Thursday, March 16, 2023

Wake-Up Call: Pentagon Releases Video of Russian Jet Clipping Drone

Credit Suisse on Thursday said it would borrow up to $54 billion from the Swiss central bank to shore up liquidity and investor confidence after a slump in its shares intensified fears about a global banking crisis. The Swiss bank's announcement helped stem heavy selling in financial markets in Asian morning trade on Thursday, following torrid sessions in Europe and the United States overnight as investors fretted about potential runs on global bank deposits.

In its statement early Thursday, Credit Suisse said it would exercise an option to borrow from the central bank up to 50 billion Swiss francs ($54 billion). That followed assurances from Swiss authorities on Wednesday that Credit Suisse met "the capital and liquidity requirements imposed on systemically important banks" and that it could access central bank liquidity if needed.

➤GO WOKE, GO BROKE: Since Silicon Valley Bank collapsed, critics have called out the bank's "woke" priorities, and left-wing political agendas, questioning the banking and investing experience of the company's leaders. "Like everything else in our age, the obsession is not to do with expertise. It is to do with this madness of the so-called D.E.I. project," Fox News contributor Douglas Murray said on "Fox & Friends" Wednesday. "And if we don't learn from this, if banking sectors and others don't learn from this, I don't know when we will." The New York Post reported Tuesday that among the 12 members of SVB’s board of directors was a Hillary Clinton mega-donor who went to a Shinto shrine to pray after Donald Trump won the White House, a former President Barack Obama political appointee, and a prolific contributor to Democrats who owns a Napa Valley vineyard 15 minutes from the home of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. The board members donated to Obama, Clinton, President Joe Biden, local Democrat congressional reps such as Pelosi, as well as political action committees for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., a longtime member of the powerful Senate Banking Committee, according to the Post.

➤U-S TO CONTINUE FLYING DRONES: Washington's top general said the crash of a U.S. surveillance drone after being intercepted by Russian jets showed Moscow's increasingly aggressive behavior, while Russia warned Washington that flying drones near Crimea risked escalation. A day after the U.S. drone went down over the Black Sea, defense ministers and military chiefs from the U.S. and Russia held rare telephone conversations on Wednesday, with relations at their lowest point in decades over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. Moscow's defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, told his U.S. counterpart, Lloyd Austin, that American drone flights by Crimea's coast "were provocative in nature" and could lead to "an escalation ... in the Black Sea zone," a ministry statement said. Crimea is a peninsula that was part of Ukraine until Moscow annexed it by force in 2014. Russia, the statement added "had no interest in such a development but will in future react in due proportion" and the two countries should "act with a maximum of responsibility", including by having military lines of communication in a crisis. The Pentagon has released video of the Russian plane hitting the U-S Drone:

➤PUTIN A GROWING RISK: A new report published by the US think tank Heritage Foundation has highlighted a growing risk the Russian president will 'make one of the most fateful decisions of the century' in the face of his faltering invasion of Ukraine. It also outlines how the Kremlin has worked itself 'into a state of near hysteria' about the 'ridiculous' assessment that NATO poses a military threat to the country. Since Putin invaded Ukraine, his propagandists have continued to threaten the UK with a nuclear holocaust - and the rhetoric has continued to escalate in recent months. The study, named The US and Its Allies Must Understand and Respond to Russia's Nuclear Threats, explores the actual likelihood that Putin will turn to using weapons of mass destruction.

U-S THREATENS TIK TOK: The US has told TikTok’s owners in China to sell their shares or risk a ban of the popular video-sharing app, people familiar with the matter said, a major escalation in the long-running standoff over privacy concerns around Chinese control of its data and algorithm. The Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the US made the demand recently to TikTok’s owner, ByteDance Ltd., the people said, indicating that the Biden administration has given up on a security review that was intended to blunt potential Chinese influence regarding the app. They asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations. TikTok’s leadership has been discussing the possibility of separating from ByteDance Ltd., its Chinese parent, to help address concerns about national security risks, Bloomberg News reported. One person said TikTok’s owners could retain some form of ownership but through a passive structure.

🏫STATE OF TEXAS TAKES OVER HOUSTON SCHOOLS: The state of Texas has taken over the Houston Independent School District, putting the education of its 200,000 students directly under the state’s control and angering Democrats, who denounced the takeover as politically motivated. The state government is controlled by Republicans while Houston is dominated by Democrats. The Texas Education Agency is expected to to replace the district’s superintendent and its elected board of trustees with its own appointees. Education Commissioner Mike Morath cited poor academic performance at Wheatley High School, one of the district’s 50 high schools, as well as poor performance at several other schools. The state’s Democratic leaders called for increased funding for schools and better teacher pay. The Texas State Teachers Association and the American Civil Liberties Union condemned the takeover.

