Death of the HQ? Pandemic hits commercial real estate, but long-term trends still open to debate

A rendering of one of Amazon’s new buildings in Bellevue, Wash. (Vulcan Image)

“HQ’s are finished.”

That was the hot take this week from Chris Herd, founder and CEO of remote work setup startup Firstbase. After speaking with about 1,000 companies over the past six months, he estimates that many will be cutting their office space by as much as 40% to 60%. About 90% of workforces indicated that they “never want to be in an office again full-time,” he wrote.

The latest example of the trend is the news this morning that working from home will be a permanent part of the mix at Microsoft. Boosting access to talent, reducing costs, and quality of life were among the benefits of remote work cited by companies in Herd’s informal survey.

“Good thread on the future of work. I agree with him,” former Zillow Group CEO Spencer Rascoff chimed in

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A wave of death in Sweden’s nursing homes has exposed holes in a famously generous safety net.

In the popular imagination, Sweden does not seem like the sort of country prone to accepting the mass death of grandparents to conserve resources in a pandemic.

Swedes pay some of the highest taxes on earth in exchange for extensive government services, including state-furnished health care.

Yet among the nearly 6,000 people whose deaths have been linked to the coronavirus in Sweden, 2,694, or more than 45 percent, had been among the country’s most vulnerable citizens — those living in nursing homes.

That tragedy is in part the story of how Sweden has, over decades, gradually yet relentlessly downgraded its famously generous social safety net.

Since a financial crisis in the early 1990s, Sweden has slashed taxes and diminished government services. It has handed responsibility for the care of older people — mostly living at home — to strapped municipal governments, while opening up nursing homes to for-profit businesses. They

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Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict drives thousands from their homes as death toll mounts

Moscow — Fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani military forces over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh continued Wednesday for the 11th day, with no sign of a ceasefire. More than 300 people have reportedly been killed since the long-simmering dispute erupted in violence on September 27.

The two nations have disputed ownership of the mountainous enclave since becoming independent with the breakup of the former Soviet Union. Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but it has been run autonomously by and is primarily populated by ethnic Armenians.

An official from the regional administration said Wednesday that the fighting had already driven half of Nagorno-Karabakh’s civilian population out of their homes.

Displaced Civilians Arrive In Armenia As Nagorno-Karabakh Clash Grows
Vartanush Avakyan, 92, waits on a bus to ride to Yerevan, Armenia, after leaving her village of Gandzasar due to fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, October 6, 2020 in Goris, Armenia.

Brendan Hoffman/Getty


“According to our preliminary estimates, some

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Protesters march through Montreal, calling for ‘Justice for Joyce’ following Indigenous woman’s death

MONTREAL—Crowds of protesters marched through downtown Montreal on Saturday, calling for justice for Joyce Echaquan, an Indigenous woman who was subjected to insults as she lay dying in hospital.

Echaquan, an Atikamekw woman, filmed hospital staff insulting her and making degrading comments on Monday while she was in clear distress and pleading for help in a Joliette, Que., hospital.

Protesters called for the Quebec government to acknowledge the existence of systemic racism in the province and to take real action against the discrimination Indigenous people face.

Several speakers who addressed the crowd said the government has tools to act — the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the report of the Viens Commission, a provincial inquiry into the relationship between Indigenous people and certain Quebec public services — but hasn’t put those into practice.

The protest came the same day that Public Security Minister Genevieve Guilbault announced that

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Woman arrested after 60-year-old man stabbed to death in Hamilton

HAMILTON—A 60-year-old Hamilton man is dead after being stabbed outside a Cannon Street East variety store Sunday night.

The victim has been identified as Zoran Benasich, said Det. Sgt. Steve Bereziuk of the major crime unit.

Melena Pheasant, 36, was arrested near the scene and is facing a charge of second-degree murder.

Hamilton police were called for a “person down” outside a Big Bee convenience store at 440 Cannon St. E., at Wentworth Street North, just after 10 p.m. Sunday, Bereziuk said.

Police were nearby on an unrelated call and got to the scene within a minute, he said. Officers found the victim with obvious trauma, stabbed in the parking lot, outside his Hummer.

Witnesses on scene pointed out a woman who was “attempting to leave the area,” Bereziuk said. She was quickly arrested.

The Hamilton Spectator has confirmed that Pheasant posted a series of short videos on YouTube on

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