WORLD VIEW:Ukraine hits a Russian-held city, Sergio Ermotti returns to UBS, and all eyes are on the Taiwanese president

Volodymyr Zelenskiy visits positions of Ukrainian Border Guards near the border with Russia, in Sumy region, March 28, 2023. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS
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Ukraine struck a railway depot and knocked out power in the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol, deep behind the front line, amid growing talk from Kyiv of a counterassault against Russian forces worn out by a failed winter offensive. Here’s the latest on the war.
Russian forces are relentless in their attempts to capture the bombed-out eastern towns of Bakhmut and Avdiivka but were not making progress, Ukraine’s military said, while a pro-Moscow official said the Russians are advancing.
We also took a look at the areas where the European Union keeps on doing business with Russia despite sanctions.

High-profile trips

External pressure will not stop Taiwan engaging with the world, President Tsai Ing-wen said as she left for the United States, hitting a defiant note after China threatened retaliation if she met House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
In Europe, King Charles travels to Germany in his first state visit abroad since becoming British monarch, as part of efforts to turn the page on years of rocky relations between Britain and the European Union after its exit from the bloc.
And in Africa, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris arrives in Tanzania, the second stop of a three-nation tour of the continent. The visit is part of a diplomatic push by the Biden administration to deepen ties with the continent amid competition from China and Russia. Her first stop was Ghana.

Business & Markets

UBS rehired Sergio Ermotti in a surprise move that seeks to take advantage of his experience in rebuilding the bank after the global financial crisis. Ermotti, who was chief executive from 2011 to 2020, will retake the helm from April 5. At the top of his to-do list? Steering UBS’ massive takeover of neighbor Credit Suisse.
“The task at hand is an urgent and challenging one,” Ermotti said in a statement. “In order to do it in a sustainable and successful way, and in the interest of all stakeholders involved, we need to thoughtfully and systematically assess all options.” Here are five facts about the 62-year-old banker.

He isn’t the only business leader making headlines

Former Starbucks Chief Howard Schultz will defend the company’s labor talks before a U.S. Senate committee today. “Starbucks has engaged in good faith bargaining,” a written testimony seen by Reuters says, arguing “union representatives have improperly demanded multi-store negotiations, delayed or refused to attend meetings, and insisted on unlawful preconditions.”
Elon Musk and a group of artificial intelligence experts and industry executives are calling for a six-month pause in training systems more powerful than OpenAI’s newly launched model GPT-4, in an open letter citing potential risks to society and humanity.
Investors cheered a major revamp of Alibaba as a sign Beijing’s crackdown on the corporate sector was nearing an end, sending shares of the Jack Ma-founded company and its peers soaring. Alibaba said it was planning to split into six units and explore fundraisings or listings for most of them. Analysis: Jack Ma is Beijing’s prodigal entrepreneur, writes Breakingviews’ Robyn Mak.


Drugs that combat obesity could for the first time be included on the World Health Organization’s “essential medicines list,” used to guide government purchasing decisions in low- and middle-income countries, the U.N. agency told Reuters. A panel of advisers to the WHO will review new requests for drugs to be included next month, with an updated essential medicines list due in September.


Read more here: WHO to consider adding obesity drugs to ‘essential’ medicines list


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