riddled with corruption and frivolous spending. He had called for combining ministries, eliminating some embassies and firing inefficient government employees, while using savings to help the poor.

One Hernández supporter, Nilia Mesa de Reyes, 70, a retired ethics professor who voted in an affluent section of Bogotá, said that Mr. Petro’s leftist policies, and his past with the M-19, terrified her. “We’re thinking about leaving the country,” she said.

Mr. Petro’s critics, including former allies, have accused him of arrogance that leads him to ignore advisers and struggle to build consensus. When he takes office in August, he will face a deeply polarized society where polls show growing distrust in almost all major institutions.

He has vowed to serve as the president of all Colombians, not just those who voted for him.

On Sunday, at a high school-turned-polling station in Bogotá, Ingrid Forrero, 31, said she saw a generational divide in her community, with young people supporting Mr. Petro and older generations in favor of Mr. Hernández.

Her own family calls her the “little rebel” because of her support for Mr. Petro, whom she said she favors because of his policies on education and income inequality.

“The youth is more inclined toward revolution,” she said, “toward the left, toward a change.”

Megan Janetsky contributed reporting from Bucaramanga, Colombia, and Sofía Villamil and Genevieve Glatsky contributed reporting from Bogotá.

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Europe’s central banks jack up interest rates to fight inflation surge

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  • SNB unexpectedly hikes by half a percent
  • Bank of England raises rates by 25 bps
  • Hungary unexpectedly lifts one-week deposit rate
  • Inflation painfully high and not yet peaking

BERN/LONDON, June 16 (Reuters) – Central banks across Europe raised interest rates on Thursday, some by amounts that shocked markets, and hinted at even higher borrowing costs to come to tame soaring inflation that is eroding savings and squeezing corporate profits.

Fuelled initially by soaring oil prices in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, inflation has broadened out to everything from food to services with double digit readings in parts of the continent.

Such levels have not been seen in some places since the aftermath of the oil crisis of the 1970s.

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The Swiss National Bank and the National Bank of Hungary both caught markets off guard with big upward steps, just hours after their U.S. counterpart the Federal Reserve lifted rates by the most in almost three decades. read more

The Bank of England meanwhile lifted borrowing costs by the quarter point markets had expected. read more

The moves come just a day after the European Central Bank agreed plans in an emergency meeting to contain borrowing costs in the bloc’s south so it could forge ahead with rates rises in both July and September. read more

“We are in a new era for central banks, where lowering inflation is their only objective, even at the expense of financial stability and growth,” George Lagarias, Chief Economist at Mazars Wealth Management said.

The day’s biggest moves came in Switzerland where the SNB raised its policy rate to -0.25% from the -0.75%, a step so large, not a single economist polled by Reuters had predicted it.

The first SNB hike since 2007 is unlikely to be the last, however, and the bank could be out of negative territory this year, some economists said.

“The new inflation forecast shows that further increases in the policy rate may be necessary in the foreseeable future,” SNB Chairman Thomas Jordan told a news conference.

The Swiss franc jumped almost 1.8% against the euro on the decision and was headed for the biggest daily rise since January 2015 when the SNB unhooked the franc from its euro peg.

TIGHTROPE

In London, the Bank of England was more cautious but said it was ready to act “forcefully” to stamp out dangers posed by an inflation rate heading above 11%. read more

It was the fifth time that the BoE has raised borrowing costs since December and the British benchmark rate is now at its highest since January 2009.

Three of nine rate setters however voted for a bigger, 50 basis point increase, suggesting that the bank will be under pressure to keep raising rates, even as economic growth slows sharply.

“Central bankers are teetering along a tightrope, with the biggest concern that raising rates too quickly could tip economies into recession,” Maike Currie, Investment Director for Personal Investing at Fidelity International said.

“Monetary policy tightening is a very blunt tool to manage a very precarious situation.”

