Between unexpected court verdicts, drug scandals and unlawful campaign financing, it’s been an eventful week for Italy and the world, which will culminate today with the results of the first round of administrative elections in 1,192 municipalities across our country, including Milan and Rome. In other news, the new and somewhat problematic trade cooperation between the United States and the European Union, China’s energy crisis, Bocconi’s €200,000 fine, Fumio Kishida’s rise in Japanese politics and the potentially imminent collapse of Brazilian democracy.
Have a great week and don’t miss out our first printed issue that comes out this week.
It has been an eventful week for Italy, as the Italian News section of this edition of our Monday Briefing will exemplify. The most important thing to pay attention to, though, are the elections that began yesterday in 1,192 municipalities across the country to elect mayors and in the region of Calabria to elect the President. Both will end today at 15 so the results should be available by tonight – we will cover them on our website and social media profiles.
They are important to pay attention to not only because among the municipalities involved are some of the most important Italian cities (including Rome, Milan, Naples and Turin) but also because this is the first important vote in Italy since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, and some of the changes in citizens’ relationship with political authorities that occurred during the pandemic may be reflected by the outcome of these elections. Moreover, the controversies of the past week, which mostly involved the right-wing parties, add a layer of complexity.
Of course, local elections are not necessarily a reflection of national sentiment, and the current legislature has almost 2 more years to go before the next round of legislative elections but given that the current national government is technocratic and not strictly political, the results of these elections may indicate some trends regarding citizens’ preferences that are not as visible within governmental activity. Among the big cities, the most interesting race is for sure in Rome, where there are at least 4 candidates that according to the polls have a serious shot at winning.
You can find a detailed breakdown of scenarios for the outcome in the big cities (in Italian) here. Also, note that it is a two-round election, meaning that unless a candidate receives at least 50%+1 in the first round, a second round with the two candidates who obtained the most preferences in the first round will take place in two weeks.
Around the World
U.S. and Europe announced new trade cooperation, but disputes linger. The United States and the European Union announced a new partnership for trade and technology, in a move aimed at countering China. However, tensions over a variety of strategic and economic issues that go from metal tariffs to European discontent for the lack of confrontation preceding the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal are still present.
Oil prices near a three-year high as an energy crunch looms. The price of a barrel of brent crude hit $80.69 last week, its highest since October 2018. Prices are on the rise as global demand recovers with reopenings, and due to hurricanes Ida and Nicholas passing through the Gulf of Mexico and damaging US oil infrastructure, hurting global oil supplies. In Europe, there is already a nearing natural gas crisis that is likely to become global: natural gas inventories in Europe are at historically low levels for this time of the year, and Russia has limited flows to the continent.
Biden signed a short-term spending bill, averting a government shutdown. A short-term government funding bill was approved in the United States Congress on Thursday, and the legislation was signed by President Biden just hours before funding was set to expire to avoid a partial government shutdown. Democrats had initially proposed a $1 trillion bill for infrastructure along with a $3.5 trillion bill for health care, education, and climate change, which were both rejected by Republicans.
China sent a record number of warplanes towards Taiwan. On Friday and Saturday, China sent a record number of warplanes into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone ahead of a visit to Taipei by French lawmakers. The aggressive move comes as China is enduring growing economic pressures while stepping up domestic regulatory and political crackdown.
China is hit by power cuts and factory closures as the energy crisis bites. The post-lockdown global demand recovery has left coal production in China unable to keep up with the energy demand from factories, while importing coal has become an expensive option due to rising demand. Despite clean energy efforts, China is still the world’s biggest consumer of coal and relies on coal for more than 50% of its energy production. Consequently, the coal shortage forced many factories in 20 of China’s 31 provinces to halt production, at least for hours at a time. In the North-East, millions of households have lost access to electricity and heating.
