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November 27th – The BESA Times

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Forty-Fifth Edition - Monday, 27th

Every week, a complete snapshot of what happened around the world in the past seven days


The UK Chancellor Hammond presented his Autumn Budget on Wednesday at Westminster. The Chancellor revised down the GDP growth forecast; the 2017-2018 deficit is thought to be smaller than expected, but it will pick up in the following years. Phillipe Hammond promised an overhaul of the housing market aimed at fixing the current imbalances, in favor of first-time buyers. Among other changes, an extra 3 billion pounds will be added to the Brexit planning – a fund intended to help the UK economy, would it be necessary, during and after the EU divorce.

Uber revealed that in October 2016, 57 million customers and drivers’ personal data were stolen in a hackers’ attack. Instead of alerting the victims and the regulators, Uber paid the hackers $100,000 to delete the data and not make it public. The CEO Dara Khosrowshahi claimed that names, email addresses and phone numbers, as well driver’s license numbers, were stolen, but more sensitive information such as credit card, bank account and social security numbers were not involved in the breach. Californian drivers launched a class-action lawsuit, while US and UK regulators are starting investigations.

After the resignation of Robert Mugabe, on Wednesday, the former spy chief Emmerson Mnangagwa has been sworn in as third president of Zimbabwe. The late president fired Mnangagwa three weeks ago, a ruthless choice that brought about the intervention of the military and his impeachment by the parliament. The new president, widely known as ‘The Crocodile’, deeply involved in the brutality of the past autocratic government, has nonetheless promised a democratic renewal and new elections next year.


What to remember of last week's news?

The Chinese company Tencent crossed the symbolic threshold of $500 billion market capitalization on Monday morning. The tech giant, which offers the service WeChat (among others), has been the first Chinese technology firm firm to join the exclusive club once only populated by US stars only – Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook. The following day it even managed to overtake Facebook. The Shenzhen-based company is set to expand its business; on Wednesday, it launched the service WeChat Pay in UK, a payment service which will compete with Alipay – offered by the Chinese rival Alibaba – and, possibly, Apple Pay.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is seeking Beijing’s help to end the duopoly that governs the national telecom sector. Indeed, on Monday, the president’s spokesman revealed that the People’s Republic of China have been granted the privilege to set up a third operator – an agreement which would allegedly meet the Filipinos’ demand for faster and cheaper phone and internet services. This is the second opportunity for Beijing to penetrate the Philippine telecommunication market, after the failed attempt of 2007.

On Tuesday, the chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission released a plan to suppress the so called net neutrality rules, laid down by the Obama administration two year ago. The new rules would allow internet providers to block or slow some website and to prioritize the traffic of specific contents. The plan is scheduled to be voted by the end of the year.


Our Homemade Article


Understand in pictures


On Monday 20th November, the European Union General Affairs Council selected the cities which will host the EU agencies leaving London after Brexit. Paris will become the new seat for the European Banking Authority, Amsterdam for the European Medicines Agency. Here an infographic explaining the rather intricate selection process.


Did you know?

According to EU senior officials, Emmanuel Macron considers Margrethe Vestager the ideal candidate for the European Commission Presidency, once the Juncker’s mandate will expire in 2019. Currently European Commissioner for Competition, the Danish politician has much in common with the French President: former Economy Ministers of their own countries, they both have liberal and pro-European stances. The choice of Vestager would be complementary to the Macron’s ambition of a united block of liberal parties, outside the traditional political family ALDE, for the 2019 elections. We might discover more of this at her key-note speech here in Bocconi, on Tuesday 28th.


What to expect for next week

The German Social Democrats, led by Martin Schulz, are set to start negotiations with the Merkel’s conservative bloc in an attempt to for a government and avoid new elections, as the President Steinmeier auspicated. It is yet to be understood if the two parties are heading towards another Große Koalition or the SPD will support a CDU minority government. Some Social Democrats officials called for an even larger coalition, which would involve also the Greens.





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