Despite the hike, sterling fell sharply as some in the market had bet on a bigger move given the Fed’s 75 basis points hike the previous evening. The weaker currency, however, means higher imported inflation and further pressure to raise rates. read more

The pound was last at $1.2085 against the dollar, down three quarters of a percent on the day.

In Budapest meanwhile, the Hungarian central bank unexpectedly raised its one-week deposit rate by 50 basis points to 7.25% at a weekly tender, also to tame stubbornly rising inflation now running in double-digits.

Barnabas Virag, the bank’s deputy governor said the increase far was from the last and the bank would continue its rate hike cycle with “predictable and decisive” steps until it sees signs that inflation is peaking, probably in the autumn.

The hike also comes as the nation’s currency has lost close to 7% of its value this year, increasing inflation further via higher import prices.

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Writing by Balazs Koranyi in Frankfurt; Additional reporting by William Schomberg in London, Krisztina Than in Budapest, Mike Shields and Silke Koltrowitz in Zurich; Editing by Toby Chopra

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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PPG Highlights Tikkurila Acquisition, ESG Progress at 2022 Investor Day

HELSINKI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–PPG (NYSE:PPG) today announced it hosted an Investor Day in Helsinki, Finland, on June 9, 2022, highlighting the company’s growth through recent acquisitions, including Tikkurila, and its latest environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives and goals.

PPG provided an update on the integration and performance of Tikkurila, a leading Nordic paints and coatings company acquired in 2021. PPG leaders discussed how Tikkurila:

In addition to Tikkurila, PPG leaders highlighted the progress of the other most recent acquisitions, including VersaFlex, Cetelon, Worwag and Ennis-Flint.

“Acquisitions are a key to PPG’s long-term growth strategy and continue to create value for the company. We are pleased with the integration pace of our five most recent acquisitions,” said Tim Knavish, PPG chief operating officer. “Since we completed the acquisitions, we have identified further opportunities to drive our total synergy target to $150 million – a 15% increase from the original goal.”

During the Investor Day, PPG also discussed its leading ESG program. Included topics were PPG’s recently published diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) report, its scopes 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emission reduction roadmap and its commitment to set near-term emission reduction targets in line with climate science through the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). PPG has an existing goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity by 15% by 2025 from a 2017 baseline, achieving a 9.7% reduction in 2021. The company plans to unveil its new 2030 goals in the coming months. To learn more about PPG’s progress and sustainable solutions, visit the company’s 2021 ESG Report at sustainability.ppg.com.

“We have made great progress towards our 2025 targets, which include the goal of 40% of our sales from sustainably advantaged products,” said Diane Kappas, PPG vice president, Global Sustainability. “We are leveraging capabilities to continue to drive innovation and new product development toward more sustainable solutions, which will enable our customers’ ability to meet their sustainability commitments and targets.”

Further Details on Investor Day

The presentation from PPG’s 2022 Investor Day is available in PPG’s Investor Center at https://investor.ppg.com/presentations/presentations/default.aspx

