The dramatic twists in the run-up to Brazil’s election continue: Fernando Haddad, the erudite former mayor of São Paulo, is stepping in to fill the shoes vacated by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The former head of the Workers’ party (PT) and president from 2003 to 2011 is currently in prison appealing corruption charges – meaning he can’t run for office again despite topping polls. The PT needs a viable candidate as it tries to fend off on-the-rise centre-leftist Ciro Gomes from the Democratic Labor party and Haddad has been anointed heir apparent. Not that anyone is coming close to populist far-right frontrunner Jair Bolsonaro, who is recovering from being stabbed at the weekend and commands 24 per cent of the vote, according to the latest poll from Folha de São Paulo. Bolsonaro looks likely to lose a second-round vote though, despite the probability of finishing top after initial voting on 7 October.
Singapore’s economic ascendency (and transformation since independence in 1965 from closed-off British colony to financial powerhouse) is the envy of many an aspirational nation. But its restrictive social policies must stay apace to ensure residents stay in the country – and keep talented expats coming. Although many turn a blind eye to its enforcement, Section 377A of the island-nation’s penal code prohibits homosexuality. However, it’s undergoing public review this September for the first time in a decade and will be tabled in parliament in November. To allay the growing tide of frustration – and win a few soft-power points – the government would do well to turn away from its strident conservatism.
Yesterday Hungarian leader Viktor Orban delivered a bellicose address to MEPs vowing that his country would not kowtow to pressure from Brussels on its human-rights record. Tough talk aside, today the European Parliament votes on whether to initiate Article 7, a motion which would strip Hungary of its EU voting rights. In a damning report leading up to the vote, Dutch MEP Judith Sargentini accused Orban’s administration of corruption, allowing abuse of migrants and restricting freedom of the press. If Article 7 is initiated it will act as a warning to other autocrats in the bloc but marginalising Hungary is only likely to strengthen support for the strongman at home.
New York Fashion Week is sometimes criticised for being too commercial, featuring low-key brands whose designs are more suited to shop shelves than runway shows. However, at this spring/summer women’s week, which finishes today, proceedings have been livelier than in seasons past. The week has benefited from the homecoming of two brands that have previously shown in Paris – Proenza Schouler and Rodarte – and the high point has been Ralph Lauren’s 50th-anniversary show, a gilded affair in Central Park. Some of the most exciting developments have involved womenswear designers launching men’s collections, a phenomenon that is testament to the increasing power of the male shopper. The best comes from The Row, which has unveiled a line of impeccably tailored blazers and natty ties to complement its voluminous womenswear. Now the fashion pack heads to London; keep reading the Monocle Minute for updates.
Sicily is a stunning Mediterranean destination – and not least for its food. Monocle Films goes on a culinary tour of the island and drops in on a cooking school that promotes traditional food producers and seasonal recipes.