Who won the American Elections? It is the question that has interested the entire world in the last week. In this new issue of Framing we will talk about the expectation of several countries and the international markets, as well as Joe Biden's victory in the United States. But the presidential elections have also animated the last few weeks in various African countries, while Kosovo remains without a president and the surprising hypothesis of an early end of Putin's mandate circulates in Russia. We will also talk about the legislative updates in Italy, Chile, North Korea and Algeria, about the recent terrorist attacks and much more!
Read more in the 46th issue of Framing the World!
November 5, 2020, the first International Day against Violence and Bullying at School Including Cyberbullying. It was established in November 2019 during the 40th session of the UNESCO General Conference, with the approval of all 193 member states. It will be celebrated every first Thursday of November, and 2020 has kicked off this practice established in order to strengthen partnerships and initiatives aimed at preventing and eliminating school violence and bullying, including cyberbullying - this is in line with the achievement of sustainable development goals n. 4 and 16. For the occasion, the French Ministry of National Education of Youth and Sports organized, in collaboration with UNESCO, a video conference attended by the Ministers of Education from various countries, including Italy, and other experts in the field.
Senegal, worst shipwreck of 2020. This is how the International Organization for Migration defined the episode that involved about 200 migrants off the coast of Senegal on 29 October. Of these, 59 were rescued by the Spanish Navy, the Senegalese Navy and passing fishermen. 20 bodies were recovered at sea and the others are missing. The ship from Senegal was headed for the Canary Islands, but shortly after leaving it caught fire and capsized off the town of Saint-Louis. According to the IOM, the number of migrants taking this route has increased compared to 2019 together with the number of victims, increased from 210 to 464. Bakary Doumbia, head of the IOM mission in Senegal, called for "unity between governments, partners and the international community to dismantle the trafficking and smuggling networks that exploit desperate young people".
Protests and violations of rights in Belarus. On August 9, 2020 presidential elections were held and a recent expert report - according to Human Rights Watch - reported that in the days before and after the elections there were "massive and systemic" violations of human rights. In particular, the 58-page report documents electoral fraud, violations of freedom of expression and assembly, excessive police violence and systematic torture. The requests contained in the document, drafted by an independent expert but at the request of the OSCE, are to annul the results of the recent elections that saw the victory of Alexander Lukashenka and repeat them in accordance with international standards. "This report is extremely important and brings together a wide range of repression and cruelty that the Belarusian authorities have unleashed against peaceful democracy protesters and their supporters", said Rachel Denber, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia of Human Rights Watch.
Nagorno - Karabakh : the United Nations High Commissioner condemns the conflicts on the territory. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone is under the lens of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who has repeatedly raised the alarm about the continuous attacks that are taking place in populated areas in and around the conflict zone. The accusation is of violation of international humanitarian law and war crimes. "Since the conflict reignited in September [...] there have been repeated appeals, including from me, for the parties to take all possible measures to avoid or minimize the loss of civilian life and damage to civilian infrastructure" said Michelle Bachelet as reported by Unric.org. The words of the High Commissioner then stressed that all attacks that violate the principle of distinction and proportionality can constitute war crimes and called on both parties to investigate these violations in a timely manner. "Such attacks must cease and those who are responsible for their execution, or who order them, must be held responsible", the High Commissioner concluded in his speech.
Egypt, killed a child by security forces, is violence to those who protest. The Sudanese community in Egypt faces daily episodes of violence and discrimination, degenerated, on October 6, 2020, in the killing of Hasan, a Sudanese child. The fact has unleashed heated but peaceful, by the Sudanese community in front of the headquarters of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. The security forces reacted by dispersing the protests with violence, beating peaceful protesters with racist insults and tear gas. About 70 people were arrested and the beating continued in Egyptian prisons. Others, since November 2, after the raid on their homes, were forced to flee or hide, under threat of expulsion from the country and "not to challenge the Egyptian state".
Italy, approved in the Chamber of Deputies, the ddl "Zan", what will the Senate do next?: a great victory for human rights after the approval in the Chamber of Deputies, of the bill Zan, against discrimination and violence on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and disability. The text modifies the content of Articles 604 bis and 604 ter of the Criminal Code, rubricati as crimes against equality, to add to the cases already protected, even those relating to "sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability". Such conduct therefore becomes a crime. Everything is put back into the hands of the Senate which will have to vote, in the hope of zero tolerance for hate crimes and discriminatory practices in Italy.
Chiara Scuderi, Federico Brignacca and Sara Squadrani
ECONOMICS AND INTERNATIONAL FINANCE
Markets, recovery and COVID. At the end of October, the stock markets experienced strong declines mainly due to the renewed spread of COVID-19 in Europe and the Midwest. The negative trend was quickly reversed by the macroeconomic data of the quarter and the post-election reactions (see below). The US GDP rebounding by 33.1% after the 31.4% drop in the second quarter (but remains at -5% for the full year) illustrates the V-shaped recovery of the economy, akin to the more fragile situation in the Eurozone (France +18%, Italy +16%, Germany +8%). The PMI indexes are also generally strong and above the forecasts: in the USA both manufacturing, which reaches 59.3% (+3.9), and services (+0.9 to 56.9) are overperforming, while in Europe this is limited to manufacturing (54.8, +1.1), driven by Germany, Italy and Austria. The particularly sharp drop in services in the UK ahead of the second lockdown (-4.7% to 51.4) has unfortunately harmed this industry.
