As the stark decreases in Milan’s temperature signal the approach of winter and the increased frequency of coursework deadlines signal that the semester’s most intense phase is behind the corner, this week’s Monday Briefing allows us to travel the world and reflect on things that are both close and far. From latest developments in the gruesome and cruel Ethiopian Civil War to the approval of the new Infrastructure Bill in the US, from the ongoing COP26 negotiations in Glasgow to the deadly tank explosion in Sierra Leone, it’s been a full week.
It was 2019 when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed received the Nobel Peace Prize. His efforts to democratize Ethiopia, along with the peace deal that he managed to reach with Eritrea’s President Isaias Akwerki to end a brutal and inconclusive border war between the two countries that had begun in 1998, had earned him a prize that contributed to shaping the image of a peaceful and democratic attitude. Thanks to his reforms, Ethiopia was in fact considered one of the safest and most stable countries in the area. Today, only two years later, Ethiopia is in the middle of one of the cruelest and most gruesome civil wars in the world, with atrocious human rights violations being perpetrated by all parties involved in the conflict. It is natural to wonder what happened in between.
Unrest began one year ago when the Ethiopian federal government attempted to defeat the secessionist rebel forces that control the local government of the Tigray region in the north of the country, following secessionist threats. The government, however, is thought to have underestimated the military capacity of the rebels, and what was seemingly designed as a quick takeover turned into an exhausting and gruesome conflict, characterized by death, famine, displacement, sexual violence perpetrated by both sides and no peace prospect in sight. The latest development regards an expansion of the conflict outside of the Tigray region, as the rebel forces, who meanwhile have stipulated new alliances, have announced a complete takeover of Combolcià and Dessiè, two important cities outside of the area that were under Abyi’s government’s control. The government denies that such takeover has taken place, and it is currently hard for international media to verify the real state of things. If it were true, though, it would signify an expansion of the conflict that is bound to further undermine basic human rights and lead Ethiopia down a spiral that brings it very far from the reputation of stability it had earned until last year. And Abyi’s Nobel Peace Prize becomes more and more of a paradox as the conflict intensifies.
For further and more detailed information on an undoubtedly complex and confusing conflict, you can try here.
Around the World
The US House of Representatives passed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, putting the social policy bill on hold. The US House of Representatives gave the final approval to a central element of President Biden’s agenda. The infrastructure bill aims at rebuilding the nation’s public works system. Its approval had stalled as progressives asked to first pass an even larger social safety and climate change bill, which was put on hold.
COP26: 40 nations joined a new pact to end the use of coal. An agreement was reached between 40 countries to phase out coal, the most polluting fossil fuel. However, the agreement was undermined by the absence of the United States and of big polluters like China, India, and Australia. Moreover, the original goal was to be reached in 2030, whereas now the pledge refers to the 2030s “or soon as possible thereafter”.
At least 98 were killed in a Sierra Leone fuel tanker explosion. At least 98 people died, and hundreds of others were injured on Friday after a fuel tanker exploded in a suburb of Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, according to local authorities. The explosion occurred after two vehicles collided on the highway while the fuel tanker was about to enter a nearby filling station to discharge its fuel.
Britain was the first country to approve Merck’s Covid-19 pill. The United Kingdom on Thursday was the first country in the world to approve the use of Merck’s Covid-19 pill, ahead of the US. The drug will be administered to patients at high risk of complications and a wider rollout will follow based on its efficacy.
Venezuela faces a landmark ICC investigation over alleged crimes against humanity. The International Criminal Court has opened a formal investigation on the allegations of torture and killings committed by Venezuelan security forces under Nicolas Maduro’s rule. It is the first time that a Latin American country ends up at the center of an investigation for crimes against humanity.
China could have 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030, the Pentagon said. According to a new Defense Department Report that was released on Wednesday, China is continuing to strengthen its nuclear arsenal and could have 1,000 new nuclear warheads by 2030.
