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Framing The World, LXIII Edition

Main world news

In the 63rd issue of Framing the World we tell about the events of the last two weeks, characterized by the rapid spread of the Delta variant of the Coronavirus which mainly affects Africa and worries the WHO, but also about the scandals on the mismanagement of the pandemic in Cameroon and Brazil, and the innovative delivery of vaccines by drones in India. We tell about the clashes and demonstrations in Canada against the assimilationist colonial past, and in Colombia against the right-wing government, but also about the initiatives on the rights of LGBT people that have been at the center of public attention in France and Spain, in Hungary and Czech Republic, and in Turkey. All this and much more in the new issue of FtW!

HUMAN RIGHTS

Minsk, university student arrested for talking about human rights. Repression by the Belarusian authorities will hardly slowdown in the short term, alerted by the recent riots that have demanded transparency from of the institutions and an expansion of democratic practices. On June 29, Katsyaryna Vinnikava, a law student at the State University of Belarus, finished the discussion of her thesis with a speech in favor of the protection of human rights, defending her professors who had previously been arrested for association with terrorist purposes . The next day she was taken into custody by the police, interrogated without the presence of her lawyer, her room searched, and her computer confiscated. On July 1st, she was sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention in the center of Akrestsina.

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, tortures against detainees published by Italian newspapers. Videos and photos have been released testifying human rights violations to the detriment of the inmates of the “Francesco Uccella” prison, by a large number of members of the Penitentiary Police. The images show physical torture and humiliation perpetrated as a punitive act for the wounding of some officers during the prison riots that took place last summer, when a positive case of COVID worried the detainees, who were not guaranteed distancing or effective measures to counter the virus. Some Italian politicians showed solidarity with the police force, like the trade union did. Human rights associations, on the other hand, are calling for clearer measures to prevent such incidents from happening again, from the identification number on the uniform of the officers to a radical reform of the prison system.

Paris and Madrid make progress in LGBTQI + rights. On June 29, the French government definitively approved the law on bioethics which, among other things, also opens access to assisted fertilization to single women and female homosexual couples. Until now, it was reserved for married heterosexuals with fertility problems. On the same day, the Spanish government approved a bill that aims to guarantee the real and effective equality of transgender people and strengthen the protection of the rights of sexual minorities. A measure that, if it is turned into law, will allow anyone over the age of 14 to request the reassignment of sex and name to the registry without the need for medical documentation. This provision effectively abolishes the current legislation that required a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and mandatory hormone treatment.

Edoardo Cappelli




ECONOMICS AND INTERNATIONAL FINANCE

Wall Street, higher and higher. The second quarter ended with Wall Street climbing to all-time highs, and the third quarter continued on a similar pace up to Friday's pre-Independence Day close, when the three major listings (S&P500, DJIA, and NASDAQ) all closed with new records. There are several reasons for this positive momentum. The Nasdaq was initially driven by Facebook's success in the anti-trust lawsuit filed by the FTC and 48 U.S. states, which has also brought Zuckerberg's company into the trillion-dollar club, but then came extremely positive data from the U.S. labor market (declining unemployment claims and higher-than-expected hirings), from the European industry and from Washington, where Republicans and Democrats reached an initial agreement on infrastructure investments worth $1.2 trillion (although 'only' $579 billion of it is new spending).

OPEC, the agreement is missing. The return of crude oil to a steady level above $70/barrel, at its highest in 3 years, does not make consumers happy, as they must reckon with fuel and electricity bills rising by 20% compared to 2020, but it is a boon for producing countries, which can thus replenish state coffers, often used to "buy" their people' support. Among the OPEC+ countries there is thus an interest in raising production to obtain higher revenues, well aware that the steady increase in demand (still 6 million barrels per day below pre-crisis levels) will not depress prices, but over the first two days of the summit (last Thursday and Friday), no agreement in this direction was reached. The FT believes that it is Saudi Arabia that wants slightly higher prices to better balance state revenues, although this position displeases one of its traditional allies, the UAE, which is pushing for a substantial increase in production. A new meeting will be held today (Monday) at 3 pm, Vienna time.

Biden, a win on taxation. The negotiations within the OECD for an international agreement on the taxation of multinationals, to which the Biden administration has given new impetus, have been successfully concluded. The agreement stipulates that 130 countries, representing more than 90% of the world's GDP, will impose a minimum level of taxation (not yet defined, but Biden is pushing for 15%) on companies that have a minimum profit margin of 10% and revenues of at least $24 billion. Although the agreement is historic because it regulates a matter of domestic jurisdiction, the most complicated part is yet to come: after the formal approval of the G20 in October, countries will have to pass domestic legislation to give value to the agreement and there will be difficulties, even for the USA, where Republicans and some Democrats frown upon the president's choices.