Elections, the markets’ reaction. Uncertainty over the presidential elections did not translate into uncertainty for the American stock exchanges: Wall Street takes off after the troubled sessions experienced in the last two weeks and achieves the best post-election session in history (Nasdaq +3.85%, S&P +2.2%), with substantial increases also in the following days. What is driving the markets is not only the renewed hope that the new administration (whichever it may be) will finally approve a new stimulus package, but also the moderation of a possible president Biden who will have to mediate with a Republican Senate, something that will move the president's policies towards centrist and pro-business positions and will preserve the Fed's monetary policy approach on low interest rates and tax cuts in 2017.
Beijing, hard blow for Jack Ma. The Chinese billionaire, founder of Alibaba, was denied by the Beijing regulators the authorisation to proceed with the public listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong of 11% Ant Group, the Alipay app (Alibaba's financial arm). This decision was made a few hours after the completion of the operation valued at $37 billion (the largest in history) which would have given it a value of $310 billion, higher than that of the major American banks. Officially, the halt came because Ant "would not have been able to meet the issuance and listing conditions or disclosure requirements", but according to the Financial Times and CNN the Communist Party wanted to 'bring Jack Ma into the fold' after some critical comments made in a speech last October, when the entrepreneur accused the Chinese regulators of being too cautious and thus stifle innovation in the field of digital finance.
EU, Italian salaries do not rise. A study by the Fondazione Di Vittorio of the italian labour union Cgil based on OECD data highlights the persistent stagnation of Italian salaries. In fact, between 2000 and 2019 the average annual salary of an employee, before tax, increased by only 3.1%, from €29,100 to €30,000, and remains 1.9% lower than the level reached in 2007. Together with Spain, (+2.2% since 2000, reaching €27,400), Italy has the worst record among the main economies of the Eurozone, and the sole countries not to have recovered the pre-financial crisis levels. The comparison with Germany and France is ruthless, with the two countries growing by 18.4% and 21.4% respectively (€48,300 and €39,000), but Belgium and the Netherlands are also doing much better (+8.8% and +9.9%, reaching €47,200 and €48,300).
Quarterlies financial results, the tech soars. Quarterly accounts continue to be published, and this quarter U.S. tech stocks overperformed again: Amazon, Facebook, Alphabet, Apple and Microsoft are all on the rise and collectively report $10.45 billion more revenues than expected. Positive results also came from China, with Alibaba reporting +29% in quarterly revenues, driven by +60% of the cloud computing division, even though the stock was later sunk (-7.4%, or $76 billion) by Ant's IPO developments. Europe's leading technology company, SAP, is the negative exception (-4%), not so much for a drop in sales as for the transition from license sales to cloud service subscriptions, an element that shifts the company's profitability further ahead into the future compared to traditional sales.
Nigeria, protests against police violence continue. According to Amnesty International data, at least 56 people died as a result of the indiscriminate violence carried out by the police from the beginning of the protests until 21 October, the day after the so-called “Lekki Massacre”. On the night of 20 October, soldiers of the Nigerian Armed Forces opened fire on the demonstrators at the Lekki toll gate. Only on 27 October, after several days of denials, Major Osoba Olaniyi declared that yes, the army had been deployed, but only in accordance with the curfew and absolutely denied that the fire had been opened. A Judicial Commission met for the first time on 26 October in Lagos, appointed to investigate police brutality. Tension in the country remains high, while protests continue to inflame the region.
Mozambique, jihadists' illicit trafficking unveiled. In Mozambique, jihadist terrorism has already forced more than 350,000 people to leave their homes in the province of Cabo Delgado, creating a wave of refugees who have found refuge in Pemba, the provincial capital. The Secretary of State of the province, Armindo Ngunga, said that the situation has worsened in recent months, with a steady increase in Jihadist incursions. The raids are mainly aimed at recruiting young people, who are recruited into mosques and then specially trained to kill, and mercenaries. The investigation carried out by “Centro de Jornalismo Investigativo del Mozambique” ( CJI Moz) also revealed widespread trafficking in human organs, precious stones and gold, sold to support the war in the country.
Tanzania, at the presidential elections Magufuli is re-elected. On 31 October, John Magufuli was re-elected President of Tanzania for his second term. Nicknamed "Bulldozer", Magufuli won the election with 84% of the votes in favour. The victory, so overwhelming, was openly contested by the opposition who called for a return to the polls. Already during the election period, heavy accusations had been made about alleged irregularities and fraud. In fact, very few international sources of information had access to coverage of the elections in Tanzania, so much so that platforms such as Twitter and Whatsapp were even blocked for several days. In the following days, a number of opposition candidates, including Tundu Lissu and Freeman Mbowe, were detained by police and taken to barracks for questioning.
Guinea and Ivory Coast, democracy increasingly at risk. Presidential elections held in both countries respectively on October 18 and October 31 resulted, as expected, in the confirmation of the leadership of the President Alpha Condé in Guinea and Alassane Ouattara in Ivory Coast, for the third consecutive term. In Guinea, as feared, violence has tightened up causing more deaths, injuries, and general disorders, while other candidates to the presidency have brought an action against official results of election. In Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara won with 94,27% of votes, but the opposition, led by Konan Bédié, one of the beaten candidates, is ready to create a national council and a transitional government which could lead to new elections. In both countries democracy and national cohesion are in danger.
