The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 16 April 2018

Elections

Image: Shutterstock

Rollercoaster ride

The Nuevo León has found himself up, down and up again in recent years. Will his upswing continue?

Jaime Rodríguez has had a few ups and downs lately. The governor of Mexico’s Nuevo León state surged to power back in 2015 on a populist-tinged anti-corruption ticket. Then he tried to run for this year’s presidential election on 1 July but didn’t make the number of votes required to be on the ballot. That decision, however, was quashed last week when Mexico’s election watchdog ordered that he be reinstated. While it’s unlikely that the governor famous for his belligerent personality will sweep to power in the forthcoming election, it is possible that he will frustrate the country’s frontrunner Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who may see some presidential votes migrate to his fellow populist. Rodríguez, however, doesn’t listen to polls – he once told Monocle, “All of them in Mexico have lied.”

Business

Image: Getty Images

Immediate action

Japan’s labour shortage could lead to significant long-term problems – but it has some urgent issues too.

Japan’s shrinking population is an escalating concern for politicians and economists, with worrying forecasts from the likes of the health ministry, which warned that the population could fall by a third by 2065. But there are now more immediate worries according to a new report on Japan’s corporate bankruptcies, which show that the country’s ageing and declining population has created a dearth of workers. The severe shortfall of workers in transportation, construction, retail and elderly care have forced businesses to work shorter hours and fewer days, as well as curtail their operations in other ways, causing more than 8,000 companies to file for bankruptcy protection. The socioeconomic outcomes of the lack in personnel are difficult to forecast but it is clear that there will be more costs to Japan’s economy as its population declines.

Design

Image: Luigi Fiano

Raising the bar

A Milanese institution will become a leading light during Milan Design Week.

While the expansive halls of the Salone del Mobile don’t open their doors until tomorrow, events in the city centre are already kicking off for Milan Design Week. As usual, there is a bewildering array of products, exhibitors and districts to take in. It is a demanding week but a fortifying thought for the buyers, manufacturers and journalists who attend is the prospect of a stiff Negroni at the end of a hard day of design – preferably at city institution Bar Basso. The bar is as famous during design week as any of the districts but this year the establishment will take a more formal role in proceedings and host a line of lighting by Gabriel Scott studio. To successfully negotiate Milan this year, pick up a copy of our special edition newspaper, The Salone Weekly, it might even provide more insider tips than a late night at Bar Basso.

Diplomacy

Image: Shutterstock

Buddy movie

In what seems like an unlikely cinematic coupling, the giant panda is enjoying the Bengal tiger’s company.

When it comes to international film in China, titles that include action, fantasy and sci-fi conventions have found the most popularity among cinemagoers. But it appears there may be more to cinematic tastes in the country than explosions, car chases and blue-screen scenes. According to the latest box-office figures, there is an emerging appetite for Bollywood cinema in China, with Indian film Hindi Medium becoming the second-highest grossing film of last weekend, edged out by Spielberg’s sci-fi spectacular Ready Player One. But to make it in China, you need more than a compelling story and believable actors. The recent success of Bollywood is a sign of a warming between the two nations politically as well as culturally. Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi are due to stage a bilateral meeting at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in June.

From Monocle 24

Image: Shutterstock

The Commonwealth: a members’ club worth joining?

The Foreign Desk

As the Commonwealth Games draw to a close and the Commonwealth heads of government meeting opens, we ask whether the Commonwealth is a happy family of democracies or just a ghost of Empires past.

From Monocle Films

Leipzig’s artist studios

Dubbed the new Berlin, Leipzig is home to an increasing number of galleries and project spaces – but the city still has lots of space for inexpensive artists’ ateliers.

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