MIT's Jewish Group Irked Over Measly Suspension of Students Over Pro-Palestinian 'Die-In' Updated 8 minutes ago

Posted By: Jaydatt Chaudhary Posted On: Nov 15, 2023

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will suspend a handful of students from “non-academic” activities after they participated in a recent pro-Palestinian “die-in,” the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported. The decision was announced in a November 9 letter from MIT President Sally Kornbluth.

Kornbluth said the action was taken because “a line had been crossed” in the protesters' occupation of a university building. The protest, which occurred that day, was put on by a Pro-Palestine campus group known as the Coalition Against Apartheid (CAA). The CAA reportedly staged a “die-in” at MIT's main entrance, protesting Israel's actions in Gaza. Earlier, administrators warned against using the entrance or disrupting research. After Thursday's incident, some students are now facing potential suspension.

“Today's protest – which became disruptive, loud and sustained through the morning hours – was organized and conducted in defiance” of guidelines the university had issued to the students ahead of time, wrote Kornbluth on Thursday. The incident is the most recent instance on the US university campuses amid the Israel- Hamas war in Gaza.

In an open letter shared on X, posted by Israeli MIT professor Retsef Levi, a group named MIT Israel Alliance slammed the administration for not outright suspending the offending students. The group said that Jewish and Israeli students had been physically prevented from attending classes and that pro-Palestinian students had harassed Jewish MIT staff in their offices. “They have shown that actions against Jews at MIT do not have consequences,” the letter states.

“Many Jewish students fear leaving their dorm rooms and have stated that they feel MIT is not safe for Jews. This message is compounded by the public and private warnings of Hillel and many faculty that Jewish students should not enter MIT's main lobby today, November 9th, 2023,” the letter adds.

It states that the CAA hosted a blockade that not only disregards MIT guidelines, but also obstructs Jewish students from attending classes. “Some Jewish students who saw the administration's failure to respond to the targeted harassment of Jews on campus by the CAA came together to support each other and peacefully together stand against this threat to their safety,” it adds.

Source: News18
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Congress Doing Politics of Appeasement

Posted By: Ajay Rawat Posted On: Nov 28, 2023

The Congress in Rajasthan is doing politics of appeasement and the people are “very upset” with this, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Thursday and exuded confidence that the BJP will win the November 25 assembly polls.

Shah told a press conference here that the “Congress is losing in every corner while the BJP is winning”.

“In the last five years, the Congress has worked with the policy of appeasement and corruption. The people of Rajasthan are very upset with this,” he said. 2

“In the last five years, if anyone's condition has been the worst in Rajasthan, it has been that of women and Dalits. Politics of appeasement is at its peak under the (Ashok) Gehlot government. The Rajasthan government has not taken any action against rioters due to vote-bank politics,” Shah said. On seven guarantees announced by Chief Minister Gehlot, the senior BJP leader said, “Ashok Gehlot does not have any guarantee of his own, what guarantee is he giving?”

The BJP has a track record of fulfilling the toughest resolutions, Shah said while citing the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, the abrogation of Article 370 and the declaration instant triple talaq as illegal.

On who will be chief minister if the BJP forms government in the state, he said MLAs will decide and they will inform the BJP's Parliamentary Board about it. Then a decision for the chief minister's post will be taken, Shah said.

To a question on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi saying “PM means Panauti Modi”, the BJP leader said abusive words have been used against PM Modi and the public will respond to it in the elections. Shah also said the Modi government has provided direct benefits of central schemes to crores of people in Rajasthan in a transparent manner. On Gehlot terming the “red diary” issue a conspiracy of the BJP, he asked why Gehlot did not get this matter investigated. The “red diary” was brought out by his own MLA, Shah said. Sacked state minister Rajendra Gudha has been alleging that “illegal transactions” involving Gehlot and other leaders are recorded in the diary that he possesses.

Responding to Gehlot's allegation that Prime Minister Modi was trying to provoke the Gurjar community by making comments on late Congress leader Rajesh Pilot, he said Gehlot wears the “spectacle of caste”. He himself should first tell good things about Rajesh Pilot's son Sachin Pilot, Shah said. He said that Gehlot's only agenda is to launch his son Vaibhav Gehlot for the chief minister's post. Ashok Gehlot the magician vanished law and order, and now, voters will become the magician and vanish the Congress government in Rajasthan, he said. Asked about the old pension scheme, he said that “a committee has been formed and the committee is working on it.” Shah accused the Congress of being anti-dalit and said that it was former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi who had opposed the Mandal commission report. The Modi government has given constitutional status to the OBC (other backward classes), he said.

