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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 9 October 2015

Image: Getty Images

Top contenders

The winners of the Nobel Peace Prize are announced today and a quick glance at the list of frontrunners reveals just how confused the award has become. Is it for genuine peacemakers? For inspirational figures or organisations battling against the odds? It’s hard to say. Pope Francis is on the list, presumably for being liberal in relation to his predecessors. German chancellor Angela Merkel is a favourite thanks to her response to the refugee crisis but given that the crisis is ongoing and Germany’s reaction is evolving, a peace prize seems premature. The Nobel should take a leaf out of the book of the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership; when there isn’t a standout candidate there isn’t a winner. Refusing to name a winner for the first time in more than 40 years would send a far stronger message about the state of the world today than giving it to someone who doesn’t really deserve it.

Image: Reuters

Free at last

Mohamed Fahmy, who was jailed in Egypt on terrorism charges while working for Al Jazeera, has launched a scathing attack on the Canadian government following his release from prison in September. “So much needs to be done in terms of protecting Canadian citizens abroad,” Fahmy told Monocle in his first interview since leaving Egypt. “There is no comparison between the support Australia gave to my dear colleague Peter Greste and what Canada did for me.” His account will do little to calm the nerves of Stephen Harper's Conservative party ahead of this month's general election. Fahmy will be talking to Steve Bloomfield on The Foreign Desk on Saturday at 12.00 UK time on Monocle 24.

Image: Reuters

Drone delivery

Airborne logistics in the skies around Singapore went a step further this week as Singapore Post tested out an unmanned aerial vehicle for a delivery of a small package containing a letter and a T-shirt. The allure of using drones is their speed but ensuring security and safety can be tricky: to orchestrate a broader delivery service to homes, drones would have to fly through densely populated areas and avoid buildings, birds, trees, cars and capture en route. There’s also the very real possibility of human error. In Japan last month, a drone was found stuck in the roof of Himeji Castle, a national treasure in the western prefecture of Hyogo that had just undergone five years of restoration work. A businessman admitted that he had lost control of the drone while photographing the castle.

Image: Ruth Tate

Don’t pass on it

Four years of regional strife around Jordan hasn’t been kind to the country’s tourism industry. Hefty drops in occupancy in Amman’s hotels caused the government to subsidise the sector’s electricity demands this summer and the ancient rock-cut architecture at Petra has been a tad quiet of late. In a bid to turn things around, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities is trying to entice more non-tour travellers with the Jordan Pass, which bundles admission to 40 historical spots with an entry visa and a few guides for JOD70 (€87), downloadable to a smartphone. It’s a step in the right direction, despite a shaky start – some of Jordan’s more remote sites of antiquity were not so clued up on QR codes.

From Monocle 24

Image: Leandro Neumann Ciuffo

Planning a beautiful waterfront

Gearing up to next year’s Summer Olympics, Rio de Janeiro’s port is due a face-lift. The Urbanist hears how to build the best waterfront.

From Monocle Films

Property Prospectus: Mokotow

The Mokotow district in Warsaw has become a magnet for the capital’s creative community. Monocle explores how a shared spirit is at the heart of this vibrant neighbourhood.

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