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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 3 December 2018

International relations

Image: Getty Images

Blood brothers

The West had hoped Turkey’s president might become more agreeable but his choice of new best friend suggests otherwise.

Nicolás Maduro has found foreign friends in short supply. But Venezuela’s president does have one head of state he can count on: Recep Tayyip Erdogan. On route back from the G20 summit in Argentina, Turkey’s president is today paying a visit to Maduro in Caracas, a get-together that’s become something of a pattern. Maduro met Erdogan in Ankara in October and, earlier this year, both leaders made great shows of congratulating the other on their respective controversial election wins. The countries have also launched joint ventures in gold and oil. The burgeoning bromance comes at a time when both leaders have faced sanctions from the West for their authoritarian tactics. But whereas many see Maduro as a lost cause, some had hoped Erdogan would move closer to – not further away from – western allies.

Sport

Image: Alamy

Peak performance

With Chinese holidaymakers keen to hit the slopes, the 2022 Winter Olympics seem to be dodging the risk of a wipeout.

Hundreds of thousands of Chinese winter-sports enthusiasts are already flocking to domestic resorts in the country’s northeastern provinces – joined by a small number of European expats hoping for an alpine Christmas. And with the 2022 Winter Olympics being hosted in Beijing and neighbouring Hebei province, this has provided numerous business opportunities for European brands – from the makers of ski-lifts to snowmaking cannons. Most of the construction for the competition venues is due to be completed next year so the focus is shifting to who will run and manage the fledgling resorts. When it comes to Olympic preparation, it looks like China’s finally got its skates on.

Environment

Image: Getty Images

Human nature

President Trump might not like it but today Cop24 attendees – including delegates from the US – will meet to take action on climate change.

The environmental clock is ticking and Cop24 conference-goers are on deadline to produce a rulebook for preserving the world. Today they’ll meet to continue drafting the framework. The US – at the behest of President Trump – has announced that it will quit the wider Paris accord that was agreed at Cop21 in 2015 but some argue this is bluster. “The US can’t legally withdraw from the Paris Agreement before November 2019, and 13 federal agencies just issued a report calling for rapid action to combat climate change, contrary to the views of President Trump,” says James Thornton, CEO of environmental law firm ClientEarth. “The majority of countries recognise the danger the planet is facing if we don’t take urgent action.” But with or without Trump’s support, many individual US states have also declared their intention to preserve the environment.

Art

Image: Alamy

Bigger picture

The US continues its dominance of the art market as aspirational types get in on the act.

Those of you who are thinking of opening a gallery exhibiting and selling major works of art to distinguished (and moneyed) collectors should head to the US; it might still be the best place for such a project. According to this year’s Art Market Report from Swiss bank UBS – produced on the eve of Art Basel Miami – the States regained ground last year as the biggest fine-art market with a total worth of €23.4bn. The US has topped the list every year for the past two decades except in 2011, when it was eclipsed by China. Since then its lead has risen by 20 per cent. The US is home to half of the world’s 200 biggest collectors – and it benefits from having an aspirational upper-middle class, some of whom are starting to buy fine art.

From Monocle 24

Image: Laura Lajh Prijatelj

Noma’s guide to fermentation

The Menu

The team behind Noma reveal what they’ve learned in their fermentation lab and we visit Lavazza’s new HQ in Turin. Plus: the NYC Chinese restaurant hit that has arrived in London.

From Monocle Films

The Monocle Travel Guide Series: Sydney

Sydney is a coastal crowd-pleaser that has long lured travellers to its shores and our 148-page hardback guide contains plenty of reasons to unpack your bags, settle in and linger a while. Published by Gestalten, it is available now at The Monocle Shop.

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