(Rachele De Simone)
Somalia. Al-Shabaab: terrorist group or mafia association? The Al-Shabaab group, born as a terrorist movement, seems to have turned into a real mafia association in recent years. According to the UN Security Council, the terrorist group has had strong economic growth, but above all they succeeded to establish their influence in strategic locations, for instance port and markets of Mogadishu. It is clear they use a method similar to mafia association since they force the biggest companies of the country to pay monthly bribes and they ask shops for payment, using violence and threats. According to recent studies, it seems that Al-Shabaab earns more money than that used to finance its terrorist activities through investment in the building and real estate sector, using the official bank system to transfer the vast amount of money.
(Rachele De Simone)
Ethiopia, peace is still far away. Two important events, recently happened, shows how Ethiopia is still far away to reach a stability between different ethnic groups who live in the country. First event occurred on Sunday, November 1, in three villages in the Oromia region, where about 54 people of the Amhara group, data reported by Amnesty International, have been killed. The act would be attributed to Oromo Liberation Army (Ola). The second event is about the attack against the federal military base in the Tigray area, the northern region of the country, done by Tigray Popular Liberation Front (Tplf), party of the area. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Nobel Peace Prize 2019, in response to the events, has deployed security forces to the Oromia region and almost simultaneously has authorized a military offensive in response to the attack held in Tigray.
(Rachele De Simone)
Martina Pignatelli and Michele Pavan
The new President of the United States. The presidential elections of this 2020 were unusual compared to all the others. Firstly, because they took place in a pandemic context and secondly because we did not know the name of the winner on November 4. The counting of votes in many states took a long time, due to the use of early voting and postal voting by American citizens. However, the votes counted in Pennsylvania on November 7th declared the victory of the dem candidate: Biden will become the 46th President of the United States of America. The incumbent President Donald Trump has already challenged the vote and said he will ask for a recount since "the election is fraudulent", having no evidence to confirm this. We also remember that Kamala Harris will become the first female vice president in American history.
(Marta Annalisa Savino)
Will China get its hands on Canadian gold? In the spring of this year, the Canadian mining company TMAC Resources announced that it intends to sell the Hope Bay Project to the Chinese state company Shandong Gold Mining for the construction of a gold mine for a total value of 230 million dollars. In October, however, a stop came from the Ottawa federal government. The agreement needs to be revised: many voices have raised national security concerns. All this risks delaying the entire sales process forwarded to 2021. In recent years, the government has amended the Investment Canada Act to hinder investments from authoritarian countries on Canadian soil, China being one of them. This does not mean total closure. Ottawa has never adopted the same toughness as Trump in handling the economic aggression of Beijing, which has not yet publicly responded to the suspension of the agreement.
Canada is interested in the States. The whole world is watching with apprehension the chaotic situation in the United States, and Canada is no exception. Not only analysts and scholars but the entire Canadian political world has followed the situation closely to see how to move forward. Although Trudeau has affirmed the neutrality of the Liberal Party, his ideological closeness and past collaboration on environmental issues with Biden suggests to many in Canada who the Prime Minister's preferences were directed towards. Conservative leader O'Toole was also very cautious about his views, but Labour leader Jagmeet Singh, on the other hand, had expressed support for Biden even before his proclaimed victory.
Mexico, the right to gay marriage in Puebla and the Escazú Agreement for environmental activists. The Puebla Congress finally approved the reform of the Civil Code, which guarantees access to marriage between people of the same sex, now enshrining all the related rights, previously only granted to heterosexual people. Puebla thus becomes the 14th State to have made same-sex marriage a right. Furthermore, on Thursday the 5th, the Senate ratified the Regional Agreement on access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters in Latin America and the Caribbean, known as the "Escazú Agreement". Mexico was the 11th country to ratify this important regional treaty aimed at protecting environmental defenders.
Marta Annalisa Savino, Valeria Scuderi and Lorenzo Bonaguro
Bolivia, Morales prepares to return to the country.The accusation of terrorism against Evo Morales, the former Bolivian president, who can now finally prepare his return to the country, has recently been withdrawn. On 31 October, the General Directorate of Migration Services of Bolivia suspended the active migration alert against Morales, who can now enter Bolivian territory without the risk of being arrested, following the cancellation - three days earlier - of the arrest warrant issued against him. Exiled for a year, first to Mexico and then to Argentina, he intends to arrive in Bolivia on 11 November, in Chimoré, one year after his escape from the country.
Brazil, how the American elections will affect the country's politics. Awaiting the results of the most important elections for the world geopolitical equilibrium, the analyses of the Brazilian government officials have shown that Jair Bolsonaro, the current Brazilian president, would remain isolated within the international panorama in the hypothesis of the defeat of Donald Trump. In particular, the main fear concerns the possibility of an increase in international pressure for the current deforestation of the Amazon, at a time when Bolsonaro will lose the support of Donald Trump. In fact, the first skirmishes have already begun between the "almost" new US President Joe Biden and Jair Bolsonaro, who has launched himself in defence of Brazil's sovereignty over Amazon-related issues, accusing Biden of meddling in Brazilian internal affairs.
