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World’s oldest bank faces its end

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The world’s oldest bank, Italy’s Monte dei Paschi di Siena, founded in 1472, could be swallowed by rival UniCredit after performing poorly in a stress test

The bank’s performance was worse than any other in a test of its financial health by European regulators, the latest dark chapter in a saga of failed deals, financial mishandling, criminal wrongdoings and even a mysterious death.

The test revealed a severe recession would effectively destroy the bank’s capital – news which has forced the Italian governments hand.

UniCredit, one of Italy’s largest banks, said last month that plans were being made to buy Monte dei Paschi, on the condition that the government keep all the bad loans.

Downfall shrouded in controversy

In 2013, as police investigated allegations that bank executives hid losses from regulators and shareholders, Monte dei Paschi’s head of communications was found dead in an alley below his window in an apparent suicide.

Officials did not find conclusive evidence of any wrongdoing.

Then, in 2019, several Monte dei Paschi executives were convicted of illegally using complex derivatives to cover up bank problems. They have since appealed.

The news comes amidst Italy’s prolonged efforts to rebuild its economy

Mario Draghi, the Italian prime minister and former president of the European Central Bank, has been pushing for reforms which could drag the country out of its slump.

Italian PM Mario Draghi

Monte dei Paschi’s termination “would free resources, time and political capital for more important issues,” says Lorenzo Codogno, a former chief economist at the Italian treasury who is now an independent consultant.

“There is strong political pressure to find a solution as soon as possible”.

Banks with similar issues to Monte dei Paschi would have been sold long ago, but because of the city’s historical ties to the bank, some citizens are reluctant to see it go. The sale to UniCredit is likely to lead to as many as 5,000 job cuts, a third of the total, according to Italian news reports. It remains the city of Siena’s largest private employer, and few banks across the world are as interwoven in the fabric of the city as Monte dei Paschi once was.

The potential sale to UniCredit is now an issue in city and parliamentary elections, with many politicians calling for the city to move on from its economic and psychological connections with the bank.

Enrico Letta, former prime minister of Italy who is now running for office in Siena, argues that its time and tide the city invest in other avenues, like healthcare.

“Siena wanted to be the capital of finance, Siena can be the capital of life sciences,” Mr Letta said.

“We have to give Siena a new mission”.

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Apple exec fired over crude TikTok video

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Apple’s vice president of procurement, Tony Blevins, has been fired from the company after his crude remarks in a TikTok interview went viral

Apple has fired its vice president of procurement, Tony Blevins for making crude comments in a viral TikTok video.

It all started with an interview that went horribly wrong. Creator Daniel Mac posted a video where he asked Blevins what he does for a living, and Blevins response didn’t reference anything respectable.

“I race cars and play golf and fondle big-breasted women. But I take weekends But I take weekends and major holidays off,” Blevins replied.

The video has been viewed over 1.3 million times.

The video didn’t identify Blevins by name and didn’t reference his position at Apple, though Blevins does note that his job offers “a hell of a dental plan.”

But Apple moved quickly to fire Blevins, saying the comments don’t align with their values and respect of women.

Apple is known for being a family-friendly company, so it’s no surprise that they wouldn’t want an employee making crude jokes on TikTok.

This just goes to show that you should be careful what you say on social media.

Ton Blevins

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Apple downgrade signals broader tech problem

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Apple’s downgrade by Bank of America sparked a selloff in tech stocks, sending shares of Alphabet and Microsoft to one-year lows.

The move came as investors rotated out of growth stocks and into more defensive assets to deal with higher interest rates and get ahead of a possible recession.

Apple’s stock fell sharply after the downgrade, while shares of other major tech companies also tumbled.

The selloff in tech stocks weighed on the broader market, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both falling sharply.

The market’s declines were broad-based, but the tech sector was hit particularly hard.

The Nasdaq Composite Index fell more than 3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both declined more than 2%.

The market’s sell-off was sparked by a downgrade of Apple’s stock by analysts at Bank of America.

The downgrade came as investors are increasingly worried about the outlook for the tech sector.

Shares of Apple have fallen sharply this year, and the stock is now down more than 30% from its highs.

Other major tech stocks have also been under pressure, with shares of Alphabet, Facebook, and Amazon all down significantly from their highs.

The market’s sell-off on Thursday was a continuation of the recent trend of investors rotating out of growth stocks and into more defensive assets.

The rotation out of growth stocks has been driven by concerns about higher interest rates and a possible recession.

Investors have been flocking to safe-haven assets such as gold and government bonds.

The market’s sell-off on Thursday also came as oil prices fell sharply, with West Texas

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Stadia gaming goes in Google cost-cutting

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Google’s digital gaming service Stadia is shutting down, the latest casualty in the company’s ongoing cost-cutting efforts.

Launched in 2019, Stadia ran on phones and the Chrome browser but failed to gain traction with users. In a blog post Thursday,

Google says the company had made “the difficult decision to begin winding down our Stadia streaming service.”

It’s is not the first time Google has shuttered a gaming project.

In 2016, the company closed down its Nexus Player game console. And in 2019, it stopped selling its Stadia controllers and canceled a planned cloud gaming service for smartphones.

With the closure of Stadia, Google becomes the latest company to abandon the cloud gaming market, after a difficult year for the industry and tech stocks.

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