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This week’s Monday Briefing begins from the historic protests in China and their implications. In other news, a major drug bust by European authorities, latest of Elon Musk, the call for impeachment of the South African President, and much much more. 

Spotlight 

Is something changing in China? Providing a satisfying answer from here right now is quite difficult, but the events from the last few weeks suggest that there is at least some reason to believe that some change is taking place or about to take place. Last week, thousands of people in various Chinese cities participated in demonstrations against the Covid-19 restrictions that Xi Jinping’s regime has been adopting since the beginning of the pandemic as a part of its “Zero Covid” policy. The protests began after ten people had died in a fire in Urumqi, in the Xinjiang province, because they had allegedly been unable to leave the building that was on fire due to the restrictions.  

Local authorities have denied any connection between the restrictions and the death of these people, but this piece of news fueled a certain degree of discontent that had evidently been present already in the past few months. 

Contrary to popular belief, it is not the first time that anti-authority or anti-regime demonstrations are organized within China: despite high levels of censorship and a clear restriction of freedom of speech, it has often happened that certain social groups, usually from isolated and marginalized communities, organized a meet-up. However, most demonstrations from the last decade or so were quite limited in scope and magnitude. An example is factory workers asking for a raise or better working conditions. 

The reason why the current demonstrations have gathered so much attention is that it has hardly ever happened that tens of thousands of people from cities also thousands of kilometers apart protested for the same thing. Protestors took the streets in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Wuhan, and several other cities. The regime did proceed to increase police force magnitude to suffocate the protests, but then the regime announced that the management of the Covid pandemic is entering “a new phase.” Therefore, it may be the start of a new phase of the regime, and it is significant to note that it would be at least partly a bottom-up change.  

Around the World 

Police in China move to deter zero-Covid demonstrations and trace protesters. A wave of protest have spread across multiple cities in China, prompted by public frustration at deaths related to strict zero-Covid policies in the country. Chinese authorities have retaliated by actuating the highest “emergency response” level of censorship. Protesters have reportedly been interrogated about the gatherings, and at least on Beijing protester has been arrested. At the same time, random police checks of phones have increased, with authorities checking whether the phone is connected to any VPNs or has the Telegram app, both of which are banned in China, but have still been used to organize “illegal assemblies”.   

30 tonnes of cocaine seized in raids against European ‘super cartel’. A “super-cartel” that controlled one-third of the cocaine trade in Europe has been taken down in six countries, police have said. The EU police agency, Europol, announced that 49 suspects were arrested during the investigation, after raids in Europe and the United Arab Emirates targeting the cartel’s “command and control center” and logistics network. 

Musk Threatens War with Apple, Jeopardizing Vital Relationship. On Monday, the billionaire claimed in a series of tweets that the tech giant had mostly stopped advertising on Twitter and that it had plans to take Twitter off from the App Store. Musk also complained about what he thinks are ridiculous fees for in-app purchases. In response, Tim Cook invited him to a visit around Apple’s campus in Cupertino, California, where, according to another one of Musk’s tweets, all misunderstandings were resolved. Since Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, the Social Media platform has lost over 5 billion dollars in advertising revenue.  

Man injured in explosion at Ukraine embassy in Madrid. On Wednesday, one Ukrainian employee who was handling a letter addressed to the nation’s ambassador to Spain was hurt in an explosion caused by what is thought to have been a letter bomb. The man’s life “is not in danger,” according to Oleg Nikolenko, a spokesman for Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who also described the employee’s role as “commandant.” In response to the attack, Ukraine has increased security precautions at all of its embassies.  

Related:  Monday Briefing 31/10/2022

Anti-regime Iranians celebrate World Cup exit to US in solidarity with protests. In Qatar, some Iranians have celebrated their team’s loss to the US, in support of anti-government protests currently taking place across Iran. During the match, a group of fans briefly held up letters spelling Mahsa Amini’s name. Iranian journalist, Masih Alinejad, noted: “The Islamic Republic banned women from entering stadiums for 40 years and now people are chanting ‘woman, life, freedom’ to celebrate being booted out of the World Cup.” 