He said Rahul Gandhi speaks on points given by NGOs and till some new slip comes, he keeps on speaking on the old points.

Source: News18
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Gaza Is Falling Into ‘Absolute Chaos

Posted By: Anita Mamgai Posted On: Nov 28, 2023
Trucks carrying aid and fuel passed Palestinians heading south near Gaza City during a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas on Monday. IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS

A shaky cease-fire between Israel and Hamas has allowed a surge of aid to reach Palestinians in Gaza, but humanitarian groups and civilians in the enclave say the convoys aren’t nearly enough to address the needs of the strip’s two million people.

Despite the pause in fighting, Palestinians in Gaza are burning door frames and piles of garbage to cook, sleeping crammed into school classrooms and strangers' homes, and scrambling onto trucks bringing aid from Egypt in a desperate grab for supplies, residents say.

The cease-fire has also allowed Gazans a chance to bury the dead and to take stock of entire neighborhoods that have been reduced to rubble during seven weeks of Israeli bombing.

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is adding to international pressure on Israel and Hamas to extend the initial four-day cease-fire to allow more aid to flow in and to stabilize the situation for civilians in Gaza. Egyptian and Qatari mediators said Monday that it had been extended another two days to Wednesday, with Hamas later confirming the extension that will allow more hostages to be released.

Meanwhile, 1.7 million people are internally displaced, most of them crammed into the southern half of the Gaza Strip, after Israel demanded that civilians leave the north days after its military offensive began last month. Some say they are losing hope.

“I don't want humanitarian aid, I want to go back home to Gaza City," said Balsam Hisham, 35, a mother of six who fled the north and is living in a tent in the south. “I wish I was killed in Gaza and didn't have to live this life here."

Israel and Hamas began a cease-fire on Nov. 24 as a part of an agreement under which the militant group is slowly releasing hostages it took during the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel. In return, Israel has agreed to release about 150 Palestinian prisoners and allow an increase in deliveries of aid into Gaza.

More than 1,200 people were killed in the attacks, most of them civilians in towns neighboring Gaza. More than 14,800 Palestinians, most of them women and children, have been killed in the resulting Israeli offensive in Gaza, according to authorities in the Hamas-run enclave. The number doesn't distinguish between civilians and combatants.

Under the cease-fire agreement, humanitarian groups are allowed to dispatch 200 trucks a day to the Gaza Strip, more than at any point during the war. The convoys include deliveries of fuel to power generators at facilities, including hospitals. The Gaza Strip has had no regular supply of electricity since its sole power plant shut down on Oct. 11.

Israel, which declared what it called a “complete siege" of the Gaza Strip on Oct. 9, has said it is facilitating the flow of humanitarian aid into the Strip.

“We are currently focusing on humanitarian aid specifically for the wintertime, like tents, blankets and mattresses," Moshe Tetro, head of the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration for the Israeli military, said in a video tweeted on Sunday.

The number of trucks is still less than half the daily average that entered Gaza before the war. Among the problems compounding the crisis in Gaza is that the war has brought the economy grinding to a halt. Much of Gaza's food is brought in by truck from Israel and Egypt, with all shipments through crossings from Israel cut off by the Israeli government in retaliation for the Oct. 7 attacks.

The United Nations and other organizations say they are being forced to step in for the private sector, which has collapsed because of the war and blockade imposed by Israel. That has raised the challenge of sustaining the Gazan population during what is expected to be several more months of war.

“If there are no commercial goods in the stores, what we're doing effectively is actively turning an entire population into a population that exclusively relies on food aid, and that is so wrong in terms of managing Gaza," said Tamara Alrifai, a spokeswoman for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which runs the largest aid operation in Gaza.

Israel has said it plans to resume its military offensive in Gaza whenever the cease-fire ends. Israeli officials say that the military has largely routed the group in the north and that the next phase of the war will focus on uprooting Hamas from southern Gaza. Even during the initial four days of the cease-fire, Gazans say that the increase in deliveries of aid hasn't made a difference in their lives.

In Gaza City, which has been encircled by the Israeli military for weeks, Palestinians leapt onto aid trucks, pushing and shoving one another as a convoy arrived on Sunday, with residents scuffling over sacks of flour and blankets, witnesses said.

The situation in the northern Gaza Strip, including Gaza City, is especially desperate. Israel urged more than one million people living in northern Gaza to leave the area to give the Israeli military a freer hand to operate. Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, are estimated to have stayed, aid groups say.

