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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 14 August 2017

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Short shrift for Schulz

Will the leader of the SPD beat Angela Merkel in Germany’s election? There’s a very short answer to that.

A month and a half before Germans head to the polls in the federal election, it is already beginning to look like a done deal in favour of Angela Merkel. According to a poll conducted by Forsa for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the chancellor’s biggest rival, in the form of Martin Schulz, is set to gain just 30 per cent of the vote. For Schulz’s SPD, it must feel a long time since analysts were talking about a win for their party, even though he was only nominated as leader in January. While plenty of people considered Theresa May’s re-election a shoo-in before she stumbled earlier this year, the number of undecided voters in Germany is shrinking the closer we get to the vote. The maths is not looking good for Schulz.

Property

Image: Getty Images

Living in America

The number of foreigners buying housing in the US is on the rise – but they’re not all oil-rich stay-aways.

There is no question that the buying of real estate by foreigners in the US – and elsewhere around the world – is at unprecedented levels. Last year foreign buyers bought 284,455 homes in America, an uptick of 50 per cent from the previous year, according to a new study by the National Association of Realtors. But it may not be what you expect. The widespread image of empty luxury apartments owned by oligarchs in cities such as London and New York is only part of the story, accounting for just 10 per cent of foreign home-buying. In reality, 60 per cent of foreign buyers in the US bought homes in rural areas and the suburbs, suggesting that rather than being investors, the majority of these buyers are actually immigrants yet to get a US passport but in pursuit of the American Dream.

Politics

Image: Alamy

Unrest in Uruguay

The country’s leaders are caught up in less a political scandal, more a puerile squabble.

Uruguay doesn’t do political scandals quite like other parts of South America. While the former president of Peru, Ollanta Humala – and seemingly, much of the rest of the continent – is caught up in Brazil’s Odebrecht fiasco, in Uruguay the vice-president is coming under fire for different reasons. Raúl Sendic is accused of inappropriate use of a corporate credit card when he was in charge of the state petrol entity Ancap. The country’s president, Tabaré Vázquez – enjoying his second stint in the role – has stepped in and said it’s not his job to fire his veep or even ask for his resignation. Seems almost tame compared to the upheaval happening in other parts of the region, doesn’t it?

Publishing

Strong words

No need to read between the lines: the rise of Taiwan’s publishing industry is front-page news.

Tomorrow Taipei's noteworthy writers, editors and literary luminaries will gather for Taiwan’s annual publishing-industry prize. Among the stars of the annual Golden Tripod awards is Eva Chen: the 28-year-old founder of Qiudaoyu (Discover Japan Now) will pick up prizes for best lifestyle magazine and best editor in chief as the youngest winner in the award’s 40-year history. Wherever you look it seems publishing is enjoying a golden period in Taiwan: new news titles such as The Affairs are rolling off the press; Reporters without Borders picked Taipei for its first Asian bureau earlier this year; and one of the five Hong Kong booksellers abducted by China in 2015 plans to open a new bookshop here. As Beijing threatens press freedom in Hong Kong and ratchets up internet censorship at home, expect Taiwan to have the last word.

From Monocle 24

Cooking from the Caucasus

The Menu

New recipes from the Caucasus region, the revival of Jewish food in Berlin and a new high-end mixer brand taking over Europe.

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