International News

US Senate confirms Gina Haspel as CIA’s first woman director

She faced opposition earlier because of her links to the agency’s brutal interrogation techniques.

The United States Senate on Thursday confirmed President Donald Trump’s nominee, Gina Haspel, as the first female director of the Central Intelligence Agency, AP reported. Trump nominated Haspel in March to succeed Mike Pompeo as CIA director after he was confirmed secretary of state.

Haspel faced opposition earlier because of her links to the CIA’s use of brutal interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, since the September 2001 attacks in the US. Republican Senator John McCain, who has been against her nomination, was absent for the vote.

The tally was 54-45 in favour of the nomination of Haspel, who is currently serving as the CIA’s acting director. Six Democrats joined the Republicans to vote for Haspel, however, two Republicans voted against her nomination.

Virginia Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said Haspel had told him that the agency should have never resorted to enhanced interrogation techniques, and that she would never use such methods even if the president demanded.

“I believe she is someone who can and will stand up to the president, who will speak truth to power if this president orders her to do something illegal or immoral, like a return to torture,” Warner said in a speech before the vote, according to BBC.

Haspel, 61, spent most of her career as an undercover operative for the CIA. In 2002, she was appointed to supervise a station in Thailand, where the agency reportedly used waterboarding interrogation techniques. She later ordered the destruction of the videotapes of those interrogations, Reuters reported.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

The cost of setting up an employee-friendly office in Mumbai

And a new age, cost-effective solution to common grievances.

A lot has been theorised about employee engagement and what motivates employees the most. Perks, bonuses and increased vacation time are the most common employee benefits extended to valuable employees. But experts say employees’ wellbeing is also intimately tied with the environment they spend the bulk of the day in. Indeed, the office environment has been found to affect employee productivity and ultimately retention.

According to Gensler’s Workplace Index, workplace design should allow employees to focus, collaborate, learn and socialise for maximum productivity, engagement and overall wellbeing. Most offices lag on the above counts, with complaints of rows of cluttered desks, cramped work tables and chilled cubicles still being way too common.

But well-meaning employers wanting to create a truly employee-centric office environment meet resistance at several stages. Renting an office space, for example, is an obstacle in itself, especially with exorbitant rental rates prevalent in most business districts. The office space then needs to be populated with, ideally, ergonomic furniture and fixtures. Even addressing common employee grievances is harder than one would imagine. It warrants a steady supply of office and pantry supplies, plus optimal Internet connection and functioning projection and sound systems. A well-thought-out workspace suddenly begins to sound quite cost prohibitive. So, how can an employer balance employee wellbeing with the monthly office budget?

Co-working spaces have emerged as a viable alternative to traditional workspaces. In addition to solving a lot of the common problems associated with them, the co-working format also takes care of the social and networking needs of businesses and their employees.

WeWork is a global network of workspaces, with 10 office spaces in India and many more opening this year. The co-working giant has taken great care to design all its premises ergonomically for maximum comfort. Its architects, engineers and artists have custom-designed every office space while prioritising natural light, comfort, productivity, and inspiration. Its members have access to super-fast Internet, multifunction printers, on-site community teams and free refreshments throughout the day. In addition, every WeWork office space has a dedicated community manager who is responsible for fostering a sense of community. WeWork’s customised offerings for enterprises also work out to be a more cost-effective solution than conventional lease setting, with the added perks of WeWork’s brand of service.

The video below presents the cost breakdown of maintaining an office space for 10 employees in Vikhroli, Mumbai and compares it with a WeWork membership.

Play

To know more about WeWork and its office spaces in India, click here.

This article was produced by Scroll marketing team on behalf of WeWork and not by the Scroll editorial team.