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As the controversies surrounding the Beijing Olympic Games are far from over, tensions surrounding the Russia-Ukraine crisis remain at the centre of international attention. In other news, US inflation, the dangers of being a journalist in Mexico, Pope Ratzinger’s apologies, Canada’s anti-vaccine protests and much, much more.


As the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics enter their second and final week, the controversies that surround them, which began long before last week’s inauguration ceremony and regard aspects that very much transcend the sporting competition, are seemingly nowhere close to being extinguished.

According to many, the Olympics have been in a state of moral crisis for quite some time, having repeatedly been involved in scandals regarding bribery, corruption, environmental damages, forced displacement of residents, financial waste and cheating. The Beijing Olympics, though, have arguably brought the level of discord to a height that has hardly ever been touched in recent history.

The most prominent issue to spark controversies months before the Olympic Games even began has been the human rights abuses occurring in the region of Xinjiang, where approximately one million Uighurs, a Chinese Muslim minority, have been subject to deportation, mass detention, torture, and sterilization, in what the Biden administration bluntly referred to as “nothing less than a genocide”, although it is indeed a dangerous term to utilize. On December 6th, the US Government announced that none of its officials would be attending the Beijing Olympics, in a boycott that, however, does not restrict any of its athletes to compete in the games, and the Washington Post, on December 7th, went as far as describing the games as “Genocide Olympics”.

A second layer of controversy regards the current state of international geo-politics, since its equilibria are seemingly on the verge of being disrupted by a potential (some say imminent) escalation of the tensions that surround the border between Russia and Ukraine (more on that below). In the very delicate diplomatic negotiations that are currently taking place, the leader of China Xi Jinping is seemingly siding with Russia, meaning with the side that is threatening to invade and spark a conflict, while seeking international legitimacy by organizing a sporting event that is traditionally meant to symbolize peace.

Thirdly, controversy arose when 15-year-old Russian prodigy Kamila Valieva, who won the gold medal in team figure skating, was reportedly found positive to a test for trimetazidine, a banned substance, in December.

The Olympic Games have never been immune to the historical moment in which they took place, but on the contrary, every edition has been deeply shaped by the context that surrounds it. This year, though, the layers of symbolism and complexity that are present remind us once again of the many implications of sports on our society.

Around the World

France says Putin is moving towards de-escalating Ukraine crisis. Following Monday’s meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin, French officials said the latter has moved towards de-escalating the Ukraine crisis by promising not to undertake any new “military initiatives”. According to the US, on the other hand, a Russian invasion of Ukraine could begin “at any time” , and President Joe Biden, in a 1-hour call with Vladimir Putin, has warned Putin of ‘severe’ costs of Invading Ukraine.

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“Things could go crazy quickly”, Biden warns, as talks in Berlin fail. US President Joe Biden has warned that “things could go crazy quickly” in Ukraine and urged American citizens to leave immediately, as the UK’s defense secretary is headed to Moscow in the latest round of diplomacy.

Putin and Xi get closer and closer. China’s leader, Xi Jinping, and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, met in Beijing as the city is hosting the Winter Olympic Games. In a joint statement, they highlighted their friendship and called for NATO to end its eastward expansion, accusing Western nations of undermining “security and stability in their common adjacent regions”. China and Russia have grown increasingly close and opposed to the United States and are accused of promoting a more autocratic world.

US inflation surged to 7.5% year-over-year. Data on the United States’ consumer price index released on Friday show that prices have grown in January by 7.5% with respect to the same month of 2021, as high as in the early ‘80s. The hike in inflation is mainly driven by energy prices, the shortage of raw materials and rising shipping costs. The Federal Reserve has planned multiple interest rate increases during 2022.

Journalist shot dead in southern Mexico, taking toll to five this year. Heber López, director of the online news site Noticias Web, was shot dead in the Southern Mexican State of Oaxaca as he was leaving a recording studio in the port city of Salina Cruz, said an official of the State Security Agency. López’s murder follows those of four other journalists in January, exemplifying the constant state of danger that members of the press are exposed to in Mexico. Oaxaca state prosecutor, Arturo Peimbert Calvo, told Milenio TV that two suspects in the killing were in custody.

Poland offers compromise in rule of law dispute with EU. Poland’s ruling party has proposed a bill to change a contested disciplinary chamber for judges, in an attempt to defuse a long-running feud with the European Union over the rule of law. The chamber has in fact been ruled illegal in the EU’s top court and has become a flashpoint in a dispute that has led to Brussels withholding billions of euros in funding to Warsaw.

China has not followed the Trump trade deal so far. In a 2020 trade deal signed with former US President Donald Trump, the Chinese government had committed to buying an additional $200 billion in American goods and services by the end of 2021. New data show they have effectively bought only 57 percent of the total amount they should have imported over the period.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier was reelected as German president. The Federal Convention in Berlin reelected Frank Walter Steinmeier as Germany’s president on Sunday, with 77% support. The role is largely ceremonial. President Steinmeier, 66, is a Social Democrat who served as foreign minister under former Chancellor Angela Merkel and as chief of staff to former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

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Canada’s truckers and the politics of anti-vaccine protests. On January 22nd, convoys of truck drivers departed from British Columbia en route to Ottawa, Canada’s capital, to protest a vaccine mandate – imposed by the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – for truckers entering the country from America. Initially dismissed by Canadian authorities, the protesters have since attracted the attention of worldwide media for their ability to disrupt the daily activities of residents in Ottawa, slowing down the economy and forcing Mayor Watson to declare a state of emergency.

