TOPSHOT - Italy's President Sergio Mattarella addresses journalists after a meeting with Italy's prime ministerial candidate Giuseppe Conte on May 27, 2018 at the Quirinale presidential palace in Rome. Italy's prime ministerial candidate Giuseppe Conte gave up his mandate to form a government after talks with the president over his cabinet collapsed. "I have given up my mandate to form the government of change. I thank the president of the republic for having given me the mandate on May 23. I thank the two political forces Luigi Di Miao for the Five Star and Matteo Salvini from the League for having put me up as a candidate," said Conte to reporters after leaving a failed summit with president Sergio Mattarella today. / AFP / Vincenzo PINTO
The euro, bonds and stocks initially rallied on Monday after President Sergio Mattarella vetoed Paolo Savona’s nomination, but relief turned to fear over snap elections. Vincenzo Pinto / AFP

Italy's fresh election could be opening salvo in war over Europe’s single currency



The euro looked to have dodged a bullet when Italy’s would-be eurosceptic coalition government collapsed at the weekend, but it may turn out to have been the opening salvo in a war over Europe’s single currency.

On Sunday, Italy’s president rejected the nomination of a eurosceptic, Paolo Savona, for the economics ministry by the far-right League and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement because Mr Savona had previously said Italy should leave the euro zone.

But now the two parties, who were rivals in the March vote, are weighing whether to join forces ahead of a fresh election seen in the autumn or early next year.

“The upcoming elections will not be political, but instead a real and true referendum ... between who wants Italy to be a free country and who wants it to be servile and enslaved,” League leader Matteo Salvini said on Monday.

“Today Italy is not free; it is occupied financially by Germans, French and eurocrats.”

The euro, bonds and stocks initially rallied on Monday after President Sergio Mattarella vetoed Mr Savona’s nomination, but relief turned to fear over snap elections. The gap between Italian and German 10-year bond yields, a measure of Italian risk, widened to its highest in over four years.

“The election is going to resemble a referendum, de facto, on the European Union and the euro,” said Francesco Galietti, head of political risk consultancy Policy Sonar in Rome. “It’s an existential threat for the entire euro zone.”

If Italians were to cast a protest vote against the EU and euro at fresh elections, it would deliver the bloc’s biggest challenge since Britain voted to quit the union two years ago and raise questions about the future of the single currency.

As the euro zone’s third-largest economy, heavily indebted Italy also represents a far bigger potential threat to the single currency than the Greek economic crisis.

Polls show the League has gained support since winning 17 per cent of the vote in inconclusive March 4 elections, climbing as high as 24 per cent. The 5-Star has been drawing about the same 32 per cent it got two months ago.

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Former prime minister Massimo D’Alema, caught speaking on an open microphone on Saturday, summed up the fears of traditional parties: “If we go back to elections because of a veto on Mr Savona, they [anti-establishment parties] are going to win 80 per cent.”

On the street, some voters believe Mr Salvini is right to challenge the president’s veto and go back to the polls.

“I’m really ticked off. The president sold out the country,” said Giancarlo Sacco, 54, owner of a cafe in central Rome. Mr Sacco said he wanted Italy to remain in the euro but that its concerns needed to be taken seriously by EU partners.

“It just has to make itself respected again.”

The president’s veto of Mr Savona as economy minister has put the currency, which was little discussed in the last election campaign, at the center of the debate.

“Membership of the euro is a fundamental choice,” Mr Mattarella said in a televised speech, explaining his veto. “If we want to discuss it, then we should do so in a serious fashion.”

In February, Mr Salvini railed against the euro, saying it was a “mistake for our economy”.

“We don’t have a euro in our pockets. We have a German mark which they called the euro,” he said.

The 5-Star dropped its previous calls for a non-binding referendum over Italy’s euro membership, though its founder, comic Beppe Grillo, recently revived the idea.

