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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 8 October 2018

Politics

Image: Alamy

Now what?

Elections in Brazil haven’t made a muddled political situation any clearer.

As expected, the Brazilian presidential race is going to a second round, to be decided on 28 October. Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro lead the vote, followed by Fernando Haddad of the Workers' party, in one of the most divisive elections in recent history. According to the latest polls, the second round will be equally tight, with an electorate completely divided on who to vote for. We wonder if in the end, some centrists will cast their votes in favour of Haddad simply as a rejection of Bolsonaro’s regressive views, the former paratrooper being an explicit champion of dictatorships and a proud misogynist. While Brazilians may be tired of a party that has ruled the country for the past 14 years, in this case the alternative would be far worse.

Summit

Image: Getty Images

Trading places

What November’s Apec gathering will lack in a Taiwanese president, it will gain in a world-renowned businessman.

Next month 21 leaders will assemble in Papua New Guinea for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit – but those hoping to shake hands with Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen will be disappointed. The island will instead be sending industrialist Morris Chang, founder of the world’s leading semiconductor maker TSMC. It will be the second time that Chang has represented Taiwan at the Apec conference; he last did so in 2006. The blurring of politics and business in this case is a savvy move by Taipei: the presence of a business leader rather than a head of state is likely to maintain a more cordial tone with China.

Transport

Floating an idea

How one UK company is trying to get to a place where any article about airships doesn’t automatically include the word ‘Hindenburg’.

Is the blimp making a comeback? Last week the UK-based company behind the Airlander was given permission to begin test flights of its helium-filled airship. The grand airships that high-flying socialites boarded during the 1930s took a dive in popularity after the Hindenburg disaster in 1937 but the Airlander aims to tap into a luxury market craving a trip down memory lane (at a few thousand feet). This new hybrid airship has been granted design approval by the European Aviation Safety Agency, meaning plans to revive this handsome mode of transport – replete with en suite guest rooms – are that little bit closer to take-off.

Geopolitics

Image: Shutterstock

Flagging enthusiasm

A row between Korea and Japan means that the latter is struggling to maintain military standards.

Japan’s Defense Ministry has ruled out sending any of its vessels to an international fleet review in South Korea later this week, following a request not to display the “rising sun” flag during the maritime exercise. Indeed, the red-and-white standard – which is proudly displayed by Japan’s navy – has long been a source of considerable tension in the region. People in both North and South Korea believe that it is as a symbol of Tokyo’s imperial aggression and – worse still – represents the colonisation of the Korean peninsula in the early part of the 20th century. It appears that decades of mutual suspicion won’t be undone overnight: the foreign ministry in Seoul said, “The Japanese side should fully consider the ‘rising sun’ flag’s emotional connotation to our people.”

From Monocle 24

Image: Ingrid Christie

David Sedaris

The Big Interview

The American humorist and bestselling author joins Georgina Godwin to discuss his latest book, ‘Calypso’. He muses over everything from family dynamics and awkward social situations to the boundaries of humour and the role of entertainment in a time of troubling politics.

From Monocle Films

Venice: finding Freespace

Monocle editor Andrew Tuck navigates the Arsenale to find out how architects have responded to the curatorial theme of this year’s Venice Biennale of Architecture.

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