Many stayed behind with sick, wounded or elderly relatives who were unable to move. Others chose to stay out of fear that they wouldn't be allowed back into their homes. Israel has told Palestinians who fled to the south not to return to the north for now, with Israeli forces using gunfire to disperse people who tried to enter the north over the weekend. The Israeli military said it warned people not to approach the area for their own safety.

“We're dealing with a completely new reality in Gaza," said Bushra Khalidi, a policy lead at Oxfam, an antipoverty charity. “It's been a glimpse into the future of what Gaza will be like after the war, and it's absolute chaos. There's no rule of law. There's no police. People are fending for themselves."

In southern Gaza, food and other essentials are more readily available, but an increasing number of Palestinians there say they can't afford the soaring prices of essentials such as flour and vegetables. Palestinians in the area say they are waiting hours, sometimes staying in line overnight, to obtain essentials such as bread and water. A single line for cooking gas in the southern city of Khan Younis stretched for more than a mile, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

“Everything is expensive and we don't have money. We have not gotten any humanitarian aid," said Suha Mahmoud, 45, who is staying in a university in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis after having fled when Israeli tanks approached her home near the seaport in Gaza City.

Like many other Palestinians, Mahmoud left her home carrying only a few possessions. She went to a local shop to buy a set of warm clothes for her 7-year-old daughter only to find that it would cost 50 Israeli shekels, or $13 dollars.

“We don't know what's going to happen after this pause, if we will ever go back home, if we will get any aid. We are heading into the unknown," she said.

Source: Live Mint
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ArcelorMittal South Africa lays off 3

Posted By: Pawan George Posted On: Nov 28, 2023
ArcelorMittal South Africa Ltd, controlled by ArcelorMittal SA, employed about 9,300 workers, including contractors. (REUTERS)

ArcelorMittal South Africa Ltd on Tuesday said it plans to shut down its long steel operations due to weak demand and persistent infrastructure problems, which will result in layoff of around 3,500 jobs.

In a statement, the steelmaker said that steel consumption in Africa's most advanced economy has fallen 20% over the past 7 years, due to limited infrastructure spend and project delays.

South Africa's persistent rail logistics problems and an intensifying electricity crisis had also added costs to the business, ArcelorMittal South Africa added.

“In the circumstances, the ArcelorMittal South Africa Board and Management have had no option but to embark on a process that contemplates the wind down of the Company's Longs Business, which for now may be placed in care and maintenance," said the company.

The 3,500 jobs that could be affected include full-time staff and contractors, said ArcelorMittal South Africa.

The steelmaker, controlled by ArcelorMittal SA, employed about 9,300 workers, including contractors.

After the announcement, shares of ArcelorMittal South Africa plunged as much as 17% in Johannesburg.

“The ArcelorMittal South Africa board and management have reached this point after having exhausted all possible options," Chief Executive Officer Kobus Verster said in the statement. “We have a duty to ensure that the business remains sustainable in the long term, in the interests of the company and its stakeholders."

ArcelorMittal South Africa's long steel unit produces fencing material, rail, rods and bars used in the construction, mining and manufacturing sectors.

It also produces foundry, flat steel and tubular products.

On the back of South Africa's electricity crisis, high inflation and weak demand from key steel consuming sectors, the company had reported a headline loss of 448 million rand in the first half to June 30, as compared with a 3 billion rand profit in the same period of the previous year.

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Source: Live Mint
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Two-State Solution

Posted By: Jaydatt Chaudhary Posted On: Nov 28, 2023

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will pay his third wartime visit to West Asia this week and meet Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv and with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah.

The US officials gave only a few details about the agenda of the meetings but a report by AFP citing senior American officials said the US secretary of state will discuss the principles he laid out for “future of Gaza and the need to establish an independent Palestinian state”.

“The secretary will stress the need to sustain the increased flow of humanitarian assistance to Gaza, secure the release of all hostages and improve protection to civilians in Gaza. (He will discuss) the principles he laid out for the future of Gaza and the need to establish an independent Palestinian state,” the official told the news agency.

The US is also pressuring Israel to work with the Palestinian Authority and rein in settlers who have launched attacks against Palestinian villagers in the West Bank since October 7.

Netanyahu is a long-time critic of Abbas and does not prefer the two-state solution.

The US and Biden have backed Israel following the Hamas-led October 7 attacks which killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, in Israel's deadliest-ever attack.

But they have also expressed concern regarding the Israeli retaliation's toll on civilians, which have galvanised public opinion in much of the world. The bombing and ground campaign has left almost 15,000 people dead, mostly Palestinian civilians, according to Gaza's Hamas government.