The official global virus death toll has passed five million. According to data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at John Hopkins University, as of this week, coronavirus is responsible for 5 million deaths worldwide. Experts even go as far as saying that 5 million is an undercount, given that countries like India and some African countries are unable to accurately keep count.
Egypt is set to pass legislation that will increase grip of the government on the military. Egypt is poised to expand the national security powers of the president and military with legislation that will strengthen the hand of the country’s authoritarian government. The grip of the government will be expanded via amending a terrorism law already in order.
Eight dead in Houston Astroworld festival concert crush. Eight people were killed and dozens were injured in a crowd surge during Travis Scott’s performance at the Astroworld music festival in Houston on Friday night, in what the city’s mayor Sylvester Turner called “a tragedy on many different levels”. Among the deceased were two teenagers, the youngest being 14. According to Turner, it is still to early to say with certainty what exactly went wrong.
Republican Glenn Youngkin won Virginia governor’s race. With just a year to go until midterm elections, the Virginia race for governor delivered a crushing defeat to the US President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party. A State in which just a year ago Joe Biden beat Donald Trump by 10 percentage points decided to elect a Republican who came into the race as an unknown character and who is said to have close ties with Trump.
The Fed will start winding back its $120bn-a-month stimulus programme. The Federal Reserve said it would begin scaling down its stimulus programme in November, saying substantial progress has been achieved to the bank’s goals of maximum employment and average inflation at 2 per cent. Inflation has been rising for months, though Fed economists said the drivers of this upward pressure are expected to be transitory.
The Economist dedicated a long piece to Italian PM Mario Draghi. One of the most renowned news outlets in the world, The Economist, has dedicated a long article to Mario Draghi in its weekly edition, titled Mario Magic. The author both praises the reforms that were led by Draghi during the last six months and notes the challenges that lay ahead, such as the implementation of the EU Resilience and Recovery Plan and the appointment of the new President of the Republic that is coming up and that some say could see Draghi himself among the potential candidates. That, however, would involve his resignation as a PM and a subsequent and delicate new government formation process, which does not seem likely as there are less than two years left in this legislature.
Elon Musk’s Twitter poll results favour a Tesla stock sale. Billionaire Elon Musk asked its Twitter followers whether he should sell 10% of his Tesla stocks and pledged to accept the outcome of the vote. 58% of the voters favoured the sale. The move comes amid the debate on billionaire taxes in the US: Musk said that most of his wealth is made of unrealized gains and a tax such that proposed by Democrats would force him to sell stocks.
Green pass obbligatorio fino a giugno, stato di emergenza fino a marzo: l’ipotesi del governo. Le misure per gestire la pandemia scadono il 31 dicembre 2021, dunque il Governo dovrà procedere con un nuovo decreto per il dopo. La decisione definitiva riguardo al contenuto è prevista per novembre. Per adesso, l’ipotesi più accreditata è quella di mantenere l’obbligo di green pass fino a giugno per sostenere la seconda fase della campagna vaccinale e di prorogare lo stato di emergenza nazionale fino a marzo. Il sistema di colori per le regioni, inoltre, rimarrà valido anche e soprattutto durante il periodo natalizio.
È stato approvato il Ddl concorrenza, Draghi: «Scelta la via efficace della trasparenza». Il nuovo decreto-legge concorrenza, costituito da 32 articoli, reca disposizioni per la tutela della concorrenza. La finalità è di promuoverne lo sviluppo, sia per garantire l’accesso ai mercati degli appalti ad imprese di dimensioni minori, tutelando l’occupazione e contribuendo al rafforzamento della giustizia sociale, che per rimuovere gli ostacoli regolatori di carattere normativo e amministrativo all’apertura dei mercati. Inoltre, il disegno di legge garantisce la tutela dei consumatori.
Trasporti a Milano, il biglietto sarà contactless anche su bus e tram. Dal 2023 il biglietto si potrà comperare contactless anche su tram, bus e filobus. Atm ha infatti annunciato lo stanziamento di una fornitura da 12 milioni di euro con la quale 7000 dispositivi elettronici verranno installati su tutti i 2000 mezzi di superficie.
