The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 20 October 2015

Image: Getty Images

Cold on Turkey

Angela Merkel thought she was speaking for the entire EU when she struck a deal with Turkey’s leadership over the weekend: stem the migrant crisis, the German chancellor told them, and we’ll give your EU accession talks a jolt back to life. Yet amid muted celebrations in Ankara a dissenting voice has come from across the Med: Cyprus says it will not lift its veto on allowing Turkey into the Union. Turkey’s hefty military presence on the island remains a sticking point for the Republic of Cyprus and although recent reunification talks between the north and south are progressing well, a rebuff such as this comes at a particularly sensitive moment.

Image: Getty Images

Hung out to dry

When it comes to electing women to the highest political office, countries in East Asia lag behind their neighbours in the south. At present only South Korea has a female leader: Park Geun-hye, inaugurated in 2013. Now the prospect of Taiwan electing its first female president has been cast into doubt as one of only two female candidates in the upcoming presidential election has been replaced. Ruling party Kuomintang voted to remove Hung Hsiu-chu three months out from January’s elections. She had performed poorly in a number of opinion polls against opposition candidate Tsai Ing-wen.

Image: Getty Images

On track

Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo has pledged to increase growth with new infrastructure projects and is finally looking to make good on his promise. A new high-speed rail connection between Jakarta and Bandung will cut journey times between the two cities to as low as 45 minutes, meaning that Bandung – a boomtown for textiles, tech and education – can fully come into its own. The thousands of jobs and new commercial hubs along the proposed commuter route should give Widodo a much-needed popularity boost. The $5.5bn (€4.8bn) project will be built with help from China. That’s bad news for Japan, which had also bid for the project.

Image: Renaud Marion

Made in France

While many French fashion companies have sought cheaper manufacturing options abroad, a few ambitious heritage brands have revived their fortunes by staying faithful to their roots. Maison Bourgeat is a case in point: founded in 1879, it still manufactures its eyewear in Jura, a region of France once famous for its spectacles. Pierre Hibon joined the company in 1975 and purchased it in 1986, before handing it on to its current owners in 2014. “People are looking for a human touch and are attached to the service that they receive,” says Hibon. “Today everything is standardised and made in such great quantities. Producing a pair of glasses from A to Z has become extremely rare.” Read our report on France’s industry revival in the November issue of Monocle, on newsstands this week.

From Monocle 24

Image: Venetia Rainey

Beirut’s Sursock Museum

After seven years of renovations the Sursock Museum in Beirut has finally reopened its doors to the public. In doing so it offers a much-needed meeting place in a fractious city marked by divisions.

From Monocle Films

Mexican spirit

In Mexico a new breed of entrepreneurs is building brands around family-produced mezcal and distributing it to the world’s capitals. We visit Oaxaca, where this spirit is being given new life.

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