Weekly Digest: February 25

Theresa May faces opposition for her Brexit negotiating strategy. Photo credit: HM Government, accessed via Wikimedia Commons

Theresa May faces opposition for her Brexit negotiating strategy. Photo credit: HM Government, accessed via Wikimedia Commons

Economics

Economic Dreams of Italy’s Populist Government

Giuseppe Conte, the Italian Prime Minister, announced to his people that their economy will flourish in 2019 and grow by even 1.5% while the rest of Europe drowns in recession. In reality, however, the Italian economy like most European ones has been shrinking over the last quarters. Italy’s own Central Bank predicts growth in 2019 to be no more than 0.6%. The most likely strategy of the government is huge spending on expansionary fiscal policies.


U.K. officials getting increasingly concerned with China

A lot has changed since David Cameron announced a “golden era” of Anglo-Chinese relations in 2015. After Theresa May came into office, trade and investment stopped to be the priority and concerns about national security and human rights regained their importance. She limited Chinese participation in the Hinkley Point nuclear-power plant and rejected China’s Belt and Road Initiative. In the last weeks, the British government announced that their new aircraft carrier, the Queen Elizabeth, equipped with American jets would start its mission in the Pacific in 2021 to “oppose those who flout international law” which is a clear allusion to China’s activity in the South China Sea.

Politics

Threatening U.S., Putin Promises Russians Both Missiles and Butter

Last year, President Trump promised “fire and fury” against North Korea. Russia’s Vladimir Putin may not have the same quotability as his American counterpart, but he certainly got the idea as he made explicit threats against American missile emplacements in Europe and Russian state TV listed several nuclear targets in America itself. These threats came in the context of both countries’ formal withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, and they definitely evoke the brinkmanship and saber-rattling that characterized the Cold War.

Brexit: Theresa May Suffers Fresh Commons Defeat

Britain inches towards Brexit, but nobody seems to agree on what kind of Brexit they want. Do they want a hard Brexit? A soft Brexit? A no-deal Brexit? However, Parliament can agree on something, apparently: Theresa May is doing a horrible job negotiating, as they voted against her Brexit deal by a substantial margin. It won’t be formally binding on May’s Brexit strategy, but it does send a message that something is off.

Culture/Society

Is Western Europe no longer safe for Jews?

Rising anti-semitic sentiments in Europe have begun to accompany political movements all over the continent. The “yellow-vests” protests in France have highlighted the fear with which Jewish people in Paris especially live their lives, and the question of the seriousness of this rise in Western European anti-semitism is becoming more and more alarming.

Art UK Launches Major UK Sculpture Project Online

The UK is embarking on what will be the largest sculpture cataloguing project ever in the UK, and is poised to be the first country to ever create a free online database of all of its publicly owned sculpture. The reasons for this project extend beyond the future facility of research and consumption-hopefully, having a mass database of the UK sculptures will shed light on questions such as the underrepresentation of women in sculpture and how they are portrayed, as well as what sculpture in the UK can say to the prominent political issues in the country.