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HSBC’s Swiss private banking arm breached money-laundering rules, regulator finds

HSBC’s Swiss private banking arm breached money-laundering rules by failing to carry out adequate checks on the high-risk accounts of two politically exposed individuals, Switzerland’s banking regulator has found.HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) has been banned from taking on any new high-risk customers until it has completed a full review of its business relationships, Switzerland’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) said.The watchdog found that the bank had operated two high-risk business relationships where it had failed to carry out an adequate check of either the origins, purpose or background of the assets involved.A number of high-risk transactions were insufficiently clarified and documented, making it impossible to establish their legitimate nature. They were carried out between 2002 and 2015 and totalled more than $300m (£236m, €279m)

June182024
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France now ‘most unloved’ European stock market; Le Pen victory would push up French debt, warns Goldman Sachs – as it happened

France’s national debt could surge higher if Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) party wins an absolute majority in the national assembly elections, Goldman Sachs has warned.Goldman predicts that, if in power, the far-right would deliver a sizeable fiscal expansion, sending France’s debt-to-GDP ratio up to 120% by 2027.That highlights why France has turned into the most unloved European equity market (see earlier post).In contrast, under” “a status quo electoral outcome”, debt would stabilise at 113% of GDP in 2027, Goldman estimates.And if France is left with a hung parliament that does not allow any political group to pass meaningful tax or spending measures, debt could rise to 116% of GDP

June182024
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As Wall Street pulls away from DEI, Goldman Sachs backs Black women: ‘Our commitment is strong’

At a time when conservative legal activists are targeting diversity measures in corporate America, Goldman Sachs has announced it is expanding a component of one of its philanthropic equity programs.The One Million Black Women initiative, a program the company started in 2021, aims to dedicate $10bn in investment and $100m in philanthropic spending to address racial and gender inequality over the course of 10 years.The firm said it has spent over $2.3bn in investment capital and another $33m towards philanthropic since the initiative launched. And this fall, Goldman is doubling the number of entrepreneurs it is accepting into its Black in Business no-cost education program, which is open to early-stage business owners with no employees and who have been running their business for at least a year

June182024
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Rail season ticket use in Great Britain falls to record low

The use of rail season tickets in Great Britain has plummeted to the lowest level on record, driven by a rise in working from home since the Covid-19 pandemic.The number of rail journeys made by people using season tickets fell to 13% in the year to 31 March, from 15% in the previous year, according to figures from the Office for Rail and Road, the industry regulator. This is the lowest figure since records started in 1986-87.Before the pandemic, in the year to March 2020, more than one-third (34%) of journeys were made using season tickets.Income from season tickets is a crucial component of railways’ revenue

June182024
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Britons cut back on spending despite fall in grocery inflation, says Kantar

Britons have cut back on their supermarket shopping and traditional summer purchases because of recent poor weather, even though grocery price inflation slowed further, according to a report.Supermarket prices were 2.1% higher than a year ago in the four weeks to 9 June, according to the retail researchers Kantar. This is down from May’s 2.4% inflation rate, and marks the 16th month that price rises have slowed

June182024
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BYD: China’s electric vehicle powerhouse charges into Europe

Threat of EU tariffs may not be enough to slow carmaker in its attempt to challenge Tesla on global stageGermany’s men kicked off Euro 2024 on Friday in Munich. The city is storied in football terms, but it also occupies an important place in Germany’s self-image for a different reason: Munich is home to BMW, one of the country’s car exporting powerhouses.Yet it will not be the logos of BMW or German rivals including Volkswagen or Mercedes-Benz plastered on stadiums or television coverage. Instead, China’s BYD is the only carmaker to sponsor Europe’s premier international tournament.Auto Trader said the advertising campaign was responsible for a 69% week-on-week increase in views of BYD models on its website, during the first weekend of the tournament from Friday to Sunday

June182024
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New Marks & Spencer building will be a showcase for low-carbon design | Letter

I write in response to Oliver Wainwright’s piece about our proposed building for Marks & Spencer on London’s Oxford Street (‘Public vandalism’: M&S wants to flatten its art deco flagship store – here are six alternative options, 7 June). As architects, we understand the benefits of retrofit, but at Oxford Street it simply isn’t feasible.Our proposal secured support from Westminster council, the London mayor and the independent planning inspector. The highly experienced and wholly independent inquiry inspector dismissed Save Britain’s Heritage’s retrofit scheme as “so deeply problematic, even for Oxford Street, that no-one would be likely to pursue it or fund it”.The site contains three buildings of poor quality – unlisted and excluded from the surrounding conservation areas – with misaligned floor levels, cores and column grids, resulting in a confusing environment for customers that is highly problematic for M&S – or any retailer – to operate

June182024
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Electric carmaker Fisker files for US bankruptcy protection

The electric car company Fisker has filed for US bankruptcy protection, making it the latest EV startup to collapse trying to challenge the established car industry.The company was started in 2016 by the husband-and-wife team Henrik Fisker and Geeta Gupta-Fisker. It is the second attempt by Fisker, a former Aston Martin design chief, to establish an EV challenger that has ended in bankruptcy.Alongside focusing on green manufacturing methods, Fisker also used an unusual “asset-light” production model. This relied on contract manufacturers to assemble its cars, avoiding the huge investments required to build factories

June182024
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Does what happens on your iPhone still stay on your iPhone?

