Monday 10 June 2024 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Monday. 10/6/2024

The Monocle Minute

The Opinion

Image: Filipe Redondo

Society / Fernando Augusto Pacheco

Why plans to privatise Brazil’s beaches should be dead in the water

One thing to know about Brazilians is to never mess with their beaches. A proposal to privatise coastal lands, approved by the country’s congress in 2022, is back in the news after the senate recently launched a consultation on its effects. The news has sparked a heated debate across Brazil’s social and traditional media. Proponents of the law, such as senator Flávio Bolsonaro (son of former president Jair Bolsonaro), speak longingly of a “Brazilian Cancun”, alluding to the Mexican beach resort that is flush with mega-developments. According to critics, the move could damage the natural beauty of Brazil’s landscape and dismantle the notion of the beach as one of the few truly “democratic” spaces in an unequal country.

The proposal looks at privatising marine land, areas that are currently the property of the state. According to the government, there are more than 500,000 registered properties within these areas. Though members of Brazil’s congress approved the amendment in 2022, the law might take time to be put into practice, as president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and many cabinet members are against it. But if the bill passes, it would be harder to manage the country’s coastal areas, which will most certainly have fewer environmental protections.

Access to beaches is an integral part of Brazilian culture. They have built up the nation’s soft-power image and are often the first thing that visitors dream of before their trip to the country. For Brazilians, the beach is an extension of the city; a place to socialise, to love, to swim and to shop. The senate should tread carefully and ask itself whether it really needs to trample on this cornerstone of society.

Fernando Augusto Pacheco is a senior correspondent for Monocle Radio. For more opinion, analysis and insight, subscribe to Monocle today.

The Briefings

Politics / France

Emmanuel Macron calls snap election after defeat in the European parliament elections

Yesterday, Emmanuel Macron dissolved France’s parliament and called a general election that will be held later this month. The move follows European election results that dealt a severe blow to centrist groupings, including Macron’s Renaissance. Across the continent, conservative and far-right political parties made the largest gains. In France, Marine Le Pen’s National Rally took the most seats; in Belgium, prime minister Alexander de Croo tendered his resignation after the heavy defeat of the Flemish Liberals and Democrats party.

“Macron is looking to call the electorate’s bluff and take the wind out of Le Pen’s sails,” Suzanne Lynch, Brussels-based associate editor of Politico, tells Monocle’s The Globalist. “He is asking the people if they really want a nationalist party to rule the country. It will be a difficult task for Le Pen to do better in the national elections than they did during these ones.”

For more on the EU Parliament election results tune in to the latest episode of The Globalist, on Monocle Radio

Image: Shutterstock

Tourism / Saudi Arabia

Staying dry: Saudis will stand firm on alcohol-free cruises

The port of Jeddah will play host to a new cruise line from December. This time, though, it will be of a homegrown variety. Saudi Arabia is launching Aroya Cruises this winter, its own luxury line funded by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund. The first voyages will set sail on a $300m (€275m) liner for Sharm el-Sheikh, the Jordanian city of Aqaba and a private island in the Red Sea. But there is a twist: despite Saudi legalisation of alcohol sales to foreign nationals, Aroya Cruises is unlikely to feature intoxicating tipples on its menus.

“Though the Saudis have enormous ambitions to develop tourism, the no-alcohol rule shows that they’re not kowtowing to external pressure,” Paul Charles, founder and CEO of luxury travel consultancy The PC Agency, told Monocle Radio’s The Globalist. “Instead, they focus on attracting tourists from regions that are not as focused on alcohol-led attractions.” With Western cruise lines experiencing increasing demands to curb excessive drinking on board, perhaps Aroya Cruises will shift the dial for sea trippers around the world.

Image: Alamy

Olympics / Paris

France goes for gold in sustainability at this year’s greenest-ever Olympics

The countdown to the Paris Games is picking up pace as the Olympic torch makes its way to the capital. Last Friday, Olympic organisers unveiled a display of the five rings mounted on the Eiffel Tower. In keeping with Paris’s intentions of having the greenest games to date, 95 per cent of infrastructure is promised to be from existing or temporary facilities, including the renovated Paris La Défense Arena in Nanterre, which will hold swimming and water polo events.

Until now, the space has only hosted music gigs and Racing 92 rugby union matches. So how will it pull off swimming? A modular, multipurpose structure, we’re told. If it’s successful, Paris could set a benchmark for how we build in the future.

Beyond the Headlines

In print / Issue 174

Box office back in business at Switzerland’s famous cinema

After three years of renovations, Lausanne’s Capitole cinema has reopened to the public. The historic movie theatre, which was built at the end of the 1920s, is also Switzerland’s largest. Monocle visits the country’s beloved monument to the power of film.

Stairs to the newly excavated lower levels and the restored art deco auditorium

Image: Jonathan Ducrest

The Capitole’s name in neon lights on the building’s exterior

Image: Jonathan Ducrest

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Monocle Radio / The Stack

Fine print

We speak with French-Moroccan creative director, entrepreneur and publisher Ramdane Touhami about his new magazine ‘Useless Fighters’, which chronicles the cultural and political importance of mountains. Plus: photographer François Prost on his new photobook ‘After Party’, with images from French discothèques in broad daylight.


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