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Framing The World, LXVII Edition

Main world news

In the new issue of Framing the World, we focus primarily on the latest events in Guinea, Nigeria, the Philippines, Israel, Lebanon and North Korea. We pay particular attention to the formation of the new interim Taliban government in Afghanistan and the maxi trial against the 2015 bombers in France. Still remaining in Europe, we describe the tensions that have emerged regarding the migration issue in the English Channel and those between the European Commission and Poland and Hungary due to the freezing of the Recovery Fund funds. We then move to the USA, specifically to Texas, where Senate Bill 8 was approved, which drastically limits the possibility of abortion, and to Canada, where the controversial law on secularism in Quebec came into force.

All this and more in the 67th issue of Framing the World!

HUMAN RIGHTS

Iran, tapes from the Evin prison show abuse over prisoners. On August 22, independent media outlets released video footage from the Evin Prison cameras containing shocking evidence of beatings, sexual harassment, denial of medical care and unsustainable overcrowding. Various leading exponents of the country, such as the director of the organization of prisons, Mohammad Mahdi Haj Mohammadi, surprisingly took responsibility for what happened and promised punishments for those guilty of such actions. In another statement, however, he specified that these were exceptional cases due to a few bad apples. Torture is systemic in Iranian detention centers. Amnesty International has repeatedly documented the use of practices such as whipping, waterboarding, sexual violence, limb suspension, forced ingestion of chemicals.

Yemen, the new displaced people in the governorate of Marib in horrible living conditions. The ongoing fighting in Yemen’s Marib governorate has forced nearly 24,000 people to flee since the beginning of the year. The UN Refugee Agency warns that humanitarian needs among displaced communities are rapidly increasing, especially when it comes to housing. It should be remembered that the Marib region already hosts a quarter of the four million internally displaced people in Yemen. The conditions inside the settlements are deplorable: the capacity has been exceeded and they welcome almost 190,000 people in all. Housing is inadequate, many have been further damaged by recent floods and fires caused by fires for cooking outdoors.

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, violence in prison: investigations closed for 120 people. The investigations on the 120 representatives of the police (including agents and officials of the penitentiary police and managers of the Campania penitentiary administration) following the violence in the prison of Santa Maria Capua Vetere (Caserta) after the revolts of April 2020, are officially concluded. Furthermore, the Naples Review Court confirmed the precautionary measures ordered by the investigating judge, mitigating some of them, and only in two cases did it decide to cancel due to lack of precautionary needs. In a note, the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Santa Maria Capua Vetere stressed that another procedure is underway to identify agents from other prisons present during the beatings, but unknown to the inmates and covered by helmets and masks, therefore difficult to recognize.

Edoardo Cappelli



ECONOMICS AND INTERNATIONAL FINANCE

Wall Street, troubles ahead. August closed with more new records for Wall Street and September, historically the worst month, had opened in a similar fashion, with the first session of the month setting the 54th record of the year for the S&P 500. However, the momentum was short-lived due to labor market data and negative five sessions ensued. In August, only 235,000 new private-sector jobs were created (expected 600-850,000), a figure affected by the hospitality sector suffering what should have been the peak of the delta variant spread, while inflation rose to 8.3%, the highest on record. In addition, the imbalance between job vacancies, 10.9 million, and unemployed persons, 8.7 million, persists, and the employment rate remains about two points below normal. The ECB, on the other hand, noted the consolidation of growth in Europe and will begin (at a date to be specified) to reduce its bond purchases, currently amounting to €80 billion per month.

Japan, the rally continues. The Japanese markets regained momentum and continued to rally after the March 2020 lows, and not even the resignation of Prime Minister Suga, following criticism of the management of the pandemic, disturbed the Nikkei index. On the contrary, the Nikkei 225 surged above 30,000 points thanks to +2.1% after Suga's announcement, with investors hopeful that the new leadership will increase government stimulus spending and implement better pandemic management. Suga's appointment as prime minister had pushed the Nikkei above 30,000 points for the first time in 31 years (after the speculative bubble of the late 1980s), but the uncertain response to the virus and the slow pace of the vaccination campaign - and the resulting economic uncertainty - have forced the indices to trade in a narrow range below February highs and with gains of only 10% since January, about half that of the European and American ones.

Automotive, the problems persist. Microchip shortages continue to grip the global automotive industry, and the damage is starting to be substantial: Ford sold 33% fewer vehicles in August than in 2020, GM has suspended production at several plants, and VW is losing market share in China because it can't adequately respond to demand. Interviewed at the IAA show in Munich, the CEOs of the major groups estimate that the situation may not return to normal before 2023, in part because of the shift to electric vehicles that require about 3,000 chips compared to 300 installed in traditional cars, although the worst of it should be over by the end of the year. On the supply side, Intel will invest up to $95 billion for two new factories in Europe, and TSMC and Samsung will expand their production, to meet chip demand, which is expected to double by 2030 and account for more than 20% of the production costs of a premium vehicle.