Chile, a new Chile? The population has spoken out in favor of a brand new Constitution, but the first concerns are already emerging. In fact, President Sebastián Piñera was against a radical change; instead, he proposed a gradual modification of the existing charter. For this reason, it is planned to bring forward the future presidential elections, scheduled for November 2021, to April of the same year, when the members of the Constituent Assembly will also be elected. In this way, the elected leader will be able to guide the country towards the new constitutional path. Chile is experiencing both a moment of crisis, aggravated by the pandemic, and of great change. The time span going from 2020 to 2022 will be decisive for the country, which may be able to recover from the economic crisis or sink into the abyss.
Colombia, the role of women in the peace-building process. During a virtual visit to Colombia, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, discussed with President Duque the security problems affecting the country and said that the peace agreement in Colombia is a light for women, calling on the government to ensure its implementation. "Women are essential for peace-building and I would like to invite the government to share, but also to accelerate the implementation of the provisions of the peace agreement agenda, including additional resources and measures to strengthen this gender perspective," said Amina Mohammed, stressing the importance of ensuring the safety of ex-combatants and the protection of social leaders.
Nicaragua, Ortega bets on Biden. Daniel Ortega hopes for Joe Biden’s victory in order to be able to negotiate the elimination of the sanctions imposed on Nicaragua by the United States, in exchange for minimum concessions on the front of the reforms required by the international community in view of the 2021 elections. According to some analysts of the Economist, however, Biden's line will follow in Donald Trump's footsteps. Reinforcing this hypothesis is a statement by the Democratic candidate in which he declares that the penalty regime will remain unchanged. While the sanctions adversely affect the Caribbean country’s economy and the U.S. may break the trade agreements with Managua, Hurricane Eta is violently hitting Nicaragua and there are about 20 thousand displaced persons.
Venezuela, the request for aid to China for investment in the Venezuelan energy industry. Diplomatic relations between Iran and Venezuela are strengthening; during a last meeting between the Iranian Chancellor, Javad Zarif, and Nicolás Maduro, an agreement was ratified to solidify their alliance and "resistance" to the US sanctions imposed on both countries. Meanwhile, the President of Venezuela is asking for help from China in an attempt to resolve the current crisis, offering Xi Jinping to lead new investment in Venezuela, including in the oil sector, under an "anti-blocking law" that seeks to circumvent US sanctions. Maduro said his government "is open to expanding investment, at all levels of the energy industry" with China, one of its vital allies, along with Russia, Turkey and Iran.
Valeria Scuderi, Martina Pignatelli and Ginevra Ricca
ASIA AND THE FAR EAST
North Korea, the law against smoking. The Supreme People’s Assembly had introduced a new law which prohibits smoking in many public spaces, including theaters, cinemas, transportations, health facilities and places where there are children. The law also provides for penalties for violations, which however have not yet been specified. The application of this new rule is necessary in a country like North Korea, where according to the date of the World Health Organization, smokers represent 46% of the total population. The leader Kim Jong Un himself is considered to be a heavy smoker, while it is interesting to observe that among women this practice is almost non-existing.
South Korea, the fight for climate and health emergencies. This week, President Moon Jae-In expressed his desire to make the country ‘carbon neutral’ by 2050. The president, after acknowledging that South Korea’s economy is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels, promised to respond to the climate emergency by using more renewable energy and by implementing the Green New Deal. The South Korean government, alarmed by the sudden increase in Covid-19 infections, has also reintroduced the mandatory use of masks in many public places. Fines amounting to 100,000 won (87,99 dollars) are provided for those who do not respect the use of the mask.
South Korea – Professor Kim Pan-suk joins the ICSC. On November 7, Kim Pan-suk professor of global public administration at Yonsei University was elected as a member of the International Civil Service Commission, which is an independent expert body of the United Nations General assembly. His membership begins in 2021 and will last until 2024, which means four years. This event marks an epochal shift in the history of the commission, since it is the first time that a South Korean joins the commission. Professor Kim is an outstanding figure in South Korean policy and has already worked as Minister and secretary in the field of personnel management.
(Lydia Milly Certa)
India, the rapprochement with Nepal and the severe pollution of the capital. This week, the Indian army general concluded his trip to Nepal, during which he participated in various meetings with Nepalese leaders with the aim of easing bilateral tensions between the two countries. These meetings seem to aim at resolving the territorial disputes and at increasing cooperation, especially in an anti-Chinese function. On November the 7th, in the capital New Delhi, the air quality reached alarming values. Experts have reported that the severe air quality may have been due to a very high number of fires in the countryside found just outside the capital.
Japan, the slackening of restrictions on entry into the country. The Japanese government and the Chinese Communist Party have agreed on resuming business travel between the two countries starting from mid-November in order to revive the economic activity. In addition, Japan has decided to ease the restrictions on entry into the country for all the athletes who will have to train or compete in the Tokyo Olympics. In fact, athletes and their companions will be able to enter the country on condition that they present proof of having tested negative for Covid-19 and that they comply with the regulations that Japan enforced to deal with the health emergency.