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements contained herein relating to matters that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements reflecting PPG’s current view with respect to future events and financial performance. These matters within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, involve risks and uncertainties that may affect PPG’s operations, as discussed in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Sections 13(a), 13(c) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder. Accordingly, many factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company’s forward-looking statements. Such factors include statements related to the expected effects on our business of COVID-19, global economic conditions, geopolitical issues in Europe, increasing price and product competition by our competitors, fluctuations in cost and availability of raw materials, energy, labor and logistics, the ability to achieve selling price increases, the ability to recover margins, margin expansion, customer inventory levels, our ability to maintain favorable supplier relationships and arrangements, the timing of and the realization of anticipated cost savings from restructuring and other initiatives, the ability to identify additional cost savings opportunities, the timing and expected benefits of our acquisitions, difficulties in integrating acquired businesses and achieving expected sales and synergies therefrom, economic and political conditions in the markets we serve, the ability to penetrate existing, developing and emerging foreign and domestic markets, foreign exchange rates and fluctuations in such rates, fluctuations in tax rates, the impact of future legislation, the impact of environmental regulations, the ability to meet sustainability targets, unexpected business disruptions, the unpredictability of existing and possible future litigation, including asbestos litigation and governmental investigations. However, it is not possible to predict or identify all such factors. Consequently, while the list of factors presented here and under Item 1A of PPG’s 2021 Form 10-K is considered representative, no such list should be considered to be a complete statement of all potential risks and uncertainties. Unlisted factors may present significant additional obstacles to the realization of forward-looking statements. Consequences of material differences in the results compared with those anticipated in the forward-looking statements could include, among other things, lower sales or earnings, business disruption, operational problems, financial loss, legal liability to third parties, other factors set forth in Item 1A of PPG’s 2021 Form 10-K and similar risks, any of which could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s consolidated financial condition, results of operations or liquidity. ​

All information in this release speaks only as of June 9, 2022, and any distribution of this release after that date is not intended and will not be construed as updating or confirming such information. PPG undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement, except as otherwise required by applicable law.

PPG: WE PROTECT AND BEAUTIFY THE WORLD™

At PPG (NYSE:PPG), we work every day to develop and deliver the paints, coatings and specialty materials that our customers have trusted for nearly 140 years. Through dedication and creativity, we solve our customers’ biggest challenges, collaborating closely to find the right path forward. With headquarters in Pittsburgh, we operate and innovate in more than 75 countries and reported net sales of $16.8 billion in 2021. We serve customers in construction, consumer products, industrial and transportation markets, and aftermarkets. To learn more, visit www.ppg.com.

We protect and beautify the world is a trademark and Colorful Communities and the PPG Logo are registered trademarks of PPG Industries Ohio, Inc.

CATEGORY Corporate

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Signature Bank Appoints Corporate Mortgage Finance Group

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Signature Bank (Nasdaq: SBNY), a New York-based, full-service commercial bank, announced today the appointment of its Corporate Mortgage Finance (CMF) Group. The CMF group provides financing solutions for a range of mortgage-related collateral across Signature Bank’s national footprint. The Signature Bank CMF Group is experienced in understanding the complexities of the mortgage origination, servicing and investment sectors and works with clients to structure commercial and residential mortgage-supported financing facilities to meet their strategic liquidity and balance sheet management needs.

Heading the new CMF team is Kenneth D. Logan, Certified Mortgage Banker (CMB), who brings more than 35 years of real estate finance, warehouse lending, asset-backed structured lending and corporate finance to his new role as Managing Group Director and Senior Vice President. In this capacity, Logan oversees the Group’s strategy, direction and execution as well as handles portfolio and credit management responsibilities. Prior to joining Signature Bank in 2021, Logan spent 12 years at Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC (including time at predecessor Wachovia Bank) as Managing Director of the Mortgage Banker Finance Group, which he founded and headed. In this role, Logan had executive leadership and daily management oversight of all aspects of this business. During his career, he also founded and led four successful mortgage finance groups for other large institutions and was a founding shareholder of a community bank, also engaged in mortgage finance.

On the heels of Logan’s appointment, other key banking professionals were added to the CMF Group, which now totals 14 colleagues. Several of these individuals previously worked together at their former institutions.

Kelly Kucsma was appointed Director of CMF Operations and Senior Vice President, responsible for all operational areas of CMF, including client onboarding, individual loan approvals, loan level and client level monitoring and treasury functions related to funding and repayment of transactions. Kucsma spent 21 years at Wells Fargo Bank (and predecessor Wachovia Bank) in Charlotte, N.C., most recently as Director, Warehouse Lending Operations and Transactional Due Diligence within their Asset Backed Finance and Mortgage Banker Finance Group. During her tenure, she held a range of mortgage banking related leadership roles, spending 14 years specifically in Warehouse Lending Operations.

