The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 26 October 2017

Politics

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Climate of fear

The election replay in Kenya has been driven forward by the ruling coalition but the cost to the populace is too high.

Right up until voting day it’s been unclear whether Kenya’s historical election re-run would actually take place. Despite an opposition boycott and numerous court petitions, the electoral commission and the ruling Jubilee coalition remained determined that this election would go ahead – but at what price? In Kisumu, the heartland of Kenya’s perennial opposition candidate Raila Odinga (pictured), the only signs of an election are the smashed windows from weeks of anti-election protests, the remnants of makeshift roadblocks and leftover burning tyres. Polling-station staff say they’re afraid to go to work after being attacked during recent training. If the vote does go ahead and incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta and Odinga square up to each other today, the real reckoning will once again be on Kenya’s streets.

Urbanism

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Rule of three

Sydney’s plan to accommodate its booming population is a good one – but good things only come to those who wait.

Just as Sydneysiders were getting used to the idea of a second CBD in Parramatta, a new plan released by the city this week confirms a third will be established within the existing city limits. By 2056, Sydney’s footprint will connect the area surrounding the western Badgerys Creek suburb – where a new international airport will be built – to Parramatta in the city’s north and Sydney Harbour, each only 30 minutes from the other by public transport. It’s the long-touted vision of Lucy Turnbull, head of the Greater Sydney Commission, to accommodate Sydney’s rapidly growing population. While the plan looks good on paper, people are eager to see it put into action. A 40-year timeline is too long to wait, particularly while infrastructure projects to improve Sydney’s clogged roads are moving so slowly.

Environment

Image: Getty Images

Clear goals

The race is on to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions in Tokyo. Let’s hope the city keeps it up beyond the 2020 Olympics.

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike has been in Paris this week for a meeting of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a network of 91 cities working to combat global warming. Her big-splash announcement was that Tokyo will have zero carbon-dioxide emissions for four days during the opening and closing of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Tokyo will use the 2020 Olympics as a platform to show off the city government’s efforts to cut greenhouse gases, including a mandatory cap and a trade-emissions system set up in 2010. But therein lies the rub: in reality carbon-dioxide emissions will still be present during those four days but big companies have been donating their carbon credits to the city of Tokyo to offset its count. A jig of the numbers, admittedly, but the city is still striving to hit its 25 per cent emissions cut by 2020.

Shopping

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Big spenders

Thanks to renewed spending in China, revenue in the luxury-goods market is looking flush.

Luxury is back – or at least that’s how it looks to Bain & Co, the global management consultants. A new report predicts that luxury-goods revenues in 2017 will be up a heartening 6 per cent on last year, totalling €262bn. The findings chime with recent upbeat announcements from luxury giants Kering (owner of Gucci) and LVMH (owner of Louis Vuitton). The reasons for the sharp uptick? The Chinese middle class is spending again after a couple of years of dormancy. Young shoppers – those born in the 1980s and 1990s – are also buoying the market but while this bodes well for brands there is no room to become complacent: youngsters are far less loyal to individual labels than their forebears.

From Monocle 24

George Saunders

The Big Interview

New York Times bestselling author George Saunders has just won the most prestigious literary prize in the English-speaking world: the Man Booker. He sat down with Monocle’s Georgina Godwin to talk about his career and winning debut novel Lincoln in the Bardo.

From Monocle Films

Retail special: tasty tipples

Monocle Films visits makers of sherry, gin and whiskey to discover their recipes for success. The memorable flavours and sharp designs of their refined drinks are a perfect tonic for the year ahead.

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