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This week’s Monday Briefing turns the spotlight on Xi Jinping’s appointment for a third term as China’s president. We, also, analyse in-depth Schlein’s first speech as secretary of Pd. In other news, we cover the events of the Hamburg shooting, the Silicon Valley Bank fallout, Oscar night, and much, much more.

Spotlight: Xi Jinping confirmed for unprecedented third term as China’s president.

On Friday, in a ceremonial vote by the National People’s Congress, Xi Jinping was appointed as China’s president for another five-year term. 

Already by the end of Xi’s first term, in 2018, the congress abolished the pre-existing two-term limit on presidency making it possible to be elected for an unprecedented third term or more, and effectively enabling Xi to become now the longest serving head of state of Communist China. 

In October, Mr. Xi was reconfirmed as head of the Chinese Communist Party and chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, two high-powered roles that in the past decade have safeguarded his move towards a tighter authoritarian regime. Indeed, Friday’s appointment – unanimously passed with 2,592 votes and followed by a standing ovation – was largely dictated by Xi’s central role within the Chinese Communist Party. The event has further reiterated how the congress has come to merely rubber-stamp decisions taken by the party in a country largely focused on eradicating dissent. 

What are the challenges ahead for China? 

Friday’s vote served to play a show of power both to a domestic and to an international audience. In recent times, the country has faced a plethora of issues plaguing its economy, from a property sector struggling with debt, to “zero Covid” measures hampering production which eventually sparked widespread protests, and sanctions and restrictions hindering the technology sector. Still, to the nation Xi is casting himself as the strong leader that China needs to navigate an increasingly hostile world. It comes then as no surprise that the Chinese government is steadily prioritizing national security. 

This week, in an address to the country, Xi stated how “western countries, led by the US, are implementing all-round containment, encirclement and suppression against us”. However, while warnings of the west can solidify support at home, fears of Beijing’s desire for reunification with Taiwan – stoked by intelligence reports of Xi’s intention to be ready to invade it by 2027 – and the possible upcoming decision to supply Russia with weapons in Ukraine forecast strained future relations with the West.

Around the World 

Hamburg shooting: Seven killed in attack on Jehovah’s Witness hall. According to police forces, four men and two women were shot dead, as well as the attacker that took his life short after the shooting. The motives of the shooter are not completely clear, even though it has been claimed that he had “ill feelings” towards the Jehova’s Witnesses community. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz deemed the attack a “brutal act of violence” in a statement following the attack. 

As Regulators Race to Stem Silicon Valley Bank Fallout, a Second Bank Closes. On Sunday, federal regulators announced that another bank had been closed two days after the collapse of Stem Silicon Valley bank. In response to the largest US bank failure since the 2008 financial crisis, regulators have unveiled a plan to contain the fallout, and said taxpayers would not bear the costs. 

Brexit trade treaty ‘could be terminated’ if UK quits ECHR over small boat crossings. A new asylum bill addressing small boat crossings in the Channel, introduced by the UK’s government this week, has been defined in a statement by a “profoundly concerned” UN to be an “asylum ban, extinguishing the right to seek refugee protection in the United Kingdom for those who arrive irregularly, no matter how genuine and compelling their claim may be”. The UK’s trade agreement with the EU could be immediately terminated if the British government quits the European convention on human rights (EHCR) over the adoption of this bill.

Related:  Monday Briefing 13/02/2023

Oscars 2023. The great winner of this year is Everything Everywhere All at Once which won as Best Film and earned other 6 awards. Im Western Nichts Neues collected 4 awards; the Best Actor award went to the protagonist of The Whale, Brendan Fraser, and best documentary to Navalny.

Saudi Arabia and Iran to restore diplomatic ties after seven-year rift. China mediated a retrieval of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran after tension started in 2016 when Iranian protestors attacked Saudi diplomatic missions in the region, followed by tensions in the oil-rich area.  The rivalry between predominantly Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia on top of the competition for the title of dominant oil-producing country of the Middle East had implications on the civil war in Yemen where the two sides are locked in a proxy war. Together with other implications, comes the potential undermining of the US effort to isolate Iran.  

As South Korea expands weapons sales globally, it refuses to send assistance to Ukraine itself.  More than a year since the escalation of the war in Ukraine, traditional weapon suppliers like the US are facing shortages in production. In the past year, to fill this gap in the market, South Korea has seen a growth of 140% in its arms exports. Despite appeals from both Kyiv and NATO, it has refrained from sending weapons directly to Ukraine, while supplying Ukraine’s close ally Poland. South Korea’s reluctance to openly antagonize Moscow stems partly from its reliance on Russian cooperation in imposing new sanctions against an increasingly belligerent North Korea.

Turkey’s opposition candidate faces uphill battle to challenge Erdogan. On Monday, Turkey’s main opposition coalition has finally settled on the candidate that will challenge Erdogan’s strong grip on power at the upcoming Presidential Elections later this year: it is Kemal Kihcdaroglu, an economist and leader of the Social Democratic Party. A number of international NGOs, such as Freedom House, see this election as the last opportunity to bring back democracy and foster human rights in Turkey, a country that has already suffered from severe democratic backsliding in recent years. 