Impeachment Edges Closer for South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa. Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday moved to the brink of becoming the first South African president to face impeachment after a report found evidence that he might have broken the law in relation to a stash of money stolen at one of his properties. Ramaphosa has so far denied any wrongdoing. 

Scientists simulate ‘baby’ wormhole without rupturing space and time. Researchers announced on Wednesday that they had generated two black holes in a quantum computer and transmitted a message between them through a short-cut called “wormhole”. To physicists, this is an achievement in the mission to better understand gravity and quantum mechanics. According to, Maria Spiropulu, leader of the center that conducted the research, the team hopes they can “make adult wormholes and toddler wormholes step-by-step.”  

Athens hosts mayors from around world for summit on tackling antisemitism. Mayors from around the world have flown into Athens to focus minds – and efforts – on combatting antisemitism amid a worrying resurgence of near daily hate crimes against Jews. Local officials from 53 cities in 23 countries will convene in the Greek capital from Thursday with the aim of not only debating shared challenges and experiences but also finding “creative solutions” to counter the alarming rise in incidents of bigotry and hate globally. 

China’s vice-premier signals shift in Covid stance as some lockdowns eased. One of China’s most senior pandemic response officials has said the country is entering a “new stage and mission”, in the latest indication of the government’s changing approach after mass protests against its zero-Covid policy. Sun Chunlan, China’s vice-premier, made the comments to national health officials on Wednesday, according to the Xinhau state media outlet. It came as several regions, including Shanghai, began to lift lockdowns despite continuing high case numbers. 

NATO concerned by China’s ‘rapid and opaque’ military buildup. NATO allies are concerned about China’s rapidly expanding arsenal and predictions foreseeing it could have a stockpile of 1,500 nuclear warheads by 2035. The “no limits” strategic partnership between Russia and China is also cause for unease as Russia-China joint air patrols were recently conducted over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea.  

Biden says he is prepared to speak to Putin about ending Ukraine war. During a bilateral summit with French president Emanuel Macron, US president Joe Biden expressed his willingness “to speak with” Vladmir Putin if and once Mr. Putin shows any interest in bringing the nine-month Russia-Ukraine conflict to an end. This statement is the furthest the Biden administration has gone in displaying openness to the idea of discussing the Ukraine war with Mr. Putin.  

EU reaches deal to impose $60 cap on Russian oil exports. EU member states have agreed to implement a $60 ceiling on global purchases of Russian oil after Poland dropped its objections to the long-debated deal aimed at denting the Kremlin’s fossil-fuel revenues. Warsaw had delayed agreement on the cap after demanding a lower ceiling to further erode Moscow’s income. Its backing means the bloc will have the initiative in place before December 5, when a ban on imports of Russian seaborne oil into the EU comes into force. 

Italian News 

Tagliando il superbonus, Meloni ha comunicato che lei fa quello che vuole in campo economico. Durante il governo Draghi era già stato predisposto un piano di normalizzazione del Superbonus edilizio, che prevedeva di abbassare la detrazione al 70% entro il 2024 e poi ulteriormente negli anni a venire. La premier Meloni ha tuttavia deciso di cambiare le norme relative al Superbonus ulteriormente, prevedendo un immediato abbassamento al 90%. Tale mossa affrettata è stata giustificata dalla Meloni con la necessità di colmare un buco di bilancio di “8 miliardi” (che però secondo un rapporto dell’Ance sarebbero 6.6). Tuttavia, vi sono ancora numerose falle nel nuovo modo di gestire il rientro dal Superbonus, come ad esempio il fatto che la riduzione dello sconto per i condomini potrebbe essere compensata dalla prevista reintroduzione dello sconto per le villette, rendendo tale intervento neutrale e dunque ingiustificato.  