China, the Fifth Plenum has ended. Presided over by General Secretary Xi Jinping, the primary task of the Plenum was to assess the results of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) and consider the draft proposal for the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025). The plenum emphasized that the 14th Five-Year Plan will build on the principles of innovation, regional coordination, green development, international openness, and social equity. The growth rate target was not mentioned. The future plan will highlight China’s need to gain technological independence; become a powerhouse in manufacturing, cyber, and the digital economy; and raise China’s international competitiveness. At the same time, China will need to expand domestic consumption as a share of the economy, which will be dependent on raising wages, building a more complete social safety net, and expanding economic opportunities in rural China.
(Andrea Angelo Coldani)
Taiwan, more than 200 days without community infections. Taiwan’s Center for Disease Control last reported a domestic case on April 12. CDC officials noted the milestone and thanked the public for playing a role, while urging people to continue to wear masks and to wash their hands often. Since the pandemic began, Taiwan has recorded 553 cases of Covid-19, and just seven deaths. While it has stopped domestic transmission, it continues to record new cases in people arriving from abroad. Questions remain, however, as to whether the island is truly free of the coronavirus; yet Taiwan is still undoubtable a success in light of the global scale of the pandemic.
(Andrea Angelo Coldani)
Margherita Camurri, Lydia Milly Certa and Andrea Angelo Coldani
WESTERN EUROPE AND THE EUROPEAN UNION
European Union, the American results. European countries have followed very closely the counting of American ballots to elect the 46th President of the United States. It will be Joe Biden, a Democrat and former Vice President of Obama, who will have to dialogue with Europe, certainly more attentive to multilateralism than Trump. In Brussels, it is hoped that relations with the USA will improve and that Biden will be a more willing interlocutor also within NATO. In the last four years, relations between Berlin and Washington had deteriorated considerably, but it is not certain that with the new President there will be a return to an idyllic relationship. The trade issue will remain a battleground, but there can certainly be an alignment on important issues such as the climate, the Iranian dossier and a revival of multilateral dialogue.
France, Macron facing internal problems. The recent attacks in France by Islamic terrorists have brought the country back into the darkest period of a few years ago. President Macron, however, seems determined to continue to address the issue of religious extremism within some French communities. In his speech at the funeral of Professor Paty, who was the victim of a brutal murder, he reiterated the importance of the values of a secular and republican France, never ceasing to cultivate tolerance, but brutally condemning those practices of life incompatible with a liberal democracy. The Professor also received the posthumous Legion of Honour, one of France's most important honours. Macron's words, very harsh in condemning a certain radicalism, have provoked protests in a good number of Muslim countries.
Italy, Di Maio's mission in Israel. The Italian Foreign Minister flew to Tel Aviv to meet the Israeli government. The purpose of the diplomatic mission was to strengthen a historic friendship between the two countries. During the bilateral summits, numerous issues were addressed. Di Maio praised the recent "Abraham Agreements", calling them “a step forward in the stabilization of the region”. The minister made it known that he is always a supporter of the two-state solution to the Palestinian question. The mission was also an opportunity to sign a new protocol to increase cultural and scientific cooperation between Rome and Tel Aviv.
European Union, minimum wage proposal. In her inauguration speech, President von der Leyen had already announced the need for a European minimum wage. In recent weeks, a proposal was presented by the European Commission to define a framework within which to address the issue of wages. The idea is not to make an equal minimum wage for everyone, but to define a sum for each country based on the cost of living and other indicators that will be taken as reference. The aim is to guarantee a decent life for every European worker. Denmark and Sweden have opposed this proposal, arguing that their system based on collective agreements negotiated by trade unions already works well and that this minimum wage would make the situation worse.
European Union, Council-Parliament agreement. During the negotiations on the Recovery Fund, the EU Council delegation and the European Parliament delegation reached a preliminary agreement on respect for the rule of law. After weeks of confrontations that risked postponing the arrival of the Recovery Fund, the two institutions were able to define a framework within which the resources could be disbursed. Respect for the founding values of the European Union will be one of the conditionalities. These include democracy, respect for human rights and equality. Funds may also be blocked in the event of corruption and fraud in their use.
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE AND RUSSIA
Kosovo is without a president. The President of the Republic of Kosovo Hashim Thaci has resigned following the accusations that have been leveled with him by the court in The Hague. Already in June it was announced that an investigation would be launched on Thaci and other major political figures on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the 1998-99 war. Thaci played a fundamental role in the Kosovo Liberation Army: he provided the financial and military means, and he recruited troops in Albania. Voices of support for Thaci were immediately raised from Kosovar civil society, from the many veterans and from the political world across the board. Even the Albanian Prime Minister Ilir Meta sided with the accused calling the Kosovo war "right and heroic".
Poland against women. For years, the Law and Justice party has been clashing with the opposition and feminist groups, the most important of which is the Polish Women's Strike movement, due to the increasingly restrictive laws on the decision-making power of women over their own bodies. At the end of October, the Polish constitutional court, effectively controlled by the executive power, declared abortion due to malformations of the fetus unconstitutional. In response to the first protests, President Duda has proposed a law that allows for the possibility of abortion in the event of severe malformations, but this has done nothing but add fuel to the fire. Tens of thousands of women flocked to the streets of Warsaw, even challenging Covid. But even the Church did not stand by and accuse the president of proposing a form of euthanasia. The complaints do not seem close to exhaustion and the pandemic is advancing.