US President Joe Biden on Monday (local time) said he and his country will keep working towards the two-state solution and believes that it can bring lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians as Israel and Hamas extended their truce by 48 hours.

“A two-state solution is the only way to guarantee the long-term security of both the Israeli and the Palestinian people. To make sure Israelis and Palestinians alike live in equal measure of freedom and dignity, we will not give up on working towards that goal,” Biden said.

Both US President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier said that following the war Gaza should be unified with the Israeli-occupied West Bank under a “revitalised” Palestinian Authority (PA) led by Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas' PA, also known as Fatah, controls large parts of the West Bank in close coordination with Israel but Palestinians call them “collaborators”.

A report by the New York Times said that only a small section of people in the West Bank as well as Israel feel the authority is capable of governing a post-conflict Gaza. The West Bank Palestinians view Fatah as a subcontractor to the Israeli government which controls almost every aspect of life in the West Bank.

The report also pointed out that without the security provided by the Israeli Army the Fatah may struggle to even survive in the West Bank. It also said that Palestinians consider the Fatah authoritarian, corrupt and undemocratic administration.

The New York Times report said that if elections were held imminently, it is probable, based on what experts and polls suggest, that Hamas would win again.

Source: News18
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Israel-Hamas Conflict

Posted By: Pawan George Posted On: Nov 27, 2023

An estimated 50,000 demonstrators against antisemitism marched in London on Sunday to protest against a rise in hate crimes against Jews since the attack by Hamas militants on Israel in October and Israel's subsequent bombardment of Gaza.

Protestors carried placards bearing the messages “Shoulder to shoulder with British Jews” and “Zero tolerance for antisemites.” Others showed the faces of Israeli hostages held by Palestinian militant group Hamas. Some people sang in Hebrew while others chanted “Bring them home” in reference to the hostages. “I'm here to support my Jewish community and I think we must stand up for ourselves, otherwise if we won't stand for ourselves who will, you know?” Avraham El Hay, a student, said.

London's Metropolitan Police received reports of 554 antisemitic offences between Oct. 1 and Nov. 1, up from 44 a year earlier, a more than 10-fold increase. Reports of Islamophobic offences almost tripled to 220 in the same period. “I want this march to achieve for people to understand there is no place for racism in this country,” Kate Worth, a travel agent, said. “We are all equal. And it's absolutely unacceptable what is happening right now for Jewish people.”

Police arrested a far-right activist, Tommy Robinson, at the start of Sunday's march after he refused to leave the area at the request of police officers. Organisers of the demonstration had asked Robinson not to attend because of the distress his presence was likely to cause.

Police also arrested a man who they said was heard to make antisemitic comments. Sunday's march took place a day after a latest demonstration in the British capital by pro-Palestinian protestors calling for a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. Police estimated 45,000 people marched in the demonstration on Saturday while it said 50,000 took part in Sunday's protest.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism, which focuses on the concerns of Jewish people in Britain, said the gathering was the biggest of its kind since the so-called Battle of Cable Street in 1936 when British fascists clashed with opponents in an area of east London where many Jews lived at the time.

Source: News18
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We Continue Till Victory

Posted By: Jogendra Kumar Posted On: Nov 27, 2023

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday visited Gaza for the first time since the Israel-Hamas war began. He is the first prime minister of Israel in two decades to visit the Gaza Strip.

“We continue until the end — until victory,” footage posted online by his office showed him saying, on his first such trip since the war began October 7.

“Nothing will stop us, and we are convinced that we have the power, the strength, the will and the determination to achieve all the war's goals, and we will,” he further added.

Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 to its internationally recognized border with the enclave. It destroyed its 21 settlements there and handed the control of the coastal enclave to the Palestinian Authority (PA) but in 2007 the PA's Fatah Party was ousted from the enclave in a bloody coup.

The Israeli Prime Minister's visit to Gaza comes amid a four-day pause in the Gaza war.

Hamas took about 240 captives from southern Israel in an unprecedented October 7 terrorist attack and killed around 1,200 people, most of them civilians, according to Israeli officials.

Israel has vowed to eliminate Hamas and embarked on an aerial bombing campaign and ground invasion of Gaza and killed over 15,000 people, as claimed by Hamas.

The ceasefire agreement which spans for four days and is set to expire Monday midnight saw the release of 42 hostages. Hamas is expected to free a total of 50 hostages in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners in Israel over the course of a four-day pause brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the United States.

Hamas on Sunday said that the commander of its northern brigade and four other senior leaders were killed during Israel's offensive against the terrorist group. The Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades said Ahmed al-Ghandour was a member of its military council and said that three others, including Ayman Siyyam, head of its rocket division, were killed. The West Bank branch of Hamas also confirmed that another of its leader died.

