The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 28 December 2018

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Fight for your rights

Brutality has marred the run-up to Bangladesh’s elections but the country needs peace and stability now more than ever.

After weeks of deadly violence and worries over campaign tampering, Bangladesh heads to the polls on Sunday for parliamentary elections. Though the ruling Awami League party has been credited with improving Bangladesh’s economy, it has also been accused of increasingly authoritarian measures. Its re-election campaign hinges on promises to further boost GDP, while the opposition coalition – the Bangladesh Nationalist party – promises to restore democracy. Though violence has long been a recurring feature of the nation’s election cycles, the country needs political stability more than ever to combat a hat-trick of urgent issues: a rising threat of Islamic terrorism, increasing vulnerability to climate change disasters and an ongoing squeeze due to the influx of Rohingya refugees from neighbouring Myanmar.

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Nine lives

The new year marks several major anniversaries in China. Some will be celebrated; others ignored.

The Chinese assign great significance to numbers: four is deadly; eight is lucky. Next year will be all about the number nine. Calendar years ending in nine feature several major political anniversaries – and the omens are mixed. Expect a fanfare to mark the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic in 2019. Beijing will also roll out the red carpet for the centenary of the movement that led to the foundation of the country’s Communist Party. But some anniversaries will be remarkable more for the silence that greets them. State censors will be busy combing social-media posts to remove any mention of the exile of the Dalai Lama in 1959, the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 and the suppression of the spiritual organisation Falun Gong 10 years later. Hong Kong is the only Chinese territory where street protests are tolerated; police there will be preparing for a busy year.

Security

Image: Getty Images

Too little, too late?

A report submitted to the UN today will detail the steps taken to prevent Bashar al-Assad from using chemical weapons.

Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad has remorselessly used illegal chemical weapons designed to cause excessive suffering during the country’s ongoing civil war. Assad signed the international Chemical Weapons Convention in 2013, and pledged to destroy the country’s stockpile, but the use of sarin and chlorine gas has persisted. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will today submit a report to the UN providing details of its implementation of Resolution 2118: the elimination of chemical weapons during the Syrian civil war. But is it too late? The war is nearing its end and Assad is on the cusp of victory. His brutal crackdown sets a worrying precedent for other unscrupulous leaders, who will believe that they too can fly in the face of international law.

Defence

Image: Shutterstock

Digging deep

Greeks are being asked to donate towards naval vessels – but has the gift-giving ship sailed?

For most, new year’s day is spent at home, perhaps while nursing a hangover. But for Greece’s navy it will mark the beginning of an attempt to raise money for new warships. Panos Kammenos, the austerity-struck country’s defence minister, announced earlier this month that his countrymen could contribute towards a flagship and badly needed frigates by sending money to a bank account being opened at the start of 2019. The move comes as Athens attempts to expand its territorial waters in the Aegean Sea amid growing tensions with Turkey. The post-holiday season is rarely a good time to ask people to dig deep; will Greeks be in a giving mood?

From Monocle 24

The best of The Entrepreneurs

The Entrepreneurs

For our final episode of the year, we look back at some of the most inspiring conversations we’ve had this year, unpacking everything from branding, growing a company, building a strong team, attracting investment and mentoring the next generation of business leaders. We hear from Debbie Wosskow, co-founder of The AllBright, Cal Henderson, co-founder and CTO of Slack, Alain Sylvain, founder and CEO of Sylvain Labs and menswear designer Kestin Hare.

From Monocle Films

New-generation animators

Mike Mills explains how he spun recollections from his childhood into his new film, ‘20th Century Women’, starring Annette Bening. Plus: ‘Thumbsucker’ author Walter Kirn and we write a letter of appreciation to Ferris Bueller’s sidelined sister.

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