Paul Tirella and Michelle Marrapodi were each named Associate Group Director and Vice President – CMF, handling business development and relationship management, working with mortgage lenders, aggregators and servicers nationwide to represent Signature Bank’s suite of financing services to the mortgage industry. This includes the financing of residential, business purpose, multi-family and commercial mortgage loans and servicing rights.

Tirella joins from Bank United where he was a Vice President – Business Development for the Residential Warehouse Group. For five years, he aided in growing the residential mortgage warehouse lending business, sourcing a plethora of counterparties, which led to the business line’s expansion. Other roles included banking relationship management and credit-related positions at UBS and JPMorgan Chase & Co., among others.

Marrapodi, with more than three decades of banking experience, had been Senior Vice President, Warehouse Lending at Prosperity Bank. In this position, she developed and managed warehouse lending relationships with independent mortgage banking firms nationwide. Throughout her career, Marrapodi held related roles at ZAIS Group, EverBank, Astoria Federal Savings, MetLife Home Loans and Credit Suisse First Boston, just to name a few.

Keith Ashworth was appointed to Operations Manager and Vice President for the CMF Group, where he manages non-treasury operations for CMF. Bringing more than two decades of experience to his role, Ashworth was Operations Manager and Vice President at Wells Fargo in Atlanta for 12 years, during which time he worked with both Logan and Kucsma.

Michael Tenkerian, with 20 years of industry related experience, was named Vice President and Treasury Manager for the CMF Group, overseeing cash management and wire transactions. Previously, he spent seven years at Bank of Hope in California as Senior Vice President and head of Warehouse Lending.

Melissa Marini, with 21 years of financial services and mortgage banking expertise, is Vice President of Specialty Operations for the CMF Group, where she evaluates applicable lending opportunities for the Group. She also joins from Wells Fargo Bank (Charlotte), where she was an underwriter for 15 years and worked with certain members of the Signature Bank CMF Group.

Jason Carter, as Vice President, Underwriter and Portfolio Manager with CMF, handles reviewing of financial and collateral information for prospects and oversees a portfolio of direct and indirect asset-based credit facilities. He manages the loan documentation process coordinating activities with underwriters, field examiners and operations staff to ensure proper ongoing account administration. For five years prior to joining Signature Bank, Carter was Vice President – Portfolio Manager at Associated Bank in Chicago.

Christine Castner was also appointed to the post of Vice President, Underwriter and Portfolio Manager with CMF, primarily underwriting new facilities and monitoring existing deals. With a career spanning 30 years, she spent the past eight as Vice President, Senior Credit Analyst at Prosperity Bank before joining the CMF Group. Castner also was Senior Credit Officer, Warehouse Lending at Ally Bank and spent 10+ years with GMAC/RFC, starting as an analyst and then moving into the credit officer role.

Other professionals with substantial mortgage finance experience rounding out the CMF Group are:

“Throughout the past decade, we have demonstrated many times over to the marketplace our keen ability to identify opportunities for adding complementary business lines and attracting veteran teams who built an expertise within their areas. We have nurtured these initiatives, delivering solid results across the board. The CMF Group will be no exception. We have assembled a group of top-notch professionals who possess extensive warehouse lending experience, all of whom bring distinct talents within this novel space to our enterprise. With the addition of these seasoned colleagues, we look forward to the increasing contributions the CMF team will make as well as the business line’s growth and impact,” explained Joseph J. DePaolo, Co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer at Signature Bank.

Logan commented on his development of the CMF Group: “The Bank’s mission-driven approach and client-centric philosophy affords my team the chance to truly leverage our vast expertise, build our business line and grow autonomously. All the professionals in the new CMF Group bring a deep expertise within our niche business, which will bode well for the Bank’s growth as it moves forward in this arena.”