➤MATERNAL DEATHS SURGING: Maternal deaths surged to the highest rate in nearly 60 years, data showed, exacerbating a yearslong trend that has made the U.S. the most dangerous place among high-income countries to give birth.  The number of women who died during pregnancy or shortly after rose 40% to 1,205 in 2021, compared with 861 in 2020 and 754 in 2019, the National Center for Health Statistics said Thursday. The increase pushed the maternal-mortality rate to 33 deaths per 100,000 live births, the highest since 1965, compared with 24 in 2020 and 20 in 2019. Covid-19 and disruptions during the pandemic added to pressure from factors including cardiovascular problems and healthcare disparities that have worsened maternal health in recent years, doctors and health officials said.

➤STUDY: MEDITERRANEAN DIET COULD CUT RISK OF HEART DISEASE BY 24%:  The Mediterranean has been linked to a 24% decrease in heart disease risk in women, according to a study published in the journal Heart. The study included 700,000 women in the U.S. and Europe whose heart health was tracked for about 12.5 years. Those who followed a Mediterranean diet, which focuses on veggies, whole grains, oily fish, legumes, nuts, olive oil, and fruit saw a 24% lower risk of heart disease. The Mediterranean diet may be good for your ticker because it's high in antioxidants, fatty acids, and fiber, while being low in refined carbs.

EPA TAKES STEPS TO REDUCE ‘FOREVER CHEMICALS’ IN WATER: The federal Environmental Protection Agency has proposed the first national standards for reducing the “forever chemicals” that linger in the air, the water, and in our bodies, where they can cause serious health problems. The rules would place limits on only six of the thousands of these substances that are present in the environment. It would require public water system operators to monitor the levels of these substances and work to reduce them if they exceed certain limits. A recent health advisory from the EPA said that the chemicals are far more hazardous to human health than previously known.

➤GEN Z SHACKING UP FOR LOVE AND TO SAVE: Record numbers of young, unmarried couples are moving in together. They’re doing it for love — and money. The need to save money served as a tipping point for many young couples who turned to cohabiting sooner than they might have otherwise, with inflation driving up the cost of almost everything from groceries to gas, and rent prices hovering near record highs.  A recent survey found that money was a main factor behind the decision to move in together for 80% of Gen Z couples. About one in four of the total respondents said living with a partner allowed them to save more than $1,000 a month. 

➤CNN'S KAITLAN COLLINS DROPS AGENT: Kaitlan Collins has dropped the 'superagent' she shared with her 'CNN This Morning' co-host Don Lemon just weeks after they reportedly got into a screaming match off-camera.  The journalist parted ways with United Talent Agency's Jay Sures recently amid the ongoing drama between her and Lemon, which first emerged in February.  In a statement to media outlets, Sures confirmed the separation and said, 'We wish her well with her future endeavors.'

Aaron Rodgers has finally decided what he wants, and he wants to join the New York Jets. In an appearance on "The Pat McAfee Show" yesterday, the veteran Green Bay Packers quarterback said he met with Jets management last week. He said the presence in New York of offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is a big factor in the Jets’ favor. Hackett coached Rodgers in Green Bay from 2019-2021. Any deal would require cooperation from the Packers, who still have Rodgers under contract. Rodgers has won four NFL MVP awards since joining the Packers in 2005.

🏈BUCCANEERS HAVE A REPLACEMENT FOR TOM BRADY: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed former Number 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield to a one-year, $8.5 million deal to replace retiring Tom Brady at quarterback. Now 27, Mayfield had a rough start to his pro career with the Cleveland Browns and the Carolina Panthers but made something of a comeback recently with the Los Angeles Rams.

🏀GRIZZLIES’ JA MORANT RETURNS NEXT WEEK: Ja Morant will be there on Monday when the Memphis Grizzlies take on the Dallas Mavericks. That will be at the end of what amounts to an eight-game suspension without pay, during which Morant attended a counseling program. He also has had a “discussion” with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver about his recent conduct, which Silver denounced in a statement as “irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous.” Morant, who is 23, has not been charged with any crime but has been accused of waving a gun around in several recent incidents.

🏀THERE WILL BE REPERCUSSIONS: Forward Trey Lyles of the Sacramento Kings will serve a one-game suspension and Brook Lopez of the Milwaukee Bucks has been fined $25,000. Those are the repercussions announced yesterday for the kerfuffle on the court between the Sacramento Kings and the Milwaukee Bucks after Monday’s game. To summarize the event: With 15.4 seconds left in the game, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo dribbled into Lyles path. Lyles fouled and then pushed Gianni in the back. Lopez confronted Lyles. Lyles grabbed Lopez by the neck and hit him in the face. Lopez and Lyles were both ejected. The Kings won 133-124.

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