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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 26 November 2018

Diplomacy

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Host with the most

Argentinian president Mauricio Macri is preparing to host a G20 summit – but will this meeting go his way?

The leaders of the G20 are in Buenos Aires for their next summit, which kicks off today. This is a diplomatic opportunity for Argentinean president Mauricio Macri, as his country is the first in South America to host a G20 summit. But will Macri benefit from his time in the spotlight – or will he get burned? With Argentina’s economy still in the grips of a currency crisis, he could use a win on the diplomatic front. Yet with the words “trade war” on the minds of Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, there is plenty of opportunity for the two-day summit to go south, and with the world watching no less.

Media

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Agony column

Critics have accused Canada’s PM of using the budget to curry favour with the media but the industry needs his help more than ever.

Prime minister Justin Trudeau might be forgiven for feeling that he just can’t win at the moment. Last year he was criticised for not supporting struggling news organisations in the digital age – scores of local papers have closed this year and one of Canada’s biggest dailies, the Toronto Star, warned in the spring that it was on the verge of collapse. Now he’s being attacked for his budget, which includes a CA$600m (€400m) media aid package. News organisations can now receive tax credits to reduce labour costs, while non-profits can accept donations. Trudeau’s critics are accusing him of buying favourable coverage before the 2019 federal election. Their criticism is misguided. An independent council will determine how funds are distributed and the support is sorely needed in an era of fake news, where the media is threatened by more than just dwindling ad revenues.

International relations

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From foe to friend?

As France tries to smooth the path to better relations between Russia and the west, observers warn to tread carefully.

Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov touches down in Paris tomorrow for talks with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian. The meeting is another step in French president Emmanuel Macron’s intention to bring Russia and the EU closer together and de-escalate tensions. While a bit of diplomacy rarely hurts, concessions in light of the Kremlin’s many and varied transgressions in recent years are to be avoided, according to Stephen Dalziel, a Russian-affairs analyst. “Recent events have taught us that Russia responds better to tough measures than generosity,” he says. “Any talk of lifting sanctions would teach the Kremlin that it can act with impunity.” Macron will be hoping that he can strike the right balance of carrot and stick.

Culture

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Brush with history

France wants to mark the anniversary of Da Vinci’s death but Italy is trying to paint a more nationalistic picture.

Italy’s new right-wing government has clashed with its EU neighbours recently on matters ranging from fiscal budgeting to immigration. Now Lega Nord, a regionalist party that is part of the ruling coalition, is disrupting Europe’s cultural agenda too. Lucia Borgonzoni, the minister for cultural heritage, has reneged on Italy’s agreement to loan works by Leonardo da Vinci to the Louvre in Paris so that all of his works can be displayed together in spring to mark the 500th anniversary of his death. Borgonzoni believes that, as Da Vinci was Italian, Italy should be central to the celebrations. She forgets, however, that the artist prospered, and died, in France. This is an old trick: peddling an adjusted version of history for nationalistic purposes.

From Monocle 24

Image: ALAMY

The Urbanist

LA CoMotion part 1

Monocle’s editor Andrew Tuck and Americas editor at large Ed Stocker team up in Los Angeles to report from this year’s urban-mobility conference LA CoMotion.

From Monocle Films

Day and night

To celebrate the launch of A. Lange & Söhne's limited-edition timepiece Datograph Up/Down Lumen, we speak to architect Joe Morris and photographer Polly Tootal about their creative processes – and how light informs their practice.

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