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Deutsche Bank on Thursday said it plans to slash 3,500 jobs after reporting a 30% drop in fourth-quarter profit that included heavy losses in its US real estate holdings.

The layoffs come after the German banking giant hired 300 front-office staffers in the three-month period ended Dec. 31, though the firm’s CEO Christian Sewing said the headcount reduction will primarily impact back-office roles, and are part of a larger turnaround effort, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Let me stress that cost discipline continues to be our top priority, Sewing told reporters, per The Journal, adding that the bank would take more cost-saving measures if need be.

The bank had already announced plans to cut jobs, but this was the first time it had put a number on the layoffs, equivalent to just under 4% of its global workforce of about 90,000. The jobs affected will be back office roles.

Sewing also announced a share buyback plan and to pay dividends will total $1.7 billion during the first half of the year.

Though its fourth-quarter net profits plunged 30% from the year-ago period, the $1.4 billion that was generated easily beat the $853.45 million analysts expected.

Deutsche said it took $133 million hit for its US-based portfolio, which includes its headquarters on Wall Street, as well as locations in California, Florida and Texas, according to a presentation to investors released alongside earnings obtained by Bloomberg,

The provisions mark a more than 350% increase from the roughly $28.2 million it allotted for losses regarding its portfolio in 2022’s fourth quarter, Bloomberg reported.

Deutsche’s US offices represent about 1.5% of its total lending book, according to the outlet.

The bank, based in Frankfurt, Germany, also said refinancing its real estate loans was the “main risk.”

There’s also the possibility that debts will come due on properties that have fallen in value, requiring borrowers to inject fresh equity to secure new loans, the bank said.

Representatives for Deutsche Bank did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.

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Deutsche isn’t the only firm that faces debts on its real estate: Last month, Bloomberg revealed that asset manager Blackstone defaulted on its $308 million mortgage on a Manhattan office tower more than a year ago and the debt is now up for sale at a discount of more than 50%, citing people familiar with the matter.

Given the discounted loan, sources told the outlet that the building — located at 1740 Broadway — could be eligible for an office-to-residential conversion.

The skyscraper has been losing value since 2014, when the mortgage was originated and the 26-story Art Deco-style tower was appraised at $605 million, according to loan documents reviewed by Bloomberg.

The tower is just one of many empty office buildings scattered across New York City, which is in a so-called urban doom loop caused by an influx of working from home during the pandemic a trend that has stuck despite return-to-office mandates.

The doom loop concept is defined by empty office towers, which destroy quality of life and eventually drive residents out.

In the Big Apple, occupancy has only bounced back to 48.4% since the pandemic.

At the start of 2020, however, office occupancy was a strong 90% before it plummeted to 10% upon the outbreak of COVID-19.

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Joe Biden twice confuses Gaza with Ukraine as he approves US military aid airdrops

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Joe Biden twice confuses Gaza with Ukraine as he approves US military aid airdrops

President Joe Biden twice confused Gaza with Ukraine as he announced the US would provide desperately needed aid to the war-ravaged Palestinian territory.

Mr Biden, 81, confirmed on Friday that humanitarian assistance would be airdropped into Gaza – a day after the Hamas-run health ministry said 30,000 Palestinians have died since the war began last October.

“In the coming days, we’re going to join with our friends in Jordan and others who are providing airdrops of additional food and supplies”, the president said, adding the US will “seek to open up other avenues in, including possibly a marine corridor”.

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But Mr Biden twice mistakenly referred to airdrops to help Ukraine – leaving White House officials to clarify that he was in fact talking about Gaza.

Pic: Reuters
Image:
Pic: Reuters

Mr Biden revealed the development while hosting Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in Washington – as he warned “children’s lives are on the line”.

“Aid flowing to Gaza is nowhere nearly enough,” he said.

More on Gaza

“Now, it’s nowhere nearly enough. Innocent lives are on the line and children’s lives are on the line.

“We won’t stand by until we get more aid in there. We should be getting hundreds of trucks in, not just several.”

Mr Biden also said he hoped there would be a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas by the time of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month which is expected to start on 10 March.

He told reporters: “We’re still working real hard at it. We’re not there yet.”

He said all sides have to agree on timing but that “they’re still far apart”.

President Biden hosted Italian premier, Giorgia Meloni at the White House on Friday Pic: Reuters
Image:
President Biden hosted Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the White House on Friday. Pic: Reuters

Mr Biden’s promise of airdrops came a day after dozens of Palestinians perished during a deadly aid truck incident in Gaza City.

At least 115 Palestinians were killed and more than 750 others were injured, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry, on Thursday.

Airdrops are a last resort for when things are really desperate

Airdrops are a last resort. They are inefficient, inaccurate, expensive and dangerous.

They are only chosen as an option when things are really desperate.

The White House spokesman admitted as much just after the president’s announcement: “There are no missions more complicated than humanitarian assistance airdrops,” John Kirby said.

In this case, the decision to resort to them is all the more remarkable because America is dropping aid to counter failures in a war being prosecuted with US weapons by one of its closest allies.

