The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 31 January 2018

Diplomacy

Image: Shutterstock

Fighting words

The Arab League has condemned Trump’s decision to move the US embassy in Israel – but is everyone on the same page?

Two months on from Donald Trump’s upending announcement that he intends to move the US’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the decision continues to rile – at least in public. Tomorrow Arab League foreign ministers will gather in Cairo to discuss how to respond to the US’s move, which the organisation has previously stated was a “dangerous violation of international law”. The league said it will now push the UN to officially recognise East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. Yet behind-the-scenes reports suggest that several Arab nations, notably Saudi Arabia and Egypt, are already prepared to acquiesce to the US’s decision. With the apparent discrepancy between some Arab nations’ public and private responses to Trump’s decision, will a push on behalf of Palestinians really happen?

Business

Image: Alamy

High seas

The water’s warm and the Asean nations are looking to rock the boat by boosting their cruise industry.

Next stop on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ path towards economic and tourism co-operation: the seas. At the trade bloc’s recent Tourism Forum, leaders signed a declaration promising to boost the region’s cruise industry by adopting better policies and regulations – think more transparency when it comes to port fees and streamlined immigration procedures at various stops. With more than 25,000 islands dotted around the region and year-round warm weather, there’s a solid opportunity here for existing cruise companies to claim a bigger stake of this multibillion-euro industry. As the region’s cruise market is projected to grow tenfold from 2016 – serving 4.5 million passengers by 2035 – it’s also a smart time for Asia’s major hospitality players to consider branching out and dipping their toes into the water.

Media

Image: Alamy

Weathering the storm

The ‘Los Angeles Times’ has a new man at the helm – its parent company hopes his appointment will steady the ship.

The Los Angeles Times has a new editor in chief – the paper’s third in sixth months – following a period of upheaval at the 136-year-old daily. Jim Kirk, who was serving as interim editor at the New York Daily News, has been installed in the top job by the Times’s parent company, Tronc Inc. Kirk vowed to “start fresh” following the stormy three-month tenure of his predecessor Lewis D’Vorkin, whose abrasive management style prompted the historically anti-union newsroom staff to try to unionise. That’s not the only management change the paper has seen over the past six months: publisher Ross Levinsohn is currently on unpaid leave while allegations of sexual misconduct against him are investigated. In Kirk, Tronc must hope that it has someone who will put journalism first, rather than the personality politics that have reportedly beset the newsroom of late.

Design

On show

Bangkok’s creative scene has been ripe for its own Design Week for some time. The inaugural edition is not to be missed.

Visitors to Bangkok are in for a retail treat tomorrow when a design market pops up for four days outside the Grand Postal Office, the award-winning new home of the Thailand Creative & Design Center (TCDC). A line-up of more than 100 stalls, selling locally designed products, are part of TCDC’s inaugural Bangkok Design Week, which runs until 4 February. The Thai capital is a hub of creative talent, from graphic design to furniture and lighting. Collaboration across fields is also common. To see for yourself, visit Thinkk Together at Warehouse 30 for an exhibition of the most exciting young designers, curated by Ploypan Theerachai and Decha Archjananun of Thinkk Studio. The one missing piece has been an event to bring this talented generation to international attention. A few years from now Bangkok Design Week could become that global showroom.

From Monocle 24

Firm footing

Step out with the German cobbler reviving traditional craftsmanship in Baden-Baden. Headed by Matthias Vickermann and Martin Stoya, this bespoke shoemaker is one of the few of its kind to have survived. The duo rely on high-quality materials and unparalleled customer service to stay on the front foot.

From Monocle Films

Healthy cities: vim and vigour

Across the world, governments and developers are waking up to the fact that healthier cities are happier ones. We touch down in three very different locations to admire some of the best urban-design initiatives.

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