About Signature Bank

Signature Bank (Nasdaq: SBNY), member FDIC, is a New York-based, full-service commercial bank with 38 private client offices throughout the metropolitan New York area, as well as those in Connecticut, California and North Carolina. Through its single-point-of-contact approach, the Bank’s private client banking teams primarily serve the needs of privately owned businesses, their owners and senior managers.

The Bank has two wholly owned subsidiaries: Signature Financial, LLC, provides equipment finance and leasing; and, Signature Securities Group Corporation, a licensed broker-dealer, investment adviser and member FINRA/SIPC, offers investment, brokerage, asset management and insurance products and services.

Since commencing operations in May 2001, Signature Bank reached $121.85 billion in assets and $109.16 billion in deposits as of March 31, 2022. Signature Bank placed 19th on S&P Global’s list of the largest banks in the U.S., based on deposits at year-end 2021.

Signature Bank was the first FDIC-insured bank to launch a blockchain-based digital payments platform. Signet™ allows commercial clients to make real-time payments in U.S. dollars, 24/7/365 and was also the first solution to be approved for use by the NYS Department of Financial Services.

For more information, please visit https://www.signatureny.com.

This press release and oral statements made from time to time by our representatives contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You should not place undue reliance on those statements because they are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties relating to our operations and business environment, all of which are difficult to predict and may be beyond our control. Forward-looking statements include information concerning our expectations regarding future results, interest rates and the interest rate environment, loan and deposit growth, loan performance, operations, new private client teams’ hires, new office openings, business strategy and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on each of the foregoing and on our business overall. Forward-looking statements often include words such as “may,” “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “potential,” “opportunity,” “could,” “project,” “seek,” “target,” “goal,” “should,” “will,” “would,” “plan,” “estimate” or other similar expressions. As you consider forward-looking statements, you should understand that these statements are not guarantees of performance or results. They involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements and can change as a result of many possible events or factors, not all of which are known to us or in our control. These factors include but are not limited to: (i) prevailing economic conditions; (ii) changes in interest rates, loan demand, real estate values and competition, any of which can materially affect origination levels and gain on sale results in our business, as well as other aspects of our financial performance, including earnings on interest-bearing assets; (iii) the level of defaults, losses and prepayments on loans made by us, whether held in portfolio or sold in the whole loan secondary markets, which can materially affect charge-off levels and required credit loss reserve levels; (iv) changes in monetary and fiscal policies of the U.S. Government, including policies of the U.S. Treasury and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; (v) changes in the banking and other financial services regulatory environment; (vi) our ability to maintain the continuity, integrity, security and safety of our operations and (vii) competition for qualified personnel and desirable office locations. All of these factors are subject to additional uncertainty in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine, which are having impacts on all aspects of our operations, the financial services industry and the economy as a whole. Additional risks are described in our quarterly and annual reports filed with the FDIC. Although we believe that these forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, beliefs and expectations, if a change occurs or our beliefs, assumptions and expectations were incorrect, our business, financial condition, liquidity or results of operations may vary materially from those expressed in our forward-looking statements. You should keep in mind that any forward-looking statements made by Signature Bank speak only as of the date on which they were made. New risks and uncertainties come up from time to time, and we cannot predict these events or how they may affect the Bank. Signature Bank has no duty to, and does not intend to, update or revise the forward-looking statements after the date on which they are made.

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Live Updates: Ukrainian Holdouts in Mariupol Surrender to an Uncertain Fate

BUCHA, Ukraine — A breeze rustles through the cherry blossoms in bloom on almost every block in this small city, the white petals fluttering onto streets where new pavement covers damage left by Russian tanks just weeks ago.

Spring has arrived in Bucha in the six weeks since Russian soldiers withdrew from this bedroom community outside Kyiv, leaving behind mass graves of slaughtered citizens, many of them mutilated, as well as broken streets and destroyed buildings.

