The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 30 November 2017

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Free spirits

Corsica’s nationalist party has high hopes for Sunday’s elections – could a win for them nudge independence back up the agenda?

With Europe currently swept up by independent movements, seeing a nationalist party’s fortunes rise often brings up all-too-easy comparisons with Catalonia’s secessionist aspirations. As Corsica’s local government elections approach on Sunday, many are expecting nationalist party Pé a Corsica to do better than Macron’s En Marche and some are worried that an independence push could be next. While such a referendum is unlikely in the short term (even if the party wins), the long history of Corsica’s autonomist movement suggests self-determination may return. The island’s separatist militant group FLNC announced an end to military operations just a year ago, concluding the armed struggle for independence it had been carrying out since the 1970s. The debate has subsided but aspirations of autonomy – however far away that might be – haven’t been quelled completely.

Philanthropy

Image: Shutterstock

Healthy interest

Hundreds of cities have applied for Bloomberg’s Mayors Challenge and many of them have one thing on their minds.

Bloomberg’s 2017 Mayors Challenge is underway in the US with 324 cities applying to take part in the initiative that funds innovation in metropolises. It’s the first time the challenge has returned to its home country since 2013, after travelling to Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. According to the applications received, the top concern among US city leaders is health. Perhaps this shouldn’t come as a surprise “as cities confront the growing opioid epidemic and work to expand access to healthcare”, Anne Emig, from government innovation at Bloomberg Philanthropies, tells us. The city that proposes the best innovation project will gain $5m (€4.2m) in investment and though the winner won’t be announced until October next year it will be fascinating to see if any centre suggests a radical overhaul of how healthcare can be tackled in the US.

Food

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Cooking up a storm

Tokyo and Michelin stars go together like oysters and champagne – but the delicious pairing isn’t to everyone’s taste.

It’s that time of year when Tokyo again wins the crown as Michelin’s most garlanded city. The 2018 Michelin guide to Tokyo is due out on Friday and will feature 234 starred establishments, up from 227 in 2017. All 12 of the three-star restaurants from last year hold on to their top status and there are 82 new venues, including five new two-star restaurants and another 23 earning one star. The first Tokyo guide, back in 2007, was greeted with scepticism: some declined the award and many argued that Japanese food excelled in areas that Michelin tastes simply didn’t reach. To counter that, the guide has broadened its remit and has its more affordable Bib Gourmand section, which this year has 59 new entries. Some chefs (and diners) will never be convinced that the Michelin circus benefits Japanese cuisine but for those who are interested, among the two-star additions this year are innovative French-Japanese fusion restaurant Florilege and creative kaiseki spot Den.

Transport

Image: Getty Images

On the right track

It would seem that New Zealand’s plans for investing in its railway system are zooming along rather nicely.

A joint report by New Zealand’s transport authority and state-owned rail operator KiwiRail, released this week, includes a welcome detail about its proposed railway system: how much it would save citizens. The report estimated that by cutting congestion, reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, improving road safety and reining in road maintenance expenditure, a railway would translate into NZ$1.5bn (€870m) in measurable savings for taxpayers. Plus, the report deems that figure a conservative estimate. This optimistic outlook is expected to boost New Zealand’s newly elected government’s case for increasing public investment in the railway system, beginning with a light rail linking Auckland’s CBD to its international airport – with stops at suburban areas in between – within the decade.

From Monocle 24

Time to shine

The Tech 10

Meet the Melbourne watchmaker using technology to keep things ticking. Alex McBride left a career in property to launch The Fifth, an online watch business that only trades five days a month.

From Monocle Films

Japanese architecture: Toukouen hotel

We travel to Japan’s least-populous prefecture, Tottori, where we explore one of its most-famous hotels.

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