Dall’inizio dell’anno 170,000 ettari di bosco sono bruciati in Italia per colpa degli effetti dei cambiamenti climatici. Lo afferma la confederazione nazione coltivatori diretti (Coldiretti)
Migranti: nuovo sbarco nel Crotonese, arrivati in 161. Dopo avere viaggiato a bordo di un motopeschereccio sfuggito ai controlli, i 161 migranti, di cui 126 provengono dal Pakistan mentre gli altri sono in gruppi provenienti da Afghanistan e Bangladesh, si sono arenati nelle prime ore del mattino a qualche decina di metri dalla tratta di costa ed i migranti hanno percorso un tratto di mare per raggiungere la terraferma. Sul posto sono giunte le forze dell’ordine.
Milano, il nuovo panettone allo zafferano: l’iniziativa solidale per finanziare il restauro del Duomo. il Panettone allo zafferano è nato dalla collaborazione fra Viaggiator Goloso e La Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo. Il progetto, in edizione limitata, è un’iniziativa solidale nata per finanziare i restauri delle vetrate del Duomo. La spezia è stata scelta perché la leggenda narra che venisse usata in passato dai maestri vetrai per dipingere di giallo le finestre della Cattedrale.
New rules have been given for the guests in the residences. In particular, the maximum total number of guests has been eliminated and every resident can sign in one guest per day. Each apartment cannot have more than 2 guests.
New regulations have also been communicated regarding graduation ceremonies: the number of guests admitted to the upcoming ceremonies has been increased from 3 to 5.
Everything in Campus seems to be going towards the softening of the Covid rules: as a consequence, many are starting to wonder what will happen to didactic activities next semester. The Deans have informed the representatives that any decision will be taken on the basis of the Italian governments’ decision to extend the emergency status.
Some of the current COP26 negotiations regarding shared measures to combat climate change revolve around one theme: devolving an x amount of money to the cause and how much each country should put. However, there is one other aspect that is currently seemingly being neglected (at least by media outlets), and that is, where is this money directed to? Who gets it, and who decides who gets it? How exactly does an increase in government spending bring us closer to the net-zero emissions that negotiators say we are trying to get to? For this week’s long read, we propose a Financial Times piece by Leslie Hook and Joanna S Kao that attempts to reply exactly to the questions posed above. We anticipate that the answers, although compelling and logically flawless, are not encouraging. You can find the piece here.
In Case You Missed It
Sulla rubrica TiL Rundown, Sergiu Lazar ha esaminato la digitalizzazione nella pubblica amministrazione italiana, sottolineando che il problema non tanto è una mancanza di risorse ma piu l’accesso alle informazione dei cittadini.
Stefanos S. Pappas drew parallels between our generation and the Lost Generation of the 20s, whose story was told in Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise.
Linda Bia Fasoli ha analizzato filosoficamente l’importanza del contatto fisico per essere humano e l’elemento distopico del distanziamento sociale.
L’associazione studentesca Keiron ha pubblicato un articolo descrittivo-analitico sulla recentemente approvata legge che delega concede, al Guardasigilli Marta Cartabia, la possibilità di effettuare un indefinito numero di interventi sul sistema processuale penale italiano in tema di celerità e tecnologizzazione.
Eman Maan analyzed the latest report from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which declared a Code Red for climate change.
Daniela Castro Garcet interviewed Ugandan climate activist Evelyn Acham.
Gabriele Bernard ha scritto sulle questioni energetiche d’Italia e sui potenziali vantaggi d’un ritorno al nucleare.
Allegra Semenzato reported from the workshops on climate change held at Bocconi University on September 30th under the All4Climate initiative.
Olimpia Vitalia ha messo in discussione il ritmo della vita nel 2021 e ha presentato Il Movimento Slow.
Julia Galusiakowska wrote about how the pandemic has changed the way we approach artworks and the role of art as solace in those times of social fragmentation.