Apple, a major change. After the South Korean parliament's adoption of the first law regulating competition on digital stores (and prohibiting the exclusive use of their in-app purchase systems), a Japanese antitrust investigation, and a $100 million settlement in a class-action by a group of developers, Apple has decided that it will change its policy and allow, for example, applications such as Spotify and Netflix to direct customers to their own websites to process payments, thus renouncing the 15-30% share that Apple used to collect on each transaction on the AppStore. The change will happen in early 2022 and will apply worldwide. However, September is also the month in which the new iPhone 13 is presented, of which Apple has asked suppliers to produce 90 million units, well above the annual average of 75 million devices.

9/11, 20 years later. Saturday, Sept. 11 marked the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. The four planes hijacked by al Qaeda terrorists killed 2977 people, but the economic impact is still being felt today. The immediate damages were enormous: $60 billion for the WTC alone and 143,000 jobs lost in New York (aviation and finance the hardest hit) in the first three months. After being closed until September 17, the New York stock exchange lost as much as 16%, or $1.4 trillion in capitalization, but American Airlines and United Airlines, owners of the hijacked aircrafts, lost 39% and 42% respectively. Even ignoring the costs of the war on terror in the Middle East (about $2.2 trillion), 9/11-related expenses continue to the present day: a compensation fund is in place for the more than 10,000 people who fell ill with cancer from dust and fumes, funded in 2001 with $7 billion, in 2015 with another $7.4 billion, and finally extended through 2092 by Trump in 2019.

China, paying is not enough. What has been defined as a "realignment" to the will of the Communist Party and, especially, of Xi Jinping, bent on pursuing what he calls "common prosperity" for a more egalitarian China, continues. Several large companies have announced that they will donate large sums to the initiatives promoted by Beijing: Alibaba and Tencent have pledged over $15 billion, while Pinduoduo, Xiaomi, and Meituan will contribute $1.5 billion each. However, these contributions are not always able to protect from governmental scrutiny: on Thursday 9, the market authorities summoned video-game companies to remind them of the coming into force of new rules (such as the limit of 3 hours per week of online gaming for minors), but in addition, they decided to block the approvals of new online games. The impact was immediate: the Hang Seng index dropped 2.3% (-17% since February), sunk by Tencent and NetEase (-8% and -11% respectively).

Leonardo Aldeghi



SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Guinea, military coup. On Sunday September 5, after a day of confusion, gunfire and fear for the inhabitants of Guinea's capital, the head of the special military forces, Lieutenant Colonel Doumbouya, announced on state television that he had dissolved the government and annulled the Constitution. The forces under his command have also captured the now ex-president Condé, who is now held in prison. The various regional governors have been replaced by military commanders. The day after the coup, the military also ordered government ministers to attend a meeting, specifying that those absent would be considered rebels.

(Andrea Ghilardi)

South Africa, damages from protests assessed. According to the state-run insurance company that handles claims, clashes that erupted in South Africa last July over the arrest of former President Zuma caused $1.7 billion in damages. More than 300 people died and more than 200 businesses were looted in various provinces across the country. According to Sasria, South Africa's government insurance company, South Africa's riots were among the most costly in the world over the past 10 years, surpassing the damage caused in the riots in the U.S. over the killing of George Floyd in 2020, which amounted to about $1.5 billion in damages.

(Andrea Ghilardi)

Ethiopia, Tigrinya forces withdraw from Afar region. According to the statements of the Ethiopian government the TPLF forces have been forced to withdraw from the Afar region following the great losses suffered in clashes with government forces and local militias. Tigray forces had been present in the region for two months, fighting to reach the capital of the country, an objective they were forced to renounce due to the heavy military defeats in the region. TPLF representatives deny however the military successes of the Ethiopian government, without however to comment directly on the situation in Afar.

(Andrea Ghilardi)

Nigeria: telecoms blackout has been extended in the northern region. Nigerian local authorities have decided to extend a telecom blackout in the northwest part of the country, the Zamfara state. This measure has been set in motion by the government in an attempt to block the organized crime and gangs that have caused a series of mass abductions in recent months. Just last week, the military operations began against those armed groups through raids and airstrikes. The telecom shutdown, necessary according to local authorities, is rapidly becoming a curbing factor even economically. In fact, access to mobile networks and the internet is in decline in Nigeria and is starting to be a critical hindrance to the country’s GDP.

