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This week’s Monday Briefing starts from China’s congress, in which Xi Jinping is expected to further consolidate his power and become the most long-lived leader in the country’s history since Mao. In other news, the deal between Israel and Lebanon, updates on Haiti’s disastrous situation, a unique protest against oil production that involves soup and Van Gogh, the questionable new presidents of the Senate and the Chamber of deputies in Italy and much more. Good luck on exams from the Monday Briefing team.  


On Sunday, October 17th, the twentieth Chinese Communist Party Congress was inaugurated in Beijing. Held every five years, the Congress is perhaps the most important event in Chinese political life, as it sees the participation of 2,300 delegates from all over the country, and it is on this occasion that all the leaders who will run the party for the next five years are selected. It is also the only time in which it is possible to approve and implement constitutional reforms. This year’s congress is regarded as particularly important, as it is the one will confirm the current president Xi Jinping as the general secretary of the Party, the President of the country and the head of the armed forces for a third mandate. We may take Xi’s consolidation of power for granted, but the institution of a third mandate actually goes against the norms and the rules that have regulated political life in China for the past forty years. If he does end up getting confirmed like everyone assumes it is going to happen, Xi Jinping will in fact become the most longevous leader of the country since Mao Zedong. 

Analysts are treating the congress that starts today as the real consolidation of Xi Jinping’s power, in which it will become fully evident how he intends to rule the country until the end of his life. Ever since he was elected secretary general in 2012, Xi has radically centralized his power, assuming a lot of functions within the party and the government in first person. This goes against what Deng Xiaoping – the architect of China’s post-Mao political system – had envisioned. Precisely to avoid Mao Zedong’s excesses, Deng had in fact made it customary that no leader could stay in power for more than two 5-year terms. At the last congress, in 2017, Xi had already alluded to the fact that he does not intend to follow such restriction, and in 2018, a law was passed by the Chinese parliament that abolished the term limit. Now, in 2022, the custom is bound to be officially broken, and China is set to be once again ruled by a leader with no formal expiration date.  

Around the World 

Manslaughter trial to Air France over 2009 crash begins with cries of ‘shame’. A manslaughter trial over the 2009 crash of Air France flight 447 has opened in Paris, with the courtroom falling silent as a judge read out the names of 228 passengers and crew who died in the airline’s worst ever accident. The grief of the victims’ families quickly erupted into anger as the chief executives of Air France and Airbus pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter and offered their condolences. 

Related:  Monday Briefing 17/04/2023

Israel and Lebanon Reach Landmark Maritime Deal. The US-arranged agreement ends a long-running border dispute in the Mediterranean Sea between the two countries, establishing the share of natural gas fields lying off the two coasts. Lebanese President Michel Aoun called the deal “a promising beginning that lays the cornerstone for economic revival,” while Israeli Security Adviser Eyal Hulata claimed that the countries were on their way to a “historic agreement.”  

Bank of England expands bond buying to avoid ‘fire sale’. The Bank of England is facing growing calls to extend its emergency intervention in financial markets triggered by Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget, amid concerns over the impact on struggling pension funds. Threadneedle Street announced an unexpected move to expand its bond-buying programme on Tuesday, saying further action was required to stave off a “fire sale” in the UK government bond market. 

UN’s Guterres calls for international troops to intervene in Haiti. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has proposed that one or several countries send “a rapid action force” to help Haiti’s police remove a threat posed by armed gangs, according to a letter to the U.N. Security Council, seen by Reuters on Sunday. 

Thousands still without power weeks after Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico. The category 1 hurricane destroyed much of the island’s power transmission and distribution infrastructure, leaving millions of residents without electricity or access to water for days. Public outrage has been directed towards Luma, the US-Canadian association that manages Puerto Rico’s power transmission system. According to general physician Andres Gutierrez, the consortium had lied in claiming they have restored electricity to Puerto Rican citizens. Over 760 thousand customers have been left partially or completely without water since the start of the crisis. 

