The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 11 January 2016

Image: Getty Images

Gearing up

Detroit’s decline has been well documented, from the closed-down car factories to the declaration of bankruptcy in 2013. Yet several remnants of Motor City remain and at its pinnacle is the North American International Auto Show, one of the largest auto trade fairs in the world and an important source of income for the renascent city. The 2016 edition – the show’s 28th year – begins today and promises the usual mix of glitzy debuts from brands such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Daimler and Cadillac. Look out for the China-produced Buick Envision and BMW’s M2 coupé; there’s enough vroom here to fire up anyone’s engine.

Image: Getty Images

Anime strikes back

Everyone has been talking about Star Wars: The Force Awakens recently – but not in Japan. There the seemingly all-conquering blockbuster was held in second place for a fortnight by the cartoon film Yo-Kai Watch the Movie 2: King Enma and the 5 Stories, Nyan!. Yo-Kai Watch is a staggeringly successful Nintendo game that has been spun out into two anime films, a popular manga, a TV series and multiple smartphone apps. Merchandise fills the toyshops – Hasbro will be launching a line worldwide this year – and a new game, Yo-Kai Watch 3, is due this summer. The supernatural plot line centres on a young boy called Keita Amano and his encounters with unseen yokai (spirits). Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that Japan remains in thrall to anime: the top-grossing film of all time in Japan is still Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 cartoon classic Spirited Away.

Image: Alamy

Home or away?

Following the cancellation of flights from Russia to Turkey and Egypt, the Kremlin has been advocating the pleasures of staycations. The government has not only been promoting Soviet-era sanatoriums and health spas but also subsiding tour operators that provide travel inside Russia. Many sanatoriums – once a popular holiday option for those looking to boost their wellbeing – have recently had a welcome facelift. It is hoped that the domestic tourism market will grow by a third in 2016. “We believe that three to five more million people will go on holiday inside Russia this year,” says Oleg Safonov, head of Russia’s federal tourism agency Rostourism. There’s also hope that the pebbly beaches of Sochi and Kaliningrad will be enough of a draw for Russian sun-seekers. Yet the optimism might be for naught: Russian demand for tours to the UAE has climbed by 20 per cent this year.

Image: Getty Images

Video for votes

As Taiwan heads to the polls this weekend, hotly tipped opposition party leader Tsai Ing-wen – who is vying to become Taiwan’s first female president – is taking nothing for granted. While the ruling KMT targets the older vote, Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party has its eye on the youth. The party’s in-house production studio, led by seasoned election campaigner Lee Hou-ching, has pulled together a team of creatives from across the arts to pump out slickly produced campaign videos, reminding young Taiwanese to vote. The most popular one so far, Follow the Children’s Footsteps, already has more than two million views – that’s almost 10 per cent of Taiwan’s population. Whether the video’s popularity comes down to Tsai or the artists behind the clip – celebrated ad director Lo Ging-zim helmed the short film; budding playwright Tsai Pao-chang penned the soundtrack “It’s Time” – should become clearer at the polling station.

From Monocle 24

Image: Rob Larson

From Brooklyn to Pittsburgh

We visit Pittsburgh's new Whitfield restaurant run by Brent Young, who has previously gained fame as a restaurateur in Brooklyn.

From Monocle Films

Property Prospectus: Kries 4

Once a seedy neighbourhood with an air of debauchery, Zürich’s Kreis 4 is now a shiny hub of creativity. Monocle Films pays a visit to the district to find out what all the fuss is about.

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