Discover more from The Signal
Credit Suisse's multiple failings
The Swiss bank is under pressure
Hello readers. Here’s wishing you a Happy Diwali and prosperous year ahead! On account of the festive season, there will be no editions of our daily newsletter, The Signal, on October 24 (Monday) and October 25 (Tuesday). The Intersection will continue with curated weekend reads and return to publishing an original story on November 5.
Freagles: We love stories that have a literal happy ending. So here's this dispatch in The Washington Post from Virginia, USA, where nearly 4,000 beagle dogs found new homes after being rescued and freed from their lives in hell at a research contractor’s facility. Unfortunately, beagles have been considered ideal for lab research because of their size and temperament. Six years ago, Bengaluru witnessed a similar rescue. Here’s Sumana Mukherjee in Mint Lounge from all those years ago. Must-read.
Breaking the bank: Credit Suisse never had a spotless reputation. It had aided human rights abusers, marketed securities linked to the 2008 financial crisis, and helped customers evade sanctions and file false returns. Executives left in droves. The SPAC slowdown hit the bank hard. And in 2021, it lost $5.5 billion after trading partner Archegos collapsed. But nothing spooked risk managers and Credit Suisse investors as much as the volume trading by Redditors and Twitter users. Read this fascinating story about how retail investors turned a 166-year-old bank into a mem stock, a la GameStop.
Pocketmaar: If you enjoyed watching Netflix’s The Tinder Swindler, you’ll love reading this one. This dating horror story is set in Pune and stars two sharp cops—including one who can memorise numbers from mobile and licence plate data dumps—and a femme fatale who drugged and robbed 16 men she met off Bumble. The woman, who went by ‘Shikha’, picked victims who were least likely to approach the cops. She would’ve gotten away with it all if not for a mistake that spanned seven seconds. A perfect cat-and-mouse story for the weekend.
China’s Lipstick man is back: Sometime on June 3, China’s most famous e-commerce influencer Austin Li (Li Jiaqi in Chinese) vanished. His alleged crime? Hawking a cake that resembled a military tank. The stream came just ahead of the Tiananmen Square anniversary on June 4, and China’s online censors were quick to pounce on the cake. And then, he reappeared last month. Read this gripping story on the mystery around Li, and China’s obsession with live-streaming influencers. It's worth your time.
Dystopia: The deepfake controversy may have come for Bruce Willis in particular but no one will be spared. Still an unregulated area of technology, Willis' face was used to endorse Russian telecom company MegaFon. Unfortunately, consent isn't required, presenting ethical problems as companies, individuals, and citizens stand to lose their privacy. This story in Wired explains why deepfakes are a recipe for disaster.
Fight club: More than five decades after German physical trainer Joseph Pilates died, there’s a debate over who popularised the exercise programme that’s named after him. Physical therapist Sean Gallagher is the self-appointed ambassador of Pilates. He’s filed complaints and even threatened to sue other instructors for sharing Pilates-related images on social media. On the other side, pilates devotees believe Gallager is doing the workout programme a disservice. This story in The New York Times details the feud.
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