Framing the world. Number XIX
After the Easter special edition, our biweekly update comes back, and it presents a novelty: Terrorism and International Security section. All the news of the past two weeks in one post! Recent tensions between Gaza and Israel, the Nicaragua situation, the crisis in Venezuela, elections in Spain, Brexit updates, violence against Christians in Burkina Faso, South Africa ready to vote, and the new Japanese Imperial era, constitute just a part of all the topics this ninth edition covers.
World Press Freedom day, several worsening are recorded. May 3rd was World Press Freedom day, that was set up by the United Nations in 1993 in order to promote and monitor freedom of opinion and expression in the world, including the right to “seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers” (Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights). In 2018, however, several negative primates have been recorded: 99 journalists have been killed because of their job ((1307 of them between 1994 and 2018), and different countries have adopted some measures directed against press freedom. Among them, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International denounce Byelorussia in Europe, Uganda and Kenya in Africa, Yemen and Pakistan in Middle East.
Italy, the Court of Bologna against the “Salvini Decree”. In the last few days, the civilian Court of Bologna has accepted two applicants’ redress for not having been civically registered, because of Salvini Decree rules. In particular, the Court stated that “the missing civil registration prevents applicants to exercise their ensuing Constitutional rights, including for example those linked to instruction and work”. Actually, according to judges, the decree “doesn’t preview the express prohibition on civil registration for asylum seekers, but it only underlines that a residence permit, for asylum application, is not valid to grant civil registration”. Few weeks ago, dealing with a similar case, in Tuscany the Court of Florence accepted a Somali applicant’s redress.
Italy, the Supreme Court asks Italy to ensure the absence of risk in migrant’s home countries. The Supreme Court, dealing with the case of Pakistan migrant Alì S., urges magistrates to avoid “replicated statements” and “generic declarations” to prove the absence of risk in migrants’ home countries. Also, the Court has declared that judges “are subject to a duty of cooperation that urges him to verify the real situation in the country of provenance, by exercising powers/duties of investigation and acquiring documents, so that every asylum application will be examined considering updated information”.
Few weeks ago, the Supreme Court had expressed the same judgement in a similar case concerning a homosexual asylum seeker who had declared to risk his life in his home country, Ivory Coast, because of his sexual orientation. In this case, the Supreme Court also declared that the Italian State must always ensure that in migrant’s home country there isn’t any discriminatory legislation being likely to endanger migrant’s safety.
Nigeria: Women and children sexually abused in prison, in the state of Borno. Amnesty International denounces several cases of sexual violence against women and children in prisons of the state of Borno, Nigeria. In particular, it happened in high security prisons as Maiduguri and Giwa, where thousands of civilians are unlawfully detained, after having been arrested as they were suspected to support the terrorist organization Boko Haram. The Governor of the State of Borno declared to have set up a Committee of Inquiry, but no report has been published, and no measure has been adopted.
Netherlands, the Shell trial goes on. The Hague District Court, in Netherlands, has declared to have jurisdiction over Esther Kiobel and other women’s redress against Shell Oil Company concerning the so-called “The Ogoni Issue”. Shell has been accused to be responsible for unlawful arrest, the summary trial, the detention and the execution of their husbands, perpetrated by the Nigerian military junta, in the nineties. The Court has stated that there will be no time limits for the trial, and that Shell will have to allow applicant’s lawyers to have access to its documents.
Venezuela, clashes and repression go on. As protests increase, law enforcement reaction is getting stricter. May 1st, during a demonstration in favour of Guaidò, the President of the National Assembly who defied Maduro, Several violations of Human Rights were recorded. The Police forces, together with the Armed forces in fact, repressed protests using impressive violence, arresting most of the protesters, and targeting journalists following up the clashes.
INTERNATIONAL FINANCE AND ECONOMICS.
