Global Review – 5th October

Italian centre-left candidates do well in local elections

Centre-left candidates were poised for victory in several of the big cities up for grabs in an important round of local elections in Italy, according to projections on Monday. The centre-left was above the 50% threshold in Milan, Bologna and Naples, meaning they would prevail in these cities without the need for a run-off. Centre-left Turin mayoral candidate Stefano Lo Russo, meanwhile, leads centre-right candidate Paolo Damilano by 44.3% to 40.4%. In Rome, centre-right candidate Enrico Michetti was tied with centre-left rival Roberto Gualtieri at 27-31%. The race there looks set to go to a run-off. Roberto Dipiazza, the centre-right candidate to be Trieste’s mayor, is close to the 50% threshold needed to win in the first round without a run-off. Centre-left incumbent Giuseppe Sala is projected to retain the Milan mayor’s post. Gaetano Manfredi, the candidate to be the next mayor of Naples, supported by the centre-left and the 5-Star Movement (M5S), is set to win in the first round. Centre-left candidate Matteo Lepore, meanwhile, looks set to win the race to be Bologna’s new mayor in the first round after garnering 62.6% of the vote there while the centre right’s Roberto Occhiuto appears to be heading to become Calabria’s next governor with 56-60%.

Nationwide turnout in the elections was about 7% down on the last such poll in 2016, at 54.64% compared to 61.52%; Milan, Turin and Naples recorded their lowest-ever turnouts, at 47.6%, 48.06%, and 47.19% respectively while turnout in Rome fell to 48.83% compared to 57.03% five years ago. Nationalist League party leader Matteo Salvini blamed himself for his party’s dismal showing while PD organisers boasted, “we are proud to note that the PD is the first party in Italian cities”. PD leader Enrico Letta won a Siena by-election for a safe Lower House seat Monday and was greeted by a long round of applause at local PD headquarters.

Six-hour blackout for Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp

Major social media services including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp were hit by a massive six-hour outage on Monday, impacting potentially tens of millions of users. The disruption came a day after a whistleblower accused Facebook of repeatedly prioritising profit over clamping down on hate speech and misinformation. As a result of the outage, Mark Zuckerberg’s personal wealth fell by $7 billion in a few hours, knocking him down a notch on the list of the world’s richest people. Facebook has nearly 2 billion daily active users. Meanwhile, the social media giant’s instant messaging platform WhatsApp was also down for more than 22,000 users. Messenger was down for nearly 3,000 users. “WhatsApp” was also trending on Twitter, with more than 1.7 million tweets, according to the social media platform.

UN report says war crimes committed across Libya

A report from the UN’s first-ever fact finding mission to Libya has concluded that violations which could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity are being committed across the country. The report accuses all parties to the conflict there of major violations – including other countries, foreign fighters and mercenaries.

Japan’s new PM says COVID fight ‘top priority’

Japan’s new prime minister Fumio Kishida pledged to combat the pandemic with fresh stimulus and to fight income inequality after lawmakers voted him leader of the world’s third-largest economy. The soft-spoken 64-year-old made his first speech as premier hours after unveiling his cabinet, a mix of holdovers and newcomers. He announced a general election on October 31, slightly earlier than expected.

Pope John XXIV by 2025?

Responding to an invitation for a diocesan anniversary in 2025, Pope Francis joked that it would be the next pope to do it. By 2025, a successor of Pope Francis will be on the Throne of Peter and his name could be Pope John XXIV, implied Francis himself in a light-hearted quip to the bishop of Ragusa, Italy. Bishop Giuseppe La Placa told the Ansa news agency, “The Holy Father made a smile and a nod of assent and with a joke answered me by saying that in 2025 it will be John XXIV to make that visit.” The Pope turns 85 next December.

World’s Most Famous Penis Covered Up in Dubai

Visitors to the 2020 World Expo in Dubai will be shocked to find themselves face-to-face with what looks like the decapitated head of Michelangelo’s Statue of David instead of his famously firm buttocks and full frontal phallus. But when the organisers received Italy’s contribution – a 17-foot resin 3-D printed exact replica of the statue standing in full nudity for the Italian pavilion – they knew they couldn’t allow it to be displayed in his birthday suit in the Arab world. Artistic director Davide Rampello, who was charged the delicate task of displaying a nude statue without showing full nudity, told journalists that the best solution was to build a stage around his upper and lower parts, which spans two floors of the installation. On the top floor, which is open to the public, David’s head and shoulders peep out of an octagonal box. On the lower floor, which is strictly reserved for VIPs, visitors do see him fully nude from the waist down encased in a similarly structured octagonal display. The idea for the “beheading” came to Rampello after being told that it was too embarrassing to Arab men – not to mention illegal in Dubai – to be faced with such a blatant show of raw masculinity.

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