The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 7 November 2017

Defence

Image: Alamy

Fearing Korea

The looming shadow of war has the Japanese premier puzzling over evacuation plans.

If war were to break out on the Korean Peninsula, how would Japan get its 60,000 citizens living in South Korea out of there? Answering that has become ever more pressing for prime minister Shinzo Abe since North Korea’s powerful nuclear test in September and missile test-firings in recent months. It was among the possible scenarios that Abe reportedly discussed with US president Donald Trump in Tokyo on Monday but the logistics go beyond a mass evacuation. While Tokyo hopes to get its Self-Defense Forces involved, many Koreans bristle at the thought of Japanese troops entering South Korea due to Tokyo’s brutal annexation and colonisation of the Korean peninsula in the early 1900s. That leaves Japan dependent on US forces and an approval from South Korea – two obstacles preventing Abe from resolving the issue.

Business

Image: Getty Images

Paradise lost?

In the wake of the Paradise Papers leak, Facebook and Twitter could be about to lose their safety net.

The financial happenings of multinational companies and wealthy individuals are being picked through in the aftermath of the Paradise Papers leak. But the revelations about Twitter and Facebook are most concerning: for years both have insisted that they are technology businesses not publishers and therefore not subject to the regulations applied to press. But Facebook has recently acknowledged that 146 million users may have seen Russian misinformation on its platform before and after the 2016 presidential election and Twitter had more than 36,000 Russian-linked accounts feeding the debate at the time. Now the Papers suggest that the two firms received hundreds of millions of dollars that can be traced back to Russian state financial institutions. For too long these businesses have acted like they exist in a vacuum of responsibility.

Business

Image: Getty Images

Farm fun

Italian workers are going back to their roots as the country’s agriculture sector gets a boost.

An increasing number of young Italians are shunning white-collar jobs in favour of a sector largely abandoned by the previous generation: agriculture. Farming is one of the few industries in recession-hit Italy to enjoy steady growth and this back-to-the-land boom is being celebrated by a theme park dedicated to Italy’s favourite pastime. Set to open on 15 November and aimed at educating people about how their food reaches the table, Fico Eately World is a two-hectare park spearheaded by the University of Bologna in collaboration with some of the country’s top universities and private investors. Visitors start with tours of 40 on-site farming factories before getting courses in everything from truffle hunting and beekeeping to sorbet and cheese-making.

Urbanism

Image: Getty Images

Giddy up, Denver

The Colorado city’s public transport development has been bold but getting residents to ride the rails isn’t easy.

The ambitious expansion of Denver’s public transport network could be a model for other US cities but it’s beset by growing pains. Starting in 2004, the city high in the Rocky Mountains pledged to add 122 miles of commuter, light rail and bus rapid-transit lines at a cost of $4.7bn (€4.1bn) by 2018 and has been rolling out routes over the past decade. But there is one key component still missing: riders, with usage at just 6 per cent across the city. The reasons for that could be a lesson to other mayors. For instance, the circular layout of the rail lines can often mean that the trip downtown takes almost as long as driving. Then there’s the need for a culture shift: in this old cowboy town getting Denverites out of their cars and riding the rails is no mean feat.

From Monocle 24

Club To Club 2017

Culture with Robert Bound

This week the Culture team pack up their suitcases and head to northern Italy for this year’s Club To Club festival. The 17th edition of the musical affair sees the darlings of jazz, electronica and dance music descend upon Turin for a week of eclectic sounds in excellent venues. Robert Bound meets some of the people and artists behind this year’s festival.

From Monocle Films

Exploring London

Monocle Films partners Rosewood Hotels & Resorts to discover the secrets that London has to offer. Charlotte Rey shows us around the vibrant capital, taking us to her top spots and favourite haunts.

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