(Giulio Ciofini)

DR Congo: at least 30 dead in the northeast by suspected ADF rebels. According to local and UN sources, at least 30 people were killed during an attack in the northeast region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Behind the massacre are suspected men of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), the terrorist group operating across the Congo border with Ruanda and Uganda. Therefore, raids and assaults continue in the problematic Ituri region. Dieudonne Malangayi, acting chairman of the chiefdom of Walese Vonkutu, has confirmed that at least 30 civilians were massacred after the discovery of 16 bodies in the bush. ADF forces have now killed about 6000 people since 2013. As a matter of fact, Nord Kivu and Ituri provinces have been declared in a state of siege since 6 May 2021.

(Giulio Ciofini)

Giulio Ciofini and Andrea Ghilardi



NORTH AMERICA

Texas: Senate Bill 8 against abortion passed. The US Supreme Court - with 5 votes in favour and 4 against - decided not to block Senate Bill 8 from coming into force. This is one of the most restrictive laws ever on the subject of abortion: after six weeks it will no longer be possible to have an abortion. In addition to the woman, doctors and anyone else who has helped the woman in this process can also be prosecuted. It is estimated that in Texas - the second most populous state in the United States - between 85% and 90% of abortions take place after the six weeks specified in Senate Bill 8. The law, signed in May by Republican Governor Gregory Abbott, does not accept many exceptions: only in critical cases is abortion allowed. However, for cases such as rape and the like, the law does not make concessions, provoking strong protests across the country.

(Emanuele Volpini)

Threats to the East Coast: Ida and Mindy. On 29 August, Hurricane Ida struck the Louisiana coast. The winds, which reached 150 mph, caused millions of dollars worth of damage and took the lives of dozens of people. The hurricane, which hit the southern coastal states, then moved northward, reaching as far as New York City in recent days, where it killed more than 50 people. As Ida was reducing its power and being downgraded from a hurricane to a storm, a new threat appeared on the horizon on the north-eastern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. It was Tropical Storm Mindy, which had already reached New Orleans and claimed 11 new lives among the population.

(Emanuele Volpini)

Canada: the plan to welcome Afghan refugees continues. Since the fall of Kabul and the start of operations to drive Western countries out of Afghanistan, Canada has made its resources and territory available to host refugees. Although the country withdrew the last troops in 2014, cooperation with civilians remained active. This is why the government has already welcomed more than two thousand Afghans since the end of August and has already designed a four-year plan that envisages welcoming another 20 thousand Afghans by 2024. In addition, 50 refugees have been accepted in the British Columbia region in recent days and it is estimated that 400 will be accepted by the end of October. All this has been made possible both by the efforts of the government and by non-profit organisations such as S.U.C.E.S.S. that look after Afghan refugees and permanent refugees living in Canada.

(Emanuele Volpini)

Ottawa, debate about the accusations of racism towards the new Quebec’s secularism bill. There’s a recent political debate in Canada involving all the major political figures, and it regards Bill 21 and Bill 96 recently passed in Quebec. Bill 21 bans some civil servants, including teachers, police officers and government lawyers, from wearing religious symbols at work. In addition to this, Bill 96 would make French the only language needed to work in the province. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said today a question asked during last night’s English debate regarding Quebec’s secularism law was “offensive.” The debate kicked off with a fiery exchange between Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet and debate moderator Shachi Kurl over Bill 21, when the intentions of the law were defined as discriminatory. Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said he also found some of the questions during the debate unfair. “Quebecers are not racist and it’s unfair to make that sweeping categorization. They’ve made decisions and laws passed by their national assembly.”

(Edoardo Cappelli)

Toronto, Conservative Party has confirmed Lisa Robinson will no longer run for Conservatives after Islamophobic tweets. “Racism and Islamophobia have no place in the Conservative Party of Canada,” said Cory Hann, the group’s communications director. The party said their expectation is that all candidates behave in a respectful and tolerant manner. As a result, their collaboration with Robinson as a candidate in the East-York area election was terminated. Last Friday, Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, the incumbent Liberal candidate who is also the outgoing president, posted a tweet with a series of screenshots taken from Robinson’s profile, which would show a certain recidivism in making certain statements. A conservative spokesperson told C News that Robinson initially denied that her tweets were from her, which would be contradicted by her finding.

(Edoardo Cappelli)

Washington, President Biden confirms the reopening of the government’s secret files on the 9/11 investigation. Various family groups of 9/11 victims staged a protest against the President’s appearance at events commemorating the 20th anniversary of the attacks. Joe Biden last week made the Justice Department and other agencies reveal new parts of their long secret file on the Al Qaeda plan. For years, relatives of victims have been battling the Justice Department’s secrecy, focused on a list of 45 FBI documents that the government has identified as relevant to the cause. The family’s attorneys, however, said those documents limited only a small portion of the government files they should be entitled to under a 2018 court order. That order plaintiffs to provide information about a handful of figures who have been linked. to the first two Qaeda hijackers to arrive in the United States, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar.

