Your Tuesday Briefing

Officials move to contain U.S. banking crisis

In the early hours of Monday morning, U.S. government officials seized First Republic Bank and then sold it to the country’s biggest bank, JPMorgan Chase. Their action appears, for now, to have quelled nearly two months of turmoil in the banking sector that followed the sudden collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in early March.

For Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan’s chief executive, it was a reprise of his role in the 2008 financial crisis, when JPMorgan acquired Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual at the behest of federal regulators. But the acquisition has also brought to the fore debates about whether some banks have become too big to fail partly because regulators have allowed or even encouraged them to acquire smaller financial institutions.

JPMorgan is likely to make a lot of money from the acquisition, according to experts. JPMorgan will pay $10.6 billion to acquire First Republic, and the government expects to cover a loss of about $13 billion on First Republic’s assets. JPMorgan said that it expected the deal to raise its profit this year by $500 million.

Context: Normally a bank cannot acquire another bank if doing so would allow it to control more than 10 percent of the nation’s bank deposits — a threshold JPMorgan had already reached before buying First Republic. But the law includes an exception for the acquisition of a failing bank.

An end to the crisis? No other prominent lenders appear to have a similar set of urgent challenges: First Republic had extensive real estate loans that lost value as interest rates rose and a customer base of wealthy depositors who pulled their funds when the bank wobbled.

Russia and Ukraine step up attacks

Russia launched broad aerial assaults yesterday across Ukraine, and Ukraine reported that its pilots had carried out four strikes in Russian-occupied territory on areas where enemy personnel were concentrated. Together, the attacks were a sign of intensifying fighting ahead of an anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Ukraine’s defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov, said that the country’s military was “reaching the finish line” in preparations to launch a counteroffensive. In response, Russian forces have moved into defensive positions in the south, according to Ukrainian and Western officials. Unusually muddy ground is one obstacle that the Ukrainian military is finding difficult to overcome.

In Pavlograd, in central Ukraine, dozens of buildings were damaged, and at least 34 people, including five children, were wounded, local officials said. In Kyiv and elsewhere, explosions echoed across the predawn landscape as air defenses shot down what the Ukrainian military said were 15 of 18 Russian cruise missiles.

Analysis: Britain’s defense intelligence agency said that Russia had “constructed some of the most extensive systems of military defensive works seen anywhere in the world for many decades,” not only near the front line but also “deep inside areas Russia currently controls.”

Toll: White House officials released new estimates that since December alone, the Russian military had sustained a staggering 20,000 deaths in Ukraine.

The ‘godfather of A.I.’ leaves Google

The A.I. pioneer Geoffrey Hinton, who in 2012 helped create technology that became the foundation for today’s A.I. systems, yesterday joined critics who have said that tech companies are racing toward danger with their aggressive campaign to create products based on generative artificial intelligence, the technology that powers popular chat bots like ChatGPT.

Dr. Hinton said he had quit his job at Google, where he has worked for more than a decade and became one of the most respected voices in the field, so he could freely speak out about the risks of A.I. A part of him, he said, now regrets his life’s work. “It is hard to see how you can prevent the bad actors from using it for bad things,” he said.

The technology industry is perhaps at its most important inflection point in decades. Industry leaders believe the new A.I. systems could be as important as the introduction of the web browser in the early 1990s and could lead to breakthroughs in areas like drug research and education.

Concerns: Since OpenAI released a new version of ChatGPT in March, hundreds of technology leaders and researchers have signed open letters warning of the risks of A.I. or calling for a six-month moratorium on the development of new systems because A.I. technologies pose “profound risks to society and humanity.”

Can A.I. read minds? In a recent experiment, researchers used large language models to translate brain activity into words.


Around the World

The coastal city of Port Sudan — Sudan’s biggest seaport — has been transformed into a hub for thousands of people displaced by the war between forces loyal to two powerful generals.

Britain’s monarchy faces a test in Scotland, where pro-independence sentiment has long simmered alongside ambivalence about the royal family.

Iran executed a former senior official who had provided Britain with valuable intelligence on nuclear and military programs.

French workers marched in cities across the country yesterday, as May Day demonstrations coincided with anger over President Emmanuel Macron’s pension changes.

The police in Thailand charged a woman with nine murders. They said they found her with a bottle of cyanide after the sudden death of a traveling companion.

Other Big Stories

Kevin McCarthy, the U.S. House speaker, offered to host Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel for meetings in Congress — issuing an implicit challenge to President Biden.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the U.S. could be unable to pay its bills by June 1 if Congress did not raise the nation’s borrowing limit.

President Biden met with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of the Philippines, sending a message to China that the two nations intended to deepen their relationship.

What Else Is Happening

Ancient Romans dropped their jewelry down the drain, too: Archaeologists have recovered a trove of ring stones from an 1,800-year-old bathhouse in England.

An early morning excavation to find a Nazi treasure in a tiny village in the Netherlands came up empty.

A Morning Read

Meet the South Korean chefs redefining the art of pastry, with boundary-blurring desserts that reflect their Korean background and French training.

“We’re used to having Korean food, and we’re used to learning from Korean moms,” said Bomee Ki. “This is in our mind. Naturally this will come into our food. That makes our food and our place very special.”


Preparing for the 2023 Women’s World Cup: Top players talk through some of their best moments on the field. This is My Game in My Words.

How a pit stop almost turned into a Formula 1 disaster: The F.I.A. has explained the “dangerous situation” that led to Esteban Ocon’s near miss with a group of officials at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Why attendance is booming: The average attendance per game across all four of English soccer’s divisions is 17,826, the highest since 1951-52. Here’s why.


The first Monday in May

Celebrities appeared in droves at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum last night for the Met Gala, fashion’s event of the year, with a guest list hand-selected by Anna Wintour, the editor of U.S. Vogue. Each year, the dress code tracks to the theme of the show — this time around, the career of the Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld, who died in 2019.

Attendees last night included many of the frequent fliers (Kim Kardashian, Gigi Hadid, Serena Williams), as well as some new names: the W.N.B.A. star and recent Russian detainee Brittney Griner, the musical artist Doja Cat and Paris Hilton, who — perhaps surprisingly — was making her first appearance ever at the event.

Kim Kardashian arrived in pearls, and not much else. Rihanna, above, wore a dramatic bridal gown. Some guests unveiled life changes — Serena Williams is pregnant, and Florence Pugh has shaved her head. And Doja Cat paid homage to Choupette, Lagerfeld’s beloved cat, in a silvery gown with a cat-eared hood, a fluffy white train and a cat-face prosthetic.

See a selection of the hottest looks in our red carpet slide show.


What to Cook

Yakisoba is a Japanese stir-fried noodle dish with a tangy-sweet sauce.

What to Read

“It Happened Online,” our new newsletter about the internet, looks at the fate of Twitter’s check marks.

What to Watch

A new series tells the story of Miep Gies, the secretary who helped Anne Frank and others hide in Amsterdam during World War II.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Resident of 123 Sesame Street (four letters).

And here are today’s Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Natasha

P.S. Living like a king is cheaper than you might expect. For about $200 a night, you can book the Prince’s Room at King Charles’s residence in Transylvania.

“The Daily” is on the fight over the U.S. debt ceiling.

You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].

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