2019 America’s back. The best news that could be announced is finally became reality: the American GDP increased in the first trimester, reaching +3.2%. At the beginning of 2019 forecasts were pessimistic (+0,3%), and they were revised upwards just above 2% but few days before the announcement it was feared to not achieve this task. But doubts were clearly groundless, and 2019 records the best start of the year since 2015. Optimism was also enforced by Federal Reserve decision to not raise interest rates, as inflation rate stay below 2%. And, given that fortune never comes alone, Friday labour market data have brought further positive signs, with 263.000n new recruitment (190.000 were planned) and unemployment at 3.6%, the minimum rate in four years. Two pressures for the American economy ensue from this background: on one side, the dollar continues to get stronger, compared with other currencies, especially Euro (exchanged for $1.119). It causes difficulties to American multinational companies, as their export become more expensive. On the other side the ongoing economic growth (causing increasing numbers of sales) and low interest rates (making easier to finance expansion plans) bring optimist feelings in economic circles. It’s not easy to preview what tendency will prevail, but the gradual growth associated with low inflation rates constitutes a clue; it is an extremely rare event, but the US seem to make it real.
Budgets, positive and negative balances. It’s time of weighing and American enterprises have been showing a very good trend, 78% of them exceeded forecasts. It pushed up American rate cards, which made raise their all-time record last week, for three days. However, famous companies recorded big falls in profits, among them Tesla and Google. The Californian Company had a horrible trimester, recording incomes for $4.54 billion ($5.19 expected) and, above all, a devaluation of $2.90 per action (0.69 expected). It is a common event in the history of Tesla , but for the first time, it isn’t due to inabilities to meet demand, indeed it is caused by weak demand ensued from the loss of State grants of $7.500 per vehicle. The company has token in consideration that in future, it could need further funds.
Among famous companies, Alphabet (Google) also showed a negative trend, with a decrease of 8%, leaving historic highs, and it lost $70 billion. Alphabet achieved its profits tasks, but it suffered lower incomes (-$1 billion, compared to forecasts) because of the weakness of its advertisements section; this last only grew by 15%, and it used to present growth rates not lower than 20%. Its profitability stays sure but, given that advertising constitutes 84.5% of Google business, investors pay close attention to every negative indicator linked to it.
Chinese coffee, a defy for Starbucks. Luckin coffee is going to be listed on Wall Street with the task to get stocks ($100 million) to fund its ambitious expansion project. The Chinese company has been funded at the end of 2017, but it already launched more than 2300 coffee shops in China and it aims to open 200-300 more, every month imminently. Luckin is defying Starbucks by providing an essential service: clients order online, then they receive beverages at the counter and that’s it. Seats are absent, rooms are small (often coffee shops just have a counter in the interior corridors of large malls), with a minimum stuff. Nevertheless the expansion strategy made its mark, and bank accounts are overdrawn: revenue for $125 million, but loss for $241 million. The Chinese start up gained credibility thanks to the subjects present in the last financing round, which collected $150 million: among them Black Rock, the world most important investment bank, and Gic, the Sovereign fund of Singapore.
Italy, good news? After recession trimesters, the Italian GDP has returned to growth in the first semester of 2019 (+0.1%), and the good performance is associated to the unemployment decrease up to 10.2% in march (-0.4% compared with February), especially youth unemployment, which records minimum rates since 2011. Minister of economy, Tria, and Minister of labour, Di Maio, declare to be satisfied with the data, which prove the resilience of the Italian economy. A crucial contribution came from manufacturing sector, that was the most performing in Europe. In fact, Bloomberg reported that the Italian industry caused 35.7% of the whole boost of European industrial production, before France (32.2%), and being far ahead of Germany, which brought a negative rise of 12%. But much more needs to be done given that, as Carlo Bonomi (Assolombarda) declared, Italy still presents one of the lowest growth rates (+0,1%, compared with the European average of +1,2%, with France at +1% and Spain at2,4%) and the Italian GDP is still 5% lower than it was in 2008, and industrial production stays at -17% since 2007, while Germany presents a +7% growth.
Microsoft, back in charge. As you can remember, in Autumn 2018 Apple and Amazon exceed the threshold of $1000 billion stock, and decreased few days later, following the decline in December 2018. Apple recovered after a series of good trimesters, together with Microsoft, that’s the most capitalised society in the world. During the last years the so-called FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) got global attention, but Microsoft worked hard and quietly, and it restored its profitability by exploiting 3 key sectors, each one worth around 10 Billion and in supported growth: Software (+15% per year), Cloud computing (+24%) and PC hardware (+9%). Also, Microsoft shows to be resilient, as it was in the classification of the most capitalised societies in 2000, and among those, it is the one which stays in 2019 and, what’s more, it occupies the first place.