USA, wealth and inequality. Despite - or perhaps because of - the pandemic, in 2020 American households were able to add a record level of wealth, over $13.5 trillion, primarily due to government spending, low consumer spending, and a true boom in real estate and stock valuations. For comparison, during the 2008 crisis, the wealth lost was $8 trillion. However, the gains were skewed in favor of the wealthiest (70% of the new wealth ended up to the richest 20% and a third to the 1%) and to the detriment of the youngest. In particular, 70% of American millennials (25 to 40 years old) live from one paycheck to the next and have virtually no savings, a phenomenon that also affects those with above-average salaries: 60% of those earning over $100,000/year report difficulty balancing their salary with their lifestyle

Electric cars, the overtake gets closer. A new study published by Ernst & Young brings forward by five years the moment when sales of electric cars will overtake those of internal combustion vehicles - the so-called 'EV Supremacy'. According to this forecast, the overtaking is expected to occur by 2028 in Europe, 2033 in China, and 2036 in the US, despite EVs now accounting for between 1 and 5% of the market. But EVs will not just sell more than traditional cars, they will 'annihilate' them since according to EY in 2045 they will account for less than 1% of sales. The five-year anticipation foreshadowed by EY is due, on the one hand, to changes in consumer preferences, which are less and less wary of the new powertrain technology, and, on the other hand, to the bans imposed by some states such as Canada, UK, and Norway, which will ban non-EV vehicles at various dates after 2025.

Leonardo Aldeghi



SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Tigray: rebels occupy the capital, Ethiopian government issue cease-fire. After about eight months of harsh conflicts between rebel fighters in Tigray and Ethiopia, the government found itself obliged to order a "humanitarian cease-fire" following the occupation of Mekelle, the capital of the country's northern region. The day after the rapid offensive that allowed the rebels to occupy the city, there were scenes of jubilation between the capital's streets. Although more than 350.000 people are displaced and pushed towards famine due to the conflict, the Ethiopian government's troops of Abiy Ahmed, Nobel Peace prize of 2019, before leaving Mekelle, raided the town. Rebel forces of Tigray have opened the doors to international aid while their offensive continues until the region's complete occupation.

(Giulio Ciofini)

Nigeria, arrested the leader of Biafra separatist movement, Nnamdi Kanu. Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has been arrested and is to stand trial in Abuja next month. Kanu will answer for many crimes such as « terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods.» After more than a decade of secessionist activism and a radical shift towards an increasingly violent opposition since 2020, the arrest of the leader of IPOB has undoubtedly inflicted a severe blow to the movement whose military wing has been accused of killing at least 60 people in the last months. The IPOB is a secessionist organization located in South-East Nigeria that calls for an independent state of Biafra.

(Giulio Ciofini)

South Africa, former President Jacob Zuma sentenced to 15 months in prison. President of South Africa from 2009 to 2018, he was sentenced by the country's Constitutional Court on June 29 for outrage to the court's justice, having refused to testify during a trial against him for corruption. In particular, the corruption incident concerned the receipt of bribes and the purchase of weapons in 1999, carried out by the South African government from a French company. Zuma, at 79, must now surrender himself to the police despite having taken refuge in his property in the territory of KwaZulu-Natal. Beyond this condemnation, the question of the corruption of his government remains open.

(Sara Squadrani)

Cameroon, "Covidgate", scandal for Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute. Around mid-June, the scandal emerged regarding the mismanagement of the pandemic crisis in the country, in particular regarding the use of public funds to be allocated to the procurement of Covid tests and health materials. The Prime Minister told his version to investigators at the Special Criminal Court on 12 June. But new testimonies against the premier continue to arrive. The presentation of a report by the Court of Auditors to Parliament on the use of the Special Solidarity Fund in the pandemic was to take place on 23 June. However, the event was canceled, causing discontent especially in the opposition.

(Sara Squadrani)

Africa, Covid is still scary! The Delta variant of the virus is spreading at a worrying rate in the African continent. For six consecutive weeks the infections have been increasing, with a speed that makes the infections grow by a quarter every week. In 38 different African countries, the number of deaths linked to the pandemic has jumped by about 15% in recent weeks. The WHO has sounded the alarm: "The speed and scope of the third African wave are unprecedented," said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa. In a continent that now only sees the 1.2% of the population fully vaccinated, the risk of a new wave of the virus is real and worrying. This situation highlights the need to seriously address the issue of vaccine concessions to the poorest countries at an international level.

(Andrea Ghilardi)

Giulio Ciofini, Sara Squadrani and Andrea Ghilardi



NORTH AMERICA

Minnesota, Derek Chauvin sentenced to 22.5 years in prison. Just over a year after the death of George Floyd, former Minneapolis State Police Officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22 years and 6 months in prison. According to Minnesota law, two-thirds of this sentence can be served in prison, while the remainder can be carried out under supervision for good behaviour. Judge Peter Cahill justified the increase to 22 years and 6 months by stating that he wanted to convey the pain felt not only by the Floyd family but by all families from communities that suffer this kind of violence and discrimination.

(Emanuele Volpini)

United States, Blinken in Rome for Anti-Daesh Coalition meeting. On Monday 28 June, a new plenary session of the Anti-Daesh Coalition was held in Rome, chaired by Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and co-chaired by US Secretary of State Tony Blinken. After two years, the Foreign Ministers of the coalition that aims to fight and defeat the Islamic State through a multilateral and coordinated effort met. It was also an opportunity to welcome new coalition members - the Central African Republic, Yemen, Mauritania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

(Emanuele Volpini)

Canada, two more Catholic churches set on fire. After the discovery of almost 1000 bodies near some Catholic schools, two Catholic churches were set on fire. This time, the churches in St Ann and Chopaka, British Columbia, were affected. The Catholic Bishops' Conference reacted immediately, making itself available to solve a thorny problem with the region's indigenous communities. In the nineteenth century, in fact, the church had joined with the Canadian government in a campaign of ethnic-cultural assimilation that drove many young indigenous people out of their communities and into the Catholic school system.