Nicolas Sarkozy was found guilty of illegally financing the 2012 election campaign. Former French President Sarkozy, still an influential figure in the French right, was found guilty of illegal campaign financing for the failed 2012 re-election campaign. He received a one-year sentence that can be served under house arrest. This is the second custodial sentence that Sarkozy has received this year, following the three-year jail term (two of which were suspended) for corruption and influence peddling he was sentenced to in March.
Who is Fumio Kishida, Japan’s likely next Prime Minister? Despite working hard to distinguish himself from the unpopular departing prime minister Yoshihide Suga, Fumio Kishida has struggled to connect with the public. Nonetheless, his efforts were enough to win the leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party, which virtually guarantees that he will become Japan’s next prime minister. It is unlikely that his appointment will result in significant change, as safe conformity seems to appeal to the Party, which also dominates the Parliament.
Slovenia urged the EU to admit western Balkan states by 2030. Ahead of the summit to discuss an enlargement of the 27-member European Union that will be held on Wednesday, Slovenia, the current holder of the bloc’s presidency, hinted at the idea of including Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the EU within the next 10 years at a meeting of ambassadors in Brussels. It is an undoubtedly sensitive issue that has been repeatedly discussed over the last few years, and despite the economic and political challenges in the region, it may become a reality. Note that the EU has not had any enlargement since 2013, when Croatia, a Western Balkan country in many ways close to Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, joined. Wednesday’s summit will also be attended by Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and North Macedonia, and there is a solid base to believe that it may bring actual change.
Le accuse contro Luca Morisi, guru dei social della Lega. Per diversi anni responsabile della comunicazione e dei social network della Lega e del suo segretario Matteo Salvini, Luca Morisi è stato indagato dalla procura di Verona per cessione e detenzione di sostanze stupefacenti. Nonostante sia trascorso oltre un mese da quando i primi risultati delle indagini sono emersi, la vicenda ha avuto un riscontro mediatico notevole questa settimana, dopo che La Repubblica ha per prima dato la notizia lunedì. Alla base del grande interesse che circonda questa storia ci sono sicuramente le innumerevoli dure prese di posizione che la Lega e Salvini, attraverso la comunicazione gestita proprio da Luca Morisi, hanno preso negli anni contro il consumo e lo spaccio delle sostanze stupefacenti.
Condannato a oltre 13 anni l’ex-sindaco di Riace Domenico Lucano. Noto per il sistema di accoglienza dei migranti messo in piedi durante la sua amministrazione (dal 2004 al 2018), l’ex-sindaco di Riace Domenico Lucano è stato condannato in primo grado a 13 anni e 2 mesi per un insieme di reati che includono abuso d’ufficio, truffa, concussione, falsità ideologica e favoreggiamento dell’immigrazione clandestina. Si tratta di una sentenza che ha destato diverse reazioni nel mondo della politica dato che quello di Riace era stato descritto come un modello per i principi di solidarietà a cui si ispirava.
Fratelli D’Italia, la Procura di Milano indaga per finanziamento illecito e riciclaggio. Il sito di news Fanpage ha pubblicato il video di un’inchiesta che rivela un sistema di finanziamenti in nero per la campagna elettorale di Chiara Valcepina, candidata alle comunali di Milano nella lista di Fratelli d’Italia che sostiene il candidato sindaco Luca Bernardo. Commenta la segretaria del partito Giorgia Meloni: “Sono pronta a prendere tutte le decisioni necessarie quando ravviso delle responsabilità reali, ma per avere contezza di queste chiedo di avere l’intero girato di 100 ore. Poi farò sapere cosa ne penso”.
Greta Thunberg a Milano per il clima. L’attivista svedese è sbarcata a Milano da Francoforte martedì, subito dopo aver concluso il suo tour in Germania, per aprire le cinque giornate per il clima che si sono poi tenute a Milano nel corso della settimana, culminate con lo sciopero di venerdì. La Questura le ha offerto una scorta, in vista della folla numerosa che la aspettava al suo arrivo, ma lei ha rifiutato, preferendo la compagnia degli amici dai quali è sempre circondata durante le sue battaglie.