Coronavirus: vaccine slips in Russia. MOSCOW - The Russian-made Coronavirus vaccine will miss the release date set by Putin's scientists. According to The Bell, the authorities had promised to deliver the cure to a large scale of the population, but developers are facing scalability and quality problems. As a result, manufacturers have predicted that only hundreds of thousands of doses will be available, instead of the millions ones expected in recent months. An executive of the four distribution partners at the Gamaleya research institute in Moscow said they are unable to stabilize the vaccine at this time, but no one else is. "It usually takes a year to start mass production of this scale and now we are looking to do it in a few weeks," said Anton Gopka, general partner of biotech and healthcare investment firm ATEM Capital.
Russia: President Putin is ill, close to resigning from the Presidency. These are the statements of the Russian political scientist Valery Solovei. According to the former professor of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, in fact, Vladimir Putin suffers from a serious illness. Enough to force him, before the expiry of his mandate, to leave the office. The Kremlin spokesman, Dimitrij Peskov, has already denied it but the media rebound of Solovei's statements was immediate. Indeed, according to the former lecturer, Putin is about to take a step back and leave the leadership of Russia in the hands of others. Solovei did not specify what the president is suffering from, although the voices raised would speak of Parkinson's disease. This hypothesis was put forward by the newspaper The Sun, which cites a research by Radboud University Medical Center, in the Netherlands, whose researchers would have found signs of the disease in some of Putin's behaviors. Solovei is even unbalanced in some predictions, venturing that the president will account for the next moves in the New Year's speech. An hypothesis, the disease and the announcement, which for the Kremlin does not make sense.
Lorenzo Bonaguro and Arianna Giannino
MIDDLE-EAST AND NORTH AFRICA (MENA)
Algeria, in unpopularity wins the referendum for change. On November 1st the Algerians were called to the polls to vote a referendum on a series of constitutional amendments proposed by the government. Despite the wide invitation made to the population to vote on the amendments presented as a response to the demands of the protesters mobilized against the government since February 2019, the turnout data suggest a "small" victory. Only 23.7% of those eligible voted, approving the amendments with 68.8% of the votes in favor. Although the amendments favor freedom of speech and assembly on paper, limit the number of presidential mandates and stipulate that the prime minister must be chosen by a parliamentary majority and not by a presidential appointment, doubts remain as to the actual impact that these amendments will have. Meanwhile, President Tebboune tested positive at Covid-19 and is receiving treatment in a German hospital.
Egypt, the parliamentary elections continue. While last week took place the first phase of the electoral call to elect the second parliament under the leadership of Al Sisi, on Sunday, November 8, the final phase was held with 13 governorates - including Cairo - who went to the polls. However, the winners will have to wait until January to fill the seats and the majority of the candidates closest to Al Sisi are expected to win. At the same time, longstanding talks between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on the Ethiopian Blue Nile dam issue resumed at the end of October. Although in a virtual way, the result of the dialogues remained the same: yet another failure in the absence of a valid compromise. While the problems remain with Ethiopia, the Egyptian and Sudanese military authorities declared in a joint conference their willingness to proceed for closer military cooperation, especially in training and border protection.
Tunisia, yes to France for the repatriation of expelled Tunisian migrants. After the tragic events in France, the French Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, visited Tunisia to talk about the issue of security, advocating the possibility of expelling migrants accused of terrorism or suspected of having jihadist tendencies. The Tunisian counterpart, Taoufik Charfeddine, said that Tunisia is ready to welcome any Tunisian as long as the repatriation takes place in line with the laws of international conventions for the protection of human rights. Moreover, on the domestic level, the crisis resulting from the pandemic is once again making its weight felt: Mechichi said that the country is going through an unprecedented social and economic crisis, quantifying the economic damage suffered in 2.9 billion dollars.
Turkey, survival mode? After the devastating earthquake that struck the city of Izmir (with more than 110 victims), Ankara received solidarity from Greece and France too. Nevertheless, its relations with Paris remain more than tense and explain the two directions of Erdoğan's policy. On the one hand, the Turkish President has found another opportunity to seek a transversal internal consensus, finding the support of a large part of the opposition in condemning Macron’s words and Charlie Hebdo's cartoons. On the other hand, his invitation to Muslim countries to boycott French products is aligned with his claim of Turkish leadership in the region. This assertiveness is also reproduced on the Nagorno-Karabakh front, where Turkey (pro-Azerbaijan) calls for an Armenian withdrawal and a place at the negotiating table as a precondition for a ceasefire. With a lira falling towards historical lows, however, what will be the real gain?
Iran, with an eye on Washington. On the day of the U.S. presidential election, Supreme Leader Khamenei recalled Iranian nationalism, saying that “the electoral process in the U.S. should not interest us at all”. On the contrary, the Rouhani government did not delay in showing how much its survival depends on the “Great Satan”. Everything continues to revolve around the nuclear dossier, with Foreign Minister Zarif rejecting downward compromises on the JCPOA. If Trump has always embraced the hard line of maximum pressure, the Biden option seems to leave more hope for a new deal. Nevertheless, given the strengthened anti-Iranian cordon between Israel and Gulf allies, it is difficult to think of a truly pro-Iranian US strategy in the long run. The Iranian elections themselves in 2021 will weigh heavily as a return of the ultra-conservatives to power could close any window of dialogue opened by Rouhani.