(Emanuele Volpini)

Winnipeg, protesters tear down the statues of the Queens Victoria and Elizabeth II. Last Thursday, several protesters demonstrated in conjunction with the Canadian national holiday that celebrates the country’s unity (“Canada Day”). This year, the feast has turned into a political confrontation, as Canadian indigenous people have urged the population to not celebrate, considering the recently discovered commune graves for indigenous children near the country. Several activists then gathered and as a gesture of protest they demolished the statues of the two English sovereigns, a symbol (according to them) of British colonialism that allowed the system of cultural assimilation towards the natives. Many cities cancelled the celebration this year, as the scandal involving the aboriginal children led Canadians to question the good faith of their colonial history.

(Edoardo Cappelli)

Lytton, nearly 50 ° C for three days in a row with hundreds of consequent deaths. A scorching heat wave hit Canada and parts of the United States this week. The high temperatures killed nearly 500 people, mostly in the province of Vancouver. The region’s climate is usually mild and therefore many homes lack air conditioning, which could increase the discomfort in a time of climate crisis like this. A little further up, in the town of Lytton, a fire burned 90% of the town and damaged important infrastructure, local officials say. As forecasters report, the record heat is now shifting to eastern Canada. It is disturbing to note that there have been only three heat-related deaths in the western province of Canada that mates with the Pacific Northwest in the past five years.

(Edoardo Cappelli)

Honolulu, real estate owners in Hawaii damaged the beaches to protect the sales of their buildings. Propublica published a journalistic investigation the real estate nearby Oahu beach involving houses with a high risk of being damaged or sucked into the ocean. The prices, of course, were super affordable. To protect their properties – and sometimes to put them up for sale – various Hawaiian environmental laws have been systematically circumvented, exemptions have been obtained with unclear methods in order to apply large piles of sandbags and build dams along public beaches. With a new law going into effect next year, property owners along the coasts of Hawaii will have to disclose whether or not the properties are susceptible to damage from rising sea levels. According to local scientists, the sandbags are a threat for the Hawaiian beaches. They have also warned that there will be very few healthy seashores left, if owners do not start retreating from the coastal area.

(Edoardo Cappelli)

Edoardo Cappelli and Emanuele Volpini



LATIN AMERICA

Brazil, Bolsonaro investigated for omission of official acts. The Federal Supreme Court will formally investigate the president, who is suspected of having covered up a bribe scheme in the purchase of doses of the Covaxin vaccine, developed by the Indian pharmaceutical company Bharat Biotech. A week ago the contract was investigated by the ordinary judiciary, but it was Congressman Luis Miranda, who accused the president of deliberately ignoring his own reports of an alleged bribery scheme, who made the president directly responsible. But there is also another ongoing investigation that suspects Bolsonaro's immobility with respect to the government's corruption plots: Roberto Dias allegedly demanded a bribe to get the government to close the purchase of 400 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Bolsonaro claims he is not involved. If the President is found to be responsible, he will have to go through the filter of impeachment in Parliament.

(Elisa Maggiore)

Brazil, the Amazon looted its minerals. One of the plagues that is destroying the Amazon is that of the abusive and violent extraction of minerals. Gold first of all. In 2020, illegal mining is estimated to have destroyed an area equivalent to 500 football fields in the Yanomami indigenous territory. The garimpeiros, illegal miners are armed and have repeatedly killed the Indians while trying to defend their territories. But what can a bow do against an automatic weapon? The institutions pretend not to see what is happening. The women and children fled in fear. The natives protested against the government and a federal police team flew to Palimiú on a small plane to check. The miners turned off the boats, hiding. Illegal raids find support and support in Bolsonaro and have increased. The president will make large areas available for mining and agriculture. The federal prosecutor of Roraima, Alisson Marugal, argues that the increase in prices and the simultaneous limitation of field work (due to the pandemic) have encouraged illegal mining activities.

(Giulia Patrizi)

Colombia, two months of coercion. The national Paro has never ended. And the factions are still the same: students, social activists and left-wing politicians on one side, Duque's right-wing government on the other. While the former denounce state crimes and strong socio-economic inequalities and fight, literally, for fair and safe living conditions, the latter, despite their steady decline in the polls and despite the warnings of the UN, the EU and various NGOs, persist with the policy of repression of the demonstrations (unleashed on 28 April). The force of the uprising therefore persists, one of those that kills civilians, for the most part; one that currently counts, according to the Defender la Libertad network, 83 dead, 1,677 wounded, 788 women victims of police violence, 3,203 arrests and 84 desaparecios. Not only Esmad agents (the mobile riot squad), but also paramilitaries and private individuals used violence of a funereal intensity against the demonstrators: among the victims, severed heads and bodies thrown into rivers.

