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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 12 December 2017

Security

Image: Getty Images

On the safe side

Despite yesterday’s terrorist attack, residents should be reassured that the Big Apple’s serious-crime figures are falling.

After the prolonged period of European cities being subject to terrorist attacks, New York has now found itself targeted twice in six weeks. Yesterday’s explosion at the bustling Port Authority Bus Terminal, which resulted in the arrest of a Bangladeshi man, didn’t cause any fatalities. Yet there’s no doubt that the Big Apple will be more on edge heading towards Christmas – even as its famously defiant residents go about their last-minute shopping as usual. And they should carry on, because New York remains the safest it has ever been. Indeed this year has so far seen a 20 per cent reduction in the murder rate and a 26 per cent drop in shootings; figures that – despite the spectre of terrorism – represent a turnaround that other cities should covet.

Culture

Image: Getty Images

Saudi’s silver screen

As Saudi Arabia finally lifts a ban on cinemas it should find funds for its fledgling film industry.

Saudi Arabia is celebrating another landmark as part of a push for social reform. Three hundred new cinemas – illegal since the 1980s – are getting the green light in 2018. The question now is, what will it mean for Saudi film production? The country’s modest industry released its first all-Saudi cast feature film, Wadjda, in 2012, which tells the story of a girl who signs on for a Koran recitation competition as a way to raise funds to buy the green bicycle that has captured her interest. The state needs to step up its funding for Saudi productions so the films screening in the shiny new multiplexes actually include some of its own.

Environment

Image: Getty Images

One nation’s trash

A rubbish deal between China and the US gets binned, leaving the latter to pick up the pieces.

For those in the US, living a green life just got tougher. The nation has traditionally dealt with its recycling offshore, sending one third of its recyclables overseas, about 30 per cent of the time to China. But no longer. Over the summer China announced that it would ban US recycling, citing that the foreign waste was hazardous to the nation’s environmental interests. While the full ban is set to take effect on 1 January, some Chinese companies are already refusing to buy American recyclables, leaving the US scrambling to deal with its waste. Unable to sell the mixed-up recycling, it has reverted to a state of rubbish. While trying to find new buyers, US companies have been forced to cart their trash to the dump. Until the country can sort its own plan, the arrangement won’t be green for the planet – or for the companies.

Technology

Image: Getty Images

Eyes on the road

Japanese insurers will be offering discounts to safer drivers (if they don’t mind being watched).

Here’s an idea to get car owners to go slower: track their speed and braking and give discounts on insurance for safe driving. Toyota Motor and Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance are teaming up to offer the service – the first of its kind for the public in Japan – from January on new Lexus vehicles and select Toyota models sold domestically. To sign up, drivers have to let the insurer remotely monitor and analyse their every step on the accelerator and brake. The potential financial benefits for car owners are sizeable: up to a 20 per cent reduction on monthly insurance fees. Taxi operators in Japan have successfully relied on similar technology for years to encourage good driving habits but without safeguards to prevent abuse of data the “Big Brother” element could spook the masses.

From Monocle 24

Image: Christine Wagner

Tall Stories 86: New York’s evolution

The Urbanist

We look at how New York has evolved over the past 100 years. While some might complain about lost grit and gentrification, our bureau chief in the city Ed Stocker feels that they are missing the point and that, in the end, a safer New York is a more open New York.

From Monocle Films

Taiwan’s second city

Discover the charming city of Tainan that is tempting people away from their high-paid jobs in Taipei and Hong Kong.

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