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World’s oldest bank faces its end



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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Musk’s Empire



A plane arrives in China. On board, one of the world’s richest men. He’s come to convince authorities that he should be allowed to set up a brand new factory.

He is Elon Musk.

And this is his first trip to China in three years.

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Amazon employees walk out to protest office policies



Staff at warehousing giant Amazon have walked off the job to protest the company’s return-to-office program

Over 1,900 Amazon employees pledged to protest globally over proposed changes to the company’s climate policy, layoffs and a return-to-office mandate.

The activist group behind the rally is known as Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ), who are seeking a greater voice for employees.

“Our goal is to change Amazon’s cost/benefit analysis on making harmful, unilateral decisions that are having an outsized impact on people of color, women, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable people,” organisers said.

Over 100 people gathered at the heart of Amazon’s Seattle headquarters on Wednesday. The company said it had not witnessed any other demonstrations.

AECJ said the walkout comes after Amazon made moves “in the wrong direction”.

The company recently has recently overturned a desire to make all Amazon shipments net zero for carbon emissions by 2030.

The company maintains a pledge on climate change.

Amazon spokesperson Brad Glasser told Reuters the company is pursuing a strategy to cut carbon emissions.

“For companies like ours who consume a lot of power, and have very substantial transportation, packaging, and physical building assets, it’ll take time to accomplish.”

AECJ protesters also sought support for the 27,000 staff, who had lost their jobs in recent months —around 9 per cent of Amazon’s global workforce.

The company has also mandated a return-to-office program.

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The Great Resignation vs. The Great Burnout



As employees recover from the height of the pandemic, the Great Resignation has come to light

The pandemic saw the term ‘the great resignation’ coined as thousands of people resigned from their jobs across the U.S. in 2021 and 2022.

Karin Reed, the author of ‘Suddenly Hybrid said the great resignation was a period of employees taking control of their future.

“A lot of people realised in their current environment they were not happy with what they were doing with their job. They chose to vote with their feet and go elsewhere,

In other parts of the world, a spike in resignations was not reported.

However, a higher degree of workers began reporting post-Covid burnout, as they made a return to the office.

“There’s been a blurring of the lines. You have work that’s not confined by a physical space.

“Instead of closing the computer and walk away, our computer is in the next room.”

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