A semblance of normal life has returned to the city. Residents have been coming back to Bucha over the past few weeks, and the city has raced to repair the physical damage wrought by the invading Russian troops and their weapons. Now, on the leafy springtime streets of the city, it is hard to imagine the horrors that unfolded here.

On a newly paved street with freshly painted white lines, the rotating brushes of a street cleaning machine whisked away what was left of shattered glass and bits of iron shrapnel. In one of the neighborhoods where many of the roughly 400 bodies of Ukrainian citizens were discovered in April, technicians were laying cable to restore internet service. At one house, a resident was removing pieces of destroyed Russian tanks still littering his garden.

Credit…David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

Sweeping away as many traces as possible of the destruction caused by the Russian occupation was an important step in healing the wounds suffered by Bucha’s residents, said Taras Shapravsky, a City Council official.

Mr. Shapravsky said 4,000 residents had stayed in the city while it was occupied, terrified and many hiding in basements without enough food. Even after the Russian soldiers withdrew, many residents remained traumatized.

“They were in very bad psychological condition,” he said. “Specialists explained to us that the faster we clear away all possible reminders of the war, the faster we will be able to take people out of this condition.”

Mr. Shapravsky said phone reception was restored a few days after the Russians left, and then water and electricity. He said about 10,000 residents had returned so far — roughly a quarter of the prewar population of this small city 20 miles from Kyiv, the capital.

In a sign of life returning to normal, he said the marriage registration office reopened last week and almost every day, couples are applying for marriage licenses.

Bucha was a city where many people moved to for quieter lifestyles, a place where they could raise families away from the bustle of the capital, to which many commuted to work. It was a place where people from Kyiv might drive to on a nice weekend to have lunch.

Six years ago, Sergo Markaryan and his wife opened the Jam Cafe, where they served Italian food, played old jazz and sold jars of jam. He described the cafe as almost like their child, and he has decorated it with an eclectic mix of hundreds of pictures and strings of photos of customers.

Credit…David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

When Russia invaded, Mr. Markaryan, 38, drove his wife and 3-year-old son to the border with Georgia, where he is from. As a Georgian citizen he could have stayed outside the country, but he came back to Ukraine to volunteer, sending food to the front lines.

Two weeks ago, when the electricity was restored, Mr. Markaryan came back on his own to Bucha to see what was left of the cafe and repair the damage caused by the Russian soldiers.

“They stole the knives and forks,” he said, ticking off missing items. He said the soldiers dragged the dining chairs out to use at checkpoints and stole the sound system. And, he said, despite the working toilets, they had defecated on the floor before leaving.

Two days before it was due to reopen last week, the cafe and its outdoor terrace looked spotless and Mr. Markaryan was taste-testing the espresso to see if it was up to par.

“Many people have already returned but some are still afraid,” Mr. Markaryan said. “But we have all definitely become much stronger than we were. We faced things that we never thought could happen.”

Credit…David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

On the other side of town, in a row of closed shops with peaked roofs and boarded-up windows, Mr. B — a former cocktail bar run by Borys Tkachenko has been patched up and turned into a coffee bar.

Mr. Tkachenko, 27, came back to Bucha a month ago, repaired the roof, which like most of the buildings on the street appeared to have been damaged by shrapnel, and found that the espresso machine was still there. He reopened to sell coffee — or in the case of customers who were soldiers or medical workers, give it away.

Mr. Tkachenko, who had worked in clubs in Florida and Canada and studied the hotel business in Switzerland, opened the bar with his savings last December. Russia invaded two months later.

He said he knew they had to leave when his 14-month-old daughter started running around their apartment, covering her ears and saying “boom, boom, boom” at the sound of explosions.

Credit…David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

Mr. Tkachenko drove his family to the border with Slovakia, where they eventually made their way to Switzerland. He returned to Ukraine to volunteer, helping to send supplies to the front and to displaced civilians.

“We had big plans for this place,” Mr. Tkachenko, who despite everything had a wide smile that matched a tattoo on his arm reading, “Born to be happy,” said of his bar.

