The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 5 April 2017

Media

Image: Getty Images

Making a stand

The LA Times’ blatant attack on Trump risks repercussions – was it a sensible move?

The Los Angeles Times editorial board this week launched a four-part series called “Our Dishonest President”, a searing indictment of Donald Trump and a call to arms for citizens to protest against his damaging policies. The series dismantles his myriad lies and lays bare what it argues is at stake for the US if he is left unchecked: a White House that moves ever closer to authoritarian rule. The series is a bold move. While other newspapers have not held back in their criticism of the new president, none have positioned themselves so clearly in opposition. There is a risk it could cause a backlash but, judging from the response so far, the LA Times’ editors will believe it was one worth taking.

Design

Image: Alessandro Russotti

Fresh faces

Everyday brands are crossing the design divide and bringing a welcome revamp with them.

The names making the biggest noise at this year’s Salone del Mobile, the world’s leading furniture fair, are not companies known for their high-end design. Swedish brand Ikea’s debut in Milan has created a splash with it taking over a massive warehouse and running an event programme akin to a festival. It has attracted a younger yet still discerning design consumer to view its collections and engage in a spot of yoga too. Fashion brands from Germany’s sandal master Birkenstock – unveiling its new bed range – to Sweden's Cos are also showcasing attempts to cross over into the design realm. In an industry in need of a shake-up, where star designers spread themselves very thinly across many companies, it is refreshing to see some new faces entering the fray.

Olympics

Image: Getty Images

Frozen out

Barring Canada’s star ice hockey players from the Winter Olympics is a blow, not least for the sport’s growing Asian fanbase.

The announcement that some of ice hockey’s biggest names will not be allowed to compete in next February’s Winter Olympics in South Korea is being keenly felt in Canada, compromising one of its most potent soft-power exports. The National Hockey League (NHL), which includes teams from the US and Canada, has announced it will not make its players available to compete in Pyeongchang because the Games take place during the NHL season. Canada’s hockey authorities have expressed dismay at the move given the game’s potency in the country: 16.7 million people – roughly half Canada’s population – tuned in to watch the home team beat the US in the ice hockey final at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. By failing to reach an agreement both the International Olympic Committee and the NHL have scored something of an own goal. Ice hockey’s popularity is on the rise in Southeast Asia; forbidding the game’s biggest stars to compete feels like a missed opportunity.

Culture

Image: Getty Images

Shot in the arm

One of Japan’s most famous exports hopes to revive the fortunes of another – saké – in his home country.

Japanese saké might be gaining in popularity globally but at home the industry is in a rut. There are fewer breweries in Japan than at any time in the past four decades and consumers are drinking less per capita. Former Japanese football star Hidetoshi Nakata, who has spent the past few years promoting saké, is trying to help out. From 7 April, Nakata – who is also Monocle’s editor at large – will host Craft Sake Week, a 10-day event with 100 small producers and food trucks run by standout chefs at Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills shopping complex. This year’s event is the second one to be held in Tokyo and Nakata’s team has hand-picked the best artisanal breweries, including Yamagata brewery Takagi Shuzo Juyondai and 147-year-old Ishikawa brewery Yoshida Shuzoten Tedorigawa, both known for their traditional small-batch saké-making.

From Monocle 24

Apogee architecture

Section D

We speak to the photographer behind a book documenting the modernist architecture of Palm Springs under the light of the full moon. We also tour the new home of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, and our Tokyo bureau chief Fiona Wilson gives us her Japanese design picks.

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