The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 2 November 2015

Image: Getty Images

Yangon in there

Burma heads to the polls on Sunday for its most important election in a generation but questions remain as to whether it will be free or fair. For the first time the European Union has been allowed to send in election monitors – 101 arrive in the country this week. They will have their work cut out. While Burma has made progress since it began to open up earlier this decade the military still rules the roost. They hold 25 per cent of all parliamentary seats – the number needed to prevent constitutional changes – while popular opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is constitutionally barred from the presidency. If her NLD party wins the most seats the scene will be set for the next stage of Burma’s democratic struggle.

Image: Getty Images

Trudeau’s first test

Canada will make things official with Justin Trudeau when the Liberal leader is sworn in as prime minister this week. After sweeping the board with his winning election majority and pushing Stephen Harper out of power, Trudeau now has to face up to the enormous expectations of the country. His first test in office will take place straight away as he announces his cabinet the same day he’s sworn in. Trudeau hasn’t revealed much about what to expect – apart from promising that it will reflect gender equality – though many expect Torontonians to take plum positions. That strategy won’t endear him to central and western Canada, which largely voted for Harper. Yet as Trudeau’s shown before, he is more than capable of upending expectations.

Image: Corbis

Hospitals without borders

More than 1,000 Kenyans travel to India each year for serious surgery, transplants and cancer treatment. This influx helps fuel the country’s $3bn (€2.7bn) medical-tourism boom and a nascent travel industry has sprung up in response to serve Kenya’s middle classes as they decamp east. But India’s top hospitals now aim to cut the extra expense for their patients by bringing their service closer to this key clientele, establishing Indian-run facilities specialising in oncology and cardiology around Kenya. If the plan goes ahead, it’ll be a win for India’s hospitals but should also give Kenya’s own medical-tourism trade – already attracting patients from across east Africa – a much-needed shot in the arm.

Image: Roberto Faccenda

Thai rebound

Those fearing August’s terrorist attack in Bangkok would hurt Thailand’s tourism industry in the long term can rest easy. After a bomb blast at a shrine in the city centre left 22 people dead – including several foreign tourists – Thailand’s tourism growth slowed, causing concern in a country whose economy is heavily dependent on the industry. Yet the summer’s attack didn’t keep people away for long: the tourism council says that a record 30.3 million people will have visited Thailand be the end of the year, an increase of 22 per cent on 2014. The boom is partly down to Chinese tourists, 8.1 million of whom took a Thai tour this year.

From Monocle 24

Image: Magnus-Nilsson

Secrets of Nordic cooking

Magnus Nilsson of Sweden’s Fäviken restaurant has released the most ambitious book on Nordic cuisine yet. The Nordic Cookbook covers 700 recipes from all over the region. Hear Magnus talk about his ambitious project.

From Monocle Films

Perfect balance

What’s it like being a second city? On duty for The Escapist, Robert Bound found Chiang Mai to be an ancient town with a contemporary buzz of bars, bands and boxers, along with wonderful food and beautiful girls on scooters. It doesn’t feel like it’s in a race with Bangkok – or anywhere else, for that matter

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