He said that when the war ended he would probably join his wife and daughter in Switzerland.

“I don’t see a future here right now,” he said.

While the frenetic activity of city workers and residents has helped clear the city of much of the debris of the Russian occupation, the scars of what happened here run deep.

On one quiet street corner, a bunch of dandelions and lilies of the valley had been laid out on a flowered scarf in a modest sidewalk memorial.

Volodymyr Abramov, 39, said the memorial honored his brother-in-law, Oleh Abramov, who was taken out of his house at gunpoint by Russian soldiers, ordered to kneel and shot. (Oleh Abramov and his wife, Iryna, were the subject of a Times article published this month.)

Credit…Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

“He was not even interrogated,” he said.

Mr. Abramov’s home was destroyed by Russian soldiers who tossed grenades into his house. But he said that was nothing compared with the suffering of his 48-year-old sister, Iryna Abramova, who lost her husband as well as her house.

“I try to help her and take care of her so she doesn’t kill herself,” he said. “I tell her that her husband is watching her from heaven.”

Mr. Abramov, a glazier, said he was now wondering if he should rebuild his house. “I want to run away from here,” he said.

Outside the city’s morgue, where French and Ukrainian investigators are still working to identify bodies from the massacres by Russian troops, a small group of residents gathered, hoping to find out what happened to family members.

Credit…Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

Yulia Monastyrska, 29, said she had come to try to get a death certificate for her husband, whose body was among those discovered in April. His hands were bound, he had been shot in the back and the legs, and one of his eyes was burned out, she said.

Ms. Monastyrska said her husband, Ivan, was a crane operator who disappeared while she and her 7-year-old daughter, Oleksandra, hid in the basement of their apartment building.

Oleksandra, wearing glasses and sneakers with princesses on them, leaned against her mother as she listened to details that were clearly now familiar to her.

“As far as I know, everyone wants to come back here, but they are still afraid,” Ms. Monastyrska said. “We were born here, we lived here, a lot of good things happened here.”

Yulia Kozak, 48, accompanied by her daughter Daryna, 23, and Daryna’s 3-year-old son, Yehor, had come to take a DNA test to see if there was a match among the unidentified remains of her missing son, Oleksandr, 29, who had fought in the war against Russia in 2017.

Credit…David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

Prosecutors found his military ID, dirty and moldy, in a basement where the Russians held prisoners.

Sobbing, she said the last time she spoke by phone with her son, in March, he had told her he was being shot at. In his apartment, there is a bullet hole in the window, on which the sign of the cross had been etched.

Ms. Kozak, a cook, said she planned to stay in Bucha until she found her son.

“I am sure he is alive, 100 percent sure,” she said. “I feel that he is somewhere, I just don’t know where.”

Credit…Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

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Small players lose faith in crypto after sell-off

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WASHINGTON/MUMBAI, May 17 (Reuters) – Nofe Isah, a 25-year old based in Nigeria, has been investing in crypto since January. Last week, she lost all of her $5,000 in savings as cryptocurrency luna went into free fall.

Isah, a recently unemployed administrative officer, vowed she would never invest in crypto again.

“I can’t believe I fell for crypto,” she told Reuters by phone. “I’m just trying not to get myself depressed. Crypto has taken my money, fine. It shouldn’t take my head.”

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The crypto market, known for its wild price swings, slumped last week as investors yanked money from riskier assets amid worries over soaring inflation and rising interest rates.

Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, fell as low as $25,401 on Thursday, its lowest since Dec. 2020. It hit a record high of $69,000 in November.

Small tokens were hit too, with ether, the second-largest token, dropping more than 15% to its lowest since June. Luna – a digital coin widely hyped on social media and backed by institutional crypto investors – shed nearly all of its value.

Small traders such as Isah have flocked to cryptocurrencies in the hope of quick returns, despite warnings from regulators that the emerging assets can be high risk.

