The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 12 December 2018

Diplomacy

Image: All Is Amazing

Troubled waters

Malaysia’s PM seems to have started his second stint in office right where he ended his previous one: by annoying Singapore.

A territorial dispute between Malaysia and Singapore is set to spill into next year after government representatives agreed to meet in mid-January. The stand-off began in October when Malaysia decided to extend its southern maritime boundary into a narrow strait that separates the two Southeast Asian nations. Kuala Lumpur has refused to call back vessels that it sent into the disputed waters claimed by Singapore. Choppier relations between the two follow the shock return to power of Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad. The nationalist leader, fond of antagonising Singapore during his first stint in power between 1981 and 2003, appears to be picking up where he left off. Weeks after taking office in May, Mahathir called into question a longstanding agreement to supply drinking water to the city-state and postponed a mooted high-speed rail link.

Geopolitics

Image: Getty Images

UNwelcome in Brazil

Jair Bolsonaro has vowed to withdraw from a global migration treaty when he takes office in January.

Brazil’s president-elect Jair Bolsonaro announced earlier this week that the country would forgo the landmark UN migration treaty signed last week in Morocco by representatives from 164 governments. Bolsonaro has said that once his term begins in January, Brazil will withdraw from the agreement, which provides protection for refugees and safeguards legal migration. “Considering the statesman hasn’t even begun his term yet, these promises might turn out to be just rhetoric,” says Richard Lapper, associate fellow for the US and Americas at Chatham House, a London-based think-tank. “Bolsonaro’s other Trump-appeasing wishes, such as moving the Brazilian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and pulling out of the Paris climate-change agreement, might harm Brazil’s trade relationships – but they could bolster his hold on far-right supporters within the country,” he says.

Media

Image: Getty Images

Do not adjust your set

Is Donald Trump planning to launch his own TV network?

Donald Trump’s recent meetings with rapper Kanye West and the rapper’s wife Kim Kardashian may seem like the actions of a politician courting public approval – but there’s another rumour swirling around Washington. “It’s widely understood that [before the election] the president was already preparing to launch what he would call TNN, the Trump News Network,” says Pippa Malmgren, an American policy analyst and former special assistant to president George W Bush. “The Clintons and the Obamas alike have tried to convert the Oval Office experience into becoming global brands.” The idea of a Trump-owned media platform might not be so far-fetched, given how much time the president spends watching (and no doubt being inspired by) outlets such as Fox News. Malmgren finishes with a warning: “Underestimating [Trump’s] objectives is not wise, however you feel about him emotionally.”

Tourism

Image: Shutterstock

Be our guest

Paris continues to benefit from the tourist economy – but recent social unrest might dent tourism and recovery could be slow.

France consistently ranks as the most visited country in the world: 89 million people have travelled there so far this year. But not all its corners are enjoying the bounties of the tourism upswing, according to a new report from the Paris-based National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. While, overall, tourism continues to rise, growth is disproportionately concentrated in Paris and Île-de-France, followed by Normandy and Hauts-de-France. Conversely, the Alps, the Pyrenees and Provence aren’t, it seems, the draw they once were: all three regions are experiencing a dip in overnight stays. Rectifying the imbalance may, understandably, be overshadowed by the so-called “yellow vest” protests, which may well dent overall visitor numbers in the months to come.

From Monocle 24

Design Miami

Monocle on Design

This week we focus on the festivities at Design Miami, which wrapped last weekend, and visit the Long Island workshop of lighting firm Allied Maker. Plus: what will the military forces of the future be wearing?

From Monocle Films

Japanese architecture: Toukouen hotel

We travel to Japan’s least-populous prefecture, Tottori, where we explore one of its most-famous hotels.

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