(Edoardo Cappelli)

Edoardo Cappelli and Emanuele Volpini



LATIN AMERICA

Brazil, demonstrations in favor of President Bolsonaro. On 7 September, on the occasion of Independence Day, mass protests took place in solidarity with Bolsonaro, the president challenged and opposed by a large section of the Brazilian people, who would like to organize a counter-protest. The officially peaceful demonstrations have gradually become more violent, causing clashes with the police forces: a police blockade was demolished in Brasilia, with the aim, according to some local sources, to occupy the Supreme Court building. Precisely because of the risk of unrest, the number of security forces in Sao Paulo has also increased, but some (armed) officers themselves took part in the demonstrations. Judges and state governors have threatened to take action and open an investigation against these policemen, but Bolsonaro reacted by calling the judges and governors corrupt and "dictators".

(Sara Oldani)

Colombia, resignation due to corruption. President Duque has ordered the exit from the government of the Minister of Technology, Information and Telecommunications, Karen Abudinen. The decision was taken for two specific reasons: a corruption complaint filed against the minister, and the willingness of the Chamber of Deputies to vote on a motion of censure against her. Abudinen was accused in relation to a contract she signed with Unión Temporal Centros Poblados, which presented false guarantees in the award process that earned it an advance of 70 billion pesos (almost 15.5 million euro). The contract was intended to improve connectivity in the country's rural areas, but the minister has been the focus of strong criticism for her irregularity. The president's intervention was intended to put a stop to yet another wear and tear on his administration.

(Elisa Maggiore)

Cuba, Borrel against politically motivated arrests. EU High Representative Josep Borrell, responding on behalf of the European Commission to a parliamentary question by Fi-PPE MEP Antonio Tajani on the EU's position on Cuban repression, reiterated the unacceptability of arrests solely motivated by political convictions or journalistic activities and the need for the Cuban authorities to listen to protests by demonstrators. The EU had already expressed its concern about the repression of protests and the arrest of protesters and journalists during the events of 11 July 2021, calling for respect for human rights and the release of protesters and journalists arbitrarily detained and for a dialogue on the grievances raised. For the High Representative, the EU will continue to promote respect for human rights while supporting efforts to improve the living conditions of Cubans in the country, but through a constructive dialogue with Cuba and through the use of diplomatic and other instruments provided by the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement.

(Elisa Maggiore)

Mexico, Criminalisation of abortion rejected. Mexico's Supreme Court has declared the criminalisation of abortion unconstitutional: unanimous vote. Two days of plenary session are needed for the court to make the final assessment of the unconstitutionality of articles in the penal code of the state of Coahuila that punish women who have abortions with sentences of up to three years in prison. This ruling, which has a national impact, will allow women living in states where abortion is criminalised to have access to abortion by decision of a judge: it means that if a woman goes to the health services for an abortion and they refuse, she can go to a judge and appeal; the judge has the power to order the abortion. The judge has the power to order the abortion. This ruling is also an instrument that restores freedom to all those women imprisoned for having an abortion.

(Elisa Maggiore)

Elisa Maggiore and Sara Oldani




ASIA AND THE FAR EAST

China, humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. Last Thursday, in a joint press release with other countries of the Central Asian neighbourhood (Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan), the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi, announced that the government would allocate about 200 million yuan (about 31 million dollars) to send to Afghanistan as humanitarian aid, including food supplies and about 3 million doses of vaccine against Covid. The minister added that the establishment of the new interim government is “a necessary step to restore order in Afghanistan”. Taliban officials described China as Afghanistan’s most important partner and pinned hopes on Chinese investment and support to rebuild the war-torn country.

North Korea, celebrated the anniversary of the founding of the country. The night of Sept. 9 marked the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. To celebrate the event, the North Korean government held what it called a “paramilitary and public security” parade in Pyongyang, including an aerial display of fighter jets. Early photos of the parade did not show any nuclear arsenal. Usually, new or upgraded versions of the country’s missile arsenal are often shown during military parades, such as the one held last January. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un also attended the event in the early hours of Thursday, which was held in the capital’s Kim Il-sung Square. North Korea experts have noted that Kim’s images appear to show that the leader has lost weight compared to just a few months ago.

