Lesson# Boston marathon. The end

I due sospetti attentatori della maratona di Boston sono stati fermati dopo una caccia all’uomo di 24 ore: si tratta di due fratelli kirghisi di origine cecena, in America da quasi 10 anni. Con loro avevano ancora ordigni rudimentali e ieri sera la polizia li ha individuati dopo che hanno ucciso un poliziotto al MIT, per poi darsi alla fuga. Il maggiore è morto in una sparatoria nel corso della giornata, il minore è stato trovato stamattina e si è arreso, dopo ore di ricerca casa per casa. Non è chiaro ancora perché avrebbero commesso la strage, ma è probabile che il fanatismo islamico e nazionalista del fratello maggiore sia stata la causa scatenante.

Watertown people thanking the police

Watertown people thanking the police

The nightmare of Boston city finished yesterday at the sunset (this morning in Italy): now both the two suspects of the Marathon bombing are in police’s hands, one dead and one alive. The two are the 19-year-old Dzhokar Tsarnaev and his elder brother Tamerlan, 26. They moved in US from the Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Dagestan with a Chechen passport (but before they lived in Kirghizistan with their family): Tamerlan arrived in 2006, Dzhokar in 2002 and then become an American citizen. He was attending the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. The manhunt was 24 hours long: it begin the night before at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology near Boston. There the two killed a MIT police officer, Sean Collier, while he was sitting in his car. “For no obvious reason”, officials said. “The Tsarnaevs then hijacked a vehicle, telling the driver they were the marathon bombers – after they released him -, and hurled explosives at the pursuing officers” (CNN). Then a gunfire took place in Watertown, near Boston, where Tamerlan was deadly injured. Dzhokar, wounded too, could run away on foot. All day long federal, state and local authorities went door-to-door searching him: they found Dzhokar hiding on a boat stored in a backyard on ­Franklin Street (someone had seen blood spots and called the police). After some shooting, FBI made him surrender and captured him alive. He was brought at the hospital.

Now the question is why. Maybe Tamerlan Tsarnaev was “an aggres­sive, possibly radicalized immigrant who may have ­ensnared his younger brother — described almost universally as smart and sweet — into an act of terror”. “In 2011, a foreign government asked the FBI for information about Tamerlan ­Tsarnaev, based on information that he was a follower of “radical Islam,” the bureau said in a statement Friday” (Boston Globe).


Lesson# Boston marathon, now poisoned letters

Sviluppi dall’America: riguardo alle bombe alla maratona sono ancora aperte tutte le piste (matrice interna od esterna, singolo o gruppo), si è identificata la terza vittima, a Obama e senatori sono giunte lettere avvelenate e la legge restrittiva sulle armi non è passata. 


Today, on Wednesday, the third victim of the blasts at the Boston Marathon was identified: she was a chinese girl, Lu Lingzi, 23, and she was studying at the Boston University. Investigators said the bombs were only two, hide in black sacks. They were heavy, probably set up nearby the explosion area. Today CNN reported that authorities have used the footage from a department store security camera to identify a man who abandoned a black bag, but it was a “misunderstanding” and later was clear that none was really under suspicious. At an evening news conference in Boston, FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard Des­Lauriers said “the range of suspects and motives remains wide open” (Washington Post). Tension remain high because today was clear that ricin poisoned letters have been sent yesterday to president Obama and senator Roger Wicker (Republican of Mississippi). Both letters, postmarked April 8, 2013 out of Memphis, Tenn., included an identical phrase: “To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance”. Signed: “I am KC and I approve this message” (Usnews). Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, also said that a suspicious letter had been found at his office (now under FBI tests). Finally a “suspicious package” was found today in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capital Hill (New York Times). Both senators were part of the Senate Armed Services Committee and were pro gun restriction. Today senators blocked the measure for more gun control.

Lesson# Boston marathon. We’re all Americans

Le bombe alla maratona di Boston.

Boston marathon bombing

On Monday two bombs in pressure cooker blow up at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, in which took part 23.000 people, killing 3 and injuring at least 176. Three other bombs didn’t work. One of the victims was Martin Richard, an 8-year-old boy from Dorchester, and another one was Krystle Campbell, 29, of the Boston suburb of Arlington (the third one is still without an identity). FBI is investigating. They said it was “an act of terrorism” but they don’t know if it is from foreign (islamic) terrorism or from American psycho/ fanatical. Anyway, President Obama promised to find them and to bring them to Justice: “The American people refuse to be terrorized because what the world saw yesterday”, he said, proclaiming his sorrow for the victims. He’s coming to Boston on Wednesday. World leaders joined in blaming the coward act, from Putin to the Pope, even the Iran one. Media of all the world reported the new, someone better than others (the New York Post quadrupled the deaths, for eg.). Many stories of people who were there come out (someone lost his leg, someone didn’t run away, someone wants to thank you, many helped).

