Prof. Alessia Melegaro is a new member of the Scientific Technical Committee. The new Comitato Tecnico Scientifico (CTS), that is the committee consulting the Italian Government concerning anti-Covid measures, was formed. Among the new members of the CTS, which now counts 12 people rather than the previous 26, our Prof. Alessia Melegaro was appointed! Prof. Melegaro is part of the Department of Social and Political Sciences at Bocconi and teaches a variety of modules such as ‘Advanced Economic Evaluation of Health Care Programmes’ and ‘Applications for Management’ (which will sound familiar to BIEM students). Congrats!
Troublesome Respondus strikes again. During the (ending) exam session, many students have not so surprisingly experienced issues with our beloved platform. This time, some of us saw a message from Blackboard saying that “answers were not saved” just after their tests. Not exactly the best thing to be told after an exam. A new updated version of Respondus was then released which should hopefully have fixed the problem. Make sure you have it downloaded before your next exam…
Spain became the 4th European country legalizing assisted suicide. Following Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, the Spanish Parliament voted the national euthanasia law on Thurday. In the meantime, a Portugal’s court declared that a similar law in Portuguese soil would be deemed unconstitutional.
Brussels launches legal action against UK over Brexit breach. The British government decided to unilaterally delay the introduction of post-Brexit checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain. The European Commission says UK is set to break international law with this unilateral bid to ease Northern Ireland checks, and have already sent two letters to the U.K. government which contain threats of two different paths for legal proceedings against London if the government is not willing to settle the dispute via negotiations in the coming weeks.
Merkel’s CDU battered in key German state elections. Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats (CDU) suffered a loss in two states after the party was hit by corruption scandals. This presented Angela Merkel’s party with a major setback just months before the country chose her successor as chancellor. The corruption allegations are leveled at its lawmakers, who have been accused of profiting from public contracts for facemasks and questionable ties to Azerbaijan.
The European Union sets out a virus pass plan to allow free travel by the summer. The European Union’s executive body on Wednesday proposed the introduction of coronavirus passes to allow EU residents to travel freely across the 17-nation bloc by the summer. The plan foresees the creation of vaccine certificates aimed at facilitating travel from one member states to the other. Despite being a divisive topic, southern European countries which are dependent on tourism like Greece and Spain have been pushing for the quick introduction of the measure, which could help avoid quarantines and testing requirements.
An EU regulator declares that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, but experts fear that damage has been done. The European Union’s medicine regulator has concluded that Oxford’s AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe to use after several EU countries suspended their rollouts following reports that it could be linked to blood clots. The European Medicine Agency’s (EMA) executive director Emer Cooke said that the agency had ‘come to a clear scientific conclusion’ and findings pointed to the fact that the AstraZeneca vaccine ‘is safe and effective’.
Turkey withdraws from the Istanbul Convention to combat violence against women. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has withdrawn his country from an international treaty to protect women against domestic violence by issuing a presidential decree in the early hours of Saturday 20th March. Given that Turkey was the first to sign and ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women, the decision sent shock waves through the country.
Biden condemns attacks on Asian-Americans in light of the recent Atlanta shooting. President Biden expressed his grief for the victims of a mass shooting that left 8 people, including 6 women of Asian descent, dead this week. The incident was part of a ‘skyrocketing spike’ in violence against Asian-Americans and a national surge in racially motivated violence. asian-Americans have been ‘attacked, blamed, scapegoated and harassed’ as well as ‘verbally assaulted, physically assaulted, killed’. The US President encouraged people to stand up to racism and to acknowledge the fact that racial hatred won’t be the solution to the pandemic.
Saudi Arabia’s Aramco announces $75bn dividend despite ‘unprecedented and difficult’ year. The world’s biggest oil company, Aramco, made a profit of almost $50bn in a year which has been considered ‘unprecedented and difficult’ according to Aramco’s CEO Amin Nasser. Nasser said that net income came in at $49bn and was ‘one of the highest earnings of any public company globally’ despite the drastic impact that COVID-19 had on global oil markets. Despite a fall in profit, Aramco made good on its pledge at the time of its initial public offering to pay $75bn in dividends to its shareholders.
Samia Suluhu Hassan becomes Tanzania’s first woman president. Samia Suluhu Hassan has made history as Tanzania’s first female president, following her swearing in office after the death of President John Magufuli. Hassan took the oath of office at State House, the government offices in the country’s largest city, Dar es Salaam. A major test of Hassan’s new presidency will be how she deals with the pandemic and how to obtain vaccines through the COVAX rollout system.
In Italia sono riprese le somministrazioni del vaccino AstraZeneca, dopo le rassicurazioni dell’EMA in merito alla sua sicurezza. Nonostante ciò, la fiducia di molti cittadini nel vaccino sviluppato dalla casa farmaceutica anglo-svedese è comprovata. Il Commissario straordinario Francesco Figliuolo, che ha dichiarato come l’obiettivo sia somministrare 500mila dosi al giorno entro la terza settimana di aprile, ha spiegato come la percentuale di rinunce vari da regione a regione, fino a toccare il 20% in alcune regioni come Piemonte e Campania.
Ancora disagi a Cremona. Non partono gli sms: nessuno si presenta in Fiera per i vaccini. Continuano a destare preoccupazioni e polemiche i disagi in Lombardia riguardanti il processo di somministrazione delle dosi. A Cremona in particolare, un malfunzionamento nel sistema di prenotazione degli slot per vaccinari ha portato a veder comparire solo 70 persone su 588 posti disponibili.