The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 2 December 2015

Image: Alamy

Free to fly

Japan’s Defense Ministry recruits women to fly transport planes and rescue aircraft for the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) but it has never allowed them to be at the controls of fighter jets. That’s about to change: the ministry will soon permit women to train as fighter pilots under a government push to bring more women into the workforce. The reason: SDF planes will put on an aerial acrobatic display for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and ministry officials want women – who account for less than 6 per cent of the country’s 230,000-strong military – to be among the pilots. Not all restrictions on women will be lifted, however. Given the ministry’s reluctance to send women into combat and the challenges of ensuring privacy in confined quarters, it’s still not clear whether we will ever see Japanese women in SDF tanks or submarines.

Image: Courtesy Art Basel

Breaking ground

Thirteen years after taking the first tentative steps towards establishing Miami as the city of art (as well as vice and largesse), Art Basel Miami Beach is about to embark on a brand new project. This year’s instalment is director Noah Horowitz’s (formerly of New York’s Armory Show) first at the helm. As soon as the press and perusers pack their trunks – or bikinis – and leave the Miami Beach Convention Center, the fair’s home will receive a timely revamp. It’s a welcome boost for “brand Miami” as the overhauled centre will see an estimated $6.5m (€6.1m) invested in public art. The Magic City continues to prove it’s not just fun in the sun anymore: it’s happily cashing in on its cultural cachet and making art a year-round attraction.

Image: Alamy

Muddying the waters

Authorities in Nanjing, the capital of China’s eastern Jiangsu province, have decided to tackle dirty roads by tracing the problem back to its source: dirty cars. According to a new draft policy, mucky lorries and other vehicles face a penalty of up to €295. The announcement this week comes two years after Chengdu launched a similar fine, although that one only went as high as €15. In Nanjing, however, there’s a great deal of confusion surrounding the ambiguous term “dirt”, which covers everything from muddy tyres and grimy number plates to advertising placed on cars without approval. Others have poured scorn on the proposal, such as one anonymous commenter on news website Xinhuanet, who said: “Citizens are liable for their own dirty car but who’s responsible for the dirt in the air?”

Image: Getty Images

One-man army

Former White Stripes frontman Jack White has gifted his hometown of Detroit an early Christmas present: its very own branch of his Third Man Records shop. Located in the Cass Corridor area, it is the second opening for White, who first launched a Third Man Records shop in Nashville seven years ago. The new outpost will sell a mix of vinyl and limited-edition records from White’s Third Man label as well as turntables, headphones and other music gear. The company is also planning to open a vinyl-record pressing plant. Though Detroit might not seem the most obvious place for an expansive record shop – the city is still far from seeing an economic recovery – the vinyl industry has had an incredible period across the board with US sales on track to hit a 26-year high. A Jack White-shaped shot in the arm for Detroit’s music scene might just give the city a boost.

From Monocle 24

Image: Richard Haughton

Section D: Graeme Brooker

Tune in to hear Graeme Brooker, head of interior design at London’s Royal College of Art, as he talks us through the fundamentals of the discipline and explains how he’s fostering the next generation of interior-design talent.

From Monocle Films

Property Prospectus: Kalamaja

Tallinn’s Kalamaja neighbourhood boasts a vibrant community of young professionals; Monocle Film visits to find out what it’s like to live and work in the blossoming Estonian capital.

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