India Is Arming Villagers in One of Earth’s Most Militarized Places. The Himalayan region referred to as Jammu and Kashmir is known as perhaps one of the most militarized areas in the world due to the dispute between India and Pakistan for its rights. For decades a separatist movement and militia has existed and targeted the Hindu families present in this overwhelmingly Muslim region, however, ever since the nationalist government of current Prime Minister Narendra Modi took away the semi-autonomous status of the region, enforcing a more military approach, the attacks on the Hindu community became more targeted. Hence, a once dormant militia was awakened by the government who have armed Hindu civilians to fight back against the attacks, raising questions on its approach and intentions along the way.

Georgia drops bill on ‘foreign agents’ after two nights of violent protests In the past week, thousands of Georgians had taken to the streets to express their anger at a proposed law that would have required organizations receiving more than 20% of their funds from abroad to declare themselves as “foreign agents”.  According to protesters, this legislation could have gone against the ex-Soviet country’s efforts to distance itself from Russia and gain EU candidate status. Despite the law being dropped by the ruling party at the end of the week, protests are still ungoing in the capital city of Tblisi. 

Russia Blasts Ukrainian Cities, Including Biggest Use of Advanced Missiles. Russia has launched its largest aerial barrage of the past weeks against Ukraine on Thursday. The attacks, which consisted of a variety of armaments from new hyper-sonic missiles to kamikaze drones, killed six people but targeted electrical power plants, reinforcing Russia’s campaign to black out cities as a means to undermine morale. The barrage is unprecedented and unexpected, having the highest success rate of any Russian attack, leaving the Ukrainian authorities wondering as to why now, but also serving as a reminder of Russia’s considerable wealth, power and devotion to this war which has just surpassed a year in length. Still, Ukrainians have already endured these attacks through the harshest months of the year, and president Volodymyr Zelensky publicly demeaned Russia’s fear-mongering antics, writing that frightening the population is “all they are capable of.”

Related:  Monday Briefing 24/04/2023

Five killed in new Azerbaijan-Armenia clash in Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijani troops stopped a convoy driven by Armenians troops that they suspected of carrying weapons in the contested region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The truce after the last war in 2020 demonstrated again its fragility as the event escalated in gunfire and two Azerbaijani servicemen and three Armenian officials were killed.

Italian News 

Addio Rdc, arriva Mia, bozza di riforma in 12 articoli. Ăˆ stata presentata la bozza di testo sul nuovo sussidio contro la povertĂ  che si chiamerĂ  Mia, Misura di inclusione sociale, e sostituirĂ  il Reddito, un provvedimento in 12 articoli che di fatto separa le platee tra famiglie con over 60, minori o disabili e quelle senza queste categorie. Anche i minorenni con almeno 16 anni saranno tenuti all’obbligo di partecipazione attiva, formazione e lavoro nel nuovo sussidio contro la povertĂ  se non impegnati in un percorso di studi.  

8 marzo, nel 2022 cresce la violenza: una donna uccisa ogni 70 ore. Sono 125 le donne uccise nel 2022, il 95% maggiorenni e il 78% italiane. Sono stati 103 gli omicidi in ambito familiare, 61 per mano del partner o ex, 34 da un genitore o da un figlio. Sono le cifre della strage ricordate in un’analisi realizzata in occasione dell’8 marzo dalla Direzione centrale della Polizia criminale. Negli ultimi quattro anni, a fronte di un numero stabile di omicidi, 319, c’è stato un aumento dei casi in cui la vittima è donna: da 112 del 2019 a 125 del 2022, con un aumento del 12% rispetto al 2019 e del 5% rispetto allo scorso anno.

Ndrangheta, colpo alla cosca Piromalli: 49 arrestati tra cui un prete. L’intercettazione: “Hanno deciso di avallare la strage di Stato con i siciliani”. Nel blitz avvenuto a gioia Tauro sono finiti boss e luogotenenti delle cosche Piromalli e MolĂŠ, le due famiglie di ‘ndrangheta che, a distanza di 15 anni dall’omicidio di Rocco MolĂŠ e alla vigilia della scarcerazione Pino Piromalli detto “Facciazza”, si sono riavvicinate. Una pace suggellata in un summit organizzato il 3 dicembre 2020 all’interno del cimitero dove si è discusso delle dinamiche e degli equilibri mafiosi tra i due clan e della ripartizione delle estorsioni. Con l’operazione di oggi, che è il seguito dell’inchiesta “Mala Pigna”, il pm Paola D’Ambrosio contesta numerosi reati: dall’associazione a delinquere di stampo mafioso al concorso esterno con la ‘ndrangheta passando per due tentati omicidi, numerose estorsioni, porto e detenzione di armi comuni e da guerra, danneggiamento seguito da incendio, turbata libertĂ  degli incanti e importazione internazionale di droga. In carcere sono finiti i maggiorenti delle due cosche. 