Philippines, poised to receive U.S. health care. On Friday last week, the United States announced an additional $11.3 million in aid to the Philippines to support its launch of the Covid-19 vaccine as the country grapples with the rapidly spreading Delta variant for several weeks now. In addition to the vaccine supply, Washington’s assistance through USAID will go to support the country’s national response plan to track, manage and treat Covid-19 cases, especially among the most vulnerable parts of the population. On Thursday, Manila recorded the highest number of cases in a single day: 22,820. The total number of confirmed cases rose to 2.16 million, while fatalities reached 34,733. “As part of the Biden administration’s commitment to serve as the global arsenal of vaccines, the United States has donated more than 6 million doses to the Philippines to help save lives and end the pandemic”, reported the U.S. Embassy in Manila.

Vietnam, armed forces on standby for the arrival of Hurricane Conson. The Hanoi government put 500,000 troops on standby, prepared evacuation plans and ordered ships to stay in port last Thursday ahead of the arrival of Tropical Storm Conson in the upcoming days. Conson, which will be the fifth storm to arrive in Vietnam this year, is gaining strength and could impact up to 800,000 people in northern provinces, triggering landslides and flooding. According to the Vietnam Meteorological Agency, Conson, which passed through the Philippines, was interacting with another storm, Typhoon Chanthu, and was evolving in complicated ways. Vietnam is prone to destructive storms and flooding because of its long coastline. Last year alone, 378 people died in the country due to natural disasters (mainly floods and landslides caused by storms).

Francesco Ancona




WESTERN EUROPE AND THE EUROPEAN UNION

Germany, federal investigation opened on Russian infiltration. The newspaper Spiegel gave the news of the opening by the General Prosecutor’s Office of Karlsruhe of an investigation on a potential cyber offensive started by Russia, aimed at influencing the German election campaign. In particular, in the crosshairs of the hackers there would be various political exponents of the union Cdu/Csu and Spd. The hackers are allegedly trying to acquire private information from the emails of various politicians and then use them to spread fake news. The investigators believe that Russian intelligence services are behind the attacks.

(Andrea Ghilardi)

France and UK, clash over migrants. The English Channel has become the scene of a new clash between the British government and its French counterpart. At the center of the dispute is the treatment of migrants who illegally cross the risky waters of the channel, a phenomenon that in recent weeks has taken on enormous proportions with peaks of almost a thousand landings per day. Boris Johnson's government is ready to implement a new policy focused on the rejection and repatriation of migrants. The French executive has responded by stressing that it will not accept any practice contrary to the Law of the Sea, nor any financial or political blackmail from London.

(Andrea Ghilardi)

European Union, 2020 Terrorism Report. According to the latest report on the situation and trends of terrorism in the EU, there were a total of 57 attempted terrorist attacks in Europe in 2020, including carried out, failed and foiled attacks. Of these attacks, 10 are attributed to jihadist terrorism. Jihadist attacks account for only one-sixth of the total attacks perpetuated in the EU, yet cause more than half of the total deaths and nearly all of the injuries. Between 2019 and 2020, the total number of deaths and injuries in the EU doubled from 10 deaths and 27 injuries in 2019 to 27 deaths and 54 injuries in 2020.There were also 14 ethno-nationalist or separatist attacks. In contrast, the numbers of attacks inspired by political extremism were low. The report also noted that the increase in time spent on the Internet during the pandemic further increased the centrality of the online dimension in the radicalization of individuals.

(Andrea Ghilardi)

Brussels, against the stress caused by the pandemic tourist stays to visit museums. For those overwhelmed by nearly two years of the pandemic, it is possible to receive a singular medical prescription. In fact, doctors of the Belgian hospital Brugmann have decided that patients suffering from stress related to the pandemic will be able to visit all five public art institutions in the city completely free of charge including the Sewers Museum, the Contemporary Art Center in Brussels, the public museums of the Grand Palace, the Museum of Fashion and Lace on the Rue de la Violette and the GardeRobe Manneken Pis. Although it is still a pilot project, the results, if positive, may allow the extension of this initiative to other hospitals with the hope that other museums and art collections will be added.

(Giorgia Avola)

Covid situation in Europe: Denmark is the least affected country, Hungary the most damaged. Denmark is the first country in the European Union to abolish all measures related to Covid-19. In fact, for some days now it is no longer necessary to show the green pass even at the entrance of the night clubs. This measure is due to the high number of adhesions to the vaccination campaign: more than 80% of people over the age of 12 received two doses. Sweden has also announced that it will lift most of the restrictions against Covid-19 by the end of September. On the other hand, only 35% of Hungarian citizens say they do not feel affected by the pandemic at all. In addition, vaccination coverage in the country is slow, a trend shared by several Eastern European countries.

