Thursday 22 December 2016 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Thursday. 22/12/2016

The Monocle Minute

Image: Clemens Balin/Getty Images

On the hunt

A Europe-wide manhunt is under way for Anis Amri. The Tunisian ex-convict, who had been denied asylum in Germany, is the prime suspect in Monday night’s Berlin Christmas market attack, which killed 12 and wounded 48. German authorities have set a reward of €100,000 for information leading to Amri’s arrest after locating his identity card in the truck that ploughed into the crowd at Breitscheidplatz. The revelation that the Islamic State was responsible for the act of terrorism brought around 130 followers of the far-right National Democratic party of Germany onto the streets of Berlin on Wednesday, calling for the closure of all borders. They were met by close to 800 demonstrators holding up hearts and posters that decried their protestations. “We want to uphold this way of life and not let it be destroyed by anyone,” foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told the press yesterday. At the same time, the cabinet passed a bill to allow increased video surveillance in public places, a controversial move considering the country’s history and yet a necessary step seeing as Germany is “in the crosshairs of terrorism" as the nation’s defence minister stated earlier this year.

Image: Luka Gonzales/Getty Images

Asean anniversary

Filipinos know how to throw a big bash, especially at this time of year (would you believe that the country begins its yuletide merrymaking as early as September?). This time around the occasion is the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), following a divisive year for the 10-member bloc. Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte will be hosting the annual summit as chairman of Asean for 2017. Since an international court ruled in favour of the Philippines in its maritime dispute with China, Duterte has signalled a clear alignment with the nation, leaving outspoken Singapore increasingly isolated although the summit’s official theme is “partnering for change, engaging the world”. It will be interesting to see how Duterte – who’s made waves for his controversial policies and admitted to personally killing suspected criminals as mayor of Davao City – handles the post.

Image: Alamy

Fields of gold

Demographics are wreaking havoc on Taiwanese agriculture. With the population of farmers declining and ageing – the average age being 62 – the sector is becoming an ever-smaller slice of Taiwan’s economy. To reverse this trend, the government will launch a programme in 2017 that aims to attract 30,000 young farmers over the next decade and roughly 1,000 in the first year. The plan calls for easier credit and incentives for landowners to lease their idle fields. It won’t be easy, given that agricultural households earn 16 per cent less than the national average, but there’s plenty to be optimistic about. With a bit of imagination, Taiwan could put its hi-tech knowhow in solar energy, LED lights, drones, smart sensors and semiconductors to use by transforming farming into one of the most sophisticated sectors on the planet.

Image: Getty Images

Curtain call?

When Japanese state broadcaster NHK announced the line-up for its 67th end-of-year Kohaku music contest – a four-hour televised sing-off between a female and a male team – there were a couple of surprising omissions. The first was Akiko Wada, a veteran singer who was expecting to make her 40th Kohaku appearance. More shocking was the absence of Smap, the boy band that has dominated Japan’s entertainment landscape for the past two decades. Fans anticipated that the band, which will officially split on 31 December, would mark the end of its career with a final turn on Kohaku. There are plenty of other musicians to keep viewers happy though, including debut performers Radwimps, who wrote the music for the year’s biggest Japanese film, the anime hit Your Name. Last year’s viewing figures for Kohaku, which was at one time compulsory viewing on New Year’s Eve, were lower than usual. Perhaps a surprise last-minute appearance by Smap would be the ultimate ratings boost?

Gear change

What’s the future of driving in the era of the sharing economy? We ask Silicon Valley entrepreneur Andre Haddad, CEO of Turo.

Monocle Films / Japan

Senior style in Japan: living the good life at 80

For many older people in Japan work isn’t just a way to keep busy but also a source of happiness and wellbeing. From a 71-year-old barber to a 100-year-old café owner, Monocle visits Japan’s elderly who are showing little sign of letting up.


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