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S&P’s downgrade indicates Russia’s historic default

BOSTON (AP) – Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s has downgraded its assessment of Russia’s ability to pay off its foreign debt. This marks the first time in more than a century that Moscow may default on foreign loans. S&P Global Ratings fell into “selective default” late Friday after Russia arranged to pay foreign dollar-denominated bonds in rubles on Monday. He said he does not expect Russia to convert the ruble to the dollar during the 30-day grace period. Tight sanctions against Russia this week prevent Russia from using foreign currency reserves held at US banks for debt payments.

Amazon tries to topple union win, says vote is tainted

Amazon is trying to topple its historic troop victory at one of its New York City warehouses. The e-commerce giant listed 25 objections in a legal filing obtained by the Associated Press on Friday. The retailer said the federal labor board should make a re-election decision. The company says the National Labor Relations Board acted in a way that distorted the results. He accused organizers of scaring workers into voting for the union with the nascent Amazon Labor Union. A lawyer representing the union described the claim as “plainly absurd”. The company also accused the work board of improper influence.

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Accounts receivable: Email fraud most costly type of cybercrime

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Business Email Compromise scam is a type of crime where criminals hijack email accounts, pretend to be someone they’re not, and trick victims into sending money to unwanted destinations. These crimes get far less attention than the massive ransomware attacks that trigger a strong government response, but BEC scams have been the most costly form of cybercrime in the US for years. The large returns and low risks associated with BEC scams have attracted criminals around the world. Some are flaunting their ill-gotten fortunes on social media, posing in photos next to Ferraris, Bentleys and piles of cash.

Former Goldman Sachs banker found guilty of looting 1MDB fund

NEW YORK (AP) — A former Goldman Sachs banker has been convicted of bribery and other corruption charges, accusing him of participating in a $4.5 billion scheme to plunder Malaysian state investment fund 1MDB. A jury on Friday found Roger Ng guilty of all charges in a US trial in which jurors testified about bribes and kickbacks of tens of millions of dollars. The embezzlement financed generous spending on jewellery, art, a superyacht, and luxury real estate. Ng’s lawyers claimed he was made a “fallen man” for a higher-ranking Goldman banker who pleaded guilty and testified on behalf of the government.

Live Updates | War in Ukraine sparks protests in Chile

Dozens of protesters gathered outside the Russian embassy in the Chilean capital, Santiago, to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On Saturday, protesters unfurled a large banner featuring the colors of the Ukrainian flag. The group included Ukrainians living in Chile. Some protesters reached down and hugged toy animals to honor children who have been victims of the war. A large banner reads “Stand together with Ukraine”. Protester Alina Prus, a Ukrainian living in Chile and several members of the group, said their families had experienced the horrors of the war. Protester Dária Gryshko said Russian propaganda is separating families and friends living there from those in Ukraine.

Protest by air traffic controllers delays flights in Warsaw

Warsaw, Poland (AP) — Air travel authorities in Poland are warning passengers of possible flight delays and cancellations at Warsaw airport as a protest and some flight controllers quit their jobs. The protest is a reaction to changes in the operation of Poland’s flight regulatory body over allegations that it did not properly ensure airspace security. Controllers are also critical of the new salary system. One in five controllers resigned. A number of arrivals and departures at Warsaw’s Frederic Chopin Airport were delayed by an average of 30 minutes on Saturday. Poland’s state supervisory body identified irregularities in the regulatory agency’s work, and a new boss was appointed on March 31. Negotiations with controller unions continue.

Food prices soar to record levels amid disruptions in Ukraine war

ROME (AP) — Prices of world food commodities, such as grains and vegetable oils, have reached their highest level ever due to Russia’s war in Ukraine, the United Nations said. The Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in international prices for a basket of commodities, averaged 159.3 points last month, up 12.6% from February, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said on Friday. As it happened, the February index was the highest since the start of 1990. FAO says the war in Ukraine is largely responsible for the 17.1% rise in grain prices, including wheat. Russia and Ukraine together account for 30% and 20% of global wheat and corn exports, respectively.

Pressure mounts on Sri Lankan leader to resign as crisis escalates

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Thousands of Sri Lankans rallied in the country’s main business district, and Christian clergy marched through the capital to observe a day of protest calling for the debtor nation’s president to step down. Carrying national flags and banners, protesters called on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his administration for mishandling the crisis. He remained adamant in refusing to resign, even after most of his cabinet resigned and loyal lawmakers revolted. This narrowed his path as he tried to negotiate with international credit institutions. As the Indian Ocean nation faces bankruptcy and is burdened with $25 billion in foreign debt over the next five years, Sri Lankans have been waiting in long queues to buy fuel, cooking gas, food and medicine for months.

Russia cuts interest rate while stabilizing Ruble despite sanctions

LONDON (AP) — Russia’s central bank says it is cutting key interest rates and further cuts may be on the way. The central bank’s decision on Friday shows it thinks tight capital controls and other drastic measures have stabilized Russia’s currency and financial system, despite the fierce pressure from Western sanctions on the war in Ukraine. The bank said it cut the benchmark rate from 20% to 17%, effective Monday. On February 28, four days after the invasion, he raised the rate from 9.5% as a way to support the ruble’s falling exchange rate. A currency collapse would inflate the cost of imported goods, exacerbating already high inflation for Russian shoppers.

Russian metal company head calls for Bucha investigation

LONDON (AP) — The chairman of the board of directors of Russian metal company Rusal has called for an investigation into incidents in the Kiev suburb of Bucha, where Ukrainian officials say Russian troops killed civilians. Rusal President Bernard Zonneveld did not mention who was responsible or directly say anyone was killed, in Bucha, where Ukrainian forces and journalists found numerous bodies in the streets and mass graves after the withdrawal of Russian troops. Zonneveld said the reports from Bucha “shocked us” and that we “support an objective and impartial investigation of this crime”. The statement drew attention because Russian companies remained generally silent about the war amid the harsh suppression of opposition by Russian officials and state-controlled media narratives.

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