Cannabis, governo verso la proroga dei termini per salvare il referendum. Arriva in Consiglio dei Ministri l’intervento necessario per non rendere vana la raccolta firme per indire il referendum sulla depenalizzazione della marijuana che si è tenuta nelle ultime settimane. Il 30 settembre, infatti, doveva essere l’ultimo giorno utile per la consegna delle sottoscrizioni in Corte di Cassazione, ma le lentezze burocratiche di centinaia di amministrazioni hanno fatto sì che questa mattina le certificazioni fossero poco più di 300,000 sulle 500,000 necessarie per ottenere il referendum. Il Governo è dunque intervenuto con una proroga fino al 31 ottobre, il cui annuncio è stato accolto con un’ovazione e applausi.
Ok del Cts agli aumenti delle capienze per teatri, cinema e stadi. Il comitato tecnico scientifico ha comunicato lunedì che ritiene si possa procedere con graduali aumenti degli accessi di persone munite di green pass in impianti sportivi (al 75% all’aperto e 50% al chiuso) e in teatri, cinema e sale da concerto (100% all’aperto e il 50% al chiuso). Ovviamente, tali capienze vanno rispettate utilizzando tutti i settori degli impianti al fine di evitare assembramenti, e l’uso delle mascherine chirurgiche durante tutte le fasi degli eventi è fondamentale.
Bocconi hit the national news last week due to the imposition of a €200,000 fine from the Italian Privacy Authority for having used Respondus for the online exams during the Covid-19 lockdowns. In particular, the Privacy Authority ruled that the University should have better informed the students on how the acquired data would have been used and stored in Respondus’ servers. The fine is the result of a formal complaint issued at the start of the pandemic by a recently graduated Bocconi student.
The University is adding more study rooms on Campus: the new service is available in the You@B mobile app.
Bocconi has launched the “A frame to study” initiative. Since 1985, the University has hosted temporary exhibitions of several artists. At the end of each exhibition, each artist has left one of his works to the University itself. More than 200 of these works are now being put on sale and the proceeds used to finance new scholarships for university students. During graduation, it is possible, for anyone who desires, to look at the works in Room 125 of the Sarfatti building or in the Catalogue of Works section on the University website.
Thanks to the work of the Representatives in the Sport committee, the Bocconi cheerleading team has now been created!
Last week, he opened the United Nations General Assembly with a speech that simultaneously questioned the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines, denied the widespread accusation of corruption in his administration, and described his environmental policies, which have been depicted as “disastrous” by Human Rights Watch, as the “best in the world”. In Brazil, he is inciting crowds with populist rhetoric, questioning the instruments of Brazilian democracy, and threatening to refuse to take part in the 2022 elections. Jair Bolsonaro has no intention of letting go of his power, and this week’s long read, taken from the Financial Times, sets up the next year of Brazilian politics, focusing on the dangers of the gradual abandonment of democracy we are witnessing and examining the potentially incoming clash between ideologies at next year’s elections, with the incumbent on one side and left-wing Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on the other.
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Federico Cimini wrote about the municipal elections in Milan which started yesterday and will finish today. He assessed the current mayor Beppe Sala’s chances at re-election and compared him to his main opponent, Luca Bernardo.
L’associazione studentesca Keiron ha pubblicato un articolo sul processo Braibanti del 1968. Braubabtu fu accusato di plagio – non nella sua più comune accezione accademica, quanto in quella di manipolazione delle idee altrui.
Francesca Sofia Cocco ci ha raccontato dall’interno la cerimonia di inaugurazione del Bocconi Sport Center che si è tenuta il 18 settembre e a cui hanno partecipato campioni dello sport come Danilo Gallinari, Eleonora Giorgi e Filippo Magnini, oltre ad altre personalità di spicco come il sindaco di Milano Beppe Sala e il presidente del Comitato Olimpico Nazionale Italiano Giovanni Malagò.