The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 16 October 2015

Image: Getty Images

Enter the dragon

It’s the season for mega trade deals. The ink has only just dried on the Trans-Pacific Partnership but negotiators are completing round 10 of discussions on the even bigger Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which includes all 10 Asean nations, plus six of their biggest trade partners: Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. A deadline has been set for the end of the year and China is most eager to make headway but analysts see major obstacles. “As China climbs up the global value chain and develops its hi-tech sectors, it wants to protect its domestic industry from cheaper South Korean and Japanese imports,” says Mansoo Jee, research fellow at the Korea Institute of Finance. “China has to open up more markets to speed up the process but it is refusing to so far.”

Image: Kelly Cookson

Tipping point

The US’s love affair with tipping has come under serious threat from one of the culinary world’s biggest heavyweights. Restaurateur Danny Meyer has announced that he is eliminating tipping across all 13 properties of his Union Square Hospitality Group, including New York’s popular Gramercy Tavern and The Modern in the Museum of Modern Art. At the heart of this radical salary experiment are issues of equality and fairness: what role should a customer have in the livelihood of a business’s staff? A handful of restaurants around the US have already ditched tips or flirted with alternatives but Meyer’s decision to include hourly wages within menu prices is the most high-profile example. If diners can stomach the bloated bill, expect the practice to spread.

Image: Getty Images

Still life

Brooklyn-based artist Dustin Yellin has unveiled six public sculptures this week as part of a redevelopment project on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard. Placed in a central courtyard that will be surrounded by creative workspaces, restaurants and shops, the sculptures are made up of glass and steel cases that contain 3D human forms. When viewed up close, the figures comprise small cut-out images alluding to certain memories and experiences; “a visual DNA” according to the artist. Yellin’s striking installation is the latest addition to Los Angeles’s booming cultural scene.

From Monocle 24

Image: Guillén Pérez

Cairo: improving the city’s taxis

Taxis are one of the most popular ways to get around the urban sprawl of Cairo. New taxi companies such as Uber and Pink Taxi – a women-only service – are working hard to make travel safer and more comfortable.

From Monocle Films

Concrete circus

Maputo’s turbulent history includes colonial rule, war and regime change. And it’s a rich history told in the buildings that line the streets of Mozambique’s capital.

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