The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 6 June 2018

Healthcare

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Freedom of choice

With proposed changes to Argentina’s abortion laws being debated in congress, are women about to be empowered?

Demonstrations and street marches swept through Buenos Aires and Argentina’s other big cities this week in support of a bill to change a law that prohibits women from having abortions in the country. The amendment – which will mean women who have been pregnant for up to 14 weeks will have the freedom to terminate – is currently being debated in the lower house of congress, with a committee due to vote on the proposed changes 13 June. If passed, it should put an end to thousands of clandestine abortions in Argentina, where up to 60,000 women are rushed to hospital each year due to unsafe practices and pregnancy complications. Recent polls show that the majority of people in Argentina are ready for the law to be changed. The Catholic Church’s role in dictating healthcare policies may be justly eroded.

Aviation

Image: G

Network southeast

Air China returns to North Korea while high-speed rail links may also be developed in a thawing of relations.

China’s flag carrier Air China is set to resume flights to Pyongyang today as the diplomatic relationship between North Korea and its northern neighbour continues to improve. In November last year, Air China cancelled the flight citing poor demand. At the time relations were under strain as Kim Kim Jong-un upped the country’s nuclear weapons programme and Beijing stood with the UN in a raft of severe sanctions. If Kim decides to continue his recent form of open dialogue and discussion with the international community, more transport and infrastructure possibilities will open to North Korea. Last month, following the inter-Korea summit, South Korea’s premier Moon Jae-in proposed plans for a new railway network that would link the Korean peninsula with major cities in China and Russia.

Politics

DC confidential

Presidential aide and confidant Ben Rhodes reveals the controversy and consequences of Barack Obama’s presidency.

There’s been such a slew of political memoirs of late that it’s easy to lose count. Many have been of a scandalous or kiss-and-tell nature, such as Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury. But that isn’t the case with The World As It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House by Barack Obama speech-writer and former deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes. The book looks to give an honest assessment of how Rhodes’ foreign-policy views changed but it’s perhaps no surprise that he ends up defending Obama (a man whose pictures still decorate his Washington home). In a recent interview with Monocle, Rhodes told us that he expected a “frontal assault on our scorecard” during the Trump presidency. With Paris in tatters, the Iran nuclear deal dead and frostier relations with Cuba, he was right on that front. We now have a book that defends the Obama White House, certainly, but also reflects on a time when foreign policy was arguably more nuanced.

Architecture

Image: Getty Images

Time share

Hebron’s divided Muslim/Jewish holy site is the inspiration behind Israel’s Biennale exhibition.

Israel’s exhibition at the Venice Biennale of Architecture encourages visitors to reimagine divisions in our cities. Rather than creating segregation, where certain spaces welcome only some groups or religions, “In Statu Quo: Structures of Negotiation” encourages us to consider how buildings might serve different people at different times. “Israel is full of buildings and places that have a common significance to all churches,” says Deborah Pinto Fdeda, the architect behind the exhibition. Here the curatorial team cites spaces such as the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, which is divided amicably between Muslim and Jewish use. “They can’t [agree to] share space so they share time in the space,” she says. “In the Holy Land it’s pushed to an extreme but we should use the same lens to look at our cities.” Amid the fluffily-worded and academic screeds in the Biennale’s national pavilions, Israel’s offering asked the right questions and provided a hopeful answer. “There is co-existence even if it’s a fragile one – but it’s working.”

From Monocle 24

Miami, Little River

The Menu: Food Neighbourhoods

Monocle’s Kati Krause and architect-turned-restaurateur Fernando Lander take us on a tour of a lesser-known area of Miami that is attracting creatives and food entrepreneurs with low property prices and rare pockets of peace.

From Monocle Films

Hospitality lessons

Be it an airport lounge or a cinema, feeling at ease is hugely dependent on your surroundings. Monocle films meet with the design experts crafting the warmest welcomes.

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