Weekly Digest: March 4

The Ca’Foscari University, where scholars discussed Armenian art. Photo credit: Wolfgang Moroder, CC-A-SA 3.0, accessed on Wikimedia Commons

The Ca’Foscari University, where scholars discussed Armenian art. Photo credit: Wolfgang Moroder, CC-A-SA 3.0, accessed on Wikimedia Commons

Economics

Article 50 to Be Extended

Despite Theresa May’s initial determination to exit the European Union on March 29th, the U.K. Prime Minister conceded that should more time be needed to finalize negotiations, the Brexit date would be postponed. An even more interesting turn occurred in the Labour Party whose MPs finally managed to persuade their leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to back a second referendum. Given both these trends combined, the prospect of Britain leaving the E.U. seems now almost as uncertain as directly after the first referendum.

Polish Government Is Trying to Buy Votes with Social Benefits

Following the release of voice recordings which evidence fraud and abuse of power by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the Polish government is desperately trying to save its remaining support. They announced a massive expansion in social benefits for families with many children and pensions which will cost the budget an exorbitant amount of 40bn zlotys ($10.5bn) which is approximately 2% of the country’s total GDP. The government is unlikely to withdraw from these proposals as the vast majority of the opposing parties, concerned about the demolition of the independent judiciary, have decided raised a lot of support and decided to form a coalition to deprive PiS of power.

Politics

Germany Is Testing the Limits of Democracy

With its troubled history, Germany is understandably wary of far-right parties like the Alternative for Germany (AfD), but after Germany’s intelligence service decided to surveil the AfD, some people have raised the question: is it too wary? After Nazism, Germany enacted legislation allowing its government to monitor and even ban reactionary, far-right parties, but critics are arguing that this surveillance will subvert democratic politics. Although the answer to this thorny question definitely isn’t known yet, The Atlantic concluded that this was indeed a debate worth having.

Landlord Checks on Migrant Status Breach Human Rights, U.K. Court Rules

Theresa May’s policies seem to be under fire from all quarters, but this policy isn’t about Brexit: It’s about immigration, as a British court ruled that a law forcing landlords to check the immigration status of migrants violated their human rights (It’s what is says in the headline). Although the ruling didn’t struck down the law directly, it will force the May administration to reconsider how the law is enforced, although it doesn’t appear that it will force May to execute an about-face from her restrictive immigration policies.

Culture/Society

Scholars in Venice Conduct a Journey through Armenian Art

The Ca’ Foscari University in Venice collaborated with the Center for Studies and Documentation of Armenian Art and the Association Internationales des Études Arméniennes to host a conference on Armenian culture and art. Specialists came from Armenia, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Italy to Ca’ Foscari to work to improve Armenian studies.

Art worth £200k stolen from top London galleries in credit card scam

Galleries in London are being targeted by con men who have stolen £200,000 worth of art using stolen credit card information. The crisis does not seem to be dealt with well, as gallery owner Alexandra Mazzanti had tried to report the fraud but has been deferred to the national fraud reporting system Action Fraud, which has stated that “not all can be passed for further investigation”.

Inside Europe: A clash between youth culture and the Kremlin

Joining the Russian band IC3PEAK on tour, the DW explores how Russian authorities have recently shut down more than 40 concerts by many different types of bands.