The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 30 September 2015

Airborne allies

Israel’s falling-out with Turkey has led to the end of bilateral defence ties between the two nations but now Israel has built closer co-operation with Turkey’s long-standing foe, Greece. The two countries have carried out a joint exercise called “Blue and White Glory”, which involved the deployment of Greek aircraft and helicopters to Israeli bases. This follows a similar exercise in which Israeli combat squadrons were deployed to Greek bases. Despite Greece’s well-documented economic crisis, it still spends more than 2 per cent of its GDP on defence, far more than the vast majority of its Nato allies.

Image: Kohei Take

Japan’s capital clash

Some residents of Kyoto are still smarting over the departure of the imperial household to Tokyo in 1868. After more than a 1,000 years in Kyoto, the emperor moved east and with him went the centre of power. Although there are still half-hearted demands to bring the emperor back to Kyoto, today the call for decentralisation focuses more on moving government agencies away from Tokyo. There are good arguments for this, including the danger of a huge earthquake in the capital and the injection of money and energy such a departmental move would bring to the regions. Kyoto’s city and prefectural governments are now backing a proposal to relocate the government’s cultural departments to the historic city. With more than 55 million tourists visiting Kyoto last year (nearly two million from overseas), the ancient capital has certainly earned its right to have a say.

Image: BlackBerry

BlackBerry – a top pick?

Can the Priv, a new slider phone with a keyboard and curved touchscreen, reverse BlackBerry’s dwindling handset sales? The Priv, short for “privacy”, will use Google’s Android operating system to plug the gap in BlackBerry’s previous handset offering: the limited availability of apps on its devices. Despite a lukewarm response from the markets (BlackBerry’s share price fell 7.7 per cent on news of the Priv), all may not be lost. “It’s important to remember that devices aren’t the most important part of BlackBerry’s future anymore,” says Gerrit De Vynck of Bloomberg News in Toronto. “[Chief executive] John Chen has been acquiring security software companies and said he’s still on track to double yearly software revenue to $500m [€445m] by March 2016.”

Image: Philip Leara

Green shoots

Parks are an essential quality-of-life benchmark. But in the US, the National Park Service has been facing the multiple challenges of government underfunding, an infrastructure deficit and stagnating attendance. But there is light on the horizon in the shape of 2014 visitor figures that have bounced back from the previous year and the $380m (€338m) public-private renovation of Gateway Arch in St Louis, Missouri. “There is plenty of demand for parks when people know about them,” says Craig Obey of the National Parks Conservation Association, an NGO. “The Arch is an example of the Park Service trying to go where the people are.” As long as people attend, everyone should win.

From Monocle 24

Image: University of Applied Arts Vienna /Lucy.D

Vienna Design Week

During Vienna Design Week, the city is transformed into a showcase for design. Alexei Korolyov and Lilli Hollein, its director, preview what this year’s festival has to offer.

From Monocle Films

Residence: Nishinoyama House

Home to a diverse community, architect Kazuyo Sejima’s housing complex is designed to enlighten residents with its sense of serenity.

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