The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 3 April 2017

Diplomacy

Image: Reuters

Peace by peace

Justin Trudeau breaks his peacekeeping promises in an effort to protect Canada’s reputation.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau pledged to ramp up the country’s overseas peacekeeping operations when he was elected in 2015. But he now looks to be going back on that promise: last week Trudeau quietly signalled that his government would postpone sending Canadian troops to bolster the French peacekeeping operation in Mali to combat insurgents there, citing Canada’s “difficult history in Africa as peacekeepers”, likely alluding to its experiences in Rwanda and Somalia in the 1990s. The decision has been welcomed by centrist commentators, who are all too aware that peacekeeping is very different today than it was in the Cold War era. By keeping the emphasis on military training capacity overseas (in Ukraine and Latvia) and as the lead force in Nato’s air policing operation in Iceland, Trudeau’s hope is that Canada’s presence overseas comes across as targeted and thought-through.

Media

Image: Alessandro Bosio

What’s the emergency?

A timely conference has put the way we talk about crises into the spotlight.

Architecture and art biennales are proliferating around the world but how many cities can lay claim to a biennial on democracy? In Turin, the Biennale Democrazia wrapped last night at the handsome Teatro Regio after a five-day conference that featured speeches by the likes of anti-mafia journalist Roberto Saviano and former Italian prime minister Enrico Letta. An overarching theme of the conference was the use (or overuse) of the term “emergency”. “Migrant emergency”, “snow emergency” and “rubbish emergency” are all word pairings that have graced many front pages of the Italian dailies in recent months. At a time when scaremongering is in ascendancy, it was suggested that a more considered choice of words could better defuse public alarm.

Culture

Image: Getty Images

Vision of success?

The Ebay founder’s news company got off to a rocky start but its documentary-film unit is steadying the ship.

First Look Media, the news organisation started in 2013 by Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar (pictured), has been something of a confused beast since launch. There was the short-lived tenure of former Gawker executive editor John Cook at online news publication The Intercept for one. But there have also been hits: its involvement in Spotlight, the Oscar winner about The Boston Globe, and its documentary-film unit Field of Vision, which continues to show promise. Field of Vision gets a run at two film festivals opening this week: Dana O’Keefe’s Clowns, a documentary about a spate of crimes and pranks committed around the world by people dressed as clowns, is to air at the Dallas International Film Festival. Meanwhile, short film In the Wake of Ghost Ship, about the aftermath of a deadly fire in Oakland, will feature at San Francisco Film Festival when it opens on 5 April.

Trade

Image: Getty Images

Fishy business

The plan to move Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market has been put on hold – but at what cost?

The planned relocation of Tokyo’s vast and much-loved Tsukiji fish market has been a fiasco for the city, and in August the controversial move was put on hold for fear of contamination in the soil at the new site. For now, the short-term plan is to renovate the existing market but it won’t be cheap: some ¥80bn (€670m) will be needed to modernise temperature-controlled rooms and raise hygiene standards, according to a task force appointed by Yuriko Koike, the governor of Tokyo. The delayed move has proved costly for the city, which paid compensation to traders and wholesalers at Tsukiji. Opposition to the move is also growing among seafood sellers, with more than 70 per cent saying that they want to stay put.

From Monocle 24

Alessandro Borghese

The Menu

The Italian chef is gaining momentum outside his home country. He explains his cooking philosophy, a collaboration with Obica restaurants and why Italian grandmothers are still a cooking authority.

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