(Giorgia Avola)

Recovery plan, the European Union freezes the money destined for Poland and Hungary. The EU’s € 1.8 trillion budget for 2021-2027 was agreed last week after months of difficult negotiations and is expected to take effect within weeks. However, the Polish and Hungarian right-wing governments have shown their displeasure. The reason is due to the Commission’s willingness to confirm the link between the Recovery Fund funds and the reservations expressed by the European Union on the rule of law in the two countries. In fact, Budapest and Warsaw have yet to receive the approval of their recovery and resilience plans from the community executive. This means that for the moment, the money remains frozen. The doubts about Poland concern the independence of the judiciary, while in the case of Hungary, the instruments for the fight against corruption.

(Giorgia Avola)

Andrea Ghilardi and Giorgia Avola




CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE AND RUSSIA

Russia, Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline completed. A few days ago, the official announcement of the end of work for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline was announced. The construction of the gas pipeline, which connects Russia to Germany, has finally come to an end after months of delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical tensions. In fact, this energy transit corridor was strongly opposed by Poland and Ukraine because it does not pass through their own territories and the United States, even if later the position of President Biden became more tolerant. This pipeline, which will start distributing fuel in Germany from early October, is expected to double the capacity of today's Nord Stream across the Baltic Sea and should bring some relief to European gas markets in supply crises.

Poland, the tug-of-war with the EU continues. Relations between the European Commission and the Polish State remain very tense, following the Commission's decision to send Poland a letter of formal notice for failing to comply with the necessary measures to guarantee the independence of the judiciary and the impartiality of justice. These measures were in fact made explicit by the judgment of the EU Court of Justice of 15 July last, which had defined Polish law on disciplinary regime against judges as incompatible with one of the cardinal principles of the Union, the rule of law. Furthermore, the "European executive" has asked the Court of Justice to impose economic sanctions on Poland, given the non-compliance and persistence of this unfair judicial system. The Polish Minister of Justice reacted by defining the Commission's decision as an "act of aggression".

Eastern Europe, vaccination disparity and little immunization. Throughout the European Union, the number of people vaccinated against COVID-19 with at least one dose is equal to 80%, a great achievement if you think of the data from the rest of the world and a huge difference if you look at the southern hemisphere. However, the percentage of vaccinated presents an important difference between citizens of Western Europe and those of Eastern countries. According to data from the European Institute for Disease Control, the gap with some countries would be more than 50%: Bulgaria is the country with the least vaccinations, equal to only 22% of the vaccinable population; Romania with 33.4%; Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia are around 50%, while Greece, Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland are around 60%. However, if we consider that on average the states of Western Europe are between 80 and 90%, we understand how the multi-speed European Union is not only a logistical and health problem, but also a structural one.

Sara Oldani

MIDDLE-EAST AND NORTH AFRICA (MENA)

Libya, an increasingly fragile transition. In recent weeks, the country has been shaken by a series of destabilising events. Guards of oil facilities in Cyrenaica attempted to block the activities of the ports of Sidra and Ras Lanuf in a dispute with the central government. The protesters directed their discontent at the president of Libya's state oil company and the undersecretary of the oil minister in the transitional government. Meanwhile, members of two powerful militias in Tripolitania clashed leading to the occupation of the Ministry of Health by the 444th Brigade, led by Salafist leader Mahmoud Hamza.In this context of rising tension, President Abudlhamid Dbeibeh visited Tobruk to give an account of his actions to the city's House of Representatives.

(Michele Magistretti)

Israel, between latent conflict and diplomatic rounds. The low-intensity conflict between the Israeli Defence Forces and Hamas has been going on for a few weeks. In fact, the launching of incendiary balloons by the terrorist organisation and the reprisal bombings by the Israeli Air Force continue in alternating phases. After an unexpected jailbreak from one of the most efficient security prisons, the Israeli security forces are recovering the Palestinian fugitives. To date, only two of the original six fugitives are still on the run. Meanwhile, President Harzog met with the Hashemite ruler in Amman to strengthen bilateral relations after years of tension under Netanyahu's premiership. After more than two years, the PNA and Israel are once again holding high-level talks. Between the end of August and the beginning of September, Defence Minister Gantz met with PNA leader Mahmoud Abbas.

(Michele Magistretti)

Lebanon, awaiting the new government of Prime Minister Mikati. Last Friday, the Lebanese presidency office announced that the President of the Republic Michel Aoun and the prime minister in charge Najib Mikati have reached a compromise that could give birth to a new government, after 13 months of stalemate and political vacuum. Mikati will present the list of the 24 executive members to Parliament, mainly non-party technicians (including a member of the Banque du Liban) and newcomers. The new executive, born under pressure from the United Nations and some Western powers such as France, has many problems to solve: first of all the economic crisis and the financial collapse of the state, for which "painful" reforms will be necessary as stated by the premier himself, to allow Lebanon to access loans from the International Monetary Fund. If the new government receives the vote of confidence from the legislative assembly, it will obtain a minimum of credibility in the eyes of the International Community. However, the position of the Lebanese population remains critical, seeing in Mikati the symbol of the financial elite that has caused an increase in economic and social inequalities.

