heute journal v 19.03.23: UBS übernimmt Credit Suisse, Putin in Mariupol, Getreideabkommen (english)
TURMOIIL FOR SWISS BANKING: UBS TAKEOVER OF CREDIT SUISSE PUTIN'S PROPAGANDA WAR: VISIT TO OCCUPIED MARIUPOL DEEP-SEA MINING CONTROVERSY: INDUSTRY'S PLANS FOR THE OCEAN FLOOR And now, the nightly news with Heinz Wolf and Marietta Slomka. Good evening. Who would have thought the ever-reliable Swiss banking sector, of all players, would be the one to have global financial markets holding their breath? Credit Suisse is in such dire straits that the government and banking supervisory authorities have pulled the handbrake and practically forced its takeover. The news was announced this evening at a highly anticipated press conference.
The major UBS bank, which until now has been a competitor of the smaller Credit Suisse, must now come to the rescue. That, in itself, is an astonishing development. Eva Schiller reports on a dramatic day in Bern. At the eleventh hour, after days of crisis meetings, they moved to restore calm and salvage the reputation of the Swiss banking sector.
UBS will take over the stricken Credit Suisse, with the support of 100 billion Swiss francs in liquidity assistance from the state, plus 100 billion in loans. Credit Suisse was an incalculable risk for our country and for the international financial sector. It is therefore our responsibility to do everything we can to prevent a financial crisis. This solution has risks, but the risks for the state and for taxpayers are significantly lower than in any other scenario. It is the most significant bank merger in Europe since the Global Financial Crisis.
UBS will buy its competitor Credit Suisse for 3 billion Swiss francs. A new Swiss mega-bank will be created at the insistence of the Swiss government. It's an extraordinary situation. Someone is literally being forced to buy something.
With such big, internationally integrated banks, they can never know exactly what they're buying. In fact, UBS has to buy something without any opportunity to do due diligence beforehand. It remains unclear how many of Credit Suisse's 50,000-plus employees will lose their jobs as a result of the merger. And will the Swiss mega-merger be able to calm the international financial world? That depends on what happens tomorrow, when the markets reopen.
Our economics and finance expert Frank Bethmann joins us in the studio. Hello. -One thing is clear, something had to happen today, right? Yes, time was running short.
The markets in the Far East were set to reopen in a few hours. The problem had to be solved by then, because an uncontrolled Credit Suisse crash would probably have triggered the next banking crisis. We were on the brink of that today. Credit Suisse is simply too big to fail. It is one of the 30 banks that can pull others down with them when things go wrong. It is heavily involved in the US market, and also in Great Britain.
These are large, important financial markets. If there's one thing we learned from the Global Financial Crisis of 15 years ago, it's that you have to bring the ship into safe harbour before the markets reopen. And that's why major decisions like this tend to be made on Sundays.
Yes, it's always a Sunday. Looking at the rescue from UBS's point of view, isn't it a bit of a raw deal, being shackled to an ailing bank like this? Yes, UBS resisted this forced marriage right up until the end. But it was in a strong negotiating position because the merger was the quickest option with any chance of success, and the clock was ticking. And that's why it was able to negotiate in a few safety nets. Among other things, Credit Suisse has risks on its balance sheet.
Hence, the Swiss government is going give UBS a 9 billion franc guarantee. The deal also includes a solid 100 billion francs in liquidity assistance for the two banks. So, this was an all-out effort to show that the banks are now stable.
The alternative would have been for the Swiss state to step in directly. Now of course, the big question is: Will this be enough to calm the markets, which are obviously very nervous at the moment? Yes, that's the million-dollar question. The Swiss have brought out the big guns and everyone is hoping it's enough. The message is very clear: starting tomorrow, it's business as normal for all banks. Credit Suisse, too, can go about all its normal banking business.
