Thursday 18 January 2018 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Thursday. 18/1/2018

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images


Bad news

Watchdogs of press freedom in the Philippines are on edge this week: a national business regulator has announced that it has revoked the operating licence of top independent news site Rappler. The English-language media company, established in 2012, was accused of violating foreign-ownership laws. But Rappler and its supporters have publicly denounced the ruling as political retaliation for its critical coverage of president Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly drug war. Though the head of state has denied any involvement, it’s hard to forget his threat to expose Rappler’s “American ownership” during a speech to congress last year. Similarly, Filipino newspaper The Inquirer – a beacon of press freedom during the Marcos dictatorship – was controversially sold last July to a tycoon Duterte supporter only months after it was given a public (and vulgar) dressing down by the president. Anyone else picking up on a theme?

Image: iStock


Explosive material

Just days after a mistaken missile alert in Hawaii, Japan had its own false alarm this week. Public broadcaster NHK issued an online announcement on Tuesday evening that North Korea had fired a missile, adding that the government was encouraging citizens to shelter inside buildings or head underground. Five minutes later, the broadcaster posted a message that there was no missile and there hadn’t been a government warning, known as a J-Alert. NHK said that the internet bulletin had been sent out accidentally and an announcer on the evening news apologised with a deep bow. At a time of increasing North Korean missile activity, nerves are already frayed in Japan; chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga has urged NHK not to repeat its mistake.


Hitting the brief

The White Briefs was born in Österlen, Sweden, in 2009, but the underwear brand has now found a home in Paris. The brand’s first shop opens today and the Haut Marais-based space is filled with understated underwear made from organic cotton. The stripped-back shop was designed in collaboration with Scott Rasmusson Källander Architects; the interior combines a studio and a retail section featuring special guest collaborations, nifty accessories and a small array of homeware. “We like architecture and Parisian charm, and Paris is a good location for a global business,” says Peter Simonsson, who founded the brand with his wife Henriette. “The underwear business is in a period of transition: people are looking for comfortable, quality underwear mixed with nice design.”

Image: Evelyn Dragan


Form follows function

IMM Cologne, which continues to welcome visitors this week, is known as an entry point to the German market for foreign furniture companies. But the event is also increasingly respected for its promotion of young national talent. Besides strong showings from emerging design brands such as Münster’s Caussa and Stuttgart’s Siegelwerk Manufaktur, the trade show’s Pure Talents Contest is also celebrating its 15-year anniversary. With a panel that includes creative luminary Sebastian Herkner, the Pure Talents selection highlights who and what to look out for in young German and international design, giving visitors a glimpse of what’s to come. Be sure to keep an eye on Münster’s Pia Regenbrecht, whose conceptual homeware aims to question everyday habits by removing unnecessary function.

Basque masters

Melody Adams and partner Nemanja Borjanovic were working in the City before a trip to San Sebastián inspired them to quit and open a restaurant. Serving traditional Basque cuisine, Donostia was launched in 2012 in Londo’s Marylebone; just three years later their second restaurant, Lurra, opened its doors on the same street. So how, with no previous experience, do you become a success in one of the world's toughest industries?

Taste of Tuscany

With the historic estate of Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco as a base, food writer Emiko Davies sets out on a quest for delicious recipes with strong historic roots. From a cheese farm to a contemporary-art gallery, together we explore what this inspiring Italian region has to offer.


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