Source: News18
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Will Gaza Truce Be Extended

Posted By: Jaydatt Chaudhary Posted On: Nov 27, 2023

Hamas wants to extend the pause in the ongoing war between the terrorist group and Israel, news agency AFP reported citing people familiar with the developments.

“Hamas informed the mediators that the resistance movements were willing to extend the current truce by two to four days,” the person mentioned above told AFP.

The person also said that Hamas believes it is possible to ensure the release of at least 20 to 40 Israeli hostages if the ceasefire deal is extended. “The resistance believes it is possible to ensure the release of 20 to 40 Israeli prisoners”in that time,” the person further added.

Under the truce deal 50 hostages held by the terrorist are to be freed over four days in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners. There is a built-in mechanism in the deal that extends the ceasefire if Hamas releases at least 10 Israeli captives each day.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is yet to show any indication that the offensive will halt anytime soon. He visited Gaza for the first time since the war began on October 7 and also became the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit the blockaded coastal enclave since 2005.

“We continue until the end — until victory,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in Gaza on Sunday as he met Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers stationed there. Dressed in green military fatigues, he vowed to free all the hostages and “eliminate Hamas”.

At least 58 hostages have been released from Gaza in the three days of the ceasefire, including citizens from Thailand, the Philippines and Russia. Israeli authorities have released 117 Palestinian women and children who were languishing in Israeli prisons.

The US has backed the plan of extending the ceasefire. Biden expressed a similar hope “so that we can continue to see more hostages come out and surge more humanitarian relief into those in need in Gaza”.

At least 120 aid trucks have entered Gaza through the Rafah border on Sunday, the Egyptian government told news agency CNN. The delivery of aid to the blockaded coastal enclave is one the crucial factors in sustaining the ceasefire and hostage-for-prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas.

On October 7, Hamas terrorists broke through Gaza's militarised border with Israel in the country's deadliest attack and killed about 1,200 Israelis and foreigners and took around 240 people hostage, according to Israeli authorities.

In response, Israel launched a military campaign to destroy Hamas, killing nearly 15,000 people, mostly civilians and including thousands of children, according to Gaza's Hamas government.

Source: News18
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Behind Credit Suisse’s Fall

Posted By: Vanshika Pathak Posted On: Nov 26, 2023
In the years leading up to its demise, Credit Suisse was hit by a series of scandals. PHOTO: DENIS BALIBOUSE/REUTERS

When Credit Suisse’s board met to approve the bank’s forced sale to UBS in March, paintings of every bank chairman since 1856 lined the boardroom.

A lawyer from Zurich, Urs Rohner, was the last to get a portrait. Chairman between 2011 and 2021, he wasn't there in person that day. But his tenure loomed over the proceedings. He had helped turn one of Switzerland's most solid institutions into a tinderbox.

In the immediate aftermath of Credit Suisse's demise, blame focused on external forces for causing the bank's rich clients to flee, especially the panic that ensued after the surprise collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. Switzerland's patchy financial regulation played a role too.

But insiders and investors combing over the wreckage say that Credit Suisse's board, headed by Rohner, was ultimately responsible. It was the bearer of a flawed culture that led the bank into a series of calamities.A Swiss parliamentary commission is studying the government's role in the Credit Suisse rescue, including its oversight of the bank's leadership.

In a speech this week, UBS Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti said Credit Suisse kicked its problems down the road and had “repeated risk-management and operational failures which undermined the credibility of its leadership and the board."

Former executives say that Rohner didn't set the right tone from the top to contain risks, and that he and his board resisted making sweeping changes when there was still time.

“The chairman's track record was atrocious," said David Herro, a partner at Chicago-based Harris Associates, once Credit Suisse's largest shareholder with holdings of around 10%. “It was a failure in risk management. The whole thing was stacked against the shareholders," he said.

Rohner, who currently sits on the board of drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, said the strategy was working when he left and pointed to a ratings upgrade the bank received in December 2020. He said that decisions made after his departure created the breakdown in customer confidence.

He and other former board members rejected that the board set the wrong tone or didn't do enough to address its challenges. Rohner's supporters said he behaved professionally and appropriately as chairman.

“We had a strong capital base. We had a very high liquidity base. And we had functioning businesses at that time that were all performing and were profitable," Rohner said. “We were on a path where the business could continue to be further developed."

He said that Credit Suisse delivered more than 37 billion Swiss francs of pretax profit in his board tenure, equivalent to $42 billion, and that legacy issues costing the bank more than 12 billion Swiss francs dated from before his time.

