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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Frankfurt (Germany)"

Flying Was Once Routine. During the Pandemic, It’s a Feat.

Westlake Legal Group flying-was-once-routine-during-the-pandemic-its-a-feat Flying Was Once Routine. During the Pandemic, It’s a Feat. Vermont United Airlines Quarantines Frankfurt Airport Frankfurt (Germany) Dulles International Airport (Washington, DC) Deutsche Lufthansa AG Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) airports Airlines and Airplanes

FRANKFURT — Last week I stepped aboard the subway in Frankfurt for the first time since February, the start of a 4,000-mile trans-Atlantic journey to rejoin my wife after a three-month separation.

The trip to the United States is one I’ve made dozens of times over the quarter-century I’ve lived and worked in Germany. But this time, in the midst of the pandemic, it felt like a voyage into the unknown.

Crossing borders is no longer routine. Europeans are still persona non grata in the United States. I would be flying from a country just coming out of lockdown to one where the virus is still flaring in some communities.

By the end of a long day, I would be with my wife, Bettina. But the experience, sometimes frustrating, sometimes surreal, left me with the impression that flying would never be the same again.

It became clear that travel was more difficult these days as soon as I tried to book a flight. Lufthansa wouldn’t allow me to redeem a flight voucher from a canceled trip online. Instead I had to call the severely overloaded service center, which after a long wait took my reservation but then neglected to email me confirmation. I didn’t know whether I had a valid booking or not.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_173150919_1aae74a8-81c0-4b54-b919-6b17ae90faa5-articleLarge Flying Was Once Routine. During the Pandemic, It’s a Feat. Vermont United Airlines Quarantines Frankfurt Airport Frankfurt (Germany) Dulles International Airport (Washington, DC) Deutsche Lufthansa AG Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) airports Airlines and Airplanes
Credit…Felix Schmitt for The New York Times

After numerous failed attempts to get through again, including one instance when I waited on hold for an hour only to be disconnected, I managed to confirm my booking. By then there were less than 24 hours until departure.

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Updated 2020-06-09T18:54:37.618Z

The day I was to fly, Lufthansa reported a quarterly loss of 2.1 billion euros, or $2.4 billion, as passenger traffic evaporated amid the coronavirus outbreak. A question for Lufthansa management: If you need all the customers you can get, why make it so hard to book a ticket?

About two dozen people were in line at check-in when I arrived at Frankfurt Airport on the morning of my trip. Usually flights to the United States are full of German tourists. But everyone in this line was speaking English with American accents. From their talk of deployments and their camouflage backpacks, it was obvious that many were military personnel on the way home with their families.

Then, to my alarm, an airline employee checking passports pulled me out of the line and told me to wait for immigration. After the hassles with Lufthansa, I was already nervous about what kind of administrative snafus I might run into on this trip.

To my relief, it turned out that immigration was looking for someone with a name vaguely similar to mine but half my age.

A few minutes later I had my boarding pass and was walking past rows of shuttered duty-free shops. I could hear my own footsteps echoing on the polished marble tile floor.

Credit…Felix Schmitt for The New York Times
Credit…Felix Schmitt for The New York Times

And here’s the weird thing. There was something strangely enjoyable about traveling through a deserted airport. So much of the stress of air travel comes from standing in long lines and fighting through crowds, yet Frankfurt was peaceful. Even the guards wrangling plastic trays at security seemed cheerful.

The feeling of odd contentment continued on the plane, a Boeing Dreamliner operated by United Airlines, a partner with Lufthansa in the Star Alliance. There was at least one empty seat between passengers, except for families. In other words, we weren’t packed in like sardines.

United offered assurances that the plane had been thoroughly disinfected. Still, I cleaned my armrests and seat tray with a disinfectant wipe. I also wore a mask the entire trip.

Credit…Felix Schmitt for The New York Times
Credit…Felix Schmitt for The New York Times

The only downer was lunch. No one expects much from in-flight cuisine, but in the name of sanitation the bland “spicy chicken” and fruit cup came in packages sealed with plastic film that had to be peeled off. Afterward there was no coffee or tea.

Somehow I have the feeling that small privileges like coffee and fresh rolls are never coming back.

About eight uneventful hours later we landed at Dulles International Airport near Washington, where I planned to get a connection to Burlington, Vt. That’s where I grew up and where my wife and our 24-year-old daughter were waiting out the pandemic.

Arriving in the United States was the part of the trip that worried me the most. The official form that my fellow passengers and I had to fill out before touchdown made it clear that people from the European Union were not welcome. There was no mention of an exemption for U.S. citizens like me, though I knew there was supposed to be one.


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  • Frequently Asked Questions and Advice

    Updated June 5, 2020

    • How does blood type influence coronavirus?

      A study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator, according to the new study.

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      The unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in May, the Labor Department said on June 5, an unexpected improvement in the nation’s job market as hiring rebounded faster than economists expected. Economists had forecast the unemployment rate to increase to as much as 20 percent, after it hit 14.7 percent in April, which was the highest since the government began keeping official statistics after World War II. But the unemployment rate dipped instead, with employers adding 2.5 million jobs, after more than 20 million jobs were lost in April.

    • Will protests set off a second viral wave of coronavirus?

      Mass protests against police brutality that have brought thousands of people onto the streets in cities across America are raising the specter of new coronavirus outbreaks, prompting political leaders, physicians and public health experts to warn that the crowds could cause a surge in cases. While many political leaders affirmed the right of protesters to express themselves, they urged the demonstrators to wear face masks and maintain social distancing, both to protect themselves and to prevent further community spread of the virus. Some infectious disease experts were reassured by the fact that the protests were held outdoors, saying the open air settings could mitigate the risk of transmission.

    • How do we start exercising again without hurting ourselves after months of lockdown?

      Exercise researchers and physicians have some blunt advice for those of us aiming to return to regular exercise now: Start slowly and then rev up your workouts, also slowly. American adults tended to be about 12 percent less active after the stay-at-home mandates began in March than they were in January. But there are steps you can take to ease your way back into regular exercise safely. First, “start at no more than 50 percent of the exercise you were doing before Covid,” says Dr. Monica Rho, the chief of musculoskeletal medicine at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago. Thread in some preparatory squats, too, she advises. “When you haven’t been exercising, you lose muscle mass.” Expect some muscle twinges after these preliminary, post-lockdown sessions, especially a day or two later. But sudden or increasing pain during exercise is a clarion call to stop and return home.

    • My state is reopening. Is it safe to go out?

      States are reopening bit by bit. This means that more public spaces are available for use and more and more businesses are being allowed to open again. The federal government is largely leaving the decision up to states, and some state leaders are leaving the decision up to local authorities. Even if you aren’t being told to stay at home, it’s still a good idea to limit trips outside and your interaction with other people.

    • What’s the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?

      Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.


But it was a breeze. At Dulles, a woman in a nurse’s smock checked my form, asked me if I felt sick and held a sensor to my head.

