Wednesday 31 October 2018 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Wednesday. 31/10/2018

The Monocle Minute

Image: Reuters


Crush on you

Move over Putin, Donald Trump has a new love interest. On Sunday the US president was among the first to offer congratulations to Brazil’s far-right leader in-waiting. According to Trump the pair enjoyed an “excellent call” during which they promised to forge closer links on trade, the military and “everything else” (whatever that might be). The two are likely to crown their mutual regard in the coming months with a suitably macho handshake at the Whitehouse as Bolsonaro announces his first foreign trips. He will also be popping across to Chile to see its pro-business president Sebastián Piñera, who is currently enjoying his second stint in power. While these allies say a lot about Bolsonaro’s desire to bolster the Brazilian economy, he’s looking in the wrong place for pointers on how to heal his country’s bitter political divides.

Image: Getty Images


Can buy me love

As the US continues to grumble over its yawning trade deficit with China, Beijing is hoping that domestic consumer spend can mitigate any economic setbacks suffered due to the spat. This is one of the reasons for next week's inaugural China International Import Expo. Taking place in Shanghai, the fair will see overseas businesses set up stalls in the hope of courting the lucrative Chinese market. The heavily publicised trade fair is getting a political boost: president Xi Jinping will host a banquet for visiting foreign dignitaries. However the US is refusing to send any senior officials and buy-in from Washington for this new import initiative is expected to take time. Meanwhile the twice-yearly Canton Fair, an export-driven extravaganza, has been selling “Made in China” to the world since 1957.


Catch the wave

The Peninsula hotel in Hong Kong may be a grand old girl but she’s still making waves. The brand’s latest diversion includes a 19-metre Sunseeker yacht, moored at Victoria Harbour. The property is already a rarefied retreat (equipped with a helipad) and means Peninsula joins a flotilla of other hotel firms launching boat services to tempt guests. Recently Ritz-Carlton’s as-yet-unnamed first vessel took to the water in a Spanish shipyard ahead of a 2020 release. Meanwhile, cruise firm Silversea has become part of Royal Caribbean, of which the Hyatt-owning Pritzker family are among the biggest shareholders. Can the hotel industry turn the tide on the outdated notion of cruising? We’ll be watching the next wave of investments closely.

Image: Alamy


Fight at the museum

Damaged during the Second World War, the Romanesque hall of Budapest’s Szepmuveszeti Muzeum (Museum of Fine Arts) opens to the public for the first time in some 70 years today. While residents are eager to admire its ornate interior (the entire renovation will be completed in 2019), critics are wary that the museum may become a target of prime minister Viktor Orban’s culture wars. Orban has attacked artists willing to criticise his government and pressured institutions such as opera houses and literary organisations to toe his party line. Orban’s grip on the country’s cultural institutions – seen as an attack on liberal elites – plays well to his supporters, but to compromise the independence of one of Hungary’s most treasured museums would be a bridge too far.

‘Honey’ by Robyn

Andrew Mueller is joined by the journalist and broadcaster Kate Hutchinson and Laura Snapes, deputy music editor of The Guardian, to give the new record by Robyn a spin.

Monocle Films / Italy

Milan: The Monocle Travel Guide

This vivacious Italian city, which has been booming since the 1950s, is a hive of activity. Monocle's travel guide will navigate you through the very best it has to offer, from rustic lunch spots to Europe's finest artwork.


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