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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 27 March 2018

Politics

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Double time

Sitting comfortably? South Korean presidents soon will be if new legislation is passed.

South Korean presidents don’t get much time to make an impact: the job is limited to a single five-year term. It’s been that way since 1987 when the country’s constitution was changed to reflect the transition from dictatorship to democracy. Now President Moon Jae-in and his Democratic party are submitting legislation to the National Assembly that would allow a president to serve up to two four-year terms. South Korea’s neighbours have recently taken similar steps, to varying degrees. Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling party last year voted to give its leader a shot at an unprecedented third consecutive term, while more worryingly in China the National People’s Congress went to the extreme of getting rid of presidential term limits altogether for President Xi Jinping. Opposition lawmakers in South Korea, however, worry that a longer term would give the president too much power and the scandal that led to the impeachment of Moon’s predecessor, Park Geun-hye, last year could be used as justification to block the proposed change.

Fashion

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Streets ahead

As Louis Vuitton appoints a new menswear designer, can the fashion house increase its street cred?

Virgil Abloh, founder of streetwear label Off-White and longtime Kanye West collaborator, is the new artistic designer of menswear at Louis Vuitton. Abloh’s appointment to one of the most sought-after roles in menswear (Louis Vuitton remains the crown jewel in the LVMH stable) is evidence of the increasing importance of streetwear to luxury brands. Abloh, who will be one of the few black designers to head up a luxury brand, is lauded for his ability to pique interest and has been behind much-hyped Off-White collaborations with brands such as Nike. His predecessor, Kim Jones, was successful in attracting a younger crowd through streetwear references, such as a popular bag collaboration with Supreme in 2017. The fashion house will be hoping that Abloh can continue in that vein and bring in an even larger pool of next-generation shoppers.

Diplomacy

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Walk the line

Trump and his government seem to be on the same page – for once – after a former Russian spy was poisoned on UK soil. But for how long?

The US government yesterday announced it is kicking 60 Russian diplomats out of the country following the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK. In addition to ousting the diplomats, the US also announced the closure of the Russian consulate in the Seattle. The US certainly isn’t the only country showing solidarity with the UK over the matter – Canada, Germany and France were among those that announced they were also expelling Russian diplomats – but none have a leader as seemingly conflicted over the matter. Just last week, president Donald Trump spoke with Vladimir Putin where he congratulated the Russian president on his recent election victory and made no mention of the poisoning. This confusing model of dealing with Russia is nothing new for this administration, which often finds Trump praising Putin even as his own government attempts to apply the pressure. But for now, Trump seems to be in line with both his government and much of the US’s allies. How long will it last?

Sport

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Sticky wicket

An Australian cheating scandal could have far-reaching implications for the home crowd.

Rare is the sporting scandal that prompts condemnation from the highest ranks of government and spurs an entire nation to soul-search. But Australia is currently awash in disgrace following a cheating incident during the weekend’s cricket test match in Cape Town, when Australian player Cameron Bancroft tried to tamper with the ball while his teammates – including captain Steve Smith – tried to cover it up. Sporting stars are often treated as heroes down under – this is a place where more sports stars have won Australian of the Year than those from any other field. Even prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has felt the need to weigh in, saying: “This is a shocking disappointment.” While an investigation into the incident is underway, it’s already clear that the Australian team will have their work cut out for them when it comes to repairing their reputation internationally. At home, however, where sport – and clean play – feature so prominently in the national psyche the reckoning could be much more profound.

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Image: Jean Paul Remy

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