Monday 29th - BESA Times
Seventy-Third Edition - Monday 29th Every week a complete snapshot of what happened around the world in the past seven days
AFP-JIJI NEWS MEDIA
From ‘Servant of the People’ to president
Sometimes reality surpasses fiction, that is definitely the case with actor Vladimir Zelensky who beat the incumbent president Petro Poroshenko in the recent elections of Ukraine, on April 21, after announcing his candidacy on live TV on December 31. Zelensky was the main character of a famous Ukrainian TV show called “Servant of the people”, which described the story of a high school teacher who surprisingly becomes President after a filmed rant about government corruption goes viral.
Despite the skepticism surrounding Zelensky's experience and preparation, the dissatisfaction with Poroshenko’s policies and handling of Ukraine’s main issues led an astonishing 73% vote in-favor of him. His own party, founded less than a year ago, shares the same name as the series - Servant of the People - and has been conducting a peculiar campaign. The campaign was quoted to be "wildly entertaining" when it comes to remarks of corruption and jokes about other candidates but empty, or at least obscure, regarding the actual political agenda of the President-elect.
During his mandate, that will last five years, he will have to deal with several issues: the ongoing war in Donbass, the plan of ‘decommunization’ of Ukraine (of which he approves) and the future country’s membership in both EU and NATO.
ECB and the Expected Changes after Draghi
The mandate of the current president of the European Central Bank (ECB) Mario Draghi is scheduled to end on October 31. The crucial "Head of Board" in charge of deciding the monetary policy of the Euro-Zone is decided every eight years by a qualified majority vote of the European Council. The great merit of the Italian banker has been to maintain the credibility of the ECB during the aftermath of the Great Recession and implementing unconventional monetary policies such as the now famous Quantitative Easing. In a historic period when ‘sovranism’ is on the rise and the purpose of the EU is challenged everyday (see Brexit), it is fundamental to understand who the successor could be.
One of the main candidates, Benoit Coeuré, is in the current Board with Draghi, and would be a symbol of continuity with his views. However, it is unlikely that the law that forbids being on the Board for more than eight years will be overruled, making it impossible for him to replace Draghi. On the other hand, Jens Weidmann, current head of the Bundensbank and also one of the runners, has criticized Draghi’s will to do “whatever it takes” to save the EU, including the aforementioned QE, which did not boost Europe’s popularity in Germany.
Whether the next president will be consistent with the previous policies or not, or even an outsider, he will surely have the hard task of not making people regret his predecessor.
AFP - Juni Kriswanto
Terrorist Attack in Sri Lanka: More than 300 Deceased
It was meant to be a day of celebration, but instead it has been a tragedy: during Easter, several explosions at Christian churches and luxury hotels in Colombo, Negambo and Batticaloa "killed 359 people, both locals and foreigners" according to official estimates. This is the first major attack Sri Lanka has faced since the end of its Civil War (2009) that shred the country’s population, identity and economy to pieces for almost three decades.
The attack, carried out by suicide bombers, has been claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, more recently referred to as IS) on April 23, as a revenge against the coalition that reacted against the group. It must be noted that many officials believe this is one of many fake claims made by IS, kind of which was seen in the past. Moreover, Sri Lanka was not part of the mentioned coalition, while the health minister said “There was an international network without which these attacks could not have succeeded.”
While the precise dynamics are still to be understood and despite pleas for calm from religious leaders of all faiths, many Muslim citizens have been facing backlash from Christian community members, which represent the 7.4% of the overall population. Until now Christians and Muslims had been on the same side, against the vast 70% majority of Buddhists, but this event might have changed this silent alliance. There were no religious but ethnic reasons behind the 1983-2009 Civil War, but now more than ever the climate of tension could be very dangerous for the country’s stability.
DID YOU KNOW?
After going beyond Wall Street’s expectations regarding profits for the first quarter, Amazon is said to implement everywhere the free one-day-delivery for Prime members. This service, already available in some countries like the UK, will certainly push consumer spending on both the website and the app; however, the time-frame and geographical scope of the operation is still uncertain, but it should first happen in North America and then expand worldwide. Do you have a sudden need for a tent, or maybe a camera, and since it’s the 21 century you don’t want to wait more than a day or go out in the sunny streets? Well, Amazon might have the answer also for this, soon.
WRITTEN BY ALBERTO BINETTI
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