107 years to obtain gender equality in Africa. Some of the words used by the President of the UN General Assembly while commenting the study realized by UN Women and the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Data is based on the actual trend, that can be obviously modified trough the effective policies and a recognized gender equality culture. It is however important to underline that the best performing country in this field is in Africa; it is Ruanda, where women occupy the 63,3% of seats in the lower chamber. While the regional average is 23,9% concerning lower or unique chamber.
Benin, the outcome of legislative elections. Elections took place on Sunday, April 28, in a usually distended atmosphere, excepted for some clashes between protesters, opposition supporters, and police, in northern regions of the country. The overall balance stays negative, as the participation rate was very low (around 23%), and only two major parties (Republican Bloc and Progressive Union) could take part: opposition parties were excluded because a CENA decision (the independent election commission) on march 5th, so they called for boycott. RP an PU are then obtaining 83 seats present in the Parliament, 47 and 36 respectively. The opposition demands a basic refusal to acknowledge the election result, because of the general people’s refuse take part in the elections , that is the worst defeat. The overall situation has to be monitored: it is possible that the opposition try to leverage people’s discontent to fight governmental forces.
Cameroon, the Security Council meets on May 13 to deal with the serious situation in the country. It will be an informal meeting , so that even not involved countries can take part. The US strongly called for it, following involved countries, that demanded for the reunion long time ago. Since it is an informal meeting, there is no provision for producing any resolution, and it undermine its importance. However it is hoped that the Council adopts a statement in order to handle the humanitarian crisis in the country.
Republic of Congo, agreement with China to re-define debts. It is expected to re-define the debt towards China, that amounts to 3.35 Billion Dollars, and it constitutes 35% of Congolese public debt, corresponding to 9 Billion Dollars (90% of the GDP). This decision must be ratified by the Parliament in order to be adopted, and assist requests for aid addressed to IMF. It is inserted in the tangled issue of Chinese policies towards debtor countries, which includes the debt trap linked to the Belt and Road Initiative, the anticipated extraction and re-definition of debts, that repeatedly happened with African allies.
South Africa, Wednesday will see parliamentary elections. It is an important challenge, because the Democratic Alliance party, leaded by Mmusi Maimane is sure to create political alternation, that’s absolutely absent since 1994, the first multiethnic elections. In fact, the African National Congress party leads the Assembly since then. But the opposition is growing, and it seems to have around 20/25% of consent. However surveys indicate that the most of votes are still held by ANC party.
Jamaica, taxes inspection. Controls by fiscal authorities began at Montego Bay headquarter. Multinational Companies in the country are more and more, luxury hotels, agricultural industries, agencies that invoice million Dollars, but don’t pay taxes in the country. Fiscal incomes are recorded only in the close tax havens such as Cayman, Bahamas, Bermuda Islands. The initiative is supported by two International Organizations: the United Nations and the OECD - Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development – that launched a plan in 2015 with the aim to help developing countries to fight tax avoidance.
Guatemala, June elections. It’s a month before elections in Guatemala, and the situation isn’t clear at all. Political divisions are influenced by external Relations with “allies”. Corruption and drug trafficking spread. It is supposed that politicians are involved. On this background, elections are coming and people is called to vote; also few days ago it’s been announced that Mario Estrada, one of political candidates in June elections, was arrested in Miami. He has been accused to doing business with the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel, well-known because of several tragic episodes.
Nicaragua, the apparent peace. Protests affected the country for long time, and they caused almost five hundred death, several prisoners, and thousands of displaced people. A dramatic situation in a country suffering critical conditions. However the government restarted to depict an image of peace and calm in the country. Tourism has been encouraged, and it’s usual to describe beautiful shores and attractions.
But the nation doesn’t forget protests and rebellions. In the street there are still some paramilitaries, fences and security forces everywhere in the country. When will cease this situation?
Mexico, violence increasingly present. The country presents an increasing violence background. National system for public security has announced that in the first three months of 2019 around 5.800 murders were committed, that is almost 10% more compared with last year. A tragic situation affects a country which socio-economic contexts are already poor. Newly elected President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador’s policies delay to be effective. The president himself has announced that effects ensuing from his policies are expected by the end of 2019.