Libya, the dialogue continues. Various actors involved in the politics of Tripolitania have urged Premier Serraj to remain in office. Among these figures are the head of the Libyan High Council of State, Khaled Al-Mishri, and even the American Ambassador Richard Norland. Serraj has accepted by announcing that he will not leave his leadership role in the government. Shortly after the ceasefire agreement, the GNA signed a new security cooperation agreement with Qatar, the second foreign sponsor of the Tripoli government together with Turkey. In addition, as talks between representatives of Tripoli and Cyrenaica resume in Bouznika, Morocco, the Interior Minister of the Tripoli government flies to Cairo for the first time since the beginning of the offensive of Haftar.
Lebanon, new consultations in a disgraced country: Saad Hariri returns to be the subject designated to form a new government, despite having been the first victim of the street protests calling for a change of pace for the political class in the country of the cedars. However, President Aoun considered Hariri to be the only candidate capable of breaking the political deadlock. The consultations continue and the knot to be unravelled will be, in particular, the modalities of support from the two Shiite parties Amal and Hezbollah. While Hariri is aiming, even under French pressure, at an independent government made up of technical figures who can lead the country out of the crisis, the Shiite group has lobbied for the assignment of the Ministry of Finance in exchange for its support.
Samuele Abrami, Federica Sulpizio and Michele Magistretti
TERRORISM AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY
Afghanistan, hit the University of Kabul. On November 2nd, a terrorist act shook the Afghan capital for the umpteenth time. Three bombers hit the University of Kabul, causing the death of about twenty people (and as many injured). The Taliban denied responsibility for the offensive, which was claimed by the local branch of the Islamic State (IS-K). This is the second attack in a fortnight against an educational facility in Kabul, after the one carried out on October 24th in a Shiite training centre (again by IS-K). Meanwhile, the peace process in Afghanistan is still at a stalemate and the future of the country is uncertain.
Mozambique, Islamic militants launch a series of attacks. Since October 30th, Islamists have conducted several offensives against villages in the Muidumbe district - Cape Delgado province. The terrorist attacks could be a response to police operations, occurred the previous week, against their main base in Mocimboa da Praia. Jihadist groups in Mozambique are affiliated with ISCAP (Islamic State Central African Province) and their actions, which began in 2017, have caused the death of about 900 civilians and the flight of at least 150,000 people from Cape Delgado province (where the terrorists are active).
Nice, France continues fearing terrorism. On 29 October, a few days after the beheading of Professor Samuel Paty in Conflans, a man killed three people in the city's cathedral. The attacker, identified as Tunisian national Brahim Aouissaoui, had arrived in France two days before, after his application for asylum was rejected in Italy, where he had arrived on 20 September. According to the French Interior Minister, he entered the country with the aim of carrying out the attack. The reconstruction of his network of contacts led to the arrest of six people, potentially aware of his intentions. In Italy, controversy immediately sparked over the case, prompting the Ministry of the Interior to declare that Aouissaoui was not registered as a radicalised individual in either Italy or Tunisia. The attack was not claimed by any organization: is it a sign of a developing change in the jihadist universe?
Eastern Syria, the security situation continues to be unstable. A series of mines, which has been supposedly organised by IS, has hit a convoy of the SDF anti-terrorism section in Deir Ezzor on 31 October, killing one soldier and wounding several. In al-Hasakah, a town in the northeast, the IS killed a commander and conducted other attacks against SDF targets, which responded with a series of arrests. The SDF and their international allies have in recent months intensified military operations and arrests aimed at targeting the terrorist organization, further increasing the effort following these latest attacks. Meanwhile, there is growing discontent among the population due to the precarious security situation and the high unemployment and poverty that afflicts the area.
Austria, the shadow of Isis behind the terrorist attack in Vienna. 24 hours later, Daesh claimed the attack on 2 November in which 20-year-old Fejzulai Kujtim, an Austrian citizen of Macedonian origin, attacked locals near the Synagogue in Vienna with Kalashnikovs, killing four people and injuring at least twenty. Kujtim, who was killed during the attack, was already known to Austrian intelligence services. In April 2019 he was sentenced to 22 months in prison after attempting to illegally travel to Syria and join the Caliphate. However, appealing to Austria's law on the protection of young people, he was granted probation in December, managing to evade the program of "deradicalisation". The Austrian authorities are on the trail of possible accomplices, some of whom may have directly taken part in the attack.
France, Macron advocates for a reform of Schengen. After the attacks that have shocked France, the Head of State seems to give in to pressure from the opposition and the extreme right. The demand is for the agreements on the free movement of people in the Schengen area, which sees France among the first countries in the number of secondary arrivals, to be reviewed. To stir up the rhetoric of parallelism between terrorism and migration flows was the attack in Nice: the assailant, a Tunisian citizen arrived illegally in Italy at the end of September, crossed the border at the end of October. While it is true that Paris is one of the main destinations of secondary immigration, it is important to remember that most of the attacks recorded on French territory in recent years have seen as protagonists men and women born and raised in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. Meanwhile, Macron has doubled border controls, bringing the number of border policemen to 4800.
