New Zealanders are currently on baby-watch as prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s pregnancy stretches beyond her 17 June due date. The 37-year-old is currently running the country from her home in Auckland, poring over official papers while projecting an image of a 21st-century stateswoman. Waiting in the wings is her septuagenarian coalition partner Winston Peters. The populist politician and deputy prime minister will take over during Ardern’s six weeks of maternity leave, a reward for delivering her the leadership last year when he decided to throw his party’s support behind Labour rather than National. The first-time mother is likely to get a bump in the polls after giving birth in office – still very much a rarity – but the kid gloves will quickly come off again. New Zealand’s centre-right media accuse the coalition government of stumbling between crises, while Ardern is not one to expect any special treatment.
Hospital food is rarely celebrated but Maruko Central Hospital in Nagano prefecture, Japan, is taking a refreshing approach to feeding staff and patients. Chef Koji Yamada spent more than 25 years cooking in some of Tokyo’s top kitchens before the call of the mountains brought him home. At first he was asked to advise on the patients’ menu; then he was invited to open a restaurant at the top of the 297-bed hospital. The restaurant, Weisshorn, serves delicious, nutritionally balanced meals to the public, hospital staff and anyone coming in for a full medical check-up. Yamada cooks a special patient meal once a month using local ingredients such as ginseng and chicken; he also distributes 20,000 copies of a free monthly recipe card with a selection of healthy low-salt meals in the community. Suddenly that check-up doesn’t look so bad.
It was the submarine that disappeared without trace on a routine patrol in the southern Atlantic: the ARA San Juan lost contact with authorities on 15 November. An international effort failed to find the crew, coinciding with an escalating scandal over accusations that the sub didn’t have enough air and food to survive an emergency. As such, the state has turned to a tendering process to contract a private company to find the vessel. Barring any last-minute hiccups, the task will be handed to Spanish firm Igeotest Geoscience Group for €3.2m. With president Mauricio Macri facing a faltering currency and a recent cabinet reshuffle, he’ll be hoping Igeotest succeeds where others have failed.
We are two days into Paris men’s fashion week – the strongest men’s week by far – and the show many have been waiting for happens today: Virgil Abloh’s debut as artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton. Abloh – the founder of US streetwear label Off-White, a DJ and a master marketer – will bring his streetwear sensibility and talent for generating fanfare to the Parisian house. His predecessor, Kim Jones, had considerable success at Louis Vuitton, particularly with his bags created in collaboration with Supreme. Abloh will surely push the streetwear references further (a sneak preview of his collection released yesterday showed colourful trainers and baggy trousers). Then, tomorrow, Jones will show his debut line for Dior Homme, another LVMH-owned label. LVMH has made numerous changes to its menswear teams and this week they bear their first fruit.
Jen Rubio co-founded direct-to-consumer luggage company Away in 2016. She met business partner Stephanie Korey when the pair worked at eyewear venture Warby Parker; they took their experience and used it to disrupt an industry that they felt was stuck in a rut. With four shops across the US (and one coming to London), plus an exciting move to a new HQ in New York imminent, Away is well on its way.
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