(Elisa Maggiore)

Mexico, Cannabis declared legal for recreational use. The Supreme Court abolishes the ban on the use and consumption of Cannabis, deeming the related article “Unconstitutional”. In Mexico, the adults will request permission to cultivate and consume cannabis legally for private recreational use. After years of struggles in parliament, the ban lapses. However, it is forbidden to smoke in public, especially when children are present. The decision came after the first arrest of Congress. “Today is a historic day for freedoms”, said Supreme Court President Arturo Zaldívar. Mexico United Against Crime, a non-governmental organization, said the decision does not decriminalize activities necessary to carry out consumption, such as possession and transportation. The Lower House approved a law for recreational use in March. Currently the maximum limit is 5 g. If the law is also approved by the Senate, the limit will rise to 28 g. The main purpose is only one. Diminish violence and remove power from drug trafficking that every year before thousands of people in life.

(Giulia Patrizi)

Paraguay, is former vice president Óscar Denis still alive? Denis was kidnapped at the age of 75 last September by members of the Marxist rebel group of the Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP), infamous for organizing kidnappings and crimes in the country. On July 1st, the daughters, after nine months of waiting for news or updates that never arrived, asked to receive proof of their father's health so as to understand if he is still alive. He was vice president from 2012 to 2013. On 9 September he was kidnapped from his ranch. Inside his car, brochures were found in which the EPP claimed the gesture and called for the release of two of its leaders. They also demanded that Denis' family distribute two million dollars worth of food and information material from the EPP to forty communities (in the kidnapping region). The government did not allow the two leaders to be released, accused of attempting to attack the lives of three agents during a failed escape.

(Giulia Patrizi)

Giulia Patrizi and Elisa Maggiore



ASIA AND THE FAR EAST

China, celebrated 100 years of the Chinese Communist Party. The celebrations of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s 100 years - founded in 1921 by Mao Zedong - were held on July 1st in Tiananmen Square. Following the military parade and several choreographed performances, President Xi Jinping delivered a speech in front of 70,000 people, in which he argued that only the continued stability of the party over the years has ensured China’s prosperity and countered any attempts to divide the country. “Without the CCP, there would be no new China”, the President said. During his speech, Xi Jinping also issued a warning against those countries, particularly the United States, that profess “hypocritical preaching” towards China, also warning not to “underestimate the resolve, will and ability of the Chinese people to defend their sovereignty”.

Tajikistan, return to status quo with Kyrgyzstan? Following the violent clashes of the recent months between Tajik and Kyrgyz armed forces on the border between the two countries (between June 28 and 29), the president of Kyrgyzstan, Sadyr Japarov, went to the Tajik capital Dušanbe to meet his counterpart, Emomali Rahmon. The main purpose of the visit was to reaffirm the good neighborly diplomatic relations between the two countries, but without achieving concrete results in ending the border conflict. In the joint communiqué issued by the presidents, it was reaffirmed how the “relations between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are based on centuries-old historical ties, common cultural and spiritual values”, stressing also the need for both sides to “accelerate negotiations on the resolution of border conflicts”. Since the clashes began, at least 50 military and civilian personnel have lost their lives, most of them inside the Tajik enclave of Vorukh.

Japan, asylum seeker visa approved for Burma national team goalkeeper. Pyae Lyan Aung, the goalkeeper of the Burmese national team, had applied for refugee status in Japan on June 22, having expressed concern for his safety following his protest gesture (three fingers raised with the word “Justice” written on them), made during a match in Tokyo last May, against the military coup d'état that took place in his country. On June 16, shortly before his soccer team left Japan, Pyae had informed the Osaka immigration authorities of his intention to remain in the country and apply for a visa with asylum seeker status. This new permit will allow the Burma goalkeeper to remain in Japan for another six months.

India, delivery of vaccines via drones currently under study. Following the enormous growth of daily cases in intensive care, and the number of overall victims (recently exceeding 400.000 victims) for Covid-19, the Indian government has given the green light to 20 high-tech companies to conduct experimental flights for special drones, which should have the task of transporting doses of vaccine in the most remote and inaccessible areas of the sub-continent. Being still in an experimental phase, the Indian government currently has no plans to integrate the use of drones in the national vaccination program. However, a first promising result seems to have come from the company Throttle Aerospace System, which managed to fly two drones that were able to carry a 2kg cargo for a total distance of 15km.

Francesco Ancona


WESTERN EUROPE AND THE EUROPEAN UNION

Council of the European Union, the Portuguese presidency ended, the Slovenian is underway. The Portuguese presidency of the Council of the European Union began during one of the most difficult moments of pandemic management in Europe. During the past semester, however, this presidency was able to push towards the approval of the recovery and resilience plan, thus signing an important community success. However, his work over the past six months also attracted criticism due to the lack of uniformity in the rules for vaccination and for the digital certificate. Now the presidency passes to Slovenia. Prime minister Janez Janša stressed that this is an important possibility to strengthen the integration of the country within the EU institutions. However, the controversies were not long in coming, some member states are in fact worried about the political drift that Slovenia is taking, which according to some is following Hungary in an authoritarian turn.

