The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Tuesday 3 November 2015

Image: Getty Images

Playing nice

After more than two years of giving Shinzo Abe the diplomatic stiff-arm, South Korean president Park Geun-hye finally sat down with the Japanese prime minister in Seoul yesterday. It was their first summit meeting since taking office and, while Park is still adamant that Tokyo needs to atone for the Japanese military’s Second World War practice of forcing Asian women into prostitution, the two leaders made a show of patching up their frayed relationship. Political pragmatism seems to have softened Park’s position. The South Korean public, media and business leaders were in favour of the Park-Abe meeting. As was Barack Obama, who said as much when he hosted Park in Washington in October. It’s also likely that South Korea’s desire to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation Pacific Rim trade bloc, played a role: Seoul’s bid would be impossible without Tokyo’s full support.

Image: Yung Harmony

Fly look

Cathay Pacific unveiled a sparkling new livery in Hong Kong on Sunday – the biggest makeover the airline has had in more than two decades. The new look includes a streamlined logo on the tailfin and nose and a pared-down colour palette designed by Hong Kong-based firm Eight Partnership, and will be rolled out on its fleet of nearly 150 aircraft. The new look is just one part of Cathay’s €9bn investment in improving its services; other changes to come include a more user-friendly website and app, revamped lounges and a host of new destinations for flights from its home base in Hong Kong.

Image: Zaha Hadid Architects

Rising stars

From star architects to start-ups, designers from around the globe descend on Singapore this week for the annual World Architecture Festival. As the developing Southeast Asian property market heats up, the event’s awards are taking on extra significance for international firms. “Simply put, winning awards will always help you win work,” notes Kate Cullity, who says her Australian company TCL’s Landscape of the Year Award last year boosted its growth in Asia. The top prize, World Building of the Year, has a not-so shortlist of 338 projects, ranging from Zaha Hadid’s curvaceous London Aquatics Centre to a Melbourne home designed to look like a village. Australian firms lead the nominations charge, looking to showcase their world-class industry to northern neighbours.

Image: Getty Images

Craft works

Once a force in the craft beer market, the maker of Samuel Adams, Boston Beer Co, has reported the biggest losses the company has seen in more than two years due to competition from even smaller independent brewers. They aren’t the only company to come under pressure. Despite successfully luring away consumers from the big beer brands in recent years, the craft beer market now appears to have reached a tipping point. New brands are continually popping up; since 2012, more than 1,200 new craft brewers opened in the US. The stiff competition could explain why a number of brands are now doing the unthinkable: partnering with or being sold to bigger breweries. Has the craft beer market become a victim of its own success?

From Monocle 24

Image: Benjamin McMahon

Publishing low-down

SelfMadeHero is an independent publisher of graphic novels. Emma Hayley, the company’s managing director, drops by Midori House to talk to Robert Bound about what’s thriving within the industry.

From Monocle Films

Pole position

Warsaw’s dour-from-afar image is melting away as a new generation of makers, restaurateurs and start-ups help to redefine Poland’s capital.

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