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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 21 September 2018

Defence

Image: Getty Images

Sub-standard

Is the cost of keeping the UK’s nuclear deterrents afloat really worth it?

When it comes to keeping its submarine-bound nuclear deterrents active in the next 10 years, the UK government is in deep water. According to a report by the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee (PAC) the Ministry of Defence is staring down the barrel of a €5.5bn to €23.4bn “affordability gap” to provide the necessary upgrades to its boats. However, Robert Fox, senior research fellow for the Centre for Defence Studies at King’s College London, questions the wisdom of keeping a fleet of submarines in the water at all times. “The PAC is giving a warning that the budget is out of control and we haven’t even got to the stage of building a new submarine,” he says. “We use the word ‘deterrent’ but we have lost sight of what it is exactly that we are deterring.”

Geopolitics

Image: Getty Images

Bordering on friendly

Relations between North and South Korea have improved so much that officials want to turn the boundary into a tourist attraction.

The demilitarised zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea is the most heavily fortified border in the world. But the 250km of fencing that’s patrolled by guards, dogs and machine-gun sentries also attracts tourists visiting from the South. In the midst of thawing relations between the two countries, South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Tourism Organization have announced a push to make the DMZ even more visitor-friendly. Further details have yet to be released but 13 local governments along the southern border are involved. While it is unlikely that the barracks and soldiers will be replaced with hotels and smiling lobby staff any time soon, the initiative to transform the DMZ from an active conflict zone into something more akin to a monument is laudable.

F&B

Image: Getty Images

Cheers to that

A balmy summer has meant that German winemakers are set to produce more bottles than ever.

The proverbial glass, it seems, is certainly half full when it comes to German wine. According to official statistics, winemakers in the country are expecting to produce more than ever this year. Estimates show that this year’s yield will provide 2 million hectolitres more than last year, climbing to 9.75 million hectolitres. The crop for riesling has almost quadrupled and experts are claiming that the dry and sunny weather Germany enjoyed this summer means the quality of the yield, not just the quantity, will be higher. According to Joan Torrents, proprietor of Pantry & Co (which sells plenty of Germany wine) there is a ready and receptive global market waiting to enjoy this impressive harvest. “German wine is growing from strength to strength and Germany is now producing some of the best pinot noir in the world,” says Torrents. Prost!

Tourism

Image: Getty Images

Home and away

As well as boosting the number of visitors to Japan, it’s hoped the country’s huge tourism trade fair will encourage citizens to take flight.

Yesterday Tourism Expo Japan, the world’s biggest tourism trade fair, opened at Tokyo Big Sight. In the offing are symposiums discussing everything from digital marketing and luxury travel to sustainable tourism. In focus is the drive to bring more tourists to Japan and Asia, with the Japan National Tourism Organisation hosting Visit Japan Travel and Mice Mart (a travel marketplace) in an effort to stimulate the industry. But it isn’t just about getting people to visit Japan: there is also an emphasis on encouraging Japanese people to venture abroad. Japanese airlines and travel agencies are hoping to cash in on the rise in younger tourists who are developing a taste for exploration.

From Monocle 24

Image: Elizabeth Blanchet

The UK’s post-war prefabs

Monocle on Design: Extra

In post-war Britain, prefabricated houses were a temporary solution to a sudden housing problem; but 70 years on, some homes are still standing.

From Monocle Films

Dining down under

Australia’s drinking and dining scene is thriving. Monocle Films visits three restaurants in Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart that share a passion for good food and honest ingredients.

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