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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 15 August 2017

Diplomacy

Image: Reuters

Man of his word

A US official is in Asia and keen to reassure his country’s allies by saying all the right things.

As the war of words between Washington and Pyongyang escalates, US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford seems eager to be the voice of reason during his tour of Asia this week. One tactic he is expected to resort to: well-worn phrases in public even as his closed-door meetings ​explore the gamut of military options. During his visit to South Korea on Monday he spoke of the ironclad commitment of US forces; on his final stop in Japan later in the week he is sure to trot out familiar statements about standing by America’s “closest ally” in Asia. Reassuring stuff for Seoul and Tokyo, perhaps. Whether a show of solidarity by the US and other powers in Asia sends a strong enough message to North Korea remains to be seen.

Business

Image: Reuters

Feeling bullish

While most markets are wary of tense North Korea relations, US defence companies are enjoying a boost.

As the rest of the world frets about the prospect of all-out war between the US and North Korea, there are some hoping to profit from the escalating tensions. American defence companies have seen their share prices rise this month, particularly in the aftermath of the speech in which Donald Trump promised to respond to Kim Jong-un with “fire and fury”. Raytheon, a manufacturer of anti-missile systems, is up nearly 7 per cent compared to the same time last month, while Lockheed Martin, the US government’s top weapons supplier, has seen a 6.2 per cent boost. For the most part, markets are spooked by the belligerence emanating from the White House but defence companies are an exception; the rest of us can only hope the market bets placed on them turn out to be misjudged.

Industry

Image: Getty Images

Economy of scales

Italy’s ban has sound environmental intentions but critics have spotted something fishy.

Following an official decree, Italy’s coastline is now under its annual fishing ban. The measure, which runs until 31 October and first affects the Adriatic coast and later the coast between Livorno and Imperia, has been designed to prevent over-fishing and allow the creatures to reproduce. Yet while the ban was made with the best of environmental intentions, critics have suggested that it needs to be rethought as summer isn’t a universal breeding time for fish so some species won’t even be benefit from the break. (The government is considering how to adjust the decree next year to address this.) Restaurateurs and grocery shops also have reason to be upset as they will need to rely on importing from across the country or even overseas for part of the summer.

Hospitality

Image: Alamy

Park and ride

The beauty of America’s national parks is marred by high levels of traffic.

Holidaymakers heading to a US national park this summer are in for a bumpy ride. California’s Yosemite National Park – known for its waterfalls and granite cliffs – has had a record number of visitors, which has caused record levels of traffic congestion. As many as 8,200 vehicles can be found on the valley’s roads on a summer day with visitors fighting over just 6,500 parking spaces; instead of glorious sights, many families are dealing with traffic jams and fender benders. And Yosemite isn’t the only park with an overwhelming number of visitors: Utah’s Zion National Park, Arches National Park and Joshua Tree have had similar problems. There doesn’t seem to be an easy fix but Yosemite is experimenting with online reservations for parking spots throughout the busy month of August, while other parks are planning in-park shuttle services come September.

From Monocle 24

The Summer Weekly

Culture with Robert Bound

Robert Bound introduces us to the the latest addition to the Monocle family, ‘The Summer Weekly’: the newspaper we’re printing throughout August. From the nightclubs of Ibiza to music festivals in Helsinki, we take a sunny trip through the stories that have made the culture pages of our new publication.

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