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Friday, May 5, 2023
Notations On Our World (Special Friday Edition): Out & About in the World This Week
We present the following on the week that was as we look forward to releasing our weekly Route 66 coming up next week.
SPECIAL EDITION: UKRAINE
Wagner mercenary leader threatens Bakhmut withdrawal. The leader of Russia's Wagner mercenary force, Yevgeny Prigozhin, threatens to withdraw his forces from Bakhmut due to excessive losses and a severe shortage of artillery ammunition.
Jinping, Zelensky hold first call since war's start. President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that he had a long and meaningful conversation with China’s President Xi Jinping. After the call, Zelensky appointed a new Ambassador to China, who announced that it will send a delegation to Ukraine.
Russian freight train derails after being hit by explosive device. Russian authorities say the region which borders the Ukraine has been attacked multiple times by pro-Ukrainian saboteurs since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Peru ex-President extradited from US, taken to prison. Peru's former President Alejandro Toledo, who served from 2001 to 2006, was jailed after arriving back in his homeland following extradition from the US to face charges of money-laundering and corruption during his mandate.
Guatemalan president pledges support for Republic of Taiwan. Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei pledged unconditional support for Taiwan's sovereignty. Guatemala is one of only 13 countries with official diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
110 people arrested in Turkey over alleged militant ties. The operation comes less than three weeks before elections and was focused on Diyarbakir, the largest city in Kurdish southeast Turkey. People were targeted based on accused links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party militant group.
Fiji's ex-Attorney General faces arrest and charges of office abuse. The case stems from a complaint lodged in February by the acting supervisor of elections, Ana Mataiciwa. Police Chief of Intelligence and Investigations, Sakeo Raikaci, confirmed the charges in a recent statement.
Algeria and Mali have declared their intent to revive the 2015 Malian Peace Pact, with both nations committing to fully implement its terms. The agreement aims to reduce regional tensions arising from a Tuareg insurgency against the government, a situation exacerbated by jihadist involvement.
IS leader killed in Syria by Turkish intelligence services. Syrian local and security sources said the raid took place in the northern Syrian town of Jandaris, which is controlled by Turkey-backed rebel groups and was one of the worst-affected in the February earthquake that hit both Turkey and Syria.
US sends nuclear submarines in South Korea pledge. The US will deploy nuclear-armed submarines to South Korea for the first time in decades — part of a new agreement that will signal Washington's commitment to defend Seoul against rising nuclear threats from North Korea.
China, Russia sign maritime MoU. China and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding designed to strengthen maritime law enforcement cooperation on terrorism, illegal migration, drug smuggling and weapons, and illegal fishing.
33 killed in Burkina Faso military base attack. Attack on Burkina Faso military base leaves 33 soldiers dead and 12 wounded, amid ongoing battles against al-Qaida and Islamic State rebels; UN calls for war crime investigations.
Tunisian morgues at capacity from recovered drown victims. Many migrants risking the dangerous sea crossing from Tunisia to Europe have drowned, resulting in morgues and hospitals in the city of Sfax reaching maximum capacity. Over 200 have died so far, with the number of migrants intensified due to conflict and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon dominates the American financial world like no one has since, well, J.P. Morgan.
It was the bank’s namesake who became de facto central banker and bailed out the U.S. financial system in the panics of 1893 and 1907. His protégé Thomas Lamont tried to play a similar role in 1929, although with less success. And of course, Dimon himself starred in the 2008 crisis, buying both Bear Stearns and then Washington Mutual. So no one should be surprised it was Dimon who stepped up this week to buy the operations of failing First Republic Bank.
For a brief time, the first J.P. Morgan was a target of Teddy Roosevelt’s trust-busting efforts. But in the end, he escaped largely unscathed. Why? Presumably because the powers-that-be decided he was more valuable as a friend than a foe. Dimon is now benefitting from a similar dynamic.
As Shawn Tully explains in this must-read Fortune piece, the federal law passed in 1994 allowing interstate banking limited the total share of the nation’s deposits that any one bank could hold to 10%. But that cap only applies to acquisitions. Since 2014, the nation’s three largest banks—JPMorgan, Bank of America and Wells Fargo—have all been over the threshold, in part because of their acquisitions in the last financial crisis, and therefore prohibited from buying other banks. JPMorgan’s share of deposits, prior to this purchase, stood at over 16%. But the 1994 act also included a loophole for banks rescuing other banks about to be shut down by the FDIC. And voila! JPMorgan’s coup.
Unlike the 2008 acquisitions, which happened as the financial problems were still gathering steam, this one seems to mark the end of the action. “I think the banking system is very stable,” Dimon declared in his comments. “This part of the crisis is over.” But it leaves JPMorgan bigger than ever, and Dimon as the man to see in a financial crisis.