Economic lesson# Cyprus’developments

Sviluppi ciprioti: l’economia dell’isola si ridurrà di 12 punti nei prossimi due anni, il presidente Anastasiades chiama “ipocriti” i paesi UE che accusano Nicosia di riciclaggio.

Last Wednesday April 10th Europe estimated that Cyprus is gonna loose the 12,5 % of GDP in the next 2 years “as the country reduces a banking sector that had ballooned to more than five times its gross domestic product”, reported the New York Times days ago. Nicosia needs now 13 billions euro and not around 7, as thought a month ago to meet the terms of a 10 billion euro Troika’s bailout. To raise money, Cyprus is under pressure to sell its prize asset (“Cyprus had already agreed to sell 400 million euros worth of gold, or an estimated 10 tons from its 13-ton reserve”) and to develop natural gas reserves. This last things makes Turkey disappointed, especially if means Russian involvement (it may “act against such initiatives if necessary”). If the island’s corporate tax increases to 12,5 and apply restrictions on withdrawals many company registered in Cyprus will leave, as other lucrative business, and many companies will close as banks cut back on issuing credit.

The Wall Street Journal graphic

The same day the Wall Street Journal wrote: “Never in the field of government bailouts have so many lost so much credibility over such a small sum of money”. “All of those involved were losers”, it concluded. WSJ remembers how German and IMF wanted to keep the bailout size down to 10 billion, and the ECB role in force Nicosia to accept and limiting the other countries’ fallout (an institution “supposedly free of political interference” making “decisions of major political significance”). “Still, at what costs”, asks himself Stephen Fidler reading the official economic forecasts. For him, the euro-zone management of the crisis, with his austerity, “has devastated growth and confidence. The usual policy options to revive economies—monetary, fiscal or exchange-rate policy—aren’t available to euro-zone countries that need it”. For Cyprus “the depositor losses were an IMF initiative from the start”, EU officials say. In addiction the Euro-zone decision-making is a mess, where the finance ministers of the Euro Group, lead by President Dijsselbloem, are insignificants and the Austrian minister Thomas Wieser oversees alone the Eurogroup Working Group that carries all the technical work; Wieser has no a direct line to the European Council President Van Rompuy, who really negotiate the final deal, but he has it with the Dutch government, and that make everything worse.

Today Reuters (and Chicago Tribune) reported that, “in prepared remarks to Russian businesspeople in the port city of Limassol, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said his cabinet would this week approve the relaxation of restrictions on foreigners seeking citizenship of Cyprus”. In attempt to keep foreigners interested in investing in the island, non-resident investors who held deposits before the bailout agreement would become citizens. Anastasiades added that Countries who accused Cyprus of being a money laundering hub were “hypocrites”, since “some EU partners’ businesses involved in the financial services industry have been preying upon our financial services sector, in order to encourage a relocation of funds into their economies”. Today Nicosia also eased capital controls, making people able to transfer domestically 3.000 euros in a month and companies 50.000 euros (The Economic Times).

Russian-EU lesson# The Cyprus case again

Stanotte si cerca di capire se andrà in porto definitivamente l’accordo Troika-Cipro, che già avrebbe accettato un prelievo forzoso sui conti superiori ai 100.000 euro (del 20% se presso la Banca di Cipro, e del 4% per le altre). I Russi (meno gli oligarchi, più i “medi” investitori) temono le misure di controllo che verrebbero adottate in caso di vittoria UE: così si indebolirebbero notevolmente i flussi di capitale da casa loro. Questo, comunque, non danneggerebbe il sistema bancario, fa sapere la Banca Centrale Russa.

Bank union leader speaks to workers in Cyprus

Bank union leader speaks to workers in Cyprus

Brussels: today is the second day of meetings between Cyprus government (president Anastadies) and the so called “troika” (EU + ECB + IMF, here represented by the Presidents of the Euopean Council Van Rompuy, of the European Commission Barroso, and of the Euro Group Dijsselbloem; the European Central Bank’s President Draghi; the International Monetary Fund’s director Lagarde). The situation is more or less the same of days ago: EU will borrow 10 billion euro to Nicosia if the island rakes together other 7 billion euro, in order not to go bankrupt and leave the euro system. ECB said on Monday will stop financing Cyprus banks without a quick agreement.

Yesterday, March 23, a first pact was reached, as reported by the Cyprus national Tv Rik: Nicosia said “yes” to obliged withdrawal from the current accounts superior to 100 thousands euro, retirement fund excluded. The State will take the 20% from the accounts in the Cyprus Bank and the 4% from the ones in other island’s bank.

In the night, from 10.00 pm, the Finance ministers of the Euro Zone are meeting up to talk about compromises, for being more conciliatory with Cyprus’s position.

