Monday 7 May 2018 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Monday. 7/5/2018

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images


As a rule

Russian president Vladimir Putin takes to the Grand Kremlin Palace today for an inauguration that will cement his status as leader of the Russian Federation until 2024. The current constitution dictates that the fourth term of the 65-year-old will be his last but some are not so sure. Putin has form for bending the rules to enable him to cling to power. Facing the end of his term limits in 2008, he executed a ‘castling’ manoeuvre with Dmitry Medvedev, which enabled Medvedev to assume control of the Kremlin in name, while Putin waited to gain eligibility to run again – and win – in 2012. There is an irony to the scenario in which Putin has placed himself. The violence that he has inflicted on Russian society during his reign – eroding the rule of law and democratic institutions, as well as courts – means that these bodies will not be in place to safeguard him should he lose power. This means we can look forward to more shirtless photo opportunities, mock democracy and trolling of the West beyond 2024.

Image: Alamy


Power play

Despite the unnatural taste and questionable caffeine levels, energy-drink sales are booming globally. Pakistan’s Punjab province has taken an intriguing step to discourage its citizens from chugging too many cans, demanding that brands such as Red Bull and Monster remove the word “energy” from their packaging and replace it with “stimulant”. The move comes from the scientific advisory panel of the Punjab Food Authority (PFA), who ruled that the word was misleading. The PFA decided that the drinks do not provide people with nutritional energy per se, rather that the caffeine, taurine and guarana merely stimulate drinkers. Curbing the aggressive expansion of energy drinks into Pakistan is a responsible move given the country’s high rate of heart disease. Perhaps other nations will now insist on a rewording of the drinks category.

Image: Getty Images


Melbourne again

Even the world’s most liveable cities have room for improvement, which is why it’s a positive sign that Melbourne is hosting a City Shaping Symposium tomorrow. Despite consistently doing well in quality-of-life rankings – including Monocle’s – Melbourne has faced an increasing number of problems in recent years, with a swelling population leading to a crunch on housing and traffic congestion. But during tomorrow’s symposium, sessions and panels will bring together leaders from the City of Melbourne, the University of Melbourne and Melbourne Innovation Districts, among others, to discuss the future of the city. A key focus will be on how digital advancements are reshaping Melbourne’s economy and how the city’s next generation can use innovation and design to ensure that the city thrives.

Image: Alamy


Extra accommodation

Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan: a tourist’s checklist of Italy rarely lacks its main art cities. Yet as many of these destinations struggle to cope with an enormous influx of visitors (and, in cases such as Venice’s, are forced to think up strategies to limit their number), an opportunity is opening up for the country’s smaller – but no less charming – towns. Over the past year the number of nights spent by visitors in villages across the Bel Paese has grown by a staggering 24 million. Italy has put forward numerous policies in the fight against its rural areas’ depopulation but a tourism-based model (be it state-backed or not) may prove a particularly successful solution. It shows that with the right hotels and restaurants, and a tended-to cultural offering, a small town’s economy can revive itself. Central governments across Europe would do well to take note.

Image: James Cannon

The Monocle Restaurant Awards

We unveil the world’s top-five restaurants according to Monocle. These are the best places our editors have eaten over the past year.

Monocle Films / Estonia

Property Prospectus: Kalamaja

Tallinn’s Kalamaja neighbourhood boasts a vibrant community of young professionals; Monocle Film visits to find out what it’s like to live and work in the blossoming Estonian capital.


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