Over 167 years, the Credit Suisse name was woven into Switzerland, Wall Street and the wealth markets of Asia and the Middle East. It represented smart solutions, a penchant for risk and Swiss discretion.

The image flipped from financial fortitude to danger on Rohner's watch.

During his tenure, Credit Suisse's stock lost three-quarters of its value. A series of scandals—corrupt loans in Mozambique, a rogue wealth manager who stole a billionaire's money, the unraveling of a financing partner—culminated in Rohner's final days with one of the biggest sudden losses in banking, a more-than $5 billion hit from the collapse of family office Archegos Capital Management.

Other banks broke with the past after scandals and losses by changing leadership. Rohner remained as one of European banking's longest-tenured and best-paid chairmen.

Credit Suisse's existential crisis couldn't be steadied after he left at a board term limit. His successor, António Horta-Osório, pledged a cultural overhaul but resigned after nine months following a board investigation into his travel. The final chairman, Axel Lehmann, couldn't see through a last-gasp restructuring.

“It's ultimately a governance issue going back to the board of an inability to root outscandal and an unwillingness much earlier to wind down problematic units," said Steven Kelly, associate director of research at the Yale Program on Financial Stability. “When you're a bank, you have to cut risk early. At every scandal, they could have started the clock then," Kelly said.

This account is based on interviews with former board members and executives and people who worked with the bank, plus public and private documents.

When Rohner became chairman in 2011, Credit Suisse's fortunes appeared robust. The bank had sailed through the financial crisis while UBS needed a government bailout.

The Swiss lawyer cut an urbane figure around Zurich. He didn't have a background in banking. But he impressed an earlier chairman as Credit Suisse's top lawyer and chief operating officer in charge of compliance. Rohner's tactic was to dispute or delay payouts in probes and lawsuits, boosting short-term profit.

As a young man, he hurdled for Switzerland at European championships, and later said he wanted to write screenplays when he retired. Former colleagues describe him as well-mannered, intelligent and an excellent lawyer.

His tenure got off to a rocky start, in what some internally thought was an overly defiant attitude toward regulators.

In 2012, Switzerland's central bank blindsided Credit Suisse with a public call to quickly raise capital. Rohner fought back in a statement. The board was comfortable with the bank's health. Weeks later, Credit Suisse did as the central bank asked.

Around the same time, U.S. prosecutors stepped up a criminal probe into how the bank helped Americans conceal untaxed assets. UBS swiftly cooperated in a similar case in 2009 and paid a $780 million fine. Rohner and the bank's lawyers stalledand prosecutors said the bank gave only partial information.

The gambit backfired. Credit Suisse was criminally convicted in 2014 for conspiring to aid tax evasion, paying $2.6 billion. Justice Department prosecutors said the bank's inadequate cooperation and delays spurred the government to force the bank into a guilty plea.

Rohner, who headed legal and compliance during some of the alleged criminality, said he was personally clean in the matter. The bank blamed a small set of employees.

“We have a zero-tolerance approach to misconduct," the chairman said at the 2015 annual meeting.

The bank's CEO at the time, Brady Dougan, left not long after the bank's guilty plea. Rohner stayed.

His fellow directors included a Harvard professor studying workplace gender equality and a former inventor at Google. His vice chairman was the CEO of drugmaker Roche. A Qatari royal joined for a while, as did the son of a former Credit Suisse chairman.

Few had any experience at a large global bank, but their pay could be more than $1 million a year. Perks included invitations to horse racing on snow in St. Moritz and leadership sessions with brand ambassador Roger Federer.

“It was clear that the chairman and other board members did not have the right skill set," said David Samra, founding partner of the Artisan Partners International Value Team, which briefly invested in Credit Suisse after Rohner's departure.

Rohner recruited Tidjane Thiam, the CEO of U.K. insurer Prudential, to take over from Dougan. The Ivory Coast-born executive was a nonbanker, but the idea was he would pivot Credit Suisse to help manage the wealth of Asia's burgeoning rich.

In his first days, Thiam was briefed that the bank needed $10 billion or more for legal settlements stemming from lax controls. It badly needed capital, with less than 3% equity to total assets. Thiam felt he was misled into being Rohner's cleanup guy and presented net losses for three years.

Rohner told shareholders that Credit Suisse needed to evolve, but with the utmost care. He quoted from Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's novel “The Leopard" about the compromises of a fading aristocratic family: “If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change."

