The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 12 October 2015

Image: Getty Images

Battle tactics

Defence officials in South America’s largest country are busy designing the soldier of the future. Since 2007, Brazil’s army chiefs have been quietly poring over successful soldier-modernisation programmes around the world – including Germany's Infanterist der Zukunft, the US’s Land Warrior and France's Félin – in order to boost the tech capabilities of its own fighting forces. The army has now announced that about 100,000 troops will be guinea pigs for shiny new kit until 2021, which will be tested everywhere from jungles and wetlands to mountainous terrain and urban environments. The mission is to make Brazilian soldiers more lethal and mobile, hence the rather sinister acronym of the project: Cobra.

Image: Getty Images

Back in business?

The great Iranian trade tour continues apace. French, German and UK companies have already beaten a path to Tehran since July’s nuclear deal; now Japan’s foreign minister Fumio Kishida is in Iran hoping to establish closer links on energy, infrastructure and trade. Japan wants Iran to make it easier for Japanese companies to operate there; it’s also hop-ing to grab a slice of Iran’s oil and gas industry. Japan used to be one of Iran’s biggest trading partners until sanctions were imposed in 2012. Now that the doors are open once more, Kishida will be hoping it won’t take too much to rekindle the old relationship.

Image: Julien Magne

Deluge defences

The narrow escape from Hurricane Joaquin last week has put extra pressure on New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to get its subways flood-proofed and prepared for winter. Among these efforts, engineering firm ILC Dover has come up with the Flex-Gate, a sheet of waterproof fabric that will cover subway entrances to keep water out of vulnerable stations. "We've identified several hundred points of ingress where water can enter the system in 12 of the lower Manhattan stations," says MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz. In the interim, ILC Dover has developed prefab covers in advance of any storms that might hit this autumn.

Image: Carlos Tobon

Constructive Medellín

After a bustling edition of the Artbo fair in Bogotá earlier this month, Colombia’s art scene has also had a handsome new addition up-country: the expanded Medellín Museum of Modern Art (Mamm). The original museum, fashioned from a former steel factory, has been tripled in size by the talented – if confusingly named – 51+1 and Ctrl-G architecture firms from Peru and Colombia respectively. The first curatorial port of call for museum director María Mercedes González is to show the Mamm’s collection itself, a challenge previously thwarted by a lack of space. Suddenly Medellín is sitting pretty at the top of the pile when it comes to South America’s art cities.

From Monocle 24

Spice I Am

Sujet Saenkham, founder of Spice I Am in Sydney, visited the kitchen at Midori House to tell us why he refuses to compromise on ingredients, so much so that he now grows his own on a farm in New South Wales.

From Monocle Films

Puerto Rico: state of debate

Puerto Rico is struggling with a faltering economy and an ongoing argument over its status as a US territory. Monocle meets the residents attempting to rethink the island’s future.

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