The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 8 October 2015

Image: Getty Images

Borders bother

Angela Merkel’s attempts to take a lead on the debate surrounding refugees from Syria and elsewhere have come up against several obstacles this week. On Tuesday, Donald Tusk, the European Council’s president, told members of the EU Parliament in Strasbourg that the union now needed to focus on protecting its borders. He called on Merkel and French president François Hollande to act. “Europe without its external borders will become a breeding ground for fear,” he said. “And this will lead us, sooner or later, to a political catastrophe.” Meanwhile, Germany’s police union chief Rainer Wendt accused politicians of ignoring reports of violence and sexual assault in refugee housing. This could yet turn into a scandal. Merkel has named her ally, Peter Altmaier, as co-ordinator of refugee policy in an attempt to regain control.

Image: Getty Images

Helsinki’s on a high

Finnair’s expansion is taking shape. Yesterday it announced two new Asian destinations – Fukuoka and Guangzhou – while also taking delivery of the first of 19 Airbus A350 XWB. It’s all part of a strategy to grow its Asian network; the A350s will be used on the new Helsinki-Shanghai flight that launches next month. With flight times to Japan and China an average of two hours shorter than its west European rivals, Finnair is determined to press home the time advantage and make Helsinki the main European hub for flights to and from Asia.

Image: Reuters

Jakarta: lights out?

A proposal to pull the plug on Jakarta’s post-midnight nightlife is giving an emergent food-and-drink sector a headache. The city council says closing night spots early will curtail drug-trafficking but venue owners and tourism officials disagree. Michael Wijono, co-owner of the Union Group, which has opened 11 respected venues in eight years, says Jakarta is attracting global attention for fostering a sophisticated new drinking culture. “Today you are seeing 21-year-olds with single malt whiskies on their tables,” he says. “It’s a big plus point for the city to have this vibrant, informal nightlife but if this proposal passes, who knows how many places are going to survive.” Councillors and Jakarta’s governor sit down on Friday to potentially ratify the tourism bylaw.

Image: Juho Kuva

Marimekko makeover

A fresh breeze has been blowing through Marimekko since Anna Teurnell took over the creative direction of the cult Finnish brand last summer. Coming from H&M’s sister brand & Other Stories, she was appointed to boost Marimekko’s international expansion and modernise its fashion range. Teurnell presented her first collection this week in Paris and proved she could still deliver pop, patterns and colours. It was “inspired by the work of the strong visionary women of Marimekko: Armi Ratia, who founded the company in 1951, as well as designers Maija Isola, Vuokko Nurmesniemi and Annika Rimala”, says Teurnell. The result is lots of lovable pieces in a mixture of cotton and crêpe, as well as an orange dress that is guaranteed to be a hit.

From Monocle Films

Let the games begin

Serbia’s recovery from the disasters of nationalism has been slow but sporting success offers a new vision of what it means to be a Serb. Monocle films travels to Belgrade to meet the future stars of tennis and football.

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