Peru, Alan Garcìa committed suicide. Alan Garcìa has been President of Peru twice: the first mandate lasted since 1985 until 1990, when he was elected at 35, becoming the youngest president of the Country; the second mandate began in 2006 and ended in 2011. His political career has been characterized by crimes, Human Rights violations and corruption, but he often could escape Peruvian justice. On April 17th it’s been announced that he would have been arrested because of his involvement in the Odebrecht case. Probably in that moment, aware to cannot escape his country justice, he decided to commit suicide to avoid prison. At first people didn’t believe to the news, they thought it was a way to flee abroad pretending to be dead. Actually he killed himself in his room.
United States of America, no exception. News from the country are various, and “no exception” doesn’t match with policies undertaken by Trump on the international scene. He announced that exemptions linked to Iranian Petroleum import won’t be renewed. The involved countries are China, India, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Italy and Greece. Meanwhile, on April 20th, in the US FBI Agency has arrested a leader of United Constitutional Patriots, that’s a paramilitary far right group, suspected to be kidnapping hundreds of migrants along the border. At the same time, Joe Biden, vice President during the Obama presidency, on April 25, has announced that he will run for Democratic primary and Presidential elections in 2020.
Venezuela, towards the end. On 30 April 2019, interim President Juan Guaidò announced that Nicolas Maduro destitution process got to the end. Guaidò specified that army also supports him, and that his consent is constantly increasing. T the same time Maduro’s Government has denounced that there is an ongoing golpe and call on people to resist. What will be the final result of this opposition? International support for Guaido is ever wider, while some countries continue to sustain Maduro, such as Russian Federation, that set up an airlift to help its historical allied.
ASIA AND FAR EAST
China, not only economy. Reminding the next week meeting between the United States and the Middle Kingdom, concerning a final trade agreement. According to the mentioned report, China is trying to settle and extend its military presence abroad by expanding and creating new bases. Currently Pekin just has one of these bases, in the African state of Djibouti. After the adoption of the White Paper, concerning Chinese Policy and the role of the Arctic (which doesn’t includes neither the establishment of military bases, nor territorial expansion), the United States warn that it could soon become a complex and militarized scenario. “Civilian research could support a strengthened military presence in the Arctic Ocean [...]” states the American report.
North Korea, who finds a friend... Peace in Korea only depends on Washington actions. That’s what BBC reported, describing the meeting between Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin on April 25 in Vladivostok. North Korean Press Agency (KCNA) has then reported that Putin has accepted to visit North Korea. It seems that they both showed the proposal to enforce their relations, but further details aren’t available. After the Hanoi failure, it seems that Kim is trying to diversify his foreign policy and his partners.
Putin affirmed that the Korean leader needs further security guarantees from International Community, to denuclearize territories. “It is my and my government’s firm strategic position that the strategic and traditional friendly relations between North Korea and Russia be strengthened and improved ceaselessly [...]” Kim said after the meeting.
Japan, the new era. “I sincerely wish [...] that the Reiwa era [...] will be a stable and fruitful one, and I pray, with all my heart, for peace and happiness for all the people in Japan and around the world”. These last words were used by Akihito, the first Japanese emperor to abdicate, in 200 years. On 30 April in fact, Heisei era has been ultimately concluded, to give space to Reiwa one. Emperor Naruhito should now become the new symbol of the Chrysanthemum Throne. 2019 will be full of important deadlines: Japan will host the G20 summit in Osaka in June, for the first time in its history. During the summit important issues will be faced, such as the global economic slowdown, trade relations among China, USA, and EU, new challenges for society and global market. In the meantime, Tokyo is planning to introduce long-range ballistic missiles, in order to contain Chinese maritime expansion.
India, the cyclone and the elections. The Cyclone Fani caused the evacuation of more than a million people from the state of Orissa, near Bangladesh. Official sources state that the victims toll amounts to at least three dead. The situation is difficult to simplify, because of election climate which public debate is focused on direct election to the House of the People. It was opened on April 11, and it will allow people to elect a new Prime Minister, if Modi won’t be re-elected. Votes will be definitively counted on May 23. “There are too many Christians and Muslims, they must be firmly sterilised” declared Sadhvi Deva Thakur, vice-president of Hindu Mahasabha far right party. The nationalist governing party, BJP, then asked to Rahul Gandhi (President of the Congress party, and one of the main opponents) to prove his Indian origins, trying to discredit his figure.