(Andrea Ghilardi)

Brussels, the hunger strike of the invisibles. For years they have been working and living in Belgium invisibly, without documents and therefore unable to access health care and other essential services. For this reason, at least 250 migrants, stationed in various locations in the Belgian capital, have started a hunger strike to ask for immediate collective recognition. Most of these people come from North African countries and have long lived clandestinely in the country. The voluntary medical support monitoring the situation has expressed its concern because of the growing severity of the situation. However, the country’s government does not seem to be willing to listen to the demands of the Protestants. The Belgian Federal Secretary of State for Immigration has in fact stated that, although the government is trying to speed up the procedures for recognition, it will not be possible to grant everyone a stable status in the country.

(Andrea Ghilardi)

European Union, Von der Leyen against the Hungarian anti-LGBT law. “Shameful”. This is how the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, described the new law decided by Budapest. “A discriminatory bill, which goes against every fundamental value of Europe, namely dignity, equality, and fundamental human rights”. It is a strong condemnation that comes from Brussels against Orban and his government. The new anti-LGBT law in Hungary bans films and books with content that can promote homosexuality among minors under 18. In addition to these declarations, a joint declaration was also made by 14 EU member countries, in which the new Hungarian law is condemned and the European Commission is asked to take action against Hungary by bringing it before the Court of Justice for the discriminatory measures adopted.

(Andrea Ghilardi)

British Health minister Matt Hancock resigns. Following the publication by The Sun tabloid of some images that portrayed him in close contact with his alleged lover Gina Coladangelo, the British minister announced his resignation. A key figure during the pandemic crisis, Hancock was strongly criticized for having violated the Covid rules which, at the time the photo was taken, imposed distancing from people not living together or strangers to the family circle throughout the country. The procedure by which the former British minister appointed Coladangelo as a consultant to the Ministry of Health was also deemed unclear and consequently heavily criticized. Following the scandal, Boris Johnson accepted Hancock’s apology and appointed Sajid David, who previously served as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Secretary of State for Internal Affairs from 2018 to 2019, as his successor.

(Giorgia Avola)

The European Union imposes new sanctions on Belarus. Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the European Union, announced on Monday 21 June that the bloc will agree on a new package of sectoral sanctions against Belarus with the aim of weakening the country’s economy. This new package of sanctions includes further restrictions on 78 people and 8 Belarusian entities and includes a travel ban and an asset freeze. Those targeted by the new measures are all involved in the hijacking of the Ryanair flight on May 23, following which the Belarusian opposition journalist Roman Protasevič was arrested. In this way, the EU wants to give a concrete signal to the repression taking place in the country and try to exert pressure on the Belarusian political leadership to initiate a genuine and inclusive national dialogue with society in general.

(Giorgia Avola)

From 3 July stop to single-use plastics throughout Europe. A new European Union directive has established a ban on the trade in single-use plastics. Plates, cutlery, straws, cotton buds will no longer be sold from 3 July, except for stocks still in the warehouses. The European directive 904 aims to combat pollution resulting from the increasing dispersion of plastic objects in the environment, especially in the sea but not only. This measure will also bring about a change in the habits of European citizens regarding the daily use of single-use plastic items, which represents 61% of all plastic waste in Europe. This figure worsened further during the pandemic, which saw consumption of disposable materials – including face masks – soar. The main objective of the new European directive is the reduction of plastic waste by at least 50% by 2025 and by 80% by 2030.

(Giorgia Avola)

Andrea Ghilardi and Giorgia Avola



CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE AND RUSSIA

Belarus, Lukashenko accuses Ukraine of contraband. Aleksander Lukashenko has closed the border with Ukraine a few hours ago (2.07.2021). The two countries share 1,084 km of demarcation. He claims that his secret services have found terrorist cells which, by contraband weapons, would like to overthrow his government. The alleged terrorists would be financed by foreigners who would like him out of power, such as the United States, Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland and Germany. Notwithstanding these precise accusations, it does not appear that data or evidence to support them have been provided. During the ceremony of 30 years of Belarusian independence after the collapse of the USSR, he stated: “A huge number of weapons is coming from Ukraine to Belarus. That is why I ordered the border security forces to completely shut down the border with Ukraine”. Ukraine responded by disavowing all charges.

Poland, discovered a system of abuse with the connivance of the Church. An earthquake is about to break out in very catholic Poland. In recent days the archives of all the dioceses have been opened and they are unveiling their darkest secrets. From an initial check, the complaints of child abuse from 1 July 2018 to 31 December 2020 were found to be up to 368. The young victims attended the various association groups (scouts, Catholic Action), the school camps, the soccer fields or they carried out duties of altar boy. They were circulated by 292 priests. The violence also took place during the meetings in the oratory. The investigation started from the need for transparency and under a strong media campaign promoted by public opinion. The Church of Rome reacted by removing many bishops or high representatives. A prelate has resigned. Four bishops have been displaced. Bishop Stanislaw Gadecki, former archbishop of Poznan and president of the Polish bishops' conference since 2014, would have had all the accusations withdrawn as unfounded. The media screamed cover-up. Catholic groups have been claiming justice for years. Since 1958, 10% of the complaints have been considered unreliable and rejected, 51% concern cases of prelates still under investigation and 144 - that is 39% of priests - have been condemned and punished, with the reduction to the lay state. Pandora's box has been opened.