Related:  Monday Briefing 26/09/2022

Si è dimesso il consiglio d’amministrazione della Juventus. Il presidente della Juventus Andrea Agnelli, il vice presidente Pavel Nedved e altri sette componenti del consiglio d’amministrazione del club si sono dimessi dai loro incarichi. La notizia è stata comunicata lunedì sera dalla Juventus, che allo stesso tempo ha affidato l’incarico di direttore generale a Maurizio Scanavino, attualmente amministratore delegato del gruppo GEDI. 

Senato, ritirato emendamento sulla proroga dell’invio di armi all’Ucraina. “Il governo non si è mai nascosto sull’invio di invio armi all’Ucraina. Il ministro Crosetto ha dato totale disponibilità a riferire alle Camere prima dell’invio. Si tratta di prorogare una norma e l’emendamento era una scelta tecnica per rendere più semplice e veloce il deposito e garantire la conversione entro il 31 dicembre. Se le opposizioni ci danno garanzie di convertire un decreto entro dicembre, il Cdm, su proposta del ministro della Difesa Crosetto, prenderà in considerazione la possibilità di un decreto”, ha dichiarato il ministro dei rapporti con il parlamento Ciriani a seguito del ritiro dell’emendamento dei relatori al decreto Nato che introduceva nel provvedimento la proroga dell’invio di armi all’Ucraina fino a dicembre 2023.  

Salvini e l’incontro Meloni-Calenda: «Il leader di Azione votato per fare opposizione». La premier Giorgia Meloni e il leader di Azione Carlo Calenda si sono incontrati per discutere le nuove proposte riguardanti la manovra. Tale mossa ha generato l ‘ira e le critiche di molti, che hanno definito Calenda “irrilevante”, accusandolo di voler diventare la “stampella della Meloni”. Il leader dei Verdi, Angelo Bonelli, ha detto che si è trattato “un’operazione in cui la Meloni usa Calenda e Calenda si è fatto usare”, e che egli è pronto al dialogo in Parlamento, dove lui e il suo gruppo sono pronti a portare le loro proposte e a discuterne.  

Via alle multe ai no vax, attesa la Consulta. Sono scaduti il 30 novembre i 180 giorni necessari per adempiere all’obbligo vaccinale. Chi avrebbe dovuto vaccinarsi contro il Covid ma non l’ha fatto e appartiene alle categorie di professore, operatore sanitario, forze dell’ordine over 50 dovrà pagare una multa di circa 100 euro. Tale sanzione arriva proprio in un momento nel cui la Corte Costituzionale si appresa a decidere riguardo la legittimità dell’obbligo vaccinale introdotto dal governo Draghi. Nonostante le proteste dei no-vax, le sanzioni dovrebbero sfiorare i 2 milioni di euro.  

Obbligo vaccinazione Covid. Per Corte Costituzionale è legittimo. “Scelte del legislatore sull’obbligo vaccinale del personale sanitario sono non irragionevoli, né sproporzionate” dice la Corte Costituzionale. Le scelte del Legilatore in periodo pandemico sull’obbligo di vaccinazione del personale sanitario sono state ritenute ragionevoli. Inammissibile è invece stata ritenuta la decisione di sospendere l’attività lavorativa di coloro che, tra il personale sanitario, non hanno adempiuto all’obbligo vaccinale, anche quando questo non implicasse rapporti interpersonali.  

Bocconi News 

This was an exciting week on campus! Among Association events and Bocconi-organized activities, we had not a second to rest! 

To begin with, on Tuesday, the Scala Orchestra Director, Riccardo Chailly presented the Prima of the Scala theater, which will be held on December 7th, as of tradition. A beautiful event, held in Aula Magna Gobbi, which reminds us of the beauty of music and culture.  