Taiwan, freedom of navigation. Sunday, 28 April two United States warships (William P. Lawrence and Stethem) crossed the Taiwan Strait, aligned with the Pentagon growing desire to grant freedom of navigation in the region. Xi Jinping’s China didn’t comment openly. Since 2007 US ships crossed the strait 92 times, especially in 2016, on the heels of Tsai Ing Wen’s election victory. The American Department of Defence recently outlined options and strategies in case of attack from PRC against the island.
CENTRAL EUROPE AND EUROPEAN UNION
Spain, Pedro Sanchez: the man who leaded socialists to victory. He is the exception in a period during which sovereign parties looked invincible. Thanks to his skills and capabilities, the socialist party that was expected to be dissolved two years ago, reborn stronger than before like a phoenix. Nowadays this party is the only reformist organisation ruling one of the euro zone countries, and it is also due to its leader. Sanchez grew up in a family that strongly believed in the power of culture, and that made massive sacrifice to get educated. He knew how to exploit the anti-franchist and anti-reactionary warning, using far right as scarecrow.
Vox far right gets into Parliament. For the first time after 35 years, a far right party enters the Parliament. The leader of Vox is Santiago Abascal. His party focuses its policy on fight against corruption, tax cuts, closure of extremist mosques, firm control over immigration, and support to traditional family. Also, Vox presented itself as a stricter force against separatist. Last year elections in Andalousia were a key event for this party, since, during its election campaign, it sustained the idea of “Reconquista” of Andalousia, that meant take Andalousia out of PSOE control.
Greens policies go on. Polls of Sunday, April 28 elections seem to bring to the continuation of Greens policies. In fact, since June 2018, investments in sustainable energies have been resuming force, thanks to measures adopted by the Government. Investors showed their interest into sustainable technologies became clear, considering the high number of PPA contracts signed by operators of the field and different companies.
Party supporting Brexit move forward. According to the last YouGov institute recording, Nigel Farage party obtained 30% of consent, surpassing Labour party, that stays at 21%. Great Britain will participate in European elections, although it has been working to find an agreement to exit from the EU for three years.
Bolkestein directive. The European Commission asked Italy to withdraw automatic 15 years extension associated to concession to bathing establishments, if not, infringement proceedings will be implemented.
Bolkestein directive concerns services in the single European market; it has been presented by EU Commission in February 2004, then approved and adopted in 2006, and finally transposed into law in 2010. Its task is to promote free movement of services, and tear down barriers in the various EU countries.
Putin signs law for Runet. There is a new update concerning sovereign Internet bill. In fact, President Vladimir Putin signed the definitive law project establishing the creation of a web based network controlled by Russian authorities, it could bring to Russia isolation from global web network. The present law is named “National Program Digital Economy”. It is a project that makes Russia stronger and enforces cybersecurity within its borders, and less exposed to foreign threats, since cybersecurity has expanded the concept of national security in the contemporary international scenario.
Russia and United States, new chances for an eventual nuclear agreement. Reuters reported a recent US President Trump’s statement about the possibility to reach a new agreement among Russia, United States and China, in order to curb nuclear proliferation. During a one-hour call between Putin and its United States counterpart they discussed about North Korea, Ukraine, and Venezuela too. Trump’s declaration paves the way for a future meeting between the two leaders, in order to deal with the mentioned issues, including the new START agreement.
Venezuela, growing tension between United Stated and Russia. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov harshly criticised the US administration will for military action in the South American country, in case of worsening. Russia sustains that American intervention would be a violation of democratic principles and international law, since it would mine Venezuelan people’s right to self-determination. Therefore Russia keeps supporting Nicolas Maduro against every intervention by foreign powers, especially the United States.
Berlin, the Balkans attract European attention again. On April 29, during a regional summit where Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron were the leading figures, European attention has been directed to Balkans, and specifically to the resuming dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade. It is a crucial event if considering 2025 as the possible deadline for many countries to join European Union. Relations between Serbia and Kosovo are significant for regional stability, but they are complex and tangled, because of duties applied by Pristina on Serbian import, that constitute the crux of the tension. European leaders have declared to be optimist after the success of the agreement between Greece and Macedonia, but European Union, as mediator, stay careful.