It’s easy to imagine health checks like these becoming a permanent part of international travel, along with worse food. Travelers can only hope the pandemic will also bring some positive changes, like less crowded flights and more freedom to change flights without paying stiff fees.

Credit…Jack Ewing

The sensor said my body temperature was 98.1 degrees Fahrenheit. Good to go.

Dulles seemed even sleepier than Frankfurt. Rows of United jets were parked on a side runway, evidently waiting for a vaccine to revive air travel. All but a few airport restaurants were closed. I was glad I had packed some energy bars.

The plane to Burlington, another United flight, was so empty that the pilot asked the flight attendants to move passengers to the front of the plane. “We’re a little tail heavy,” he said over the intercom.

Vermont requires people arriving from out of state to quarantine for 14 days. But there was no one taking names when I landed, just my wife’s friendly face. It seemed the only enforcement was a sign at the exit to the airport, like the kind highway crews use to warn of roadwork ahead. “Stay home,” it said.

I underestimated Vermont state government. A few days later I got a telephone call from an amiable woman at the Department of Health asking if I felt all right, reminding me of the quarantine rules and offering information on where to get a coronavirus test if I wanted one. I’m fine, I said, but thanks for asking.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Deutsche Bank Reports Huge Loss for 2019

Westlake Legal Group 30db-1-facebookJumbo Deutsche Bank Reports Huge Loss for 2019 Sewing, Christian Layoffs and Job Reductions Frankfurt (Germany) Deutsche Bank AG Company Reports

FRANKFURT — Deutsche Bank reported a whopping loss for the last three months of 2019 and for the full year as it cut staff and wrote down the value of assets, affirming its status as one of Europe’s most troubled big lenders.

The bank said it lost 1.5 billion euros, or $1.6 billion, in the last three months of 2019, bringing the total loss for the year to 5.3 billion euros. In 2018 the bank effectively broke even for the year and in the fourth quarter.

The Frankfurt-based bank, once Europe’s largest by assets, is in the midst of a desperate attempt to recover from years of scandal and mismanagement that has caused its share price to plummet more than 90 percent since 2007.

Among other things, the bank absorbed severance payments as it eliminated more than 4,000 jobs, bringing the total number of employees to 88,000. The bank also recorded losses as it acknowledged that some assets had lost value.

“Our new strategy is gaining traction,” Christian Sewing, the bank’s chief executive, said in a statement. “We’re very confident we can finance our transformation with our own resources and return to growth.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Climate Change Could Blow Up the Economy. Banks Aren’t Ready.

Westlake Legal Group merlin_167625216_f9d54ac2-c793-4efe-be3d-4d4683e5610b-facebookJumbo Climate Change Could Blow Up the Economy. Banks Aren’t Ready. World Economic Forum Virtual Currency Villeroy de Galhau, Francois (1959- ) Subprime Mortgage Crisis Lagarde, Christine Inflation (Economics) Global Warming Frankfurt (Germany) Facebook Inc European Central Bank Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Davos (Switzerland) Basel (Switzerland) Banking and Financial Institutions Bank for International Settlements

FRANKFURT — Climate change has already been blamed for deadly bush fires in Australia, dying coral reefs, rising sea levels and ever more cataclysmic storms. Could it also cause the next financial crisis?

A report issued this week by an umbrella organization for the world’s central banks argued that the answer is yes, while warning that central bankers lack tools to deal with what it says could be one of the biggest economic dislocations of all time.

The book-length report, published by the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, signals what could be the overriding theme for central banks in the decade to come.

“Climate change poses unprecedented challenges to human societies, and our community of central banks and supervisors cannot consider itself immune to the risks ahead of us,” François Villeroy de Galhau, governor of the Banque de France, said in the report.

Central banks spent much of the last 10 years hauling their economies out of a deep financial crisis that began in 2008. They may well spend the next decade coping with the disruptive effects of climate change and technology, the report said.

The European Central Bank, which on Thursday concluded a two-day meeting in Frankfurt focusing on monetary policy, is beginning to grapple with those challenges. The bank did not make any changes in interest rates or its economic stimulus program on Thursday. Instead, other issues are coming to the fore.

Christine Lagarde, the central bank’s president, who took office late last year, has pledged to put climate change on the bank’s agenda, and it was a topic of discussion at the last monetary policy meeting, in December.

Members of the European Central Bank’s governing council argued “that there was a need to step up efforts to understand the economic consequences of climate change,” according to the bank’s official account of the discussion.

Global warming will play a big role in the European Central Bank’s strategic review, a broad reassessment of the way the bank tries to manage inflation. For example, when trying to influence market interest rates, the bank could decide to stop buying bonds of corporations considered big producers of greenhouse gases.

This new awareness of the financial consequences of a hotter earth comes as central banks are contending with another new challenge: technologies that threaten their monopoly on issuing money and their power to combat a financial crisis.

Unofficial digital currencies like Bitcoin or Facebook’s Libra, which is still in the planning stages, bypass central banks and could undermine their control of the monetary system. The obvious solution is for central banks to get into the digital currency business themselves.

On Wednesday, the central banks of Canada, Britain, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland said they were working together with the Bank for International Settlements to figure out what would happen if they did just that.

It’s complicated, though.

Like cash, people can use digital currencies to pay other people directly, without a bank in the middle. Unlike cash, digital currencies allow person-to-person transactions to take place online.

Such a system could be more efficient, but also risky, according to a report issued on Wednesday by the World Economic Forum, the organization that stages the annual conclave in Davos.

Commercial banks might become superfluous, and fail. Central banks would in effect become giant retail banks. But they have no experience dealing with millions of individual customers and could be overwhelmed. If a central bank collapsed, so would the monetary system.

Climate change also takes central banks into uncharted territory. Think the subprime crisis in 2008 was bad? Imagine a real estate crisis caused by rising sea levels and coastal flooding that renders thousands of square miles of land uninhabitable or useless for farming.

By some estimates, global gross domestic product could plunge by 25 percent because of the effects of climate change. Central banks have enough trouble dealing with mild recessions, and would not be powerful enough to combat an economic downturn of that scale.

“In the worst case scenario, central banks may have to intervene as climate rescuers of last resort or as some sort of collective insurer for climate damages,” according to the report, published by the Bank for International Settlements, a clearinghouse for the world’s major central banks.

It suggested some precautionary measures central banks could take.

Central banks, which often function as bank regulators, could require lenders to hold more capital if they hold assets vulnerable to the economic effects of a shift to renewable energy. An example might be a bank that has lent a lot of money to fossil fuel companies, or to the Saudi government.

The auto industry already illustrates how investors are moving their money away from companies seen as polluters and into companies seen as green, with disruptive effects on economies. Tesla’s value on the stock market is more than $100 billion, second only to Toyota among carmakers.

In this way, Tesla is being rewarded for producing emission-free electric vehicles. But the migration of capital away from the established manufacturers makes it difficult for them to invest in new technology, and threatens massive job losses and social and political upheaval.

Central banks need to coordinate their policies to deal with these new challenges, according to the Bank for International Settlements report. Unfortunately, coordination is not something that central banks are very good at right now.

