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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 27 August 2018

Politics

Image: Getty Images

The firing line

Australia’s new leader already feels like old news as the Canberra merry-go-round whirrs into action again – and will anything improve as a result of this latest coup?

It’s all change in Canberra (no change there then) after an extraordinary week saw the removal of the now former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in favour of the former treasurer Scott Morrison. The veneer of unity may have returned but it’s difficult to see how the new leader will navigate the fractious party any better than his predecessor. The paradoxical nature of the government’s in-fighting is perhaps best illustrated by two of the key issues that led to Turnbull’s demise: climate policy and the same-sex marriage debate. Many of those who joined the leadership coup claimed that the prime minister had veered too far to the left, despite Turnbull’s approach to both issues largely mirroring that of his conservative predecessor Tony Abbott. Australians will be rightly mystified by last week’s events and the new government, most of whom have been left holding the knife, will undoubtedly struggle to explain the motive for this latest political bloodshed.

Geopolitics

Image: Getty Images

Service with a smile

Argentina has been able to warm up its hospitality industry – with the help of some amicable Venezuelans.

As Venezuela’s economic and political crisis continues to spiral, an exodus is underway as hundreds of thousands cross the border in an attempt to find a better life. For the most part, the migrants haven’t been well received: Colombia has been increasingly hostile to the influx, while last week both Peru and Ecuador announced that they were tightening their borders. Yet in Argentina, it’s another story. Buenos Aires has seen its typically frosty hospitality sector transformed, as friendly and gracious Venezuelans take up positions working in cafés, bars and restaurants. The country’s reputation for warm service has made its citizens desired candidates for the Argentine capital’s drinking and dining industry. Read the full report in issue three of The Monocle Summer Weekly, on newsstands now.

Elections

Image: Getty Images

Sing when you’re winning

If the crowds go suitably wild, a rockstar is in with a shout of becoming Ukraine’s new president.

If a retired cricketer and a former reality TV star can become heads of state, what’s to stop a singer becoming the next president of Ukraine? On Friday the country’s unofficial presidential race kicked off and bookmakers began taking bets on 43-year-old Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, dubbed “Ukraine’s most famous rockstar”, winning elections when they take place in spring next year. Vakarchuk’s first foray into the world of politics was back in 2007 when he was elected to parliament, but he resigned a year later citing his frustration at the internal squabbling that took place during meetings. If recent times have shown us anything it’s that voters are more than happy to throw their support behind a celebrity keen on a turn on the political stage – meaning Vakarchuk could yet end up rocking the vote.

Film

All shook up

A documentary charting the rise and fall of Elvis also provides an insightful window on American history.

Eugene Jarecki’s documentary The King is being heralded as the best film about how America got to where it is. The film sees Jarecki drive Elvis Presley’s Rolls-Royce around the US and talk to people he meets along the way about the man who rocked the world with music and the establishment with his hips. A melodic examination of misplaced American myth-making, it features cameo interviews from Alec Baldwin and David Simon of The Wire. Monocle 24 interviewed Jarecki for The Monocle Weekly, first aired yesterday. He discussed the poignant poetry of “the boy-king lost on the big back seat” of an American dream constructed only for the few.

From Monocle 24

Image: Flickr

From Mexico with love

The Menu

The world is discovering mezcal but how much is the international boom changing the industry in Mexico? Plus: why wine from the Greek island of Kefalonia is worth a try and a round-up of the week’s top news from Italy.

From Monocle Films

Paris retail: La Grande Epicerie

The newly opened La Grande Epicerie on the Parisian rive droite celebrates the importance of physical retail. Monocle Films pays a visit to admire the heritage brands and tasty produce.

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