Monday Briefing | November 4

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Photo courtesy of Euro Weekly News

Stories to Follow

Spanish General Election: On November 10, Spaniards will return to the polls only seven months after voting in April. Despite gaining 29 percent of the vote in the spring, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Secretary-General of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), was unable to form a government after negotiations with Podemos, a left-wing populist party, broke down. Against a backdrop of renewed protests in Catalonia, recent polls have indicated rising popularity for right-wing parties, who have taken a hardline stance on the issue of Catalonian independence, in turn pushing Sanchez to strengthen his anti-independence rhetoric. The election also promises to see further gains by the new anti-immigrant, far-right party, Vox, which won 10 percent of the vote in April, and is predicted to increase that share this time round. Current polling suggests a new round of negotiations for forming a government, and the possibility of continued political deadlock.

Iraq Protests: Prime Minister Promises to step down if a replacement is found: After weeks of protests and violent clashes between police and protesters that have reportedly cost hundreds of lives, the president of Iraq, Barham Salih, announced that Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi will resign if a suitable replacement can be found. The protesters, mostly young adults, are upset about long term unemployment, lack of spending by the government and rampant corruption, with Iraq ranked 168 out of 180 countries for corruption by Transparency International. Some protesters have also spoken out about the influence of both Iran and, to a lesser extent, the U.S. in their country’s politics. Despite this, the U.S. has come out in support of the protests, due to Prime Minister Mahdi being seen as under the influence of Tehran. With both Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the powerful Sadrist Movement, and the influential, and pro-Iranian, Hadi al-Almiri, leader of the Badr Organization and member of parliament for United Iraqi Alliance, calling for a new prime minister, this week could see significant change in Iraqi politics and in the extent of Iranian influence in the region.

Happening This Week

Debate: Should We Tolerate the Intolerant?
Columbia University, 116th St and Broadway, Thursday November 7.
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Bernard E. Harcourt, the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Professor of Political Science at Columbia University, and Sheri Berman, a professor of Political Science at Barnard College, will be debating the idea of tolerance and how it should apply within a world shaped by social media and rising hate speech. You can RSVP here.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Other Art Fair: Brooklyn
Brooklyn Expo Center, 72 Noble Street, November 7 – 10.

For those of you interested in independent arts, the Brooklyn art fair runs this week from Thursday until Saturday, providing an opportunity to mix with the artists and to catch up with the current art scene. For those with a little money to burn, there will also be the opportunity to buy the art on display. Tickets are available starting from $13.50 here.

In Your Free Time

The final episode of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ has just been added to Netflix, making the entire season now available for binge-watching. While this year’s offering may be past the show’s peak, it still offers an alternate reality where nice people worry gently over who makes the best breads, cakes, pastries and all things baked. In a tent. In the grounds of a manor house. In an England seemingly untouched by Brexit. For those who are tired, overworked minds or who feel overwhelmed by current affairs, watching the show remains like taking a hot bath for the mind.

This week’s Monday Briefing was brought to you by Andrew Perry.

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