The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 1 March 2018


Looking to Italy

Argentina’s Italian population will get the chance to vote in Italy’s upcoming election – so will they give Matteo Renzi’s party a boost?

Anyone who has been to Argentina’s capital will notice the Italian influence: from the slang word for beer (“birra”) to the fresh-pasta shops dotted around the city. But as Italy’s general election approaches, the influence is due to head in the other direction. Italy has one of the few parliaments in the world that earmarks seats for citizens living in other parts of the world. Argentina is home to some 800,000 passport-holding Italians, largely due to ancestors who emigrated. They will have 89 candidates from various party lists to choose from when voting for the four deputy seats and two senate seats that represent the region. This is why Buenos Aires’s streets are currently papered with signs for Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party proclaiming – in Spanish – that Italy will be “Stronger and fairer” under his guidance. Could the international campaign give Renzi the boost he needs?


Image: Alamy

Good news?

Canada’s local papers may get a helping hand in a bid to combat a fall in revenues and subscriptions.

Canada’s government continues to grapple with the country’s media woes: numerous regional newspapers across the country have shut and even big players such as the Toronto Star are struggling to stay afloat. Now Justin Trudeau’s government is getting creative: in its budget announcement this week, officials unveiled a plan that would allow troubled news outlets – many of which have been hit hard by dwindling ad revenue and declining subscriptions – to apply for not-for-profit status. While the details are scant, the move is an encouraging sign that the government recognises the importance of local journalism. Yet, ultimately, that’s something that the readers will need to recognise too. “What would really solve the problem is if people who want to read publications are prepared to pay the cost of producing them,” says Christopher Waddell, a journalism professor at Carleton University in Ottawa. “Up to this point [in Canada] they haven’t been willing to.”


Image: Getty Images

Up in arms

New Zealand’s bold premier upholds her nation’s principles while standing up to the US.

Jacinda Ardern continues to set herself apart. In her first big foreign policy address this week, the New Zealand prime minister announced that she was reinstating a government minister position for disarmament and arms control. She stressed that she was upholding New Zealand’s “values” – in this case, its strong anti-nuclear-weapon stance – which would define the nation. The position was first created in the 1980s when the then-government banned nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed ships from docking in the country, prompting the US to suspend treaty obligations. Ardern’s predecessor scrapped the cabinet role in 2011 to appease the superpower. By reinstating the position, which is viewed as symbolic, Ardern is proving that she’s not just happy to diverge from the former government but also intent on not cowing to the US.


Image: Getty Images

We’ll always have Paris

As fashion weeks go, the French capital hosts one of the best – and so far it’s living up to its reputation.

Paris Fashion Week, the nine-day marathon that wraps up the autumn/winter womenswear season, has started promisingly. More so than any other city, the French capital excels at striking a balance between featuring big luxury brands and up-and-coming designers. The biggest news so far came after the Jacquemus show on Tuesday: Simon Porte Jacquemus, the playful designer behind the womenswear brand, announced he will be launching a men’s collection in June. There are other bright talents to look out for this week, including Argentinian designer Sofia Achaval, who will present the debut line for her brand Acheval Pampa. But perhaps the most anticipated event of the season will be the Céline presentation on Monday, where Phoebe Philo will unveil her final collection for the house she has transformed – and turned into a $1bn (€820m) per year business – over the past decade.

From Monocle Films

The secret to opening a bike shop

In the latest episode of our 'Secret to...' series we talk to Jack Pattison, co-founder of Freddie Grubb, about the key elements that go into creating an outstanding bike shop.






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