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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 7 March 2018

Politics

Image: Shutterstock

Last woman standing

The Philippines’ most senior women officials – and president Rodrigo Duterte’s opponents – are facing a difficult month.

National women’s month in the Philippines is looking ominous for the country’s most senior women officials. On Thursday a committee of congressmen will vote on whether to proceed with a motion to oust chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno for failing to properly declare her income. Though man believe the charges are trumped up by supporters of president Rodrigo Duterte, who opposes the senior magistrate, Sereno has gone on leave to prepare for an expected Senate impeachment trial. While another Duterte target, ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, has managed to battle on, the country’s top graft buster is required by law to step down later this year. That could leave vice-president Leni Robredo as the last woman standing. However the directly elected politician, sidelined by the president, faces a recount of her 2016 victory on 19 March. Her challenger Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos – a Duterte disciple and son of the ex-dictator – could then be named VP.

Business

Image: Shutterstock

Left in the dust?

As the race for innovation heats up elsewhere, the Geneva Motor Show will need to speed up to keep pace.

As one of only a handful of truly global automotive shows, you’d expect the Geneva Motor Show to be a showcase for the latest trends in the sector. However, with so many car brands now heading to CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas and Web Summit in Lisbon to show off their latest technology and software developments, Geneva is beginning to feel a bit out of step. “This looks like 2007, at least when it comes to the types of cars and what the brands are focusing on,” says Mårten Levenstam, senior vice-president at Volvo in charge of product strategy, sitting at the marque’s stand in Hall 5. “Lots of sports cars and engines on display.” The models being premiered are without question top of the range (not to mention handsome) but if Geneva Motor Show isn’t careful, the really game-changing industry shifts will start to be explored elsewhere.

Fashion

Image: Getty Images

Dinner date

Emmanuel Macron’s soirée sees him shift diplomatic efforts from dignitaries to designers.

The fashion-week season wrapped up in Paris yesterday when Chanel sent models down a leaf-strewn runway in the Grand Palais. Much of the chatter, however, concerned a dinner held the night before. President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte hosted 100 designers, including Berluti’s Haider Ackermann, Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri, Simon Porte Jacquemus and Vivienne Westwood, at a reception in the Élysée Palace. It was a gesture to embrace the designers who show in Paris – and to encourage more to join. Paris is the most international of the fashion weeks and it is getting even more so (a string of US designers recently joined the schedule). Yet, even though fashion is major business for France, a president has not received the industry like this since 1984. It was the latest move by Macron to emphasise that, from tech to transport to fashion, his country is open for business.

Expo

Do it yourself

Fearing they’ll miss out on buyers, Thailand’s furniture-makers have taken matters into their own hands and built their own fair.

Thanks to slow foot traffic, the Thailand International Furniture Fair, previously organised by the government’s Department of International Trade Promotion, was last year absorbed into a larger exhibition called Style, held in October. Yet the Thai furniture industry feels it’s been shortchanged and doesn’t want to lose out on buyers who are descending on the region for “the Asean furniture circuit” as Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam all host their own fairs this month. So it’s launched its own event. The Thai Furniture Industries Club, the leading organisation of furniture manufacturers in the country, has spent 24m baht (€618,000) creating the Thailand International Furniture Expo, which starts today in Bangkok and runs until Sunday. There will be 120 exhibitions from just a handful of countries but the team plans to grow the event into a bigger annual affair. If they build it, will buyers come?

From Monocle 24

Oscar winner: Paul D Austerberry

Culture with Robert Bound

The Shape of Water took home four awards at this year’s Oscars, including best picture and best director. It also won for its production design by Paul D Austerberry, Jeffrey A Melvin and Shane Vieau, who between them created a world that treads the line between mid-century drama and aquatic fantasy. Austerberry speaks to Monocle’s Ben Rylan from his Toronto office about their Oscar-worthy design.

From Monocle Films

Turkey's California

We travel to the Aegean Coast in Turkey, where tourism may be falling but its beach clubs are buoyed by a homegrown crowd escaping city life and political upheaval.

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