The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 21 September 2017

Politics

Image: Reuters

Mixed media

A former president’s go-to news reporter has been sacked, highlighting the media’s divisions ahead of her potential comeback.

Journalist Roberto Navarro has become one of the faces of so-called “Kirchnerism”– the Argentinean movement that supports ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and is pushing for her political comeback. Navarro and his softball questions have made him one of Kirchner’s go-to journalists whenever she’s wanted to return to the public spotlight. But earlier this week it was announced that he had been sacked from his post at cable news channel C5N following a spat with the channel’s director Federico Maya, whom Navarro has accused of censoring his stories and bowing to pressure from Mauricio Macri’s government to force his departure. As Kirchner eyes a return to politics in October’s mid-term elections, the timing of Navarro’s departure doesn’t inspire confidence that the media will become any less polarised anytime soon.

Tourism

Image: Getty Images

Spend the night

If you stay in an increasing number of Japanese cities, Kyoto being the latest, sheep won’t be the only thing you’re counting in bed.

Tokyo was the first Japanese city to bring in an accommodation tax for those staying in the city’s hotels and inns back in 2002, while Osaka introduced its own version in January. Now other cities in Japan – all bursting at the seams with record-breaking numbers of tourists – are lining up to do the same. Kyoto looks set to be next though and will introduce a tax in October 2018. Much higher than Tokyo’s, which ranges from ¥100 to ¥200 (€0.75 to €1.50) a night, Kyoto’s tax will run up to ¥1,000 (€7.50) depending on the price of the room. The charge will apply to hotels and traditional inns but, unlike Tokyo, Airbnb-style private rentals, known in Japan as minpaku, will also be taxed. Legislation is now in process to sharpen up the rules surrounding the minpaku business, which is becoming increasingly unwieldy as visitor numbers soar.

Media

Image: REX/Shutterstock

Light reading

For a country beset by dreary headlines, a new publication will make a welcome change.

This week is bringing good news for the Italian newsstand: Corriere della Sera, one of the nation’s biggest dailies, is launching a weekly supplement dedicated entirely to uplifting reports. Appropriately titled Buone Notizie, the magazine will accompany the Tuesday edition of the newspaper. In a country where media coverage of everything from politics to the economy has been consistently gloomy since the financial crisis of 2008, this new publication will, hopefully, inspire other media players. As for the publishing sector, the release of a new print title is good news in and of itself: it’s yet another sign that paper can still be a winning idea.

Society

Sage advice

Singapore is exploring how gardens can benefit its elderly – a wise move considering the city’s ageing population.

With an increasing number of studies touting the health benefits of green spaces, Singapore is hoping that its new therapeutic gardens will help its ageing population stay healthy and active. Under the government’s Action Plan for Successful Ageing programme, two public gardens opened this week following the initiative’s first opening in HortPark last year. After consulting with professors from the Department of Psychological Medicine at the National University Health System, park planners incorporated design elements meant to enhance wellbeing: raised planter beds, which make gardening easier for the less mobile, have been designed especially for elderly therapeutic programmes, while ample seating has been built to accommodate caregivers or any visitor in need of a rest. Even the choice of greenery is meant to help the elderly: fragrant plants such as lemongrass have been included because their scent is believed to stimulate memory and help slow the onset of dementia.

From Monocle 24

Health check

The Entrepreneurs

Is artificial intelligence the future of healthcare? We talk to Dr Claire Novorol, co-founder of Ada: an app designed by doctors and powered by AI that’s aiming to be your personal health companion when you’re unwell.

From Monocle Films

Healthy income

As the fitness business pulls in new and inventive players, how can cities encourage their citizens to live healthier lives?

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