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This week we focus on the international response to the Israel-Hamas conflict. 

In other news, Pakistan is planning to start mass deportation of undocumented Afghans, China and US reportedly agree to hold rare nuclear arms control talks next week, and we outline some of the new developments in the war in Ukraine. 

All this in our newest issue, plus our cartoon of the week about the first ever AI Safety Summit. Have a read to start your week well informed! 

Spotlight: The global response to an escalating conflict.  

On October 7th,  a month ago almost to the day, Hamas’ attack on Israel marked the unmistakable escalation of a conflict and tensions that have been ongoing for many decades, with roots dating back to the establishment of the state of Israel itself. A short briefing, such as this, cannot and should not aim to condense into a few words the roots and implications of this highly complex conflict, which should not be detached from its current impact on the innocent populations on both sides. We laid out an account of the event that triggered the conflict’s escalation into war on our issue of Monday October 9th. Now that a month has gone by, we ask ourselves how the world has responded to the Israel-Hamas war. It is inevitable that such mixed responses will have marked the manner in which news and media outlets have covered the war, inescapably molding our own perceptions of the current conflict.

The US, which over the past year and a half has also been a major economic backer of Ukraine, swiftly reprised its continued backing of Israel as the conflict erupted. On the 20th of October, the Biden administration submitted a $106bn request to Congress for military and humanitarian aid to Israel and Ukraine, and unspecified humanitarian assistance in the blockaded Gaza strip territory. Just a day earlier, Biden had held a televised address to the nation where he drew links between Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Hamas’ attack on Israel. On Thursday, the Republican-backed part of the $106bn package requesting only $14.5 billion in military aid for Israel was approved by the House of Representatives. It is now headed for the Senate, where nonetheless, Democrats have declared it dead on arrival. The Democrats argue they will now support only a package to provide aid to Ukraine and humanitarian aid to Gaza. In a definite,  change of tone, even the White House released a statement saying the bill proposed by the House Republicans is “bad for Israel, for the Middle East region, and for (US) national security.” Indeed, Biden has set out that he would veto the bill as it could further politicize the US’ intervention in the conflict. On the other hand, in the UK, where PM Sunak appears to retain his stance to unequivocally support Israel- on the 14th of October he stated the country would provide “support in the face of evil” – tens of thousands throughout the country have joined protests to call for an end to Israeli attacks in Gaza over the weekend, 30,000 in central London alone. 

Related:  Monday Briefing 16/10/2023

Around the World 

Pakistan starts mass deportation of undocumented Afghans. According to the country’s interior minister Sarfraz Bugti, Pakistan plans on using a door-to-door geofencing strategy to deport illegal immigrants in the country. The new crackdown is expected to affect over 2 million Afghani citizens living in Pakistan without legal documentation. The policy has been criticized by international human rights groups, with UNHRC raising fears over the minorities, journalists, and women that risk being persecuted by the Taliban regime. 

UK, US, EU and China sign declaration of AI’s ‘catastrophic’ danger. On Wednesday, 28 countries became signatories on what has come to be known as the Bletchley Declaration. With leading efforts from the UK, EU, US, Australia, and China the declaration intends to bring to the forefront of world politics “the potentially catastrophic risks to humanity” posed by artificial intelligence. The document was signed in the first day of the AI safety summit, hosted by the British Government only last week. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak decided to host the event after observing the rapid advance in AI models taking place without oversight. While this is a step in the direction he hoped where the UK takes a “leadership role”, US Commerce Secretary, Gina Raimondo, announced the US will also be starting its own agency and regulations regarding the matter.

China and US reportedly agree to rare nuclear arms control talks. The US and China will reportedly discuss nuclear arms control next week; these will be the first talks on the subject since the Obama administration. China’s foreign ministry said the two countries would hold “consultations on arms control and non-proliferation”, as well as separate talks on maritime affairs and other issues. The arms talks would hopefully occur before a likely meeting between US president, Joe Biden, and Chinese president, Xi Jinping, in San Francisco in November. 

Putin revokes Russia’s ratification of nuclear test ban treaty. On Thursday, the Russian president formally signed a law withdrawing the country from the global agreement. According to Russian officials, the move only serves to bring Russia in line with the United States, which signed the treaty but never ratified it. Washington reacted swiftly to the news, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken claiming that Russia’s actions will only “set back confidence in the international arms control regime”. 

Russian air strikes hit targets across Ukraine.  Russia carried out dozens of aerial attacks using Iranian attack drones and a guided missile, primarily targeting public infrastructure in various parts of Ukraine. Fears are on the rise in Kyiv as foreign aid doubt increases owing to the shift in the world’s attention to the Israel-Hamas conflict. Ukraine’s largest benefactor, the US, finds itself in a tricky situation as election-year approaches and the opposing Republican party continues to condemn giving further foreign aid to Ukraine.

Related:  Monday Briefing 27/03/2023

Violent Bangladesh garment protests shut hundreds of factories. Thousands of workers from the garment industry in Bangladesh have launched violent protests demanding an almost three-fold increase in wages from the current $75 monthly wage. Hundreds of factories have shut down because of reports of factories being ransacked by protesters. 3500 such textile factories make up 85% of Bangladesh’s total exports, supplying western brands like Adidas, H&M, and GAP. At present, the factory owners have offered a 25% increase in remuneration as protests carry on even after the deaths of two workers.