“Climate change is a global problem that demands a global solution,” the paper said. But it added that “monetary policy seems, currently, to be difficult to coordinate between countries.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Climate Change Could Cause the Next Financial Meltdown

Westlake Legal Group merlin_167625216_f9d54ac2-c793-4efe-be3d-4d4683e5610b-facebookJumbo Climate Change Could Cause the Next Financial Meltdown World Economic Forum Virtual Currency Villeroy de Galhau, Francois (1959- ) Subprime Mortgage Crisis Lagarde, Christine Inflation (Economics) Global Warming Frankfurt (Germany) Facebook Inc European Central Bank Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Davos (Switzerland) Basel (Switzerland) Banking and Financial Institutions Bank for International Settlements

FRANKFURT — Climate change has already been blamed for deadly bush fires in Australia, dying coral reefs, rising sea levels and ever more cataclysmic storms. Could it also cause the next financial crisis?

A report issued this week by an umbrella organization for the world’s central banks argued that the answer is yes, while warning that central bankers lack tools to deal with what it says could be one of the biggest economic dislocations of all time.

The book-length report, published by the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, signals what could be the overriding theme for central banks in the decade to come.

“Climate change poses unprecedented challenges to human societies, and our community of central banks and supervisors cannot consider itself immune to the risks ahead of us,” François Villeroy de Galhau, governor of the Banque de France, said in the report.

Central banks spent much of the last 10 years hauling their economies out of a deep financial crisis that began in 2008. They may well spend the next decade coping with the disruptive effects of climate change and technology, the report said.

The European Central Bank, which on Thursday concluded a two-day meeting in Frankfurt focusing on monetary policy, is beginning to grapple with those challenges. The bank did not make any changes in interest rates or its economic stimulus program on Thursday. Instead, other issues are coming to the fore.

Christine Lagarde, the central bank’s president, who took office late last year, has pledged to put climate change on the bank’s agenda, and it was a topic of discussion at the last monetary policy meeting, in December.

Members of the European Central Bank’s governing council argued “that there was a need to step up efforts to understand the economic consequences of climate change,” according to the bank’s official account of the discussion.

Global warming will play a big role in the European Central Bank’s strategic review, a broad reassessment of the way the bank tries to manage inflation. For example, when trying to influence market interest rates, the bank could decide to stop buying bonds of corporations considered big producers of greenhouse gases.

This new awareness of the financial consequences of a hotter earth comes as central banks are contending with another new challenge: technologies that threaten their monopoly on issuing money and their power to combat a financial crisis.

Unofficial digital currencies like Bitcoin or Facebook’s Libra, which is still in the planning stages, bypass central banks and could undermine their control of the monetary system. The obvious solution is for central banks to get into the digital currency business themselves.

On Wednesday, the central banks of Canada, Britain, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland said they were working together with the Bank for International Settlements to figure out what would happen if they did just that.

It’s complicated, though.

Like cash, people can use digital currencies to pay other people directly, without a bank in the middle. Unlike cash, digital currencies allow person-to-person transactions to take place online.

Such a system could be more efficient, but also risky, according to a report issued on Wednesday by the World Economic Forum, the organization that stages the annual conclave in Davos.

Commercial banks might become superfluous, and fail. Central banks would in effect become giant retail banks. But they have no experience dealing with millions of individual customers and could be overwhelmed. If a central bank collapsed, so would the monetary system.

Climate change also takes central banks into uncharted territory. Think the subprime crisis in 2008 was bad? Imagine a real estate crisis caused by rising sea levels and coastal flooding that renders thousands of square miles of land uninhabitable or useless for farming.

By some estimates, global gross domestic product could plunge by 25 percent because of the effects of climate change. Central banks have enough trouble dealing with mild recessions, and would not be powerful enough to combat an economic downturn of that scale.

“In the worst case scenario, central banks may have to intervene as climate rescuers of last resort or as some sort of collective insurer for climate damages,” according to the report, published by the Bank for International Settlements, a clearinghouse for the world’s major central banks.

It suggested some precautionary measures central banks could take.

Central banks, which often function as bank regulators, could require lenders to hold more capital if they hold assets vulnerable to the economic effects of a shift to renewable energy. An example might be a bank that has lent a lot of money to fossil fuel companies, or to the Saudi government.

The auto industry already illustrates how investors are moving their money away from companies seen as polluters and into companies seen as green, with disruptive effects on economies. Tesla’s value on the stock market is more than $100 billion, second only to Toyota among carmakers.

In this way, Tesla is being rewarded for producing emission-free electric vehicles. But the migration of capital away from the established manufacturers makes it difficult for them to invest in new technology, and threatens massive job losses and social and political upheaval.

Central banks need to coordinate their policies to deal with these new challenges, according to the Bank for International Settlements report. Unfortunately, coordination is not something that central banks are very good at right now.

“Climate change is a global problem that demands a global solution,” the paper said. But it added that “monetary policy seems, currently, to be difficult to coordinate between countries.”

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Climate Change Could Cause the Next Financial Meltdown

Westlake Legal Group merlin_167625216_f9d54ac2-c793-4efe-be3d-4d4683e5610b-facebookJumbo Climate Change Could Cause the Next Financial Meltdown World Economic Forum Virtual Currency Villeroy de Galhau, Francois (1959- ) Subprime Mortgage Crisis Lagarde, Christine Inflation (Economics) Global Warming Frankfurt (Germany) Facebook Inc European Central Bank Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Davos (Switzerland) Basel (Switzerland) Banking and Financial Institutions Bank for International Settlements

FRANKFURT — Climate change has already been blamed for deadly bush fires in Australia, dying coral reefs, rising sea levels and ever more cataclysmic storms. Could it also cause the next financial crisis?

A report issued this week by an umbrella organization for the world’s central banks argued that the answer is yes, while warning that central bankers lack tools to deal with what it says could be one of the biggest economic dislocations of all time.

The book-length report, published by the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, signals what could be the overriding theme for central banks in the decade to come.

“Climate change poses unprecedented challenges to human societies, and our community of central banks and supervisors cannot consider itself immune to the risks ahead of us,” François Villeroy de Galhau, governor of the Banque de France, said in the report.

Central banks spent much of the last 10 years hauling their economies out of a deep financial crisis that began in 2008. They may well spend the next decade coping with the disruptive effects of climate change and technology, the report said.

The European Central Bank, which on Thursday concluded a two-day meeting in Frankfurt focusing on monetary policy, is beginning to grapple with those challenges. The bank did not make any changes in interest rates or its economic stimulus program on Thursday. Instead, other issues are coming to the fore.

Christine Lagarde, the central bank’s president, who took office late last year, has pledged to put climate change on the bank’s agenda, and it was a topic of discussion at the last monetary policy meeting, in December.

Members of the European Central Bank’s governing council argued “that there was a need to step up efforts to understand the economic consequences of climate change,” according to the bank’s official account of the discussion.

Global warming will play a big role in the European Central Bank’s strategic review, a broad reassessment of the way the bank tries to manage inflation. For example, when trying to influence market interest rates, the bank could decide to stop buying bonds of corporations considered big producers of greenhouse gases.