(Sara Oldani)

Morocco, the liberal group defeats in the elections. Political elections were held on 8 September in the Kingdom of Morocco: they were won by the party of the National Group of Independents (RNI) of Aziz Akhannouch, the former minister of agriculture, which gained 102 seats in Parliament. The moderate Tradition and Modernity (WFP) party won 82 seats, while the conservative Istiqlal party 78 seats. The parties that have been voted the least are those of the left and those linked to the Berber population. The real loser in this electoral round is instead the previous party in power, the group belonging to political Islam called Justice and Development (PJD) with only 13 seats. The change in the balance of power within the legislative assembly has been frowned upon by the International Community which sees alternating in power as a symbol of a healthy democracy, which should "serve as a model for the whole North Africa". King Mohammed VI subsequently commissioned Akhannouch to form a new government.

(Sara Oldani)

Turkey, calm and cold blood. The presence - more or less substantial - of Ankara in the regional and international scenarios is now undisputed. Nevertheless, in the face of the evolution of the various dossiers, there appears to be a continuous change in the Turkish approach, which has become more cautious and watchful in recent weeks. Above all, the wait-and-see attitude towards the Afghan theatre stands out, where the uncertainties surrounding the new Taliban government are holding back the desire for a Turkish-Qatari partnership in the management of the Kabul airport. Second, several recent summit meetings underline the awareness for a necessary workout of tensions in the Wider Mediterranean, including with rivals and competitors such as Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. A political rapprochement is difficult, but it is clear that in order to heal the economic-financial risks and the drop in consensus, the Turkish Government can only go back to rediscover itself as a (fragile) middle power and examine every option on the table.

(Samuele Abrami)

Iran, when even Kabul is so far away. Among the most interested regional actors, due to geographical proximity and past ties of various kinds in Afghan territory, there is undoubtedly the Islamic Republic. While no one, inside or outside Tehran, expected a blatant Iranian longa manus within the new power frameworks of the newly created Afghan Emirate, a decrease in terms of regional influence is equally evident. A clear signal is the fact that, despite pressure from the Pasdaran for an inclusive coalition government, the Taliban government does not have any figures (possibly) close to Iranian interests and lineages. At the same time, Teheran seems to lack the strength and will to play the ethnic-sectarian card with the strong Tajik and Hazara minorities already in turmoil. There are too many risks and too few certainties for the Raisi Government, which still hangs on the future of the JCPOA.

(Samuele Abrami)

Samuele Abrami, Michele Magistretti and Sara Oldani



TERRORISM AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY

Afghanistan, the Taliban government among terrorists, international fugitives and former prisoners. Twenty-four days after the taking of Kabul, the Taliban have reached an agreement on the composition of the new executive (ad interim), as announced by the spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid during a press conference. In the list of the new government, there are prominent terrorist figures, as well as international fugitives. The Prime Minister will be Mohammad Hasan Akhund, while the post of deputy will be assigned to Abdul Ghani Baradar, a well-known face in the Taliban chain of command and chief negotiator in the Doha Agreements. The new Prime Minister, former head of the Governing Council of the Taliban (the Rahbari Shura) and close collaborator of Mullah Omar, is included in the black list of international terrorists drawn up by the UNO. The Minister of Defence will be Mullah Yaqoub, son of Mullah Omar, and the Interior will be entrusted to Sirajuddin Haqqani, leader of the Haqqani Network, a group considered close to al Qaeda. On the head of S. Haqqani, a personal friend of Osama Bin Laden, hangs a bounty of 10 million dollars from the FBI. Furthermore, of the 33 members who will sit on the new executive, five are former detainees who, after 13 years of imprisonment at Guantanamo, were released in 2014 through an exchange with an American prisoner.

(Vincenzo Battaglia)

USA, meeting between Guerini and Austin, Afghanistan and European defense at the center of the talks. In the meeting held in Washington between the Italian defense minister and his US counterpart, the two wished to underline the importance of bilateral relations, both from a military and a commercial point of view. In addition, several issues were addressed during the talks at the Pentagon: from the importance of channeling the interests of the international community towards peace in Afghanistan, to the need for greater investments in Atlantic security, in particular as regards the European framework. The US Secretary of Defense also took the opportunity to praise the Italian role within NATO itself, underlining its contribution to international missions, not only in logistical terms but also as a real leader.

