The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 15 October 2015

Image: Getty Images

Having a say

Nominations in Hong Kong close today for candidates wishing to stand in November’s district council elections. The local elections, held every four years, will be closely watched because they will be the first time Hong Kongers have gone to the polls since the Umbrella Movement last year, when pro-democracy supporters occupied the streets demanding a direct say in electing the city’s chief executive. Next month’s vote will also provide an early indication of the electorate’s mood ahead of the pivotal legislative council elections next year. But the prospect of Hong Kong’s young people standing in huge numbers looks slim and Joshua Wong, a figurehead of the Umbrella Movement, at 19, is still too young for elected office.

Image: Reuters

Undue process

Members of Chile’s Mapuche population marched in Santiago earlier this week rallying against what organisers called “the oppressive colonialism of the Chilean state”. The question of land rights for the indigenous group – who comprise about 9 per cent of Chile’s population – has dogged consecutive presidents in the South American nation and continues to give president Michelle Bachelet a headache during her second term. She promised to “solve” the issue once and for all when she returned to power last year – including not applying a controversial anti-terror law used to convict Mapuches accused of activism and social protest – but so far her achievements have been limited. With Bachelet’s approval rating hovering at about 25 per cent, she must be hoping the question will simply solve itself.

Image: Getty Images

Fun of the fair

The industry-only first day of the Frankfurt Book Fair has wrapped after a packed opener of publishing pow-wows. More than 7,000 exhibitors have settled into the long corridors until Sunday, with guest of honour Indonesia hoping to reveal the best of its literary output to the world. Rather than a bright and attention-grabbing booth, the Indonesians confidently opted for a more sober presentation with works by 75 authors such as novelists Laksmi Pamuntjak and Ayu Utami, who each unpick the era of the Suharto regime. Just a few booths down, Iran’s lights are on but no one’s home: the Islamic Republic has decided to boycott the fair after it was announced that Salman Rushdie would be speaking as part of the event. It’s a sign that, despite the nuclear deal, old habits die hard. Monocle’s editor in chief Tyler Brûlé will be speaking on the Business Club Stage tomorrow at 10.30 to explain why print is far from dead.

Image: Kai Lehmann

Ride of the future

Singapore has shifted gears on its ambition to become a modern metropolis for driverless vehicles. The government has announced it plans to allow self-driving shuttles to zip tourists around the futuristic Gardens by the Bay, while the bustling port of Singapore will be serviced by unmanned trucks. Meanwhile, the city’s technology district One North has become a test bed for driverless taxis. Pioneered by the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (Smart) and the National University of Singapore (NUS), this prototype may inform a future fleet of autonomous vehicles in Singapore. “Smart studies show that if private vehicles were replaced by a sharable self-driving fleet, we’d both reduce cars on the roads by two thirds and increase land available to Singaporeans [by giving land normally used for parking back to the city],” says Scott Pendleton, doctoral candidate at NUS.

From Monocle 24

Image: Silvia Conde

Barcelona’s Passeig de Gràcia

The Entrepreneurs heads to Barcelona’s famous high street Passeig de Gràcia to see the retail results of an €8m facelift.

From Monocle Films

Home visit

The origami roof of the Copenhagen Center for Cancer and Health suggests that this is no ordinary hospital. Nord Architects have created a healing environment with thoughtful, original strokes.

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