The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 29 October 2018

Elections

Image: Getty Images

The splits

Far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro has triumphed in Brazil’s presidential race but does he have the skill – or the will – to heal the country’s divisions?

The race was closer than many anticipated, but Brazil’s far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro overcame Fernando Haddad’s Workers’ party last night and will be sworn in as president on 1 January 2019. The transition will mark the first time a figure who supported the former military regime assumes leadership of the country. Bolsonaro’s biggest tasks will be to unite an unwieldy congress, which comprises 30 political parties, and attempt reconciliations amid a deeply divided country. Whether he has the ability – or the inclination – remains to be seen. Whatever tack he starts his leadership with, Bolsonaro will be hoping that market-friendly policies and a resulting economic uptick might see a boost in popularity early on.

Transport

Green giant

Hurtigruten’s latest cruise ship will be more environmentally friendly than ever – meaning a guilt-free trip for eco-conscious passengers.

Taking a holiday on the high seas is becoming de rigueur among young affluent travellers and a new era of luxury and adventure cruises is afoot. As the industry turns about from its fusty past, operators are upping their eco-credentials. Hurtigruten, the world’s largest expedition cruise operator, announced last week that it had signed a memorandum with Norwegian shipbuilder Kleven Verft AS to begin construction of a hybrid-powered ship, adding to two others that are currently under construction. The new ship – slated for delivery in 2021 – will have bigger battery packs than previous models, making expedition voyages less harmful to the environment. Cruise-goers will be able to enjoy the vastness of the ocean with a clearer conscience.

Tourism

Text pests

Germany has warned its tourists against insulting the Turkish president after officials in the country took a dim view of perceived social-media slurs.

German visitors to Turkey are being advised to exercise caution when posting on social media while in the country. Following a recent spate of arrests, the German foreign ministry has issued official warnings urging tourists to avoid “insulting” president Recep Tayyip Erdogan online. “Turkey is sensitive to any kind of politically charged comment,” says Fadi Hakura, a consulting fellow at London’s Royal Institute of International Affairs. “The caution is warranted given the fact that Turkey’s government has already detained a number of German citizens.” While Germans might be fond of lampooning their own leader with Merkel-related memes, any jibes directed at Erdogan will be best postponed until they are back on neutral ground.

Environment

Image: Getty Images

Load of rubbish

Japan, the world’s second-biggest producer of plastic waste, has decided it’s time to come clean.

Japan can’t seem to do without single-use plastic shopping bags, bento meal containers and throwaway sleeves for umbrellas on rainy days. Only the US generates more plastic-packaging waste per capita. But now Japan’s environment ministry has a plan to reduce single-use plastics by 25 per cent by 2030: it wants to encourage people to switch to paper alternatives and biodegradable plastics. The ministry is also aiming to recycle or reuse 60 per cent of all plastic containers by 2030. The need for action came after China’s decision to ban plastic waste imports this year left Japan scrambling to find a backup dumping ground for roughly 1.3 million tonnes of rubbish. Japan may have joined the US earlier this year in refusing to sign the G7’s pledge to prevent plastics entering the ocean, but the Asian nation is obviously still keen to clean up its act.

From Monocle 24

Agnès Varda

The Big Interview

French film director Agnès Varda was a key protagonist in the new wave of French cinema in the 1960s. Her signature films include ‘Cleo from 5-7’, ‘Vagabond’ and ‘The Gleaners and I’. At age 90, ‘Faces Places’ is her latest documentary about a road trip to rural France with world-renowned artist JR. She talks to Robert Bound about bringing attention to the ordinary, using cinema to build bridges and her trademark two-coloured haircut.

From Monocle Films

The future of retail

Be it online or on the high street, the retail industry is changing fast. From mall developers to pop-up shop suppliers, we know that bricks-and-mortar help to keep your business vital.

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