Aung San Suu Kyi faces total of 26 years in prison after latest corruption sentencing. A military-controlled court in Myanmar has sentenced ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to a further three years in jail for corruption, according to reports, meaning she now faces a total of 26 years in prison. 

Just Stop Oil activists throw soup at Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. On Friday, loud gasps were heard in room 43 of the National Gallery in London as 2 young activists damaged the famous painting with what appeared to be canned tomato soup. According to gallery staff, the artwork was not harmed, and police officers were called to the scene. Public reactions were torn, with some people supporting the protest, while others claiming the damaging of an important piece of art was pointless. 

China’s internet censors all evidence of rare anti-Xi Jinping protest. On Thursday afternoon, banners containing anti-governmental slogans were hung on a bridge in central Beijing: “We want food, not PCR tests. We want freedom, not lockdowns. We want respect, not lies” read one of the signs. Photos of the silent protest were spread on Social Media platforms, but China’s censors quickly removed any evidence of the demonstration, suspending accounts and deleting any post remotely related to the events.  

Related:  Biden’s plans for America come with a big caveat for global trade

Pentagon in talks to fund Ukrainian troop access to Musk’s Starlink. The Pentagon is in talks with Elon Musk’s Starlink mobile internet system to keep connectivity for Ukrainian forces, after the billionaire Tesla chief complained he was burning through nearly $20mn a month funding the service. 

Iran’s Evin prison set on fire after clashes between inmates and guards. At least four people were killed in a fire that swept through Iran’s notorious Evin prison on Saturday evening after inmates clashed with security forces, while more than 60 others were injured. IRNA, the country’s official media, quoted an unknown security official as saying a fight broke out in one ward that led to clashes with prison guards. 

Italian News 

Mattarella: “Guerra sciagurata, pace urgente e necessaria”. Durante la consegna delle onorificenze dell’ordine “Al Merito del Lavoro” tenutasi al Quirinale, il Presidente della <repubblica Sergio Matterella ha parlato della guerra in corso e delle colpe della Russia, definendo l’Unione Europea come un ulteriore bersaglio del conflitto. Riferendosi alla scia di morte e distruzione che la Federazione Russa sta lasciando dietro di sé, il Presidente invoca la pace e dice “ Le ragioni del mercato dell’energia sembrano creare ostacoli, ma la responsabilità delle istituzioni è esattamente quella di rimuoverli. Solo l’Unione Europea ha la forza per farlo, intervenendo sugli automatismi dei prezzi, sui rialzi spropositati, sulle speculazioni intollerabili a danno dei cittadini: imprese e famiglie vanno protette nelle fasi più acute della crisi perché diversamente si pregiudica il domani”. 

Giornata mondiale della salute mentale: così pandemia, guerra e crisi economica hanno fatto aumentare i disturbi psichici. Il 10 ottobre si è tenuta la Giornata Mondiale della Salute Mentale. Il 2 ottobre, invece, a Roma si è concluso il festival della salute mentale Ro.Mens, in occasione del quale è stato presentato uno studio a cura della Doxa secondo il quale l’80% della popolazione dice di essersi relazionata a persone con disturbi mentali quali ansia, depressione, schizofrenia o disturbi bipolari. Nel mondo le persone affette sono aumentate a seguito della pandemia e nel nostro Paese, il Telefono Amico Italia ha contato quasi 6mila richieste d’aiuto nel 2021. La Giornata Mondiale della Salute Mentale ha dal 1992 lo scopo di promuovere la consapevolezza e combattere lo stigma sociale.  

Battaglia su Mef e Senato, tensione nel Centrodestra. Meloni vede Salvini e Berlusconi. alla vigilia dell’insediamento delle camere c’è tensione nel Centrodestra: FdI mantiene ferma l’ipotesi di Ignazio Larussa come Presidente del Senato, mentre la Lega vorrebbe la candidatura di Calderoli. Interrogata, Giorgia Meloni dice che “sta andando tutto molto bene” e che “non ci sono problemi”. Aggiunge, inoltre, che “Il nostro esecutivo sarà il più politico di sempre”.   

