The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 7 December 2015

Image: Corbis

Korea change

South Korea has announced that next year it will pick several universities to begin educating students about the country's plans for a unified Korean Peninsula. The government's Unification Ministry says it has set aside KRW1.8bn (€1.4m) and expects to select three to five universities for the project. It's an acknowledgement that Seoul's past efforts to mobilise public support for a merger of the Koreas – and it's anyone's guess when that might happen – have fallen short. Yet it’s tough to imagine universities having better luck. South Korea's economy is now estimated to be 40 times the size of the North's and polls show that most young South Koreans balk at the idea of having to shoulder the huge expected cost of supporting their poverty-stricken neighbours should the reclusive regime in Pyongyang collapse.

Image: Getty Images

Canadian thaw?

Canada’s stock markets may have been among the poorest performers in global equity during the past few years but might a punt on Canadian stocks in 2016 prove to be a smart move? Despite the ongoing pinch to the economy due to fluctuating oil prices, new analysis suggests that shares in Canadian companies may well be the surprise performers at the beginning of 2016. This may be thanks in part to a change in government in Ottawa, which has promised to boost infrastructure spending. “There are many Canadian companies that are set to benefit [from this],” says Nick Exarhos, an economist at CIBC World Markets in Toronto. Whereas US industrial sectors will continue to face headwinds in 2016 due to the strong dollar, according to Exarhos, the comparatively weak Canadian dollar will make the country’s financial sector an attractive prospect in the first six months of the year.

Indelible ink

By now you know the Minute’s views on print: it’s not going anywhere but up. And that’s why we are delighted to mark this Thursday’s opening of another great shop dedicated to the world of magazines. Jeremy Leslie runs MagCulture, which is primarily a website about print but also runs a series of cool events and operates as a design studio too. Now it’s also a shop on London’s St John Street (number 270 if you want to check it out). Leslie is going to be lining up 500 global titles with a special focus on smaller publishers. Why now? “There’s a growing interest and market for these titles but there’s a gap between the experience of buying them in the back of some shop and the great things these magazines are doing,” he says. The space, kitted out by Vitsoe, will also be used for talks and more – but one thing you won’t find is a bar of chocolate. It’s all about the pleasure of ink on paper.

Image: David Law

Green shoots

Hong Kong kicks off its half of a bi-city architecture biennale this week, held in collaboration with the Chinese city of Shenzhen. The three-month event aims to showcase a vision of Hong Kong in 2050. Yet it will also be something of an ideas laboratory for Hong Kong: young people have been asked to identify the critical issues that the city will face – including sustainability, employment and quality of life – and explain how they would go about addressing them in the future. Last year’s Umbrella Movement saw students participating in pro-democracy protests en masse, so giving them a voice is commendable. “Young people will have all the responsibility in about 20 to 30 years but it is right now when their imagination is at its most potent,” says professor Christine Hawley, the chief curator.

From Monocle 24

Image: Phaidon

What do maps tell us about history and ourselves?

Tune in to The Weekly to hear rare-book dealer Daniel Crouch talk Andrew Tuck and Tom Edwards through a new title Map: Exploring the World, which Crouch and his fellow cartography experts helped to compile.

From Monocle Films

Hop, skip and a jump

There are few scheduled flights that make more than one stop these days (let alone three) but African Express is making a business and a brand operating one of the last milk runs in civil aviation. Our man in Africa straps into the jump seat for a jaunt around the horn.

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