The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 23 June 2016

Image: Alamy

Reporting the referendum

Brits head to the polls today to vote on whether the country should remain in the EU. Recent months have seen heated campaigning from the Leave and Remain camps, pleas from European leaders, urging the UK to stay, and business leaders, economists and newspapers announcing which side of the debate they stand on (Monocle is firmly for Remain). Yet polls are still mostly level, indicating that the country is largely divided. For more coverage and analysis of the referendum, tune in to The Globalist at 07.00, The Briefing at 12.00, Midori House at 18.00 and The Monocle Daily at 22.00 (all UK time) on Monocle 24 today and tomorrow.

Image: Cris Bouroncle/Getty Images

The good wife?

Latin American politics often tells the same story. A populist leader leaves office and the net begins to tighten around them; next come accusations of backhanders and graft, often leading to criminal cases. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is currently feeling that squeeze in Argentina but in Peru the story is a little different: this time it’s the wife of president Ollanta Humala – due to leave office at the end of July – who is feeling the heat. Nadine Heredia is accused of accepting illegal money from Venezuela to finance her husband’s election campaign in 2006 and then money from Brazilian companies in 2011. A judge has now barred her from leaving the country for four months, a decision she appealed this week.

Image: Getty Images

Tricks of the trade

Until recently, “Made in Indonesia” was a term associated with large-scale, low-cost manufacturing. But increasingly the nation’s artisans are demonstrating the value of age-old craftsmanship across everything from fashion design to architecture. Backing this movement, the Indonesian government launched a new programme this week to promote the quality of the country’s traditional textile manufacturing on a global scale. In the coming months, emerging designers who were handpicked from a series of events such as Indonesia Fashion Week will be given the opportunity to train in the traditional techniques of tenun (weaving), tapis (tapestry) and batik (dyeing). In return they will share their trade acumen to help the craftsmen and women of rural towns from West Java to Bali push their wares to buyers overseas. Through these connections the government hopes to preserve time-honoured craftsmanship and modernise the standards of locally made products.

Image: Ben Stansall/Getty Images

View from Japan

Japan Inc is keeping a close eye on today’s referendum in the UK. In Nikkei’s latest poll of leaders of 123 major Japanese corporations (96 of which have operations in the UK), 27.6 per cent say Brexit will have a negative impact and 52.9 per cent say it will have a “somewhat negative” effect, citing the chaos it could bring to the financial markets and duties that would be imposed on trade between the UK and the EU. But while 71.5 per cent supported the UK remaining in the EU, fewer than 20 per cent said they would make alternative strategies if it leaves. Brexit notwithstanding, corporate Japan has another issue on its mind: the unstoppable rise of the yen.

From Monocle 24

Image: C:AMISOM Public Information

Africa’s democracy problem

Africa is a continent of 54 nations, the vast majority of which could be considered democratic on paper. And yet in the past year Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza and Congo-Brazzaville’s Denis Sassou Nguesso have all changed their constitutions to allow themselves a third term. What’s the story?

From Monocle Films

Monocle issue preview

Our double issue heralds the start of summer with the 10th edition of our annual Quality of Life Survey. Which cities have climbed the rankings? Who are the new entries? And most importantly, who is this year’s winner? Buy your copy today to find out the answers – and enjoy plenty of sunny reportage and fresh photography into the bargain.

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