June 18, 2015

Hong Kong, Palestine, Drachma Queens and the Nutella War

“The World in a Nutshell” A daily newsletter brought to you by OpedSpace
IN A NUTSHELL: MUST READS Hong Kong… Taking on Big Brother? Hong Kong’s parliament rejected a Beijing backed election proposal in a big win for pro-democracy factions in the semi-autonomous city. Hong Kong currently chooses its “Chief Executive” (aka Governor) through a 1,200 person committee. The proposal would have allowed for a direct vote for the Chief Executive from a pre-vetted list of pro-Beijing candidates. Protests are planned to push for a more democratic counter proposal. Beijing is not known to be welcoming of either democracy or protests in democracy’s name. 
Palestinian “Unity” Government Not So Unified The Palestinian unity government was set to resign yesterday in a row over who will rule the Gaza Strip. The unity government was formed last year as a way to reconcile Fatah and Hamas who have been estranged since fighting a mini civil war in 2007 that left Hamas in charge of Gaza. The dissolution occurred because Hamas was not allowing the government to operate in Gaza, raising the question as to what exactly the unity government was supposed to unify. Hamas, long known for rejecting things, rejected the dissolution of the government… Amazingly, no Israelis were involved in this dispute. 
TOUGH NUT: STILL IN THE NEWS Greece… Don’t Be A Dra(ch)ma Queen
By now it should be obvious to anyone that Greece is running out of money faster than we are running out of bad “Drachma” puns. Euro zone finance ministers are meeting today to try and resolve the conflict before Greece is forced to default at the end of the month. Greek Finance Minister, Yannis Varoufakis, ever the optimist, saw little chance of a deal emerging. The Greek central bank upped the ante yesterday by saying that a failure to reach a deal would put Greece on a painful path to leave the Euro and possibly the EU. Days to default: 12 GOOD READ: The FT’s coverage of the crisis

Nutella… I Am Sorry
It turns out that Nutella might be as bad for the environment as it is for your waistline. Segolene Royal, French ecology minister, singled out Nutella, as a driver of deforestation due to its use of palm oil in its delicious chocolate spread. It is unclear why Royal sought to single out Nutella but rest assured that the Italians were not going to take this insult to their national heritage sitting down. The Italian environment minister promised to eat “bread with Nutella tonight” and Italian politician Anzalda called it a “gross” slight “against Italian excellence.” As of this email it seems that Royal may have backed down… 
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