it styling, funky paint colors, and a mysterious floating oddity on the center console. In a recent announcement, Genesis said US-bound GV60 electric vehicles are coming with facial recognition technology.

This innovative new tech is more intelligent, faster, and offers better convenience than wristbands or physically entering PIN codes. Initially available for the 2022 GV60, Genesis said the tech would soon make its way across its vehicle portfolio. Facial recognition allows the EV to recognize faces and open or close the doors without using a keyfob. In addition, the vehicle will apply settings like the seating position, steering wheel height, and side mirror positioning upon recognizing your face.

The system uses a custom Near-Infra-Red (NIR) camera to recognize faces in low-light or foggy conditions, even in the darkness of night. In a burgeoning and highly competitive segment, new EVs are battling for supremacy by offering new-age tech. From the looks of it, it seems the GV60 will become the goalpost for future EVs in terms of clever, affordable technology.

In addition, a new fingerprint authentication system allows GV60 drivers to start the vehicle using a biometric scanner. This means you can leave the keyfob inside the car, go out for a swim, come back, and enter/start the vehicle using only your face and fingerprint. Genesis claims the system can store two facial profiles. All relevant data are encrypted and stored, and users can delete their data if preferred.

Based on the styling alone, you wouldn’t mistake the GV60 for a supremely high-tech car. Still, it’s turning out to be a technological hotbed. The Genesis GV60 is the first production EV to have wireless inductive charging like in the 2019 BMW 530e PHEV. The wireless charger has enough power to recharge the GV60’s batteries in six hours, four hours faster than using a wall charger.

It also has a gimmicky Crystal Sphere, but it does add a hi-tech look to the GV60’s interior. Finally, the GV60’s OTA (Over-the-air) updates will also cover vehicle settings like suspension, brakes, airbags, and steering upgrades. The 2022 GV60 will arrive in US showrooms in early to mid-2022.

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