The new CEO hired hundreds of compliance officers and set up a conduct and ethics panel to assess transgressions. He reviewed client lists and ejected tens of billions of dollars from customers who raised red flags.

Relations chilled between the chairman and CEO. Ushers on Credit Suisse's second-floor executive suite learned to station their meetings in different areas.

Thiam's compliance net closed in on informal bank practices—including the chairman's. Rohner was close to the bank's Qatari shareholders. Some royal family members were clients, and Rohner wanted their margin calls waived on loans, according to former executives with knowledge of the request. Bank executives said no.

A person close to Rohner said he never asked for margin calls to be waived.

The chairman introduced a client to open an account, a billionaire he had met at an Eden Roc resort. According to the former executives, the account might have been approved previously, but compliance employees rejected it.

Something else interested new compliance managers. Credit Suisse was the main sponsor of the Zurich Film Festival, co-founded by Rohner's partner, Nadja Schildknecht. The chairman appeared with her and Hollywood stars. Some employees in compliance thought it put the bank in a tricky spot, a conflict of interest. Rohner said he wasn't involved in the sponsorship decisions. The sponsorship of the festival continued.

Other perks were questioned by executives. Rohner told a guard at Credit Suisse's headquarters to let a friend of his, a former bank board member, use its coveted employee parking in central Zurich. Thiam's chief operating officer found out and said no, it was against the rules. Rohner asked the COO, Pierre-Olivier Bouée, to think about the request carefully.

In mid-2019, Bouée balked at a plan by the chairman to fly the bank's supervisory and executive boards and spouses, around 50 people, to New York that fall to celebrate the bank's restructuring. Bouée, in charge of the bank's costs, thought it was extravagant. The celebration went ahead.

That summer of 2019, Credit Suisse's most promising young executive, Iqbal Khan, left for UBS after a personal dispute with Thiam. Khan had moved into the house next to Thiam's in an exclusive suburb, and their partners argued about trees affecting sight lines to Lake Zurich.

The departure had the potential to destabilize Credit Suisse's international wealth-management unit, which Khan led. To keep him from leaving immediately, Rohner agreed to cut his break period from six months to three, unusually short for a senior executive heading to a rival.

Bouée worried Khan might poach clients or staff and had him followed by private detectives. Khan spotted one, and the spying made international headlines. An intermediary who hired the investigators killed himself.

Rohner said the spying was unacceptable, and not part of the bank's toolbox. Thiam said he had no knowledge of the spying. The financial regulator later found that the bank ordered spying at least seven times between 2016 and 2019.

That October, a senior bank executive filed a whistleblowing complaint. The executive claimed that the bank had Thiam followed around London before Rohner hired him, and that the executive got the information from a senior human-resources employee. When interviewed by bank-hired lawyers, the human-resources employee denied having discussed the alleged spying. The lawyers didn't find evidence it happened.

Thiam wasn't interviewed by the lawyers but suspected he was surveilled.

While the spying scandal raged, Rohner invited Thiam to his 60th birthday party. The entertainment included a Black performer with a broom. Thiam felt it was a message that he was handling Rohner's messes. Rohner had no say on the entertainment, according to a person familiar with the evening.

Nevertheless, the bank was in profit again. Asia growth was back on the table. Herro, the Harris Associates partner, and two other investors called for Rohner to back Thiam or resign.

Instead, Rohner and the board asked Thiam to leave in February 2020, without a handover.

Herro said he considered selling the stock then, but knew Rohner would soon hit a term limit.

“It was only one more year," Herro said. “What could happen?"

Patricia Kowsmann contributed to this article.

Write to Margot Patrick at margot.patrick@wsj.com

Source: Live Mint
Related Posts: CREDIT SUISSE,CREDIT SUISSE FAILURE,CREDIT SUISSES DOWNFALL,URS ROHNER,FALL OF CREDIT SUISSE,UBS,SWISS BANKS,SILICON VALLEY BANK COLLAPSE,CREDIT SUISSE RESCUE,GLAXOSMITHKLINE

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Israel Reminds Ireland’s Indian-Origin PM of IDF's Role after Hamas Frees 9-Yr-Old Irish-Israeli Girl Updated 8 minutes ago

Posted By: Ramesh Sharma Posted On: Nov 26, 2023

When nine-year-old Irish-Israeli girl Emily Hand was released by Hamas terrorists on Saturday, Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy began a war of words on social media site X with the Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.

