The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 20 June 2018

Politics

Image: Getty Images

All at sea

With waves of anti-immigration sentiment threatening to envelop Italy, can the EU steady the ship?

Italy’s populist leaders caused more outcry yesterday when far-right interior minister Matteo Salvini announced that he was committed to ushering in a census of the Roma population in the country. Members of the coalition decried the move as a breach of the constitution and others criticised that taking a census of an ethnic minority was reminiscent of fascist-era Italy. The latest fracas comes at a time when EU member states are deeply divided on how to tackle the refugee crisis. In the near future divisions are unlikely to improve, on 1 July Austria will assume its presidency of the EU and its anti-immigration Freedom party seems intent to shift the focus away from rehousing refugees and place more importance on repelling those who try to enter the bloc. The EU needs to quickly devise a sensible, morally-sound set of policies on to how to treat those who arrive on its shores. However, it seems that when it comes to this issue many leaders remain regrettably lost at sea.

Culture

Image: Getty Images

Party line

Emmanuel Macron is celebrating his national day of music by hosting a concert – helping him drum up support among younger voters.

World leaders shouldn’t dance. Period. Of the captured-for-posterity bloopers over the years – from Boris Yeltsin wobbling at a soft-rock gig to Barack Obama shaking it like a middle-aged father-of-two – these cringeworthy choreographies are naff in the extreme. That said, French president Emmanuel Macron is proving he’s down with the kids by taking the much-more-graceful step of hosting a concert to celebrate France’s Day of Music, this Thursday. The 1,500-person jamboree in a courtyard of the Élysée Palace will see soft-power-spewing chanteurs and chanteuses (well DJs really) including Kavinsky, Busy P and Kiddy Smile take to the stage to celebrate the nation’s vast and influential musical oeuvre. Good idea? Absolutely – and a nice way for Macron to align himself with both younger voters and the nation’s artsy sorts. Worth dancing about? We’d counsel against it, monsieur Président.

Design

I ink, therefore I am

A new film is taking a closer look at how graphic designers helped shape Canada’s sense of self.

A documentary, which aims to unpick Canada’s national identity through its graphic design, arrived in Toronto cinemas last week. From Burton Kramer’s branding of national broadcaster the CBC in 1974 to the visual identity of the political parties involved in Québec’s independence movement in the 1980s and 1990s, Design Canada explores how branding has given Canada a sense of self over the past 50 years. Envisioned by designer and film-maker Greg Durrell, the film began as a Kickstarter project in 2017 when its creator realised that there had been little documenting Canada’s rich 20th-century design history. Unusual when, as the film reveals, Canada’s graphic designers played such a pivotal role in the country’s culture.

Travel

Image: Alamy

Every little helps

Visitors to New Zealand will soon have to pay a small levy – which the government is hoping to put towards big projects.

Surprise charges are annoying, no matter how small they might be. As of November, people travelling in and out of New Zealand (who haven’t taken the steps to inform themselves or subscribe to the Monocle Minute), might face an unforeseen, albeit small, charge before entering. The visitor levy will range between NZD$25 (€15) and NZD$35 (€21) for people coming into the country from an origin that does not require a visa. The charge will be NZD$76 (€45) for travellers with visas, and where visa-waiver users could once travel into the country for free, they will soon pay NZD$39 (€23). The idea behind the initiative is to siphon more cash from the pockets of travellers into conservation and infrastructure efforts, and the government estimates that it will pull in between NZD$57m (€34m) and NZD$80m (€48m) from the scheme in the first year. While travellers might grumble, some might take solace in the fact that their money is going to worthy causes.

From Monocle 24

Image: Tristan Schmurr

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