Davide Shahhosseini, Laura Morreale and Vincenzo Battaglia
IOM presents its Strategy for Africa 2020-2024. Aware of the challenge that migration processes represent for Africa, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) aims to promote the positive effects that migration, both internal and external, may have on the development of the continent. However, this means that a strategy to address human rights, gender issues and climate change, issues specifically affecting migrants and refugees, must be developed. To implement its agenda, the IOM is working with several states on the continent, as well as with the African Union, which has held a Pan-African Forum on Migration since 2015.
WHO launches its 73rd World Health Assembly. From 9 to 14 November, delegations of experts from all member countries will virtually participate in the annual assembly, resuming the agenda presented at the previous shortened session in May. The central topic will be, obviously, the Covid-19 pandemic: the most effective strategies implemented by governments will be discussed, in addition to preventive measures in view of possible new pandemics. However, the pandemic must not overshadow the rest of the health problems that the world is currently facing, as recalled by the WHO in its preparatory documents. There are many initiatives the organisation is pursuing, including long-term plans to prevent infectious diseases, promotion of food security and the implementation of an agenda focused on ageing issues.
Refugees and Covid-19, the initiatives of UNHCR. The UN agency for refugees is sponsoring a program of virtual meetings for the Annual Dialogue on Challenges in Protection Activities, launched in 2007, which involves states, non-governmental and intergovernmental organisations. One of the biggest challenges of the current year is related, without a doubt, to the pandemic: millions of refugees lack access to appropriate hygiene measures or do not have the necessary space for distancing. Moreover, many countries have justified movement restrictions and border closures as a precautionary measure to prevent an increase of infections within their borders. It is important to underline that it is possible for governments to safeguard the health of their own population without denying access to asylum procedures for those who have left their country, said Assistant High Commissioner Gillian Triggs.
NATO, the digital community for cooperation in the AI field. A high-level virtual conference on transatlantic cooperation, organised by the Future Europe Initiative and the GeoTech Center of the Atlantic Council, discussed the benefits of creating a digital community to cooperate on AI and emerging technologies, in which NATO can play "a key role as a facilitator for innovation and exchange". Deputy Secretary General, Mircea Geoană, stressed the importance of NATO's contribution to this initiative, saying that it would "offer its unique consultative mechanisms and networks for collaboration on defence and security issues, bringing together allies and partners, public and private sector, innovators and industry".
Council of Europe, European unity and solidarity. On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the ECHR, the foreign ministers of the 47 member states of the Organisation by videoconference reaffirmed their commitment to unity and greater solidarity among nations in Europe, by virtue of the values, principles and rights enshrined in the ECHR. The issues that should be addressed by national governments, according to the ministers, relate to their ability to respond to future health, natural and technological disasters, "with full respect for democracy, the rule of law and human rights". Other issues addressed during the meeting were the role of the Council of Europe in conflict and crisis in Europe, as well as its policy towards neighbouring regions and ensuring the long-term effectiveness of the ECHR system.
UNIDO, the post-pandemic global challenges for sustainable development. In his opening speech at the 3rd China International Import Expo, entitled "Understanding and Harnessing the Role of Impact Investing for 'Building Back Better' in Times of the Global COVID-19 Crisis", UNIDO's Director General, LI Yong, stressed how important it is, now more than ever, to channel investment into key areas of technological innovation in order to improve product sustainability, promote global environmental governance and sustainable development. Indeed, "[...] in the post-pandemic world, the impact of investment, innovation, artificial intelligence, clean energy and recovery will be inextricably linked," said LI Yong.
Valeria Scuderi and Laura Morreale
Framing The World is a project conceived and created by the collaboration between members of the team of Mondo Internazionale associates.
Andrea Angelo Coldani: Asia and the Far East
Arianna Giannino: Central and Eastern Europe and Russian Federation
Chiara Scuderi: Human Rights
Davide Shahhosseini: Terrorism and International Security
Federica Sulpizio: Middle East and North Africa
Federico Brignacca: Human Rights
Ginevra Ricca: South America
Laura Morreale: Terrorism and International Security and International Organisations
Leonardo Aldeghi: Economy and International Finance
Leonardo Cherici: West Europe and the European Union
Lorenzo Bonaguro: Central and Eastern Europe and Russian Federation, North America
Lydia Milly Certa: Asia and the Far East
Margherita Camurri: Asia and the Far East
Marta Annalisa Savino: North America
Martina Pignatelli: Sub-Saharan Africa, South America
Michele Magistretti: Middle East and North Africa
Rachele De Simone: Sub-Saharan Africa
Samuele Abrami: Middle East and North Africa
Sara Squadrani: Human Rights
Valeria Scuderi: North and South America, and International Organisations
Vincenzo Battaglia: Terrorism and International Security
Translated by: Andrea Angelo Coldani, Andrea Maria Vassallo, Arianna Giannino, Chiara Scuderi, Davide Shahhosseini, Federica Sulpizio, Federico Brignacca, Ginevra Ricca, Laura Morreale, Leonardo Aldeghi, Leonardo Chierici, Lorenzo Bonaguro, Lydia Milly Certa, Margherita Camurri, Marta Annalisa Savino, Martina Pignatelli, Michele Magistretti, Rachele De Simone, Sara Squadrani, Samuele Abrami, Valeria Scuderi, Vincenzo Battaglia.