Platforms such as Robinhood, which has 23 million customers across a variety of assets, have helped spur retail investing, including in crypto. Around a quarter of Robinhood’s transaction-based revenues came from cryptocurrencies in the first quarter of this year, Robinhood said in its latest earnings statement.

Overall user numbers at crypto platforms have ballooned. Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange, had some 118 million clients last month, up from 43.4 million in the first quarter of last year.

But after last week’s turmoil, online forums were awash with tales of woe, as retail investors expressed anguish about their losses.

“I’m 49, big mortgage, 3 kids etc. My retirement party is on ice for the foreseeable future!”, a user with the handle Boring-Fun-3646 said on Reddit.

Another user with the handle AdventurousAdagio830 posted on Reddit: “It doesn’t seem real that I lost $180,000.”

‘DEATH SPIRAL’

Emblematic of crypto risks was the collapse last week of terraUSD, a stablecoin designed to keep a constant value via a complex algorithm that involved luna.

When the coins came under heavy selling pressure, the system broke down. TerraUSD – designed to keep a value of $1 – traded around 9 cents on Tuesday while luna plunged to near-zero, based on CoinGecko data. read more

Tejan Shrivastava, a 31-year old graphic designer from Mumbai, who has been investing in cryptocurrencies for the last year, had his $250 investment wiped out by luna’s collapse.

“It was stuck in a death spiral. All the money was gone in 15 minutes,” he told Reuters.

“I don’t even know if I’ll invest in crypto in the future. I have a crypto portfolio, but I am planning to liquidate it once it reaches break even.”

Luna’s fall wiped out most of its market value which had been above $40 billion as recently as early April, CoinGecko data shows.

Retail investors’ online frustration even spilled over into the real world.

Seoul police last week said they were seeking a suspect after an unidentified individual rang the doorbell of the apartment of Do Kwon, the founder of terraUSD, and ran away.

Police would investigate whether the suspect had invested in cryptocurrencies, a Seoul police officer told Reuters.

PATCHY REGULATION

Through its 13-year life, the crypto sector has been peppered by vertiginous climbs and sudden free falls. In November, for instance, bitcoin slumped by a fifth in just under two weeks after touching a record $69,000. Six months earlier, it had tumbled by almost 40% in just nine days.

Yet crypto’s latest crash – which pushed the sector’s combined value to $1.2 trillion, less than half of where it was last November – led to the crushing of luna, which on May 1 was the eighth-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation.

Cryptocurrencies are subject to patchy regulation across the world, with traders of bitcoin and the panapoly of smaller tokens typically unprotected against price slumps.

But it is difficult to gauge the scale of retail investors’ pain from the crypto plunge and the repercussions on future appetite given the opaque nature of the market.

In Britain more than 4% of adults – some 2.3 million people – own cryptocurrencies, data published last year by the UK financial watchdog showed.

Britain’s watchdog said understanding of crypto was falling compared with a year earlier, “suggesting that some crypto users may not fully understand what they are buying”.

Still, some small investors are keeping the faith.

Eloisa Marchesoni, based near Tulum in Mexico and investing with a crypto syndicate, said she would not give up.

“I am looking to buy the dip – we are all waiting for bitcoin to go down to $22,000, which is not something too probable but not something that’s ‘not probable at all’.”

Marchesoni is also hedging her crypto bets with physical assets — “cars because you can lease them, watches, real estate”.

Bitcoin was hovering around $30,000 on Tuesday, having lost more than 20% so far this month.

Regulators remain on alert. The British government said last month it will regulate stablecoins. read more

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is toughening its stance. Gary Gensler, SEC chair, said this week investors in cryptocurrencies needed more protections. read more

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Additional reporting by Alun John in Hong Kong and Soo-hyang Choi in Seoul; Writing by Carolyn Cohn, Elizabeth Howcroft and Tom Wilson in London. Editing by Jane Merriman

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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