The last Monday Briefing edition of the semester takes us to Ukraine, where the Russian deployment of troops signals a potential invasion of the country. In other news, the economic consequences of the Omicron variant, Turkey’s new finance minister, Sweden’s first female prime minister taking office for the second time in a week, Austria’s chancellor stepping down, Germany moving towards a vaccination mandate, and much, much more.
Find it all on our website and watch out for our December edition that comes out this afternoon!
The political relationship between Ukraine and Russia has seemingly always been complex to interpret for the international community. In fact, the Crimean war, which began in 2014 following the decisions of Ukrainians to oust a Russian-backed President and the subsequent invasion of the region by Russian forces, has never fully extinguished, and tension is continuously tangible.
In the past few weeks, though, Russia’s decision to send tens of thousands of troops close to Ukraine’s Eastern border has increased the level of concern regarding a potential invasion of the country, or at least of its Eastern regions. A similar move had been made in April 2021, but eventually, there was no military offensive. This time, though, according to a report that was designed by the American intelligence and first reported by The Washington Post, there exists a full plan for a military offensive involving an estimated 175,000 troops as soon as early next year.
The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is considered to be politically very far from Putin and last week had accused the Kremlin of plotting a coup against him, now has called for direct talks with the Russian government to try to end the war, but no such meeting has seemingly been scheduled.
There is an extensive debate happening over the real intention of the Russian government that can be associated with such a huge deployment of troops, with some fearing an imminent invasion and some interpreting the move merely as an attempt to show the EU and the US the extent to which Russia can still exert political influence in Eastern Europe and put pressure on its rival powers. One thing is clear: the Russia-Ukraine conflict is far from over, and the Western world’s apparent inadequacy in preventing or at least solving the humanitarian crisis that has been occurring in Ukraine for the past 8 years is bound to play a role in future developments.
Around the World
The OECD warned Omicron may intensify supply shortages and inflation. The Omicron coronavirus variant threatens to intensify imbalances that are slowing growth and raising costs, the OECD said on Wednesday as it significantly increased its inflation forecasts from three months ago. The new variant, which was identified last week, could delay the world economy’s return to normality, the Paris-based international organization of largely rich country members warned.
Sweden elected its first female leader – for the second time in a week. Last week, Magdalena Andersson became Sweden’s first female Prime Minister but resigned after her budget was rejected by Parliament and her coalition collapsed. Less than a week later, the Swedish Parliament has re-elected her to the post, with the hope that she will be able to stick around longer this time.
Barbados became the world’s newest republic. After 396 years, the British monarchy’s reign over the Caribbean Island of Barbados officially ended, with a handover ceremony that took place at midnight on Monday and marked the birth of the world’s newest republic. As the clock struck 12, the Royal Standard flag representing the Queen was lowered over a crowded Heroes Square in Bridgetown and Carol Roberts-Reifer, chief executive officer of the National Cultural Foundation, made the declaration of Barbados’ transition to its new constitutional status.
A U.N. seat was denied, for now, to Afghanistan’s Taliban and Myanmar’s junta. A bid by the new Taliban government in Afghanistan and the junta ruling Myanmar to gain international recognition suffered a blow on Wednesday when the United Nations put off a decision on the rightful representatives of both countries. The deferral by a powerful U.N. committee effectively denied, for now and possibly through much of 2022, attempts by the ruling authorities of Afghanistan and Myanmar, which are widely considered pariahs, to occupy seats at the United Nations.
Austria’s Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg to step down. On Thursday, Alexander Schallenberg announced that he would step down as Austrian chancellor as soon as his conservative People’s Party agrees on its next leader, following former Sebastian Kurz’s announcement that he would quit politics altogether. Schallenberg had taken over as chancellor in October who resigned as the country’s leader but initially remained head of the party amid a corruption investigation into accusations that he used public money to bribe pollsters and journalists — allegations which he denies.
Turkey’s finance minister resigned amid a plunge in the lira. Turkey’s finance minister Lutfi Elvan, who was seen as the last remaining voice of economic orthodoxy in President Recep Erdogan’s cabinet, has resigned and been replaced by a loyalist to the President. After weeks of rumors that he was seeking to step down, the former technocrat was replaced by Nureddin Nebati, who last week made a fulsome public defense of Erdogan’s policy of cutting interest rates despite rising inflation.
Germany moved towards mandatory vaccination and tightened Covid curbs. Germany has tightened its measures on unvaccinated people and paved the way for mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations next year. Chancellor Angela Merkel and chancellor-designate Olaf Scholz announced the new measures after a hastily scheduled meeting with the leaders of Germany’s 16 states. The country has hit its highest level of Covid infections since the pandemic began, putting unprecedented strain on hospitals.
The Opec+ sticked with its oil suply increase after the US overture to Saudi Arabia. The US diplomatic efforts to convince Saudi Arabia, the Opec’s de facto leader, to keep increasing oil production were met by success. The move came as oil prices reached new highs, prompting US President Joe Biden to release part of the country’s strategic oil reserves.
Per il parlamento italiano l’Egitto è responsabile della morte di Regeni. La Commissione parlamentare d’inchiesta sull’omicidio di Giulio Regeni ha approvato all’unanimità la sua relazione finale, in cui si dice che «la responsabilità del sequestro, della tortura e dell’uccisione di Giulio Regeni grava direttamente sugli apparati di sicurezza della Repubblica araba d’Egitto, e in particolare su funzionari della National Security Agency».
