The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 30 January 2017

Image: Getty Images

Standing up to Trump

On Holocaust Memorial Day, US president Donald Trump closed his country’s borders to refugees and banned immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations. His decision was unsurprising – after all, this is the man who called for a ban on “all Muslims” entering the US during the election campaign. The great unknown was the reaction such a move would provoke. Spontaneous protests erupted at airports where new arrivals no longer allowed entry were taken into custody. Meanwhile court action partially suspended the ban. Several senior Republicans, including Senator John McCain, condemned the move. North of the border, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said his nation would welcome those fleeing persecution, terror and war "regardless of your faith". In Europe, America’s traditional allies lined up to criticise Mr Trump. During an official phone call, German chancellor Angela Merkel “explained” the Geneva Convention to him. One can only imagine how that went down. The only leader of a liberal democracy to remain silent was Theresa May – for the UK, it seems, staying close to Trump regardless of his actions, is the number one priority.

Image: Todd Korol/Getty Images

Negative headlines

Canada’s news sectors are in crisis according to a new study by the Public Policy Forum published last week. The report has found that due to the haemorrhaging of advertising revenue, many publications can no longer afford to “fulfil their civic duties”. Its central recommendation – that the Canadian government establish a CA$400m (€285m) Journalism and Democracy Fund to bolster the news organisations – has proved contentious, especially for those concerned about government influence over the free press. But the report comes just days after Post Media, Canada's largest network of local newspapers, announced further lay-offs at flagship titles such as the Ottawa Citizen and the Montreal Gazette, following similar moves by national titles the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star late last year. For those in Canada who equate the health of the press with the health of democracy, something needs to be done – and done quickly.

Image: Alamy

Good reads

Italy’s book market is finally turning over a new leaf. Figures released by the Italian Association of Editors show that growth (calculated across chains and independent retailers, online shops and big distributors) reached a respectable 2.3 per cent in 2016 – a significant improvement from 0.5 per cent. The offer of titles released by publishing houses keeps increasing and, what’s more, almost three quarters of Italian book-buyers still opt for bricks-and-mortar shops when it comes to stocking up on reading material. It’s good news for the industry and much needed after the recent discovery that about 13 million Italians live in towns without a bookshop. Perhaps it will serve as inspiration for aspiring booksellers in those 687 urban centres that could do with an independent bookshop of their own.

Image: Sinan Yiter/Getty Images

Red alert

The latest Corruption Perception Index, released last week by Transparency International, makes for grim reading. The statistics map out a world that’s overwhelmingly shaded a blistering red – the indicator for corruption. The global ranking system measures the transparency and integrity of 176 countries by analysing everything from the ease of doing business to the prevalence of minor bribery and events such as Brazil’s Odebrecht scandal. Denmark and New Zealand, who share first place, have reason to celebrate, as does Uruguay, which finds itself the most transparent country in South America. Meanwhile, Lebanon has dropped 12 places: indeed, 90 per cent of Arab countries scored below the pass mark of 50 out of 100. The US – a big field of orange on the map – has shown little change but the election of Donald Trump could produce an entirely different rating next year considering that Transparency International has found a direct correlation between corruption, inequality and populism.

From Monocle 24

The Stack

We speak to ‘Der Spiegel’ editor Klaus Brinkbäumer about the magazine’s 70th anniversary. Plus: a conversation with ‘Zeit Magazin’ editor Christoph Amend as part of our new series ‘The Weeklies’.

From Monocle Films

Masters of glass

The small Venetian island of Murano has a grand glass-blowing reputation. In the glow of the furnaces, Monocle Films witnesses a new generation of designers at work.

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