And, as we've just seen, the Swiss Finance Minister said they were aware the situation extended beyond Switzerland and that they had a responsibility to act. You could even say Switzerland's reputation as a financial centre was at stake. They were worried that people would start saying: If our money's not safe in Switzerland, then where is it safe? Indeed.
Frank, thank you for sharing your expert opinion this evening. The Swiss banking deal was undoubtedly the news story of the day. And the image of the day? That was the Russian propaganda video, purporting to show Vladimir Putin at the wheel, driving through Mariupol at night. Mariupol, of all places, the occupied port city that the Russians have reduced to rubble. Of all places, the city from which, according to Ukrainian data, the most children have been abducted.
It is perhaps no coincidence that the Kremlin released this video two days after an international arrest warrant was issued against Putin. It could also be seen as Putin giving the world the middle finger. Dominik Lessmeister reports.
This night-time visit was carefully orchestrated by the Kremlin. President Putin himself is driving through occupied Mariupol. At least, that's what was shown on Russian state television. This area is already largely rebuilt.
There are even playgrounds. -Yes, exactly, playgrounds. It's Putin's first trip to the Russian-controlled area. Here, he's visiting a newly built housing area with the Russian deputy prime minister.
They discussed details of a playground reconstruction project. Local residents appear astonished and curious as they encounter the president, seemingly by coincidence, during his visit. This woman calls the area a little piece of paradise. Putin is shown apartments. "Thank you for coming," says this man. Firstly, this is a response to the deeply entrenched image of Putin as a "bunker grandpa," who never leaves the safety of his bunker and is afraid of everything.
Secondly, it's a response to President Zelenskyy's trips to the front and US President Biden's visit to Kyiv. The Ukraine government has condemned the visit. On Twitter, presidential adviser Podolyak wrote: "The murderer of thousands of families in Mariupol came to admire the ruins of the city and its graves." The destruction of Mariupol remains hidden from Russian TV viewers. So too does the city's bombed theatre, where hundreds of civilians died a year ago.
The Russian occupiers have since demolished it. In Ukraine, fighting continues, including in the town of Bakhmut, which Ukrainian defenders continue to hold. But the weekend also brought these images: Canadian Leopard tanks being loaded into an aircraft bound for Ukraine. Here to discuss the current state of the war in Ukraine is military expert Gustav Gressel.
He is a researcher at the European Council on Foreign Relations, and an expert on Eastern Europe and Russia. Good evening, Mr Gressel. -Good evening. What's your assessment of the military situation in Ukraine right now? As a layperson, I get the feeling that things have stalled somewhat. There's nothing really happening. There's a lot of death and destruction, but the Russians are not really gaining any ground.
Yes, the situation is extremely tense. "Not really gaining any ground" is an exaggeration, though. There are new reports that the Russians have reached the Siversk region, and have made advances south of Bakhmut. At the same time, there are reports of Ukrainian counterattacks. So, the front is not entirely static. However, the picture currently emerging is probably not what many were expecting from Russia's spring offensive.
It's more small-scale and piecemeal than spring offensives in the days of the Red Army. But then, Putin's army is not the Red Army. It is a completely different beast. And it has suffered heavy defeats, even in the initial phase of the war. It is now sending in reservists, as well as officers who were rushed through their training so they could be sent to the front. And the situation on the ground reflects that.
It hardly seems like a clean sweep. On the other hand, Ukraine does not appear to be showing any signs of the major counteroffensive that it had announced. Just as we saw on several occasions last year in Kherson, we will probably see more talk than actual action.
That's because Ukraine first needs to weather the Russian offensive. It has to keep Russia's territorial gains in check and wait until the Russian forces are tired and depleted. Gaps will only open up in their front once the Russians are weakened. Once reserves on the Russian front are depleted, the Russian leadership will find it hard to fight off a breakthrough.