This new awareness of the financial consequences of a hotter earth comes as central banks are contending with another new challenge: technologies that threaten their monopoly on issuing money and their power to combat a financial crisis.

Unofficial digital currencies like Bitcoin or Facebook’s Libra, which is still in the planning stages, bypass central banks and could undermine their control of the monetary system. The obvious solution is for central banks to get into the digital currency business themselves.

On Wednesday, the central banks of Canada, Britain, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland said they were working together with the Bank for International Settlements to figure out what would happen if they did just that.

It’s complicated, though.

Like cash, people can use digital currencies to pay other people directly, without a bank in the middle. Unlike cash, digital currencies allow person-to-person transactions to take place online.

Such a system could be more efficient, but also risky, according to a report issued on Wednesday by the World Economic Forum, the organization that stages the annual conclave in Davos.

Commercial banks might become superfluous, and fail. Central banks would in effect become giant retail banks. But they have no experience dealing with millions of individual customers and could be overwhelmed. If a central bank collapsed, so would the monetary system.

Climate change also takes central banks into uncharted territory. Think the subprime crisis in 2008 was bad? Imagine a real estate crisis caused by rising sea levels and coastal flooding that renders thousands of square miles of land uninhabitable or useless for farming.

By some estimates, global gross domestic product could plunge by 25 percent because of the effects of climate change. Central banks have enough trouble dealing with mild recessions, and would not be powerful enough to combat an economic downturn of that scale.

“In the worst case scenario, central banks may have to intervene as climate rescuers of last resort or as some sort of collective insurer for climate damages,” according to the report, published by the Bank for International Settlements, a clearinghouse for the world’s major central banks.

It suggested some precautionary measures central banks could take.

Central banks, which often function as bank regulators, could require lenders to hold more capital if they hold assets vulnerable to the economic effects of a shift to renewable energy. An example might be a bank that has lent a lot of money to fossil fuel companies, or to the Saudi government.

The auto industry already illustrates how investors are moving their money away from companies seen as polluters and into companies seen as green, with disruptive effects on economies. Tesla’s value on the stock market is more than $100 billion, second only to Toyota among carmakers.

In this way, Tesla is being rewarded for producing emission-free electric vehicles. But the migration of capital away from the established manufacturers makes it difficult for them to invest in new technology, and threatens massive job losses and social and political upheaval.

Central banks need to coordinate their policies to deal with these new challenges, according to the Bank for International Settlements report. Unfortunately, coordination is not something that central banks are very good at right now.

“Climate change is a global problem that demands a global solution,” the paper said. But it added that “monetary policy seems, currently, to be difficult to coordinate between countries.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Concept Cars Gleam, but Executive Dread Clouds the Frankfurt Auto Show

FRANKFURT — Car executives are paid to be optimists, but behind the pomp and salesmanship at the Frankfurt International Motor Show this week lurked an unmistakable sense of angst.

The talk among industry insiders at the show, one of the auto industry’s biggest events, reflected the existential threats that carmakers face.

The European and global auto markets are in decline. Carmakers are betting their futures on electric vehicles whose marketability is untested. Manufacturers are under intense public and regulatory pressure because of the role that vehicles play in climate change. The global trade war has disrupted supply chains.

Even auto shows are under threat. Many manufacturers scaled back their presence in Frankfurt this year or skipped the show altogether. Companies like Toyota and Fiat Chrysler decided the benefits didn’t justify the millions of euros it takes to put on a display.

“It’s an unprecedented situation we are in,” said Wolf-Henning Scheider, chief executive of ZF Friedrichshafen, a German transmission maker that has an extensive network of factories in the United States, Europe and China.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160607595_7d94f124-21ce-4b9a-93e8-299d119337a0-articleLarge The Concept Cars Gleam, but Executive Dread Clouds the Frankfurt Auto Show Volkswagen AG Renault SA Mercedes-Benz International Trade and World Market Greenhouse Gas Emissions Fuel Efficiency Frankfurt Auto Show Frankfurt (Germany) Engines Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Driverless and Semiautonomous Vehicles Daimler AG Batteries Automobiles

BMW is showing an electric Mini.CreditFelix Schmitt for The New York Times

Volkswagen is producing its ID.3 electric sedan with wind and solar energy.CreditFelix Schmitt for The New York Times

Mr. Scheider noted that carmakers must invest vast sums in electric vehicles and autonomous driving at the same time they are coping with a trade war. “All these at the same time is new,” Mr. Scheider said in an interview.

The Frankfurt show was as good a place as any to find out how auto executives plan to survive the tsunami. Here are some of the main takeaways.

Protests by environmental groups were especially intense this year, as carmakers increasingly take the blame for climate change. Volkswagen alone accounts for more than 1 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, according to the company’s own calculations.

This week Greenpeace activists stood on the roofs of S.U.V.s on display at the Frankfurt exhibition grounds with signs that chided, “Climate Killer.” The militant group Attac planned to blockade streets and bring traffic to a standstill on Saturday, the day the show opens to the public.

Carmakers are desperate to show that they get the message. Ola Källenius, chief executive of Daimler, said in Frankfurt that the company’s Mercedes-Benz factories will be carbon neutral next year.

Volkswagen is producing its ID.3 electric sedan with wind and solar energy, and offsetting any additional emissions by financing a project in the rainforests of Borneo. At an event this week to unveil the ID.3, guests were handed bamboo forks to eat hors d’oeuvres.

“We’re serious,” Herbert Diess, the Volkswagen chief executive, said during a debate with Tina Velo, a leader of Attac, who questioned the company’s commitment to the environment.

But carmakers still make most of their money from fuel-thirsty S.U.V.s. Nicolas Peter, chief financial officer of BMW, said the industry couldn’t solve its image problems with public relations alone.

“We have to do the right thing,” he told a small group of reporters on Tuesday.

Carmakers are operating on the assumption that tensions between China and the United States won’t be resolved soon. They are rethinking their supply chains and moving production closer to customers so that fewer goods have to cross borders and be exposed to tariffs.

That applies to software as well as hardware. Mr. Scheider of ZF said that, for security reasons, autonomous driving technology developed for the United States has to be kept out of China and vice versa. “That is a risk, that these two regions drift apart,” he said.

Forced to choose, many companies would have to pick China. It has become by far the biggest car market, and several executives said they expected it to keep growing despite a recent decline in sales. Mr. Scheider pointed out that rates of car ownership were still low outside the major cities.

“I’m pretty confident the Chinese market will grow continuously,” he said.

A slew of mainstream carmakers unveiled battery-powered cars in Frankfurt that will sell at prices within reach of middle-class households.

The most important new product at the show is easily the ID.3, a four-door hatchback that Volkswagen said would be the first in a line of affordable battery-powered vehicles, including an S.U.V. and a minivan.

