What We're Watching: Italy's Uncertainty, Zimbabwe's Crisis, and an Iranian Tanker Heading for Greece

Italy's prime minister resigns – Giuseppe Conte, the caretaker prime minister appointed to mediate an uneasy governing alliance between Italy's anti-establishment 5Star Movement and the right-wing Lega party, resigned on Tuesday. Rather than wait for a no-confidence vote triggered by the rightwing Lega Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, Conte stepped down on his own terms. Salvini, who's popularity has been rising, had hoped that by triggering snap elections he could get himself appointed prime minister, will now have to wait for Italy's president, Sergio Mattarella, to decide what comes next. While Lega and smaller right-wing allies want a new vote, center and left-wing parties are apparently working to see if they can form a majority coalition – perhaps including 5Star -- that would allow Mattarella to appoint a new government without fresh elections. We're watching to see how the dust settles in Europe's third-biggest economy.


A crisis brewing in Zimbabwe – When strongman Emmerson "The Crocodile" Mnangagwa ousted his old boss Robert Mugabe in 2017, he promised a better future for a country that had known years of hyperinflation and successive economic crises. It hasn't panned out. The legacy of Mugabe's incompetent economic policies, along with some bad weather, have pushed the country back to the brink of crisis in recent months. After the official inflation rate hit 175% in June, the government stopped publishing figures altogether, but independent analysts say the number may now be as high as 500%. Protesters angry about food shortages have hit the streets in recent days, prompting the government's usual response: truncheons. With a third of the population now facing a food crisis, and the government taking a hard line, we are watching to see if Zimbabwe's economic crisis fast becomes a political one as well.

Greeks baring rifts – After failing to convince British courts in Gibraltar to turn over the Iranian tanker called Adrian Darya 1, née Grace 1, the Trump administration is now pressuring the Greek government to deny assistance to the vessel which is plying its way across the Mediterranean as we speak. Greece's new prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is known for his pro-US views, but a Greek foreign ministry official was quoted as saying that "any decision will be in line with European Union rules on Iran." The US is finding out that going it alone on Iran means, well, going it alone. The tanker, which is carrying roughly $140 million worth of oil, should arrive in Greece by early next week.

What We're Ignoring

Bolsonaro's Amazon debacle – Commenters on Amazon's Brazil website are raving about a new 190-page book that explains why the country's controversial president, Jair Bolsonaro, "should be respected and trusted." It's a joke, because 188 of the pages are blank. On the one hand, LOL. But on the other, isn't accelerating deforestation in the Amazon rain forest one of the main things Bolsonaro's critics rage about? Those 188 blank pages aren't helping matters.

In the southern Italian region of Basilicata, home to the Val d'Agri Oil Centre known as COVA, hydrocarbon processing has undergone a radical digital transformation. COVA boasts one of the world's first fully digitized hydrocarbon plants, but why? Two primary reasons: infrastructure and information. Val d'Agri has the largest onshore hydrocarbon deposit in mainland Europe. The site is expansive and highly advanced, and the plant features a sophisticated sensor system built to capture massive amounts of data. Maintenance checks, equipment monitoring, inspections and measurements are tracked in a fully integrated digital system designed to prevent corrosion and ensure cleaner, more sustainable natural gas processing.

Learn more at Eniday: Energy Is A Good Story

Well, we still don't know who exactly launched the spectacular aerial attack on Saudi Arabia's main oil processing facility over the weekend, which knocked 5% of the world's oil offline and sent crude prices into their biggest one day jump in decades.

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The attack on Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq oil facility knocked out about 5 percent of total global oil supplies in one go. Saudi Arabia accounts for about 12 percent of global crude output in total, and has been at that level for years now. Here's a look at how today's other top producers, the US, Russia, Canada, and Iraq have fared over the past thirty years.

Israeli Elections 2.0 — Israelis go to the polls again today for the second time in five months. Back in April, Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu's Likud party (just barely) won the most votes, but failed to form a governing coalition, paving the way for new elections. The big question today is: how many Israelis have actually changed their minds in such a short timeframe? Last time, Likud and the centrist Blue and White coalition each won 35 Knesset seats, and polls show the two parties are still neck and neck, while secular right-winger Avigdor Lieberman — whose dissent in May left Bibi one seat short of a majority — is gaining steam. If this holds, Bibi would not have a majority again, and a complicated rotating premiership, national-unity government, or even a third election, could result. We are watching for results shortly...

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1 billion: West African leaders have pledged $1 billion to combat the growing threat of Islamic extremism in the region. Mali-based insurgent groups with links to the Islamic State and al Qaeda have since spilled over into neighboring countries, hitting Burkina Faso particularly hard in recent months.

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