Czech Republic, questionable statements by the President: “Disgusting transsexuals”. Miloš Zeman in a recent interview took positions that are not in line with the founding principles of the European Community. Miloš Zeman in a recent interview took positions that are not in line with the founding principles of the European Community. He completely shares what his Hungarian colleague said about the anti-LGBTQi issue and the recently passed law in Hungary. In an interview released for CNN Prima News on June 27, 2021, Zeman allegedly said: “I can understand gays, lesbians and so on. But you know who I do not understand at all? These transsexual people”, explicitly calling them “disgusting”. About the communications received from the EU of strong criticism of the newly approved Hungarian law, his words dispel any doubts: “I find them intrinsically disgusting”, adding that neither the EU nor the other Member States have the right or duty to enter the merits of the laws that each country approves, which are in the interest of its territory and population. The interference of other states constitutes a big mistake in the principle of sovereignty that each state holds within its own borders. For this he expresses support and solidarity with his colleague.

Russia, Marija Zacharova “The NATO drills in the Black Sea are anti-Russian”. These are the words of the spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry that accuses the US of using the Black Sea for its military drills and states its allies, with the approval of the European institutions. The Russian government fears that they are hiding something, as they are terribly close to their coasts and borders. The accusation is clear: “Washington and his allies are systematically transforming the Black Sea from a space of cooperation into a zone of military stalemate” (Zacharova). Putin recalled the British ambassador Deborah Bronnert and Her Majesty's military attaché, for an alleged trespassing of the destroyer Defender into Russian territorial waters. The BBC: Shots were fired by Moscow forces. Zacharova allegedly commented on the affair stating that Russia is facing a British “brusque provocation”.

Slovakia, the first journey of a flying car is complete. On 30 June 2021 there was an atypical flight in Slovakia. For eighty kilometers a unique aircraft flew from Nitra to Bratislava in 25 minutes. The car, designed by Štefan Klein and called AirCar, had to fly for 50 hours before it could make its intended journey. The time it takes to become a plane or a car is very short: two and a half minutes and it takes place extremely easily. Just press a button. The AirCar is a real car and can be parked as such. The weight is around 1,100 kg and can carry 200 kg. The BMW engine, which is available, has a capacity of 1.6 liters, 4 cylinders and a power of 140 hp (103 kW) both on the road and in the air which allows it to reach a speed in flight of 200 km/h. With a full tank it can travel 1ooo km. The wings, when they are not necessary, at first incline and subsequently are inserted vertically in the central part. The commercial release date has not yet been disclosed.

Ukraine, winds of Crisis by the Royal Navy HMS Defender? It is well known that Ukraine is a strong supporter of Her Majesty. Especially after the events concerning the forced annexation of Crimea to Russia. Both countries argue that HMS Defender was regularly following the shortest route that would have taken it from Odessa, Ukraine, to Georgia. This inevitably led the ship to approach the coastal waters (separated by a few nautical miles) of the Crimea. Putin, on the other hand, argues that the close navigation to the Russian territories is an attempt to alarm them as the International Community is late (not to say “refuses”) to validate the new annexation. In addition, in Sevastopol there is an important naval base and the Russian fleet that has long been trying to put pressure on NATO military exercises, especially the British ones.

Giulia Patrizi

MIDDLE-EAST AND NORTH AFRICA (MENA)

Turkey, not one (problem) less. The last week, surrounded by the formalities of the G20 and the meetings on the sidelines, has deluded about a flat calm in Turkish affairs compared to recent times. Nevertheless, it is the internal front that remains hot, above all because of the new waves of protest and the consequent repressions. Among all, those for the rights of the LGBT community stand out, which have been joined in recent days by the "women's marches" in dissent of Ankara's final exit from the Istanbul Convention. In addition, the president's strategy for the new constitutional project is increasingly linked to the logic of power of the AKP party, as evidenced by the attempts to weaken opponents: the opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is risking his parliamentary seat, while the tug-of-war to freeze the pro-Kurdish HDP party continues. If the internal pressure is already high, the external one could soon resume as the winds of war with Greece continue and the diatribes with the USA on the Middle East side increase.

(Samuele Abrami)

Iran, a new presidency of unknowns. The recent presidential elections have seen the triumph of the conservative candidate Ebrahim Raisi with about 62% of the votes, but the turnout under 50% of the eligible voters is emblematic of the difficulties at the top of the Islamic Republic. In general, many see his figure as the embodiment of new dynamics between power groups deriving not only from political-religious branches but also from (para)military ones at the hands of the Guards of the Revolution. In any case, just such a concatenation could change the form more than the substance. Externally, the dialogue on the JCPOA could continue, however, assuming the form of a "Trojan horse" for an all-Iranian advantage. This is because, internally, the country is torn apart by an economic crisis exacerbated by the isolation of sanctions and the pandemic. Therefore, if the conservative tones will be more markedly anti-Western and nationalistic, it is legitimate to expect a greater dose of realism in order not to exacerbate (or calm) certain serious enmities.