Honda unveiled an electric vehicle known simply as the E, and BMW showed an electric version of its popular Mini. Including incentives available in the United States, Germany and other countries, the end price of these vehicles should be 30,000 euros ($33,000) or less. Because electric cars have fewer moving parts and require less maintenance, the cost of ownership may be lower than for a conventional car.

Ola Källenius, chief executive of Daimler. He said the company’s Mercedes-Benz factories would be carbon neutral next year.CreditFelix Schmitt for The New York Times

But no one knows yet whether these vehicles will be popular enough to justify the investment and allow carmakers to meet European Union fuel economy targets that take effect next year. Carmakers that fail to deliver average fuel economy of 57 miles per gallon face draconian fines.

Regret is written on the faces of auto executives’ faces when they say it, but the age of the internal combustion engine is slowly coming to an end.

“One is amazed at what can still be achieved with the internal combustion engine,” said Markus Schäfer, the head of research and development at Daimler. He added, however: “Of course the main focus is on electrification.”

Mr. Schäfer told a small group of reporters that Mercedes did not plan to develop any more internal combustion engines after it finished the rollout of a new four-cylinder motor, which is underway. “That is the last,” he said.

But battery-powered cars are likely to be less profitable for carmakers, which tend to operate on thin margins to begin with. Most make their own gasoline or diesel motors. They must buy batteries from suppliers like LG Chem of South Korea, Panasonic of Japan or CATL of China, which will keep a big chunk of the profits.

Batteries for electric cars have made rapid progress in the last decade, dropping in price and delivering more juice per pound than even a few years ago. The latest generation of the Renault Zoe can travel 395 kilometers, or 245 miles, on a charge, more than double the range of the first generation, which went on sale in 2012.

“In less than a decade, we already have done huge progress,” Gilles Normand, senior vice president for electric vehicles at Renault, said in an interview. “You can easily imagine what’s going to come in the next 10 years.”

The BMW Vision iNext luxury electric automobile, left, and a Vision M Next concept car.CreditFelix Schmitt for The New York Times

Thierry Bolloré, the chief executive of Renault, said that the company was working on a €10,000 ($12,000) electric car. “We have a clear estimate that this is reachable, absolutely, and still make money,” Mr. Bolloré said during a news conference Tuesday.

Others are more pessimistic. The prevailing lithium-ion technology will probably reach its limits in five years, Mr. Schäfer of Daimler said. Further progress will rest on new technologies such as solid state batteries, which will weigh less and be easier to cool but are not yet ready for mass production. “We need a quantum leap in the technology,” Mr. Schäfer said.

Some companies will adapt to new technologies, but some won’t be able to invest enough to stay competitive.

Mergers would be a way out for weaker companies, but those have proved difficult. Mr. Bolloré of Renault said in Frankfurt that there was no effort to revive the aborted deal with Fiat Chrysler.

“We are not talking to each other,” he told reporters. “The offer was on the table. It’s no longer on the table. That’s it.” Mr. Bolloré added that he regretted the merger hadn’t worked out.

The coming shakeout may be most brutal among suppliers, particularly smaller companies far down the industry food chain that supply specialized parts for combustion engines.

“Every downturn, there is a consolidation that takes place,” said Derek Jenkins, a former Mazda and Volkswagen executive who is senior vice president of design at Lucid, a California company that plans to begin producing a luxury electric car at the end of 2020. Lucid, backed by Saudi investors, is an example of the start-ups challenging the established carmakers.

“Brands disappear,” Mr. Jenkins said in an interview. “That will happen in the next downturn cycle.”

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Deutsche Bank Scales Back Ambitions, Announcing Job Cuts and Reorganization

FRANKFURT — Deutsche Bank embarked Sunday on what may be its last chance to reverse a decade of decline, announcing that it would cut a fifth of its work force and slash operations in New York and London.

The reorganization and cost-cutting plan is reminiscent of the bloodletting that followed the financial crisis in 2008. Yet it comes at a time of relative prosperity, the cumulative effect of years of scandal and management missteps. The bank that once symbolized German economic prowess is effectively abandoning any hope of playing in the same league as Goldman Sachs or JPMorgan Chase, and struggling simply to remain relevant.

Ever since it planted its flag on Wall Street by acquiring Bankers Trust in 1999, Deutsche Bank has been trying to prove that global finance was not the exclusive territory of the American megabanks. But it did so by taking chances, including issuing hundreds of billions of dollars in high-risk derivatives and lending money to Donald J. Trump’s organization when other banks wouldn’t.

The financial crisis that began in 2008 exposed a history of sometimes criminal wrongdoing, including rigging interest rates, laundering money and violating United States sanctions against countries like Iran. The scandals, which persisted long past the crisis, eroded Deutsche Bank’s reputation and led to billions of dollars in fines. Regulators anxious to avoid any more financial crises forced Deutsche Bank and other lenders to take fewer risks.

Now the bank, based in Frankfurt, is refocusing on less glamorous, less hazardous businesses like helping German exporters manage financial transactions abroad. About 18,000 people will lose their jobs as Deutsche Bank closes or shrinks operations that sell stocks and bonds. One-third of the management board will leave the bank as part of the overhaul, and more than $300 billion in risky assets will be quarantined in a separate unit.

The question in the months ahead will be whether the turnaround effort by Christian Sewing, Deutsche Bank’s 49-year-old chief executive, comes too late. Other European banks like UBS of Switzerland and Barclays in Britain pared back their ambitions after the 2008 financial crisis, but Deutsche Bank clung to investment banking even as it continued to generate billions of euros in losses.

“We are returning to our roots and to what once made us one of the leading banks in the world,” Mr. Sewing said in a statement on Sunday.

The plan is also a big gamble, carrying significant immediate costs with no guarantee they will revive the bank. Severance payments and other expenses will total 7.4 billion euros, or $8.3 billion, through 2022, Deutsche Bank said. At the same time, revenue is certain to fall as the bank shrinks, creating the risk of a vicious circle of declining income and profits.

“Big question that’s now on the table is whether DB can shrink itself to heightened competitiveness and sustainable profitability without a merger of some sort,” Mohamed A. El-Erian, chief economic adviser at German insurer Allianz, said in a tweet.

The bank did not say how many of the 18,000 jobs to be eliminated will be in New York, London, Germany or other locations. But the cost-cutting focuses on the units that sell stocks and bonds, which are primarily in New York and London. The cuts are the largest by a bank since JPMorgan Chase laid off 19,000 people in 2013, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago firm that collects data on job losses.

The overhaul announced on Sunday also calls for moving more than $300 billion in high-risk assets to a separate unit, where they will be sold off or retired. That is an attempt to address perceptions that Deutsche Bank continues to be burdened by toxic assets with the potential to produce big losses.

