Al Jazeera confirms that 500 jobs will go
The proposed pay-by-the-minute car rental scheme in Dubai has been put on hold. “We would like to inform you that at the time being, U Drive can offer car-rental service on a daily basis only, the previously offered service per-minute car rental scheme is currently put on hold until certain logistical, regulatory, and administrative issues are resolved,” read a statement on U Drive’s website. “We are working very closely with the Road and Transport Authority [RTA] to offer this service in a way that is compatible with the rules and regulations governing car rental activity in Dubai.” The scheme, which was launched to great publicity earlier this month, would have seen customers paying 50 fils per minute to use one of the U Drive rental cars which they could locate via an app on their smartphone. The proposed scheme would have seen the cars coming with petrol included in the price and a replacement car being provided in the event of a breakdown. Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based broadcaster, has confirmed that 500 jobs are being axed. The broadcaster said the cuts will come into effect within the next two months, reported news agency The Associated Press (AP). The network described the cuts as part of a “workforce optimisation initiative tied to an evolving media landscape”. Director General Mostefa Souag said this will enable Al Jazeera to “maintain a leading position and continue our recognised commitment to highquality, independent and hard-hitting journalism around the world.” No Al Jazeera officials were available for comment, said AP, who added that the network currently employs a workforce in the region of 4,500 people and that most of those losing their jobs are based in Qatar. This follows an announcement in January that Al Jazeera was shutting down its American cable news network, launched in October 2013, after struggling to attract viewers and satellite companies to carry it. The cutbacks come as Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host, refocuses its spending priorities amid a steep drop in prices for oil and gas. Al Jazeera began life as an Arabic-language news channel in 1996 with backing from Qatar’s thenemir, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. It now has bureaus posted all over the world.