Political tensions are running high, with the League threatening street protests against Mr Mattarella.

On social media, League and 5-Star sympathisers made death threats against the president, while supporters crowding around Mr Salvini and Mr Di Maio during live TV interviews late on Sunday shouted insults at him.

On the other side are Italians who, like many Britons devastated by the Brexit vote, see the country’s relationship with Europe as fundamental.

“I am absolutely pro-European and I believe that Italy is connected, must have a connection with Europe for our future,” said Irene Teramo, a shopper at a street market in Rome, who supported the president’s decision.

Italians will also be weighing concern about their savings as financial markets put the country’s stock market and bonds under pressure and borrowing costs increase.

“In his heart, the average voter will probably be cheering for the anti-establishment forces, but his wallet will be saying the opposite,” said political risk expert Galietti.

“It will be a heart versus wallet election.”

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Grubtech

Founders: Mohamed Al Fayed and Mohammed Hammedi

Launched: October 2019

Employees: 50

Financing stage: Seed round (raised $2 million)

 

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Hotel Data Cloud profile

Date started: June 2016
Founders: Gregor Amon and Kevin Czok
Based: Dubai
Sector: Travel Tech
Size: 10 employees
Funding: $350,000 (Dh1.3 million)
Investors: five angel investors (undisclosed except for Amar Shubar)

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

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Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home. 

Specs

Power train: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and synchronous electric motor
Max power: 800hp
Max torque: 950Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto
Battery: 25.7kWh lithium-ion
0-100km/h: 3.4sec
0-200km/h: 11.4sec
Top speed: 312km/h
Max electric-only range: 60km (claimed)
On sale: Q3
Price: From Dh1.2m (estimate)

How to avoid getting scammed
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Formula 4 Italian Championship 2023 calendar

April 21-23: Imola
May 5-7: Misano
May 26-28: SPA-Francorchamps
June 23-25: Monza
July 21-23: Paul Ricard
Sept 29-Oct 1: Mugello
Oct 13-15: Vallelunga

Sam Smith

Where: du Arena, Abu Dhabi

When: Saturday November 24

Rating: 4/5

Expo details

Expo 2020 Dubai will be the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia

The world fair will run for six months from October 20, 2020 to April 10, 2021.

It is expected to attract 25 million visits

Some 70 per cent visitors are projected to come from outside the UAE, the largest proportion of international visitors in the 167-year history of World Expos.

More than 30,000 volunteers are required for Expo 2020

The site covers a total of 4.38 sqkm, including a 2 sqkm gated area

It is located adjacent to Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai South

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Moonfall

Director: Rolan Emmerich

Stars: Patrick Wilson, Halle Berry

Rating: 3/5

Ultra processed foods

- Carbonated drinks, sweet or savoury packaged snacks, confectionery, mass-produced packaged breads and buns 

- margarines and spreads; cookies, biscuits, pastries, cakes, and cake mixes, breakfast cereals, cereal and energy bars;

- energy drinks, milk drinks, fruit yoghurts and fruit drinks, cocoa drinks, meat and chicken extracts and instant sauces

- infant formulas and follow-on milks, health and slimming products such as powdered or fortified meal and dish substitutes,

- many ready-to-heat products including pre-prepared pies and pasta and pizza dishes, poultry and fish nuggets and sticks, sausages, burgers, hot dogs, and other reconstituted meat products, powdered and packaged instant soups, noodles and desserts.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Company profile

Date started: December 24, 2018

Founders: Omer Gurel, chief executive and co-founder and Edebali Sener, co-founder and chief technology officer

Based: Dubai Media City

Number of employees: 42 (34 in Dubai and a tech team of eight in Ankara, Turkey)

Sector: ConsumerTech and FinTech

Cashflow: Almost $1 million a year

Funding: Series A funding of $2.5m with Series B plans for May 2020

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Author: Zakaria Tamer
Publisher: Syracuse University Press
Pages: 176

Voy! Voy! Voy!