(Davide Shahhosseini)

France, the maxi trial for the 2015 attacks in Paris is underway. There are 14 defendants who are part of the jihadist commando which on the night of 15 November 2015 conducted a series of violent armed attacks in various points of the capital, causing 130 victims and about 400 injured. For the occasion, a gigantic courtroom - the "Grand Procès" hall - was set up within the complex of the Parisian Courthouse. The room will host 1,800 civil parties and 330 lawyers, in addition to 141 accredited newspapers. The investigation, which lasted four and a half years and involved 19 countries, led to the accusation of 20 people, of whom only 14 will be present: 11 are in prison and 3 are free. The other 6, of which 5 are suspected to have died in Syria, will be tried in absentia. Among the accused will also appear Salah Abdeslam, the only survivor of the armed commando, believed to be the head of the logistical organization of the attacks.

(Davide Shahhosseini)

Vincenzo Battaglia and Davide Shahhosseini



INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Europe, migrant surveillance tool challenged. In view of the arrival of Afghan migrants, Europe is preparing itself by revising a tool of the Eurodac database, which stores the fingerprints of asylum seekers. Thirty-one NGOs have opposed this revision as "disproportionate and invasive of privacy".

(Valeria Lavano)

NATO, Commemorations for the 20th Anniversary of 9/11. NATO commemorates the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11. It is recalled that for the first time in its history it invokes Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, expressing solidarity with the United States and providing operational support.

(Valeria Lavano)

United Nations, International Clean Air Day 2021. The Regulating Air Quality - UNEP's First Global Report on the Evaluation of Air Pollution Legislation finds that one-third of the world's countries do not have mandatory standards for outdoor air quality. UN Member States recognize the need to reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals, air, water and soil pollution and contamination by 2030.

(Valeria Lavano)

UNHCR, fact finding visit to Libya concluded; final report is now awaited. The Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya concluded, on Thursday, August 26, its four-day visit to Tripoli during which high-level interviews were held with Libyan government and judicial authorities on the human rights situation in Libya. UNHCR officials also provided the Libyan authorities with an update on their work with a view to submitting a report to the UN Human Rights Council scheduled for October 2021. "The main objective of our visit was to strengthen our cooperation with the Libyan authorities in fulfilling our mandate," said Mohamed Aujjar, one of the mission members. "The Human Rights Council has urged the Libyan authorities to extend full cooperation to the fact-finding mission, and we are pleased that the Libyan authorities have shown a commitment to continue to cooperate with the mission, and to assist our work," the official concluded.

(Francesco Ancona)

WFP, 9 out of 10 Afghans do not consume enough food. WFP conducted a telephone survey from June 17 to Sept. 5, asking 1,600 households a month about their eating habits. The agency reported a "marked difference" between the period up to Aug. 15 and the period after Aug. 20. "The number of households resorting to extreme survival mechanisms, such as skipping meals or preferring to give food to children instead of adults or limiting portion sizes to make food last longer, has nearly doubled," said Anthea Webb, WFP's Deputy Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific. Many Afghans are already struggling to feed their families during a severe drought well before the Islamic Emirate took over; now millions could be at risk of malnutrition with the country isolated and the economy in shambles.

(Francesco Ancona)

ICC, lawyers requested to open an investigation for war crimes committed in Yemen. As the war in Yemen continues, several British lawyers and judges have appealed to the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into the Saudi-led coalition, accusing it of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Lawyer and co-founder of Guernica 37, Toby Cadman, presented on Monday, August 30, evidence of three alleged war crimes in which over 140 individuals, including children, were killed and sometimes tortured. These separate incidents include an August 2018 airstrike that destroyed a school bus, a rocket attack in October 2016, and the torture and murder of individuals in prisons. Evidence would come from survivors and their relatives.

(Francesco Ancona)

Valeria Lavano e 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, Sub-Saharan Africa

Davide Shahhosseini: Terrorism and International Security

Edoardo Cappelli: Human Rights, North America

Elisa Maggiore: Latin America

Emanuele Volpini: North America

Federico Brignacca: Human Rights

Francesco Ancona: Asia and the Far East, International Organizations

Giorgia Avola: Western Europe and the European Union

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

Giulio Cofini: Sub-Saharan Africa

Leonardo Aldeghi: Economics and International Finance

Leonardo Cherici: Western Europe and the European Union

Michele Magistretti: Middle-East and North Africa

Samuele Abrami: Middle-East and North Africa

Sara Oldani: Middle-East and North-Africa

Valeria Lavano: International Organizations

Vincenzo Battaglia: Terrorism and International Security


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