And then Ukraine can launch its offensive. Then, even a limited collapse of the Russian front will allow Ukraine to push the Russian forces back further because then they will be even more worn out, and will lack the reserves and resources to respond. But Ukraine, too, is wearing itself out in the battle for Bakhmut. Yes, they are expending themselves there, as well as elsewhere, like the Donbas front. They have a very heavy concentration there, with about a third of their army deployed along an 80 kilometre front. But by and large, the attrition ratio still favours Ukraine, not in Bakhmut specifically, of course, but overall.
Even so, it's probably going to be another two or three hard months, and I mean months, not weeks, before they've weakened the Russians to the point where it makes a major counter-offensive worthwhile. The big news this week was Poland's announcement that it will be sending MiG-29 fighter jets. What role might they play in an offensive? Or are they more suited to air defence? They are intended more for air defence.
A not insignificant proportion of the drones and cruise missiles launched against civilian infrastructure are shot down by fighter aircrafts. So, it's important that Ukraine has operational fighter aircraft available in sufficient numbers. Aircrafts have been delivered in the past, albeit under the table. They were shipped to Ukraine as spare parts and assembled there. Then, all of a sudden, Ukraine had more MiG-29s than it had before the war. Of course, there is now also discussion about Western aircraft types, in particular the release of F-16s by the USA.
And that's why Poland and Slovakia are making a point of saying: Look here, Mr Biden, we're supplying fighter aircrafts. We know that wont end World War III tomorrow, but if we can do it, so can you. Mr Gressel, thank you. Thank you. At least the Black Sea grain deal between Russia and Ukraine has been extended.
Otherwise, it would have expired today. However, Moscow and Kyiv are still arguing about the duration of the extension. The extension was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, in whose waters the ships are inspected.
Both countries, Russia and Ukraine, are major world exporters of grain, sunflower oil and other agricultural products. African countries in particular depend on these supplies. Russia had initially blockaded Ukraine's ports entirely.
Now, thanks to the agreement, Ukraine can sell at least some of its grain, although under very difficult conditions. Anne Brühl reports on her interview with a Ukrainian farmer. Vasyl Bessubiy proudly shows us his farm.
He's been farming it for 30 years. It's 1,500 hectares. By Ukrainian standards, that's a fairly small farm, he says. He has only sold some of the previous year's harvest. Transport costs are too high, he says, and the income from his corn and wheat is too low. The transport logistics for shipping have become very expensive.
With so many ports closed, shipment by rail or truck now costs two to three times as much. Nevertheless, he relies on the grain agreement, so that exports can continue via the ports of Odesa. He sells his grain mainly to the neighbouring countries of Hungary, Poland and the Baltic States. We pay in hryvnia, and we have seen the exchange rate decline by about 70 percent to the dollar.
This is mainly to do with the war, which has also left its mark on Peremoha. Right after the war started, the Russians occupied Vasyl Bessubiy's town and set landmines in the fields. I used this road two or three times before, but then it rained and the ground was soft.
The car slid to the right because it was muddy. My tire hit a mine, the mine exploded, and the car was totally destroyed. He survived. Work in the field continues for him and his employees.
They will run out of wheat in Peremoha earlier than usual this year. Grain production is one of the most important industries in Ukraine. It employs many people. That's millions of workers and billions in revenue in the form of foreign exchange and taxes. In the fields of Peremoha, they know how important their work is.
Especially in wartime, when other farmers have to go to the front to fight or are forced to leave their farms because the Russians have occupied them. Most Ukraine farmers are not sowing at the moment, but people have to live off something. If we can not plant here, then the whole world will go hungry. Wheat for the world market.
This year, they're hoping everything in Peremoha will be better. And now we continue with the news with Heinz Wolf. A memorial was held today for victims of a rampage at a Jehovah's Witness centre in Hamburg, ten days after the attack took place. The large Christian church invited mourners to an ecumenical service in the Church of Saint Peter. Official representatives of Jehovah's Witnesses did not attend, as the religious community wants to organise its own funeral service, but appreciated the gesture.