Deutsche Bank said that it expected to report a loss for the second quarter of 2.8 billion euros, or $3.1 billion, after subtracting the costs involved in carrying out the plan. Shareholders will not receive a dividend for 2019 and 2020, the bank said.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 00deutsche2-articleLarge Deutsche Bank Scales Back Ambitions, Announcing Job Cuts and Reorganization United States Sewing, Christian Layoffs and Job Reductions Germany Frankfurt (Germany) Deutsche Bank AG Banking and Financial Institutions

Christian Sewing, Deutsche Bank’s chief executive, in May. The question in the months ahead will be whether his turnaround effort comes too late.CreditThorsten Wagner/EPA, via Shutterstock

Until Mr. Sewing, an expert in risk management, took over last year, Deutsche Bank was led by investment bankers reluctant to make drastic changes. They continued to collect handsome paychecks even as the bank’s share price plummeted. Previous efforts to rein in spending or to remake the bank’s culture of recklessness proved inadequate. The plan outlined on Sunday, which the bank described as “radical,” is an attempt to break decisively with the past.

Deutsche Bank’s appetite for risk was perhaps epitomized by its relationship with Mr. Trump. Deutsche Bank continued to lend to the Trump Organization long after other lenders concluded that the risk was too great. In the last year, Deutsche Bank has also been burdened by investigations of lax money laundering controls and has been under intense scrutiny by regulators in the United States and Europe.

In what may be a belated effort to prevent future scandals, Deutsche Bank said on Sunday that it would invest 4 billion euros through 2022 to improve its internal controls and computer systems.

Deutsche was once the largest bank in Europe as measured by assets. But its stature has declined along with its share price, which has fallen 95 percent from its peak in 2007 to a record low in June. Yet there have been no known takeover offers, even though the bank could be had for a bargain price — a measure of how troubled it is considered within the industry.

An attempt to merge with Commerzbank, also based in Frankfurt, fell apart in April. Shareholders and other critics said the potential benefits were outweighed by the cost of trying to unify the two rivals.

The reorganization plan is an attempt to address the bank’s high operating costs in relation to revenue. The bank said it would reduce its cost-income ratio, a measure of efficiency, to 70 percent by 2022. That compares with 93 percent in the first quarter of 2019. The lower the number, the more efficient a bank is considered to be.

Mr. Sewing told shareholders in May that he was planning “tough cutbacks.”

That includes a management shake-up. On Friday the bank announced the departure of Garth Ritchie, the head of the investment bank.

On Sunday, the bank announced two other top executives will be leaving. They are Sylvie Matherat, the chief regulatory officer blamed for the bank’s failure to emerge from a history of scandal; and Frank Strauss, head of the unit that operates bank branches in Germany.

In recent years, Deutsche Bank has lost depositors to rivals like ING, a Dutch bank that serves German customers online. ING is more than twice as efficient as Deutsche Bank, measured by the number of customers each employee serves.

Painful changes to the German operations appear to have been postponed, however. The powerful union known as ver.di, which represents Deutsche Bank workers, endorsed the overhaul, saying in a statement that it expected most of the job cuts to take place in investment banking.

The plan announced Sunday does not address another urgent problem, the lack of profitable businesses with potential for growth.

Until the financial crisis, Deutsche Bank generated much of its profit from high-risk businesses like issuing and trading derivatives. One reason Deutsche Bank resisted cuts in investment banking for so long was that, properly managed, those businesses can be very lucrative.

But the bank was unable to stem a loss of market share to its American competitors. And regulators quashed many high-risk activities by requiring banks to use more of their own capital and less borrowed money.

“Deutsche Bank has been through a difficult period over the past decade,” Paul Achleitner, the chairman of Deutsche Bank’s supervisory board, said in a statement, “but with this new strategy in place we now have every reason to look forward with confidence and optimism.”

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Deutsche Bank to Slash Its Investment Bank in Turnaround Bid

FRANKFURT — Deutsche Bank said on Sunday that it would slash thousands of jobs and sell a large part of its investment banking operations in a major overhaul that might be the troubled German lender’s last chance to reverse a decade of decline.

The reorganization and cost-cutting plan focuses on Deutsche Bank units involved in selling stocks and bonds, which are concentrated in New York and London. The bank said it would exit its equities sales and trading business while cutting the size of a division that deals with securities that pay a fixed interest rate.

Deutsche said its overhaul would result in the loss of about 18,000 jobs.

The overhaul announced on Sunday also calls for more than $300 billion in high-risk assets to be sequestered in a separate unit, where they will be sold off or retired. That is an attempt to address perceptions that Deutsche Bank is still burdened by toxic assets.

Deutsche Bank also said it expected to report a loss for the second quarter of 2.8 billion euros, or $3.1 billion, after subtracting the costs involved in carrying out the plan.

The question in the months ahead will be whether the turnaround effort by Christian Sewing, Deutsche Bank’s 49-year-old chief executive, comes too late. Other European banks like UBS of Switzerland and Barclays in Britain pared back their ambitions after the 2008 financial crisis, but Deutsche Bank clung to investment banking even as the unit generated multiple scandals and billions of euros in losses.

Until Mr. Sewing, an expert in risk management, took over last year, Deutsche Bank was led by investment bankers reluctant to make drastic changes. They continued to collect handsome paychecks even as the bank’s share price plummeted. The plan outlined on Sunday is an attempt to break decisively with the past, but many analysts and investors question whether it will be enough.

Deutsche Bank’s appetite for risk was perhaps epitomized by its relationship with Donald J. Trump. Deutsche Bank continued to lend to the Trump Organization long after other lenders concluded that the risk was too great. In the last year, Deutsche Bank has also been battered by accusations of lax money laundering controls and has been under intense scrutiny by regulators in the United States and Europe.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 00deutsche2-articleLarge Deutsche Bank to Slash Its Investment Bank in Turnaround Bid United States Sewing, Christian Layoffs and Job Reductions Germany Frankfurt (Germany) Deutsche Bank AG Banking and Financial Institutions

Christian Sewing, Deutsche Bank’s chief executive, in May. The question in the months ahead will be whether his turnaround effort comes too late.CreditThorsten Wagner/EPA, via Shutterstock

Though Deutsche was once the largest bank in Europe as measured by assets, its stature has declined along with its share price, which has fallen 95 percent since peaking in 2007 and hit a record low in June. Yet there have been no known takeover offers, even though Deutsche Bank could be had for a bargain price — a measure of how troubled the bank is considered within the industry.

An attempt to merge with Commerzbank, which is also based in Frankfurt, fell apart in April amid opposition from shareholders who said the potential benefits were outweighed by the cost of trying to unify the two rivals.

The reorganization plan unveiled on Sunday, which had been widely anticipated, is an attempt to address the bank’s high operating costs in relation to revenue. The bank said it would reduce its cost-income ratio, a measure of efficiency, to 70 percent by 2022. That compares with 93 percent in the first quarter of 2019. The lower the number, the more efficient a bank is considered to be.

Mr. Sewing told shareholders in May that he was planning “tough cutbacks.”

Deutsche Bank is also expected to shrink its nine-member management board, but did not immediately offer details on Sunday. Garth Ritchie, the head of the investment bank, who received only a tepid endorsement from shareholders at the annual meeting in May, will leave at the end of July, Deutsche Bank said on Friday. Sylvie Matherat, the chief regulatory officer blamed for the bank’s failure to emerge from a history of scandal, is also expected to leave.

