Monday 22 February 2016 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Monday. 22/2/2016

The Monocle Minute

Image: Alamy

Pregnant pause

The near-certainty of DNA paternity testing isn’t good enough for Japan: the Justice Ministry is planning to submit legislation that would revise a 19th-century law and reduce how long women have to wait to remarry after a divorce. The current law bans women from remarrying for six months (there are no restrictions on men) and was meant to determine whether a baby belonged to the new spouse or ex-husband at a time before DNA-testing existed. The ministry’s proposed changes come after last December’s Supreme Court ruling that determined the law is unconstitutional. But Japan won’t do away with the ban entirely. Women would still have to wait 100 days before remarrying unless they can prove that they were not pregnant or were unable to conceive when they got divorced.

Image: Andrew Urwin

Right direction

For almost a decade the sale of travel guides has been in steep decline. Many predicted the death of the printed travel book altogether due to the rise of apps and online guides. But we believe that a complicated Google search is no match for a nice sturdy book, which is why we launched our own series of Monocle Travel Guides. And it looks like we’re not alone: according to the Nielsen BookScan 2015 Travel Publishing Year Book, sales of travel books are rising. They climbed by 4.5 per cent in the UK last year and the US saw a 1 per cent increase. And in other good news the iconic London travel bookshop Stanfords returned to profit last year. Here’s to more safe – and well-informed – travels.

Image: Alamy

Poles apart

Along with the country’s linguists, representatives of Arctic Inuit communities in Canada’s far north met in Ottawa on Friday to start work on standardising a common alphabet for the 60,000 indigenous people spread across the continent. There are nine different writing forms and at least as many dialects that vary according to region, which makes it difficult for Inuit tribes to converse with each other in their native tongue. The hope is that by unifying the way the Inuit groups communicate with each other, the ancient language and culture can be preserved and revitalised for future generations. The gargantuan task is expected to take up to a year to complete.

Image: Getty Images

Voter power

Hong Kong’s universities are taking a stand. Despite opposition, CY Leung, the chancellor of HK’s eight publicly funded institutions and the city’s chief executive, appointed Arthur Li to chair Hong Kong University’s council in December. Li is not popular among the academic crowd, partly because in 2014 he infamously compared participants in the mostly student-led Umbrella Movement to the Red Guards of the Cultural Revolution. Now the universities’ staff unions are holding a referendum on the question of abolishing the chief executive’s power in appointing council members. Registration opens tomorrow and voting will take place from 21 to 23 March. Dr Sing-wai Cheung, the chairman of HKU’s staff union, tells Monocle that if the referendum results disavow Leung’s leadership style it could harm his chances of re-election by the central government next year.

Image: Jonathan van der-Knaap

Pink Moon Saloon

We visit one of Adelaide’s newest and most unique venues, located within a 3.6-metre-wide wooden structure.

Monocle Films / Melbourne

Melbourne retail special: Gertrude Street

Australia is a country that knows how to shop and its canny citizens want more than the colourless clicks of an online spree. Melbourne’s Gertrude Street, once overlooked, is now one of the city’s most vibrant high streets and home to a mix of independent shops. Monocle Films meets six retailers who anchor the street.


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