Irene Caselli

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Geopolitics

Salvini Blew It, But Don't Count Him Out Just Yet

It would be a mistake to assume that Italy has seen the last of the controversial 'Captain,' who will have a different kind of influence at the helm of the opposition.

-OpEd-

MILAN — It's still unclear who will emerge as the winner of Italy's latest political crisis. But we do know for sure who lost: Matteo Salvini — the interior minister, deputy prime minister and leader of the far-right League party — who fell in just a few days from omnipotence to irrelevance, from the altar to dust, from the stars to the stables, from everything to nothing.

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Future

Why The Sharing Economy Doesn't Work: Human Nature

We can only solve our traffic problems if we stop idealizing car and bike sharing, and focus on how people behave and what they want.

-OpEd-

BERLIN — In social sciences, there is a theory that I always think of when I see e-scooters carelessly strewn about in Hamburg or shared bikes artfully stacked on the banks of the Spree river in Berlin. After all, I have heard that it has become chic for some young French people to throw the rented electric scooters in the Mediterranean.

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Geopolitics

Next For Italy: An Unlikely (And Up To Now Unthinkable) Alliance?

A traditional party and a populist movement may join forces to get Italy out of its political crisis and avoid yet another election.

Italy is infamous for its short-lived governments. Over the past two decades only TV tycoon Silvio Berlusconi managed to complete a five-year term as prime minister, with a government reshuffle to break it up (2001-2006).

This week's government crisis ensued from the troubles between the two coalition parties: the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), led by Luigi Di Maio, and the far-right League, led by Matteo Salvini, who was also acting as Interior Minister. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, a previously unknown politician, resigned on Aug. 20.

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BBC

Work → In Progress: Keeping It Human

A lot of the current debate surrounding the world of work is about figuring who will get the job in the future: machines or humans? We have covered it before, and we will continue covering it. But are we becoming too fixated with the idea that robots and algorithms will replace us, that we have stopped thinking about the future of work for us humans? Yes, the data itself shows that people will keep working! So in this edition of "Work → In Progress," we want to dig a little deeper to see how the future of work will look for us … and, yes: This is being written by a human!

IT'S THE ECONOMY, STUPID! While store giant Walmart has rolled out thousands of robots across the U.S. in order to clean floors and scan inventory, real cleaners are more in demand across Latin America, reports BBC Mundo, citing data by the Inter-American Development Bank. So, what is behind such opposing trends? Cleaning floors and scanning inventory can be easily automatized. But robots are too expensive for the up-and-coming middle classes in Latin America that only now enjoy more financial stability to be able to afford cleaners at home. And, unfortunately, low-skilled jobs such as cleaning are still poorly paid, and hence more affordable than buying cleaning robots.

SUPERJOBS A recent Deloitte study on human capital puts the spotlight on what they predict to be the future of work: Welcome superjobs! The idea is that one person will be able to do what several people used to do, combining digital knowledge with traditional skills. Does it sound somewhat ominous? Swiss financial platform Allnews says that superjobs will be "more interesting". But Steve LeVine, future editor at Axios, suggests that "superjob" may be just another word for "optimization of the workforce," i.e. more work for fewer people.

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Geopolitics

A German Critique Of Salvini's 'Double Dealing' On Migration

Italy reached a preliminary agreement with other EU countries on rescuing migrants at sea. But Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has not shared the news at home, and has kept attacking his supposed partners, especially Germany.

Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, of the far-right League party, has regularly lambasted migrant rescue operations in the Mediterranean. He called Carola Rackete, the German-born captain of the Sea-Watch 3 rescue ship, a "pirate" and an "outlaw." He has also said that Italy will not be used as a refugee camp by the rest of the European Union, and has accused Germany of "blackmail." Moreover, on June 11, he signed a decree ruling that any vessel entering Italian waters without permission would face a fine of up to €50,000.

But the reality of the negotiations with his EU partners doesn't necessarily correspond with Salvini's hard-line rhetoric.

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Rue Amelot

A Religion Class Curse: Why Italy Is Still Not A Secular State

MONTE CASTELLO DI VIBIO"Sei la figlia di Satana! Gesù non ti ama!" It was 1989 and I was 8 years old — and my teacher was screaming at me in front of my classmates, telling me I was Satan's daughter and that Jesus didn't love me.

