The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 4 April 2018

Government

Image: Getty Images

Taking liberties

Whispers of independence whip up a furore in China. Will arrests follow?

The quickest way to spark a beef with Beijing this week? Bring up independence. Following remarks made by Taiwan premier William Lai and Hong Kong academic Benny Tai on independence from China, state mouthpieces in Beijing are advocating a hard reprimand. State media has called for Lai to be arrested for saying in parliament that he believed Taiwan should be an independent country. Meanwhile, similar calls for arrest have been made about Tai for an academic talk given at a recent pro-independence seminar. Though it’s unclear whether either incident could actually be categorised as illegal, the outcry suggests that a nerve has been struck. Just last month Chinese president Xi Jinping changed the constitution to remove limits on how long he can rule the country – it’s clear that the screws are being turned on other democratic ideals as well.

Fashion

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Take it to the streets

Louis Vuitton’s ongoing mission to boost its street cred sees another important appointment.

LVMH announced yesterday that Kris Van Assche, former creative director at Dior Homme, will be the new artistic director at Berluti. It’s the latest in a reshuffling by the world’s biggest luxury group, which has also moved Kim Jones from Louis Vuitton men’s (where he will be replaced by Virgil Abloh) to Dior Homme and has installed Hedi Slimane as artistic, creative and image director at Céline, where he will launch menswear. The musical chairs-like moves make clear that LVMH is looking to grab the attention of younger shoppers by increasing the streetwear savviness of its brands. Van Assche is known for sharp tailoring but also sneakers and club-culture references, in contrast to his Berluti predecessor Haider Ackermann, who favours a bohemian aesthetic. Kim Jones brought tracksuits and Supreme collaborations to Louis Vuitton and will likely continue in this vein at Dior Homme, while Abloh, a long-time Kanye West collaborator, will further push Jones’ streetwear sensibility at Louis Vuitton.

Media

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Breaking news

Canada’s Torstar has hired 20 reporters for its urban daily editions but will the venture prove successful?

Torstar Corp, owner of the Toronto Star, is expanding nationally with 20 new journalists hired as part of its Metro daily newspaper rebrand. A rare move in an industry more familiar with layoffs than hires, come 10 April StarMetro will report tailored regional news in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Halifax. “They’re going into communities where either [media conglomerate] Postmedia is the only news organisation or [they’re] not doing a particularly good job because of cutbacks,” says Christopher Waddell, professor at Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communication. Late last year, Torstar – stating it was fighting for its life amid a dip in advertising revenues – closed a number of community newspapers, reduced budgets and let go of journalists. So has the company turned a corner? It’s too soon to say. While this expansion will include printed newspapers, the company notes it’s more of a digital-focused project and despite the welcome investment in journalism, it remains to be seen if the move will pay off for Torstar – or communities.

Sport

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Game on

Can the Commonwealth Games help Australia heal its sporting injury?

The Commonwealth Games, an 11-day multi-sport event that will see 71 countries compete in 275 events, begin today on Australia’s Gold Coast. The nation is determined to see the Games restore its tarnished reputation following its cricket-ball-tampering scandal last week. That won’t be easy: controversy over syringes found in its athletes’ village and questions of relevancy related to the event’s past as a British colonial apparatus have been difficult to shrug off. Nevertheless, excitement over the tournament is palpable, with strong demand pushing organisers to add 40,000 extra seats in recent weeks. It’s also hoped that the Games will make a statement in the sporting world for gender equality: for the first time, women will compete for the same number of medals as men – a standard that doesn’t exist in the Olympics or any other international multi-sport event.

From Monocle 24

Image: Alamy

London’s National Theatre

Tall Stories

Our editor Andrew Tuck takes us to London’s National Theatre, a brutalist wonder built by the architect Sir Denys Lasdun.

From Monocle Films

Cosy Homes: Hellerup Estate

In the first of two films to celebrate the publication of The Monocle Guide to Cosy Homes we visit the residence of Knud Erik Hansen, managing director of Carl Hansen & Søn and grandson of the company's iconic founder. Hansen has transformed an impressive Danish estate into a comfortable family home, filling it with beautiful furniture and preserving the property’s charm.

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