Tuesday and Wednesday were also the days of the Winter edition of Bocconi and Jobs, the networking event organized by Bocconi. Several firms, including Enel, A2A, KPMG and Allianz presented their job offers to soon-to-be graduates, as well as some internship positions 

Related:  Monday Briefing 14/11/2022

Christmas time is approaching, and with that our Bocconi associations devoted to volunteering and philanthrophy have multiplied their efforts. For example, you might have seen a Dinosaur in front of Roentgen on Wednesday, and no, you were not hallucinating. If you did not notice that, you can still go on the Students for Humanity Instagram page and donate to them 

Another thing that you might have noticed this week were people distributing chocolate on campus. No, again you were not hallucinating: the Students Philanthropic has organized a beautiful initiative, to raise money and at the same time send a small sweet gift to a loved one. 

On Thursday, former ETRO and Gucci CFO, Francesco Giannaccari, intervened along with Valeryia Musina and Matteo Capellini in a B.lab event on the future and sustainability of the fashion industry. In front of a crowded Aula Zappa, the three remarkable guests discussed how technology is changing the sector and how the luxury and fashion industry was changed by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Saturday has been the day of the finals of the Intramural Games.

In-Depth 

La tanto attesa candidatura di Elly Schlein alla segreteria del PD è finalmente arrivata. “Io, insieme a voi, voglio diventare la nuova segretaria del Partito Democratico”, ha detto domenica. Difficile prevedere se riuscirà con successo a navigare tra le correnti interne al Partito e raggiungere il Nazareno. Schlein ha però tutte le carte in regola per accompagnare il PD verso una rinascita identitaria che sia “chiara, comprensibile, coerente” e che tragga finalmente forza dal pluralismo della sua base.  

Le sue parole danno forma a una narrativa potente capace di ristabilire un legame sentimentale con l’elettorato di sinistra. Il modello neoliberista, in cui lo stato delega al libero mercato il compito di soddisfare i cittadini, ha prodotto maggiori disuguaglianze, temperature che continuano ad innalzarsi e tensioni sociali che vanno ricucite, secondo Schlein.  

La bussola dell’azione politica del PD deve tornare ad essere l’eradicazione delle disuguaglianze alla nascita e l’accompagnamento di famiglie e imprese verso una conversione ecologica sostenibile. Giustizia sociale e giustizia climatica devono essere centrali nella visione programmatica di Schlein. In questa visione lo stato torna ad avere un ruolo centrale e più responsabilità nei confronti dei cittadini, specialmente le fasce fragili della popolazione.  

Per troppo tempo la diversità della base elettorale del PD, l’unico partito non personalistico rimasto in Italia, ne ha svilito l’azione politica. Dal 2016 nessun segretario è riuscito a creare una linea identitaria forte per paura di perdere l’appoggio delle correnti e di scontentare la base elettorale. Schlein ambisce a scardinare queste dinamiche interne ed ha deciso fin da subito di essere netta sui grandi temi.  

La sanità pubblica deve essere protetta e riformata affinché rivolgersi ad un privato non sia mai una costrizione dovuta all’inefficienza del pubblico. La questione meridionale deve essere affrontata come una emergenza nazionale, a partire dal sistema scolastico. Il diritto alla casa deve tornare ad essere un tema identitario di sinistra. La transizione verso un’Italia più sostenibile ecologicamente deve essere trasversale e andare a beneficio dei più poveri.  

Bisognerà aspettare fino a marzo 2023 per scoprire chi sarà a capo della prossima leadership del PD. Al netto di chi uscirà vincente e di quanto sarà capace il congresso di reinventare il PD, Elly Schlein darà un apporto impagabile al processo con la forza delle sue idee e la sua ambizione di portare il PD a guidare le future coalizioni della sinistra italiana sul modello spagnolo.   

In Case You Missed it: 

Lucrezia Forcellini recommends us the best movies to get in the mood for the 2022 World Cup.  

Federica Borgini dell’associazione studentesca Keiron ha parlato di femminicidi, mettendoli nel contesto legale che li caratterizza. 

Alissia Picciano delves into some of the negative effects of celebrating Black Friday.  

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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