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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 19 September 2017

Politics

Image: REX/Shutterstock

Fog of war

Trump’s strikes on Isis are escalating despite his pledge to keep the US out of battles: can he clarify his policy in today’s UN speech?

President Trump seems to be following through on his promise to ramp up the war with Isis. A new report has revealed that in August US and allied aircraft dropped more than 5,000 bombs in the fight against the extremist militant group. This number, which excludes drone strikes, is an all-time high, surpassing June’s record of 4,848. In July, watchdog Airwars reported that more than 2,000 civilians have been killed in airstrikes since Trump took office – roughly equivalent to the total number of civilians killed in airstrikes during Barack Obama’s tenure. This explosion in sorties does little to clarify Trump’s foreign policy, having sworn to “bomb the shit” out of Isis and conversely keep the US out of wars. Trump’s speech today at the UN General Assembly gives him an opportunity to crystallise his beliefs but, given his track record, we may still be left guessing.

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Keep it in the family

Despite winning a by-election in Lahore, the wife of Pakistan’s former prime minister pulled in a much-reduced majority in the wake of a corruption scandal.

Normally by-elections are parochial affairs, a matter for local media and political insiders; over the weekend, however, Pakistan held a by-election with far wider ramifications. Kulsoom Nawaz, the wife of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, stood for election in the Lahore seat that her husband had held from 1985 until this July, when he was disqualified from office following a corruption scandal. Yesterday it was announced that she won the vote but it was much closer than expected – an early sign that the electorate may be turning against Sharif’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, ahead of next year’s general election. More meaningful still was the performance of Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, who ran her mother’s campaign. Long tipped as Sharif’s heir apparent, she has over the past few weeks demonstrated her ability and political nous.

Media

Image: Getty Images

Ain’t that a shame?

As an iconic magazine brand is put up for sale observers are speculating about its possible new owner.

Wenner Media’s for-sale sign hanging over Rolling Stone on the eve of its 50th anniversary sounds like a story about the demise of print media and the difficulty of remaining independent in the current environment. And to a certain extent it is. But it’s also about a magazine that has shifted since its inception, from fomenting the likes of gonzo journo extraordinaire Hunter S Thompson to joining the establishment and taking a hit in 2014 when a story it published about an alleged campus gang rape was later discredited. Nonetheless, the magazine has continued to champion long-form, often political, journalism. The sale raises the spectre of American Media – which owns the Trump-supporting National Enquirer and bought US Weekly from Wenner in March – stepping in once more. If that happens, Rolling Stone “would almost immediately cease being the magazine we have known,” according to Pete Vernon, a Columbia Journalism Review Delacorte fellow.

Governance

Image: Getty Images

Picking a team

The Dutch state opening of parliament will be missing something – a government.

The state opening of parliament – always on the third Tuesday of September – is the biggest day in the Netherlands’ parliamentary calendar. Except this year there’s no government. In true ceremonial fashion the Dutch King’s renaissance-style golden carriage will carry the reigning King Willem-Alexander to give his speech in The Hague. Once the monarch sets out the government’s policies, the finance minister will present the year’s budget. But the country’s multi-party political system currently has four parties trying to form a government together, which, after 187 days, is yet to happen. “The problem is people aren’t expecting much to come from this year’s speech,” says Tim de Wit from Dutch national broadcaster NOS. “The current caretaker government simply doesn’t have enough power to pass any legislation.” The lamest duck of openings, then.

From Monocle 24

Something Old, Something New: Andrew Harrison and Andrew Mueller

Culture with Robert Bound

Music journalists and old friends Andrew Harrison and Andrew Mueller are the guests on this month’s ‘Something Old, Something New’. They pick the items that have piqued their interest throughout their lives and careers.

From Monocle Films

Wine special: South Tyrol

A new generation of wine producers in South Tyrol has shifted the focus from quantity to quality, now successfully concentrating on what makes the tipple from this region so special. We visit Merano Wine Festival to meet the people behind this change in the Italian Alps.

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