Vaccino Covid bambini 5-11 anni, Aifa dà il via libera. Il via libera alla vaccinazione anti-Covid per i bambini dai 5 agli 11 anni, è stato comunicato dall’Aifa (Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco) al termine di una lunga riunione. Con dose ridotta, un terzo rispetto a quella per gli adulti, con due somministrazioni a distanza di tre settimane e possibilmente «adottando percorsi vaccinali riservati, adeguati all’età». L’approvazione dell’Aifa arriva dopo che la scorsa settimana era arrivata quella dell’Ema (European Medicine Agency).
Fitch alza il rating dell’Italia a BBB, con outlook stabile. L’agenzia di rating Fitch ha comunicato venerdì il miglioramento del rating del debito italiano a BBB. La notizia si inserisce nel contesto di una ripresa più veloce del previsto e supera la “bocciatura” avvenuta nel 2020, in piena crisi pandemica.
Le regole della zona gialla, arancione e rossa, con il super green pass. Dal 6 dicembre entra in vigore il “Super Green Pass”, che avrà durata di 9 mesi (per I vaccinati e I guariti, l’attuale Green Pass sarà automaticamente convertito nella nuova e rafforzata versione). Il Green Pass “rafforzato” sarà necessario per entrare nei ristoranti al chiuso, nelle discoteche, nei cinema e teatri, per andare allo stadio e partecipare a feste e cerimonie pubbliche. Tutto ciò, invece, non sarà permesso a coloro che hanno ottenuto la versione “base” del documento in funzione di un tampone, I quali potranno comunque cenare nei ristoranti all’aperto, prendere i mezzi pubblici e l’aereo, entrare in alberghi, spogliatoi e impianti sciistici.
Rapporto Censis, così la pandemia ha cambiato l’Italia: più negazionista, cospirazionista e fobica. la pandemia ha cambiato l’Italia. La vittoria dell’irrazionalità sembra poter essere ravvisata in ogni fascia sociale della popolazione, dai più ai meno colti. Il ritratto dell'”Italia irrazionale” che viene fuori dall 55esimo rapporto del Censis sulla situazione sociale del Paese parte da numeri che fanno impressione: il 31,4 % degli italiani è ancora convinto che i vaccini siano sperimentali, il 10,9 % che siano inutili e inefficaci, il 5,9% (pari a 3 milioni di persone) insiste nel dire che il Covid non esiste. Complessivamente il 12,7 % pensa che la scienza provochi più danni che benefici.
Draghi: “La lotta al cambiamento climatico è una sfida esistenziale”. Mario Draghi apre il suo intervento alla presentazione del Manifesto di Confindustria Energia e sindacati su una transizione sostenibile dicendo che “La lotta al cambiamento climatico è la sfida più importante dei nostri tempi, esistenziale. Lo è per chi governa, per chi lavora, per chi fa impresa”. Draghi evidenza anche che tale transizione necessiterà di cambiamenti importanti nei costumi, nei processi produttivi e nelle tecnologie e che “per avere successo dovrà essere sostenibile non solo dal punto di vista ambientale, ma anche sociale ed economico”.
The first semester of this academic year has been officially concluded with the last week of classes. It is time to jump in the exam session again, but in the meanwhile the campus buildings are being decorated with beautiful Christmas trees! The tree in the Leoni building, in particular, features the possibility to write a thought and leave it for the whole Boccconi community to see.
Tensions arose between the University and third year students that are about to leave for the Exchange program in January: indeed, the school dean has communicated that they will not be able to take the last exams of the first semester session online in case they would have to leave for their Exchange destinations before the end of the exams. This might potentially lead many students to leave behind for after their return in Bocconi some of the first semester exams, thus leading to possible delays in the degree completion. The students representatives in the Undergraduate School are trying to convince the administration to change these new rules, but so far there has been no answer from Bocconi. For further information on the issue, you can reach out to the undergraduate school representatives!
A new service is available to all Bocconi students. Starting from December 2nd, the “Sarfatti Bar” lab will be available again for free exercises on 35 desktop computers, from Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm and on Saturdays from 8:15 am to 12:15 am.
This week a new exciting event took place on campus: on 1st of December, Nobel perspectives was an exceptional event featuring three Economics Nobel prizes was held in the Gobbi auditorium. For more you can read Tra I Leoni’s full report on the event!
Sadly, it is hard to deny that we have gotten used to reading about tragedies regarding migration to and across Europe, last week’s shipwreck in the English Channel being the latest clear instance. The real concern, though, lies within authoritarian leaders’ ability to utilize displaced people as a bargaining chip to obtain concessions. This week’s long read, taken from The Financial Times, starts from the humanitarian crisis that is taking place on the border between Poland and Belarus and that has arguably been orchestrated by Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko and goes on to reflect on the geo-political process through which migration became a weapon in a “hybrid war”. You can find the full piece here.
In Case You Missed it
On the TiL Rundown column, Eman Maan examined the trends in influencer marketing and how this strategy attracts customers.
L’associazione studentesca bocconiana Keiron ha pubblicato un articolo sul primo caso di suicidio assistito in Italia.