I had been looking forward to my first religion class at the public elementary school in my hometown just outside of Naples, Italy. I liked school — some would say I was a nerd, but the point is that I was curious. When the teacher for this new class showed up, she was smiling. Almost right away she asked if there was anyone not studying for the first communion. I knew there were two other students besides me who didn't attend Catholic catechism: Viviana, a Jehovah's Witness, and Rudi, who my parents had explained to me had a Marxist father. But neither raised their hand. I did right away, and it took me a moment to realize that I was alone with my hand up.

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Geopolitics

More Than A Witness: Revisiting Primo Levi 100 Years Since His Birth

The Italian writer's work is best known for his role recounting the horror of concentration camps. He was that man, and so much more.

TURIN — Primo Levi is currently the most widely read and translated Italian author in the world. The Complete Works of Primo Levi, edited in the U.S., has significantly increased the author's global reach, with his teachings continuing to rise in the collective consciousness. Yet it took many years to understand that Levi was one of the world's greatest writers of the 20th century, not just in Italy.

He was already a writer before leaving the internment camp of Fossoli, in central Italy, on the cargo train for Auschwitz. He had written poems and short stories, and had tucked away the idea for what years later became the brilliant story Carbon, which seals The Periodic Table (in 2006 The Guardian called it the most beautiful science book of all time).

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Future

RoboJudge: When Laws Are Transformed Into Computer Code

Laws take time to catch up with reality. Could we program them into binary systems? It is tempting, but it is also dangerous.

-Analysis-

MUNICH — Anyone who wants to know how law and legal reality diverge must read the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, which was approved by the United Nations in November 1968 and is still valid today. "A driver shall not leave his vehicle or his animals without having taken all suitable precautions to avoid any accident and, in the case of a motor vehicle, to prevent its unauthorized use," says article 23.

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Geopolitics

In A Changing Germany, Taboo Of Racism Is Broken

The murder of a local politician has put new attention on the kinds of verbal hate and periodic harassment that was largely repressed until recently.

MUNICH — Halima Gutale met the elderly woman after an event. "Is it still possible to say n****r today?" the elderly woman asked. Gutale comes from Somalia and has been living in Germany for about two decades, in a small town in the state of Hesse. "No," Gutale respoded. "You can't do that anymore." But Gutale says she didn't resent the woman's question. "She didn't want to do anything wrong."

Hamado Dipama also has a story related to the "n-word." He recently heard it in Nuremberg, one evening in the street, and it did not come as a question. Dipama, who arrived from Burkina Faso in 2002 as a refugee, recounts how a young man got out of a car and swore at him for no reason. The man would have turned violent if his friends hadn't stopped him. Dipama called the police right away.

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Geopolitics

Short-Term Thinking, The Ruin Of Today's Politics

Democratic systems offer little incentive for long-term thinking. But unless we can implement true, forward-looking policies, problems like climate change will only multiply.

-OpEd-

BERLIN — The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Social Democratic Party (SPD) share much of the blame for waning confidence in their future leadership abilities.

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Migrant Lives

Carola Rackete & Greta Thunberg: A New Kind Of Heroine For Our Times

Today, young women like Carola Rackete and Greta Thunberg have the power to conquer hearts and instill idealism into politics. But ultimately, their admirers have to act themselves if they want change.

OpEd- ​

MUNICH — First Greta Thunberg, savior of the planet; now Carola Rackete, savior of human lives. Young, idealistic and energetic women enter the world stage, hated by some and worshipped by others for the same reason: their determination.

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Geopolitics

Why Some Foreigners Like Italy's Anti-Migrant League Party

Social media dialogue and reader comments on news stories suggest that the far-right's xenophobic rhetoric resonates for immigrants.

Italy's anti-migrant League party received 34% of the national vote in May's elections for the European Parliament, becoming Italy's top party. Its leader, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, has recently approved a new security decree that brings in hefty fines, of up to 50,000 euros, to NGO rescue boats that bring migrants to Italy without permission.

In this piece for Turin-based La Stampa, Karima Moual shows how the League is winning ground even among migrants themselves, some of whom resent the center-left Democratic Party (PD), which never followed through on promises to pass a law to give Italian citizenship to children born in Italy to foreign parents.

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