Seven people were killed on March 9. Federal Environment Minister Lemke ruled out further delays in Germany's nuclear phase-out. The Green Party politician told newspapers from the Funke media group that the nuclear phase-out remains set for mid-April. Germany originally planned to take its three remaining nuclear plants off the grid by 2023.
Due to the energy crisis, the coalition extended operations until April 15. There seems to be positive progress in the difficult relations between Serbia and Kosovo. After the EU mediated high level talks, the EU High Representative Josep Borrell said a deal had been reached.
The basis is an agreement presented by the EU aimed at normalizing relations. In 2008, Kosovo claimed its independence. Serbia does not recognize the state as sovereign. A major earthquake along the border region of Ecuador and Peru has killed at least 15 people. The epicenter of the 6.8 magnitude quake was in southern Ecuador.
According to government data, more than 400 people were injured. Hundreds of buildings, bridges and power lines were damaged or destroyed. Two weeks ago, the world celebrated the High Seas Treaty.
The only problem is that it doesn't specifically regulate how the seabed should be protected. That's what's at stake these days in Jamaica. There, the International Seabed Authority is negotiating a proposal on this matter. It concerns industrial deep-sea mining in international waters.
A Canadian company wants to set up mining operations in the Pacific seabed. With the help of such harvesters, the seabed will be perforated where so-called Manganese nodules are found. These potato-sized nodules are full of valuable metals.
Coastal territorial waters are already being mined. Until now, the International Seabed Authority has only issued licenses for exploration. Now, it is getting serious.
Marine researchers warn of long-term destruction to flora and fauna. Christian von Rechenberg reports. You have to dive very deep to find them.
These Manganese nodules are found around 5,000 metres below sea level. Grown over millions of years and home to countless species, most of these nodules have been neither discovered nor explored. There are very specific organisms that need these nodules as hard substrates in their habitat. They're like corals and sponges, and they form a mobile habitat for fauna, like ophiuroids and copepods and so on, and those species will disappear for millions of years. Gone. This is what it looks like when a harvester is on the move.
Researchers from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research were able to examine the former test site of a Belgian company. Their findings were far from encouraging. Down there locally, and eventually up to several hundred square kilometres a year, given the scale of these mining operations, life will be destroyed for many generations. All because we need these little nubs for the energy transition, according to the industry. Manganese nodules contain three highly sought-after metals in addition to manganese: cobalt, nickel and copper. Three to five times more than comparable deposits on land.
If we're honest with ourselves, deep sea mining will not replace mining on land, but it will amount to destroying the deep sea in addition to the destruction on land. And indeed, everywhere where Manganese nodules are found in the world's oceans. A place that many states are rushing to is the Clarion Clipperton Zone. The International Seabed Authority has issued licenses to explore mining here. Germany also has two claims here and is waiting to hear what rules the seabed authority will set to govern large-scale deep-sea mining in the future. There are endless causes for concern.
In maritime law, deep-sea mining is permissible in principle, but only if serious consequences for the marine environment can be ruled out. The research that we have been performing here for many years very clearly shows that we cannot rule this out. That's why Germany and other countries like France want to halt the mining plans until researches give the green light. Even if it takes a generation. But time is pressing. Studies by the German Raw Materials Agency, for example, show that demand for metals such as cobalt will increase many times over in the coming decades.
Recycling and technological progress would be the wiser way out, say critics. There's already technological progress in developing cobalt-free batteries. Therefore, you can say that in order to usher in the necessary energy transition, we don't need deep-sea mining. The deep sea: paradise or industrial area? By the end of July, the Seabed Authority will negotiate and decide. The outcome is uncertain.
Now back to you Heinz. I'll be covering the sports news, starting with the Bundesliga. After this twenty-fifth match day, Borussia Dortmund is at the top of the rankings.
