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Russian PM Warns of Potential World War Over Syria

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned that a western effort to send ground forces into Syria could spark a new world war. In an exclusive interview in Moscow with Handelsblatt, Mr. Medvedev said that all ground operations, as a rule, lead to permanent wars. He said all sides must sit down at the negotiating table, rather than start a new world war. The Russian government supports the Syrian regime, headed by Bashar al Assad. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have asked the United States to lead an operation to send ground troops into Syria to overthrow the current regime: a move that Russia strongly opposes. After approving the use of the term “a new world war” in a German translation of the interview, the Kremlin on Friday softened the phrase on its website to read: “yet another war in the world.”

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Daimler to Restructure Management Board

German luxury car maker Daimler will reshuffle its top executive board next week and extend the contract of chief executive Dieter Zetsche by another three years, Handelsblatt has learned. The board will also give more power to Swedish manager Ola Källenius, who is expected to take over from Mr. Zetsche when he eventually retires. Mr. Källenius is currently responsible for Daimler’s marketing and sales, but will take over research and development at the end of this year. Daimler had a strong start to 2016. Car sales data for January showed that its Mercedes Benz brand grew faster than its main German rivals Audi and BMW. The company said sales of Mercedes Benz vehicles grew 20 percent last month, boosted by strong growth in China. Daimler’s board will meet next Tuesday.

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Regulator Monitoring Deutsche Bank Shares

Germany’s top financial regulator is monitoring Deutsche Bank’s share price fluctuations, Handelsblatt has learned. Sources say regulator BaFin is also keeping a close eye on the stock of Germany’s second-largest bank, Commerzbank. Deutsche Bank shares have fluctuated wildly this week as investors sold shares amid rising concerns over profitability and solvency. At one point, shares fell about 20 percent, but rebounded. The bank earlier this week reassured bond holders it had enough cash to service its outstanding debt. Investment bankers told Handelsblatt that some hedge funds had taken both long and short positions on the stock. A short position is a bet that a stock will continue to fall. Deutsche Bank’s shares have shed about 40 percent of their value since the start of the year.

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Berlinale Shines Bright

Berlin’s annual movie extravaganza, the Berlinale, kicked off in style Thursday with screen icon George Clooney hitting the red carpet. Actress Tilda Swinton joined them at the premiere of the new Coen brothers’ movie “Hail Caesar!” The festival is focusing in part on Europe’s refugee crisis. Close to a dozen movies to be screened during the festival focus on the plight of the migrants. In an interview with Handelsblatt Global Edition, Mr. Clooney said he planned to meet today with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to express his gratitude and support to Germany’s open-door policy toward refugees.

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