Il discorso della senatrice a vita Liliana Segre. Liliana Segre presiede la prima seduta del Senato nella XIX legislatura e dice: “In Italia la Costituzione repubblicana è il principale ancoraggio attorno al quale deve manifestarsi l’unità del nostro popolo. Aggiunge: “Il popolo italiano ha sempre dimostrato un grande attaccamento alla sua Costituzione, l’ha sempre sentita amica”. Nel discorso pronunciato a palazzo Madama la Segre ha rivolto anche un pensiero a papa Francesco e al Presidente emerito della Repubblica Giorgio Napolitano: “nella speranza di poterlo rivedere presto ristabilito in Senato”.  

Ignazio Larussa e Lorenzo Fontana sono i nuovi presidenti di Senato e Camera, rispettivamente. Dopo le precocissime divisioni del centrodestra, Ignazio Larussa diventa presidente del Senato, così come fortemente voluto da Giorgia Meloni e con l’appoggio “anonimo” delle opposizioni. Allo stesso tempo, come presidente della Camera, viene eletto Lorenzo Fontana. Nel suo discorso ha rivolto il primo saluto al Papa e a Mattarella, poi ha sottolineato: “La grandezza dell’Italia è la diversità. Interesse dell’Italia è sublimare le diversità”. 

Related:  “Il caffè del Borsista”: un progetto dei Bocconiani per i (futuri) Bocconiani 

Bocconi News 

Bocconi Campus was quite active this week as well… let’s see what happened! 

  • Monday 10th was the day we celebrated the Tra I Leoni newspaper and we welcomed the new members from the Fall recruitment!  
  • On the occasion of the Mental Health Day, on Monday and Tuesday Campus Life organized a series of events to make the students aware of some of the services offered, especially counseling. A Walk In was made avaialable to students on Monday, while on Tuesday, a show was held in the Gobbi Aula Magna 
  • On Wednesday, a beautiful discussion on “Inequality, growth and social cohesion” was held as part of the Politics and Policy Analysis Master courses. Stefano Scarpetta, Director of the Employment Labor and Social Affairs Division of the OECD was Professors Profeta and Colantone’s guest for what was defined as “one of the best events of the semester” by attending students 
  • Thursday was the day in which applications for Bocconi MSc closed. The second round of applications will open in March! 
  • On Thursay, Bocconi opened Roentgen’s doors to welcome and thank the Donors community, supporting the University’s efforts in providing scholarships to deserving students. The Donors were offered an amazing show by BLPSA students, who performed once again their “Not Another Grease Story” musical. The show was followed by a networking cocktail, during which students had the chance to talk, among others, to the new Rector, Professor Billari. Meeting the students and seeing Roentgen beautifully come to life, Professor Billari commented that “We should hold these events more often”: a promise for all the students of the University community upon the beginning of his term in office 
  • This weekend saw many more Graduations! Students from the Law and MSc courses graduated on Friday and Saturday and we can’t be happier for them! Congratulations and ad maiora.  

Professor Billari with BoD Representative Achraf Fadhel, Student representatives and BPLSA members 

In Case You Missed it: 

Stefanos Pappas delved into the concept of “legal but wrong” within the context of Greece’s criminal code following the espionage scandal. 

Elisa Latora, for this week’s Art Column piece, reviewed the Richard Avedon exhibition at Palazzo Reale. 

Emma Velazquez Mariucci took us to South America, talking about Gustavo Petro, the first left-wing president in Colombia’s history.  

L’associazione studentesca Keiron ha trattato del caso Thyssenkrupp, evidenziando la sottile differenza tra dolo eventuale e colpa cosciente.  

Author profile

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

Current members of the team are Bojan Zeric, Elisa Latora, Dragos Ile, Olimpia Vitali, Marco Visentin, Federica Di Chiara, Chiara Binello and Chiara Todesco

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