Australia’s largest pension fund to pour £23bn into UK and Europe. AustralianSuper, Australia’s largest pension scheme, plans to invest £23bn in the UK and Europe over the next 5 years, joining other global funds that are pushing further into private markets for returns. “There are strong opportunities across real estate, infrastructure and direct private credit in Europe and the UK,” said Damian Moloney, the fund’s head of international investments.

Notizie italiane

Da venerdì in tutta Italia non ci sarà più l’obbligo di mascherina all’aperto. Lo stop all’obbligo delle mascherine all’aperto anche in zona rossa è deciso, e dal primo aprile si potranno evitare anche al chiuso. L’ordinanza del ministro della Salute, Roberto Speranza, è stata firmata, costituendo un altro, ulteriore, passo verso il ritorno alla normalità. Tuttavia, le mascherine andranno comunque portate con sè fino a nuova disposizione. Tale gesto è stato definito un “segnale di fiducia nel Paese” dal sottosegretario alla salute.

Ratzinger chiede perdono alle vittime di abusi. «Chiedo perdono alle vittime. Affronto grandissima colpa, ma non sono un bugiardo»: il Papa emerito Benedetto XVI risponde alle contestazioni relative all’arcidiocesi di Monaco e si fa carico di questo grande male che da tempo dissesta la Chiesa Cattolica. Dice che, incontrando le vittime, «ho guardato negli occhi le conseguenze di una grandissima colpa e ho imparato a capire che noi stessi veniamo trascinati in questa grandissima colpa quando la trascuriamo o quando non l’affrontiamo con la necessaria decisione e responsabilità, come troppo spesso è accaduto e accade».

Una statua per Margherita Hack a Milano, è la prima in Italia dedicata a una scienziata. A cento anni dalla sua nascita, davanti alla Statale di Milano sorgerà il monumento “Sguardo Fisico”, dedicato alla celebre scienziata. L’opera è stata commissionata da Deloitte e donata dal comune di Milano, che si farà carico della manutenzione della statua negli anni a seguire.

È un italiano ad aver ingannato per anni l’editoria di mezzo mondo? Negli ultimi cinque anni il mondo dell’editoria internazionale ha avuto a che fare con una misteriosa truffa: qualcuno, fingendosi dell’ambiente, riusciva a farsi inviare importanti e attesi manoscritti da editor, autori, traduttori, agenti e scout letterari. L’aspetto che rende il tutto ancora più affascinante è l’apparente assenza di movente economico, dato che nessuno di questi manoscritti veniva poi rivenduto o pubblicato. Il 5 gennaio scorso, l’FBI ha arrestato il 29enne italiano Filippo Bernardini al JFK di New York con l’accusa di essere l’autore di questa operazione, e nonostante non si sia ancora giunti a un verdetto, il caso sta provocando grande scalpore nell’ambiente letterario e non solo.

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Riforma della giustizia, cambia il Csm e stop alle «porte girevoli» per i magistrati. Il Consiglio dei ministri dell’11 febbraio ha approvando gli emendamenti al disegno di legge in discussione in Parlamento per la riforma della giustizia. La riforma prevede il divieto di esercitare contemporaneamente le funzioni giurisdizionali e incarichi elettivi. E sarà anche vietato ai magistrati candidarsi nelle regioni in cui, nei tre anni precedenti alle elezioni, abbiano esercitato la funzione di giudice o pm.

Superbonus: secondo Draghi, la truffa più grande che si ricordi escogitata da chi gridava “onestà”. Il Presidente del Consiglio Mario Draghi ha dichiarato: “alcuni di quelli che più tuonano oggi su super bonus, sulla necessità che queste frodi non contano, che bisogna andare avanti lo stesso, che l’industria non può aspettare… alcuni di loro sono quelli che hanno scritto questa legge, dove è stato possibile fare quello che si è fatto senza controlli. Su un dépliant delle Poste del 2020 è scritto che non è necessario fornire alcuna documentazione a supporto della richiesta, è sufficiente verificare preliminarmente di essere titolare del credito da cedere. Va bene. Allora se ci troviamo in questa situazione qui è per il fatto che si è voluto costruire un sistema che prevedeva pochissimi controlli. Questo è il punto”.

Bocconi News

Starting from the 11th of February, it is possible to walk throughout the open spaces of the campus without the mask! Although they still have to be worn on the inside, at least until the 31st of March, as soon as Monday it will be able to occupy all the places in class and all the study spots in campus.

Associations on Display is coming back this week, from 14th to 18th of February: more than 110 associations are going to introduce themselves to students in a series of online events

The FT published its 2022 Global MBA Ranking: SDA Bocconi is 13th worldwide

Long Read

In 2018, Latin America was home to 8% of the world population but 37% of its murders, and the overall perception is that the magnitude of such violence is deeply interconnected with drug trafficking. To what extent is that really true? Economist’s Explainer of this week is focused exactly on that. You can find it here.

In Case You Missed It

François Praum wrote about the rise of authoritarianism in certain European countries and the decline in people’s confidence in democracy all around the world.

Chiara Todesco ha scritto del convegno sulla scuola e la pandemia ospitato il 31 gennaio dalla Bocconi, al quale ha partecipato anche il Ministro dell’Istruzione Patrizio Bianchi.

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Every week, your TiL Monday Briefing 🗞: you better read it with a cup of coffee! ☕️

Current members of the team are Elisa Latora, Dragos-Ioan Ile, Chiara Todesco, Polina Mednikova, Theo Di Martino Taulois, Zoe Di Lieto, and Bojan Zeric.

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