Italy’s Populists Claim Victory in Referendum, But Chaos Looms

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s resignation from office on Sunday night after the unexpectedly heavy referendum defeat opens a period of political instability and high risks of market volatility, declaring as winners populist and anti-establishment parties but leaving on the ground no sound government alternative.

Almost 60% of Italians voted against the constitutional reforms promoted by Renzi to scrap the Senate of many of its legislative powers and modernize Italy’s rusty institutional framework, speeding-up the decision-making process. If the reform had passed, it would have been the first major constitutional overhaul after the 1946 referendum when Italians were called to choose between the monarchy and the republic.

But for the majority of Italians the referendum stood as a “no” vote of protest against Renzi’s “one-man show” leadership. Many voters were convinced by the slogans and rhetoric of populist parties such the Five Star Movement and the Northern League who are now calling for an early vote and a “new era” in European politics, pushing for an exit of Italy from the eurozone.

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Is Britain Destroying its Military to Appease Enemies?

Last week General Lord Richards, former Chief of the Defence Staff and the UK’s most senior military officer, made an extraordinary allegation. Speaking on the BBC, he said that elements of the British establishment in Whitehall think their own soldiers are “bad,” and terrorists are “freedom fighters.”

Lord Richards’s assertions have far-reaching significance both within the UK and more widely, affecting the US, the prosecution by the West of the war on terror, and British relations with the State of Israel. Yet they have gone largely unnoticed.

Lord Richards was talking about the ongoing legal campaign against British troops who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan — the first time in history that any government has turned on its own armed forces in such a way.

1,492 cases of alleged abuse in Iraq are under investigation, and over 600 in Afghanistan. Most of these cases involve allegations against multiple servicemen, so the number of troops under scrutiny can be counted in the thousands. We are not talking here about minor misdemeanours but the most serious forms of abuse including rape, torture and, in Iraq alone, 235 accusations of unlawful killing.

Some soldiers have been under constant investigation for more than 10 years. Some have been acquitted during preliminary investigations or at court martial, only to be dragged back to face repeated legal inquiries and judicial hearings. In some cases, there have been as many as five investigations into a single incident.

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‘And yet, you try’

A speedboat cut across Lake Tahoe on a sunny day in October 2012.

With two of his closest friends at his side, 14-year-old Milan Gambhir rode an inflated raft tethered to the back of the boat. The boys bounded over each wave, laughing as the water splashed back over them. “Half the fun was falling off into the cool water,” Milan’s friend Christopher “Kiki” Fann remembers. But the boat was going so fast that when Milan lost his grip on the raft’s handle, his head hit the water hard. “He just went flying,” Fann says. Instead of cushioning Milan’s landing, the water hit him like a wall.

“When he got back in the boat we were asking him questions, trying to tell if he was OK or not,” says Fann. “He had trouble with some of them, which was disconcerting, because a guy who was as smart and bright as he was suddenly couldn’t say the alphabet backwards.” Also on the boat was Fann’s mother, a physician, who determined that Milan had a slight concussion. She drove him to the local emergency room. There, doctors suggested a CT scan — a method of imaging that combines multiple X-rays to produce a single three-dimensional image of the inside of the body. She telephoned Milan’s parents at home in Portola Valley to get their permission for the scan.

Milan’s father, Sanjiv Gambhir, MD, PhD, who goes by the name Sam, is also a physician, an expert in diagnostic imaging who chairs the Stanford Department of Radiology and also directs Stanford’s Molecular Imaging Program. He and Milan’s mother, Aruna Gambhir, CEO of a small San Francisco biotechnology startup, agreed that the scan was necessary to make sure their only child didn’t have a hidden brain bleed or skull injury. “Let’s play it safe,” Sam Gambhir recalls thinking.

Milan’s CT scan was clear. His father and Milan’s aunt, Sangeeta Gambhir, MD, a radiologist in San Francisco, scrutinized the image later and saw that not only was there no injury or bleed, there were no problems of any kind. Milan’s brain looked healthy.

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Tony Blair and Nick Clegg risk damaging British business by seeking to block Brexit

As a businessman and a proud Brexiteer – I was treasurer and board member of the Vote Leave campaign – I am convinced that Britain’s best days lie ahead.

But we need to be ambitious. If we are, and if we seize this Brexit opportunity together, Britain can change for the better.

My online financial trading business, CMC Markets, has been successful because we have embraced technological change underpinned by an entrepreneurial spirit. Free from the shackles of the EU, Britain too can embrace the change necessary to succeed in an increasingly competitive and exciting new world.

Read more: Britain has a moral duty to lead the world on free trade

When we take back control of trade, we can be more globally oriented. Research by Change Britain shows that leaving the EU’s customs union and striking trade deals just with the countries that have already expressed an interest in negotiating a deal with the UK will open up export markets worth over £16.8 trillion. That’s more than double the size of the export markets that the UK currently has access to as a member of the EU.

This will benefit businesses large and small, and help to create jobs and spread prosperity across the country. The success of our offices trading across the Asia Pacific region tells me how big the global opportunity is for my business.