Ukraine, Zelenskij is the new president. The candidate Volodimir Zelenskij got an overwhelming victory, collecting 73% of consent; The new presidency will be officially declared on May 14. The new President has already announced his intent to resume negotiations with the Donbass pro-Russian separatist, following Minsk Protocol approach. Also he has affirmed his will to repatriate Ukrain troops arrested in the Kerch Strait incident. Zelenskij has also repeated that Ukraine’s integration process into European Union and OTAN won’t arrest, indeed it will be encouraged. It remains to be seen how Zelenskij will distinguish himself from the previous President (without having any political experience), especially in handling difficult relations with Moscow.
Andrea Maria Vassallo.
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA (MENA)
Israel, further violence in Gaza Strip. Before Friday, the latest ceasefire arranged by Egypt and the United Nations had brought quiet in Gaza Strip. However balances have drastically changed, in conjunction with the “Great March of Return” of Friday, during which Israeli soldiers were wounded, and four Palestinians were killed. Since then thirst for revenge spread among Palestinians, so that Saturday morning rockets, fired from Gaza to the South of Israel, have been intercepted by Israeli anti-missile defence system “Iron Dome”. Israeli reaction came fast through Tanks. The worsening situation included retaliation and repression, Sunday caused one Israeli civilian victim, and ten Palestinians dead, among them a pregnant woman and her daughter. The victims toll is destined to increase: at the moment it signs around 450 rockets fired from Gaza to Israel, followed by 220 Israeli air raids. Worries are due to Hamas and Islamist Jihad presence, since this last seems to not being open to negotiation.
Egypt, the Constitutional amendment extending presidential term has been approved. Amendment of the Constitution has been approved by referendum. Among its effects, it will possibly put President Al Sisi at the helm of Egypt until 2030. Participation rate was at 44%, and almost 90% of voters sustained the amendment. After the result, the fear for a possible authoritarian turning point in the country spread. Indicators are present: many doubts concern the effective fairness of the vote, and opportunities for the opposition to provide alternatives. Moreover, in addition to allowing President to extend the expiry of his mandate from 4 to 6 years, and giving him the chance to run for elections for the third time, it is necessary to remark Al Sisi extended political control on judicial power. People seems to identify the President as an order and stability guarantee; however, the price of this guarantee is the unprecedented repression.
Saudi Arabia, mass execution: 37 dead. April 23 Riyad executed 37 people (36 people got their head cut off, and one was crucified). The news was announced by the Saudi Government through Interior Ministry’s communicated, that was reported by the official news agency. People sentenced to death, detained since long time, had been accused to hold relations with Jihadist terrorism. Te execution concerned is the harshest - considering how many people were sentenced- recorded in Saudi Arabia since January 2016, when 47 people were sentenced to death, (they were mostly Shiite). The recent event underlines the increasing level of repression in the Wahhabite Kingdom, that is increasingly monitored, after the Kashoggi case.
Libya, the conflict continues unabated. Hostilities go on in Libya, and in the last two weeks General Haftar air force have been conducting several air raids over Tripoli and surrounding areas. Victims toll is worsening since the fighting began (on 4th April): around 400 people died, including hundreds of women and children. Also, according to WHO estimations, there are 50.000 displaced people. Migrants are trapped in Libyan Chaos, and they become victims of the increasing violence too: On April 24 a detention centre in the South of Tripoli (in Qasr BenGhashir) has been assaulted by the Libyan National Army (LNA) leaded by Haftar – 2 migrant victims. Uncertainty and instability background facilitates attacks by the Islamic State, which acts easily.
Vincenzo Battaglia and Federica Sulpizio.
TERRORISM AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY
Is the New Ira a terrorist threat? The “New Ira” terrorist group admitted carrying out the murder of journalist Lyra McKee on Thursday 18 April 2019 in Derry, Northern Ireland. The group offered “full and sincere apologies” to partner, family and friends of the 29-years-old journalist, who was “tragically killed” in the course of attacking the enemy, that’s the police, while she was “standing beside enemy forces”. In fact, as it is known, journalist was standing next to a Northern Ireland Police vehicle when she was hit, and her killer was engaging the enemy, shooting in the Police direction. After the murder, two guys of 18 and 19 years old have been arrested, and then released. The New Ira group is a branch of the Real Irish Republican Army (IRA) organisation, dissociated in 2002. It isn’t the first time that New Ira acts: in 2015 the hard liners had shoot a custody officer, in 2016 a prison officer was killed by a bomb detonated under his van, and at the beginning of the year they placed a car bomb in Derry.