Cutro, manifestanti lanciano peluche contro l’auto di Meloni e dei ministri Salvini e Tajani. A breve Cdm: Urla “vergogna”, “assassini”. Poi il lancio di peluche contro le auto di Meloni e dei ministri Salvini e Tajani diretti al Consiglio dei ministri a Cutro, in provincia di Crotone, dopo la strage del naufragio dello scorso 26 febbraio che ha provocato 72 vittime accertate.  Fonti di Palazzo Chigi rivelano a Repubblica che Meloni non andrĂ  al palazzetto dello sport di Crotone che ospita le bare dei naufraghi. La Germania si è detta “pronta a redistribuire i superstiti”. Parigi apre ai cambiamenti delle regole di Dublino, ma chiede all’Italia maggiore impegno. 

Bocconi news

Starting from next week, Bocconi students will be able to submit candidate lists and individual nominations for the election of student body representatives. The submission process will be done through You@B and will be available until the end of next week. 

Related:  Monday Briefing 03/04/2023

In-Depth: Il primo discorso di Elly Schlein da segretaria di partito: le cose cambiano davvero

Domenica 12 marzo si è svolta l’assemblea del Partito Democratico in cui Elly Schlein, vicepresidente della regione Emilia-Romagna, è stata ufficialmente eletta segretaria dopo aver vinto le primarie contro Stefano Bonaccini, presidente della stessa regione. Come prima cosa Schlein ha proposto di eleggere Bonaccini presidente di partito, proprio per comunicare il suo intento di circondarsi di persone competenti e non di persone fedeli. 

Il messaggio principale del primo discorso da segretaria è racchiuso nello slogan “Disuguaglianze, clima, e lavoro”, una dichiarazione di intenti di Schlein per riportare al centro i diritti sociali e civili, che nel concreto significa dare la prioritĂ  assoluta alla sanitĂ  pubblica e all’introduzione di un salario minimo nell’agenda del partito. Il termine chiave che secondo Schlein unisce le battaglie che devono essere portate avanti dal Pd è “precarietà”. Una parola che come fa notare lei stessa non è mai stata menzionata dall’attuale Primo Ministro Meloni. Con questa parola Schlein riesce a parlare sia a un elettorato piĂš giovane, che si sente vicino al tema del cambiamento climatico e dei diritti civili, sia ai sostenitori storici, legati alle battaglie del movimento operaio. Il miglioramento delle condizioni di lavoro, che la segretaria definisce “povero” in Italia, rappresenta il cavallo di battaglia della sua campagna elettorale ed è un punto di incontro nelle battaglie politiche delle diverse generazioni. 

La neo-eletta segretaria si è poi rivolta a Giorgia Meloni per affermare nuovamente che esiste una differenza tra leadership femminile e femminista, e che quest’ultima si esercita abbattendo il soffitto di cristallo assieme e “non da sole”. Per dare sostanza alle sue parole è bastato poco tempo perchĂŠ a seguito del suo discorso sono state elette all’unanimitĂ  vice presidenti di partito Chiara Gribaudo, deputata dal 2022 e forte promotrice della paritĂ  dei congedi parentali e della paritĂ  salariale, e Loredana Capone, presidente del consiglio regionale pugliese e impegnata nel contrastare la violenza sulle donne. 

La collaborazione sembra essere il punto forte della leadership di Schlein, che punta a “porre definitivamente fine alle conflittualitĂ  interne” perchĂŠ tolgono energie preziose per creare un’alternativa forte alla destra. Nel suo discorso ha anche menzionato gli altri partiti all’opposizione, dichiarando “aperture importanti” da parte del Terzo Polo e del Movimento Cinque Stelle sull’introduzione di un salario minimo. 

La sua direzione appare dunque fortemente credibile perchĂŠ punta a cambiare gli aspetti del Pd che avevano disilluso e rassegnato i suoi sostenitori, come la lotta intestina tra correnti e la mancanza di spazio per le donne all’interno del partito, e trova concretezza nelle sue azioni fin dal primo minuto in carica. I risultati si sono visti subito con l’apertura delle iscrizioni al partito, che nel giro di una settimana hanno raggiunto le diecimila, rendendo chiaro che Elly Schlein sta facendo i passi giusti per cambiare radicalmente il Partito Democratico.  

In case you missed it

Ece Asya Ikizler writes an emotional article about the devastating earthquakes in Turkey, as seen through the eyes of Turkish Bocconians. 

Emma Scipioni racconta il film “Fiore del Deserto” e la storia di sofferenza e successo di Waris Dirie. 

Dragos Ile analyses the political reasons and consequences of Austria’s refusal to accept Bulgaria and Romania into the Schengen area. 

Federica Borgini con l’associazione studentesca Keiron esamina la vicenda di Enzo Tortora: il caso di un arresto fra errore giudiziario e “manette spettacolo”. 

Goncalo Almeida brings us the first edition of Tra I Leoni’s new finance column Week at close, where he delves into (among other things) Jerome Powell’s declarations, as well as the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. 

Author profile

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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