Berlusconi’s commercial success still linked to political fortunes

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Welcome to Tuesday, when North Korea conducts its third weapons tests in just over two weeks, R&B singer R. Kelly is convicted of sex trafficking, and an unearthed John Lennon tape is up for auction at the Denmark. Meanwhile, we take a look at why, despite being an oil and gas-rich country, Iran has suffered widespread blackouts in recent years.



Cuba: Growing Internet Access Is About Money, Not Freedom

People have used social media to help organize the large anti-government protests that took place on the island last July. And yet, unlike their counterparts in China, Cuban authorities are loath to ban access to such sites. Do the math.

Mobile phones, as former Facebook executive Antonio García Martínez writes in his blog The drawing request, were illegal in Cuba until 2008. Even after that, it took another decade before people were allowed to connect these phones to the Internet. And most recently, July 11 – when people held major events (largely organized online) – Cuban authorities blocked the internet for several hours.

Overall, however, internet access is finally available in Cuba, albeit with some limitations – for two reasons. The first is expensive. An Amnesty International report entitled Cuba’s Internet Paradox reveals that the connection cost, in 2017, was $ 1.50 per hour, a huge amount for people with an average monthly salary of around $ 25.

The other reason is censorship. The Open Network Interference Observatory (OONI) reports that in Cuba web pages that criticize the government, discuss human rights or share techniques to evade censorship are blocked. The state-owned telecommunications company also censors text messages containing the words “democracy “or” hunger strike “.

The answer can be boiled down to money, as the open-source Yugabyte database shows, which found that by shutting down the Internet in July, even for a few hours, the Cuban government lost some $ 13 million.

The reason is that Internet access in Cuba is controlled by a state monopoly, the Cuba Telecommunications Company (ETECSA). And as the hourly access rate shows, the company is abusing its monopoly. A good chunk of ETECSA’s income comes from cell phones and internet accounts paid by Cubans abroad to stay in touch with loved ones on the island, and when the connection goes down, the revenue stream does. too.

Emilio Morales, the head of Havana Council, which provides information on the Cuban market, says the Cuban government’s monthly revenue from Wi-Fi and mobile data amounts to some $ 80 million. The Internet is also used for remittances to the island, which is a major source of hard currency used to pay for food and medicine.

The Cuban government’s relative tolerance for the Internet and social media, compared to China, should therefore not be interpreted as a liberalization measure. Rather, it is another sign, particularly obvious, of the shortcomings that have characterizes the Cuban economy for decades.

Farid Kahhat / American economy


• North Korea fires a missile at sea: North Korea launched a short-range missile into the Sea of ​​Japan, according to South Korean and Japanese officials, Pyongyang’s third weapons tests in just over two weeks. The launch came just before the country’s ambassador to the United Nations urged the United States to drop its “double standards” on weapons programs.

• China allows American brothers and sisters to return home after 3 years: US citizens Cynthia and Victor Liu, whose father Liu Changming is one of China’s most wanted fugitives, returned to the United States after being barred from leaving China since 2018. The move coincides with a U.S. deal that led to the high-profile release from Canada of senior Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou last weekend.

• The UK is putting the military on hold to reduce fuel pressures: After a fourth day of panic buying that left gas pumps running dry, the UK trains military drivers in fuel delivery at stations if necessary. The surge in demand came after a shortage of drivers led to empty supermarket shelves and fears of fuel deliveries.

• COVID update: US President Joe Biden received a third dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, just days after the booster doses were approved by federal health authorities. Meanwhile, Philippines approves coronavirus vaccines for children from 12 years old as the country faces an increase in cases related to the Delta variant, as Japan is on the verge of lift his state of emergency in all regions by the end of this week.

• Three Polish regions repeal anti-LGBT declarations: Like the Swietokryskie region, three other regions in Poland voted in favor of dropping the resolutions who declared them free from “LGBT ideology”. The EU threatened to withdraw funding earlier this month.

• R. Kelly convicted of sex trafficking: American R&B star R. Kelly was convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking after running a program to sexually abuse women and children for two decades. The singer could face decades in prison upon his conviction, scheduled for May.

• Never released a John Lennon song at auction: A long-lost tape containing an interview and unreleased song by John Lennon, which was recorded in 1970 in Denmark by a group of schoolchildren, will be auctioned in Copenhagen this Tuesday.


Greek daily Nea Kriti reports on the magnitude 6 “deadly earthquake” that struck the island of Crete yesterday, killing one man, injuring 20 and destroying several old buildings.


Why electricity continues to be cut in oil-rich Iran

Iran has no shortage of oil and gas. And yet, its inhabitants and its industries are currently facing regular blackouts. The question is therefore to know why and what can the Iranian government hope to do about it, writes Roshanak Astaraki in a daily newspaper in Persian. Kayhan-London.

⚡ Power cuts began between mid to late 2020, for obvious reasons such as the use of obsolete gas power plants, reduced rainfall which significantly reduced hydropower production, and delayed plans to increase solar energy production. Their effects included the interruption of basic services, including in hospitals, and in production, which led to layoffs. These feed the discontent of a population already exasperated by the mismanagement of the State in various fields.

🔋 For 50 years, countries have focused on the need to replace fossil fuels with alternative energy sources. The UN organized a conference on new sources of energy as early as 1961. Iran engaged in these debates at the time, but its diversification plans were forgotten after the revolution of 1979. This neglect transformed a country once expected to play a decisive role in energy markets by begging for fuel. The regime’s sixth development plan (2016-2021) provided for a 5% share for renewables in Iran’s energy production mix, but so far it is barely 1%.

🛢️ Iran has the second largest natural gas reserves in the world and is fourth in terms of oil reserves. However, it cannot meet domestic fuel needs. In the winter of 2020-2021, many gas-fired power plants had to use oil as fuel, which reduced their production and caused serious pollution in cities. Shortages are also expected this winter, as demand is expected to increase. The government is at an advanced stage of talks with Turkmenistan to import gas.

➡️ Learn more about


“Islam first.”

– As the Taliban tighten their restrictions on women, the new chancellor of Kabul University, Mohammed Ashraf Ghairat, tweeted that “Until the true Islamic environment is provided for all, women would be prohibited from teaching or studying in the institution.” Such a policy reflects the first time the Taliban came to power in the 1990s, when women were banned from school, beaten for breaking rules, and were only allowed out in public in the presence of a parent. male.


During a march in Baku to pay tribute to soldiers, officers and civilians killed in action as Azerbaijan marks the first anniversary of Nagorno-Karabakh’s campaign against Armenia – Image: Press office of the President of Azerbaijan / TASS / ZUMA

✍️ Bulletin by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin & Bertrand Hauger

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