Arriving in Brussels, the French minister Moscovici said the solution for the Nicosia’s problem should make the richest pay and not the poorest. The richest people in the island are probably Russian businessmen, attracted by the “off-shore” Cyprus fame. Are they worried about the situation? “You must be out of your mind!”: this is what the tycoon Igor Zyuzin, main owner of New York-listed coal-to-steel groupMechel, would said, the Moscow Times reported. “The collapse of an economy 75 times smaller than its own may not have much impact in Russia”, the article said, but “pain for the Russian economy could come from a disruption in money flows between Russians that pass through the island”, much bigger than Cyprus’s own national income. Russians’ money in Cypriot banks seems to value 19 billion euros “of non-EU, non-bank money”, ore more (for a senior financial source in Moscow). “It depends how you count it”, said Cypriot central bank chief Panicos Demetriades when asked by Russia’s Vedomosti newspaper how much money Russians held on the island. Russian business leaders criticized the EU bailout plan and the withdrawal idea, but maybe they fear more Cyprus outcome from Europe. For Vladimir Potanin, the chief executive of Norilsk Nickel (the world’s largest nickel and palladium miner) “there will be a serious outflow of capital from Cyprus” in that case. “Sources in the wealth management, advisory and banking industries in Nicosia say Russian depositors are typically smaller savers and entrepreneurs”, and Russia is particularly concerned about any imposition of controls on capital movements. For the former economy minister, if adopted these controls will stop investment in Cyprus. On the other end, Russia’s Central Bank gave a public assurance on Friday that it did not see Cyprus posing a meaningful danger for the Russian banking system.

Latin lesson# Habemus Papam!

Stasera l’argentino Jorge Mario Bergoglio è diventato Papa Francesco I. Commenti dagli States: dalla “vita austera e attenta ai poveri” ai riflettori  sull’Emisfero Sud del mondo e l’altra parte dell’Atlantico. Dall’accusa di complicità con la dittatura argentina al gabbiano sul comignolo.

The new Pope Francis I

The new Pope Francis I

Today at 7.00 pm Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected pontiff as Francis I.

The Washington Post reports: “It’s highly significant for what Francis means,” said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi, referring to Saint Francis of Assisi, who was known for his total vow of poverty. “It means that he is here to serve.”

Who? – “Francis is known as a humble man who spoke out for the poor and led an austere life in Buenos Aires”, The New York Times wrote. “He was born to Italian immigrant parents and was raised in the Argentine capital”. 

“The first Latin American pope, is a theological conservative with a strong social conscience – said The Chicago Tribune – and a modest man who declined the archbishop’s luxurious residence to live in a simple apartment and travel by bus”. The journalist talked with Roberto Crubellier, 65, a church employee in a downtown Buenos Aires church where Bergoglio used to go and pray.”He was always a very pleasant and accessible person,” said the man, “he used to walk from the cathedral (about 10 blocks) and he stayed, praying silently in the last rows of pews, as though he was just an ordinary guy.”

Time reports 14 points to know more about Mr. Bergoglio. Thank to this we know that, of course, “he had been Archbishop of Buenos Aires since 1998, and a cardinal since 2001”, but also that “he only has one lung. His second got infected when he was a teenager, and it had to be removed”.

Finally, “shortly before the 2005 Conclave that ultimately elected Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI, a human rights lawyer filed a criminal complaint against Bergoglio, accusing him of having been complicit in the 1976 kidnappings of two priests, Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics, by Argentina’s military dictatorship. Bergoglio, who had been superior of the Society of Jesus of Argentina at the time, completely denied the claim”. (Also the Chicago Tribune spoke about this fact).

The former Cardinal Bergoglio is “a fan of the Buenos Aires soccer team San Lorenzo, which was founded by a priest,” Bloomberg News reports.

In 2010, Reuters explains, Cardinal Bergoglio made his opposition to a gay marriage bill public in a letter, just days before it was approved. “Let’s not be naive. This isn’t a simple political fight, it’s an attempt to destroy God’s plan,” he wrote.

Papa Latinos Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the Argentina’s president, posted on Twitter the government congrats for the elections. She hopes he’s gonna rule in order to improve justice, equality, brotherhood and peace.

Mr. Obama, instead, was more warm: “As a champion of the poor and the most vulnerable among us, he carries forth the message of love and compassion that has inspired the world for more than two thousand years — that in each other we see the face of God”. “As the first pope from the Americas, his selection also speaks to the strength and vitality of a region that is increasingly shaping our world, and alongside millions of Hispanic Americans, those of us in the United States share the joy of this historic day.” (New York Times)

“The choice, on the second day of deliberations by a papal conclave, opened a direct connection to the Southern Hemisphere at a critical juncture – the Washington Post wrote- when secularism and competing faiths are depleting the church’s ranks around the world and dysfunction is eroding its authority in Rome”.

“With its approximately 480 million adherents, Latin America is home to an overwhelming plurality of the world’s Catholics. By choosing him, the cardinals sent a strong message about where the future of the church may lie” (CNN. The headline underlines the humility shown by the new pontiff: “Pope Francis: Bless me”).

Sea Gull – Someone noticed it, on the top of the chimney, while people in St. Peter Square were waiting for the white fluff. Cbs News recollected all the interpretation of this “event” (Was it “Joke or symbolism?”)