Israel controls the aid that gets into Gaza. To have to airdrop it is to admit a fundamental failure and a humanitarian disaster.

It’s inefficient because only small amounts of aid can be dropped at a time – palates of food parachuted from the back of planes.

It is inaccurate because you have no control over precisely where the aid will land.

It is dangerous because the aid drops could hit people as they land and because they could cause stampedes on the ground.

Usually aid is distributed with the coordination of aid officials on the ground.

It’s also dangerous for the aircrews flying over a war zone.

It is expensive because it requires significant military coordination.

In short – it is a stark illustration of just how much of a (man-made) disaster Gaza now is.

Witnesses said nearby Israeli troops opened fire as huge crowds raced to pull goods off an aid convoy.

Israel said many of the dead were trampled in a stampede linked to the chaos – and that its troops fired at some people in the crowd who they believed moved towards them in a threatening way.

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IDF: Aid convoy incident in Gaza is a tragedy

On Friday evening, the UK joined demands for an investigation into the killings, described by Foreign Secretary David Cameron as “horrific”.

Lord Cameron said there must be “an urgent investigation and accountability” – amid growing international calls for a probe into the episode.

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Analysis of the deadly Gaza aid truck incident

“This must not happen again,” he said.

While he did not directly blame Israel, he linked the deaths to the lack of aid being allowed into Gaza.

“We can’t separate what happened yesterday from the inadequate aid supplies,” Lord Cameron said.

“In February, only half the number of trucks crossed into Gaza that did in January. This is simply unacceptable.

“Israel has an obligation to ensure that significantly more humanitarian aid reaches the people of Gaza.”

Read more:
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Hamas tells Sky News Biden’s ceasefire hopes are ‘wishful thinking’
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French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his “strongest condemnation” for the shootings and called for “truth, justice and respect for international law” in a post on X.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also condemned the incident on the social media platform, writing: “The desperate civilians in Gaza need urgent help, including those in the north where the UN has not been able to deliver aid in more than a week.”

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Sports

Sources: Giants, 3B Chapman agree on $54M deal

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Sources: Giants, 3B Chapman agree on M deal

Matt Chapman, regarded as one of the best defensive infielders in baseball, agreed to a three-year, $54 million contract with the San Francisco Giants, sources confirmed to ESPN on Saturday.

The deal also includes opt-outs after the first and second year of the agreement.

Chapman’s deal is very similar in structure to that of Cody Bellinger, who re-signed with the Chicago Cubs last week, with his highest salaries at the outset of the contract. Like Bellinger, Chapman also has the built-in opportunity to test the market again if he has a better season offensively than in 2023.

Chapman, who turns 31 in April, won his fourth Gold Glove Award in 2023 with the Toronto Blue Jays. Since the start of the 2018 season, he ranks first among all players at that position in defensive runs saved and he is third in outs above average.

As Chapman moved into free agency this fall, however, some talent evaluators privately expressed doubts about their interest in him because of his offensive performance — 71 homers over the past three seasons, but with a .226 batting average and 537 strikeouts in 446 games.

His 2023 season was a microcosm of the good and bad he’s generated at the plate: After starting very well and batting .384 in April, he flatlined, generating a .205/.298/.361 slash line the rest of the way. Evaluators noted his trouble against fastballs.

The Giants have had difficulty signing high-end free agents in recent winters, with their overtures to Aaron Judge and others turned down. The addition of Chapman should complement what is expected to be a good pitching staff — including sinkerballer Logan Webb.

The New York Post first reported Chapman’s deal with the Giants.

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Vogelbach’s slow HR trot draws ire of Yanks’ Cole

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Vogelbach's slow HR trot draws ire of Yanks' Cole

TAMPA — Having Gerrit Cole walk off the mound mid at-bat in the first inning would usually mean disaster for the New York Yankees. But spring training is different.

Cole, making his spring debut Friday night, gave up a two-run home run and a triple before manager Aaron Boone pulled him during a 1-2 count six batters into the Yankees’ 8-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

But the Yankees’ ace reappeared in the second inning — that’s allowed in spring training — to smoothly complete his workday, retiring the side in order and facing two more hitters in the third inning. In all, he allowed two earned runs on four hits across the two-plus innings. He threw 39 pitches.

“I’m executing the way I want to execute there,” Cole said.

The only issue Cole had Friday had nothing to do with his own performance. It was with Blue Jays designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach, who punctuated his two-run blast off Cole in the first inning with a bat flip and trot that bothered the right-hander.

“What’s the day?” Cole said. “Are we still in February? March 1st? Yeah, he enjoyed that homer.”

Asked if he would remember Vogelbach’s enjoyment, Cole replied: “I don’t forget a lot of things.”

Cole, 33, was one of the few bright spots during the Yankees’ disappointing 2023 season. The right-hander went 15-4 with a 2.63 ERA in 209 innings across 33 starts. The performance earned him his first Cy Young Award.

This year, he tops a starting rotation with a few question marks. Friday was a solid start even if he didn’t finish the first inning.

“It was good to be out there again,” Cole said, “and yeah, the stuff was pretty good.”

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