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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 7 November 2016

Image: Muhammad Fadli

In praise of rubbish policies

Protests by Muslim hardliners against Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama made headlines over the weekend but 160km southeast of the capital in Bandung, there’s a more positive story in the offing. Architect-turned-mayor Ridwan Kamil (pictured), already known for revitalising the artsy city (see Monocle issue 85) and opposing corruption, has now banned the sale of Styrofoam packaging commonly used for fast food. In an attempt to reduce the city’s reliance on landfill sites and clear up the rubbish clogging its rivers, Kamil’s efforts in this regard are anything but wasted. Businesses have a grace period to get accustomed to the new rules but traders caught trashing the decree for a third time will be stripped of their license, making this more than a throwaway lesson in a nation that badly needs to address its waste management.

Image: Brent Lewis/Getty Images

Firearm alarm

With the US presidential election now just one day away, many are looking forward to the end of what has been a particularly nasty race. Some Americans, however, are jumping the gun imagining what a Hillary Clinton presidency might mean for firearm regulation. The FBI has reported that the number of criminal background checks for firearm purchases in October this year was 2.3 million, a big leap from the 1.9 million carried out in the same month last year. Clinton’s promise to close legal loopholes that make buying a weapon without a background check possible in some states, as well as her intention to take on the gun lobby, have given a panic-buying boost to firearms manufacturers such as Sturm, Ruger & Co, which reported a 34 per cent increase in net sales.

Image: Christophe Viseux

Swapping oil for canvas

Long favoured by expatriates for its blissfully tax-free take on earnings, the oil-rich UAE is considering the introduction of a VAT scheme to lessen the deficit caused by falling commodity prices. The move may rile expats already stretched by rising living costs and chip away at the UAE's reputation as a wealthy playground for foreigners — but the region’s cultural capital has never been higher. Starting next week, Abu Dhabi Art will transform city galleries with a series of conversations with artists, organised by Abu Dhabi curator Reem Fadda, as well as street performances by Tarek Abou El Fetouh. Coupled with the long-planned opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi set for 2017 and the Sharjah Art Biennale in March, the UAE’s artistic clout is being felt throughout the region even as oil prices slide.

Image: Kenta Hasegawa

Inside story

IFFT Interior Lifestyle Living is one of Tokyo’s biggest annual furniture exhibitions and this year’s three-day show, which starts today, is bigger than ever, featuring a record 450 exhibitors from 14 countries. There will be plenty to take in, with Japan’s top furniture-producing regions of Asahikawa in Hokkaido prefecture, Okawa in Fukuoka prefecture and Hida in Gifu prefecture occupying their own pavilions. But it’s the small projects that could generate the most interest. Smiles, the company behind restaurant chain Soup Stock, will showcase its Lemon Hotel, which opened earlier in the year in a renovated traditional house on Teshima island in Kagawa prefecture. Meanwhile, designers Teruhiro Yanagihara and Scholten & Baijings will display their 2016 Arita porcelain collections, the result of a collaboration between artisans in Saga prefecture and Dutch designers.

From Monocle 24

The skills

Top chef Monica Galetti on the essential cooking skills that separate professional chefs from average Joes.

From Monocle Films

Canada special: get your skates on

Ice hockey is Canada’s national obsession and junior hockey is where the dream of going pro is closest to being realised. Monocle Films heads to London, Ontario, to meet the fans supporting the puck stars of the future.

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