(Samuele Abrami)

Libya, the road to reconciliation becomes more difficult: despite the developments promoted and expected by the Berlin Conference, there are still some unknowns that undermine the peaceful transition that should end with the December elections. Disagreements also persist within the Libyan political dialogue forum, whose members have not yet reached an agreement on how to conduct the December elections. Moreover, the need to resolve the security issue and the monopoly of legitimate force in a country controlled by militias and mercenaries in the pay of foreign powers is becoming increasingly urgent. In particular, there is a need to stabilise the southern region of the country, the Fezzan, whose porous border allows the proliferation of trafficking in drugs, arms and human beings.

(Michele Magistretti)

Israel, a historic trip and the resumption of tensions in Gaza: the country's foreign minister flew to the United Arab Emirates. Since the signing of the Abrahamic Accords, for the first time, a minister from Tel Aviv has travelled to the Arab federation and met his counterpart and the Prince Regent, Mohammed Bin Zayed. During the visit, Yair Lapid attended the inauguration of the Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi and signed a cooperation agreement with the Arab partner. In the meantime, clashes between the Israeli army and the Hamas terrorist group have resumed. Earlier this month, the Israeli Defence Forces bombed al-Qassam Brigades positions in response to the launching of incendiary balloons.

(Michele Magistretti)

Samuele Abrami, Michele Magistretti



TERRORISM AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY

France, new hearing set for September for former Italian terrorists. The Court of Appeal of Paris has fixed for September 29 the decision on the preliminary questions of constitutionality and on the supplementary information requested by the defense and the Public Prosecutor's Office. After the hearings of June 23, the hearings of the other three former Italian terrorists detained in France at the end of April took place: former PAC militant Luca Bergamin, former Br Giovanni Alimonti and former Autonomia Operaia militant Raffaele Ventura. In addition to them, the ex militant of the Brigate Rosse, Roberta Cappelli, the ex brigatista Marina Petrella, the ex member of the Nuclei Armati organization Narciso Manenti, the ex Br militant Sergio Tornaghi and the ex brigatista Enzo Calvitti will appear in court.

(Davide Shahhosseini)

Italy, neo-Nazi gang dismantled in the Milan area. The gang, composed of young people in their twenties from good families, is accused of criminal association and incitement to discrimination on racial, ethnic, national or religious grounds. The members were inspired by the American supremacist groups, pursuing as an objective the realization of a new world order of Nazi-fascist matrix. The group, which had planned a series of raids against various exponents of the social centers of the Lombard capital, had also begun to establish relationships across the border with organizations of the extreme right, including the Swiss association "Junge Tat".

(Davide Shahhosseini)

Afghanistan, the US leaves the Bagram base. As stated by a source in the Department of Defence, the United States has left the Bagram air base, which is about 50 kilometres from Kabul. This is a clear sign of the imminent withdrawal of the international coalition, which will leave Afghan territory entirely by 11 September. The Bagram base has been the symbol of the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, a place where thousands of American troops have passed through during the interminable war in Afghanistan. In the meantime, however, the Taliban continue their offensive, occupying more and more territory and making the road to national reconciliation ever more uphill.

(Vincenzo Battaglia)

Somalia, a new attack against a military base. On 27 June, the al-Shabaab Qaedist group perpetrated an attack on a military base in Wisil, in the semi-autonomous region of Galmudug. The attackers allegedly used two car bombs and then engaged in a firefight against government troops and armed residents in the area. The death toll was 30, including 17 soldiers and 13 civilians. According to the Somali government, more than 40 Islamic fighters were killed during the clashes. Only 12 days earlier, on June 15, al-Shabaab had conducted an attack against a military training centre in the capital Mogadishu, killing at least 15 soldiers.

(Vincenzo Battaglia)

Iraq and Syria, pro-Iranian militias hit: US-Iran tension is growing. The air strikes against some positions of Kata'ib Hezbollah and Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, two in Syria and one in Iraq, come in response to the increase in drone strikes against US military bases in recent months, according to reports by the Biden administration. The condemnation of the militia spokesmen came shortly after: the deceased fighters may have been engaged in an anti-ISIS operation, and had no role in previous raids on US bases. The US action aims to put pressure on Iran and to hit in particular the Pasdaran, the main promoters of the country’s foreign policy which uses allied militias to increase its influence. According to some observers, the competition with the resumption of the dialogue on Iranian nuclear power is not accidental: the governments of the USA and Iran remain distant on some points, including the financing of Iranian proxies. Meanwhile, Prime Minister al-Kadhimi has condemned the American action as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty: more and more people in the country are annoyed by the US presence, but also by the Iranian interference that makes Iraq a battleground.

(Laura Morreale)

Terrorism on the rise in Africa: IS attacks in DRC, Nigeria and Cameroon in the past week. The episodes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were particularly serious, where a curfew was imposed in the city of Beni following the recent violent attacks against civilians by militiamen of the Islamic State and rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces. Just last Tuesday, the UN Security Council renewed sanctions against the country, which include an arms embargo. In Nigeria and Cameroon, some military targets have been hit in recent days, in acts claimed by local groups affiliated with IS. Concern about the increase in terrorist violence on the continent: this was also discussed during the meeting in Rome of the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh, which was joined by four other governments, including the DRC itself.