Shareholders are likely to applaud the most decisive attempt yet by the bank to scale back risk and return to its roots as a provider of financial services to German companies with global operations.

But the plan does not address another urgent problem, the lack of profitable businesses with potential for growth. Unlike many rivals, Deutsche Bank does not have a base of domestic depositors who provide consistent profits and low-cost capital.

The European banking market is notoriously overcrowded, with too many banks competing for too few customers. Deutsche Bank has lost depositors to rivals like ING, a Dutch bank that serves German customers online. ING is more than twice as efficient as Deutsche Bank, measured by the number of customers each employee serves.

Until the financial crisis, Deutsche Bank generated much of its profit from high-risk businesses, such as issuing and trading derivatives. Those businesses are no longer as profitable because regulators have restricted banks’ use of borrowed money.

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Six Years Ago, He Helped Expose VW’s Diesel Fraud. This Year, G.M. Let Him Go.

Westlake Legal Group six-years-ago-he-helped-expose-vws-diesel-fraud-this-year-g-m-let-him-go Six Years Ago, He Helped Expose VW’s Diesel Fraud. This Year, G.M. Let Him Go. Winterkorn, Martin west virginia Volkswagen AG United States Layoffs and Job Reductions Germany General Motors Fuel Emissions (Transportation) Fuel Efficiency Frankfurt (Germany) Foreign Workers Foreign Students (in US) Environmental Protection Agency California Air Resources Board Bangalore (India) Automobiles Air Pollution

FRANKFURT — Hemanth Kappanna might seem like just another victim of corporate restructuring, a foreign worker whose skills were no longer needed, a middle-age man with dashed American dreams.

But Mr. Kappanna, an engineer born in India who was laid off by General Motors in February, changed automotive history.

In 2013, he was part of a small team of engineering students in West Virginia whose research helped expose Volkswagen’s decade-long conspiracy to lie about its diesel cars’ excessive emissions. The German carmaker has paid $23 billion so far to resolve criminal charges and lawsuits in the United States, and $33 billion overall.

Mr. Kappanna’s role as a hero in bringing the Volkswagen scandal to light did not protect him when his supervisor called him into a conference room in Milford, Mich., this past winter.

Mr. Kappanna, who had studied and lived in the United States for 17 years, joined G.M. in December 2014 after finishing his doctorate. His most recent job involved communicating with the Environmental Protection Agency about the carmaker’s emissions technology.

The supervisor said it was nothing personal, Mr. Kappanna, 41, recalled by telephone from Michigan last week. His severance package consisted of two months’ pay and a one-way ticket to India. He was one of about 4,000 G.M. workers laid off in what the company called a “strategic transformation.”

“They let me go,” he said, still sounding bewildered. Unable to find a job before his work visa’s 60-day grace period expired, Mr. Kappanna returned to Bangalore, his hometown, a few days later.

Mr. Kappanna was a graduate student when he got involved in a “Mad Max” sort of experiment on Volkswagens.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_151445670_ec391688-037c-48ea-9a29-c212b796683c-articleLarge Six Years Ago, He Helped Expose VW’s Diesel Fraud. This Year, G.M. Let Him Go. Winterkorn, Martin west virginia Volkswagen AG United States Layoffs and Job Reductions Germany General Motors Fuel Emissions (Transportation) Fuel Efficiency Frankfurt (Germany) Foreign Workers Foreign Students (in US) Environmental Protection Agency California Air Resources Board Bangalore (India) Automobiles Air Pollution

A Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg, Germany. The carmaker has paid $23 billion so far to resolve criminal charges and lawsuits in the United States related to the emissions scheme, and $33 billion overall.CreditSean Gallup/Getty Images

He was studying at West Virginia University in Morgantown, which is known for its research on auto emissions, when the director of his program asked him to complete a grant application from the International Council on Clean Transportation. The council, a nonprofit group, wanted to test the emissions of German diesel cars sold in America. Mr. Kappanna was pursuing a doctorate, and his proposal helped the university win a modest $70,000 grant.

The university planned a real-time test of emissions, and it rigged up an ingenious way to scrutinize the exhaust generated under open-road conditions. The standard practice was to test cars in specially equipped garages, which is much easier than trying to analyze fumes from a moving vehicle.

Mr. Kappanna and two other graduate students, Marc Besch from Switzerland and Arvind Thiruvengadam from India, were chosen to do the fieldwork. They bolted portable emissions-testing equipment to a sheet of plywood and crammed it into the back of a Volkswagen diesel station wagon.

The rig, powered by a portable gasoline generator, was noisy and smelly but, with every mile, it churned out data that challenged sticker-price assurances. The emissions were dirtier than anyone would have imagined.

Mr. Kappanna and his fellow students did not know it, but they were gathering evidence of a crime. Volkswagen engineers had devised so-called defeat device software that could recognize the standardized procedure used by regulators in their testing labs. In the labs, the software dialed up a car’s pollution controls.

But when officials were not looking or, more important, when the cars were being used by regular motorists, the software dialed down to save wear and tear on the fragile emissions-control equipment. Volkswagen never expected anyone, much less a group of graduate students, to test the cars on the highway, when the defeat device would not work.

Mr. Kappanna, Mr. Besch and Mr. Thiruvengadam documented that Volkswagens polluted far more than regulations allowed when they were driven on highways and city streets. In March 2014, Mr. Besch presented the findings at a conference for emissions experts in San Diego.

Their paper did not directly accuse Volkswagen of wrongdoing. But the data it included raised red flags for officials with the California Air Resources Board and the Environmental Protection Agency who were in the audience.

The regulators began an investigation that, a year and a half later, forced Volkswagen to confess that it had installed the cheating software in 11 million diesel cars worldwide, including almost 600,000 in the United States. The inquiry called attention to the health hazards of diesel fuel and spurred consumers to shun the technology.

Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg factory. The company has confessed to installing cheating software in 11 million diesel cars worldwide, including almost 600,000 in the United States.CreditSean Gallup/Getty Images

Today, two former Volkswagen executives are serving prison terms in the United States for their roles in trying to cover up the emissions fraud. Martin Winterkorn, Volkswagen’s former chief executive, faces criminal charges in the United States and Germany for his alleged role in the scheme. He has denied wrongdoing.

The market share of diesel cars in Europe, once the most popular engine option in the region, was only 31 percent in March, the lowest level since 2000, according to data compiled by JATO Dynamics, a research firm.

Ironically, Mr. Kappanna’s most recent position at G.M. involved complying with tougher disclosure requirements that the E.P.A. imposed on carmakers after the Volkswagen scandal.

Mr. Kappanna is proud of his role in unmasking Volkswagen’s wrongdoing, but he also wonders whether he was seen within G.M. as overly zealous about compliance and too friendly to regulators.

“Certainly they could have seen me as biased,” he said. “I can’t really say.”

G.M. said this week that Mr. Kappanna’s dismissal “was not related to any emissions compliance concerns or related issues.” That he was not a United States citizen also played no role, G.M. said in an emailed statement.