Bayern Munich is second after today's 1:2 loss to Bayer Leverkusen. Union Berlin won 2:0 against Eintracht Frankfurt. Mainz and Freiburg ended in a 1:1 tie. Sergio Pérez won the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia today, beating out Max Verstappen. Double victory for Red Bull. Third place went to Mercedes driver George Russell.
Fernando Alonso slipped back to fourth place due to a time penalty. The German cross-country team scored the first relay podium for the DSV in the World Cup in more than six years in Falun, Sweden. In the end, they placed third in the mixed competition on the 4x5 KM route, finishing behind Sweden and Norway. No Germans took the podium today during the Biathlon World Cup final in Oslo. Denise Herrmann-Wick celebrated nonetheless. She ended her extremely successful career today.
The 34-year-old ended up in sixth place in the Mass Start. Her teammate Anna Ebinger finished in fourth place. Hermann-Wick who switched from cross-country skiing to biathlon in 2016, has been able to celebrate many successes. In addition to the Olympic victory in Beijing, she has two gold World Championships and nine German championship titles. We'll stay with winter sports.
If women own at least half the sky, then they should also be allowed to fly. This is according to ski jumpers, at least, who were allowed to fly for the first time today. They have fought hard for this sport to be opened up to women. Today is the premiere of the first women's ski jump in Vikersund, Norway. The World Ski Federation's decision was preceded by long debates.
Critics warned that women take greater risks in ski jumping than male athletes. Victoria Kunzmann and Petra Otto report. She is the first one to descend, Yuki Ito from Japan at the Vikersund Hill in Norway. Three Germans are also in the first official women's ski jump competition: Anna Rupprecht, Selina Freitag and Katharina Althaus, who ended in fourth place.
And her? She flies and flies and flies, setting a world record of 226 meters. Ema Klinec won the top prize today, after spending almost eight seconds in the air. This was a long-time dream for many of the competitors. At this moment, there is simply no better feeling than flying. We have exactly the same rights as the men and that's what we were fighting for.
They want to fly, but they show deference to this never-ending hill. You can not make a mistake in this sport. Women need more run-up to fly far enough and safely. They race even faster than men at more than 100 kilometres an hour. There is criticism from men. In the event of an accident, they will collide at higher speeds than men.
This is the first reason why the probability of injury will be greater. The second reason is the difference between men and women. Biologically, men have a greater percentage of muscle mass. That means men have a larger buffer zone. Today, everything went well.
The women have shown that they can ski jump like the men, even if some fears remain. And now, let's take a look at the week ahead. Laura Barnick begins with a state visit that will have the world's eyes upon it. Monday, China's state and party leader Xi will visit Russia for the first time in nearly four years.
Putin and Xi will discuss their strategic cooperation through Wednesday. The Russian war against Ukraine and military strategy issues are also expected to play a role. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will present its latest report. According to the report, experts warn that the 1.5-degree target for global warming will not be met.
Drastic consequences such as water shortages and environmental disasters will continue to rise as a result. Wednesday marks the beginning of the annual month of fasting for Muslims. The faithful will neither eat nor drink from sunrise to sunset. Ramadan is a central element of the religion and ends with the three-day Eid on April 21. In New York, the second UN Water Conference will come to an end, 46 years after the first meeting.
Climate change and population growth means that water resources are scarcer than ever. Federal Environment Minister Lemke speaks of a global water crisis and wants to present the German water strategy in New York. And the weather outlook for the week ahead is as follows: Tomorrow, there will be showers in the southeast. In the afternoon, it will rain in the north, otherwise, it will remain dry in most areas. The southwest will receive the most sun.
It will be 11 to 17 degrees there, but cooler on the coast. In the next few days, temperatures won't really change. On Tuesday, rainier in the northern half than in the south.
From Wednesday, a brisk southwesterly wind. With that, we say goodbye on this Sunday evening. Tomorrow, Christian Sievers and Anna Zimmermann will be here for you. And at 12:30 AM is the next "heute Xpress."
Have a nice evening. Goodbye. -Goodbye.