The Boao Forum for Asia – otherwise known as “Asian Davos” – is back with a bang. The four-day annual summit, now underway on China’s southern island of Hainan, has pulled in the head of the IMF and the prime ministers of the Netherlands and Singapore, as well as leaders from technology giants Alibaba and Didi Chuxing. All are in attendance to hear Xi Jinping set out a slew of market reforms in a speech likely to cement his position as globalisation’s cheerleader in chief. It’s been two years since Xi made an appearance at the forum and he won’t want to miss a symbolic trick: Beijing is marking 40 years since former leader Deng Xiaoping’s open-door policy in 1978, which first allowed foreign businesses to invest in communist China. Rumblings from Washington about a trade war are only likely to bolster Xi’s standing abroad and prove a boon for the Boao Forum.
The number of travellers passing through Russian airports has risen in recent years but aviation laws have remained firmly rooted in the past, despite the country’s travel boom. With footfall in Russian airports nearly double what it was in 2008, the Ministry of Transport is now taking measures to prevent delays. Fines for postponements have been hiked and airlines now have to pay passengers 339 roubles (€4.60) – up from 25 roubles (€0.34) – for each hour they are delayed. The new penalties might not seem like much but the move is a small but positive step in the right direction. Yet while getting passengers to their destination on time is important, improving safety is even more crucial: Russia has the second-worst aviation-safety record in the world. Let’s hope that the new fines are just the beginning of a thorough overhaul of aviation policy in the country.
Fans of Fujifilm were dismayed on Friday when the Japanese photography company announced plans to end the sale of its monochrome film this year. The announcement quickly sparked a buying frenzy, with fanatical photographers rushing to snap up the dwindling supply. They don’t have long: the Japanese domestic market will receive Fujifilm’s final production batch this autumn and the overseas market will follow suit shortly after. “The Japanese monokuro (monochrome) film market is smaller than 1 per cent of the peak in 1965,” says Fujifilm spokesperson Eri Tsunogai. “We couldn’t continue any longer since the demand kept falling.” The company continues to push its colour film but monochrome fans can kiss – or click – the Japanese-made black-and-white film photo goodbye.
Yesterday evening saw the return of a uniquely Bavarian summertime phenomenon. Das Lederhosentraining is an open-air fitness event where attendees engage in a blend of physiotherapy and bodyweight exercises. Founded in Munich in 2011 by professional sports trainer Klaus Reithmeier, it takes place every Monday from April to September in the picturesque surroundings of the city’s Englischer Garten. The session was originally thought up as a marketing wheeze so it’s free to attend but, more importantly, Tracht – Bavaria’s traditional dress – is not only allowed but actively encouraged. If working up a sweat wearing heavy leather shorts is your idea of a fun evening, you’re not alone – in 2017 roughly 30,000 people attended Das Lederhosentraining, which has now spread to 10 cities across Bavaria. Reithmeier clearly thinks it has legs: he reportedly wants to take it to 100 towns and cities across the state by 2020.
In an ode to summertime, Monocle films hits the road to sample artisanal ice-cream makers with a difference. In Denmark, Japan and Canada we meet the innovators challenging taste buds one scoop at a time.
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