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Open source software developer. Digital nomad bouncing between Italy, USA and Germany.
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Regional News • Europe • Italy
Giuseppe Conte wins confidence vote in Italy's senate by slim margin
Giuseppe Conte wins confidence vote in Italy's senate by slim margin
Credit: Presidency of the Italian Republic / via Wikimedia Commons

The victory ends the turmoil triggered by former prime minister Matteo Renzi, who last week yanked his small Italia Viva party from the ruling coalition, which includes the Five Star Movement (M5S) and Democratic party (PD), over disagreements about the handling of the pandemic and a post-Covid-19 economic recovery plan.

Conte, who has led two different administrations since 2018, was supported today by 156 lawmakers in the senate on Tuesday, with 140 voting against and 16 abstaining. Conte also won a vote of confidence in the lower house on Monday.

Thus, Italy’s prime minister, has managed to cling to power, but he will plough ahead with an even more fragile government as the country battles to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic and recession.

While minority governments are nothing new in Italy, what will be unprecedented is a minority government (backed by an unwieldly coalition) attempting to lead the country out of the deepest economic crisis since the second world war in the middle of a pandemic that has claimed more than 83000 victims while also trying to create a multi-year plan to manage €209bn (£185bn) of recovery funding from the EU.

Regional News • Europe • Italy
Italian Government left without Parliamentary Majority as Matteo Renzi Pulls his Party from Ruling Coalition
Matteo Renzi
Matteo Renzi Credit: Università Ca' Foscari Venezia

The Giuseppe Conte-led administration is teetering on the brink of collapse after the former prime minister, Matteo Renzi, pulled his small Italia Viva party from the ruling coalition. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte could now either offer his resignation to the president, Sergio Mattarella, who could give him a mandate to try to forge a new alliance, or go to parliament for a vote of confidence. Other possible outcomes include Mattarella putting together a broad-based government of national unity or, failing that, calling elections.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Intel: 9.4 Million Chromebooks Sold in Q3 2020
Chromebook logo
Chromebook logo Credit: Google

Intel revealed today that hardware makers sold at least 9.4 million Chromebooks in Q3 2020, good for 122 percent growth year-over-year. By comparison, Apple, the fourth-biggest maker of computers, sold just 6.2 million Macs that quarter. So Chromebooks outsold the Mac by over one-third, and achieved 12.86 percent market share. That 9.4 million figure, which presumably only counts Intel-based Chromebooks, would not include Chromebooks based on other processors, such as those produced by AMD and Mediatek.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle quit social media for good
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle quit social media for good
Credit: Mark Jones / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have “no plans” to return to social media almost a year after Megxit.

A source close to the ex-royals told The Times of London that they’re “very unlikely” to have an online presence, mostly due to the “hate” they’ve received.

Business • Media & Advertising
In Possible New Marketing Trend, Luxury Fashion Brand Bottega Veneta Shuts Down Its Social Media Accounts
In Possible New Marketing Trend, Luxury Fashion Brand Bottega Veneta Shuts Down Its Social Media Accounts
Credit: Screenshot Bottega Veneta

Earlier this week, Kering-owned luxury fashion brand Bottega Veneta closed down its Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts without warning and with no explanation. It is unclear whether this is a mere marketing stunt or whether Bottega Veneta's decision may be a bellwether for an emerging trend.

Social media doesn’t work to attract the right people to a luxury brand, according to an analysis of a luxury insiders’ survey among some 500 executives working in or supporting the luxury industry.

“We have not found any marketing tool that produces leads qualified for our luxury products and service,” was among the comments in that survey. And another said, “So far nothing is working. Social media is seeing no actual move to act.”

Two possible reasons are currently discussed publically:

  • Social media is mass, not class. Luxury does not fit in the hodgepodge of divergent messages that is social media.
  • People who can actually afford luxury brands are over-marketed to and not likely to pay attention to the brand's social media posts. Bombarding them with irrelevant posts on social media is not how to be respectful of them and personalize every interaction.

GQ’s Rachel Tashjain speculated: “Perhaps the Bottega deletion is the ultimate act of stealth luxury – it will now be a brand that travels strictly by word of mouth.”