Tuesday 25 April 2017 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Tuesday. 25/4/2017

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images


Pushing the boat out

Asia’s arms race will take to the water this week with the expected launch of China’s first homegrown aircraft carrier from the northern port city of Dalian. The People’s Liberation Army navy’s as yet unnamed battleship is expected to enter full service at the end of the decade, when it will join China’s only other aircraft carrier, the Liaoning. Beijing acquired the Liaoning from a Ukrainian shipyard in 1998 and the ex-Soviet hull has provided the model for China’s debut indigenous design. The country is expected to keep adding to its naval firepower as its ongoing military modernisation shifts focus from land to sea. A third carrier already under construction in Shanghai is expected to drop the Soviet ski-jump model of launching aircraft in favour of a modern US-style catapult system. China’s sea power is about to take off but for now the US still has clear blue water, both in terms of technology and raw tonnage.

Image: Getty Images


Buying time

It was a bad few months for globalisation as two major trade deals – the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and the EU – appeared to die a death. Yet there are now signs that both deals could be revived. US president Donald Trump’s commerce secretary Wilbur Ross met his EU counterpart Cecilia Malmström yesterday to discuss how TTIP might be revitalised in an effort to improve the US’s €134bn trade deficit with the bloc. Meanwhile, Japan took the initiative on TPP and suggested talks, excluding the US, could resume as early as May. Obstacles remain for both deals – Angela Merkel is unlikely to rush into TTIP with a national election looming, while the viability of TPP without the US is uncertain – but clearly there is still an appetite for global trade.

Image: Reuters


Screening process

The televised pre-election debate is a strange phenomenon: an opportunity for politicians to offer their best grandstanding and most vicious put-downs, with a live factor that brings an air of unpredictability. Iran, which goes to the polls next month, had previously stipulated that all upcoming debates would be pre-recorded, which is widely seen as an attempt to prevent any potential embarrassment for candidates if their opponents drag up misdemeanours from their track record. But the people have demanded otherwise and all broadcasts will now be live. It’s a little more transparency in Iranian politics at a time when voters are increasingly cynical about the election, which is billed as a tussle between so-called reformers and hardliners, yet is a diversion from the fact that so much power resides in the hands of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Image: Getty Images


Beast of burden

Deer in Japan have led a blessed life. Three centuries ago they were considered so holy that anyone who killed one in Nara, Japan’s former capital, could be sentenced to death. Today the 1,200 wild deer living in central Nara Park are protected by law but that’s about to change. Nara prefectural government has proposed a limited hunting season in restricted areas from July to November. The problem, officials say, is that the deer are eating rice and other crops on farms near the city’s eastern mountains and they have also been known to cause traffic jams and accidents. This marks a drastic step for a region whose wild deer appear on souvenirs, sweets and promotional material. To win approval for the culling, Nara needs Japan’s Cultural Affairs Agency to downgrade the status of the deer; a decision could come by June. It’s not clear how the public will react once Nara begins killing its most recognisable symbol.

Photo London

Monocle’s photo director, Matt Beaman, on why we should attend the third edition of the art fair this May.


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