The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 20 July 2018

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Power to the president

In any other country the end of a state of emergency would be cause for celebration. Not so in Turkey.

Turkey’s two-year state of emergency ended yesterday. The special measures president Recep Tayyip Erdogan took following the attempted coup in 2016 have resulted in the dismissal of 150,000 civil servants and imprisoned 50,000 people, many of whom are still awaiting trial. The crackdown to regain power drew international condemnation and crushed investor confidence in the country. In usual circumstances, returning to normality would be a cause for celebration – but not here. Proposed on Monday by Erdogan’s AK party, the state is expected to pass a new set of anti-terrorism laws retaining many of the powers that Erdogan has grown used to: arbitrary detentions, dismissal of civil servants and restriction of public gatherings. Opposition and human-rights groups are rightly fearful: Erdogan’s repressive tactics are simply being formalised.

Society

Image: Getty Images

A good job too

South Korea is clamping down on workplace harassment – and not before time.

More than two thirds of employed South Koreans say they have been bullied by colleagues or managers – but victims, fearing reprisals, seldom speak out. After years of deliberation, the government has finally announced plans to make harassment and bullying at work a criminal offence. The Ministry of Labour’s proposed legal revision, which is expected to be completed in October, would penalise companies that do not have a harassment-prevention policy and give victims the right to sue for compensation. Offenders could face hefty fines and prison sentences (where they might learn what it’s like to be on the receiving end, so to speak). It’s a belated recognition of the fact that workplace bullying is a drag on South Korea’s economic growth and, worse, a cause of depression and suicide, a trend most prevalent among women, young employees and contract workers. The law won’t be welcomed by South Korean bosses, many of whom will be reticent to admit that their corporate culture needs an overhaul.

Media

Image: Getty Images

Writer’s block

Book sales are soaring in the UK – so why isn’t authors’ pay following suit?

The decline of the printed book industry in the UK has been heralded since the invention of the wireless. But in 2018, it seems that the full adoption of tablets, e-readers and smartphones still hasn’t dented the country’s love for paper and print. According to an annual report by the Publishers Association, the book industry hit a new record in sales last year with a 31 per cent increase across all hardback titles, with fiction specifically increasing 37 per cent to £97m (€109m). By comparison, sales of e-reader titles saw an uptick of 3 per cent. While this is good news for publishers, questions remain over how this ties in with the long-term decline in authors’ fees: a study this year showed a fall in the number of people able to make a living by writing books.

Travel

Rest your case

Hong Kong Airport’s newest lounge is a pay-as-you-go offering but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s any less luxurious.

When it comes to VIP lounges in airports today, opinions are divided. Some think they offer good value and much-needed respite, while others think that they are too expensive and aren’t as exclusive as they should be. It is argued that a pay-as-you-go model, which allows people to simply turn up and pay a fee to get in, has resulted in a less-intimate experience that falls short of what most consider luxury to be. Now lounge company Plaza Premium has unveiled a concept that is a considered improvement on most offerings and can be accessed by anyone – as long as they have the cash handy. The First Class lounge opened at Hong Kong International Airport earlier this week and for just under €100 guests get access to three hours of dining, drinking and relaxation therapy. Soaring numbers of people travelling by air means there are plenty of potential customers. Plaza will be hoping that they enjoy life unfettered by such arcane concepts as membership.

From Monocle 24

Image: ALAMY

Beirut Design Week 2018

The Urbanist

Beirut’s Design Week wants to encourage designers and planners to engage more in solving the city’s many urban issues. So can some tactical urbanism improve quality of life in the Lebanese capital?

From Monocle Films

Wonderfruit: Thailand's blissed-out party

Wonderfruit is a festival like no other; a beacon of peace and calm where hedonism takes a backseat. Time to ditch the city attitude, grab a yoga mat and watch the sun go down in the Thai countryside.

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