Colombia regional elections: The political wave of change comes to a halt. Sunday’s regional and local elections in Colombia were expected to be the last step towards reinforcing a new wave of political transformation in the country. However, as the polls closed, the final results displayed factor in common between all winners: they all came from or had majority support from established political parties – a return to status quo. It was only last year where a majority of these same parties did not have any candidates for the presidency, and not as far as 2019 where alternative candidates won in several major cities. The shift can be attributed to local voters aiming to voting to punish their elected representatives who faced rising unemployment, and sparks in hunger and poverty partially as a consequence of the COVID pandemic.

Saudi Arabia Confirmed as Sole Bidder for 2034 World Cup. This follows Tuesday’s announcement from the Australian delegation that they would withdraw their bid to host the tournament, which left the middle eastern country as the only viable candidate left. Saudi Arabia has for long expressed its desire in organizing the World Cup and has invested massively in its sports industry in the past few years. However, the event is expected to garner controversies similar to those seen in last year’s World Cup, which was hosted in Qatar.

Italian News 

Milano, al presidio “per l’Occidente” di Salvini un migliaio di manifestanti. “Chi sfila contro Israele è fascista”. Matteo Salvini, sabato 4 novembre, durante la giornata della celebrazione delle forze armate e dell’unità nazionale, articola un intervento riguardo la Palestina. “Gli ultimi fascisti rimasti sono quelli che stanno sfilando per Milano e odiano Israele”, esordisce il ministro davanti a un pubblico composto principalmente da militanti della Lega.

Nubifragi e frane al Nord, allagamenti a Milano. Le regioni italiane colpite dal forte maltempo sono undici. Milano vittima di una bomba d’acqua (31mm), che ha provocato l’esondazione del Seveso. Cinque sono le regioni sotto allerta meteo arancione per rischio idrogeologico e idraulico: Emilia Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Trentino Alto Adige, Liguria e Lombardia. Di conseguenza al provvedimento precauzionale, riguardo il superamento della soglia pluviometrica, diverse strade sono state chiuse, tra cui la statale 51 in Veneto.

Related:  Monday Briefing 03/04/2023

Scherzo telefonico a Meloni, si dimette consigliere diplomatico Francesco Talò. Durante la conferenza stampa successiva al Consiglio dei Ministri di venerdì 3 novembre, il Presidente del Consiglio Giorgia Meloni ha annunciato le dimissioni dell’ambasciatore Francesco Talò, fino ad ora parte dell’ufficio diplomatico di Palazzo Chigi. Appare questa la logica conclusione di un caso quanto meno singolare: l’opinione pubblica italiana ancora si interroga su come due comici russi siano stati in grado di superare i controlli e farsi passare per un leader africano, per arrivare a parlare con il Presidente del Consiglio e discutere con lei di politica internazionale.

La moglie e la suocera del deputato Aboubakar Soumahoro sono state messe agli arresti domiciliari. Continua la vicenda giudiziaria iniziata circa un anno fa attorno alla famiglia del deputato Aboubakar Soumahoro. Il giudice per le indagini preliminari ha predisposto gli arresti domiciliari per Liliane Murekatete e Marie Mukamitsindo, moglie e suocera del parlamentare, accusate di frode, bancarotta fraudolenta e riciclaggio. Mentre si attende che la magistratura faccia il suo corso la posizione di Soumahoro, estraneo comunque ad ogni accusa, si fa sempre più difficile. Dopo essere stato eletto con Europa Verde il 25 settembre 2022, il deputato si è poi spostato nel gruppo misto a seguito dell’emergere di questo scandalo.

Medio Oriente, Papa Francesco: la guerra è una sconfitta, l’antisemitismo non è passato. L’intervista di Papa Francesco con il direttore del Tg1 Gian Marco Chiocci ha riscosso grande emozione fra i telespettatori. “Nella guerra uno schiaffo provoca l’altro” ha annunciato il pontefice, riferendosi allo scontro fra Israele e Palestina. Le 6 milioni di vittime, carnefici della Seconda guerra mondiale, non sono state sufficienti a prevenire un tale forte ritorno all’antisemitismo. “La guerra è una sconfitta. Io l’ho sentita come una sconfitta in più.”

Bocconi news

After a week of exams, and some more of studying, here are couple of exciting in- and out- of campus activities to look forward to this week: 

Friday 10th of November at 4:30 PM – Movies& Language Film Festival: screening in English of “Everything, Everywhere, all at once” in Aula Zappa. Click here to register for free!

From Monday 13th to Saturday 18th of November – BOCCONI4 BOOK CITY Milano. This year Bocconi is participating in BookCity Milano with a rich agenda of events. The main theme is the time of the dream, understood as “that elusive moment that lives in the depths of sleep, but transforms waking life”. The program includes open lessons, meetings with authors, and cultural events, to talk about books but not only, click here to view it. 

Cartoon of the Week: The first AI Safety Summit.

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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