Bloody Easter in Sri Lanka. It was a bloody Easter in Sri Lanka: the toll of victims is 253 dead, even if initially it seemed to be higher. After 48 hours, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks. In the morning of Sunday 21 April Sri Lanka gets woken scared: at 8:45 am, local time, (4:30 am in Italy), six simultaneous explosions hit three local churches and luxury hotels, frequented by tourists too.
At 11:30 am Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesighe convoked the Security Council. At 13:45 pm two additional explosions hit a small hotel and a house in Dematagoda area, where three policemen got killed while patting down an apartment complex, in search of the responsible for massacres.
During the following days several bombs have been deactivated, avoiding further explosions. The government immediately disposed to suspend social media, public transports, to close schools and universities. Sri Lankan security system is on trial because of clear interior leaks; in fact International Intelligence provided information concerning eventual imminent attacks. For this reason, and considering serious consequences of the attacks, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has required police chief’ and Ministry of defence dismissal.
ISIS, the new video showing al-Baghdadi. Islamic State propaganda arm diffused a video showing Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, who was presumed dead more than once. The leader of the Black Caliphate openly appears for first time, five years later his sermon from the Great Mosque in Mosul, when he announced the birth of Daesh. In the video, that lasts few more than 18 minutes, Al Baghdadi has talked about a common theme of the Jihadist Narratives, that’s the “war against Crusaders” and he’s mentioned urgent topics –it proves that the video is recent. In particular, he asks his followers in Burkina Faso and Mali to enhance attacks against France and its allied. Also, in the video he speaks about the battle between cliffs and Kurdish forces in Baghouz, that’s the last bastion of ISIS Caliphate in Syria. Finally, The Caliph has announced his will to seek revenge for arrested and killed ISIS militants, mentioning 92 operations conducted in 8 countries “against our brothers”, including Sri Lanka operation (of which he praised the attackers).
It is a worrying return, which introduces a new question: should we fear ISIS return, its reorganization (inspired to Al-Qaeda) and its abilities o actually attack all around the world (especially Occident)?
Burkina Faso, attacks against Christians go on. At least six people died during a strike conducted Sunday 28 April against a church in Silgadji , a town bordering Mali. Among victims, the pastor, his two sons and three other adherents. Also, attacks against Christians in Burkina Faso increase: since 2015 the country has been subject to repeated attacks, especially directed against Christian communities and villages. Missionaries, priests and catechists are subject to kidnappings and murders – the last event dates back to march and it concerns the kidnapping of Joël Yougbaré, Catholic priest of Djibo (northern Burkina Faso). Jihadist groups linked to Al Qaeda and to the Islamic State constitute a threat. Also, ISIS influence (and presence) in Burkina Faso has been confirmed by Al Baghdadi: in the video shared by Daesh propaganda arm (up mentioned) he pledged the oath of loyalty from groups in Burkina Faso and Mali. Moreover, he called on his militants to attack France and its allied.
Vincenzo Battaglia e Laura Vaccaro Senna
United Nations, an alarming report. The United Nations have published a report concerning civil deaths in Afghanistan. Since the United Nations started to list civil victims on the conflict, for the first time deaths caused by OTAN and Afghan pro-government forces exceed those caused by ISIS and Taliban (in the first trimester of 2019). Civil OTAN victims have been killed during its air raids.
Framing the World is a project designed and created thanks to a team of Mondo Internazionale associates’ collaboration.
Andrea Maria Vassallo: Eastern Europe and Russian Federation
Ernisia Memia: International Organization
Federica Sulpizio: Middle East and North Africa
Laura Vaccaro Senna: Terrorism and International Security
Leonardo Aldeghi: International Economy and Finance
Marcello Alberizzi: Sub-Saharan Africa
Marta Stroppa: Human Rights
Martina Oneta: Central-Western Europe and European Union
Michele Pavan: America, Oceania and International Organizations
Stefano Sartorio: Asia and far East
Vincenzo Battaglia: Middle East and North Africa; Terrorism and International Security