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HRW says Ethiopian shelling killed many civilians in Tigray | Conflict News

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Ethiopian forces ‘struck homes, hospitals, schools and markets’ in the first weeks of the war, according to the HRW report.

Ethiopian forces shelled heavily populated areas in the first weeks of the conflict in the Tigray region, killing at least 83 civilians and displacing thousands, Human Rights Watch has said.

Artillery attacks by forces backing Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner, “struck homes, hospitals, schools and markets”, according to the report, which focuses on the regional capital Mekelle and the towns of Shire and Humera.

“At the war’s start, Ethiopian federal forces fired artillery into Tigray’s urban areas in an apparently indiscriminate manner that was bound to cause civilian casualties and property damage,” said Laetitia Bader, HRW’s Horn of Africa director, on Thursday.

“These attacks have shattered civilian lives in Tigray and displaced thousands of people, underscoring the urgency for ending unlawful attacks and holding those responsible to account.”

Abiy announced military operations against the leadership of Tigray’s governing party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), in early November, saying this was in response to TPLF-orchestrated attacks on federal army camps.

He declared victory after pro-government troops took Mekelle in late November, though the TPLF promised to fight on. Aid workers say persistent insecurity has hampered the delivery of badly-needed humanitarian assistance.

Abiy has previously said the military acted with special care for civilian lives, telling legislators in late November that no civilians were killed as his forces entered Tigray’s cities.

His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the AFP news agency.

‘We were at a loss’

In the western town of Humera, doctors reported that at least 46 people were killed and 200 injured on a single day during the first week of fighting, HRW said, adding that “total casualties that day were most likely higher”.

“Civilians started arriving in the hospital with injuries to the abdomen, chest, head. We were at a loss,” HRW quoted a doctor as saying. “People with no hands, people with their stomachs hanging out.”

A doctor at a hospital in Mekelle has previously told AFP that 27 civilians were killed in “artillery and rocket shelling” on November 28, the day federal forces arrived and that more than 100 were wounded.

Much of Tigray remains inaccessible to aid workers and the media, making it difficult to get a full picture of the toll of the fighting and current conditions on the ground.

Ethiopia “should promptly allow UN investigators into Tigray to document the conduct by warring parties in a conflict that has devastated the lives of millions and should no longer be ignored”, Bader said.



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Zooming ahead: Videoconferencing firm tops analysts’ expectations | Coronavirus pandemic News

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Revenue more than tripled to $882.5m in the fiscal fourth quarter, the company said, surpassing analysts’ estimates.

Zoom Video Communications Inc. projected annual revenue that would top analysts’ estimates, signaling the video meeting service expects to remain a ubiquitous presence in daily life even as the pandemic recedes. Shares jumped about 10% extended trading.

Sales will be as much as $3.78 billion in fiscal year 2022, the San Jose, California-based company said Monday in a statement. While the projected annual revenue growth of 43% is far short of Zoom’s 326% increase in the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, it topped the 37% average estimate of analysts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Profit, excluding some items, will be as much as $3.65 a share. Analysts projected $2.97.

Investors have feared the software maker couldn’t continue the dramatic growth in 2020 that came as people forced home in coronavirus lockdowns connected remotely on the service to work, school, friends and family.

While Zoom’s stock jumped almost fivefold last year as it became one of the biggest beneficiaries of the pandemic, it had gained just 11% during the first two months of 2021 before surging almost 10% Monday to close at $409.66 in New York.

Chief Executive Officer Eric Yuan has tried to diversify Zoom’s capabilities and add products such as a cloud phone system to appeal to more large enterprises and small- and mid-sized businesses.

“We believe we are well positioned for strong growth with our innovative video communications platform, on which our customers can build, run, and grow their businesses; our globally recognized brand; and a team ever focused on delivering happiness to our customers,” Yuan said in the statement.

Revenue more than tripled to $882.5 million in the fiscal fourth quarter, the company said. Analysts, on average, estimated $811 million. Profit, excluding some items, was $1.22 cents a share, compared with an average estimate of 79 cents.

“In our view, and whether you like it or not, video will continue to remain a core element of our daily lives and further be embedded in work, school, etc. Zoom will clearly benefit and report sustained levels of growth, in our view, and increasingly in the enterprise segment,” wrote Matt VanVliet, an analyst at BTIG, in a note before the results.

Zoom offers video gatherings free for 40 minutes and as many as 100 participants before users are charged for the service. Analysts have focused on the churn, the number of customers who drop monthly or annual subscriptions, particularly among corporate users.

The company said it had 467,100 customers with more than 10 employees, a jump of about 8% from the previous period and topping analysts’ average estimate of 442,570. The company also said 1,644 clients contributed $100,000 in trailing 12-month revenue. Analysts projected 1,474 such large customers.



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