The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 11 November 2015

Image: Alamy

Foul play

It’s not been a good year for international sporting organisations: corruption allegations at the heart of international football, power-grabbing at the global home of cricket and now state-sponsored doping and claims of a cover-up at the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF). All three organisations – Fifa, the ICC and the IAAF – have something in common: a toxic mix of huge amounts of money, a complete lack of transparency and delusions of grandeur. The commercialisation of international sport has brought enormous wealth to organisations that now view themselves as mini nation-states. The head of the IAAF is referred to by his staff as Mr President; Fifa executives expect to be treated like royalty. International sport needs to remember who it is for: those who play and those who watch, not those who organise the administration.

Image: James Geer

Neighbourhood watch

What do you do when you reach the top? If you’re the city of Melbourne, which routinely tops many of the world’s-most-liveable-city indexes, you dig even deeper. Melbourne daily newspaper The Age partnered with Deloitte Access Economics/Tract Consultants to release a hyper-local Quality of Life survey that ranks all 312 of Melbourne’s suburbs. Each suburb was rated based on 15 criteria, including transport, crime and access to schools, parks, shops and cafés. Well-heeled East Melbourne topped the list, likely due to its proximity to parks, the Central Business District and cultural institutions. Yet rather than simply creating an opportunity for the city to pat itself on the back, the survey also identifies areas that can still be improved. Last-placed Skye was criticised for its lack of services and infrastructure – giving Melbourne something to work towards.

Image: Getty Images

Retail therapy

Ever since Chinese retail giant Alibaba launched its annual sale on its e-commerce platforms Tmall and Taobao in 2009, 11 November – also known as Singles Day – has become China’s day for non-compos-mentis consumerism, rather than heartbreak. E-commerce is growing exponentially in China and last year the online event generated a record-breaking €8.7bn in sales, outpacing Cyber Monday in the US. Sales are projected to be even higher this year, with thousands of retailers joining in, including foreign companies such as Macy’s and Calvin Klein, which are looking to test the waters in the Chinese market.

Image: Nicola

Chew on this

Over the past 20 years the gum wall in Seattle’s Pike Place Market has amassed an estimated one million pieces of chewing gum, resulting in a colourful, collaborative mural that’s as mesmerising as it is disgusting. Yet this week, for the first time ever, the city has started to steam-clean the wall in order to get rid of the sticky wads, which have begun to damage the brick underneath. Much like the “love locks” clipped all over Parisian bridges, which have also been the cause of structural damage, Seattle’s gum wall has been a popular landmark with tourists wanting to leave their mark. It’s an understandable desire, though visitors should be mindful that what they leave behind isn’t causing harm.

From Monocle 24

Image: Courtesy of the World Architecture Festival

World Architecture Festival

Rachel Mui touches down in Singapore for the World Architecture Festival. She reports on some of the 338 visionary projects presented by 46 countries.

From Monocle Films

Monocle Travel Guide to Madrid

Madrid has thrown off the shackles of tradition: what was once a buttoned-down bastion of conservatism has become Spain’s unabashed centre of the avant-garde. Monocle films visits the city to discover a melting pot of talent, taste and tenacity. Published by Gestalten, The Monocle Travel Guide to Madrid is available now at The Monocle Shop.

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