AI is power-hungry, and that’s causing problems for Apple.We’re still working through the ramifications of the company’s worldwide developers conference, where it revealed how it intends to incorporate AI into your daily life – but only, for the most part, if your daily life involves a brand new iPhone:Apple’s new AI models will run on the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, the only two devices the company has yet shipped with its A17 processor. Macs up to three years old will also be able to take advantage of the upgrade, provided they have a M1, 2 or 3 chip, and so too will iPad Pros with the same internal hardware.The cheaper iPhone 15 models run the A16 Bionic, a chip that debuted in 2022. They also have 6GB of memory, compared with the 8GB included on their more expensive Pro siblings, which may be the pertinent difference, since the M1 chips which can run AI models on the Mac are equivalent to 2020’s A14 iPhone processors

June182024
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Sam Bankman-Fried funded a group with racist ties. FTX wants its $5m back

Multiple events hosted at a historic former hotel in Berkeley, California, have brought together people from intellectual movements popular at the highest levels in Silicon Valley while platforming prominent people linked to scientific racism, the Guardian reveals.But because of alleged financial ties between the non-profit that owns the building – Lightcone Infrastructure (Lightcone) – and jailed crypto mogul Sam Bankman-Fried, the administrators of FTX, Bankman-Fried’s failed crypto exchange, are demanding the return of almost $5m that new court filings allege were used to bankroll the purchase of the property.During the last year, Lightcone and its director, Oliver Habryka, have made the $20m Lighthaven Campus available for conferences and workshops associated with the “longtermism”, “rationalism” and “effective altruism” (EA) communities, all of which often see empowering the tech sector, its elites and its beliefs as crucial to human survival in the far future.At these events, movement influencers rub shoulders with startup founders and tech-funded San Francisco politicians – as well as people linked to eugenics and scientific racism.Since acquiring the Lighthaven property – formerly the Rose Garden Inn – in late 2022, Lightcone has transformed it into a walled, surveilled compound without attracting much notice outside the subculture it exists to promote

June162024
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England move under lights to take on peak-form West Indies

The daytime starts in this men’s T20 World Cup may be kinder to British newspaper deadlines and, they claim more importantly, the television audience in India. But Twenty20 cricket in the Caribbean is really all about the bacchanal after dark; those sultry, steamy evenings under lights, where the white ball flies into stands that are already pulsing to a soca beat.After four group games before sunset, England will step into the calypso tent at 8.30pm local time on Wednesday night, 1.30am back home, for their first night game of the tournament

June182024
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Boston’s brilliant technocrats micromanaged their way to the NBA title

This Celtics team, while not quite as luminously talented as peak Steph Curry Golden State, have much of their predecessors’ machine-like air of inevitabilityA blizzard of confetti across the parquet floor at TD Garden; the words “Jaylen Brown finals MVP” no longer a punchline used to taunt the Massachusetts basketball faithful but solid, unarguable reality; the Larry O’Brien trophy in the hands of Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck; and Boston confirmed, with their 18th championship, as the most successful franchise in NBA history.Were these the worst NBA finals – for neutrals, at least – in recent memory though? A 4-1 scoreline certainly suggests so, and the manner of the Mavericks’ capitulation on Monday night – gamely keeping pace for the first 10 minutes of the first quarter before Boston made the title all but secure by half-time – applied a weak punctuation mark to what had been a rousing Dallas effort in Game 4. In the end, Kyrie Irving failed to show up on the court that once sang his name, the Mavericks supporting cast reverted to mediocre type, and the velvet hands and magic buttocks (and dodgy knee, and injured chest) of Luka Dončić simply had nothing left to give against a Boston outfit that was too smooth, too strong, too powerful at both ends of the court. With this 18th title, after 16 Larry O’Brien-less years, the Celtics now move ahead of their historic rivals the Lakers in the NBA’s all-time championship tally.This was a victory for process, systems, the patient rebuild, the steady climb – the ultimate victory of the collective over the individual, cooperation over glory-seeking, technocracy over virtuosity

June182024