(Laura Morreale)

Vincenzo Battaglia, Laura Morreale and Davide Shahhosseini



INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

UNODC, violence, torture, abuse and kidnapping for smuggled migrants. On Monday 28 June the United Nations Office for Drugs Control and Crime Prevention published a report examining the various violence to which trafficked women and men are subjected along the West and North African routes to the Mediterranean and the Central American one. The report also notes that the authorities of the countries along the routes do not put in place sufficient measures to prevent these abuses. In this regard, the UNODC provides recommendations and guidelines to open criminal proceedings against those who commit abuses during the smuggling of migrants - which constitutes a crime on its own, and to protect and assist migrant victims.

(Sara Squadrani)

WHO, "Ethics and governance of artificial intelligence for health". It is the title of the new report published by the World Health Organization on June 28, which provides guidance in 6 principles that aim to limit the risks and maximize the opportunities that Artificial Intelligence (AI) presents to improve the health of millions of people around the world. The report is "the product of eighteen months of deliberation amongst leading experts in ethics, digital technology, law, human rights, as well as experts from Ministries of Health". They argue that the benefits of using new technologies should be available to all countries, and that their use and development must respect ethics and human rights.

(Sara Squadrani)

Covax vaccines not valid for EU green pass: African Union concerned. The Covid passport, valid from 1 July in Europe, will allow vaccinated people to travel within the EU without the need for quarantine. But the European Medicines Agency (EMA) does not currently recognise Astrazeneca vaccines produced by the Serum Institute of India (SSI) as valid for obtaining the green pass. The reaction of the African Union arrived soon after the news spread. AU representatives spoke of vaccination inequalities and criticised the choice of the European Commission. Many African countries have based the most part of their vaccination campaigns on doses of the Indian version of Astrazeneca received through the Covax programme, which was also supported by Brussels.

(Laura Morreale)

WHO, concern over Delta variant: Africa more exposed to risk. The new variant of COVID-19 is spreading faster across the African continent than the previous ones, also leading to higher mortality rates. Countries such as South Africa and Uganda are heavily affected, with worrying numbers of infected people younger than 45. Meanwhile, vaccination campaigns are proceeding slowly: only 1.2% of the continent's population has received a full vaccination. The risk posed by the Delta variant is not negligible in Europe either: according to the WHO, by August a large proportion of infections in the continent will be due to this variant. The diffusion of vaccines will stem the negative effects of this new wave, even if more than half of the European population is currently waiting to receive the vaccine.

(Laura Morreale)

Human Rights Watch, intervention of the Security Council essential for the resolution of the crisis in Tigray. In a press release issued last July 2, Human Rights Watch criticized the ineffectiveness and inaction of the UN Security Council in addressing the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Tigray. "For 8 months, the Security Council has failed to publicly address the crisis, much less act to prevent further atrocities", said Human Rights Watch Crisis Advocacy Director Akshaya Kumar. Although there have been several attempts to open a session related to Tigray, all previous attempts have been blocked by several countries including China and Russia, reluctant to bring the debate to the public forum of the Security Council. On July 2, the first open briefing on Tigray was held at the request of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, but as Akshaya Kumar stated, "it is definitely a start, but given the lack of accountability on the part of the Council, diplomats need to take action".

(Francesco Ancona)

OPEC, what are the future developments in the oil market? OPEC technical experts within the Joint Technical Committee (JTC) virtually met in Vienna, on June 29, to review the latest oil market developments and discuss future prospects. The review was carried out ahead of the 31st Ministerial Meeting of the Monitoring Committee and the 18th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting, held instead on June 30 and July 1, respectively. According to JTC experts, the global oil market would be in an expansionary phase, thanks to the various national measures put in place for the post-COVID economic recovery. The future outlook for the market, according to the JTC, would be a growth in oil supply of 6 million barrels per day for the rest of 2021.

(Francesco Ancona)

Laura Morreale, Sara Squadrani and Francesco Ancona






Framing The World is a project conceived and created by the collaboration between members of the team of Mondo Internazionale associates.

Andrea Ghilardi: Western Europe and the European Union

Arianna Giannino: Central and Eastern Europe and Russia

Davide Shahhosseini: Terrorism and International Security, Latin America

Edoardo Cappelli: Human Rights, North America

Elisa Maggiore: Latin America

Federica Sulpizio: Middle-East and North Africa

Federico Brignacca: Human Rights

Francesco Ancona: Asia and the Far East, International Organizations

Ginevra Ricca: Latin America

Giulia Patrizi: Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe and Russia

Laura Morreale: Terrorism and International Security, International Organizations

Leonardo Aldeghi: Economics and International Finance

Leonardo Cherici: Western Europe and the European Union

Lorenzo Bonaguro: North America, Central and Eastern Europe and Russia

Michele Magistretti: Middle-East and North Africa

Samuele Abrami: Middle-East and North Africa

Sara Oldani: Middle-East and North-Africa

Sara Squadrani: Sub-Saharan Africa, International Organizations

Vincenzo Battaglia: Terrorism and International Security


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