When we take back control of our laws, we can reduce regulatory burdens and ensure that Britain is the best place to do business and becomes the go-to destination for the wealth creators of the future.

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Farm Animals Are Now Resistant to a Last-Resort Antibiotic

Superbugs continue to spread

Drug resistance is a growing global health problem; experts estimate that in 2050, 10 million people will die from infections that are resistant to antibiotics each year. The use of antibiotics in livestock animals contributes to the problem, as does the inappropriate—but common—overprescribing of antibiotics.

A new study, published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, added to the concern when researchers identified resistance in farm animals to a certain kind of antibiotic called carbapenem. Carbapenem drugs, last-line medications that treat severe infections, are not supposed to be used in agriculture due to their importance as a treatment for people.

Thomas Wittum, chair of veterinary preventive medicine at Ohio State University, and his co-authors swabbed floors and walls from a pig farm over five months, collecting environment and fecal samples. They then found the carbapenem-resistant bacteria growing in their petri dishes.

Wittum says farms do not use carbapenem antibiotics not only because doing so is illegal, but that it’s also very expensive. “How the [resistant bacteria] got onto the farm we really don’t know,” said Wittum in an email exchange with TIME. “But probably it was introduced from the outside from movements of wildlife, people, equipment, etc.” He says it’s possible that other legal antibiotics used on the farm could be contributing to the maintenance and spread of the bacteria, but more research needs to be done.

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The Funeral of the Oslo Accords

The death of former Israeli President Shimon Peres led to a wave of almost unanimous tributes. Representatives from 75 countries came to Jerusalem to attend the funeral. Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas even left Ramallah for a few hours to show up.

Such a consensus could seem to be a sign of support for Israel, but it was something else entirely.

Those who honored the memory of Shimon Peres put aside the years he dedicated to creating Israel’s defense industry and to negotiating key arms deals with France, Germany and the United States. Those who honored the memory of Peres spoke only of the man who signed the Oslo Accords and who embodied the “peace process.” They then used the occasion to accuse Israel.

Barack Obama delivered a speech that could have resembled a mark of heartwarming friendship, until he evoked the “the unfinished business of peace talks.” A harsh and negative sentence followed, saying that “the Jewish people weren’t born to rule another people.” The next sentence implied that Israel is behaving like a slave-owner: “From the very first day we are against slaves and masters;” but it is clear to anyone in Israel that there is no such relationship even resembling that. His conclusion followed: “The Zionist idea will be best protected when Palestinians will have a state of their own.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President François Hollande issued press releases in the same direction.

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Jimmy Carter, Lord Caradon, the Palestine Mandate, and Resolution 242 (Part II)

Jimmy Carter treats a sentence from the non-binding preamble to Resolution 242 as if it were a binding part of the Resolution itself. He thinks that the phrase about the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” applies to Israel, when examination of the Mandate for Palestine reveals that it is Jordan, not Israel, that is claiming territory in the “West Bank” based on its acquisition by war (in 1949). Carter then asserts that the other key words of Resolution 242 are these: “the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.” He wants you to think that this means that Israel is required to withdraw from “all the territories” that it won in the 1967 war. And indeed, the Arab diplomats at the U.N. sought, repeatedly, to have the words “the” or “all the” inserted before “territories.” But they failed.

The chief drafter of Resolution 242 was Lord Caradon (Hugh M. Foot), the permanent representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations from 1964-1970. At the time of the Resolution’s discussion and subsequent unanimous passage, and on many occasions since, Lord Caradon always insisted that the phrase “from the territories” quite deliberately did not mean “all the territories,” but merely some of the territories:

Much play has been made of the fact that we didn’t say “the” territories or “all the” territories. But that was deliberate. I myself knew very well the 1967 boundaries and if  we had put in the “the” or “all the” that could only have meant that we wished to see the 1967 boundaries perpetuated in the form of a permanent frontier. This I was certainly not prepared to recommend.

On another occasion, to an interviewer from the Journal of Palestine Studies (Spring-Summer 1976), he again insisted on the deliberateness of the wording. He was asked:

The basis for any settlement will be United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, of which you were the architect. Would you say there is a contradiction between the part of the resolution that stresses the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and that which calls for Israeli withdrawal from “occupied territories,” but not from “the occupied territories”?

Nota bene: “from territories occupied” is not the same thing as “from occupied territories” – the first is neutral, the second a loaded description. Lord Caradon answered:

I defend the resolution as it stands. What it states, as you know, is first the general principle of inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war. That means that you can’t justify holding onto territory merely because you conquered it. We could have said: well, you go back to the 1967 line. But I know the 1967 line, and it’s a rotten line. You couldn’t have a worse line for a permanent international boundary. It’s where the troops happened to be on a certain night in 1948. It’s got no relation to the needs of the situation.

“Had we said that you must go back to the 1967 line, which would have resulted if we had specified a retreat from all the occupied territories, we would have been wrong.”

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