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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 24 October 2016

Image: Getty Images

Talent pool

The 29th Tokyo International Film Festival (Tiff) kicks off tomorrow with more than 200 films from around the world being shown during its 10-day run. As one of Asia’s largest film festivals and the only one in Japan to be recognised by the International Federation of Film Producers Association, Tiff, which got its start in 1985, has become a reliable venue for scouting talent in the region. It’s a chance for Japan’s independent directors to step into the spotlight. With themes ranging from immigration to ghosts, 16 films are slated to compete for the festival’s ¥5.2m (€46,000) top prize. Expect a soft-power bonanza with special events that include a kabuki performance and silent samurai movies from the 1920s. But Tiff organisers are also betting that 1,400 buyers will go home with something to show for it.

Image: Razan Alzayani

Money problems

It’s been the long-touted golden tweak to the way the United Arab Emirates does business. Currently company owners in financial trouble can face hefty prison time in the UAE if they default on payment, which accounts for ill-fated individuals skipping the country. But as the crunch of low oil prices bites harder into the pockets of regional economies, the country has realised that it needs to follow through and make the country more amenable to entrepreneurs and has therefore proposed new bankruptcy laws. Naturally businesses fail and it’s hoped that the opportunity to take risks and bet big, without the fear of ending up in prison, will make launching companies more attractive. If the new law gets signed-off – which the International Monetary Fund has said will lift sluggish growth – expect other economies in the Gulf Co-operation Council states to follow suit.

Image: Jack Guez/Getty Image

Armed and dangerous?

Israel is set to splash out €1.3bn on three new German-built submarines according to Tel Aviv newspaper Maariv. Germany has long supplied Israel’s submarine fleet, with the delivery of the first Dolphin-class submarines having been completed in 1999. According to Maariv the three newcomers will join INS Rahav, INS Tanin and the yet to be completed INS Dakar in replacing the fleet’s older vessels over the course of the next 10 years. One question looming larger than the matter of official recognition is whether, as foreign military sources claim, the Dolphin-class vessels have nuclear capabilities. While Angela Merkel’s office has insisted that all submarines have been delivered unarmed, few doubt that Israel is capable of sourcing nuclear weapons itself.

Image: Paul White/PA Images

Fight the power

When Spain’s Constitutional Court overturned Catalonia’s bullfighting ban earlier this month on the grounds that it is part of Spain’s cultural heritage, the gulf between Madrid and Barcelona seemed at its most extreme. Catalonia’s recent responses have aggravated the situation further. Top Catalan officials, including mayor Ada Colau, have strongly emphasised that the province, which banned bullfighting in 2010, will not allow the practice to re-emerge. “The courts can say what they like but we’ll protect the policies that impede animal cruelty,” she tweeted last week. Meanwhile Josep Rull, the Minister of Territory and Sustainability, wrote a damning piece for regional newspaper El Periódico in which he said, “The Spanish state moves backwards; in Catalonia we prefer to side with developed countries.”

From Monocle 24

Image: Stéphane de Bourgies

Pierre Hermé

The French master patissier has launched a book paying homage to one of his favourite ingredients: chocolate.

From Monocle Films

Image: https://monocle.com/film/affairs/finns-of-thunder-bay/

Finns of Thunder Bay

Waves of immigrants from Finland have arrived on the shores of Canada over the past century, making Thunder Bay the most Finnish city beyond the Baltic. Monocle Films visits to the Ontario city to find out more.

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