Director: Omar Hilal
Stars: Muhammad Farrag, Bayoumi Fouad, Nelly Karim
Rating: 4/5

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Japan v Qatar
Friday, 6pm
Zayed Sports City Stadium, Abu Dhabi

A cryptocurrency primer for beginners

Cryptocurrency Investing for Dummies+– by Kiana Danial 

There are several primers for investing in cryptocurrencies available online, including e-books written by people whose credentials fall apart on the second page of your preferred search engine. 

Ms Danial is a finance coach and former currency analyst who writes for Nasdaq. Her broad-strokes primer+(2019) breaks down investing in cryptocurrency into baby steps, while explaining the terms and technologies involved.

Although cryptocurrencies are a fast evolving world, this book offers a good insight into the game as well as providing some basic tips, strategies and warning signs.

Begin your cryptocurrency journey here. 

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Other ways to buy used products in the UAE

UAE insurance firm Al Wathba National Insurance Company (AWNIC) last year launched an e-commerce website with a facility enabling users to buy car wrecks.

Bidders and potential buyers register on the online salvage car auction portal to view vehicles, review condition reports, or arrange physical surveys, and then start bidding for motors they plan to restore or harvest for parts.

Physical salvage car auctions are a common method for insurers around the world to move on heavily damaged vehicles, but AWNIC is one of the few UAE insurers to offer such services online.

For cars and less sizeable items such as bicycles and furniture, Dubizzle is arguably the best-known marketplace for pre-loved.

Founded in 2005, in recent years it has been joined by a plethora of Facebook community pages for shifting used goods, including Abu Dhabi Marketplace, Flea Market UAE and Arabian Ranches Souq Market while sites such as The Luxury Closet and Riot deal largely in second-hand fashion.

At the high-end of the pre-used spectrum, resellers such as Timepiece360.ae, WatchBox Middle East and Watches Market Dubai deal in authenticated second-hand luxury timepieces from brands such as Rolex, Hublot and Tag Heuer, with a warranty.

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Engine: two permanent magnet synchronous motors
Transmission: two-speed
Power: 625hp
Torque: 850Nm
Range: 456km
Price: from Dh737,480
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Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

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Stars: Ma Dong-seok, Sukku Son, Choi Gwi-hwa
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Company name: Bedu

Started: 2021

Founders: Khaled Al Huraimel, Matti Zinder, Amin Al Zarouni

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: AI, metaverse, Web3 and blockchain

Funding: Currently in pre-seed round to raise $5 million to $7 million

Investors: Privately funded

Chef Nobu's advice for eating sushi

“One mistake people always make is adding extra wasabi. There is no need for this, because it should already be there between the rice and the fish.
“When eating nigiri, you must dip the fish – not the rice – in soy sauce, otherwise the rice will collapse. Also, don’t use too much soy sauce or it will make you thirsty. For sushi rolls, dip a little of the rice-covered roll lightly in soy sauce and eat in one bite.
“Chopsticks are acceptable, but really, I recommend using your fingers for sushi. Do use chopsticks for sashimi, though.
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Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

12 restaurants opening at the hotel this month

Ariana’s Persian Kitchen
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Estiatorio Milos
House of Desserts
Jaleo by Jose Andres
La Mar
Ling Ling
Little Venice Cake Company
Malibu 90265
Nobu by the Beach
Resonance by Heston Blumenthal
The Royal Tearoom 

Company profile

Company: Verity

Date started: May 2021

Founders: Kamal Al-Samarrai, Dina Shoman and Omar Al Sharif

Based: Dubai

Sector: FinTech

Size: four team members

Stage: Intially bootstrapped but recently closed its first pre-seed round of $800,000

Investors: Wamda, VentureSouq, Beyond Capital and regional angel investors

Star Wars: Ahsoka

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Starring: Rosario Dawson, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Lars Mikkelsen
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