Whatever the reason, Mr. Kappanna and other G.M. workers came to work in Milford on Feb. 4 to find notices taped to conference room doors: the rooms had been reserved for human resources meetings. Mr. Kappanna soon received a phone call from the director of his division to meet him in one of the rooms.

“I felt it even before I stepped into the room,” Mr. Kappanna said about the loss of his job.

He turned in his company laptop and a security guard escorted him out of the building. He was one of three people let go in a department of about 50. Colleagues, he said, reassured him that his dismissal was “one of those shortsighted decisions taken to meet the numbers.”

“It was completely wrong on the part of leadership,” he said they told him.

Still, when his co-workers invited Mr. Kappanna for a farewell beer that evening, he declined.

“I was still coming to terms with what had just happened,” he said.

He said he had a lead on a job with another automaker and still hoped to return to the United States. But the industry is suffering a slowdown and his prospects are uncertain. Single and with no children, he was apprehensive about returning to India after spending nearly half his life in America.

“I’m a little skeptical how I’m going to adapt,” he said.

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Merger Talks of Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank Roil Emotions

FRANKFURT — If the proposed merger between Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank were a film, it would already be racking up the rotten tomatoes.

The powerful labor unions are against it. Regulators are wary, and could impose onerous conditions. Shareholders are skeptical. There is some formidable political momentum behind it, but the government is split over the wisdom of morphing Germany’s two largest banks into one.

The banks are expected to announce in coming days or weeks whether they will pursue becoming a megabank. Say this much: The saga is particularly German. It is hard to imagine a bank merger in any other country generating as much emotion and debate.

If Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank merge, Germany will have only one large publicly traded bank, compared with at least four a decade ago. Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank, both founded in the 19th century when Germany was emerging as an industrial and geopolitical power, are closely entwined with the country’s history and identity.

So it’s no wonder that people are arguing forcefully for and against a deal and even protesting on the streets. Here are some of the big potential deal breakers.

Any merger will face scrutiny by the European Central Bank, the supreme bank supervisor in the eurozone. The central bank will insist that the new institution is not too big to fail, meaning that taxpayers won’t be on the hook if there is a crisis.

“You want to make sure that the transaction is successful,” Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, said during a recent news conference, without mentioning either bank by name, “and to be successful means that it not only pleases shareholders but actually creates an entity which is strong and capable of coping with the various challenges.”

There is a good chance the central bank won’t sign off on a merger unless the banks raise new capital, bolstering their ability to withstand a crisis. That would be difficult for the banks to do. They would have to go to investors who have already been burned by the banks’ slumping share prices.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_153314025_3408d026-1d2b-4d4b-8467-940b36c0b4fa-articleLarge Merger Talks of Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank Roil Emotions Organized Labor Merkel, Angela Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures Germany Frankfurt (Germany) European Central Bank Draghi, Mario Deutsche Bank AG Commerzbank BlackRock Inc Berlin (Germany) Banking and Financial Institutions

Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, said any merger must result in a strong, combined company. The central bank will insist that the new institution is not too big to fail.CreditKai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

In 2017, Deutsche Bank sold newly issued shares to raise 8 billion euros, or $9 billion, in additional capital. Since then, the bank’s share price has fallen by half. Commerzbank shares are trading at about the same price as two years ago, but have fallen 40 percent since peaking in January 2018. Good luck asking investors to pitch in again.

Bank workers have staged short-term walkouts and street protests in recent weeks to demonstrate their clout as part of active wage negotiations, which apply to the banking sector as a whole. Some employees took the opportunity to express their opposition to a merger. “Blue Blood Does Us No Good,” read a handwritten sign at a protest by Commerzbank workers, a reference to the blue Deutsche Bank logo.

The union that represents workers is officially against a merger, which would lead to an estimated 30,000 job cuts right away and probably many more down the road. The union might even be able to veto a deal. As with all large German companies, employee representatives hold half the seats on the banks’ supervisory boards, while shareholder representatives hold the other half.

That means employee representatives need just one sympathetic shareholder on the board to muster a majority against a deal.

But major job cuts are inevitable whatever happens. Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank desperately need to cut costs by closing bank branches and conducting more business online.

Compared with other big European banks, the two Frankfurt lenders are very inefficient. Commerzbank’s cost-income ratio, a measure of a bank’s operating costs compared with its operating profit, was 80 percent in 2018. Deutsche Bank’s was 93 percent. (The lower the number, the more efficient the bank.) By comparison, the cost-income ratio of the Dutch bank ING, which has a large presence in Germany, was 55 percent.

Rather than blocking a merger, pragmatic employee representatives may use their clout to insist that any deal includes generous severance packages.

A merger “would only make sense if they were proposing a viable business model, which would include job guarantees,” said Jan Duscheck, who oversees bank issues for Ver.di, the union that represents workers at both banks.

Ultimately the banks’ shareholders, most of which are investment funds like BlackRock or other professional investors, will decide whether to approve the merger. They have already suffered big losses on their holdings in Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank, and are likely to be wary of the huge risks involved in a merger.

Berlin, which must sign off on any merger, is divided on the deal. The German government owns 15 percent of Commerzbank.CreditFabrizio Bensch/Reuters

Combining the two banks would be a monumental task that would drain money and management time. “What we have seen in the past with mergers is that they preoccupy the banks for many years,” said Tobias Berg, associate professor for finance at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.

“If they are busy with a merger for the next five or six years,” he said, “what innovations will be lost?”

The other question that shareholders are asking is: What’s the point? The morning after a merger, both companies would still have the same basic problem they have now: a lack of profitable business areas.

“The question at the end of the day is, how can the banks earn any money?” said Sascha Steffen, a professor of finance at the Frankfurt School. “That would not necessarily change in a merger. What is the future business model that they can earn money with?”

But some influential shareholders may be leaning toward a deal. One of them is likely to be Cerberus Capital Investment, the private equity firm that owns about 5 percent of Commerzbank and, through the co-founder Stephen Feinberg, 3 percent of Deutsche Bank.

Cerberus declined to comment and has not taken a public position on the merger. But its management of Bawag, an Austrian bank, offers a clue. Cerberus successfully cut costs at Bawag after buying it in 2007 and made it one of the most efficient banks in Europe. If Cerberus can apply the same expertise on a much larger scale in Frankfurt, the profits would be immense.

A merger won’t happen without the blessings of the German government, which owns 15 percent of Commerzbank after a bailout a decade ago. But Angela Merkel’s government is divided on the deal, and it faces stiff resistance from opposition parties.

“What could be the positive outcome of a fusion, other than they will be bigger?” asked Lisa Paus, a member of Parliament who speaks for the opposition Green Party on finance issues. “I don’t see ‘bigger’ as a very strong argument.”

Lately the government has been playing down its involvement, a sign that it does not want to stake too much prestige on the outcome.

“A successful financial center and strong banking sector are in our economic interest,” Jörg Kukies, a former Goldman Sachs partner who is now an under secretary in the German Finance Ministry, said in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper published Sunday. “That doesn’t mean we are pushing mergers. That impression is simply false.”

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