The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 23 April 2018

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Parallel lines

Paraguay’s general election has a winner – but even with someone new in charge, the people lose.

Following the result of the Paraguayan general election on Sunday, a new administration has swept to power. Right-wing frontrunner Mario Abdo Benitez has won and his ruling Colorado party will once again form a government. But even with a new ruler, the country is unlikely to see big changes. The economic model that has seen Paraguay become a behemoth exporter of soya beans and meat – and claim the highest economic growth in Latin America – has relied on heavy industry, which has left many disenfranchised and out of work, with 25 per cent of the country’s population living in poverty. Unsurprising, then, that people have lost faith in politicians. “There is a greater level of apathy in this election,” says Andrew Nickson, a Paraguay expert at the University of Birmingham. “People are conscious that the political classes in the country are deeply corrupt.” Alas, that distrust doesn’t seem likely to change soon.

Law

Image: Getty Images

Smoke alarm

Health experts are determined to stub out cigarettes in the Japanese capital.

It’s about to get harder to be a smoker in Tokyo. This summer lawmakers are expected to vote on proposed legislation to ban indoor smoking at schools, hospitals, venues and government offices across the country. It sounds like common sense – smoking is bad for you, even if you aren’t attending school or in hospital. But the initiative was met with criticism from health experts, who identified loopholes that meant people could still light up in most of the capital’s restaurants, bars and hotels. Now Tokyo officials have started drawing up stricter measures that would prohibit smoking in all restaurants and bars except family-run businesses that have no non-family employees – staff wellbeing appears to be less of an issue if you’re related to your workers. Still, if approved, the rules would mean a significant health kick for the city and finding a place for a quiet smoke would likely become a drag.

Society

Image: ALAMY

Golden age

Who wants to live forever? The rich, as it turns out, who are willing to fork out to extend their lives.

Historically the rich have always outlived the poor but the wealthy expect to live longer than ever – 100 years to be exact. More than half of people with investable assets of more than $1m (€814,000) imagine they will live for a century, according to a global survey by UBS. However, the desire to retain a high quality of life amid high-living costs and rising medical bills is a significant anxiety for tomorrow’s centenarians. They are willing to put the work in to afford it, believing that staying in jobs beyond the traditional retirement age of 65 will keep them in better shape. What is the price of an extra decade of able-bodied living? About half of your wealth, according to those surveyed around the world.

Architecture

Dare to be different

Rem Koolhaas’s latest project in Milan proves that variety is the spice of life.

White cubes are all too often the predictable choice when it comes to designing museums and art galleries. Although their simplicity and versatility lend themselves well to showcasing contemporary art, it’s refreshing to see original projects that challenge the status quo. In the latest and final addition to Milan’s Fondazione Prada museum, a nine-storey zigzagging tower inaugurated last Friday, Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas has done things differently. Each of the tower’s galleries has a different shape, from slim wedges to wider rectangles, and uses contesting materials, such as stone, concrete and wood. “Variety and variation are the key elements of the tower. Just like the different buildings on the campus itself, the tower mixes intimacy and space in all shapes and sizes,” says Koolhaas, whose OMA studio took on the project in 2015. The best part? The terrace with views of Milan and snow-capped Alps on the horizon.

From Monocle 24

Fare

The Stack

We speak to Ben Mervis, editor in chief of ‘Fare’, a magazine that explores the food scene of a different city in every issue.

From Monocle Films

Future of travel

We find out how the world of mobility is changing and what challenges lay ahead for car-sharing, single-pilot planes and slow travel.

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