The Italian banking system now poses the biggest risk to the financial security of the eurozone and its most venerable institution is at the heart of the problem. Here is what you need to know. Why is Monte dei Paschi di Siena in trouble? The world’s oldest bank has become the focus of the market’s concerns about the health of the Italian banking sector, which is weighed down by €360bn (£305bn) of bad debts. Monte dei Paschi was the weakest performer in the annual health checks performed on 51 EU banks in July. The European Banking Authority found its capital base would be wiped out if the global economy and financial markets came under strain and it was instructed to take preemptive action to bolster its financial strength. Why did it need an extension from the European Central Bank? The European Central Bank issued MPS with a deadline of the end of the year to implement a plan to make it more resilient. The Wall Street bank JP Morgan has been leading efforts … [Read more...] about Monte dei Paschi bailout: what you need to know – the Guardian briefing
Whats gone wrong
When the mayor of Rome and star of the Five Star movement, Virginia Raggi, recently suggested that the large number of refrigerators and furniture being dumped on the city’s streets was potentially a plot by her political enemies to undermine her, it was met with ridicule and anger. It did not take long for observers – already unhappy with Raggi’s performance since her sweeping electoral victory in June – to point out that Rome’s contract with rubbish collectors to pick up fridges and other large items had expired shortly before the election. #Frigogate, or #fridgegate, created an easy political opportunity for Italy’s centre-left prime minister, Matteo Renzi, who is fighting a tough battle before a critical referendum on 4 December on constitutional reform that could end his political career. He never misses an opportunity to paint his toughest political rivals – the populist Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S) – as incompetent conspiracy … [Read more...] about ‘We are for what is logical’: how Italy’s M5S became a real contender
This week, Essena O’Neill, an Australian teenager with more than half a million followers on Instagram, made headlines after announcing that she was quitting the platform because it is “contrived perfection made to get attention”. “I remember I obsessively checked the like count for a full week since uploading it,” she wrote of her first-ever post on Instagram, a selfie that now has close to 2,500 likes. “It got 5 likes. This was when I was so hungry for social media validation … Now marks the day I quit all social media and focus on real life projects.” We wondered: how many young women share O’Neill’s experience? So we asked several others about whether they feel pressured to appear a certain way on Instagram, and how the platform affects their self-esteem. Michelle Linker, 24: ‘I absolutely feel insecure’ I get serious Fomo (fear of missing out) with Instagram, and with all social media. People are publicizing … [Read more...] about Young women on Instagram and self-esteem: ‘I absolutely feel insecure’
Four candidates, four months: the battle to lead the Labour party has gone on so long that the reputations of the protagonists have changed fundamentally. How has each of them fared? Jeremy Corbyn Corbyn’s campaign may have changed the path of British political history but nothing was further from his mind when he entered the race. Having only secured all the 35 nominations needed two seconds before the deadline on Monday 15 June, Corbyn suggested he and his campaign manager, John McDonnell, tour the country. The prospect led McDonnell to warn it might seem like the Last of the Summer Wine on Tour. Instead, McDonnell recalls, they “suddenly found something had changed. Hundreds were turning out to discuss politics.” There was much that was organised about the Corbyn campaign, including its links with the unions, the young new MPs and existing extra-parliamentary pressure groups, but it is hard to overestimate the extent to which the Corbyn wave is as much a surprise … [Read more...] about Labour leadership candidates: how have their reputations fared?
MORNING SHOWS The Polar Bears Go Up 11am, Pleasance at EICC (until 27 August) It may be aimed at two- to five-year-olds, but the clowning is terrific for any age group in this whimsical silent show about a pair of bears who want to reach the golden star they had in their grasp, but which floated away. The bears are endearingly lovable and incompetent as they grapple with their problem – failing and failing better before they finally get blast-off. Lovely work. LG Our Carnal Hearts 11am, Summerhall (until 26 August) It is the sticky and spiky hidden parts of ourselves that are displayed in Rachel Mars’ entertainingly nasty interrogation of the competitive spirit – which comes laced with song, arson and a large dose of envy. It’s fitting that it takes place in the dissection room, because it is the human heart that is being pulled apart to find that dark, secret place Gore Vidal acknowledged when he declared “whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in … [Read more...] about Edinburgh festival 2017: the shows we recommend