10 things you need to know today: March 20, 2023
UBS agrees to buy Credit Suisse, Xi Jinping meets with Vladimir Putin, and more
UBS to buy Credit Suisse in government-backed deal
Swiss banking giant UBS on Sunday agreed to buy rival Credit Suisse in a historic deal aiming to restore calm amid a global banking crisis. UBS will pay $3.23 billion to acquire the 167-year-old Credit Suisse, Switzerland's second largest bank. UBS also will assume $5.4 billion in Credit Suisse losses, but the Swiss government, which pushed the deal, will backstop billions in potential losses. Just after the agreement was announced, the U.S. Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, and other major central banks issued statements seeking to ease market panic with assurances that customer deposits remain safe in the wake of the collapse of two regional U.S. banks earlier this month.
Xi Jinping visits Russia in show of support for Vladimir Putin
Chinese President Xi Jinping is meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Monday in a show of support. The trip comes after Putin, who made a surprise visit to the occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol over the weekend, was indicted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Ukraine. Xi's two-day visit is part of a diplomatic push by Beijing to increase its influence on the world stage. "This state visit in the middle of the war shows that Xi Jinping sees the relationship with Russia as absolutely quintessential," Alexander Gabuev of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace told ABC News.
Republicans, Democrats trade jabs over potential Trump charges
Republicans and Democrats sparred over the weekend about the possibility that Manhattan prosecutors will indict former President Donald Trump soon in connection with hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tweeted that charges against Trump would amount to an "outrageous abuse of power by a radical" district attorney. Other leading congressional Republicans called the investigation of Trump politically motivated. Democrats said Republicans are as afraid to denounce Trump now as they were before a mob of his supporters attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said McCarthy is "once again playing the part of criminal defense counsel to shield Trump from accountability."
Kim Jong Un says North Korea preparing nuclear counterattack capabilities
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for his isolated nation to be prepared for nuclear counterattacks as the United States and South Korea start major joint military drills, state media KCNA said Monday. North Korea staged its own exercises to strengthen its "war deterrence and nuclear counterattack capability" over the weekend, including the launch of a ballistic missile with a mock nuclear warhead, according to KCNA. The U.S. and South Korea have been conducting annual exercises this month, and continued with air and sea drills on Sunday. The U.S. and South Korean navies and marines are starting their first large-scale amphibious landing exercises in five years on Monday.
Lagos governor re-elected in win for Nigeria's ruling party
The governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, won re-election in a landslide, the Independent National Electoral Commission said Sunday. The result marked a victory for Nigeria's ruling All Progressives Congress party, coming weeks after the opposition came out on top in Lagos, the country's largest city and commercial center, in a disputed presidential election that Bola Tinubu of the APC won overall. With districts accounting for 95 percent of voters counted, the incumbent governor received 736,000 votes. His closest rival, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labor Party, had 292,000 votes. Powerful governorships were up for grabs in 28 of Nigeria's 36 states, but the Lagos election was the highest-profile race.
New York Community Bank agrees to buy major piece of Signature Bank
New York Community Bank has agreed to buy a big part of Signature Bank, the second bank to fail in the current banking crisis, in a $2.7 billion deal, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Sunday. Signature Bank's 40 branches will take the name of Flagstar Bank, a New York Community Bank subsidiary, on Monday, The Associated Press reported. The FDIC said NYCB will take over $38.4 billion in New York-based Signature Bank's assets, about a third of Signature's $110 billion total when it failed. Signature, based in New York, was a large commercial lender that had pushed into cryptocurrencies seeking growth.
S.C. teen who died near Murdaugh property to be exhumed for private autopsy
The family of a South Carolina teenager found dead near an estate owned by former lawyer Alex Murdaugh, who was convicted earlier this month in the double murder of his wife and younger son, said they had raised the money to exhume the victim's body and have an independent autopsy. Stephen Smith, a 19-year-old nursing student, was found dead on a rural road in Hampton County, South Carolina, in 2015. He died of blunt force trauma to the head, and investigators initially classified the death as a hit-and-run accident, then changed it to a homicide based on evidence found at the scene. The Murdaughs were named dozens of times by witnesses, but no arrests have ever been made in the case.
Kazakhstan ruling party strengthens majority in snap elections
Kazakhstan's ruling Amanat party held onto a firm majority in a snap parliamentary election on Sunday, Reuters reported, citing exit polls. Amanat appeared to have won 53 percent to 54 percent of the vote, securing President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev's control after he took power last year. The fresh, stronger mandate is expected to help Tokayev contain regional turmoil stemming from damage to trade and supply chains caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Tokayev formally became president in 2019, but he was overshadowed by his predecessor and former patron Nursultan Nazarbayev until their alliance was broken by an attempted coup in January 2022.
Avalanche kills Colorado skier
An avalanche killed a Colorado skier, 36-year-old Joel Shute, and injured two other people over the weekend, authorities said. Shute had been missing since Friday evening, and his body was recovered Saturday afternoon. He had been buried by an avalanche that swept 2,400 feet down a mountainside, covering an area 500 feet wide with several feet of snow and burying Shute under four feet of debris. A snowboarder who was with Shute and another skier touring backcountry southwest of the town of Marble hiked out to get help. Rescuers flew the injured skier out by helicopter.
Adam Sandler receives Mark Twain humor prize
Actor-comedian Adam Sandler received the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Sunday night. Sandler, 56, spent five years as a Saturday Night Live cast member. After leaving the show, he made a series of hugely successful movies in which he played man-child characters, including Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, and You Don't Mess with the Zohan. He also has received praise from film critics for dramatic roles in Punch Drunk Love and Uncut Gems. "Adam has created characters that have made us laugh, cry, and cry from laughing," Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter said in December when Sandler's prize was announced.