Emily was among the latest group of hostages released by Hamas terrorists on Saturday. “This is a day of enormous joy and relief for Emily Hand and her family. An innocent child who was lost has now been found and returned, and we breathe a massive sigh of relief. Our prayers have been answered,” Varadkar said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

Israel government spokesperson Eylon Levy reacted to the post by writing: “Emily Hand wasn't “lost”. She was brutally abducted by the death squads that massacred her neighbours. She wasn't “found”. Hamas knew where she was all along and cynically held her as a hostage. And Hamas didn't answer your prayers. It answered Israel's military pressure,” Levy said.

Levy and the Israeli government have been unhappy with Ireland regarding its response to the October 7 attacks.

Israel and Ireland relations have been frustrated because of Ireland's full support of Palestine and Palestinian non-violent political movements.

The Irish PM Varadkar also accused Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission's president, of “lacking balance” and leaning towards Israel.

Ireland was the first EU state to endorse Palestinian statehood – in 1980. The Irish diplomat Niall Holohan who was based in Ramallah from 2002-2006 told the Guardian that Ireland has a history of siding with the ‘underdogs', referring to Palestinians.

“We feel we have been victimised over the centuries. It's part of our psyche – underneath it all we side with the underdog,” Holohan was quoted as saying.

Levy also referred to Irish support for the Palestinian cause in his post. “Without Israel's military pressure on Hamas, which Ireland shamefully called “something approaching revenge,” little Emily Hand would still be a hostage of Hamas. It's not that Hamas “was blind, but now it sees” (if the above statement is an allusion to Amazing Grace),” Levy said.

Amazing Grace is a hymn written in the late 1700s by John Newton.

Hamas on Saturday released a second group of Israeli and foreign civilians it had been holding hostage in the Gaza Strip in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

Israeli authorities said 13 Israelis and four Thai citizens had returned to Israel.

Source: News18
Related Posts: IRELAND,ISRAEL-PALESTINE,LEO VARADKAR

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Here's how innovative practices are helping farmers battle water scarcity

Posted By: Jaydatt Chaudhary Posted On: Nov 26, 2023
As the agriculture sector grapples with a stiff challenge, entities working in the sector are constantly working to beef up their R&D processes (Bloomberg)

Innovation is the buzzword across sectors and keeping up with the times, the agriculture sector is also looking at ingenious ways to boost productivity and usher in sustainable practices as climate concerns threaten to upend the ecosystem.

As the agriculture sector grapples with a stiff challenge, entities working in the sector are constantly working to beef up their R&D processes to help the sector acclimatise to the rapidly changing environment.

Taking a holistic approach, Crystal Crop Protection Limited, a leading agrochemical company, is developing products to help the agriculture ecosystem tide over this challenging phase. Leveraging cutting-edge genetics to enhance crop yields through high-yielding seeds of high nutritive value and a wide range of crop protection chemicals, the entity has been working at the grassroots level with an aim to uplift the main stakeholder — the farmer.

“As an organisation, we take a ‘Farmers First' approach. Our endeavour has always been to ensure that Indian farmers are not hamstrung by lack of resources. As such, our R&D efforts are overseen by a team of over 40 scientists specialising in diverse aspects of agriscience and we strive to develop solutions that are not only effective in delivering high-yielding products but also affordable to smallholder farmers, ultimately enhancing their income and improving farming practices," said Sunil Kurchania, Senior VP-R&D, Crystal Crop Protection Limited.

While precision agriculture leverages advanced methods like drones, sensors and satellites to optimise farming practices, the challenge of water scarcity and limited arable land in farming is being addressed through vertical farming. It is an innovative R&D strategy that is constantly growing in prominence. It utilises vertical space in controlled environments, enabling crops to be grown in stacked layers, thus optimising land use and significantly reducing water consumption. This allows for year-round cultivation regardless of weather conditions and is especially beneficial in urban areas.

Furthermore, R&D is looking beyond tradition chemical pest control methods with regards to the detrimental effects these methods have on the environment. R&D efforts are now being focused on Biological pest control methods that utilise natural enemies of pests, such as predators, pathogens and parasites. This process requires extensive study on the pest life cycle and involves mass culture of its natural enemies.

They are then periodically released into sites where the target pests are abundant.

The end goal of the global agriculture sector is to ensure high productivity and sustainability across a diverse range of geographical locations without compromising on the health of the ecosystem. With that as a target, R&D is working to create inbuilt resistance in plants against pests so that the use of chemicals can be minimised and make crops tolerant to weedicides in order to make minimally invasive and regenerative agriculture possible.

Milestone Alert!Livemint tops charts as the fastest growing news website in the world 🌏 Click here to know more.

Source: Live Mint
Related Posts: INNOVATION,CLIMATE CONCERNS,CRYSTAL CROP PROTECTION LIMITED

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